Death Knight (background)

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Obsolete: This article refers to an aspect of the game which has been removed. It is retained for historical reference only.

This article covers the obsolete player background. For the monster, see death knight.

The Death Knight is a fighter who aligns him or herself with the powers of death and worships Yredelemnul the Dark, who will soon grant the ability to re-animate the dead.

Death knights are unholy warriors who worship Yredelemnul, the god of Death. They are charged with opposing all things holy, but in return they gain power over death and the undead.

Death knights start with 35 piety.

Preferred Races

Human, Hill Orc, Troll, Merfolk, Minotaur, and Demonspawn are the recommended races if you pick a Death Knight Background.

Racial Restrictions

Neither demigods nor gargoyles can be death knights, as neither can worship Yredelemnul.

Starting Equipment

Some species may receive different items based on their unique restrictions.

Starting Skills and Stats

These are adjusted by your species' aptitudes.

Choosing Death Knight adds 5 to your starting Strength, 3 to your starting Intelligence and 4 to your starting Dexterity.


Yredelemnul's powers are primarily for the creation and enslavement of undead, so this background plays a little like a summoner with decent melee ability. Like many religious backgrounds, the role of death knight suits less magical species who need an alternate source of power. Although costly, Yredelemnul's Mirror Damage ability allows you to make specific dangerous encounters dramatically easier, while Life Drain is an excellent panic button when dealing with the living. Later in the game, his ability to enslave souls can make worthy slaves even of uniques.


Death Knights were removed in 0.16.

Prior to 0.14, death knights started with 20 gold.

Originally, death knights had a choice between starting with a book of Necromancy or worshiping Yredelemnul. In 0.7, the background was removed entirely, and priests were given the option to start with Yred. The ability to start with a book of Necromancy was deemed redundant to and also weaker than a plain necromancer, and thus removed; reavers were removed for a similar reason a version later. In 0.8, death knights were restored, this time only worshiping Yred (with priests correspondingly losing that option).

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