This orginially started out as an informative comment to a question posed on the WoW forums, but turned into a whole guide on the matter. I checked the sticky and found no guide for this particular topic, so I decided I would post this as its own thread.

Unfortunately, my inexperience with posting a guide meant I did not reserve posts before hand, and as a result, the guide got rather messy. After a lot of thought, consideration and speaking with GM's to find out if I was allowed, I decided to repost the guide in a much cleaner format.

A lot of information was added in the new version, such as an in-depth sections for all the races with regards to Death Knights, as well as small additions here and there, rearranging of certain texts and generally an overhaul of the formatting as a whole. All this meaning it is only appropriate I redo this version of the guide to match that of the current one on the WoW Forums. Here goes.

Mind you, this is a very long guide as I address just about every aspect of being a Death Knight, from the most basic to the most in depth, some of it due to what I have seen roleplayed and much of it per request as people want it explained.

I have cited my sources at the end of the guide and done my best to clearly state what is and isn't speculation.

A lot of credit goes to the people who wrote the lore and the people who collected it all in places such as and as well as the people who pointed out certain bit of lore I had missed, so I could collect it all in this guide.

Also, many thanks to the people who made Race RP Guides that I could read and reference.

Facts About The IC ClassEdit

When you roll a Death Knight, there are a few things that need to be considered. You are not simply choosing a class like a warrior or a mage, you are choosing an undead being, nearly as much its own race as the Forsaken. The Scourge stripped away almost everything that made them of "that race" and united them as Scourge. After that, they broke free and wandered out into the world, completely changed from their lives before.

Certainly Death Knights are their own faction, somewhat seperate from the Alliance and the Horde, though alligned with both. Death Knights even have their own "capital" of sorts, the floating necropolis Acherus.

You are UndeadEdit

No running around claiming to be alive and well, or anything other than a Death Knight. Also, scratch any ideas of just claiming it in character to make people more at ease around you. Even if you are well preseved and your skin still has some color to it, your icy, Scourge eyes, your characteristically hollow echo of a voice and your undead, unholy aura will give you away in 2 seconds flat.

You are a Death Knight. An Undead Necromancer Knight.

You are a Third Generation Death Knight.Edit

  • First Generation Death Knights were the spirits of Orc Warlocks placed within the corpses of fallen Alliance Knights from the First War, raised and used in the Second War by Gul'dan.
  • Second Generation Death Knights are primarily fallen and corrupted Paladins. Arthas himself was one of these. They are bound to their specific runeweapon. Take it away and they are powerless.
  • Third Generation Death Knights are the most versatile, able to pick up and use any weapon off the battlefield, obviously more proficient with the weapon if they runeforge it, which must be done personally at a Runeforge.

You wield rune magicEdit

Rune magic is a form of Arcane magic, accessed by more natural means. It is what powers all your spells. Moreover, Death Knights and the Scourge use a form of runic magic taught to them by the Vrykul. It is a form of the art that even the most experienced wizards find unfamiliar.

Through this magic, they wield powers of Frost, healing Blood and Unholy necromancy.

How is a Death Knight made?Edit

There seems to be two ways to become a Death Knight.

  1. The first is the simple, straight forward method. You are killed - you are raised. Nothing more to it than that. As for what raised you after you were killed, it seems that can be any number of things, from the Lich King, to possession of a Scourge runeblade or some other powerful Scourge artifact, a group of Necromancers, one powerful Necromancer, a Lich, another Death Knight...
  2. The second is a little more complex, involving a slow corruption over time that eventually turns you into an undead Death Knight, but without a specific moment of death. This is a method of turning undead that applies to many necromancers, as well as a fair few Death Knights, including all Death Knight Worgen, Baron Rivendare, and most likely Arthas himself, but never the Forsaken. They never died, as such. They just slipped over from living into undeath at some indeterminate point. But make no mistake, though, they are fully undead after that point.

Needs of a Death KnightEdit


According to "Corpulous' Mess Hall Rules", a book in Acherus, Death Knights seem to be capable of eating and drinking. How much they actually need to is not specified.


According to Phase 3 of "The Death Knights of Acherus", a book in the phased starting zone of Acherus, Death Knights are capable of sleep, but are not permitted to by the Scourge, suggesting they do not need to.

Hair and Fingernail GrowthEdit

The Guide to the Side Effects of Reanimation states that these things no longer grow.

Speculation: It might just be a game-mechanic, but it seems plausible that magic or alchemy can change the length of a Death Knight's or Forsaken's hair and nails. Those Goblin barber's are crafty!


According to "Guide to the Side Effects of Reanimation", a book in Acherus, Death Knights can continue to decay, but that good personal hygiene can slow, if not even halt this. The book suggests it might be an idea to cultivate a more rotten look, but not to go overboard as you don't want an arm falling off in combat.

Brushing one's teeth might be an idea, particularly if one ingests food or drink items now and then. Since a Death Knight can continue to decay, their oral hygiene could become quite dire if not properly tended to, not to mention their breath.

Other NeedsEdit

Death Knights need to inflict pain and suffering. It is something the Scourge likely built into them as a means to keep them working for the Scourge, and to keep them from turning good.

If they do not sate this need, they will become wracked with pain and eventually turn into a mindless killing machine.

If you wish to have an actually playable character within the Ebon Blade and the Hode/Alliance, your character needs to find a way to sate this need without succumbing to it. The best solution is probably to pick your targets, direct your need toward a common enemy, such as the remaining Scourge, the Twilight's Hammer cultists, the opposing faction...

This need does not stack with the Blood Elven mana addiction, but rather replaces it. However, it is possibly quite a bit worse than the mana addiction.

It is not specified if the target must be humanoid or intelligent or if 15 minutes of tormenting a spider can "take the edge off."

Dictated By BlizzardEdit

A portion of your IC background will have been decided for you by the game. There is some wiggle room, such as being made earlier or later than the starter quests, but then you have to take the consequences of that into consideration.

  • You are a Death Knight of the Ebon Blade. If you are not a part of the Ebon Blade, you are considered hostile by the Ebon Blade, the Horde, the Alliance, and generally everybody, meaning you'd be attacked on sight in any place controlled by such people.
  • Being in the Ebon Blade comes with a responsibility. Most living people have such prejudice against the undead, the Death Knights especially, that they don't always differentiate between one Death Knight and the whole Ebon Blade. It's a big enough stretch for some to try to differentiate between the Ebon Blade and the Scourge. So whether you like it or not, you represent the Ebon Blade, and being a jackass damages their reputation. The Ebon Blade as a faction cannot go up against the Alliance or the Horde because they would get their collective backsides handed to them, so you'd better behave while around those people or the Ebon Blade will have to stop you themselves, before another faction condemns the entire Ebon Blade for your actions.
  • You broke free from your servitude to the Lich King one out of two ways.

- The first being at the battle at Light's Hope Chapel. If you tried to break free earlier than this point, by rebelling, fleeing, or whatever, you would with 98% certainty have been killed by the Scourge. They have numerous methods for dealing with such traitors, none of them pleasant.

- The second would be after the Lich King's death, in which case you likely had no part in the battle at Light's Hope Chapel. If you tried to hold onto your ties with Arthas and the Scourge at Light Hope Chapel, the Ebon Blade and the Argent Crusade would have tried to put you down. After breaking free, you would have to approach the Ebon Blade and pledge your allegience to them, for the reason stated as the first point in this section of the guide.

  • The Death Knight starter quests and the battle at Light's Hope Chapel take place about 2-3 years ago. It would not be impossible for you to have been a Death Knight for longer than that, but you would in that case be a Second Generation Death Knight. The precise differences between a Second and Third Generation Death Knight are unclear.

Making Your Character Within ThisEdit

You can still have a lot of freedom with your character so long as you follow common sense and those basic rules set down by the lore that you agree to by default when you roll a Death Knight.

