The Black Knights (also known as “The Nine” or “the Nazguls”) are one of the main antagonists in the universe of the Lord of the Rings: and now they have been transposed as Nazguls for DnD 5e with the collaboration of the A.T.L.A.S. research team.
The History of Nazguls
The origins of Black Knights
The Black knights come from the land of Mordor and served Sauron since the creation of the Rings.
Nineteen Rings of Power were made in Eregion, forged by Celebrimbor. These were locked away in one of the safes of Eregion, but Sauron captured all.
He gave nine of them to great lords and warriors of Men, including also one Easterling king. Sauron corrupted the powerful Nine through his dominance over the rings. These Nine used the rings to achieve great power, wealth, and prestige in life, but as time passed the Rings continued to exert a corrupting influence.
The Rings eventually rendered their bearers invisible to all but those who could see into the wraith world and enslaved them to the will of Sauron. Their lives and powers became bound to Sauron’s via the One Ring; as Sauron grew or diminished, so did the Nazgûl.
Only two Nine were ever named: the Witch-king of Angmar and Khamûl the Easterling.
When Sauron was defeated, Though no longer able to maintain physical form, just like him, the Nazgûl were able to endure as long as the ring survived.
The relationships with their mounts
At the start of the War of the Ring, the Nine rode black horses descended from horses stolen from Rohan, which they relied heavily on for transport. However, after the encounter with Glorfindel at the Ford of Bruinen, the Black Riders lost their horses, killed in the flood.
Returning to Mordor by foot, the Nazgûl received winged creatures from Sauron and new horses. With these winged “fell beasts”, the nine attacked the ruined city of Osgiliath in order to clear the way for a siege on Minas Tirith.
Subsequently, the Nazgûl used the fell beasts to their advantage at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields and the Battle of the Morannon, but most of all, they attempted to seek and find the ringbearer, Frodo.
The Nazguls appear as dark knights armed with light. They are invisible and wear long black cloaks to outline their bodies while hiding their true appearance, in fact, if you happen to face a Nazgul, looking at his face, you would be alone in the darkness.
The Nazguls were the feared servants of a Dark Lord and were supported by his power. But in return for this power, they became attached to him, condemned to obey his orders. At their side are black horses enslaved to bear their presence. Under their cloaks, they hide their armor to scale, and two cursed swords. They are potent warriors operating at night, terrorizing every enemy they hunt. Knights can smell the blood of the living to kill them. They use weapons combined with poison to infect the victim, paralyzing him and making his survival even more difficult.
The vision of the Nazgul is very sensitive to daylight; during the day they can see only shady shapes. But at night they can see forms and forms invisible to mortal eyes and peek into the Ethereal Plane. They had to be feared the most at that time for their unique presence could be felt as a heart disorder, and they could feel the presence of others more acutely.
Although the Nazguls were valiant servants, they also had certain weaknesses that could be used against them. One of these was daylight, as mentioned before. Fire is another thing they do not like, they seem to be very flammable. Moreover, they rely heavily on their formidable image, but if an enemy was strong enough to resist their aura of terror, they lose their advantage over them.
Nazguls appear as light armored dark knights. They wear long, black capes to hide their true appearance, in fact, if you happen to face one Nazgul, looking at his face you would stare only into darkness.
Under their capes, they hide their scaled armor, and two cursed blades. They are powerful warriors operating at night, terrorizing any enemy they hunt.
The Nazguls, also known as the Black Riders or simply The Nine, were the dreaded servants of the Dark Lord Sauron, and his power sustained them. But in exchange for this power, they bonded to him, condemned to obey his orders.
Their vision is very susceptible to daylight: they can only see shadowy forms. But at night, they can see shapes and forms invisible to mortal eyes and peek into the Ethereal Plane. They were to be feared the most at that time, for their presence could be felt as a troubling of the heart, and they could more keenly feel the presence of others.
Though the Nazguls were among the greatest of Sauron’s servants, they also had certain weaknesses that could be used against them. One of these was daylight itself, as stated before. Fire is another thing that they dislike. They appear to be very flammable. Also, they rely heavily on their terrific image, but if an enemy is strong enough to resist their aura of dread, they lose their advantage over them.
Tactics – how to use a Nazgul as an enemy
Even though they obey only their master Sauron, it is not impossible that you can find a power that gives you the ability to wield the One Ring in the same manner as Sauron, so if you want to use them you need to keep in mind that Nazguls rely on the fear they can instill in their enemies. For this reason, they will engage in battle in a way that makes them look more powerful than they are, appearing from nowhere and creepily walking toward their target.
They know their weaknesses so they avoid to operate in the daylight and can be a serious threat when they are in great numbers.
Nazgul Creature’s Stat Block
Medium undead, legal evil
Armor class: 16 (Natural Armor)
Hit Points (HP): 104 (16d8 +32)
Speed: 30 ft
Skills: Perception + 4, Intimidation + 5
Saving throws: Wis +4, Cha +3
Damage Vulnerability: Fire, Radiant
Damage Resistances: Necrotic
Senses: darkvision 100 ft., Truesight 10 ft. (Only during night time), Passive perception 14
Languages: Common, another language at will
Challenge rating: 5 (XP: 1800)
Black breath: Each creature of the Nazgul’s choice within a 10 ft. range from him must make a Wisdom saving throw (DC 13) or become unconscious until an ally takes action to wake him up. If it succeeds or the effect of Black Breath ends, the creature is immune to this Nazgul’s aura for 24 hours, but not for other Nazguls’ auras.
Pack Tactics: The Nazgul has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one other Nazgul is within 5 ft. and isn’t incapacitated
Weapon Bond: If a Nazgul loses one of his weapons, that weapon will dissolve into dust in 1 round, reappearing magically in his sheath.
Sunlight Sensitivity: Nazguls have disadvantage on attack rolls and on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when they, the target of their attack, or whatever they are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight.
Multiattack: The Nazgul can make three attacks using the Shortsword in combination with the Morgul Knife.
Shortsword: melee weapon attack, +6 to hit, reach 5ft, one target. Hit: 6 (1d6+3) piercing + 2 (1d4) necrotic.
Morgul Knife: melee weapon attack,+6 to hit, reach 5ft, one target. Hit: 5 (1d4+3) piercing + 4 (1d8) necrotic. If hit, a creature must succeed a saving throw (constitution), DC 15, or becomes poisoned for 1 day.
The Nazgûl looked to humans as shadowy Men shrouded behind black hoods and cloaks that stretched down to their boots. They were shapeless and invisible without their cloaks, save to the holder of the One Ring. When the Witch-king lifted his hood, his crown was visible, but his head was invisible, and the red flames blazed through it. The murderous glitter of his eyes might be noticed at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
When Frodo put on the Ring at Weathertop, he could clearly discern the Nazgûl’s shapes. They were tall and wore grey robes beneath their black cloaks. Their hair was grey, and they wore silver helms, with the exception of the Witch-king, who donned a crown.
The Nazgul DnD 5e is a homebrew creature freely inspired by the Balck Knights/Nazguls, villains created by J. R. R. Tolkien in his book series “The Lord of the Rings.”