Knights of Takhisis
D&D 3e (3.0/3.5) Rules
The Knights of Takhisis are a military Order that formed some twenty years after the downfall of Neraka in the War of the Lance. The purported son of Highlord Ariakas and the goddess Zeboim, Lord Ariakan, founded this Order of Dark Knights, and stood strong as its single guiding force. He ruled the Knights of Takhisis through his own personal magnetism, brilliant military strategy, and divine favour of the Queen of Darkness.
Ariakan maintained that the keys to victory are order, discipline, and vision. "Bring order to our followers, and the will accomplish. Discipline them, and they will achieve. Give them vision, and they will move forward toward a common goal." In accordance with this, Ariakan created the foundations of the Knights of Takhisis - the Vision, the Blood Oath, and the Code.
The Vision is—in simple terms—a statement of the ultimate goal of the knighthood. For knights of 5th level or less, the Vision is embodied in the phrase: "One World Order." The goal is no less than the total and unquestioned domination of the entire world of Krynn. The Blood Oath and the Code are established to work toward that end.
The Blood Oath
The Blood Oath is simple: "Submit or die." When joining the knighthood, each knight dedicates body and soul utterly to the cause. All thoughts of self are submerged, sublimated. Yet this does not mean that knights may not think for themselves, which brought about the creation of the Code.
The Code is complex in the extreme, yet elegant in its detail. The strict, unyielding exactitude of the Solamnic Knights' "Oath and Measure" had caused their long fall from the Age of Might, ending in their continuing weakness. Despite the fact that the knights and other forces for good had emerged victorious, they were a long way from bringing peace and order to Ansalon.
Knowing the weaknesses of all mortal creatures, Ariakan crafted a detailed set of laws that relate principally to military situations, but that also can be extended into the lives of each member of the knighthood. Strict adherence to the Code is required, but each case is considered on its own merits, and exceptions can be made.
Ariakan established his Code so that there would be no need to argue fine points. The law was as written. Violations were obvious and dealt with summarily. However, he did recognise the need to be flexible, as occasion demanded, and so established a means by which an exception to the Code might be considered and either accepted or rejected on its own merits.
Adjudication of the Code: Exceptions to the Code are adjudicated by a single knight selected from a chosen few in command positions. The role of adjudicator is generally reserved for knights of 12th level or higher. (Occasionally those of less than 12th level are granted the right, chosen by the head of the Knighthood. Many of the higher rank are not, including most of the Knights of Thorns.) The outward, visible sign of an adjudicator is a sceptre, presented to the knight by Lord Ariakan, the head of the Knighthood.
If the adjudicator decides that the Code had been broken and that no exception to the Code may be permitted, punishment is meted out to the offender. Since a knight who violates the Code is seen to have also violated the Vision and broken the Blood Oath. The punishment is generally death.
Execution is carried out by the advocate, if the knight is present, or by the knight's commander if the advocate is not. The knights do not view death as the ultimate end, but rather as advancement to a higher rank. Takhisis is the final judge of a knight's life, and the knight is rewarded by Her Dark Majesty or punished eternally as she decides. The knight does not fear death, therefore, but could have reason to fear the wrath of the queen in the afterlife. A knight who wishes to appeal the ruling of the adjudicator may do so. Once his soul is dispatched to Takhisis, she will hear the plea.
The Dark Queen has been known to send knights wrongfully judged back to "correct the error." Such undead knights return as revenants (Monsters of Faerûn) or even death knights. Because of this, all adjudicators will want to be extremely sure of the facts and will order a knight's execution only after serious prayer and consideration.
Authority and Independence: Part of the Code deals specifically with the establishment and maintenance of lines of communication and authority. Thus, when an order is given from above, it is quickly dispatched and acted on. But Ariakan knew that the knights probably would find themselves in situations where they would be on their own, cut off from the chain of command. Therefore, major sections of the Code are devoted to acting on the Vision.
When communication with the knighthood is severed, individuals who have a clear concept of the Vision will act independently to carry out the will of the knighthood until such time as communication can be reestablished. In this way, order is maintained in times of chaos.
Even within the bounds of orders as given, the knights have broad discretion as to how these orders are carried out. As long as a knight's actions do not violate the Vision, the standing orders of their knighthood, or the specific orders that they have been given, a knight is free to act.
Divisions of the Code: The Code is divided into several basic precepts, which guide the three major orders of knighthood. These divisions of the Code lead to the natural specialisation of the knights and help define the duties of the knights in the new world that they propose to create. The basic precept of each Order is:
Knights of the Lily
Independence breeds chaos. Submit and be strong.
