[Guide] How to Roleplay a Death Knight

Role-Playing
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FOREWORD

What originally started out as an informative reply and quickly grew too long for a single post has now amassed into this extensive guide to Death Knight Roleplay - now with a shiny new update!

This guide will attempt to cover every aspect of roleplaying a Death Knight, from the most basic to the most in depth. Some of the things I address because I have witnessed them first hand, and other things are here because people have asked about them.

All my sources are cited at the end of the guide, and I've tried to make clear what is lore, what is speculation, and what is personal preference.

Many thanks to the people who wrote the lore, the people who collected the lore on wikis and in other roleplay guides on the forums, and the people who shared their thoughts and opinions with me on this topic. I will try to credit all of you at the end as well, but please forgive me if memory fails and I miss a name!

Table of Content:
1. Facts about the IC Class
2. The Story by Blizzard
3. Faction Alliegence
4. Making Your Character Within This
5. Races
6. Being a DK after the Lich King's Fall
7. Being a DK in Legion
8. Specialisations
9. Abilities
10. Saronite
11. Miscellaneous
12. Useful Tips and Advice
13. Sources

NOTE: The number of posts I originally reserved for this guide originally failed to live up to the sheer volume of information surrounding this topic - a lot of which gets asked, answered and pointed to in the ever-growing comments. So if the guide itself does not answer your questions, go ahead and check out the comments!

Since this latest update to the guide, I find I have either become much more space efficient or Blizzard have upped the limit on post sizes. Either way, you'll see a lot of now empty posts near the end of this guide which I intend to try to fill out with the compiled results of discussions in the comments. That... will take a long time to get through, though, but I felt the main guide deserved this update now at least.

Enjoy!
FACTS ABOUT THE IC CLASS

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/species as the Forsaken. Especially if you consider the Death Knight Starting Zone to be the circumstances in which your Death Knight was raised into undeath, the Scourge stripped away almost everything that made you of "that race" and united all Death Knights as Scourge. After the Acherus Death Knights broke free, they 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 Undead

I seriously disadvise 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 colour to it, your icy, Scourge-corrupted eyes, your characteristically hollow echo of a voice and your undead, unholy aura will give you away in 2 seconds flat unless you have some seriously impressive magic to back you up.

You are a Death Knight. An Undead Necromancer Knight. Trying to play that off as anything else would be a tragic waste.

You are most likely a Third Generation Death Knight.

*First Generation Death Knights were the spirits of Orc Warlocks - specifically the Shadow Council - placed within the corpses of fallen Stormwind Knights from the First War by Gul'dan, and used in the Second War by Orgrim Doomhammer. Most of these have been destroyed.

*Second Generation Death Knights are primarily fallen and corrupted Paladins. Arthas himself was one of these. They are bound to their specific runeweapon and feed on souls. Take away their runeweapon and they are powerless.

*Third Generation Death Knights (and presumably all generations after) are the most versatile, able to pick up and use any weapon off the battlefield. They are, obviously, more proficient with the weapon if they runeforge it, which must be done personally at a Runeforge.

You wield rune magic

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?

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

#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 at the time of death, to a group of Necromancers, one powerful Necromancer, a Lich, another Death Knight...

#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 Baron Rivendare and most likely Arthas himself, and is - if nothing else - an adverse effect to excessive or long term use of necromantic powers, much like the corrupting effects of using fel magic. These beings never died, as such. They just slipped over from living into undeath at some indeterminate point. But make no mistake, they are fully undead after that point.

Needs of a Death Knight

Eating

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 or even want to is not specified.

Sleeping

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, strongly suggesting that they do not need to.

Hair and Fingernail Growth

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!

Hygiene

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 Needs

Third Generation Death Knights (the ones we typically play) 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 themselves and eventually turn into a mindless killing machine.

If you wish to have an actually playable character within the Ebon Blade and the Horde/Alliance/whatever, 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 Burning Legion, 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 tiny spider on your desk can "take the edge off."

Whispers in the Dark
A detail that is really only talked about in one quest and never really talked about again are Shadowy Tormentors.

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..."

This suggests that all Death Knights - player and NPC alike - who do not follow 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, however, 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 ourselves.

By this point, though, we're likely all used to them and they would most likely be little more than a mild annoyance, a background noise we can tune out most of the time. However, since it is only referenced in one place so far, I'd let this be a player choice if one wishes to acknowledge it in RP or not. And even if one does acknowledge it, it probably doesn't come up much unless one makes their taunting a prominent feature of one's character's torment.
THE STORY BY BLIZZARD

A portion of your IC background will have been decided for you by the game. This isn't really so strange; if you roll a human paladin, your character more than likely believes in the Holy Light, and if you roll a Night Elf anything, your character most likely believes in Elune. There is always some wiggle room in these things, but then you have to take the consequences of that into consideration. A paladin that does not believe in the power he supposedly wields probably can't wield that power, and a Night Elf that does not believe in Elune would probably be a social outcast.