Some of the questions you should ask yourself when you roll a Death Knight, to figure out your character and define their personality are:

- Who were you before? What was your living life like?Edit

a) Were you a Paladin, a Warrior, a Rogue, or something else? (Those three classes appear the most likely, in that order, based on what the Scourge's preferences seems to be. Perhaps this is due to the physical requirements of being a Death Knight which are anyway enhanced. This not saying other classes can't work, but give it some thought before deciding.)

b) What race are you? How does the culture of your race perceive the state of undeath? If you are a Night Elf or a Draenei, you're going to have great problems with this as undeath is seen without exception as a fate far worse than death, a perversion, an abomination, an affront to all that race stands for and what you yourself most likely once stood for. (It is highly recommended to read the guides on your chosen race.)

c) Did you have family? Who? Where? Are they still alive? If so, how do they see you now? If not, did you cause their deaths as a DK or blame yourself in some way (DK related or not)?

- How did you become what you are?Edit

Were you killed in battle and raised on Acherus, or did you pledge allegience to Arthas in return for what you thought would be a gift, just just a better alternative to death? Most of all, what made you worthy of this "gift" in the eyes of the Scourge? (The requirements aren't all too high as you were anyway just intended as a shock troop against the Argent Dawn. Arthas was trying to churn out as many Death Knights as possible to overwhelm the Defenders of the Light, but the Death Knights still had to be fully capable of their tasks, which is why you see the emo ones killed right away in the phased starter zone.)

- When did you realize that fighting for the Scourge was wrong?Edit

If this was before the battle at Light's Hope Chapel, what were the factors keeping you obeying orders until that point? (The most obvious answer is fear of what the Scourge would do to you if you disobeyed, but there can be other reasons, too, such as simply not caring at the time, or being unable to resist the Lich King's command in your mind.)

- After getting your free will back, no longer at the mercy of the Scourge, what made you decide to go on existing?Edit

In the face of what you have become and the atrocities you have committed, why did you not end your own existence. (Vengeance against the Scourge is the obvious answer, but then you need a new one now that the Lich King is dead. As well, if the destruction of the Scourge was your only goal, you would spend all your time in Northrend fighting them.)

- How do all the above things effect you?Edit

What emotions your Death Knight can or cannot feel is very much up to you, but a few things to keep in mind are that while in service to the Scourge, such emotions as love, compassion, remorse, were beaten out of you and other emotions such as anger, hate, sadism, lust for destruction and power, were encouraged.

You were not merely sent to kill those villagers, you were encouraged to enjoy it. What you need to ask yourself is how that effects you now that you are free? What emotions do you allow yourself to feel? What emotions have gone lost? What emotions return to you and how do you manage it?

Being A DK After The King's FallEdit

It makes sense Death Knights might get a bit disoriented and lose direction once the Lich King died, but there are still many things that a Death Knight can do with his existence.

For one, the Scourge are not all gone. They are scattered, sure, and without proper direction, but they are still there and still dangerous. The Death Knight could still be spending time in Northrend clearing them out, determined to slaughter every last one of them.

Then we have the current crisis they can take part in. Fighting the Twilight's Hammer and using their power to defend the world from this new threat.

My Death Knight, Koránith, started a faction neutral mercenary guild even before the fall of the Lich King, and that keeps him busy now with everything from remaining Scourge to demons, shadow plots, faction diplomacy, ogres, saving kittens from tree tops and dealing with the Twilight's Hammer.

There is at least one Worgen Death Knight who joined a national regiment to help in the retaking of Gilneas, which is a viable option for any Death Knight of Gilnean origin, or simply sympathetic to the Gilnean cause.

Directly opposing this last example, I'm sure the Forsaken would not turn down the aid of Death Knights in holding onto Gilneas.

Alternatively, the Death Knights can venture down a path of rediscovering who they were. I know an Orc Death Knight who is trying to remember his life before, who he was, what clan he belonged to, if he was born on Draenor or on Azeroth...

There is so much more a Death Knight can do than "throwing themselves into taverns or joining the Darkmoon Faire." Remember who you were, know who you are now, and maybe most of all remember what you are. Think of what makes sense for your character to do in his/her current situation and see if you can follow that.

(Thanks to Iltharen-Defias Brotherhood for suggesting this chapter for the guide.)

Faction AllegienceEdit

Long overdue, I have now run the Andorhal quest lines, both on Horde and Alliance, and have had to change my view on this matter in light of the lore of those quests.

Even though the Ebon Blade is a neutral faction, they are not as strict as the Argent Crusade when it comes to what their members do on their spare time, so long as there is no problem during Ebon Blade missions and, of course, doesn't make a bad name for Death Knights.

This means that a Death Knight can very well choose to pledge their loyalties to either the Horde or the Alliance or even a specific racial faction within one of the two, as seen with Koltira and Thassarian in Andorhal.

(Apologies to Unhonourable-Argent Dawn and others who voiced this opinion in the former guide and were ignored.)


To know the bit about the race behind the Death Knight, I recommend reading the Roleplay Guides for each race, getting an understanding of their culture and mindset, and how they react to the undead and to Death Knights, then form your Death Knight from that.


Night Elves, Draenei, Tauren and former Paladins particularly hate the undead and to become one goes against everything they held dear. In most cases it would take a very strong sense of commitment to a cause for the "Greater Good", downright powerhungry insanity or just a very strong basic fear of final death for them not to destroy themselves as soon as they are free from the Lich King's control.

High Elves would probably feel that their connection to nature has been severed, although not as profoundly as the Night Elves, Draenei, former Druids, etc. The Blood Elves would probably also feel this, but to a lesser extent.

A Shaman would probably feel the severed connection to the elementals and ancestral spirits, something which could hit home very hard for an Orc Shaman, particularly if they felt that connection severed the first time around when they became the puppets of the Burning Legion.

As for Dwarves, Gnomes, Humans, non-Shaman Orcs, Trolls, etc, they mostly just have the whole "becoming undead" thing to deal with.

Forsaken Death Knights can be played two ways.

  • As someone who has died twice, first to become Forsaken and then to become a Death Knight.
  • As a very decayed Death Knight, as DK's do continue to rot and decay if they don't tend to their personal hygiene.


I am not very well versed on all the races, so I will unfortunately have to leave some of these rather short, but feel free to make suggestions or throw relevant lore at me.

Blood ElfEdit

(Blood Elf RP guide: )

The Blood Elves are both more and less likely than the other races to accept Death Knights. As well, Blood Elves are possibly better able to deal with becoming a Death Knight than many other races.

The crux of Blood Elven society and beliefs, carried on from High Elven, in turn carried over from the Highborne, is power.

"Power Hungry

Blood elves adore the idea of power, some moreso than others. Buf if there’s anything they all seem to have in common, it’s that Quel’Thalas will once again rise as a powerful nation. There’s also a sense of craving for more – that what they have (be it political swing, financial standing, a drug…) is never quite enough. There is always more to be gained. Always. To be content with your lot in life constitutes laziness and lack of drive. You’ll end up outside, begging for money like Jero’me the artist!"

- the Belf RP guide linked above.

If a Blood Elf believes he can use the power of the Scourge against that enemy and to further the cause of Quel'Thalas rising once more to greatness, he probably will, or at least do his best.

The still living Blood Elves may also be more accepting of the Death Knights for these reasons, but at the same time will probably be reminded of the Scourge that killed so many of their kind, so how the Death Knights are received by their living brethren is likely very individual.

A mechanical change with the Blood Elven Death Knights is their addiction. Now free of their mana addiction, they suffer one possibly far worse; the need to inflict pain and suffering.

They are likely still able to drain the mana out of things around them, but it does little for them anymore. They exist to destroy.

This can make the Blood Elves more mistrusting of them, seeing the potential for the Death Knight to become something worse than a Wretched, namely an out-of-control Death Knight on a rampage, killing still more of the few remaining elves.


