The Witch Knight

A warrior who walks among monsters

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Witch Knight

The witch knight walks a line between the civilized world and the world of monsters. In a world where the cities of humanity and their allies are but points of light in a land of darkness, there exist warriors who walk in the shadow between the two societies. In that gloom, they battle the most dangerous of monsters, forging temporary alliances with those who are less inclined to wipe out civilization, and keeping skirmishes from exploding into all-out war that their societies cannot endure.

Due to their association with monsters, witch knights are feared by most people in settled lands. They are given many names -- blackguards, shadow knights, and witchmen are but a few common terms used by commonfolk -- but few dare cross them, for witch knights are fearsome opponents. While their goals are typically keeping monsters at bay, sometimes witch knights fall to corruption and use their knowledge of civilized lands to lead armies of monsters against free towns and lesser kingdoms.

Fell Powers

Beginning when you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you may learn and cast a small number of warlock spells.

Cantrips. You learn two cantrips of your choice from the warlock spell list. You learn an additional warlock cantrip of your choice at 10th level.

Spells Slots. The witch knight spellcasting table shows how many spell slots you have, as well as what level those slots are; all of your slots are the same level. To cast a warlock spell, you must expend an associated spell slot, and must have a slot level equal to the level of the spell you wish to cast. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a short or long rest.

Spells Known. At 3rd level, you know two 1st level spells from the warlock spell list. The Spells Known column of the witch knight spellcasting table shows when you learn more warlock spells of your choice of 1st level and higher. A spell you choose must be of a level no higher than what's shown on the table's Slot Level colum for your level.

Additionally, when you gain a fighter level after selecting this archetype, you can choose one of the warlock spells you know and replace it with another spell from the warlock spell list, which must also be of a level for which you have spell slots.

Spellcasting Ability. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for warlock spells, as they are dark reflections of your force of will and association with monstrous entities. Use Charisma whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability.

Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier

Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier

Eldritch Invocations

You know a small number of eldritch invocations from the warlock invocation list. You can learn any invocation whose prerequisites you meet, but increase the level requirement by two for any warlock invocations that have a level requirement. For example, the Ascendant Step invocation normally has a requirement of 9th level; you must be 11th level in order to take this invocation. Whenever you gain a level in fighter after you have selected this archetype, you may choose to replace any one invocation that you know and replace it with another invocation that you could learn at that level.

The Witch Knight Spellcasting
Level Cantrips Known Spells Known Spell Slots Slot Level Invocations Known
3 2 2 1 1st 0
4 2 3 2 1st 1
5 2 3 2 1st 1
6 2 4 2 2nd 1
7 2 4 2 2nd 1
8 2 5 2 2nd 2
9 2 5 2 2nd 2
10 3 6 2 3rd 2
11 3 7 2 3rd 2
12 3 7 2 3rd 3
13 3 8 2 3rd 3
14 3 9 3 4th 3
15 3 9 3 4th 3
16 3 10 3 4th 4
17 3 10 3 4th 4
18 3 10 3 5th 4
19 3 11 3 5th 4
20 3 12 4 5th 5
Designer Note

In light of the existence of the hexblade warlock patron introduced in Xanathar's Guide to Everything, this fighter archetype is somewhat outdated. Feel free to keep using it if you like, but it's largely redundant now.

Pact Boon

When you choose this archetype, you also select a monstrous or otherwordly patron that is the source of your dark powers. You gain one of the following features of your choice.

Pact of the Aegis

You learn a ritual that binds a suit of armor to you. You perform this ritual over the course of an hour, which can be done during a short rest. The armor must be within your reach for the duration of the ritual, during which time you anoint it with sacred oils and etch it with mystical runes. Once this ritual is complete, you may summon the armor onto your body through the use of a bonus action.

You may also include one shield, one helmet, one pair of boots, and one pair of gauntlets with the suit of armor, at your option. If the suit of armor (and only the armor) that you bind is not already magical, it counts as a +1 suit of the appropriate type.

Pact of Arms

You can use your action to create a pact weapon in your empty hand. You choose the form the weapon takes at the time it is created. You are proficient with the weapon while you wield it, and the weapon counts as magical for purposes of overcoming resistance and immunity to nonmagical attacks and damage.

The weapon disappears if it is more than 5 feet away from you for 1 minute or more. It also disappears if you use this feature again, if you dismiss the weapon (no action required), or if you die.