Here are the basics of the Death Knight story:

*You are a Death Knight of the Ebon Blade. This is a bit of a "doomed if you do and doomed if you don't" situation.

-With the events of Legion and the Death Knight Order Hall questline, the Ebon Blade have managed to piss off a lot of factions, essentially making themselves everyone's enemy. However, their abilities are still undeniably useful against the Legion, so when battling the Legion their presence may be tolerated, or it may not.

-If you are not a part of the Ebon Blade, you are considered hostile by everyone including the Ebon Blade - a Rogue Death Knight - meaning you'd be attacked on sight by pretty much everyone. On top of this, you would have a damned hard time getting your hands on a Runeforge to upgrade or exchange weapons, learning about new Rune Magic tricks and spells, and generally just having the backup and benefits that come with being a part of an organisation.

It's a tough spot that Death Knights have been placed in by Legion's events and the actions of "The Deathlord."

And yet despite all of that, being in the Ebon Blade still comes with responsibility. Most living people have such prejudice against the undead - not helped by the Ebon Blade's recent actions - that they don't always differentiate between one Death Knight and the whole Ebon Blade. It's a big enough stretch for some just to try to differentiate between the Ebon Blade and the Scourge - again not helped by recent events. So whether you like it or not, you represent the Ebon Blade and being a jackass damages the reputaion of all Death Knights and their ability to move in places where the living are present. 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 for any hope of their continued existence.

*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, and Arthas did not really seem to take anyone with him when he left that battle. (Heck, Acherus was still fully populated with Scourge that the Ebon Blade had to defeat in order to wrest control of the necropolis to themselves.) After breaking free, you would have had to approach the Ebon Blade and pledge your allegience to them, for the reason stated above.

*The Death Knight starter quests and the battle at Light's Hope Chapel take place roughly 9 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, but I've given by best theory to the differences in the first chapter of this guide.

Speculation: 2nd Gen DKs were made by and are bound to their vampiric runeblades and feed on souls, which get trapped within their runeblades and grant them their power, while 3rd Gen DKs were made without blades and feed on the pain and suffering of others, are more effective with runeblades but don't necessarily require them.

FACTION ALLEGIENCE

Although the Ebon Blade is a neutral faction, they are not very strict when it comes to what their members do in their spare time, so long as there is no problem during Ebon Blade missions and, of course, doesn't get the other major factions gunning for all Death Knights.

This means that a Death Knight - freed from the Lich King and pledged to the Ebon Blade - can very well choose to pledge their loyalties to the Horde or the Alliance or a mercenary band or a specific racial faction, as seen with Koltira and Thassarian in Andorhal. As well, being undead, a Death Knight of any race could try to pledge themselves to Sylvanas and join the Forsaken (though that may be a little difficult to roleplay as an Alliance race who game mechanically cannot walk around the Undercity but in characterly would not be very able to walk around Stormwind.)

However, for the reasons stated above, the Death Knight would still have to be a member of the Ebon Blade, at least on paper.

MAKING YOUR CHARACTER WITHIN THIS

You can still have a lot of freedom with your character so long as you follow common sense and work within 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?

#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 then further enhanced. This not saying other classes can't work, but give it some thought before deciding.)

#What race/species are you? How does the culture of your race view 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. (I highly recommend reading the guides for your chosen race before working out the details of them as a Death Knight.)

#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 Death Knight or blame yourself in some way (DK related or not)?

- How did you become what you are?

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, or 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 it you were made on Acherus 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?

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 telepathic commands 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?

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?

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, emotions such as love, fear, compassion, doubt and remorse were not merely beaten out of you, they were ripped from you and anyone expressing them were often instantly killed. Meanwhile other emotions such as anger, hatred, sadism, and a lust for power and destruction were not merely encouraged, but fed into you.

You were not merely sent to kill those villagers, you were meant to [i]enjoy]/i] 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 become lost to you? What emotions have returned to you and how do you cope with them?
RACES
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.

General

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, Druids, etc. The Blood Elves would probably also feel this, but to an even lesser extent. Both would more likely feel their severed connection to the Light more profoundly, although not as much as the Draenei.

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 and had to earn it back, only to lose it again.

As for Dwarves, Gnomes, Humans, non-Shaman Orcs, Trolls, etc, they mostly just have the whole "becoming undead" thing to deal with, which is no small ordeal in itself.

Forsaken Death Knights can be played one of 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.

In-Depth

I am not all too 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.

Also, due to the limited number of posts I have to work with, and the limited length of said posts, I will be bunching the shorter entries together rather than keeping the list in alphabetical order as I had originally tried to do for ease of navigation. That said, we still start alphabetically with:

Blood Elf
(Blood Elf RP guide: http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/859356996 )

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.

This because 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 they can use the power of the Scourge against that enemy and to further the cause of Quel'Thalas rising once more to greatness, they probably will, or at least try their best at it.