(Draenei RP guide: )

The above guide does not touch on Death Knights until a small comment on the second page, however, the comment of relations to the Forsaken is quite valid.

"Free-willed or not, they are undead. Abominations to everything the Light stands for, creatures that must not exist. The average draenei would probably not even see the difference between Forsaken and Scourge, and see returning the undead to their natural state as a coup de grace." - the Draenei RP guide linked above.

The comment on the second page suggested that Draenei Death Knights would be less "evil" or not evil at all, due to their connection to the light and thousands of years of wisdom.

However, at Auchindoun, we see Draenei Necromancers, as well as several other Draenei hostile to the Horde and the Alliance, seemingly working for the evil forces there. In Northrend, we also see Draenei as members of the Cult of the Damned, serving the Scourge. The current threat to Azeroth, the Twilight's Hammer Cult, sports several Draenei members.

The bottom line is that they are perfectly capable of being "evil."

A Draenei Death Knight is almost as hard to pull off as a Night Elf Death Knight.

The Draenei have a very close connection to the Light. It is more than an abstract faith to them, like it is to the Humans. The Draenei live with the Naaru, beings of pure Light, who have granted them gifts and blessings over the course of millenia.

Life is sacred to the Draenei and they are a peaceful race, slow to anger and immensely patient. When brought to combat, however, they show their imense strength and resilience, fierce and highly capable fighters with the power of the Light as second nature to them, healing and strengthening them.

Becoming a Death Knight would most certainly sever their connection to the Light. Life turned worthless and death becoming a tool to wield in furthering the goals of the Scourge. Forced to go against everything they believed in and everything they stood for, the horror of waking up from this and once again regaining free will would likely be devastating.

It is possible they they redefine themselves, or come to terms with what they have become, but the still living Draenei would certainly not see it that way.

At the risk of coming off as lazy, I will refer to the section for Night Elven Death Knights, as I believe the situation to be rather similar, minus the loss and regaining of immortality.

A mechanical difference to the Draenei as a Death Knight would be no longer being able to use Gift of the Naaru in character.


(Dwarf RP guide: )

The first and most important thing to decide upon for a Dwarven Death Knight character is which clan he is from; Bronzebeard, Wildhammer, or Dark Iron.

Why is because the Wildhammers are a closer connection to nature and would likely wish to kill one of their own turned Death Knight. Meanwhile, the Dark Irons might be more accepting of a few Death Knight members than either of the other two clans. The Bronzebeards may be closer to the Humans' stand point on this, as they seem to have similar views on many things and share the same philosophy of the Light.


(Forsaken RP guide: )

There are two ways to play these. The first is you are a severely decayed Death Knight, either Human or High Elven / Blood Elven in origin. The second is that you were raised twice.

If the former is the case, decide if you were that rotten before you were raised, or if you rotted away after being raised, and check the section for your chosen pre-rot race.

In the case of the latter, being raised twice, it's a little bit of a lore stretch, but not entirely impossible. Going from the general state of most Forsaken, becoming a Death Knight is probably a good thing. You've been upgraded! Your mind is not as likely to continue to rot so you don't have to worry so much about becoming mindless and your physical power is vastly increased.

You will need to inflict suffering rather than cannibalize. Your choice if that's a step up or not.

On the downside, you served the Scourge. If your character awoke into Forsaken undeath during the Fall of Lordaeron, fought in the Civil War of the Plaguelands for his freedom, and followed the Dark Lady Sylvanas into a new age for the undead, this second enslavement to the Scourge could be a terrible blow to his state of mind or morale. That all he worked for to gain his freedom was in vain. Or he may see his second time with the Scourge as the price to pay in order to return to his savior, the Dark Lady, with renewed strength.

For all intents and purposes, your character would probably enjoy the physical benefits of being a Death Knight as opposed to a free willed zombie, unless they were moping around over undeath before, wishing their own destruction, in which case, why did the Lich King choose them for a Death Knight? Remember, any Death Knight showing signs of 'troublesome' emotions when raised is destroyed on the spot. One can still play such a character, so long as those emotions were either not present or hidden from the Scourge.

As for how the other Forsaken would see them, they may view the Death Knight with envy as they themselves continue to rot away and slip into madness. However, most would probably be wise enough to keep such jealously to themselves, as they would recognize the military importance of Death Knights on their side.

For building your Forsaken character and the base for your Death Knight, do note that as there are three generations of Death Knights, there are two generations of Forsaken.

First Generation Forsaken were raised by the power of the Scourge. They may have been around as undead since the Fall of Lordaeron or crawled out of a grave sometime later. Either way, they would likely have experienced at least some of the Forsaken history.

Second Generation Forsaken were raised just recently by Valkyr's in Sylvanas employ. They were living people until just recently, do not share the same common history with the other Forsaken and were not freed from oppression by Sylvanas like the First Generation Forsaken were.


(Goblin RP guide: )

The Goblins are possibly the most opportunistic race in all of Azeroth and the least likely to shun a Death Knight over something to petty as morals. If they can somehow profit from a Death Knight, be sure they're going to try.

What budding potential Cartel prince wouldn't want a Death Knight bodyguard? What alchemist or tinkerer wouldn't want to see the effects his inventions have on such an undead? Can this thing be built faster if we have the unyielding strength of the Death Knights lending a hand? Is it more cost efficient since they don't seem to need to eat or sleep and we don't have to pay for housing or food for them? What wouldn't you give to be able to be awake 24/7 in this fast moving world? Health hazards? We live among explosives and pollution! Progress equals profit and that is the most important thing here. Remember, time is money, friend!

Goblin Death Knights break the stereotype of Death Knights with their overwhelming Goblin-ness and greed and the possibilities for them are endless. Goblins do not have the same priorities as the other races. Their primary goals in life are not vanquishing evil or settling down with a nice guy/girl or things of that nature. Their primary goals are money and power. If being a Death Knight makes those things easier to obtain, which it very well might as they won't need to eat, drink, sleep, run to the bathroom, worry about pesky romances, exposure to the elements and they have increased physical and mental strength, necromantic powers, frost and blood magic and they don't grow older. Now, if we can just figure out the best way to augment this with cybernetics...

Mind you, I don't recommend turning your Goblin Death Knight into a Goblin Star Trek Borg. My suggestion is to stay within the limits of what you can actually craft with the Engineering profession.


(Gnome RP guide: )

If any race would come to terms with being a Death Knight, it would be a Gnome. Eccentric, naturally inquisitive and able to see things from different angles compared to more tradition-based races, they would see the Death Knight state as an opportunity to any number of things, such as exploring undeath, studying the unique form of rune magic, recognizing the possibility of sending in ghouls into areas of Gnomeregan too irradiated for Gnomes to survive, or really anything the imagination stretches to. Even if it cannot be done, Gnomes are likely to give it a try nonetheless.

Gnome Death Knights break the stereotype of Death Knights with their overwhelming Gnome-ness and the possibilities for them are endless. Just be aware that despite the greatness of Gnomes, they are rarely taken seriously by other races, especially if they do not focus in matters of the mind (arcane / tinkering) or agility (rogues), as the other races cannot see how a Gnome would fit as a brute strength brawler or efficient melee warrior. As well, from the perspective of the other races, Gnomes just look downright funny.


(No Human RP guide currently available.)

Humans are very, very human. They have a lot less that makes them particularly one way or the other, like the other races have. You can find Humans following nearly every course of action, nearly every path. Game mechanically Humans can be all classes except Druid and Shaman, although with the introduction of the Worgen, the Druid part becomes arguable, because the Worgen are Gilnean Humans.

If we are to put down some characteristics for how Humans act based on their history in the Warcraft universe, they are supersticious and paranoid by nature, and are prone to extreme acts of selfishness, willing to cross oceans because they can't leave well enough alone and willing to risk the entire world just to save their little corner of it.