The Knights of the Lily are the military might of the knighthood and the center of political power as well. The Order of the Skull and the Order of the Thorn are separate, with their won particular skills and areas of responsibility. While it may look to an outsider as if the Knights of the Lily are the dominant force in the knighthood, all three orders provide the necessary functions and are considered equal in power and authority, differing only in jurisdiction and function.
Lily Knights of at least 14th character level are referred to by the title of Champion of the Lily. The head of the Order of the Skull is titled the Lord of Night, and is advised by seven Lords of the Lily.
All Knights of Takhisis remain under the Order of the Lily until they attain 5th level and are ready to advance to 6th level. At this level, knights may choose entry into either Skull or Thorn, or remain with the Lilies. It has been known for a Knight to progress through all three Orders, but this is extremely rare.
Adventures: Knights of the Lily are often a problematic addition to an adventuring party. Not only are Dark Knights totally committed to their Order and the Dark Queen, many other characters are loathew to trust them at all or even despise them outright; Knights of Solamnia may feel honour-bound to challenge a Dark Knight to single combat to the death.
However, some adventuring groups may be able to include a Dark Knight without such difficulties (if the DM allows). Many Knights of the Lily operate covertly, gathering information for their superiors. Entire parties of Dark Knights also roam Ansalon, seeking glory and wealth.
Characteristics: Dark Knights are trained to become intelligent warriors, skilled horsemen, and educated scholars. Although their Code outlines in detail the requirements of obedience and quick response to authority, Knights of Takhisis are able to call upon the Vision for guidance when acting independently. Knights of Takhisis refuse to strike down an enemy by treachery or deception; only honourable combat is acceptable.
Alignment: Knights of Takhisis must follow the Code of Ariakan, which requires that they be of lawful alignment. Furthermore, as they worship a dark goddess, the philosophies of the Order prevent any Knight from being good. Although their ethical code is not quite as unyielding as the Knights of Solamnia, Knights of Takhisis lose some of their abilities if they deviate from the alignments of lawful evil or lawful neutral.
Religion: All Knights of Takhisis are dedicated to the Queen of Darkness above all other deities. Most Dark Knights respect Zeboim, the Mistress of Tempests and daughter of Takhisis, but none worship the chaotic sea goddess.
Background: As with the Knights of Solamnia, any who would enter into the Knights of Takhisis must begin as a 1st-level Knight in the Order of the Lily. Only someone who might be considered a suitable candidate for recruitment is ever approached by the knights, and then only after a long period of secret surveillance and evaluation. Such a recruit who decides to join would simply drop out of sight, vanish forever to the knowledge of friends and family. Either no recruit has ever turned down such an honour, or they have not survived to speak of it.
Both men and women may enter any order without restriction and may rise as high as their own abilities take them. All candidates must undergo a program of rigorous physical training and indoctrination, devoting his life to training for about three years. Most start this training at the age of twelve, and no candidates are acepted after the age of fourteen.
Races: Most Knights of Takhisis are human, although half-elves and minotaurs are also accepted into the Orders. The very few dwarves and elves in the Knights of Takhisis are considered renegades and outcasts by their own kind. It is almost inconceivable that a kender or gnome would be accepted as an aspirant, let alone survive the training and Test.
Other Classes: Knights of Takhisis are indoctrinated in the concept of "Power through Diversity," and are willing to cooperate with members of any class to ensure victory. Wings composed primarily of Knights of the Lily work side-by-side with ranks of Skull Knight clerics and Thorn Knight sorcerers. It is this organisational cooperation that makes the knighthood such a deadly and efficient fighting force.
Game Rule Information
Knights of the Lily have the following game statistics.
The Knight of the Lily's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Climb (Str), Gather Information (Cha), Handle Animal (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Jump (Str), Knowledge (nobility and religion, each purchased as a separate skill) (Int), Ride (Dex), and Swim (Str). See Chapter 4: Skills in the Player's Handbook for skill descriptions.
Skill Points at 1st level: (2 + Int modifier) x 4
All of the following are class features of the Knight of the Lily class.
Weapon and Armour Proficiency: The knight is proficient in the use of all simple and martial weapons and all armour (heavy, medium, and light) and shields. Note that armour check penalties for armour heavier than leather apply to the skills Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, Pick Pocket, and Tumble. Also, Swim checks suffer a -1 penalty for every 5 pounds of armour and equipment carried.
