Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Knights of Communion and their Chapters

Long ago, the Knights of Communion formed the first Knightly Order of the Galaxy. The Maradonian knights that made up its ranks gave up aristocracy and the Akashic Mysteries to pursue a crusade to liberate the Temple Worlds of the Keleni. For an age, they protected those worlds, unmasked the criminal conspiracies of the Cult of the Mystic Tyrant and then fell in a war against the Alexian Empire in which they slew the last Alexian Emperor.

The Knights of Communion, or the Templars, may have fallen as an order, but they still existed. In truth, the Order had always been comprised of multiple smaller chapters, each of which served a local temple. The defeat of the Templars did not destroy the order, only scattered it and drove it underground. Many Chapters fell in the ensuing chaos, caught up in reprisals by the Cult or by last Emperor’s pogrom, but many slipped away and vanished in the shadows where they carefully watched and cultivated the growing Federation, offered their assistance secretly to the remaining temples of Communion, guarded the Temple Worlds from the shadows, and protected the lost secrets of the Templar Order.

They remain in the Galaxy to this day. Some have strayed far from their original roots and have fallen into heresy or “innovative” True Communion doctrines. Others have had to sacrifice their more knightly ways in the name of secrecy and the material means necessary to keep their orders alive. All are aware that the rise of the Emperor, the dominion of their traditional enemy, the Cult of the Mystic Tyrant, and the threat posed by the Coming Storm. All stand ready to act, stepping forth from the shadows to create a new age of prosperity and harmony, if that is what Communion will.s



Agendas of the Chapters of the Knights of Communion

The Knights of Communion formed to liberate the Temple Worlds of the Keleni. After their resounding success, they continued to serve as protection for the Temples of Communion and the pilgrims who traveled to them. As part of this, they excelled at engaging the secret enemies of True Communion, such as the Akashic Order and the Cult of the Mystic Tyrant. After their fall, survival secrecy and maintaining the legendary lore of the Templars also became high priorities.

  • Sacrilege! During the chaos of a high holy day, as pilgrims flood into the local temple, nearby villains (Pirates, slavers, bandits) seek to take advantage of the situation by kidnapping pilgrims, monks and/or nuns. The local Templar chapter must investigate what became of them, rescue them, and permanently deal with the problem so that the community remains unmolested in the future, all without being detected by the watchful eyes of the Empire, who do nothing about the actions of the villains…

  • Conspiracy! A senator, assassinated; a series of murders with strange, occultish symbols left near them; a theft at a local museum. The local authorities have not yet put all the pieces together, but the local Chapter has! They sense the machinations of a dangerous conspiracy. The templars must investigate the source of the conspiracy, and then eliminate the threat it poses while removing evidence of either the conspiracies actions or their own.

  • A lost Templar ship containing a relic of the famous leader Gladius Tao has been uncovered by the Imperial Ministry of Heritage; the archaeological dupe believes he’s found something for a museum and perhaps some propaganda shots; the Emperor’s Imperial Knights seek to acquire it for their own occult power. The Templars must infiltrate the find, strip it of anything incriminating, steal the artifacts and defeat any Imperial Knights, all without altering the Empire to their presence or true objective.

  • Rebellion! A local Temple of Communion, incensed by the people’s mistreatment by the Empire, has fully endorsed a local faction of rebels who have, in turn, accepted the assistance of the Alliance in fending of the Empire. The planet is in full rebellion, and the Empire brings its full weight against it. The local chapter has secretly gathered enough materiel and martial prowess that if they lent their weight to the rebellion, they could tip the scales, but at a great cost in heroic templar lives and their own secrecy. An Alliance noblewoman, a secret adherent to True Communion, has personally come to the Chapter Fortress to make her plea, with the approval of the local Abbot. Will the Templars accept her request?

The Templars as Opposition

The Templars have fallen far from their golden age, but can still pack an enormous punch. The templars are devoted psionic-warriors, skilled in the arts of combat and war, with a deep connection to Communion, possessor of ancient relics and lost martial secrets, and the power of surprise and conspiracy on their side. They are typically BAD -8 as opponents, with a matching PSI-BAD! Their only real weakness if their few numbers and their need to maintain secrecy, lest they draw the attention and ire of the Empire.