In spite of this, they are also capable of great feats of selflessness, compassion and love, as preeched by the religion that just about all of them seem to follow.

How a Human reacts to becoming a Death Knight, or how a Human reacts to meeting a Death Knight, is entirely up to their own, unique personality. While their faith in the Light will tell them the Death Knight's very existence is a sin, it will also tell them to show compassion and sympathy to the Death Knight's plight. There is also the possibility of throwing such beliefs out the window entirely and either being gripped by panic and a fear of death, or turning angry for all the evil the Scourge has brought about to the world, or recognizing an old friend or former great hero beneath that helmet, or simply not wanting any trouble and following the word of the King, who stated that the Death Knight's are to be accepted.

A Human Death Knight can hail from any of the seven Human kingdoms, though if you choose the Kingdom of Gilneas, keep in mind that you would have had to have been outside the Graymane Walls during the kingdom's isolation and the Worgen epidemic that took place within.

For more information on the kingdoms,

Night ElfEdit

(Night Elf RP guide: )

The above linked guide actually has a section explaining the details of a Night Elven Death Knight. There is really nothing more I can add to it at this time, so I shall just quote it right off. The Following is a very limited view. As a Death Knight did not choose to be such one may find a path to forgiveness through service or dedication to a higher power.

"Death Knights

Warning: It is very difficult to portray a Kaldorei Death Knight in a way that other roleplayers will find acceptable. In addition to the lore on Kaldorei summarised here, there is a great deal of lore regarding Death Knights and Ebon Hold which is essential for creating a character that really "fits in" to the World of Warcraft. As such, inexperienced roleplayers are strongly advised to study the lore very thoroughly (or choose a different class) if they wish to be taken seriously.

For most Kaldorei (even the more adventurous types), a Death Knight is a crime against the Balance, an abomination that can only be redeemed through its destruction. A Night Elf Death Knight would not be regarded as a Kaldorei by his former kin, who may indeed feel duty-bound to destroy him at the first opportunity. Any Death Knight, but most especially the Kaldorei type, would be severely unwelcome in normal Kaldorei society - far more so than even in human settlements. As such, any "Night Elf" Death Knight needs a carefully-considered backstory explaining their decision not to simply destroy themselves, and should consider avoiding traditional Kaldorei and their settlements (Darnassus, Astranaar, Auberdine, Nighthaven, etc).

The handful of Kaldorei Death Knights who do not destroy themselves upon regaining their free will might fall into one of the following broad categories:


A "good" Kaldorei Death Knight might conceivably be committed to one last mission in the service of Elune before going to his or her final rest. His definition of the mission might also stretch if he is afraid of oblivion. It's conceivable that an adventurous Night Elf Death Knight of the Ebon Blade, for example, might become obsessed with destroying the Scourge to the point of forgetting or distorting the usual Kaldorei conception of the Balance, and so continuing her struggle as a Death Knight. This, of course, already borders on the second possibility:


A group of Kaldorei utterly fixated on immortality, perhaps feeling defiled at the thought of losing it, might embrace the Scourge as an opportunity to fulfil their "racial destiny", considering themselves to be the true Kaldorei, and their erstwhile kin to be the perversions of nature. Adventurous Kaldorei who already lost their sanity or moral compass in life might revel in the new opportunities for power that their Death Knight status might offer them. Kaldorei Death Knights might also choose to serve the Scourge in secret, and work to undermine the Alliance from within.


This is something of a cliche in roleplaying, but it can be made to work. Undeath in any case would wreak havoc with a person's memories and identity; it's quite possible to imagine a Kaldorei Death Knight simply not remembering who she is or where she comes from. Such a character might pick up the traits of other races more widely represented at Ebon Hold, and behave very much like a Human Death Knight, for example - she might also be shocked and baffled by the negative reactions of her erstwhile kin. If such a character were to regain her memories or her sense of self as a Kaldorei, she would presumably be devastated by her new-found perspective on undeath, and might very well be driven to self-destruction or insanity."

(Direct link: )


(No Orc RP guide currently available.)

Orcs are fiercely honorbound and hold great respect for their ancestors. As well, they hail from strong shamanistic roots that were severed for a time while under the sway of the Burning Legion.

To have this connection severed once more in the transformation to a Death Knight, or knowing that they will remain cut off from it for as long as their undead existence persists, is quite a hit below the belt.

Not to mention how being an undead is an affront to the sacred ancestors.

Add to this the fact that the Scourge was formed by the Burning Legion, and that many Orcs were slaves to the Humans after they were stranded on Azeroth and their connection to the Legion was severed, and this third enslavement is enough to get anyone furious.

The difference between an Orc Death Knight and, say, a Tauren, Night Elf or Draenei, is they would rather get even than off themselves. They are not about to mope about and pity themselves. They are going to take this power the Scourge bestowed upon them and ram it up the Scourge's !@#!

After that? We'll see. Maybe those Twilight's Hammer wimps could do with a little Scourge ramming up their backsides.

A little off topic, but Cave Johnson formulates the sentiment quite well, with lemons.

"When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade - make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don't want your damn lemons, what am I supposed to do with these? Demand to see life's manager. Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons. Do you know who I am? I'm the man who's gonna burn your house down! With the lemons!" -Portal 2

The Orc's age at death might make a difference in how they react to their state of undeath.

For example, a young Orc might relish the fact that they have become a near immortal killing machine, able to fight forever more.

Meanwhile, an older Orc might have been looking forward to an honorable death, and becoming a Death Knight robs them of that, which could result in them being in a rather depressive state.

(Thanks to Nurn-Darkmoon Faire for suggesting the impact age might have on an Orc turned Death Knight.)


(Tauren RP guide: )

The Tauren are very attuned to nature and the spiritual world. They worship the Earthmother and while capable and fierce fighters, are at heart a peaceful people. They never kill unnecessarily and taking another life, whether it is man or beast, is an act filled with great significance to the tauren and many must put a lot of thought behind such action.

Becoming a Death Knight shatters all this. The Tauren's connection to nature and the spirits is severed. If they did deal in the spirits of the dead during their time with the Scourge, it would have been to enslave them and force them to do the Death Knight's bidding. Killing became something they did with reckless abandon. Life, which once was sacred, became meaningless.

To then wake up out of that with free will returned, would be no less than devastating. They have betrayed the Earthmother, their ancestors, their people, their beliefs and themselves in the most heinous ways.

Tauren are also of the belief that "what dies should stay dead."

While Tauren society might slowly forgive and accept the Tauren Death Knight back into their society, there will likely always be odd looks and mistrust, and it is not certain that the Death Knight will forgive themselves, even if their tribesmen do.


(No Troll RP guide currently available.)

Trolls are very susperstitious by nature, but at the same time are not afraid of delving into the darker arts. They might view a Troll Death Knight as a bad omen, terrible juju, or revere the Death Knight with a mixture of fear and respect.

How they react may depend a lot on their own class, and how the Death Knight reacts may depend on what class they were before.

Troll Druids and Shaman would probably be opposed to Death Knights, while Hexers and Shadow Priests may try to steal some of the Death Knight's power for themselves.


(Worgen RP guide: )

The most important thing to remember about the Worgen is that they are Human. Or at least the ones you play are Human, afflicted with a curse that they are learning to control.

To be a Worgen Death Knight, you must have been outside the Graymane Wall during the Third War. This means your Worgen story is rather different from the Worgen starting area.

Rather than having been a part of the Worgen epidemic in Gilneas and then the Forsaken invasion, you were a Servant of Argul, either a soldier or a civilian taken from Silverpine Forest during the Third War, either made by accident when Arugal lost control of the Night Elven Worgen he had summoned, or made intentionally by Arugal. After which point you either ran wild and unchecked, or were forced into Arugal's servitude in Shadowfang Keep until Arugal's death.

