The Knight Orders of the Throne are powerful organizations with extensive resources, and they try to provide their knights with those resources as they feel best suits the task and the risks. These resources are not unlimited, however, and so the confidence that the Masters of these Orders have in their individual knights matters greatly in determining where these resources are granted.
Knightly Oaths are sworn solemnly and gravely, and require spiritual rigor before being undertaken. Such an undertaking is spiritually taxing, each Oath requiring 2 Experience points. There are two kinds of Oaths - Oaths of Valor, which swear the knight to service to an ideal that they swear to uphold, and Oaths of Duty. Swearing oaths of Duty increases the trust that his Knight Order and Sovereign has in him, and consequently the resources they are willing to commit to his causes.
Swearing each Oath binds the knight to a certain code of conduct or behavior. If the knight should break the terms of their oath to their Sovereign, the Oath which was broken is removed from the character, and they no longer have the trust of their Sovereign to swear new Oaths. They must atone for their breach of trust to their Sovereign with some task asked of them, and only then may they re-purchase the broken Oath or swear any new ones. If there is a question to whether an Oath was broken or not in grey cases, the Sovereign decides.
The life of a knight is one of service and dedication, and that dedication is focused on their Sovereign, the focus point of their duty. The Sovereign is the earthly embodiment of their devotion, and the focus of their Valor. In the case of Holy Knights, this is the Church, and their Sovereign can be embodied by any senior member of the Clergy (Bishop or higher). In the case of House Guard, this is any member of the Highborn bloodline to which they serve. In the case of the Imperial Knight orders, their Sovereign is the Emperor, and the Grand Masters of the Order.
Oaths must be sworn verbally before one’s Sovereign. If the Sovereign is in a distant place, it is permissible to swear the Oath verbally and have the words transcribed by another to be sent to the Sovereign in question, in the presence of a witness. This witness, in the case of Imperial and House knights, can be any Highborn noble, through their shared fealty to the Emperor. For Holy Knights, this can be any clergyman or the head of any local cult.
The Sovereign may also discipline or dismiss a Knight from their service, or give such a power explicitly to a superior within the Knight Order of a Knight in question. Should a Knight ever be banished from service, or renounce their service, they immediately lose the effects of any Oaths of Duty, which rely upon the support of the Order, such as Oath of Armory or Oath of Questing. They keep the effects of any Oaths of Valor until they break them.
DEGREES OF KNIGHTHOOD
Each Knight Order has its own internal hierarchy, and confers greater authority and capabilities upon its members as they progress through the Order and become a finer example of their knightly ideals. Each Order is different, emphasizing different principles, aims, and methods, but each Order maintains a strong tradition of ideals that influence each of its members. This code of ideals, called Valor, permeates all of a Knight’s actions, and fills them with a sense of purpose and discipline, as idealized through a specific Skill. One Order may emphasize the power of changing the world nonviolently unless in drastic need, and uphold the virtues of Persuasion. Another Order may value above all else the art of swordsmanship, taking the blade itself as a personal symbol of power and control while upholding the balanced ideals of Medium Weapons. Another may believe that terror is the only way to enforce order, and believes that terror of the heart is control of the heart, both in others, and in one’s self, taking Intimidation as their source of Valor.
After they have sworn the Oath of Fealty and become a Knight, a Knight is eligible for promotion to the next Degree of attainment when they have sworn one more than their new Degree in new Oaths. For example, a Knight wishing to earn the third Degree would need to swear four new Oaths, in addition to the three Oaths they swore for their promotion to the second Degree. These Oaths can be from any Degree the Knight has attained, but he cannot swear Oaths higher than his attainment. Oaths cannot be taught to another Knight through any form of Instruction.
FIRST DEGREE – KNIGHT ERRANT
A Knight Errant, or the Questing Knight, is a landless Knight in training. As initiates to the Order, they are still learning the Order’s tenets and codes, and expected to prove themselves by traveling and performing acts of courage and honor in service to the ideals of their Order.
Oath of Fealty
The Knight swears their steadfast loyalty and devotion to their Sovereign, that they shall be their servant and agent for the rest of their lives, never to betray them or their causes, and to bend all of their will and efforts to the completion of their missions and duties.
The Oath of Fealty formally swears the knight to his Order and brings him into the Knight Order formally. Upon swearing this oath, the new Knight becomes a Knight of the First Degree, and is granted the Masterwork medium sword, usually with the Sturdy perk, though not always, with which the Knighting ceremony was performed. If the Oath of Fealty is being performed in play by the Sovereign, the Sovereign must provide the Masterwork sword that the Oath is sworn with.
