5e: Avatars of the Gods — The Red Knight, Goddess of Strategy

My tabletop group sets most of our games in an evolving world based on the Forgotten Realms. Each member of the group who takes on the mantle of the DM builds on the setting’s lore, and the events of their games have ramifications felt beyond that campaign. Needless to say, by now our Realms is very different to the Realms of canon. One repercussion is that our version of the Realms is only now going through its Time of Troubles, the gods being cast down into mortal bodies as a direct consequence of the campaign prior to mine.

Despite the fact that I chose to set my campaign on the heretofore unexplored continent of Osse, I wanted that major plot point to remain relevant to the story of my game. As such, at least a few religions are practiced by many members of the expeditionary forces to Osse. As the expeditionary forces are made up of allied Tethyrian and Lantanna soldiers and settlers, any religion known to be practiced in Tethyr may also be practiced by some of the expedition, as well as the worship of Gond.

Although not necessarily the most widely spread Tethyrian religion, the one that has had most screen time in the campaign is the religion of the Red Knight. This goddess of battle and strategy has a history closely linked with Tethyr and as a result she is held in high esteem there, particularly by military officers. Most of the officers on the expedition appear to be members of the Order of the Lanceboard, a society dedicated to the Red Knight’s ideals and the greater good of Tethyr (a sentiment some might find treasonous, as the greater good of Tethyr may not always mean loyalty to the crown).

My players currently suspect Major Marcia Ramez, the ranking Tethyrian officer in charge of the expedition to Osse and also a prominent member of the Order of the Lanceboard, of secretly being the Red Knight. I should note however that they have at one point or another also suspected her of being a princess, a dragon, a princess dragon, or a dragon princess! Although in fairness, they were getting pretty silly by the time those last two ideas were tabled.

Whether or not their present suspicions are true (for which my players should not take this post as either confirmation or denial), I was curious how I might stat out the Red Knight’s living avatar.

A few assumptions were made before creating this statblock:

  • As far as I’m concerned, expected CR for a god’s avatar is 28-30+.
  • It’s possible to create a creature of beyond CR 30 by increasing the hit point range by increments of 45 and damage/round range by increments of 18 respectively. I’ll be happy to discuss my reasoning for this in a later blog entry if there’s interest!
  • Despite the normal size requirements, a living god has fair grounds to use a d20 hit die. Apart from anything else, this reduces the amount of hit dice necessary to achieve appropriate hit points from ridiculous to… less ridiculous. There’s still going to be a lot. 

    If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.

    On paper, the Red Knight and other powerful entities I plan to create statblocks for in this series can appear overwhelming. In particular, Godly Magic suggests a level of familiarity with the game’s spells that you probably don’t possess (I know I don’t!). There’s nothing to fear here, though. An avatar of a god is not a fight that should just happen out of the blue. You’ll know it’s coming, and thus you can prepare for it. 
    While Godly Magic allows the Red Knight to cast any spell, you can prepare  a shortlist of spells you think she is most likely to use. Come at this list from a few different directions: 
    • Firstly, consider which spells are most thematic for the Red Knight? Spells that pertain to foresight and pre-planning, eg. divination, will often fit the bill. Spells that empower her in combat are also on the money (look at evocation, conjuration, transmutation, and some abjuration and illusion spells). Focus on the spells you actually see her using during the encounter rather than non-combat utility spells. Let’s look at examples you might choose to use for her precious 9th-level spell slot: foresight is perfectly themed for the Red Knight if she has the time to cast it in preparation. You might be tempted to discount it because she already gains advantage on a lot of things foresight helps with, but the disadvantage all other creatures receive when attacking the caster is quite potent all on its own when combined with the Red Knight’s other features. Meanwhile, power word kill is a cruel spell to use on your party, but ruthless efficiency is all part of the Red Knight’s shtick. Just look at checkmate! This is an epic fight, so don’t be afraid to be brutal. If your PCs try to take on this powerful an enemy without adequate preparation and efforts to discover weaknesses or diminish their power, then it’s fair to show them exactly what the enemy can do!   
    • Secondly, which spells are off-theme but might be called upon by the deity in desperate straits? Gods have particular portfolios, yes, but they are powerful creatures of innate magic. If desperate times call for a surprising spell, then a surprising spell they may very well cast. Besides, you can often get away with reskinning a spell to make it more appropriate. For example, the go to 9th-level spell for sheer damage output is meteor swarm.  If you don’t mind going a little anime with it, perhaps the Red Knight summons four giant swords that plummet from the heavens? They could deal 20d6 magical slashing and 20d6 regular slashing damage. Or you could keep the fire damage and just switch the bludgeoning to slashing, ruling that the swords are super-heated thanks to their descent through the sky. When you reskin, be consistent across multiple uses of the spell. When the Red Knight casts her version of meteor swarm, it always creates giant blades. 
    • Thirdly, consider the capabilities of your party. By now you have a good idea of the Red Knight’s optimal choices if she gets to fight the battle the way she’d like to. But since she can recreate spell effects freely, that means she can react to what your PCs do. Remember as well that the Red Knight is a deity (a goddess of strategy no less), and by no means stupid. If she has had cause to hear of the party in the past, which seems likely given their apparent power and the fact that their fight with the Red Knight probably doesn’t occur without some context, then she may already know a lot about what they can do and be prepared to try and counter it. By the time your party are looking at taking on a CR 30+ enemy you probably have a very good idea what they can do, so take that knowledge and pick out a few spells that are likely to come up as the Red Knight responds to PC strategies. To take one example, my party has a lot of access to flight and levitation. I would likely want to add fly to my spell list for the Red Knight so she can engage them in that arena, and dispel magic so she can bring them crashing back down to the earth.