You could have be from the trapper communities in the Grizzly Hills.

After Arugal's death, Arthas sent four Darkfallen to raise him from the dead to work for the Scourge, turning the trappers in the Grizzly Hills into Worgen.

The Shade of Arugal created the Wolfcult and tried to get the trappers to join him willingly. Those who refused were often killed or (in the case of the workers of the Hollowstone Mine) cursed to undeath.

How your Worgen then became a Death Knight would differ from the Death Knight starting quests, as those happened in the Plaguelands while your character was in the Grizzly Hills. Your Worgen might have pledged his allegience to the Scourge in return for the power, later being freed when the Lich King died and quickly pledging his allegience to the Ebon Blade before someone kills him.

This does, however, differ from all starting quests and I would recommend reading the Grizzly Hills quest chains to better understand your character's origins.

( )

Talent TreesEdit

This might seem like an odd category in a roleplay guide, but the various specializations of a class do carry some in character weight.

You do not necessarily have to have the same specialization OOC as IC, but it can help with representations.

To know which tree does what, look at the abilities it grants, as well as what abilities are categorized into those distinctions. Dark Command, for example, is a Blood ability though does not require that you spec Blood to use it, same with Death Coil and Unholy.

Aside from that, here are my own interpretations of what the different talent trees mean in character.


Blood is all about the power of blood, whether for offensive, defensive or regeneration purposes.

You use Blood Magic to boil the blood of your enemies, increase your own strength and toughness, and sap the health of your foes to restore your own, or tap into the power of your blood runes to perform some minor healing on yourself, or potentially others.

I imagine that being healed by a Death Knight's Blood magic would feel warm, but not the fuzzy kind of warm. It would be like the warmth of a blush or how some injuries, particularly scrapes, can feel warm.

Also make note that a Death Knight is not nearly as capable at healing another as a priest or other practiced healer would be, and the Death Knight's ability to heal himself would be limited as well unless he were draining the life from another creature to restore himself.


The Frost talent tree is the mastery of Ice. A Death Knight who specializes in Frost Magic uses it to make the blade of his weapon that much sharper, to sap the heat from his foes to slow them, or to completely freeze them in ice.


Unholy is downright Necromancy. It deals with diseases and raising the dead, as well as mending the Undead.

A Death Knight who focuses in this tree of skills would become much more of a Necromancer, weakening his enemies with diseases and plagues and raising armies of undead minions to deliver carnage.

Although unlike a pure Necromancer, he is still incredibly deadly in close combat. Not merely a cloth-wearing bag of bones, if you close the distance to this Necromancer and hinder his spells, you still have an undead Knight on your hands.

Playing an Unholy Death Knight as a Necromancer?Edit

A surprisingly common question. It is possible, but I personally would not advise it.

You would be stripping away the "Knight" in "Death Knight", thereby stripping away half the class. I am also, personally, quite against the notion of roleplaying a Death Knight as anything other than a Death Knight.

Objectively, I am hardpressed to find a case of a Necromancer working on our side rather than the side of the Scourge, not to mention that Necromancy is rather illegal within the Alliance. The Death Knights themselves are only just tolerated.

How the spec tree might effect behaviorEdit

How the various specializations effect your character is rather much up to you. If you focus on the life draining aspects of the Blood tree and take on some vampiric behavior, or if being surrounded by corpses and diseases with the Unholy spec has an impact on your mind, or any other thing that makes sense with regards to what the specializations allow you to do.

The major question to ask is "What makes sense to your character?" That will also decide what specialization or "path" they choose to follow IC. As I stated earlier, your IC spec doesn't have to be the same as your OOC spec. You can choose Blood for tanking in pugs, but roleplay as Frost.

Bottom line: Let your character choose the spec, not the spec choose your character.

Some Personal SpeculationsEdit

  • I imagine that by combining Blood and Unholy, a Death Knight could become pretty adept at mending his Ghoul or a Forsaken, though it might take much more effort and knowhow to mend more "advanced" undead such as other Death Knights.
  • Simply because the Death Knight is a Hero Class and lore-wise is a pretty damn powerful being, I would not be opposed to someone claiming IC proficiency in two or even all three talent trees at once. However, they should keep in mind that such versatile proficiency comes with the responsibility to play it well, and it does not make one invincible. As well, they might lack some proficiency in each tree that someone who focuses purely in that tree might have, meaning a pure Frost Death Knight could still potentially beat the tri-spec DK with his much more focused knowledge of when and how to use his Frost abilities.


Where to get inspiration?Edit

Look around at all the Death Knight NPCs to get an idea of what the general or stereotype is for Death Knights and how they behave. They are generally somber with an undertone of guilt, anger, remorse and self-loathing, but persisting for the sake of a goal (originally the death of the Lich King, something else now.)

Basically, they are depressed, yet driven by something, a motivation to keep going.

Remember that while some are open with their depressions, others try to hide it behind a facade or take it out in anger.

This brings us to...


It is unlikely that you will be a very cheerful person, but if you lash out at everybody just for looking at you wrong people will try to stop you by lethal means if necessary. While few people may want to go up against a Death Knight, nobody wants a rampant and out-of-control Death Knight running about. A Death Knight who does not know how to control himself and behave will soon find people viewing him as Scourge.

You need to find a balance that is both enjoyable to play but also makes sense.

"The down side of being a DK is you dont socialize the same way as others. The key to solve this is, sadly or not, finding a guild that would suit you.

Other then that, start RP with your friends, dont always have to be strangers at an inn." /Fredian-Steamwheedle Cartel

It all depends on who your Death Knight is beneath that undead shell. A tactic to trying out your Death Knight in roleplay without a guild is to befriend people on some other character and get to know them a bit, then introduce your Death Knight to them while on good and understanding OOC terms.


Death Knights still possess emotions. The Scourge had a policy of killing Death Knights who showed "weakness" such as fear, guilt, remorse, etc, but certain emotions were still encouraged, such as hatred for all that lives and glee for the suffering of others.

Several Death Knight NPCs and lore characters display genuine (as well as a few faked) emotions, things such as comradery, remorse, lingering feelings for their families.

What is your Death Knight most likely to feel and how much will he express? Keep in mind also what he has been through and how that effects him. When it comes to your Death Knight's time with the Scourge, the question is not "Did this experience effect your character?" The question is "How did this experience effect your character and how are they coping with it?"


While Death Knight NPCs can make a good cookie cutter for how you might start out, remember that you are still developing, adapting. While your background may be that of a decorated war veteran with a full life lived already, you are not a very interesting character if you don't move forward. Stagnant characters are no fun. Change and character development is your friend. Just make sure it takes a logical course and doesn't jump around a lot.

Remember your originsEdit

Keep your race, your cultural origins and your backstory in mind, as they are the underlying base on which you form your judgements on.

For example: As a Night Elf or Draenei you might try to refrain from using your necromantic abilities. As a Blood Elf or a Human you might relish in your newfound power. You might try to seek out people you used to know or try your best to avoid those who would recognize you, not wanting them to see you in your new state. (See the Races for more detail on this.)

Remember what you areEdit

You are an undead killing machine and there is no escaping that. You even have a built in need to inflict pain and suffering. Generally speaking, the living do not trust you. Some are even offended by your mere presence.

You are Undead, with all that it entails. You are not bothered by normal hunger, thirst or fatigue. You can run endlessly, don't need to breathe, don't get drunk, and likely any physical injury short of destroying your brain won't kill you, although it will still hurt and the injury can still incapacitate you. This saying nothing for magical injury, and Light magic will hurt more than anything else, even if the spell effect is beneficial, like a healing spell.

You are also sterile, meaning you cannot have children. You're a walking corpse and corpses cannot procreate. How functional you are in that department for recreational purposes is probably very individual, but not advisable to explore. (I'd ask "Who'd want to?" but there will always be such people... Instead I'll just say "Stay away.")

