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Author Topic: The Templars Ride Forth!  (Read 594 times)

SHARK

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The Templars Ride Forth!
« on: April 21, 2006, 08:18:03 PM »
Greetings!

Here is an article I wrote a long time ago about Paladins in my campaign world of Thandor. Some have expressed interest in paladin threads, so I present this for enjoyment and discussion.:)  
 
The Templars Ride Forth!

In my campaign, there are several orders of knights that serve the realm. Some of these orders are religious orders of knights, while some are secular orders of knights sponsored directly by the throne. Only the larger, more powerful religious denominations have the wealth to support an order of religious knights. The throne funds royal orders of knights.

The religion of the Vallorean Empire is composed of a single pantheon of deities, but which only these deities (denominations) are chartered and state-sanctioned. The vast majority of the population worships one or more of these deities, but only from the one Vallorean Pantheon. Other deities, other pantheons, for the most part are considered deceived and ignorant at best, and heretical and pagan at worst. If Pagan and/or heretical, they are persecuted by all means necessary. They are hounded throughout the empire by teams of witch-hunters and inquisitors, who relentlessly pursue them, so as to root them out before their vile beliefs can take root within the community of the faithful, and poison the empire. The faithful Valloreans believe that the glorious and righteous Vallorean Empire must be kept clean and pure of all wickedness and heresy!

Once cornered and trapped, the “cultists”—whoever they might be, often resist arrest, and are slaughtered in combat where they stand. Other cultists, that surrender peacefully, are then dragged in chains and brought before the Ecclesiastic Tribunal for judgment. There, with a noble Lord of appropriate rank present, presiding over the deliberations with a panel of high priests and other royal officials, the charges are read.

The defense—represented by a lawyer—may present the case for the defense of the accused. Before the trial, while being imprisoned by the Royal Authorities, Inquisitors may interrogate the guilty party to whatever extent is deemed necessary and appropriate to the charges. Should the noble Lord or magistrate that is presiding over the trial, in counsel with attending priests and officers of the throne, be swayed that the accused is, in fact, innocent, then the party is forthrightly released, and publicly judged innocent of all wrong, and is then free to go. Should the accused be found guilty, however, a quite different fate awaits them.

Those judged guilty are then taken in chains to the dark chambers of the dungeons, or occasionally in public, and judgment is delivered thusly:

(1) The guilty are stretched upon the wrack, so as to encourage their moans of repentance to the gods!

(2) The guilty are flogged with scourges, so as to purify their corrupt bodies of the taint of wickedness. The charges are by ancient tradition according to the ancient laws, that apply in full, as follows:

(I) They have been seduced by wickedness; they have chosen to wallow in depravity; they have drunk deeply from the wine of Rebellion.

(II) They have raised their fist in Rebellion and Enmity with the Holy Faith, and all that is Righteous; they have scorned the Righteous Law; they have conspired in their hearts against the Holy Faith.

(III) They have fornicated with Demons; They have joined in league with the philosopher of damnation, the heretic, and the witch; They have prostrated themselves in worship before the Dark Gods

Praise is to the righteous gods that the Holy Faith, the One, True Faith, is Holy, Righteous, and Pure; The Holy Faith is anointed by the gods to cleanse the world of evil, and to stand against the forces of Darkness! It is with the authority given unto us by the righteous gods and the power and the glory received by us from the gods divine will, that righteous agonies are now poured out against the guilty; The judgment is poured out against them so as to purify their bodies of flesh through holy judgment, witnessed by the whole community, that the souls of the judged shall suffer for their crimes, and be redeemed in the Afterlife of Heaven, or cast screaming into the fire and agony of eternal damnation.

(3) Finally, those condemned are then bound to the stake, and burned alive. Their screams are the final temporal act of judgment enforced upon them, as their sins are so black, so wicked, they can only be properly cleansed from the land by fire. The blessed land itself, anointed as a gift to the faithful, must itself be kept clean from these foul, wicked monsters, and all who would join with them. Thus, as their bodies burn in the flames, their spirits are released; the scent of judgment by fire is a sweet incense of justice to the gods above. Judgment has been delivered; the wicked shall not prosper, and the Righteous shall be lifted on high, and rejoice! Prayers and holy offerings of thanks shall be offered to the gods for a great victory over the forces of Darkness!

Thus is the fate usually reserved for those guilty of heresy and rebellion within the Vallorean Empire.

Guarding the prestige and future of the Vallorean Empire are the ranks of Knight-Templars that serve various religious denominations from around the empire. The Legions are the backbone of the forces that stand guard upon the wall of empire, but it is often the ranks of elite Knight-Templars that serve as the first assault into the strongholds of darkness. Leading the charge, out on the desolate frontiers of the empire, are lonely patrols of Paladins. Knight-Templars, who are often Paladins, often alone, or sometimes-in small groups, search the frontier for signs of enemies. Paladins sometimes serve in the vanguard of the legions, launching missions deep into the trackless wilderness, seeking out the forces of Darkness, wherever they may be found!

If the Templars are not alone, or in a small adventuring group, or attached to legionary forces, they usually are formed into tightly organized squads of 15, platoons of 60, and companies of 240. (4 squads=1 platoon; 4 platoons=1 company.) Beyond this level of organization, the Knight-Templars are formed under a parent Regiment, which maintains command and control over various numbers of companies, depending on the region, and the size of the population. These Command Regiments are usually quartered at great fortress-monasteries, often located in rugged, isolated areas of the empire, where young Knight-Templars and Paladins are trained. The elite will not just be Knight-Templars, but Paladins. Some Knight-Templars are of other classes, and so on. Not all Paladins are Knight-Templars, as some Paladins, though trained by priests, are not always members of the formal orders of Knight-Templars. Many Knight-Templars, however, are Paladins. All who seek to become members of such elite fighting orders of knights must pass vigorous entrance examinations, and succeed in an ongoing training regimen, which usually has the initiate begin somewhere around 10-12 years old, and continue for seven years of training in an isolated fortress-monastery. In any event, regardless of the age of the Temple-Initiate, seven long years of vigorous, demanding monastic life awaits them, where they live a hard, simple life. It is there, in the great fortress-monasteries that they are trained relentlessly in all the disciplines of faith and war. They are educated as priests; they live as monks; they are trained to master the arts of war. If successful, the Templar-Initiate will join the ranks of the Knight-Templars, who stand guard on the walls of empire.