The precise nature of their tactics or security varies from Chapter to Chapter. As a rule, most modern Templar wield at least a force sword (some wield psi-swords or the legendary resonance swords of Templar lore) and are masters of numerous force sword techniques as well as psionic abilities with combat applications (especially Sacred Body Technique). Some Templars augment this training with additional martial arts, including hand-to-hand techniques, or armed techniques with other weapons, especially if they want to hide their nature as Templars, or if they lack the resources for a proper force sword. Some templars wear armor, but without major industrial infrastructure or some source of wealth, it’s difficult to fully arm and equip an entire Chapter, so most go without, or with simpler forms of armor. Especially well-equipped Templar chapters might maintain the same sort of small fleets that the Knights of Communion used during their crusade.

Templars face persecution from overt powers, like the Empire, as well as covert conspiracies, like the Cult of the Mystical Tyrant. As such, they maintain careful secrecy. They often “hide in plain sight,” by simply folding themselves into a local populace and making use of simple, unadorned buildings. They especially make use of local sympathizers to assist their cause, and just as locals will tend to keep the secrets of a Communion Temple, so too will they keep the secrets of their protectors, the Templars. Alternatively, they might remove themselves far from major places of power, often to the Galactic Rim or to uninhabited worlds. They often use signs, symbols, or coded Communion verses to communicate with one another. They tend to make use of insurgent tactics, primarily to maintain their cover and to acquire whatever resources they need, but if they need to apply pressure, protect others, or engage in outright rebellion, they’ll use insurgent tactics to get the job done.

Serving the Knights of Communion

Religious Ranks
Ranks:

Religious

8

Grand Master

7

The High Council

6

Chapter Master

5

Chapter Council

4

Master Knight

3

Knight Errant

2

Knight (Templar)

1

Apprentice

0

Novice




The Knights of Communion, aka the Templars, were a human, rather than Keleni, creation, based on the principles of tolerance espoused by Isa the Exile. While humanity created and dominate the Templars, they actively recruited aliens, including the Keleni, and prefer to use Galactic Common as the basis for their terms. Even so, they have an unusual fusion of Maradonian and Kelen concepts and words. While rare, Templars do sometimes use the Kelen honorifics appended to their names to denote position within the organization, and their structure closely parallels the structure of a Communion Temple.

Novice: Just as with a Communion temple, those who wish to join the Templars must first act as a servant. They tend to engage in tasks that can assist their later, potential training; for example, they might clean Templar weaponry, maintain Templar fighter-craft, or assist a Templar when giving general lectures. Through their grueling and tedious tasks, the unfaithful are weeded out from the devoted, and the basis of their future skills are set.

Apprentice: Sometimes called a “squire” or a templar-in-training, an apprentice is a novice who has proven himself, taken the vows, and constructed (or been given) his force sword. As with Communion Monks, an apprentice must be sponsored by a master, who takes them under their wing and teaches them the ways of Communion and the fighting techniques of the Templars. Unlike monks, an Apprentice will often travel outside of the Templar fortress, accompanying their master and getting a better sense of the world. If using keleni honorifics, apprentices have the -wala (apprentice) honorific.

Knight: Sometimes called a “Junior Knight” or a “Templar,” an apprentice becomes a templar when his master decides that he is worthy of the position and can be taught no more. This formally ends the master/student relationship, but informally such ties never end; in fact, knights often begin to learn advanced concepts, such as virtues and martial secrets from their masters at this time. Knights are generally kept close to the fortress as defenders, or stationed at temples to protect the monks or the local community. They also stay close to the fortress because of the fortress needs to initiate a crusade, the knights make up the bulk of their forces. If using Keleni honorifics, they have the -wona honorific (“Journeyman”). Those who follow old Maradon etiquette might call them “Sir.”

Knight-Errant: Those who prove themselves as exceptional knights may become “Knight-Errants,” or “Senior Knights” or “High Templars.” Such characters have the trust of the chapter, and the chapter often sends them out on more dangerous missions, such as rescuing lost pilgrims, protecting priests on their long journeys, or commanding units of Templars in battle, especially on distant worlds.

Master Knight: Or “Master Templar.” Once a templar has achieved great success, the Chapter Council may select him for the rank of Master. A Master Templar has typically achieved great proficiency in some aspect of True Communion doctrine (such as a Virtue) or in martial prowess, ideally both. A master’s role is to take on an apprentice and teach them the ways of the Templars. They typically travel outside of the Chapter and deal with various problems, or lead major military operations by the templars. If using Kelen honorifics, they (and all higher ranks) take on the -tuta honorific; if using Maradonian honorifics, they may be called “Lord,” but generally prefer “Master.”

Chapter Council and Chapter Master: Every chapter has a headmaster and a council made up of the most influential and powerful masters. Each member of the council has an administrative role within the chapter, including:

  • Knight Commander: who governs and commands all templars. They are typically excellent strategists and leaders.