Should your Death Knight actually find someone to have a romantic relationship with, despite the undeath and suffering and need to inflict pain, I would recommend it stay platonic.

Note, that from what I've seen, most of the serious roleplaying community frowns upon Death Knights in romantic relationships.

Your GhoulEdit

Something to consider is that your ghoul, first and foremost, is a pretty mindless slave under your command. I would call them completely mindless, but Blizzard seem to want to portray them as having some kind of basic intelligence, able to say some words and act as vendors and such.

But even so, your ghoul is not a pet that needs love, care and attention. It is a very dumb minion that obeys your every command, no matter how stupid or suicidal that command may be. (such as commanding it to attack Stormwind/Orgrimmar by itself, or simply to stand in fire until it is destroyed.)

Another thing about your ghoul is that it generally receives no love, care, or positive attention from others. It is a rotten, mindless chunk of meat and bones that smells quite bad and it is a clear result of Necromancy, which is rather illegal within the Alliance and only barely tollerated within the Horde because of the needs of the Forsaken.

At the very least, it is considered bad form to have you ghoul summoned or to raise one when not in combat. Within cities, you could possibly get arrested for having a ghoul around, and the ghoul would be destroyed.

Choosing a MountEdit

  • The Deathcharger is the obvious choice for a ground mount, as just about every Death Knight has one. (Standard issue and all that.)
  • Other undead horses, obtainable from the Forsaken, work as well.
  • The skeletal gryphon mount is also a viable option, though takes a little extra grinding to get. (Ebon Blade rep and 1k gold)
  • A Frostbrood dragon mount would be a bit overpowered and is certainly not Death Knight standard issue. You also have to ask, how the heck did you get it IC?
  • Living creatures may be quite unnerved by your dead, unholy presence. It is not impossible to have such a creature as a mount, but it might be quite troublesome, especially at the start when you first get it as a Death Knight. Depending on the personality of the mount, it might never accept you as a rider, or it might accept you quite quickly, or you might force it to obey. The approach of forcing the creature to obey would not work so well on strong willed creatures, but you'd be surprised how many creatures can be reasoned with: Gryphons, Hippogryphs, Wyverns...
  • As for the rest, the IC rules for mounts are about the same for DKs as for other classes. Dragons are generally a no, Celestial Steeds are rare as it is and wouldn't quite suit, etc. And make sure you have an IC reason for why you have the mount, and not just "because it looks cool."

How Others May ReactEdit

  • To an undead steed, it would be understandable if they were uneasy with it. Skeletal mounts may even be frowned upon within cities, but I have no sources on that. The logic, however, would be the disallowance of necromancy, at least within Alliance cities.
  • Other mounts are other mounts. People react to them as they would otherwise. Meaning a horse is just a horse and they may look twice if they see a large, full plate Orc riding a Hawkstrider, Death Knight or no.

Choosing a RuneweaponEdit

This is a lot about personal preference, what your Death Knight's personal style is, but I would recommend weapons that look "evil" and at least somewhat practical.

There are a staggering amount of weapons in WoW that just don't look practical at all, or at least not for what they are intended. Things like Reforged Heartless, Modgud's Blade, Wrathful Gladiator's Claymore, Relentless Scythe or Blade of Misfortune. They all look highly impractical as swords, many of them looking like they'd get stuck in your enemy, which is not a desirable effect with a sword.

My suggestion would be to go for weapons that actually look like their weapon type, and look for dark/blue colors or skull/spike details at the hilt. Things like the suggestions made in another WoW thread. Torment of the Banished, Endbringer, Armageddon, Barovian Family Sword, Bonereaver's Edge.

But also more simple, practical things like Runic Darkblade, Fel Iron Greatsword, Darksteel Bastard Sword, Shadowhide Two-Handed Sword, or certain Outland blades like Crude Umbrafen Blade, Nethersteel Claymore, Sunfury Blade.

I would like Slayer of the Lifeless more if it didn't have those large spines on the blade.

If you're looking more for axes, there are a lot of very nice Northrend axes available, such as Edge of Oblivion, De-Raged Waraxe, Ingvar's Monolithic Cleaver, but also things like Earthen Sunderer or things like Reforged Trollbane or Warsong Howling Axe or even something as low level as Ravager can be very nice.

Also things like Blackhand Doomsaw or Hellreaver.

There are just so many weapons in this game, it would take forever to list all the ones suitable for Death Knights, but hopefully this list can get you started.

Death Knight ArmorEdit

The Death Knight starting gear and the gear you get from the starter quests sets the basis for what Death Knights look like.

The Tempered Saronite set, crafted by blacksmiths, has a good, more red look to it.

The Brilliant Saronite set or Ornate/Savage Saronite sets are also an option, though perhaps with a different helmet.

Tier 9 is also a good option, perhaps with the exception of the helmet.

Tier 8 and Tier 10 have the look of rather powerful Death Knights.

Tier 11 somehow lost the Death Knight spark with the pauldrons and the helmet. Tier 12 has completely lost the look with the helmet.

I recommend things in the style of the starter/quest gear, Tempered Saronite, Tiers 8, 9 and 10.

Alternatively, the standard model for plate drops in the Cataclysm dungeons. The DPS version is blue, while the tank version is a kind of orange red. Both look good for Death Knights.

Blue set: Anomuran Helm, Raz's Pauldrons, Breastplate of the Risen Land, Legguards of Winnowing Wind, Hematite Plate Gloves, Greaves of Wu the Elder, Belt of the Forgemaster

This not to mention the possibility of combining sets, such as Scout's Hood, Boulderfist Epaulets, Ironhide Gauntlets, Saronite War Plate, Acherus Knight's Legplates

My suggestion aside from these sets is to find the theme to the Death Knight style and put together something that suits that. It's also good if your runeweapon suits the style of your armor.

Useful Tips From OthersEdit

Key pointers Since I don't particularly like the sound of my own voice, here's a choir of other people with their helpful hints. ;)

Quoting Fredian's Tips!Edit

How to RolePlay a death knight. Key rules:

  1. Remember to have a runeblade, it what stores your powers.
  2. Remember the endless hunger, or you go mad. (Aka inflict suffering and pain)
  3. The best idea is you are dead, unless you have a RP plot that says otherwise
  4. You are a tool of death and war, not a hopeless romantic that hangs around bars.
  5. You have been part of the scourge, you did nasty things, does it haunt you is up to you.
  6. The scourge twisted and totured your body and mind, your emotions are twisted, fear and love is basicly removed.
  7. Do not start fight randomly, it makes you look bad.
  8. Be a loner, but still hang around people you know, but on a distance.

/Fredian-Steamwheedle Cartel

Quoting Barannah's Tips!Edit

Beneath the shell RP a person, most of all.

Perhaps your tauren death knight has lost his soft spot for peacebloom flowers, but beneath the "DK layer", he still have desires, motives, preferences and dislikes.

A big part of being a DK should be about how the person beneath copes with having that voice that screams MURDERMURDERMURDEEEEEEEER at the most inconvenient of times, but don't make that the sole focus for your character.

/Barannah-Defias Brotherhood

Quoting Gherrek's Tips!Edit

Pain and injury, emotions, behavior Regarding physical damage, one can assume that in a RP sense, a Death Knight, like a Forsaken would be VERY hard to stop purely because they don't feel pain. Nerve endings are long long dead, blood does not flow but holy magic would cause the approximation of pain. Lots of it.

My Death Knight drinks to be socialble if offered (which is damn rare mind) although he can't taste it and he does leak like a siv, he's got a hole in his side he bungs up with cloth, and when its time for a refil, pull cloth out, squeeze, put cloth back in. Instant drink.

(my DK by the way: no I didn't draw it, stick men are beyond me)

I've always thought that Undead don't need to do things like breathe, sleep etc, that the animations in game are basically a game mechanic which can be explained with the fact that it's a natural thing to do. You breathed for X many years of your life, and now your dead, you still think that you do need to, although you don't, unless it's to speak.