Advocate: All beginning characters of this class start with a patron (Lily), sponsor (Skull), or mentor (Thorn). This is an elder NPC who has brought the new character into the order. Knights of Takhisis never just "sign up" or enlist. They must always be sponsored by an older knight (7th level or higher) of any of the three orders.
This NPC becomes guarantor and advocate for the character. The advocate's commands and judgments are the final law and always unquestionably obeyed. It is the responsibility of the advocate to forward the advancement of the character in the knighthood—or to kill the character who is disobedient. The advocate assumes the role of parent, judge, executioner, and, depending on the relationship, occasionally lover. Regardless of the relationship, the NPC will hunt down and destroy the character without compassion if he or she shows the least sign of disobedience to the order. To do otherwise would bring death on the advocate from his or her own sponsor.
The Vision: A Knight of Takhisis can call upon the Vision to show him a subjective view of his part in achieving the goal of total and unquestioned domination in the name of Takhisis. It takes the form of a brief but intense mental image that conveys the will of Takhisis. While never literal or direct, the Vision often provides clues that help the character to make important decisions.
At 1st level, the Knight can call upon the Vision to benefit from an augury spell once per day. As the Knight gains levels, he is able to call upon the Vision more often, and gains greater understanding from its images. At 9th level, the Knight is able to use divination in a similar fashion (this is in addition to his augury spell-like ability). Finally, at 20th level the Knight can call upon the Vision to benefit from foresight once per day.
Each use of the Vision is considered a spell-like ability, and takes one full round to use.
Mounted Combat: Knights of the Lily gain Mounted Combat as a bonus feat. Once per round when the knight's mount is hit in combat, he may make a Ride check to negate the hit. The hit is negated if the character's Ride check is higher than the attack roll (essentially, the Ride check becomes the mount's Armour Class if it is higher than the mount's regular AC).
Test of Takhisis: Characters who wish to advance past 5th level as a Knight of Takhisis are required to pass the Test of Takhisis (see below). Once completed, the restriction against multiclassing is lifted, and the character may acquire the cleric class (joining the Order of the Skull), the sorcerer or wizard class (joining the Order of the Thorn), or appropriate prestige classes such as the Blackguard.
A Knight who passes the Test of Takhisis is immediately gifted with a suit of masterwork half-plate armour, decorated with the skull, thorn and lily of the Knighthood, and the distinctive skull helmet of the Order.
Forged in Flame: The Test of Takhisis has forged the Knight's spirit into fine steel. The character may now add one half of his character level (round down) to his base Will save.
Dragon Mount: Upon or after reaching 10th level, a Knight of Takhisis may be permanently assigned to a particular blue dragon. Such dragon allies must have a CR equal to or less than the Knight's character level.
Should a Knight's dragon mount die, he may be assigned another one if his character level is 15+. Only those Dark Knights who have repeatedly proven their competance will be trusted with a second dragon mount after allowing the death of his first.
Code of Conduct: A Knight of Takhisis must be of lawful neutral or lawful evil alignment. Additionally, a knight must live according to the Code: He must obey his superior, respect all friends and honourable foes, and willingly sacrifice anything for the Order. The Order of the Lily stresses the value of obedience in particular, as well as the strength of the group - to be independent is to be weak.
Knights of Takhisis face a special restriction concerning multiclass characters. The path of a Dark Knight requires constant dedication, and characters are required to pursue it to the exclusion of all other paths. Thus, the character is forbidden by the Knighthood to acquire other classes (this restriction is lightened after passing the Test of Takhisis).
Any Knight of Takhisis who ceases to be lawful, who willfully turns from the Vision of Takhisis, who chooses to acquire a forbidden class, or who grossly violates the Code, immediately loses the ability to call upon the Vision and his bonus to Will saves. He becomes a rogue knight, and can no longer progress in levels as a Knight of Takhisis.
The advocate of a rogue knight will seek to capture the character and bring him before an Adjudicator, which usually results in the rogue knight's execution.
A disobedient character can progress as a Knight once more if he proves his innocence before an Adjudicator or if he atones for his violations (see the atonement spell, page 176 of the Player's Handbook), as appropriate. More serious crimes cannot be forgiven.
Knight of the Lily Starting Package
Feat: Weapon Focus (longsword).