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 unique change that Blood Elven Death Knights experience is that of their addiction. Becoming a Death Knight frees them of their mana addiction, but they suffer one possibly far worse; the need to inflict pain and suffering.

They are 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 killing machine, slaughtering still more of their dwindling numbers.
Draenei
(Draenei RP guide: http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/1622897733 )

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 the Draenei's connection to the Light and thousands of years of wisdom. However, in Outland's 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. Cultist threats to Azeroth, such as the Twilight's Hammer, sport several Draenei members. And in the Warlords of Draenor Auchindoun we see Draenei willingly join the Legion, betraying their own kind and feeding the souls of their own ancestors to demons.

The bottom line is that the Draenei, for all their Light and wisdom, are perfectly capable of being "evil."

However, playing a Draenei Death Knight is almost as hard to pull off as a Night Elven 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 immense strength and resilience as 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 and turn their core values upside down; 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 that they could 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 href="http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/917101950?page=1#12">http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/917101950?page=1#12</a>

A significant difference between game mechanics and lore for a Draenei Death Knight would be no longer being able to use Gift of the Naaru in character, despite it still appearing in the spellbook.

Night Elf
(Night Elf RP guide: http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/917101950 )

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.

"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:

Obsessed

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:

Insane

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.

Amnesiac

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: http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/917101950?page=1#12 )
Dwarf
(Dwarf RP guide: http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/900640223 )

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

Why is because the Wildhammers have 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' standpoint on this, as they seem to have similar views on many things and share the same philosophy of the Light.

Gnome
(Gnome RP guide: http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/916830707 )

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.

Goblin
(Goblin RP guide: http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/824972758 )

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.
Forsaken
(Forsaken RP guide: http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2499250193 )

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 by 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 pain and 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 keep them around as Death Knights? Remember, any Death Knight showing signs of 'troublesome' emotions when raised was destroyed on the spot, though one can still play such a character, so long as those emotions were either not present during that time or hidden deep down inside 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 Val'kyrs in Sylvanas employ. They were living people until the Cataclysm, 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, but rather stolen from death and possibly life by her.
Human
(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 both selfishness and arrogance, 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 rather 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, http://www.wowpedia.org/Human_kingdom

Orc
(Orc RP guide: http://eu.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/3313132789 )

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 the rest of their existence, 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. Or we'll take this strength up against the Burning Legion itself!

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
(Tauren RP guide: http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/824972715 )

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 of 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.

Troll
(No Troll RP guide currently available.)

Trolls are very susperstitious by nature, but at the same time are not as afraid of delving into the darker arts as others might be. 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.

Pandaren
(Pandaren RP guide: http://eu.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/5030353057 )

Pandaren Death Knights are exceedingly rare. I would say they do not exist, but there is one garrison follower who - by vitue of existing - claims that they do. Her name is Gravewalker Gie and she seems to be corresponding with Dave Kosak's tweet that theoretically, a wandering pandaren could have been caught by the Scourge and raised as a Death Knight, but even he says in the same tweet that Pandaren Death Knights would be very rare.

http://wow.gamepedia.com/Gravewalker_Gie
https://twitter.com/DaveKosak/status/450796989488574465
Worgen
(Worgen RP guide: http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/825052734 )

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.

Then, in time for the events at Light's Hope Chapel, you would have been killed and raised as a Death Knight at Acherus by Arthas and his necromancers to take part as cannonfodder against the Argent Dawn.

Alternatively
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.

http://www.wowpedia.org/Grizzly_Hills_quests

(Special thanks to Fredian-SteamwheedleCartel for some excellent sources and in-depth knowledge of Worgen Death Knights!)
BEING A DK AFTER THE KING'S FALL

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 their 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. A Death Knight could still be spending time in Northrend clearing them out, determined to slaughter every last one of them.

Then there is always the "current crisis" that they can take part in. Fighting cultists, elementals, the Burning Legion or whatever else threatens Azeroth and using their power to defend the world from these threats.

My Death Knight, Koranith, started a faction neutral paramilitary guild even before the fall of the Lich King, and that keeps him busy even now with everything from remaining Scourge corruption to shadow plots, faction diplomacy, ogres, saving kittens from tree tops, dealing with cultists, and now again and more than ever fighting back the Burning Legion.

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 any Death Knights in holding onto Gilneas.

Alternatively, the Death Knights can venture down a path of rediscovering who they were, especially if the trauma of death and undeath caused amnesia. I know an Orc Death Knight who is still trying to remember his life before, who he was, what clan he belonged to, if he was born on Draenor or on Azeroth... But even without amnesia, the path of rediscovery can apply to emotions. To remember one's loved ones, but no longer feel any love for them... One might decide that one wants to regain those emotions and undertake that challenging personal quest.

There is so much more a Death Knight can do than simply starting at level 55 and being able to wear all armour types. 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 their current situation and see if you can follow that.

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

Being a DK in Legion (Spoilers!)