One thing that's always been a bit of an iffy point is emotions. Now I know that DK's were killing machines employed (read used/compelled) to slaughter and kill by a certain Mr L. King but how would they react after their freedom.

This seems to have forced people into 3 basic steriotypes that a lot of people THOUGHT you should be.

1: RAWAR I AM EVIL! You're a killing machine, so get a killing, all that's needed here is a scream of BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD, you're a monster.

2: I am emo, I hate my (un)life!: Misery, all you feel is sadness for your lost life, longing for it and the rejection of everything around you to what you are.

3: Emotionless killers: Domo-origato Mr Death-knight-oh, you have no emotion, you exist purely to serve. Might as well be a bloody Terminator (thats Terminators from the movie, not Space marine ones).

When I made my DK I rejected this tidal wave of steriotypes and had my chap, my tauren DK remember who he was and come to terms with what he is and who he was. basically he tries to be himself, as best he can remember, yes there is a darker, violent side to him than he was when alive but I tried my best to steer him away from the three steriotypes that people either played or worryingly, expected you to play.

What's folks thoughts on this rambling..somewhat nonsensical tirade.

/Gherrek-Argent Dawn

Quoting Korae's Tips!Edit

On emotions. At the moment, we have the situation where Death Knights tend towards negative emotions, but no actual necessity given towards removing postives. The sensible interpretation of this is that an individual Death Knight will tend towards negative emotions and find that they come to them more naturally, and that postive emotions are hard to incite and tend towards the short lived. Only the most powerful of strong emotions will last in a Death Knight.

This explains why most Death Knights show negative emotions - much like an abused depressive will show only negative emotions, because those are the only ones that come naturally to them.

But it also explains why Koltira and Thassarian's friendship motivates them so much - it is literally the bright spark in their minds keeping them from sinking into the same morass as their fellows. Simiarlly, Thassarian's love of his sister, or Zeliek's regret. For those that played it, they may even be something like a Wraith's Passion or Fetter (From Wraith: The Oblivion). These emotions may even be unwanted stirrings.

Further, it explains why meeting the Argent Survivor started opening the cracks in the Lich king's control. If postive emotion was impossible, then no Death Knight would care about the impassioned plea of that survivor, and it's very clear that that is intended as the beginning of the Death Knight being freed.

Death Knights are very, very hurt. Their souls and minds find it very difficult to grasp the postive. This is partially due to being undead, and partially due to what has been done to them and what they have done.

But it is not impossible. Some NPC Death Knights have done it very strongly - and all of them showed it to some extent in the starting zone.


Quoting Drustaì's Tips!Edit

On undeath. Death knights are dead. They are like the Forsaken... the only difference being that a death knight's soul is bound to a runeblade, similar to a lich being bound to a phylactery. This makes them superior to Forsaken, but both death knights and Forsaken are dead.

"Do you feel it, ? That sensation is raw power coursing through your body. Such a thing cannot exist for mortals." -Prince Valanar

"Look at this pumpkin patch! Notice anything missing? Of course you don't, because you're a moron! Your brain was probably the first thing to die." -Noth the Plaguebearer

"Now, death knight, a brief lesson in plague cauldrons. The gas that the cauldron emits is deadly to the living, but empowers Scourge. As with all scourge creations, it feeds off death and grows stronger the longer it feeds." -Noth the Plaguebearer (those cauldrons empower death knights.You drink "Noth's Special Brew", which is basically the Plague of Undeath, and it does not kill and raise you, it heals and strengthens you. Therefore, you are not living.)

There's also, which specifically notes the incapability of alcohol consumption.

/Drustaì-Defias Brotherhood

Quoting Drustaì's Tips!Edit

On stereotypes. Forsaken and Death Knights are equal in many ways except for the DK having their soul bound to a runeblade and seemingly having greater hunger than the Forsaken. In terms of being "smelly and rotten", however, most Forsaken are far worse than most DKs, yet there are plenty of them walking around the cities of the living, doing non-soldiery things.

People need to stop stereotyping. Characters are individuals, who make their own choices based on what kind of person they are. Whether a death knight (or Forsaken) chooses to live an outcast, hated life in a city of the living or embraces their hunger and fights on the battlefield is up to who that individual character is.

/Drustaì-Defias Brotherhood

Quoting Drustaì's Tips!Edit

On being in cities. Only said "being in the city." They can have innumerable reasons for that. Diplomacy, serving as a combat instructor for the king's armies, delivering a message, visiting their living family, purchasing supplies, and so on. They might even live there, but if they do, they almost certainly keep their presence quiet and hidden, and have to find some way of safely and legally sating their hunger... gladiator pits, working as a 'rough' interrogator for the guards, and so on.

They're not going to be welcomed. They're going to be hated. They're going to be outcast. But if they're willing to deal with that, that's up to them, because they are individual characters who can make their own choices.

(quoting)"To be really honest I think a DK who walks around the city would remind everyone of people they possibly lost by hands of the Lich King so in my eyes walking around in public to much as a DK would be pure out evil towards all the people who lost their family towards the scourge."(quoting)

I agree. But that doesn't mean the DK is somehow mystically prevented from doing so. If the DK walks around and this upsets people, good! That builds conflict, which can create RP. A lone death knight walks into an alley, perhaps a band of Lordaeronian refugees corner him and attempt to meet out their vengeance on him.

Some death knights might view walking around the victims as a test of faith, or a form of penitence. Instead of hiding in Acherus where they don't have to face their conscience, they move around the cities of the living where they can see for their own eyes the people they have wronged.

Discrimination is good. Pointless, out-of-character restrictions are not.

/Drustaì-Defias Brotherhood

Quoting Asalinia's Tips!Edit

On behavior.

my opinion on DK's in rp.

I am sick of seeing people who are death knights wandering around the cities and acting like regular happy-go-lucky citizens, if you want to be something like that, don't be a dk. While it is understandable that a death knight will perhaps have friends and family left they wish to visit, the things that happened to most death knights of the current time would have scarred and changed them as a person severely.

It shows in real life, people who come back from war are often more violent and aggressive than before. Now imagine a much worse situation, where you where forced to torture and be tortured daily and witness horrors you can barely imagine. The effects this would have would be far beyond the effects of normal war.

Then it comes to the matter of being undead, this would come as a big shock for pretty much anyone. Being trapper or forced to live would not make a person to cheery (unless the person willingly became a dk, but those sorts are unlikely to be wonderful people anyhow).

To put it bluntly, look at the death knights of the game around the Ebon Blade. Those death knights are grim figures who only keep going due to a objective to avenge and repent (even though most of this is over now due to the 'killing' of the lich king).

Death knights are never going to be cheerful and pleasant people, its in the way they come to be and what they have done.

ps. this is just the case for the most common (at least from what i see in rp) death knights from the battle of lights hope chapel period, as for the bringing about of other kinds of death knights my knowledge isn't great so sorry for any inaccuracies in that area.

/Asalinia-Scarshield Legion

Quoting Lexgrad's Tips!Edit

1/ 1Dimentional DKs.. see loads of them come and go, mostly they have a 2 line past and simply live for the "death to the living" vibe going. If you RP a DK I find the best ones have a detailed past. Think about RPing your DK as he was in life and make that loss apart of your RP. Dont be sucked into being a 1 dimentional DK.

2/ Generic evil DKs. Being a DK doesnt mean evil, just like being a warlock doesnt make you evil. Your chars choices make you good or evil. It is ok to help others (mostly my DK dues this out of duty or to gain favour with the living).