The Test of Takhisis
Characters who wish to advance past 5th level as a Knight of Takhisis are required to pass a test of loyalty. Just as the wizards on Krynn must pass the dread Test of the Towers of High Sorcery, so too must all the Knights of the Lily pass a similar test in order to advance. Failure in this test results in death. There has never been a case where a failed knight has survived. Even if a knight manages to escape, the members of all three orders use their powers to track the knight down.
The test for the Knights of the Lily generally centers around the three themes of Vision, Order, and Obedience. The test is every bit as difficult as the Test in the Tower of High Sorcery. Typical problems posed are: Will the knight sacrifice whatever is necessary—power, fortune, a loved companion, life itself—in order to fulfil the Vision? Will order and obedience win out over sentiment and the heart? Will the knight obey an order at the sacrifice of the knight's own life or the lives of kin or loved ones?
As in the tower, the test may be an illusion, though the tested knights truly believe that what they are undergoing is real. Or, in some instances, the knights may be sent on missions or quests designed to prove their worthiness. The test is dangerous and often cruel in the extreme, but those who pass are as strong as steel forged in the fires of Neraka. The nature of the test is determined by the knight's advocate—the one person who knows the knight best. The advocate understands and appreciates the fact that a knight must be strong in order to fulfil the Vision.
There can be no weak links in the chain. Therefore, the test is never made easy for the supplicant. Quite the contrary, no advocate wants to be known as the sponsor of a weak and ineffective knight, and, therefore, the test is designed to be as difficult as possible. Thus, the Test contains at least three encounters of CR 5, which the Knight must face alone.
Knights who pass the test are free to choose the order they wish to enter. Often this is the order of their advocate, but this need not strictly be the case. The ascension of the knight into the next order takes place in a solemn ceremony at the knighthood's headquarters, in the hidden northern fortress known as Storm's Keep.
The knight is kept in seclusion in the Temple of Takhisis, fasting and praying, for four days prior to the ceremony. At the end of this period, during which the knight receives the Deep Vision, the knight is blessed by dark clerics and sent forth. The knight comes before the rank and file of knights (all those currently in residence), including Lord Ariakan himself. The Procession of Knights is enacted. The knight is formally presented by his advocate. The advancement in rank is bestowed upon the knight by the Lord of Night, and the knight is officially accepted into the order of choice.
The knight then undergoes a period of training of about six months. This gruelling instruction generally takes place in Storm's Keep, but occasionally extends into other regions if the training specifically requires. Only after this training is the knight considered a full member of the order.
Knights of the Skull
Death is patient, flowing from without and within. Be vigilant in all and skeptical of all.
These Knights form the clerical order of the knighthood, and their higher-ranking members serve as Adjudicators of the Code. They practice the healing arts and are also in charge of both external intelligence and internal security. Skull Knights work their art by stealth and subtlety rather than by force, leaving that to the other two orders.
Skull Knights of at least 14th character level are referred to by the title of Skull Champion. The head of the Order of the Skull is titled the Lord of Night, and is advised by seven Lords of the Skull.
Knights of the Skull are multiclassed clerics, and possess all of the abilities of that class as described in the Player's Handbook. Knights of the Skull may choose from the domains of Evil, Healing, Trickery, and War; their favoured weapon is the heavy mace. Knights of the Skull can rebuke undead.
Knights of the Skull are dedicated solely to the Queen of Darkness, to the exclusion of all other gods and goddesses (including other dark deities). Her Dark Majesty rewards such loyalty by allowing them to prepare spells on a daily basis, in a manner similar to other clerics. This is unlike the Solamnic Knights of the Sword, who must fast and pray once per week to attain their spells.
Although it is well known that the sea goddess Zeboim favours the Knighthood (in honour of her son, Ariakan), the Skull Knights do not pray to her. Ariakan set aside one day a year in honour to his mother. It is also considered a matter of courtesy for all knights to ask Zeboim's blessing during a sea voyage.
Knights of the Thorn
One who follows the heart finds it will bleed. Feel nothing but victory.
Knights of the Thorn are an order of wizards. The Grey Robe Knights, as they are known, operate completely outside the Towers of High Sorcery on Ansalon, refuse to swear any allegiance to any of the three robes, including black, and are therefore considered renegade wizards by all members of the conclave.
The sorcerer Knights of the Thorn have their own colleges of magic. They wear grey or black robes and have no relationship to the Black Robes of the Towers of High Sorcery. Instead, the Grey Robe Knights work with dark clerics—Knights of the Skull —in maintaining order both in conquering lands and their own home territories.