Upon taking their Oath of Fealty, all Imperial Knights and House Guard gain Noble Bearing to mark their elevated status in society, while Holy Knights gain Holy Orders.
For Knights of the Realm and Imperial Orders who do not already have the Highborn Perk, they gain nobility status (and the effects of the perk) upon initiation. Characters of poor means who gain noble status through Knighthood begin a new minor noble house, and take a surname of their choice. They gain Infamy with characters of the noble class who see him as an upjumped pretender. His children will have the Highborn perk without this blemish. Furthermore, the rank of Knight is below the rank of most Highborn characters, and those who outrank him in station can still gainsay him in matters of policy – still, it does put him above the common man, and give him immunity to prosecution by any commoner for any reason.
Upjumped nobility cannot create their own House Guard. The matter of the creation of a Knight Order may be done only once, and through the Imperial Registrar in Fenristadt, but the charter will not be granted to so new a member of the nobility. Characters who are upjumped from Character Creation may not take Holdings or Land Parcels in their starting equipment.
Members of the Templar Order and the Sacred Order of the White Lion do not gain Noble Bearing. Instead, they are given honorary Holy Ordination status, similar to a priest. In issues of ecclesiastical trials and official Censure, they are considered by the Church to be above reproach in most cases, and incontrovertible proof must be offered to convict them of sinful deeds. Further, they may call and officiate Censure in ecclesiastical trial as if they were a priest. Members of the Holy Orders may also perform rites from the Testimonium as if they were a Rank 1 Priest, though they must still purchase those rituals and have no access to the gospels of the Covenants unless they join those Covenants separately
Regardless of Knight Order, the knight is granted access to a Riding Horse, and sent on his knightly errands with a supply of messenger ravens and a signet ring to verify his identity. The Knight’s supply of Headquarters ravens is resupplied by the Order as they use them, so that they can continue to send updates and communications about their mission from afar and request assistance in accordance with their other Oaths. For the swearing of the Oath of Fealty to be performed in game, the riding orse, the signet ring, and the masterwork sword must be provided in play for the swearing of the Oath.
Once per scene, the knight may formally announce their allegiance to their sovereign, such as "I am Sir Peter Stylt, Knight of the Whisper! Glory to the Count of Gildwater; Glory to Count Telford!" Doing so grants them 1 Hope.
This Oath does not count toward furthering Knight Degree and promotion.
The Iron Oath
The Knight swears to uphold the virtues of Valor and to remember his strength of purpose, even in times most dark. They swear to bear and protect their knight's sword as a symbol of their pledge.
By embracing the concepts of and adhering to the ideals of his Order, the Knight empowers himself through his mastery of of his arts.The Knight may use his Order’s Valor Skill as extra levels of the Discipline skill. Functionally, the Knight has levels of the Discipline skill equal to his levels that skill plus any levels of the actual Discipline skill. These levels do not add to a Magician's Acuity rating, and may not be used for the Determination ability.
The sword is the Knight's solemn and sole responsibility. It is never to be relinquished or used for other than the intended purpose of a sword; defending the Throne.
Oath of Triumph
The Knight swears to dedicate all his victories to the glory of his Sovereign.
Whenever the Knight is given credit for a major accomplishment, he may publicly dedicate his victory to his Sovereign in order to increase the glory of his Order and increase their trust and confidence in him.
In order to qualify for a triumph, the Knight must publicly swear his intent to do some specific brave act that is in the public good. If the act is to be accomplished fairly immediately, such as within the hour, such as "Upon my word, I will not allow those violent marauders to harm anyone in this town! " he may make the promise of his victory verbally to a sizable crowd. If it is anything longer term than one hour, he must publicly post his promise to complete his labor, which must contain a clear end time, such as "Upon my word, I, Sir Royce Derry of the Order of the White Glove, shall find and destroy the beast that has attacked the livestock by the start of winter."
Once the deed is done, a public announcement must be made of the success, with the knight given the sole credit. An assembled crowd such as a Convocation, a rumor spread by streetwise, or a ballad written and sung publicly by someone with the Performance skill will catch on and spread the story of the Order.
In some cases, when a great deed is done without prior declaration, the local Ruler or a Church Bishop may publicly recognize a knight for his services in a public ceremony before an assembled crowd, as above, to achieve the same effect.
The triumphant knight gains an extra experience point which may only be spent to purchase additional Oaths. Paladin Knights of the Sacred Order of the White Lion may use this toward their Gifts.