The latest expansion to this game, launching now, will by no means be throwing Death Knights aside. Indeed, we are receiving new lore, new purpose, and our own Order Hall and legendary weapons.

As many of us know, Arthas was defeated in Icecrown Citadel, but that was not the end of "the Lich King." That power and essence remained in the crown, even as Frostmourne was shattered and Arthas Menethil died. Tirion felt the burden of that power, but it was Bolvar Fordragon who shouldered it, stating "There must always be a Lich King" and imploring Tirion to keep it secret, believing that the people of Azeroth would never feel safe if they knew that "the Lich King" had survived. (This is why a massive statue was erected in Dalaran with a plaque that shows the player all of this in a cinematic. Well done, Tirion, well done.)

Up until now, Bolvar has been sitting quietly on the throne, keeping the remaining Scourge restricted to Northrend, and not much else. But with the Legion's latest and immense invasion, the Lich King stirs and the Knights of the Ebon Blade come to an agreement with him: The Ebon Blade will willingly act as the Lich King's agents against the Legion, if the Scourge remains contained to Northrend.

To understand this better, one needs to know exactly what and who the Lich King is. Many think of Arthas as the Lich King, but the Lich King was originally an Orc Shaman named Ner'zhul. Tricked into serving the Burning Legion, he was the one who opened the portals for the Orcish Horde to invade other worlds, but his powers grew too great and he ceased to care about anything other than that power. He abandoned the Orcish Horde, and the Burning Legion, and incidentally ripped Draenor apart in his uncaring recklessness, leaving the shattered realm of Outland in its wake. But the Legion was not pleased with this turn of events. Kil'jaeden immediately captured him after his escape from Draenor and inflicted unspeakable torture upon him, before Ner'zhul agreed to once again serve the Legion. His spirit was transformed and bound to the Helm of Domination and trapped within the Frozen Throne, from where he would raise the Scourge army and weaken Azeroth for the Legion's invasion.

Ner'zhul was, however, not well pleased with any of this, and began plotting behind the Legion's back to betray them. He manipulated Arthas and eventually merged with him, and their combined personalities and consciousness are what we faced in the expansion WotLK, and was possibly "tainted" by whatever goodness remained in Arthas. After the Lich King was defeated, Bolvar put on the Helm of Domination and merged with the consciousness inside, adding his own morals and values to the mix and morphing the whole. Whatever else the current Lich King may be, all three of his aspects have reason to despise the Burning Legion.
SPECIALISATIONS

To include the game mechancis of spec choices might seem like an odd category in a roleplay guide, but the various specialisations of a class - particularly this one - do hold some meaning.

You do not necessarily have to have the same specialization OOC as IC, but it could help with representing your character's skills!

Here are some descriptions of the different specs and some of my own interpretations of what the different talent trees mean in character.

Blood

In undeath, some death knights find a special affinity for the blood and bone of the living. They carve into their enemies, sustaining themselves with deadly sanguine strikes, while using the bloody, shattered remains of the dead to fortify their own defenses. These crimson-soaked knights bend the very rules of mortality to control the frontlines of the battlefield.

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 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. Some might describe it as feverish.

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 themselves would be limited as well unless they were draining the life from another creature to restore their own health.

Frost

Combining martial prowess with supernatural cold, frost death knights leave their enemies chilled to the bone - and broken of the will to fight. Unlike mages who learn to harness frost magic to great effect, these death knights are born of it, rime gripping their decaying hearts. These frozen undead warriors wield dual blades to strike with ferocity and inflict deathly cold upon anyone who would stand against them.

The Frost specialisation is the mastery of everything cold. A Death Knight who specializes in Frost Magic uses it to make the blades of their weapon that much sharper, to sap the heat from their foes to slow them, or to completely freeze them in ice, or even form shards, lances, or entire walls of pure ice from thin air.

Unholy

While free from the Lich King's grasp, some death knights still embody the ever-corrupting nature of the Scourge plague that once threatened to consume Azeroth. No matter their allegiance or cause, they remain defilers of life; and nowhere is their callousness more on display than when threatened. Inflictors of the most aggressive of diseases - and masters of raising unhallowed minions from the ground - these unholy death knights are vicious melee combatants, capable of striking with the force of an undead legion and unleashing pestilence that would bring their foes to ruin.

Unholy is straight up 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?

A surprisingly common question. It is possible, but I am personally a bit against it, as I am against the notion of roleplaying a Death Knight as anything other than a Death Knight outside of some very special circumstances (such as a one-off for an event, as opposed to a long standing character.)

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.

You could play a Necromancer who was turned into a Death Knight and still chooses to focus more on the necromantic aspect, though. That's kind of twisting it a bit, but I would actually be alright with that.

How the specialisations might effect behavior

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 sanity, or any other thing that makes sense with regards to what the specialisations allow you to do.

The major question to ask is "What makes sense to your character?" That should also decide what specialisation 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 Speculations

*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.

*Generally for all classes, but especially 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 often comes at the price of advanced knowledge in each specific branch, and should definitely come with the responsibility to play it well.