Grey Robe Knights of at least 14th character level are referred to by the title of Nightlord. The head of the Order of the Thorn is titled the Lord of Night, and is advised by seven Lords of the Thorn.
Knights of the Thorn are multiclassed sorcerers or wizards, and possess all of the abilities of their class as described in the Player's Handbook. Sorcerers are somewhat more common among the Thorn Knights than wizards. Knights of the Thorn may wear armour, but often choose not to due to the arcane spell failure chance.
All Knights of the Thorn are encouraged to learn spells of the Divination school of arcane magic. With the importance of accurate assessments of events around Ansalon, the Knights employ these spells on a regular basis. For the good of the Knighthood, the Order insists that all Knights of the Thorn hone their power of divination to its finest edge.
Unlike the orders of the towers, the Thorn Knights draw on the power of all three of Krynn's moons as the source of their magic, rather than from one moon. This grants a far more powerful magical edge to Thorn Knights. Just how they have accomplished this feat remains unknown to the Conclave. It is not surprising that the robed wizards of Ansalon are extremely disturbed by the appearance of this new and powerful order of sorcery in the world. They view it as a distinct threat to themselves, and wizards of all robes are exerting all their efforts to both study it and eradicate it.
Note: Thorn Knights with the Moon Magic feat are not bound to any single moon. Instead, they use the following chart:
Dark Knights in the Fifth Age
When subcommander Mirielle Abrena attended the Council of the Last heroes in 1 SC, she prevented the Knighthood from sliding into oblivion after the Chaos War by demanding land for surviving Knights in recognition for their role in the defeat of Chaos. After spending several years gathering the scattered wings of the Knighthood, Abrena declared the Order's new homeland in Neraka and named herself Governor-General of the region.
Since Mirielle Abrena's spies learned the secrets of Mysticism from Goldmoon in 15 SC, the Order of the Skull was revitalised as an order of dark mystics. Similarly, the Thorn Knights mastered the new sorcery after Theo Drawde witnessed the Last Conclave's battle with Berrylinthranox and was taught the principles of sorcery by the Shadow Sorcerer. The Knights of the Skull and Thorn now comprise characters of the Mystic and revised Sorcerer classes respectively (see Magic in Dragonlance: the Fifth Age).
In the Fifth Age, the Knights of Takhisis have come to control almost all of the northern Khalkist Mountains (except for the city of Sanction), and the southeastern plains and the coastal plains to the northeast of Throt. They operate openly in almost all dragon-controlled lands, providing troops and security to overlords such as Khellendros and Beryllinthranox, and maintaining constant dialogue with Malystryx. They are also allied with the dwarves of Thoradin, and hope to rely on their assistance in the planned invasion of Blöde.
More than thirty years after the Chaos War, the Skull Knight Lord Morgham Targonne succeeded Abrena as the head of the Order. Under his administration, the Knighthood underwent a change of purpose. Targonne renamed the Order the Knights of Neraka, and began to focus more on wordly concerns. See the War of Souls novels for more details on Targonne's leadership in this period.
Revised Knight of Takhisis Abilities in the Fifth Age
The Vision: In the Fifth Age, Knights of Takhisis cannot consult the Vision at will as they once did. Instead, they receive occasional messages through it from the Order of the Skull. This allows the dark mystics to affect any number of Dark Knights with an improved sending spell, communicating a verbal message of 25 words or less as well as a single image of a person, place, or thing. This greater sending is a 5th-level Mentalism Domain spell, known only to a group within the Skull Knights called the Cabal of the True Heart.
Favoured Enemy: Knights of Takhisis despise the Legion of Steel, which dares to assume the name of one of the Order's most honoured Dark Knights, and was founded by the traitor Sara Dunstan. As a result, a Knight of Takhisis gains a +1 bonus to Bluff, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, and Wilderness Lore checks when using these skills against Legionnaires. Likewise, he gets the same bonus to weapon damage rolls against Legionnaires.
At 5th level and at every five levels thereafter (10th, 15th, and 20th level), the bonus enjoyed by a Knight of the Lily goes up by +1. For example, a 15th-level Knight of the Lily has a +4 bonus against Legionnaires.
Knights of the Skull: Characters who join this Order acquire the mystic class (see Magic in Dragonlance: Fifth Age).
Knights of the Thorn: Characters who join this Order acquire the revised sorcerer class (see Magic in Dragonlance: Fifth Age).
Ex-Knights: Rogue knights lose the abilities to receive messages through the Vision, their Will saving throw bonus, and the Favoured Enemy bonus.
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