“Life is nothing but a futile spark, struggling against the darkness but ultimately doomed to failure. I represent the darkness that lies at the end of all. So how can you expect to stop me?”
—Baron Lightstalker, devourer of the 13th Soul
A grim and silent order of knights, deathknights are conduits of the negative energy plane. Having sworn their lives in the pursuit of death and undead, they wander the lands looking for chances to increase the power of death and the dead. Deathknights are a rare sight, as not many have the devotion and are not attuned enough to the negative energy plane to become deathknights. The first deathknight was made in a pact between a powerful lich and a bitter ex-paladin. The ex-paladin swore his life to death and the undead and in return received profane powers from the lich. Deathknights can be found wandering the land solitary or leading a pack of undead. They could be found working as a lieutenant of a powerful lich or necromancer, or even as a warlord intent on conquering. All deathknights follow the code made by the first deathknight, and some even add to it. They hold honor in great reverence, saying a man without honor is not worthy to live, and shun those who break agreements. Some embrace undeath and become ghouls, death knights, wights, vampires or swordwraiths.
“Evil Bastards them deathknights, honorable yes, but evil.”
—Thander Bladepoint, wandering knight
The First Allegiance is to Death, not Life. The first allegiance demands that the Deathknight show no mercy in combat. He strikes to kill, always. The first allegiance also demands that the Deathknight take no special care to stave off the death of others. A fallen comrade is considered weak, thus useless to the group and party. Incidentally, these, together, make it very hard to take prisoners. Deathknights often will make a point of murdering those who they’ve “only” incapacitated, though this is not always a rule.
The Second Allegiance is to Undeath, and its Glory. The second allegiance demands that a deathknight further the cause of undeath. If the undead are rampaging, he takes command. Deathknights do not oppose the undead without due reason (i.e. the undead being itself is opposing death and undeath, or harming the cause of death and undeath).
The Third Allegiance is to Honor, as it lasts for all of Eternity. The third allegiance demands that a deathknight be honorable. In this, his word is his bond, once sworn he shall uphold it so long as his trust is not broken, even against his convenience. After all, the undead live forever. An additional ramification is that many deathknights contract themselves to limited durations, aware of the possibility of rising as undead themselves and being still sworn to their bond. Deathknights also are very keen to exact vengeance for slights against them, or return favors for previous kindnesses. Honor demands it.