You can transform one magic weapon into your pact weapon by performing a special ritual while you hold the weapon, anointing it with sacred oils and etching it with mystical runes. You perform this ritual over the course of an hour, which can be done during a short rest. You can then dismiss the weapon, shunting it to a shadowy dimension until you call it to your hand using this ability. You cannot affect an artifact or sentient weapon in this way. The weapon ceases being your pact weapon if you die, if you perform the ritual on a different weapon, or if you perform a ritual to break your bond to it. The weapon appears at your feet if it is in the shadowy dimension when the bond breaks.

Pact of the Brand

You gain the service of a monstrous creature that acts as your protector, messenger, and sycophant. Choose a monster that has a challenge rating of 1 or lower that belongs to one of the following types: fey, fiend, humanoid, monstrosity, or undead. If the minion has the Multiattack feature, it loses that feature.

You replace its proficiency bonus with your own (affecting its attack rolls, skills, and saving throws accordingly), and apply your proficiency bonus to its AC and its damage rolls; the bonus to AC does not apply if the creature wears armor of any sort, though it may wear a shield. Its hit point maximum equals its normal maximum or four times your fighter level, whichever is higher. When you gain an ability score increase through level advancement, your minion also gains an ability score increase to be distributed to your liking.

The monster obeys your commands to the letter, branded with your personal mark to never fall out of line. This brand is a visible mark created by dark magic somewhere on its body. It will never attempt to deceive or disobey you regardless of compulsion from other entities; it is immune to effects that would charm it, since it is considered permanently charmed by you. It rolls for initiative like any other creature, but you determine its actions and behavior.

If the monster dies, you may use the power of the brand to restore it to life (or unlife, if the creature is undead) during a long rest. In this way, the creature is forever bound to your service until you yourself are slain.

The monster can be sent to perform actions on your behalf away from you, such as guarding mounts and campsites, carrying messages to far-off individuals, or maintaining a stronghold.

Witch Knight's Demand

A witch knight does not request, they command. Upon reaching 7th level, you are considered proficient and double your proficiency bonus when using the Charisma (Intimidation) skill. Furthermore, you may use a bonus action to command one creature to flee from your sight. The creature makes a saving throw against your spellcasting ability or is frightened for one minute. You cannot use this function of the ability again until you complete a short or long rest.

When approaching a lair of monsters, you may demand parley and sanctuary. For as long as you refrain from engaging in combat or stealing from your benefactors, the monsters are beholden not to attack you for 24 hours. As soon as this time expires, or you leave the monsters' territory, the sanctuary provided by this ancient agreement is void and you are subject to the monsters' natural appetites.

The monsters you affect with this demand must be intelligent and capable of speech, and neither you nor your comrades must engage in any hostile behavior as outlined above or the sanctuary is broken. Repeated uses of this ability to sneak into monstrous lairs in order to get close to (and assassinate) their leaders may cause additional attempts to fail as word spreads of the witch knight's iniquity.

Malefic Strikes

When you reach 10th level, you add your Charisma modifier to the damage of successful weapon attacks.

Malefic Countenance

At 15th level, whenever you cast a warlock spell from your list of known cantrips or spells, you are enveloped in an aura of terror. Creatures that attempt to strike you with melee attacks are at disadvantage until the end of your next turn.

Exarch of Entropy

Starting at 18th level, the witch knight becomes a maelstrom of destruction in battle. When you take the Attack action or cast a spell, enemies within 20 feet of you immediately suffer damage equal to your Charisma modifier. Half of this damage is necrotic, and half is psychic (round fractions in favor of necrotic).

New Invocations

These invocations are designed to work primarily within the framework of the Witch Knight archetype, but can be used with the base warlock class where appropriate. Consider requirements accordingly; Pact of Arms is not Pact of the Blade, and vice versa.

Eldritch Resistance

Prerequisite: 5th level

You may expend a spell slot to cast the protection from energy spell. You do not need to maintain concentration on this spell. You cannot use this invocation again until you complete a short or long rest.

Expendable Minion

Prerequisite: Pact of the Brand

Your servant becomes the epicenter of an explosive wave of crackling black energy. All creatures within 20 feet of your servant must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or suffer 3d6 necrotic damage per slot level the witch knight is able to cast. Thus, if the witch knight is 14th level, this effect deals 12d6 necrotic damage. The servant automatically fails this saving throw. If this damage is sufficient to slay the servant, all victims that failed the saving throw are also stunned until the end of the witch knight's next turn.

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