Oath of Merit
The Knight swears to maintain the highest caliber of reliability and excellence, such that he may fulfill any duty that his Sovereign asks of him.
After swearing the Oath of Merit, the knight may swear forthrightly to their sovereign that they will succeed without fail at the task they are being granted. For the duration of that task, until its natural completion, the knight functions as though he had an additional Devotion for completing this task, and it works in the same manner as any other Devotion, similar to the trait “Foolish Heart.” The knight must formally renounce his current task, gaining Despair, or be released from it by his Sovereign in order to swear a new task under his Oath of Merit.
Oath of the Vigil
The Knight swears to be a watchful protector.
The Knight may assume a guardian position, clasping his weapon to attention, and eschewing conversation and distraction. After at least 1 minute of standing to attention, the Knight gains his Valor as extra levels of Perception, and gains the benefits of the Collected Perk. This bonus goes away if they speak or do other behaviors, but can be resumed in due time by assuming a guardian position again. Pacing or patrolling a small area does not remove this effect.
Oath of the Champion
The knight swears to never hesitate in the persecution of commands for his Sovereign, to put aside personal feelings and carry out orders unflinchingly.
The Knight does not suffer from Despair when acting on direct orders from their Sovereign, and should he succeed in his mission, he loses one Despair.
Oath of Chastity
The Knight swears to a never engage in carnal congress, not even with the recipient of the Oath.
Unlike most Oaths, this Oath is made not to the Sovereign, but to the object of the Knight’s romantic affection. Upon swearing this Oath, the knight receives a token from their beloved, called their bond. Once per day, the Knight may use, speak unto, breath of, or otherwise interact with their bond, and take Hope equal to his Valor rank.
If a Knight begins play with this Oath, he may start with the bond from a far distant love.
Oath of Integrity
The Knight swears to be forthright and honest at all times, swearing to offer truth in all things.
So long as they have never been caught in a lie, the Knight may announce in formal Court (either Noble or Ecclesiastical) that they have sworn and live by an Oath of Integrity. They are given the benefit of the doubt in such courts, and are considered generally beyond reproach unless very convincing hard proof is offered.
In any scene where the Knight announces that he has sworn and lives under the Oath of Integrity, the Knight gains their Valor Skill ranks as extra uses of Sincerity.
Oath of Vengeance
The Knight swears upon his dead Sovereign to make terrible vengeance upon his surviving foes.
This Oath is unusual in that it is only sworn to dead Sovereigns. So long as he has some piece of memorabilia that was either given by or was owned by his dead Sovereign, the Knight gains an additional Hatred Devotion of the person or group that he believes responsible for the death of his Sovereign.
If the Knight still has living Sovereigns available, such as other living members of the bloodline he has sworn to serve, he may continue to do so, but if the recipient of this posthumous Oath was the last, the Knight may continue to swear Oaths of Valor to the memento of his Sovereign as if they were alive to accept them.
SECOND DEGREE – KNIGHT PROTECTOR
A Knight Protector is given charge of lands and armies, and are considered to be the primary military officers of their Order’s forces. They are considered the Protector of their land and must keep it safe from bandits, invaders and other dangers.
Oath of Arms
The Knight swears to respect, maintain and protect the armaments of the Order. He swears that only he will ever utilize the armaments, and he does so only in the aims and mission of the Order.
The knight is granted access to the vast armories of the Order that they maintain to gird their vested champions. The Knight gains access to any equipment and armaments of ordinary quality craftsmanship that they require for the personal undertaking of their mission, including heavy armor and weaponry, but not including exotic items such as firearms or poisons.
Masters of the Order are afforded equipment of Masterwork quality.
The Steel Oath
The Knight Swears to destroy enemies of his Sovereign wherever he finds them, without remorse or pity.
The knight deepens his devotion to Valor, and may apply his teachings to the art of Warfare in the form of the sacred Combat Doctrine. The forces that the knight controls gain new field advantages specific to their Valor skill, as well as a unique class of soldiers that embody the Combat Doctrine.
See Warfare for details.
Oath of Demesne
Swear to protect the land, its peoples, and to administer all justice and righteousness unto those under my care.
This Oath may only be gained through Triumph, and may be taken multiple times.
The knight is granted Holdings within the land upheld by his sovereign, wherein he rules as a regent of his sovereign.
Oath of the Sacred Sword
The Knight swears to never use his blade for wicked deeds, to keep it clean and pure, blessed in the eyes of The Lord, and to never use it for personal gain or any immoral reason.
This Oath may only be sworn by Holy Knights, and may only be sworn with Triumphant experience.
