Years after the destruction of Draenor, the immensely powerful Lich King created a new breed of death knights: malevolent, rune-wielding warriors of the Scourge. The first and greatest of these was the Lich King’s chosen champion, Prince Arthas Menethil, once a mighty paladin of the Silver Hand who sacrificed his soul to claim the runeblade Frostmourne in a desperate bid to save his people. The rest are primarily made up of other fallen paladins whose souls were twisted and bound to the will of the Frozen Throne
A new group of death knights, the Death knights of Acherus, was later created by the Lich King to garrison the necropolis of Acherus: The Ebon Hold for the ultimate purpose of assaulting Light’s Hope Chapel and destroying the Argent Dawn. In the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, these death knights are freed from the will of the Lich King and ally themselves with their former factions. Working closely under the guiding blade of Highlord Darion Mograine and the bolstered Argent Crusade, the newly-freed death knights have begun their march to Northrend.
Role: Defender. You are an unstoppable juggernaut whose great might and mastery over death allows you to keep foes focused on you as your servants or allies attack them. Your knowledge and close ties to the power of death make you extremely hard to kill and imbue you and your weapons with unholy power.
Power Source: Shadow. You gain your abilities from a ritual that makes you at least partially undead and gives you command over the powers of darkness, blood, and ice.
Key Abilities: Strength, Stamina
Armor Proficiencies: Cloth, Leather, Mail, Plate
Bonus to Defense: +1 Fortitude, +1 Will
Hit Points at 1st level: 14+Constitution score
Hit Points per level: 6
Healing Surges: 7 + Constitution Modifier
Trained Skills: From the class skills list below, choose three trained skills at 1st level.
Class skills: Athletics (Str), Dungeoneering (Wis), Endurance (Con), History (Int), Insight (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Religion (Int).
Class Features: Deathly Commander, Rune Weapon, Runic Power, Weapon Talent
Death Knight Class Features
You may use the Dark Command power to mark an enemy of your choice. You also have the Blood Strike power.
You may designate one or two weapons you are wielding to be “rune weapons”. Your rune weapon is required to use your abilities. Your Rune Weapon is considered an implement for you; you can add the weapon’s Enhancement bonus and any Feat bonus you may have with it to attack and damage rolls for powers with the Implement keyword, but you do not add proficiency bonus. The process of designating a weapon as a rune weapon takes an extended rest, but once a weapon is engraved with your runes, it remains that way until replaced (even if it is dropped or taken from you). When you engrave a weapon with runes, you may select from one of the rune types below. This choice is not permanent; you may choose a different rune type during an extended rest. Some feats may grant you additional rune options to engrave on your weapon.
Rune of Razorice: Your attacks deal an additional 3 frost damage.
Rune of Swordbreaking: You gain a +1 bonus to AC.
If you are wielding two weapons, you may have a different rune engraved on each.
The runes engraved on your weapon can be activated in order to increase the potency of your attacks. You begin the game with 1 Blood, 1 Frost, and 1 Unholy Rune engraved onto your weapon (regardless of whether you wield two weapons or one). When you use a Death Knight at-will, encounter, or daily attack power, you may activate one rune to gain the indicated bonus to that attack. Activating a rune requires no action, but must be declared before the attack roll.
Many Death Knight attack powers have the Runic keyword, which indicates that that power either requires a Rune to use, or has additional effects if you activate a rune when making it. Read the specific power text for details.
Once activated, a rune is depleted until the end of a short rest.
Blood Rune: You gain a number of Temporary hitpoints equal to your constitution modifier (+5 at 11th level, +10 at 21st level), whether the attack hits or misses.
Frost Rune: You get +1 attack for this attack, and the attack deals an additional 2 frost damage (4 at 11th level, 6 at 21st level).
Unholy Rune: The victim of the attack takes a penalty to saving throws equal to your charisma modifier until the start of your next turn.
Death Rune: This rune is not on a weapon by default, but certain abilities convert a depleted rune into a death rune for one encounter. A death rune counts as all types of runes, and when activated grants all three bonuses for that attack.
A Death Knight wields a weapon two-handed, or wields two one-handed weapons, favoring offense over defense. Death Knights wielding a weapon do not provoke an opportunity attack when making ranged or area attacks. Choose two-handed or two-weapon and gain the appropriate benefit.
Two-handed Weapon: While wielding a two-handed rune weapon, you get a +1 bonus to attack rolls and a +1 bonus to all defenses.
Two Weapon Fighting: You gain Two-weapon Fighting as a bonus feat.
Many Death Knight abilities refer to “scourged” targets or inflict a scourge like “Frost Fever”. The scourges that a Death Knight may inflict on a victim are:
• Blood Plague: Ongoing necrotic damage 2 and -1 armor class (Save Ends both)
• Crimson Scourge: -2 penalty to all damage rolls (Save ends)
• Ebon Plague: Doubles the effectiveness of all other diseases (Save Ends)
• Frost Fever: Ongoing cold damage 2 and -1 penalty to all attack rolls (Save Ends both)
A full list of Class Powers and Class Features can be found here.