Choosing to study all three specialisations does not make one invincible, it just gives more chance to learn a variety of tricks with less time to get exceptionally good at any of them. As well, they might lack some proficiency in each tree overall that someone who focuses purely on one might have, meaning a pure Frost Death Knight could still beat the tri-spec DK with a much more focused knowledge of when and how to use their Frost abilities.

ABILITIES

A recent question had me realising that this guide does not at all cover how one might emote the Death Knight's abilities in roleplay. Why I did not include it was because I generally figured it was much like with any other class: Look at your hotbar, read the tooltip, come up with something either basic or flashy based on what that ability says that it does.

Admittedly, Death Knights can get into much gritter detail with their abilities than some other classes, but again it depends on how you wish to emote it. I once saw a Holy Priest use the ability Shackle Undead to bind a Forsaken in holy chains and then draw and quarter them across three emotes, so it really just depends on what you do with the abilities provided by your chosen class.

There are admittedly a few more concerns with Death Knight abilities revolving around that rude and ugly thing called "power emoting" since they have such abilities as Blood Boil and Death And Decay which would seem to lend themselves to such things. I mean, realistically, nothing would survive having its blood flash boiled! But then again, we don't know of any complex organism that can realistically survive being flash frozen and incased in solid ice either, nor any complex orgamisn that can take a lightning bolt to the face and keep fighting. Pretty much all abilities in the World of Warcraft are overpowered as all hell and rather than trying to nerf the powers themselves to avoid using them at all, I think the complex organisms living in this fictional world are just equally overpowered to actually survive all these things. Generally, though, you wouldn't want to use Blood Boil or Death And Decay on your friends in a friendly sparring match, save those abilities for your enemies!
SARONITE

Oh boy, where to begin on this one... This is one of those things that I have been asked about -a lot- and while there appears at first glance to be some rather concrete lore surrounding it, that lore then seems to fall apart just a few steps later, followed by at least five contradicting fan theories trying to explain how it works and why it doesn't make your character overpowered. So let's start somewhere at the top.

Saronite Ore

Often referred to as "The Black Blood of Yogg-Saron", Saronite is only found in Northrend and can be left unscathed by physical attacks, completely resist nature magic, and violently reflect Holy Light. The metal itself is very strong, while being 1/4 the weight of steel. This would seem to be the main reason the Lich King chose to use this evil ore to create his fortresses in Icecrown as well as create his warmachines, allowing them to be resistant to whatever attack was launched against them.

Often, mortals who mine Saronite for prolonged periods of time appear to be driven insane. Indeed, many of the people who have been rescued from the Saronite Mines tell of hearing strange whispers of unknown origins. Players who spend time in the Saronite Mines of Ymirheim in central Icecrown or Whisper Gulch in the Howling Fjord will begin seeing whispers of unknown origin appearing in their chat logs.

The Faceless Ones, creatures created by Yogg-Saron, appear to be partially comprised of saronite as well. General Vezax, the Faceless General, gives off Saronite Vapors and says, "The black blood of Yogg-Saron courses through me!" Other faceless ones are depicted with saronite-colored blood in their veins.

Saronite In Use

The major user of saronite is the Scourge, who utilizes this evil metal to its full potential. They have used this metal to power their war machine and construct their master's stronghold, Icecrown Citadel, as well as the ramparts, spires and cathedrals that practically cover the Icecrown region. The Scourge, in the laboratories of the Fleshwerks, have also begun implanting broken shards of saronite into the bodies of ghouls, resulting in much deadlier minions in the Scourge legions. The Lich King has even commissioned the construction of a necropolis, Malykriss, which would be made completely of saronite.

The Ashen Verdict appears to have found a way to bend Saronite to its own will and it was confirmed by Blizzard officials that wearing Saronite does NOT affect Knights of the Ebon Blade.

Game mechanically, anyone with the mining profession can mine Saronite, grand master blacksmiths can make armor and weaponry from Saronite, and grand master engineers can craft explosives from it. A number of WotLK Tier Sets claim with their name to be made from Saronite.

Theories and Speculation

Whether backed up by lore tidbits or simply trying to explain why that one annoying DK in the bar is wrong about being immune to all your attempts at kicking them out, there are several theories around as to what the actual properties of Saronite are, and how living, non-DK players can equip gear that has "Saronite" in the name.

The first one I ever heard was that highly skilled smiths could temper the ore in such a way as to remove its evil, corrupting effects, allowing mere mortals to touch, handle and wear it. However, that same theory also attempted to balance its properties by saying that once it is tempered in this way, it is only somewhat resistant to magic and not completely resilient to it. I felt this was a good theory with some decent balance and accepted it.

Since then I have heard everything from "Saronite is and always will be completely immune to magic and physical attacks" to "Saronite is heavy as !@#$ and unviable as armour or weapons of any kind, so using it is dumb" to "Saronite is actually really brittle and will crumble in your hands."