  • Swordmaster: the finest martial artist in the Chapter, they govern the training of pupils, especially novices in the basics of the arts, and take on advanced training of knights, as well as maintain the force swords in the possession of the Chapter.

  • Warden: The warden oversees the physical infrastructure of the templar chapter, such as their fortress, their planetary defenses and their logistics.

  • High Captain: he governs the deployment and command of the Templar fleets, typically their carriers, transports, fighters and corvettes.

  • Chaplain: not actually a Templar, but generally a High Priest or Elder on assignment from whatever Temple the Templar chapter protects. He speaks for the Temple’s needs, and sees to the spiritual education of the templars.

At their head is the Chapter Master, whose word is final and who governs the whole of the Chapter.

High Council and Grand Master: When the Templars were a single, cohesive organization, a single man and his council overlooked all chapters of the order. The council was made up of delegates of each chapter, and had their own titles (Knight Grand Commander, Grand Swordmaster, Grand Warden, Grand Captain, Grand Chaplain, who was typically a Rank 6 monk, such as an Abbot or, more rarely, a Saint), and governed by a Grand Master selected by the Council, who spoke for all Templars.

Favors of the Knights of Communion

The Knights of Communion, the Templars, are a militant branch of the Temples of Communion. They often provide the same benefits as a Temple does, with additional military hardware and firepower.

As with Temples, rank across all Chapters is universal. While the Chapters have been separated by great gulfs of time and space, they still recognize one another and will honor the rank and requests of other chapters (unless, for some reason, they come into conflict with one another).

Similarly, temples and templars are closely linked! In principle, Templars serve temples, and so the rank of a templar is technically inferior to that of a monk. Templars who make requests of temples do so at -1 rank. Despite monks being technically superior to Templars, organizational culture being what it is, monks make requests of Templars at base rank.

For Favors, use the favors of temples, with the following additional notes:

Gear: Templars tend to request that apprentice templars surrender their worldly possessions either to the Chapter or to a nearby temple. Thereafter, the chapter provides all necessary gear: armor, fighter-craft, supplies, etc. Treat this as gear requests. Force swords are not covered by this: Chapters expect their members to have their own force sword!

Templar Fleets: Templar chapters typically have access to transports, star fighters and small carriers. These can be called upon with Evacuation, Travel and Fire Support requests.

Templar Forces: The Templars, despite their religious rank, are a militant force. One can call for additional support by making a Cavalry request.

Secrecy: After the fall of the Alexian Empire, the Templars went into hiding, and there they remain. They have become exceptionally adept at covering their tracks, and can offer most covert requests, including Cover-Ups, Insertion/Extraction, and Safehouses.

Resources of a Templar Chapter
Most chapters have some physical manifestation of a headquarters. Traditionally, this is in the form of a fortress of some kind, but in the modern era, most Templars (those not on some remote world beyond the reach of the likes of the Valorian Empire) cannot afford to have so brazen a structure. Instead, they tend to distribute their resources: a training dojo hidden in the jungle, an arms cache in the secret basement of an unmarked warehouse, safe-houses scattered across a planet, and a meeting house in the home of a wealthy sympathizer.

Templars do not have temples, but one might be forgiven for thinking that they do. Most templar chapters have a strong bond with a single temple, which they protect. The abbot of the temple is typically the chaplain of the order, or the temple might supply a chaplain to the temple. The nature and ideology of the temple has a profound influence on the culture of the Templar chapter.

Templars are exceptional fighters, and most chapters have at least three martial arts that they teach. They usually have at least partial knowledge of Templar force sword forms and traditional Alliance force sword forms, and may also study additional martial arts (typically either a keleni martial art, or some unarmed technique), as well as the psychic disciplines of True Communion. Chapters with access to a Temple tend to subscribe to the same virtues as the Temple; those that do not tend to have 1 to 3 virtues, almost never with a full set of Orthodox virtues (as they have long since fallen from the orthodox path and struggle with unusual ideas based on their unique concerns and setting). Typically a master on the council will typify one virtue, with the Chapter Master embodying all virtues of the chapter.

True Communion Templar Character Considerations
Requirements: Characters serving a True Communion Chapter need at least Rank 0, Duty (Almost All The Time, Extremely Hazardous) [-20] and some form of Discipline of Faith, typically Mysticism [-10]. They often demand vows, particularly vows of poverty, chastity and secrecy. Modern Templars have either Secret (Templar, Possible Death) [-30] or Enemy (Imperial Knights and Cult of the Mystical Tyrant; Hunted; 12 or less) [-30]. Knights may purchase levels of Social Regard (Venerated).

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...