Creature Feature (5e): The King in Black

King in Black’s creation marked the beginning of the Game, although it was very different back then. The Board was unscarred, with its hills and stone trees untouched by war or industry. The Black King was designed with the desire to control all he saw on the Board, and this he did, forming his pieces and instructing them in the construction of his Palace and the Rooks. Only after a century passed did he begin to reflect upon the deeper meaning of his existence, casually contemplating his mysterious design as he spread his influence. It was in that same decade where a foil appeared: the King in White. With White’s armies in opposition, Black rarely has time to consider matters other than war now, a fact that would maybe frustrate a mortal man but not he. For him, the Game is about control, his most favored pastime, and what is war, but the ultimate in seizing control? 

The King in Black

Medium construct, lawful neutral

Armor Class 18
Hit Points 95 (19d10)
Speed 20 ft.

16 (+3) 16 (+3) 10 (+0) 18 (+4) 22 (+6) 20 (+5)

Saving Throws Intelligence+10, Wisdom+12, Charisma+11
Skills Arcana +10, Deception +11, Insight +12, Intimidation +12, Perception +12, Persuasion +11, Religion +10,  
Damage Immunities poison, psychic; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons that aren’t adamantine
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages Common, telepathy 120 ft.
Challenge 17 (18,000 XP)

Special Traits

  • Boardsight. The King in Black is aware of all creatures’ exact location whilst on the Board. He is equally aware when a creature on the Board has been killed or destroyed (and can usually quickly reason out who is responsible for that destruction).
  • From Birth to Dust. The King in Black is automatically teleported back to the Board demiplane if he is ever elsewhere for more than three rounds, reappearing wherever he originally vanished from or the nearest appropriate space if the original space is occupied. 
  • Legendary Resistance (3/day). If the King in Black fails a saving throw, he may choose to succeed instead.
  • Magic Resistance. The King in Black has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
  • A Game Anew. If destroyed, the King in Black revives fully healed after one century, forming on the Board in a spot safe (usually near his palace, if not destroyed in the previous Game or currently occupied by White forces). 
  • Draw. A Good Game. If the King in Black is destroyed while the King in White is still reforming (or vice versa), he is permanently destroyed, unable to reform (as is the King in White). Equally, if both the King in Black and King in White agree to a Draw, both are also permanently destroyed. The King in Black is fully aware of everything just noted.
  • Master Tactician. The King in Black is considered proficient and has advantage on any check involving warcraft or the history of war. Additionally, checks made to decipher his tactics and the purposes of his troop movements are made with disadvantage. 
  • Spellcasting. The King in Black is a 15th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 20, +12 to hit with spell attacks). He requires no material components to cast his spells. He has the following wizard spells prepared:


  • Create Army. Every Game, the King in Black may summon anywhere within 1 mile of himself the following total number of each creature:
    • 800 Black Pawns
    • 8 Black Rooks
    • 8 Black Bishops
    • 8 Black Knights

The King in Black may create these Pieces at any point, at a rate of 16 Pieces a round, up to the maximum noted for each type of Piece. If a position he is creating a Piece upon is occupied or dangerous, the Piece is formed in the nearest safe space unharmed. The King in Black generally forms half his pieces at the start of a Game, saving the remainder as needed. Pieces can only be created upon the Board demiplane, and no magical effect, short of divine intervention, can stop the King in Black from creating Pieces in this fashion.

  • Summon Piece (Recharge 6). A willing creature of the King in Black’s choice is immediately teleported to a space of its choice within 5 ft of him. The affected creature must be present on the Board demiplane for this ability to work.
  • Heal Piece. An allied construct within 100 feet of the King in Black’s choice is healed 2d10 hp. The King in Black must be able to see the piece.
  • Strike of Impossible Stone. As his choice of either a bonus or standard action, the King in Black may make the following attack:
    • Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft, one target. Hit: 9 (1d12 + 3) bludgeoning damage.

Legendary Actions

The King in Black can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be chosen at one time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The King in Black regains spent legendary actions at the end of her turn.

  • Just Sovereign (Costs 1 Action). The King in Black may use his Strike of Impossible Stone attack on a creature within range, so long as that creature has damaged he or an ally since his last turn. This attack is made with advantage and deals an additional 3 bludgeoning damage on top of the attack‘s ordinary damage if it hits.  
  • Defensive Play (Costs 2 Actions). The King in Black’s armor class is increased by 3 until the start of his next turn. 
  • Wise King (Costs 3 Actions). The King in Black may cast any spell he ordinarily has access to below 5th level. This does not require nor consume a spell slot.


The King in Black is an ancient piece. From creation, he has looked to be a wise old king, a role he has only grown increasingly proficient at playing. The King in Black is paradoxical at times: eternally wise and yet remarkably unwavering, as all pieces are, on the importance of the Game. Some say he simply enjoys the century of rest victory brings but Black, as he is often called, knows better. He is as obsessed as the rest of the pieces are, an obsession built into his soul. His understanding of this designed obsession does not make him bitter, as one might assume, even if he is sometimes curious about his true purpose. Black seeks control over all the Board and is bitter rivals with the King in White. He is brutal and Machiavellian toward threats and his enemies but is just and fair to those who serve him. 

About Quin Callahan

Quin Callahan is a freelance writer and college level English and economics tutor of over four years experience. He has written for a variety of gaming, technology, and economics publications. His favorite animal might be the squid but he is rarely certain.

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