Let's start with that first one. While it is never stated that tempering Saronite would "weaken" it or strip away any of its properties, it's also never stated that someone wearing Saronite armour cannot be killed. More difficult, sure, but not impossibly by any means. As well, it does end up being something of a cheat card in roleplay if literally nothing can hurt you inside your suit of Saronite armour - a cheat card that many other roleplayers are likely to get very annoyed with very quickly.

As for the second statement, I have seen no lore stating it to be exceptionally heavy, only lore stating it to be exceptionally light.

The third statement referenced these quests
http://wowwiki.wikia.com/wiki/Quest:Jagged_Shards
http://wowwiki.wikia.com/wiki/Quest:I%27m_Smelting..._Smelting!
"You pulled this jagged, dark brittle shard from the body of a ghoul. The metal blade lacks a smooth edge, suggesting it was forged by an unskilled hand, or was broken from a larger piece."
That does lend some weight to the claim, but I do not find it to be enough to outweigh all the evidence of Saronite being used for runeblades, armour for Arthas' Chosen DKs, building necropoli, building fortifications, building war machines, building Icecrown Citadel itself, and lastly armour and weapons for player characters. It just makes no sense that it would see such widespread use for defensive purposes and structures if it was really that brittle. Rather, it makes more sense that the "unskilled hand" mentioned in that same quote is the cause behind the brittle shards, or that the shards were from the start designed to be brittle.

Conclusion

I still would not recommend Saronite - tempered or otherwise - to living characters. Maybe on the end of your axe or as your arrowheads, but not as armour that you wear all over your person for hours or even days on end. For Death Knights and Forsaken, though, no problem, though I would still support the idea of Saronite needing to be tempered to be forged into armour and that tempered Saronite being far less "everything proof" than the hunk of raw Saronite that the Argent Crusade played with.
YOUR GHOUL

Something to consider is that your undead minion, 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 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.)

Another thing about your ghoul is that it generally receives no positive attention from others. It is a rotten, mindless chunk of meat and bones that smells quite bad and 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 undead minion summoned or to raise one when not in combat. Within cities, you could possibly get arrested for having one around, and the minion would be destroyed, similarly to how a warlock and their demon would be treated. People accept that you use them in combat against their enemies, but they still have every reason to hate these monsters.

YOUR MOUNT

*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 React

*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 TRANSMOG

This is very much a matter of personal taste and I would not even include it if not for people having asked me about it. The most basic advice I can give is to look at the DK starter gear and tier sets, find the themes 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. Try to avoid plate-kinis, garish pinks, and nature motifs.

For those wanting actual examples of what I would consider good looks for a Death Knight, well...

Runeweapons

I would recommend weapons that look somewhat "evil" and at least somewhat practical. Weapons that actually look like their weapon type and don't have a lot of spikes everywhere that would be more likely to injure you than your opponent, or get stuck in your opponent and prevent you from using that weapon to parry the incoming blow from your left. Blades that are larger than your own body or wider than your own arm are also unrealistic.

However, (and some might consider this "unfortunately") if we were to restict ourselves to purely realistic looking weapons and armour in this game, the list of options would likely exclude about 85% of the game's content, so I will be including a bit more than what is strictly realistic or practical in this list, just to give a few more options and ideas.

My suggestion for Death Knights is to go for weapons that actually look like their weapon type, and look for dark/blue colors or if you can find a good red, or skull/spike details at the hilt.

An example of a sword that doesn't look like a sword would be something like Reforged Heartless ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/70080 ) or Modgud's Blade ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/56441 )

Examples of blades that I find fit the Death Knight aesthetic are:
Runic Darkblade ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/3822 )
Fel Iron Greatsword ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/23499 )
Darksteel Bastard Sword ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/2084 )
Shadowhide Two-Handed Sword ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/1460 )
Crude Umbrafen Blade ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/25164 )
Nethersteel Claymore ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/25167 )
Sunfury Blade ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/30394 )
Torment of the Banished ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/39291 )
Endbringer ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/27769 )
Armageddon ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/40343 )
Barovian Family Sword ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/14541 )
Bonereaver's Edge ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/17076 )
Wrathful Gladiator's Claymore ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/51393 )
Relentless Scythe ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/13163 )
Blade of Misfortune ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/31134 )

If you're looking more for axes, there are a lot of very nice Northrend axes available, such as
Edge of Oblivion ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/43281 )
De-Raged Waraxe ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/41816 )
Ingvar's Monolithic Cleaver ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/35576 )
but also things like Angerfang Broadaxe ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/55292 )
Reforged Trollbane ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/69592 )
Warsong Howling Axe ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/24394 )
or even something as low level as Ravager ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/7717 ) can be very nice.

Among polearms one can find
Blackhand Doomsaw ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/12583 )
Hellreaver ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/24044 )
Cryptfiend's Bite ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/40208 )
Spooky Scythe ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/116837 )
Rune Infused Spear ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/124377/raid-normal )
but also relatively simple looking things like
Poleaxe of the Horde Vanguard ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/136587 )
Grizzly Glaive ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/36604 )
Terokk's Quill ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/29329 )
War Scythe ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/25226 )

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 has given you some ideas.

