Edge of Darkness: The Broken Circle
Knights of Luminairre
The Knights of Luminairre are an ancient and highly-venerated order of paladins that has devoted itself to battling the forces of evil and protecting the Empire of Luminairre and its citizens. The Knights are immortalized in hundreds of ballads and stories for their heroism, courage, and dedication to justice. The evil-doers of Ondoron regard them with hatred and fear.
The Knighthood was founded by Emperor Brighton Luminairre I after the great Demon War. It started out as a single Order of Knights, but as the years passed and the tactics of their foes changed the Knighthood expanded. Today, there are 13 separate and distinct Orders of the Knighthood. Each of them has a specific role in the Knighthood as a whole, and all of them are regarded as equal.
The Knighthood is a chivalric organization dedicated to the defense of the innocent, the advancement of truth and justice, and the destruction of evil. It is the primary military might of the vast Luminairre Empire. The most unique feature of the Knighthood is that it is made up entirely of paladins (though many Orders have multiclassed members). Furthermore, almost all of the Orders are dedicated to the service of the Empire, the Emperor and/or Empress, and above all, Rozerus. Two Orders within the Knighthood, the Knights Lumina and Knights Hospitaler, are trained by the clergy of Lunarus and Mirala’ana respectively.
Service in the Knighthood is considered an honorable and is a highly prestigious calling in Luminairre. Parent in the Empire could not hope for a greater honor than to have one or more of their children grow up to be Knights. Indeed, many families have served in the Knighthood for many generations.
Most of the Knighthood’s duties involve protecting the Empire from invasion from the orcs of the Blood Plains and keeping the peace within the borders of the Empire. More rarely, undead or foreign powers attempt invasions or skirmishes that must be fended off. Foreign governments in good standing with Luminairre may also ask for the Knighthood’s assistance in dealing with particularly grave threats and disasters.
All Knights are sworn to serve and obey the Emperor (or Empress) of Luminairre. As such, the current ruler of the Empire has a great deal of influence in the Knighthood and is considered to be the “head” of the organization. It should be noted that to become the Emperor (or Empress) of Luminairre, the eldest heir must first rise to the rank of Lord Knight of Luminairre (it should be noted that the Emperor/Empress’s spouse does not have to be a Lord Knight). If the eldest heir is unable or unwilling to attain the rank of Lord Knight, then the next eldest heir is given the opportunity.
Joining the Knighthood.
All Knights of Luminairre start out in the Order of Knights Petitioner regardless of background, socioeconomic status, or skill. A potential Knight must first meet the prerequisites for entering the Knights Petitioner. A Knight may apply for Knighthood before he meets those prerequisites, but he will not be accepted into the Order. Meeting the prerequisites for the class is only the first step in the process. Once a potential Knight has gained enough skill and experience to successfully join the Knighthood, he first needs to find a Sponsor. A Sponsor is a Knight from any of the Orders who vouches for the potential Knight. Knight Sponsors are typically more experienced Knights, but there is no law within the Code that forbids young Knights Petitioner from being Sponsors.
Becoming a Sponsor is a very serious matter that is not taken lightly. Becoming a Sponsor Knight is making a commitment to an individual. It is a Sponsor’s duty to help the potential Knight through the trials ahead and to help him grow into the best Knight that he or she can be. Friendships between Sponsor Knights and petitioners are, overall, extremely strong and last a lifetime.
The sponsored Knight-hopeful is known as a squire until he takes and passes his Knight’s Test. Sometimes, the squiring period lasts a matter of weeks, other times it can last for years. During the Squire phase of the potential Knight’s training, the Sponsor begins to instruct him in the Code of Light, history of the Knighthood, and martial and devotional aspects of the Knight’s vocation.
Once the Squire has a Sponsor and meets the prerequisites of the class, he is presented by her Sponsor Knight to a Knight’s Trial. The potential Knight is questioned at length. A background check is completed by the Knights Inquisitor. Assuming the potential Knight passes the background inspection and the interview process, he moves onto the physical part of the test. The physical tests are meant to test the mettle of potential new recruits to see if they have the basic skills, moral character, and fortitude to live the life of a Knight.
Once the Knight successfully completes the Knight’s Trial, he or she spends a night of prayer in the Grand Cathedral of Rozerus in the heart of Rozeril with other new Knights. The following morning, the new recruits are Knighted and given their Greens (the green tabards of the Order of Knights Petitioner). From that day forward, the Knights are considered full members of the Order.
Both women and men can apply to and be accepted into the Knighthood.
Advancement in the Knighthood.
While all of the basic orders of the Knighthood are considered equal, a large percentage of the Knights Petitioner are made up of inexperienced and new knights. Their green tabards have led to the nickname “greenies.” While there are no specific rules for how long a Knight can or should serve in the Knights Petitioner, the Knighthood tries to expose these new Knights to other Orders that fit with their personality and skills. When he gains enough experience to increase a level, the Knight Petitioner may choose to take another level in his current Knight prestige class, take a level in another class, or petition for transfer to one of the other Orders of Knighthood. It should be noted that choosing an Order is not an eternally binding agreement. A Knight may petition to join another Order at any time, provided they meet the prerequisites of the new Order and they comply with the guidelines listed below. The Knights of Luminairre encourage their members to grow and learn, so they provide ample opportunities for Knights to learn new skills in the eternal battle against the forces of Evil.