The huge temples of course, train perhaps several thousand Knight-Templars per year, of which several hundred might be Paladins. The demands are harsh, as the frontier is very deadly. The frontier swarms with monsters: Orcs, Beastmen, Giants, and all manner of foul, dark creatures! In addition, the lands of the righteous are also threatened from within: Cultists who worship the Dark Gods; Wicked cabals of Necromancers; Covens of Witches, seeking to fornicate with Demons, and to seduce all within their grasp to follow the road to damnation! Deep within the sewer-systems of many cities lurk the dark labyrinth nests of wicked Ratmen, who seek to devour and enslave the unwary to their wickedness.

Vallorean priests, and many Vallorean citizens in general, believe that many of the flock may be deceived, and sadly, ensnared into the web of Darkness. Once they have gulped down heresy, they have then forfeited their souls to damnation! It is thus, those who are weak, those who are enticed to rebellion, incited to riot, and plot and scheme, and wallow in debauchery—it is these, who with their evil masters that work like maggots to bring down the glorious empire. And Lo! They, and many others, threaten the glorious empire with doom. It falls upon many, but especially so to the Paladin, to march forth against the dark forces and lead the faithful to victory!

“Has thy mind been armoured in faith?
Has thy body been strengthened by discipline?
Has thy heart been purified by fire?”

--Catechism of the faithful;
From the Creed of the Templars of the White Wolf
RC 128, the first reign of the Emperor Drannicus.

This catechism has a specific responsorial from the Templar, all of which is consistent with the literal as well as the theological importance of each component of the catechism. The catechism is part of the creed that all Knight-Templars of the order subscribe to as well as priests of the temple. The Paladins of these different orders ride forth to fight in war; to make raids upon enemy forces; to lead holy crusades; and to defend the faithful from all enemies. The Paladins have their work cut out for them. In addition to these duties, Paladins are also stationed at major temples throughout the empire, while some are maintained in monasteries forming a reserve in the case of emergencies. Other Paladins are attached to protect caravans of the faithful, escort ecclesiastical missions, protect temples and priests, go on holy quests, as well as search for cultists and agents of Darkness within the community at large. Knight-Templars have some legal authority, but they are generally to assist local law-enforcement agencies. Knight-Templars enjoy the equivalent military and police ranks of sergeants, with Templar officers having the appropriate equivalent rank as in other organizations. However, in specific situations, Knight-Templars can take command of whatever situation and prosecute investigations and execute judgments as deemed necessary. Knight-Templars are generally quite busy in the campaign.

In your own campaigns, think about some of the following questions: How do Paladins interact with the society around them? How does the society view the Paladins, and other knight-orders? How are knights and Paladins used in warfare?

I was also thinking about the development of monasteries. Historically, monasteries grew up as not only religious retreats for monks isolating themselves from a sinful, materialistic world, but in many areas they developed into great centers of learning and scholarship. Still in other areas, less isolated, various monasteries grew into centers of vibrant communities, and later, some became fortified castles that took on a dual role of center of learning, and fortified base for armoured knights and templars.

In my own campaign, depending on the area, I have some of various types. Some are isolated places of worship; some are renowned centers of learning; and others are great fortress-monasteries that educate and train warriors of the faith.

Hopefully, these are some intriguing thoughts that can inspire you in your own games and in organizing knight orders, clerics, temples, and monasteries for your campaign, and as thoughts on playing such zealous characters as paladins and clerics.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the façade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security b

gleichman

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The Templars Ride Forth!
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2006, 08:59:17 PM »
First thought, very 40k like...

Which in turn is based upon elements of actual history.
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bondetamp

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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2006, 07:12:36 AM »
Very nice, SHARK. :)

Especially the moral ambiguity of the cleansing of the heretics. I bet you could get some good mileage out of it as a topic on ENWorld. :D
 

Ragnarok N Roll

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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2006, 10:16:49 AM »
Far out man.

Quote from: bondetamp

Especially the moral ambiguity of the cleansing of the heretics. I bet you could get some good mileage out of it as a topic on ENWorld. :D


This place is better.
"God is dead" - Nietzsche

"Nietzsche is dead" - God.

gleichman

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« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2006, 10:31:02 AM »
Quote from: Ragnarok N Roll
This place is better.


Why?
Whitehall Paraindustries- A blog about RPG Theory and Design

"The purpose of an open mind is to close it, on particular subjects. If you never do — you've simply abdicated the responsibility to think." - William F. Buckley.

bondetamp

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« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2006, 12:25:02 PM »
Quote from: gleichman
Why?
The background is lighter and we can swear.


Cunts
 

Ragnarok N Roll

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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2006, 02:16:43 AM »
That and Enworld is filled with self indulgent weeners who whine about some percieved loss of a "sense of wonder" for example. :brood:

And we can fucking swear man!! Sweeeet.:deviousgrin:
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BOZ

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The Templars Ride Forth!
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2006, 10:04:57 AM »
Quote from: Ragnarok N Roll
"sense of wonder"


man, am i tired of seeing that phrase on the first page.  give me half a dozen 4E threads instead!
don't quote me on that.  :)

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