3/ The OP balance. SW is 200,000 people, your DK can likely pwn 199,000 of them. However for RP purposes I really push the DKs weaknesses and bear in mind most people dont RP as one of the 199,000. He backs away from light, catches fire easily and I even RP that being on holy ground or near holy people causes him pain. Another tip I have is dont always wear Saronite, gives others a better chance if it comes to trouble. Finally we have a legal system on Defias that bans fel, necromancy, shadow, blood magic in the kings lands. This is another good way to depower your DK, giving others a fighting chance. It builds good will too and then people are more likely to treat me like the ebon god I am when im on a battlefield, rune bade in hand and clad in Saronite.

4/ Finally... I do all I can ooc to let people know that it is totally ok to treat my char negatively. I see some folk get all heated when bad stuff happens (IC) due to being a DK or they get called a corpse or such, it is the thin end of the wedge to what poor Lex has suffered! But dont worry you should revel in it, it is a big part of your RP, you died a hero and now are treated so badly. DKs are tragic chars. /Lexgrad-Defias Brotherhood

(more to be added as more tips are gathered)

Pure SpeculationEdit

  • Being undead, it is possible that Death Knights are immortal, as dead things don't grow older.
  • It is possible that necromancy and Blood magic can keep the Death Knight in good physical condition and prevent or undo any rotting that might occur, at least to a certain degree.
  • Judging from the Rune Tap ability in the Blood talent tree, and the accompanying Glyph of Rune Tap, as well as the very nature of the Blood rune magic, it seems possible for a Death Knight to heal other beings, including living beings, but probably more effective on undead beings due to their Unholy necromantic powers.

Speculation on Bodily FunctionsEdit

Running to the Bathroom?Edit

They most likely do not have any need for bathroom visits as their internal organs no longer function. While they seem capable of consuming food and drink, it does not sustain them by any means. Where such material would go is debatable, if it disappears magically or if they much vomit to avoid it rotting inside them, if they are even capable of such gag reflex anymore...

It is probably best just to avoid the topic by not eating at all.


It might be possible that the Death Knight still has some fluid in them that they can hawk up and spit, but it is highly unlikely you will find one drooling. They might rather take a sip from a glass and then spit it back out again for whatever purpose, though this seems to me like unusual behavior for a Death Knight.

Do They Blink?Edit

If they still have eyes they may blink purely out of habit. It might also help to keep dirt and grime out of their eyes.

If they do not have eyes, they may be blind, as in the case of Ormus the Penitent.

Logically speaking, if they have no fluids in their bodies, their eyeballs could dry out and over time take damage from the lack of moisture, or if nothing else, it could become very uncomforable and even painful to blink after a while. How much this logic effects this particular kind of undead is unknown.

Sneezing and CoughingEdit

These two things are caused by a tickle or irritation that the body then reacts to out of reflex to try to get rid of. It is possible that your Death Knight has the sense of touch required to feel this irritation, but less likely that they would still have the reflex for sneezing, in which case they'd probably sniff or huff a few times to try to get rid of the irritation.

I doubt very much that they would suffer from any kind of allergy.

Hot and ColdEdit

Assuming their nerves are intact, then they can feel the difference between hot and cold, though it would not bother them very much unless they start taking damage from it. In the case of nerves not being intact, they might not feel hot, cold, pain, the weapon in their hands, the armor on their bodies, and it would actually be a disadvantage.


They are not particularly in danger of dying from electrocution as the most common cause of death by electrocution is the heart stopping and, well, their hearts are already stopped. However, it will still make their muscles spasm, so it is possible to incapacitate a Death Knight with electricity and I doubt it would be a pleasant experience for the Death Knight. As well, if you crank up the voltage enough, they can sustain electrical burns.

The electrical burns in turn, might kill them, if enough damage is caused to the brain tissue.

Taste and SmellEdit

Assuming again that nerves are intact and that they are not too depressed to take in such sensations, then yes, they can taste and smell.

In the case of the Forsaken, I will refer to an Ask CDevs Q&A.

"Q: Are there long-term effects on an undead who is in regular contact with the Holy Light in a positive way?

A: It is difficult to say, as there are no known records of undead wielding the Holy Light before the Third War. There are reports, however, that some Forsaken have slowly experienced a sharpening of their dulled senses of touch, smell, etc., as well as an increase in the flashes of positive emotions that have otherwise become so rare since their fall into undeath. Unfortunately, this may be the cause of the Forsaken priesthood's increased attempts at self-destruction; regaining these senses would force the priests to smell their own rotting flesh, taste the decay in their mouths and throats, and even feel the maggots burrowing within their bodies."

This may or may not apply to Death Knights and in varying degrees, possibly dependant on their physical and mental condition, though that it is very much up for personal interpretation.

Animated corpses or returned to a semblance of life?Edit

This question asks for a difficult distinction to make. They are animated corpses, yes, but they are physically and mentally strong, possess free will and independant thought and can make their own decisions about how they want to spend their existence.

Their bodies may be animated corpses, but their personality is as alive as it was before their physical death.

The Scourge in NorthrendEdit

I gave some thought to the Scourge in Northrend, if they are still there, what they are doing, and why. (Since Blizzard have yet to update the area or give any lore on the subject as far as I have seen.) This is still part of Pure Speculation and seemed somewhat relevant to Death Knights.

Bolvar took over the position of Lich King, but he is new to the position and has to struggle with the will of the actual Lich King, so I figure he can keep the Scourge from spreading, but cannot keep the individual Scourge from attacking bypassers.

Meanwhile, the Horde and the Alliance got distracted by the Cataclysm and each other and therefore just left Northrend, rather than cleaning up there.

The Argent Crusade are too few to actually clean up the Scourge, so are just holding them at bay in Northrend and in the Plaguelands.

The Ebon Blade got a little unorganized once the Lich King died, some staying there to fight, others trying to go "home" and still more joining the fight against the Twilight's Hammer, hence they lack the organization to clean up the Scourge in Northrend.

As for the Scourge itself, they are probably decent in number still, though most of them would be the lower ranks; mindless skeletons, ghouls, geists, cultists and the likes. They most likely lack any proper organization as just about all the named figureheads were slain by adventurers. Some larger monstrocities likely still exist, but probably not very many.

The remaining cultists would most likely be able to raise more undead, but have likely lost a lot of power since the Lich King's fall.


Whispers in the DarkEdit

I recently rediscovered a piece of lore about Death Knights, though debated if I should add it to the guide or not since I can only find it in one quest and never even hinted at anywhere else. In the end, though, I decided to post it as a Miscellaneous thing and let it be a player choice if they wish to acknowledge it in RP or not.

If anyone has any other sources on this, please add them to the comments.

During the quest The Power To Destroy given by Koltira Deathweaver in Agmar's Hammer, he asks that the player venture into the Shadow Realm to fend off several Shadowy Tormentors. As one does this, the Lich King makes an appearance mostly just to taunt the player and say how hopeless the situation is. Among his words, he says the following.

The Lich King says: "The boy believed that he was free, but free will has a price. The demons I kept at bay are now loose upon him and all death knights that attempt to flee..."

Makes me think all player and NPC Death Knights not following the Scourge, and all Death Knights after the Fall of the Lich King, are tormented by these beings of the Shadow Realm. The Lich King's quote says he held them back but when we broke free he stopped doing that for us. Rather than hunt us down himself, he would just let the shadowfiends do it.

It would also seem that the only thing these Shadowy Tormentors can do is torment and taunt us from the Shadow Realm unless we cross the barrier and enter the Shadow Realm. By this point, they would most likely just be a mild annoyance, a background noise we can tune out most of the time.


Ingame quests and characters.

WoW Forums

Specific pages:

Other Versions of the GuideEdit The original guide. Embarrassingly messy. The new version. Much cleaner.

This one. Right here. Yep, you're looking at it.

I do my best to keep the wikia and the new version updated to provide the same information. If I change the information in one, I try to change it in the other. As for the original and messy thread, I intend to let it drift into the dead thread pile, having the new one take over completely.

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