Orders of the Knighthood.
|Knights Hospitaler||Light Blue|
|Knight Officer||Varies by order|
The military organization of the Knighthood has changed and evolved as military tactics have advanced. In times of peace, the military might of Luminairre is primarily made up of Knights of Luminairre with a small number of permanent Luminairre soldiers. In times of war, Lord Knights recruit soldiers from the lands under their control to reinforce the military might of the Empire. As such, each province has its own volunteer militia that can be mobilized by a command from the Exalted State’s Lord Knight. All volunteers receive basic military training and are required to spend one weekend per month at provincial fortresses to receive additional training and to maintain their combat skills. If there are insufficient reserve troops in the provincial militias in a time of war, Lord Knights have the authority to draft provincial citizens. Lord Knights rarely need to initiate a draft as the citizens of Luminairre consider it a matter of family honor to help defend their homeland.
The units of the Knighthood are named after the military organizations of the Seraphim at the time of the Demon War. While the number of soldiers within a unit is standard, the makeup of the units can be very different. Each Shield can be composed of Knights of the same Order, Knights of different Orders, Luminairre militia, or any combination of the above. Units composed primarily of Luminairre militia members are usually led by a Knight, though sometimes this is impossible if there are insufficient numbers within the Knighthood. It should be noted that the militia has its own officers and command structure which shall not be addressed here.
It should be noted in the descriptions below that there are clerics that serve in the Knight units. Almost always, these are clerics of Lunarus, Mirala’ana, or Rozerus who hail from the Empire and that have been granted Honorary Knight status (see below). However, any cleric of a good Watcher that has earned the title of Honorary Knight may serve. These clerics are not part of the command structure and do not possess any true rank in the military structure. They are present to aid with the administrative work and coordination of the units in addition to providing healing and enhancing the offensive and defensive capabilities of the Knights. The units of the Knighthood’s military structure are as follows:
|Halo||A small strike team of 4 – 6 Knights of various Orders. Usually formed by a Knight Officer or Lord Knight for specific missions or assignments where a larger unit is inappropriate.|
|Shield||20 Knights (or Luminairre militia members) plus 2 Senior Knights (usually highest level non-officer knights) plus 2 novices (cleric 2) led by 1 allectus ( Knight Officer 1)|
|Company||3 shields (60 Knights/6 Senior Knights/6 novices/3 allecti) plus 3 initiates (cleric 5) led by 1 antesignanis ( Knight Officer 2)|
|Wing||2 companies (120 Knights/12 Senior Knights/12 novices/6 allecti/6 initiates/2 antesignani) plus 4 viziers (cleric 7) led by a commander ( Knight Officer 3)|
|Eladrum||2 wings (240 Knights/24 Senior Knights/24 novices/12 allecti/12 initiates/4 antesignani/8 viziers/2 commanders) plus 2 justices (cleric 10) led by a Praetor ( Knight Officer 4)|
|Legion||3 eladrums (720 Knights/72 Senior Knights/72 novices/36 allecti/36 initiates/12 antesignani/24 viziers/6 commanders/6 justices/3 Praetors) plus 3 oracles (cleric 13) led by a Telarum ( Knight Officer 5)|
|Host||2 Legions (1,440 Knights/144 Senior Knights/144 novices/72 allecti/72 initiates/24 antesignani/48 viziers/12 commanders/12 justices/6 Praetors/6 oracles/2 Telarum) plus 4 High Justices (cleric 15) led by an Arch-Telarum (specially appointed Telarum, usually the highest character level Knight with 5 levels of Knight Officer available)|
|Imperial Army||3 Hosts (4,320 Knights/432 Senior Knights/432 novices/216 allecti/216 initiates/72 antesignani/144 viziers/36 commanders/36 justices/18 Praetors/18 oracles/6 Telarum/12 High Justices/3 Arch-Telarum) plus 1 Prophet (cleric 19) led by a Rozerum (Lord Knight)|
Full Knights of Luminairre must be citizens of the Luminairre Empire and worship the Watchers of Good (specifically, Rozerus, Lunarus, and Mirala’ana). Many who aspire to Knighthood become citizens of the Empire to join the ranks. These requirements are in addition to meeting the prerequisites for the Knight Petitioner prestige class.
The Knighthood does award Honorary Knighthood to citizens from foreign nations or servants of other good or neutral Watchers in recognition for great services to the Knighthood or for going above and beyond the call of duty to advance the cause of Good in Ondoron. Honorary Knights gain the Honorary Knight feat, and enjoy special bonuses and some access to Imperial resources. The Knighthood of Luminairre does not have any control over honorary Knights, and such Knights do not have any periods of service. However, Knights cannot take levels in the various Knight classes and must maintain their commitment to the ideals of Good. If they fail to uphold the standards they were knighted for, the Knighthood does have the power to revoke the title of Honorary Knight, as well as all privileges associated with it.