For so long as the blade is never involved in sin, the knight’s sword is sacred and blessed, and may harm otherwise immaterial or un-strikeable foes such as haunting apparitions.
Oath of Guardianship
The Knight swears to protect the bloodline of his sovereign with his life, doing anything in his power to ensure the health and longevity of their line.
This Oath may only be sworn by House Guard, and may only be sworn by Triumphant experience.
The Knight may throw himself in the way of harm for members of the bloodline of his sovereign when they are in danger. If you are within 5 feet of them, you may call any Physical Defense on their behalf, or take injuries in their stead.
Oath of Arrogation
The Knight swears to never accept an authority less than the Emperor himself in the pursuit and prosecution of his Order’s mission.
This Oath may only be sworn by Imperial Knights, and may only be sworn by Triumphant experience.
The knight gains the full presence and authority of their mission. In the event that the subject of his Order’s mission for the Emperor becomes clear and present, he gains the ability to fully take command of any Throne resource, up to and including the local nobility and it's officers, their own knights and any other resources at anyone's command. In this, he speaks with the voice of the Emperor himself, in all his glory and as the de facto highest authority possible, gaining an inexhaustible Persuade for this purpose if necessary. The knight’s purpose drives him onward with the fire of duty, and he is considered to have Indomitable Resolve (ooo).
This ability lasts until the aspect of their mission that presented itself has been accomplished, or for a maximum of the duration of the event, and may not used the event after.
Oath of Mentorship
The Knight swears to be a good mentor, giving tasks and noble work to his squire such that they may learn the tenets and skills of Knighthood.
The Knight is assigned a Squire from the Order to serve under him and learn the ways of the Knight. The Squire acts as a Retainer, except that the bond of loyalty between Knight and Squire is such that any acts the Squire performs for the Knight are done as if the Knight’s Devotion were active.
The Squire’s Downtime action must be used each Chapter in order to fulfill this Oath.
THIRD DEGREE – KNIGHT COMMANDER
A Knight Commander is placed in charge of other Knights Protector and acts as a senior officer in military matters. They are trained in the art of tactics and to make critical decisions in emergencies.
Oath of Service
The Knight swears to use his Valor Skill on behalf of anyone who asks it of him, so long as their request does not force them to break any of their duties or oaths to their Sovereign.
The Knight's Valor skill is considered to permanently have the Honed ability, so long as they have at least Skill rank 4.
See Skills for details.
The Silver Oath
The Knight swears to command military forces with care and prudence, to not waste the lives of men on the battlefield through error or hubris.
The Knight gains access to Special Forces - specialized units of soldiers that represent the ideals of the Order’s Valor and can strongly capitalize on advantages when used correctly.
The Knight’s Order will send then one unit of their Special Forces each event (except in cases when the Knight cannot levy, such as winters) to a limit of 5 units.They come already equipped and girded for battle, and will not serve other commanders.
See Warfare for details.
Oath of Investiture
The Knight swears to bring the mission of his Order wherever he goes, uplifting the people and being as a beacon of Valor to all humanity.
The Knight’s fervent heart can reach that of others. He may conduct training sessions during events to teach skills that he knows which are necessary for defense and duty to the Throne. Each training session must last one hour and be quite physically rigorous in nature the entire time. A training that is too short or too easy will not provide any benefit; a Rules Marshal should observe at least part of the session for this reason. For each such training session, the Knight may grant one bonus experience point to their students toward the purchase of:
- The first level of any Combat Skill
- Any Basic Maneuver
- The first level of their Valor Skill
If the Knight’s Valor Skill is a Combat Skill, they may teach up to the 2nd level. If the Knight's Valor Skill is locked by an Attribute, they may teach the first level of that Attribute instead of the first Rank of that skill.
There is no limit on the amount of teaching that a single character can benefit from in this way, as long as all of the above conditions are met, including the rigorous nature of the training. Such training can be conducted back to back as longer sessions.
The Knight may teach a number of students simultaneously as their Valor Skill ranks.
Oath of Legacy
The Knight swears to protect the legacy of an artifact of the Order being presented to him, and to add to its glory through his own deeds.
This Oath can only be purchased with Triumphant Experience.
The Knight is granted a weapon, armor, banner, necklace, or some other relic that once belonged to a hero of their Order, replete with its own stories. Whenever they are actively using the heirloom, the Knight is immune to Fear. If the Knight achieves a Triumph while utilizing the item, he may use the experience he gains as normal experience points.
Oath of Renown
The Knight swears to represent the ideals of the Order to the world, acting as a face of recognition for all of its relationships with the outside world.
