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Nerdarchy > Dungeons & Dragons  > Lord Soth Isn’t a D&D Death Knight, He’s THE Death Knight
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Lord Soth Isn’t a D&D Death Knight, He’s THE Death Knight

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Hello nerds! Nerditor Doug here with a bit of content to share from the Nerdarchy community. Viewers of our Nerdarchy live chats, RPG Crate-sponsored Adventures on the Open Road, Marvel Superheroes Roleplaying Game live plays and more are familiar with Fraginator. This fan and friend of Nerdarchy games with us and remains a great part of our community. Always on the lookout for cool content, when Frags mentioned a homebrew version of the death knight Lord Soth from his home game I asked him to send it in so we can share it with you.

Lord Soth is the quintessential death knight. Originally from the Dragonlance novel Dragons of Spring Dawning, this entity’s instant popularity has come to define what a death knight is in Dungeons & Dragons. The Knight of the Black Rose is a terrifying foe, with an amazing and tragic backstory. Over the years, Lord Soth has become an iconic character, instantly recognizable. His likeness even appears in the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual under the death knight listing.

Thanks to Fraginator for sharing his creation with us. According to Frags, this iteration of Lord Soth was inspired by two videos where Nate the Nerdarch was talking about his death knight and special cloak – bonus points if you can track those down. When Frags flipped to the death knight in the monster manual and saw the flavor text for Lord Soth it exploded from there. Here’s what he had to say about this iteration of Lord Soth:

“This wiped out a 20th-level party when combined with a shambling mound (re-skinned as a sentient pile of bones). Path of the Totem barbarian, College of Lore bard, Eldritch Knight fighter, and Assassin rogue. Between poor planning and a bad roll on the madness table (rendering the bard speechless) it was a bad experience. The Assassin kept attacking the bones (blindsense so no sneak from hiding). It could use some tweaking, but worked for a creep inspiring TPK of a one-shot.” – Fraginator

Lord Soth

d&d death knight Lord Soth

A death knight as seen in the fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual. Lord Soth is used as the quintessential death knight. [Image courtesy Wizards of the Coast]

Medium undead, chaotic evil
Armor Class 20 (Adamantine Armor, Animated Shield)

Hit Points 250

Speed 30 ft.

STR          DEX           CON         INT         WIS       CHA

20 (+5)     11 (+0)       20 (+5)     12 (+1)   16 (+3)    18 (+4)

Saving Throws DEX +6, WIS +9, CHA +10

Damage Immunities nercrotic, poison

Condition Immunities exhaustion, frightened, poisoned

Skills Perception +5

Senses Darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 13

Languages Abyssal, common, elvish

Challenge 18 (20,000 XP)

Legendary Resistance. (3/day) lf Lord Soth fails a saving throw he can choose to succeed instead.

Magic Resistance. Lord Soth has advantage on saving throws against spells and magical effects.

Marshal Undead. Lord Soth and any undead within 60 ft. have advantage against being turned.

Regeneration. Lord Soth regains 5 hit points at the beginning of each of his turns.

Spellcasting. Lord Soth is a 20th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 18, +10 to hit with spell attacks). He has the following spells prepared:

  • 1st level (4 slots): bane, inflict wounds, wrathful smite
  • 2nd level (3 slots): hold person, crown of madness
  • 3rd level (3 slots): bestow curse, dispel magic
  • 4th level (3 slots}: banishment, compulsion
  • 5th level (2 slots): destructive wave (necrotic)

Multiattack. Lord Soth makes three attacks with his Nine Lives Stealer.

Nine Lives Stealer. Melee Weapon Attack: +13 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 11 (1d8+7) slashing damage plus 4d8 necrotic damage. On a critical hit against a creature with fewer than 100 hit points, the creature must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or die instantly. Lord Soth has 4 charges remaining on his Nine Lives Stealer.

Hellfire Orb (1/day). Lord Soth hurls a ball of baleful fire that explodes at a point he can see within 120 ft. Creatures in a 20 ft. radius sphere must make on a DC 18 Dexterity saving throw or take 10d6 fire and 10d6 necrotic damage on a failed save, or half the damage on a successful one.

Parry. As a reaction Lord Soth adds 6 to his AC against one melee attack that would hit him. To do so Lord Soth must see the attacker and be wielding a melee weapon.

Lord Soth has legendary actions that can be taken at the end of another creature’s turn (5/turn)

Attack. Lord Soth makes one attack with his Nine Lives Stealer.

Call on Shadows (Costs 2 Actions). Lord Soth summons 1d6 shadows to fight alongside him.

Vile Curse (Costs 3 Actions). Lord Soth targets one creature he can see within 30 ft. The target must succeed on a DC 15 Wisdom saving or have disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the curse on a success.

Disrupt Life (Costs 4 Actions). Each living creature within 30 ft. of Lord Soth must succeed on a DC 17 Constitution saving throw or take 6d6 necrotlc damage on a failed save, or half the damage on a successful one.

From the Nerditor’s desk

What do you think about this amped-up death knight? Lord Soth is so iconic and terrifying, and Fraginator’s version certainly fits the bill. With his dark and tragic backstory and this suite of abilities added on top of a standard death knight, Lord Soth can easily be a primary villain for a high-level campaign ender. And just think – in the Dragonlance books he came about simply to fill a spot as a powerful foe for the heroes to face atop the High Clerist’s Tower! According to Matt Sernett in The Ecology of the Death Knight, Lord Soth has come to define what a death knight means to D&D, also named as one of the greatest villains in D&D history in the final print issue of Dragon magazine.

If you’re interested in delving into the world of Dragonlance into your games, there’s a bundle of content over at the Dungeon Masters Guild containing all 16 of the classic Dragonlance modules from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. It might be an older edition but you can certainly still use the material in fifth edition D&D. Take your heroes through the War of the Lance and see how they fare compared to the Companions like Tanis, Sturm and Laurana. You can use Nerdarchy’s exclusive coupon code DTRPG-Nerdarchy for a one-time 10 percent discount on this or any orders over $10 (digital products only). The code works at the DM’s Guild or any of the OneBookShelf sites.

What iconic characters have you tweaked and added to your D&D games? Has Lord Soth himself ever harried the heroes of your campaign? Let us know in the comments below and as always, stay nerdy!

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  • Greg
    April 3, 2018 at 10:47 am

    Is it possible to have a conjured elemental carry an unconscious Death Knight back to their realm? Granted the death knight is not defeated but he/she has limited access back to the prime material realm. Does this essentially remove them from the game?

    • Doug Vehovec
      April 4, 2018 at 11:46 am


      By RAW, I would say no. There’s nothing I see in the spell description or creature entry for elementals indicating it can transport anything to another plane. But in your own game, anything can happen! It would be a cool roleplaying scenario to bargain with a conjured elemental for something like this.

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