Armour

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 has a good, more red look to it. The Brilliant/Ornate/Savage Saronite sets are also good options, though perhaps with a different helmet. (all four sets crafted with blacksmithing)

Tier 9 is also a good option, perhaps with the exception of the helmet.
( http://www.wowhead.com/item-set=872/koltiras-battlegear )

Tier 8 and Tier 10 have the look of rather powerful Death Knights.
( http://www.wowhead.com/transmog-set=1119/darkruned-battlegear
http://www.wowhead.com/transmog-set=502/scourgelords-battlegear )

I feel that Tier 11 somehow lost the Death Knight spark with the pauldrons and the helmet, and that Tier 12 completely lost the look with the helmet. That's not to say you can't think it looks good or that the rest of the set can't be mixed and matched with other helmets and pauldrons!
( http://www.wowhead.com/transmog-set=505/magma-plated-battlearmor )
( http://www.wowhead.com/transmog-set=507/elementium-deathplate-battlegear )

Alternatively, there is 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.

Red Set: http://www.wowhead.com/outfit=895/easy-blood-dk

Blue set: http://www.wowhead.com/outfit=17649/cata-plate-set#outfitgallery

This not to mention the possibility of combining sets, such as
Warmaul Helmet ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/24994 )
Boulderfist Epaulets ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/24988 )
Ironhide Gauntlets ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/15644 )
Saronite War Plate ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/38665 )
Acherus Knight's Legplates ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/34656 )

( or if you don't mind a non-transmoggable head item just for RP, Scout's Hood would work with that as well ( http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/item/31658 ) )
PURE SPECULATION

*Being undead, it is possible that Death Knights are immortal, as dead things don't grow older. Blood magic, Frost and Necromancy can probably counter most effects of decay.

*Judging from many Blood talents and abilities past and present, it seems possible for a Death Knight to heal other beings, including living beings, but this is probably not very effective on the living and only marginally more effective on undead beings due to their Unholy necromantic powers.

*With no cited lore sources on the effects of the Sha on Death Knights, there seem to be two main theories.

#Death Knights are effected by Sha just like everyone else (which would be bad, they got truckloads of negative emotions!)

#Death Knights are as uneffected by the Sha as they are by Saronite, seeing as how both things are essences of Old Gods.

I honestly cannot choose between these two, so to each their own. I think I even ran with option A on one of my DKs and option B on another, because reasons.

Speculation on Bodily Functions

Running to the Bathroom?

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 must vomit to avoid it rotting inside them, if they are even capable of such gag reflexes anymore...

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

Saliva

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?

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 Coughing

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 Cold

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.

Electrocution

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 Dead 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 Smell

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?

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 Northrend
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.
TIPS

Where to get inspiration?

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...

Behavior

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.

Emotions

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?"

Progression

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 origins

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 are

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.
USEFUL TIPS FROM OTHERS

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!
Key pointers
How to RolePlay a death knight. Key rules:

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

/Fredian-Steamwheedle Cartel


Quoting Barannah's Tips!
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!
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: http://ruthieee.deviantart.com/art/WoW-Attarn-199978888 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!
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.

/Korae-Quel'Thalas


Quoting Drustaì's Tips!
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 http://www.wowpedia.org/Guide_to_the_Side_Effects_of_Reanimation, which specifically notes the incapability of alcohol consumption.

/Drustaì-Defias Brotherhood


Quoting Drustaì's Tips!
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!
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.

Quote:
"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."

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!
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!
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


Quoting Kithoras's Tips!
On Saronite and The Light

Pure saronite is immensely tough, immune to nature and elemental magic, and reflects light magic. The quest 'Pure Evil' demonstrates its properties.

http://www.wowpedia.org/Quest:Pure_Evil

The armour worn by Death Knights is not pure saronite. It has been smelted and weakened in the process of making it into armour. Since there are no incidents where scourge have displayed an ability to completely resist the efforts of paladins, druids or shamans, it seems that it does not render the wearer completely immune. Very resistant, perhaps, but not invulnerable.

Moreover, a death knight's armour does not cover his whole body. There are joints and gaps between the plates. Unless your character is sat in a sealed metal box made out of saronite his body won't be fully covered. When you're standing in an area soaked with light, where the very air breathes with holy power - well, take a look at 'The Light of Dawn'.

Highlord Darion Mograine kneels in defeat before Tirion Fordring.
Highlord Darion Mograine says: Stand down, death knights. We have lost. The Light... this place... no hope...
The Lich King yells: When next we meet, it won't be on holy ground, paladin.