The Order spreads the deeds of the Knight far and wide, making sure to emphasize the noble character of the great deeds he has accomplished and performed. The Knight gains Fame with a group that is relevant to the interests of the Knight Order.
FOURTH DEGREE – MASTER
The Masters of the Order are the inner circle of an Imperial or Church order, and are extremely few in number. In the smaller case of a Noble’s House Guard, they are the single individual of final authority. These masters make the oversight decisions that guide their Order to achieve its largest aims.
Oath of Mastery
The Knight swears to be an exemplar of Valor, and to create a new generation of successor knights mightier still than he.
The Master, through the intense personal code of his Order and the connection of thought and spirit it brings to the members of his Order, may impart his skills and abilities to members of his Order with great effectiveness. The Master and his student in his Order may spend a Downtime action training in a skill, maneuver, attribute, or other ability he possesses. That ability receives an experience point discount of the lower of the Valor skill between the Master and the student. Thus, if the Master had his skill at 5, and the student at 3, anything that the Master taught the student could be purchased for 3 less experience than normal, to a minimum of 0. This ability may combine with the Instruction or Pedagogue abilities, but only one thing per Downtime spent may be imparted in this way, regardless of the total discount or cost.
The Golden Oath
The Knight swears to destroy all enemies of his Order and Sovereign, wherever they should be found, and to fearlessly and tirelessly achieve victory in war.
The Knight is granted command of the Order’s Elite forces. He gains the ability to levy these mightiest of all the Order’s soldiers, whose roles are dependent upon the Valor and Combat Doctrine of the Order.
The Knight’s Order will send then one unit of their Elite forces each event (except in cases when the Knight cannot levy, such as winters) to a limit of 2 units. Elite Forces arrive with all necessary armaments to perform their tasks, and will not serve other commanders.
See Warfare for details.
Oath of Surfeit
The Knight swears to never surrender or falter in the pursuit of his Sovereign’s goals or mission.
Through abject devotion, the Knight gains an additional Willpower or Prayer as appropriate to his Faith per day.
Oath of Abasement
The Knight swears the trust of his very soul to his Sovereign, to be his judge and master, entrusting all value as a human being to his Sovereign and master.
The Knight’s trust in his Sovereign is total and complete. The Sovereign may grant him atonement for Depravity by fiat, forgiving with a word any sins he has committed in the service of his many duties.
Oath of the Eagle
The Knight swears to put the resources and armories of the Order to best use, to guard the assets of the Order against loss and waste, and to ensure that the Order can achieve victory in all theaters in which it battles.
The Master of the Order is entrusted with the coffers of the Order and may arrange them as he interprets their needs. The Order’s resources are already spread as optimally as possible, but if the Master requires it, he may distribute assets in the form of horses, armor, weaponry, and other tools of warfare to his theater of war, such that he can re-equip his units as more powerful unit types such as Heavy Infantry or Auxiliaries.
The more assets the Master draws to his theater of war, the less are available elsewhere in the Order’s struggles, making a catastrophic defeat more likely. For every unit’s worth of resources drawn this way per Chapter, there is a 10% chance that such a defeat elsewhere occurs, resulting in the breaking of this Oath. The Knight may also reverse this course, sending new supplies from his theater of war to another, to increase the likelihood of military successes by equal measure.
FIFTH DEGREE – GRAND MASTER
The heart and soul of their Order, these men are pinnacles of their age and heroes to the Throne. In any given Order, there is only ever one Grand Master, and this individual has unilateral control over the Order and is ultimately responsible for its goals and for its future. In the case of the House Guard, this position is given to the Master who marshals the entire nobility of his land to battle as the Grand Order of Rogalia, the Grand Order of Cappacionne, or whichever land is appropriate. This position is always granted by the Emperor, the King, or the Pontifex personally.
Oath of Meaning
The Knight swears to never defame himself, understanding that generations after will look to him as authority and hero.
The Emperor Himself, or the Pontifex, formally recognizes the Knight as a champion of virtue and Valor, set to lead a generation into divine glory. All recognize him and love him, or at least they love the legend that he represents. The Knight gains Fame relating to all the various people of the Throne.
The Grandmaster will never be denied an audience with the Emperor, the Pontifex, or any lesser authority throughout the Throne.
The Diamond Oath
The Knight swears to uphold the chains of Destiny.
As a Hero himself, the Grandmaster is able to attract other heroes from across the world to his cause in Warfare. He can perform a special Levy to gain the support of these individuals, who grant a special unique ability to the units they join.