    Red Knight (Avatar)
    Medium divinity (avatar), lawful neutral

    Armor Class

    21 (+3 plate armor)

    Hit Points

    837 (54d20 + 270)


    60 ft.

    20 20 20 20 20 20

    Saving Throws

    All +14


    All +14

    Damage Resistances

    bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks

    Damage Immunities

    poison, psychic

    Condition Immunities

    charmed, exhaustion, frightened, incapacitated, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, stunned


    true sight within line of sight, tremorsense 120 ft.


    All, telepathy within line of sight.


    31 (175,000 XP)

    Freedom of Movement.

    The Red Knight ignores difficult terrain, and magical effects can’t reduce her speed or cause her to be restrained. She can spend 5 feet of movement to escape from nonmagical restraints or being grappled.

    Godly Magic.

    The Red Knight’s spellcasting ability is Charisma (Save DC 22). She can reproduce the effects of any spell, requiring no material components, but is limited by the number of spells she can cast per long rest:

    At will: Any 5th-level or lower spell.
    4/long rest: Any 6th-level spell.
    3/long rest: Any 7th-level spell.
    2/long rest: Any 8th-level spell.
    1/long rest: Any 9th-level spell.

    Godly Mastery.

    The Red Knight adds her proficiency bonus to all ability checks.

    Godly Resilience.

    The Red Knight adds her proficiency bonus to all saving throws. She does not need to eat, drink, breathe, or sleep, but can do any of these if she wishes. Magic cannot put her to sleep, and she cannot be polymorphed or scried unless she wishes it. Her maximum hit points cannot be reduced (such as by a wraith’s Life Drain ability).

    Inhuman Speed.

    The Red Knight may spend a bonus action to dash or disengage.

    Legendary Resistance (3/long rest).

    If the Red Knight fails a saving throw, she can choose to succeed instead.

    Queen of the Lanceboard.

    The Red Knight does not treat any creature’s space as difficult terrain. If she wishes, she may switch places with an adjacent creature at any point during her movement, spending 10 feet of movement each time she does so.

    See Outcomes.

    The Red Knight has advantage on all attack rolls, all saving throws, and any ability checks she makes pertaining to leadership or strategy.



    The Red Knight makes five attacks with her longsword.

    Checkmate (longsword).

    Melee Weapon Attack: +14 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 slashing damage. Checkmate ignores resistance to slashing damage and can behead the target on a roll of 20 like a vorpal sword (DMG pg. 209). It also has all the properties of a sword of sharpness (DMG pg. 206). On a roll of 20, resolve the attack as a vorpal sword unless the creature is immune, in which case resolve the attack as a sword of sharpness. In addition, a hit with Checkmate after a successful Parry and Riposte is always considered a critical.


    Parry and Riposte.

    Once per round, when hit by a melee attack, the Red Knight may use her reaction to parry the attack. She makes a Dexterity saving throw (DC equals the attack roll). On a success the attack is negated and the Red Knight may make a single melee attack of her own against the creature she parried.

    Legendary Actions


    The Red Knight makes an attack with checkmate or another melee weapon.


    The Red Knight makes a Wisdom (Perception) check.


    The Red Knight moves up to half her speed.

    Godly Resistance (costs 3 legendary actions).

    At the end of her third legendary action, the Red Knight regains one use of Legendary Resistance.