Admittedly, Light's Hope Chapel is a special case because of the many dead heroes buried in its catacombs. Fordring -

Highlord Tirion Fordring says: Your master knows what lies beneath the chapel. That is why he dares not show his face! He's sent you and your death knights to meet their doom, Darion.
Highlord Tirion Fordring says: What you are feeling right now is the anguish of a thousand lost souls! Souls that you and your master brought here! The Light will tear you apart, Darion!

Thankfully for us undead most churches aren't like that, although the Stormwind Cathedral might be so.

Which is why your Death Knight is perfectly able to walk into a church and wander around and be none the worse for wear (although looking like a bulldog in a poodle grooming show). But there is a distinction between holy ground and non-holy ground. Your Death Knight will be affected by it, he will be able to feel it, and he will probably not like it one little bit. Both Darion Mograine and, I presume, the Lich King are wearing Saronite armour in the above scenario, and they can feel and are affected by the light.

/Kithoras-ArgentDawn


Quoting Kithoras's Tips!
On Blending In, or rather not blending in

Well, after all that prattling about Saronite I assume your character wears it. That's one thing. His shoulder pads are traditional scourge, I note.

And, well. I use the stance as an example. There are a million little things that would different a Death Knight from a mortal. Undead are unnatural, evil, and the exact opposite of the living. This is why I pointed towards Ilathran's post, where he speculates about the choice of Forsaken architecture. Something in their very behaviour is different. No matter how much a Death Knight wants to pass for a mortal, is he really going to be able to suppress the urge to look at somebody hungrily every so often? To make short and impatient comments when he tires of mortal pettiness? To twitch back from paladins or take a threatening step towards them? He's never going to be able to open his mouth. He's going to have to keep his body warm. He's going to have to remember to breath and to keep his heart beating. And so on.

I don't intend to make an exhaustive list here - just to point out there are many, many, tiny things. An undead is a corpse. If training in the army for a year or two ingrains something so deeply into you your behavior permanently changes, surely dying would change the way you do things too.

At the end of the day, it's probably possible to conceal yourself with effort. I am just pointing these things out. But you'll still have people assuming, OOC, that you're a Death Knight. Your character is wearing hulking plate, is wearing a sinister mask, and isn't talking. What's out of place? It screams 'Death Knight', even if your MRP or TRP says otherwise.

Sounds a lot of bother to me. ):

/Kithoras-ArgentDawn

(more to be added as more tips are gathered)
SOURCES

Ingame quests and characters.

WoWpedia.org

WoWhead.com

WoW Forums

Specific pages:

* http://www.wowpedia.org/Death_Knight
* http://www.wowpedia.org/Death_knight_quests
* http://www.wowpedia.org/Death_knight_organizations
* http://www.wowpedia.org/Necromancy
* http://www.wowpedia.org/Rune_magic
* http://www.wowpedia.org/Saronite
* http://www.wowpedia.org/Quest:The_Endless_Hunger
* http://www.wowpedia.org/Aurius_Rivendare
* http://www.wowpedia.org/Ormus_the_Penitent
* http://www.wowpedia.org/The_Death_Knights_of_Acherus
* http://www.wowpedia.org/Corpulous%27_Mess_Hall_Rules
* http://www.wowpedia.org/Guide_to_the_Side_Effects_of_Reanimation
* http://www.wowpedia.org/This_is_my_Runeblade...
* http://www.wowhead.com/quest=13162 -Quest; The Rider of Frost
* http://www.wowpedia.org/Grizzly_Hills_quests
* http://www.wowpedia.org/Wolfcult
* http://www.wowpedia.org/Andorhal
* http://www.wowpedia.org/Quest:If_Chaos_Drives,_Let_Suffering_Hold_The_Reins
* http://www.wowpedia.org/Quest:The_Plaguebringer%27s_Request
* http://www.wowpedia.org/Quest:Noth%27s_Special_Brew
* http://www.wowpedia.org/Quest:The_Power_to_Destroy
* http://www.wowpedia.org/Cult_of_the_Damned
* http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/game/class/death-knight
* http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2283549208 -Ask CDev 2 - Answers
* http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2290819194 -Specifically Belf DK Hunger
* http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/3313064613?page=3#49 DKs and Souls
* http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/900640229 -RP Sticky
* http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/859356996 -Blood Elf RP Guide
* http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/1622897733 -Draenei RP Guide
* http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/900640223 -Dwarf RP Guide
* http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2499250193 -Forsaken RP Guide
* http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/824972758 -Goblin RP Guide
* http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/916830707 -Gnome RP Guide
* http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/917101950 -Night Elf RP Guide
* http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/824972715 -Tauren RP Guide
* http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/825052734 -Worgen RP Guide

Other Versions of the Guide

http://scarteleu.wikia.com/wiki/Guide_-_How_to_Roleplay_a_Death_Knight
Possibly the easiest to navigate.

http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2364427433
The original guide. Embarrassingly messy.

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

I do my best to keep the wikia and this 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 this one take over completely.

Many Thanks! to everyone who helped me make this guide, whether providing links, thoughts, ideas, speculations, conversation or simply moral support!

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