Dark Tides of Salinmoor
Knights of the Watch
The Knights of the Watch were founded 800 years ago in the earliest days of Keoland’s rise to glory. They are tasked with protecting the Sheldomar Valley from the incursions of the Baklunish barbarians of the West and other threats as they may arise. The Watchers maintain castles, fortresses, strongholds, and towers along the border with Keth as well as along the mountain ranges that border the Sheldomar Valley to the west.
The Knights of the Watch follow a near-monastic school of teachings based upon the writings of the philosopher Azmarender. Azmarender studied the tale of Trilesimain, the Simple Knight, a standard tale told by bards throughout the Sheldomar Valley. From this tale (especially a section known as the Glorious Couplets), Azmarender derived a philosophy and code of duty commonly known as the Twelve Precepts. The Twelve Precepts, detailed below, govern how a knight should behave in his daily life.
Reflecting the mysticism that forms the foundation of their order, the Watchers adopt fanciful titles as they advance in rank in the knighthood. The lowest ranking knights are known as Vigils (such as Resolute Vigil, Indomitable Vigil, etc.); as Knights advance beyond this lowest rank, they add to this base title, adding further adjectives and later replacing the Vigil title with that of a beast (advancing through ranks of land-based and then aerial mundane beasts, followed by more fantastical ones). From this confusing (to non-Knights) system of titles comes the phrase “frightful as a Watcher’s title,” denoting someone who wishes to appear more powerful or grand than they truly are.
The Knights are closely allied with the government and military of Gran March as well as the Church of Heironeous. They consider themselves formal allies of all of the nations of the Sheldomar Valley. Their greatest foes are the Baklunish West and the evil giants and humanoids of the western mountain ranges. They also see all Achrans and members of the Scarlet Brotherhood as enemies and serious threats to the security of the Sheldomar Valley.
The Order observes a single sacred event each year. Called the Fast of the Murder of Bethané, it occurs each Sunsebb 4th. In the week preceding this fast, Knights don simple clothes, repent their failings of the last year, and seek out any they may have wronged to make restitution. Knights who miss this fast for good reason (duties, war, illness, etc.) must, on the first opportunity, seek out a member of the Order’s leadership who can assign the Knight a task to achieve atonement. Knights who ignore this sacred event and the duties it entails are dishonored and thrown out of the Order. During the Fast, the allies of the order are called upon to ensure that no enemy can take advantage of the observance.
Detailed below are the Twelve Precepts of the Knights of the Watch. The two highest precepts are the Grand Precept and the Precept of Judgment. The other ten precepts define the behavior of a Knight, but all ten are shaped by how the two highest precepts define such behavior.
The Highest Precepts
The Grand Precept: A Knight is known by his actions and will lay down his life rather than violate a Precept.
The Precept of Judgment: The Precepts are of mortal hand; a Knight remains true to the spirit of the Precepts and never contrives to find excuses for his actions.
The Precepts of Duty
The Precept of Duty to One’s Order: A Knight remains true to the rules of his Order and the commands of his Order’s leaders.
The Precept of Duty to One’s God: A Knight must remain true to the teachings of his God and those who represent his God on Oerth.
The Precepts of Courage
The Precept of Bravery: A Knight may never flee battle unless failure to do so would place his charges in mortal harm. A Knight shall not allow another to take his place before danger nor dishonor his companions by failing to allow them their rightful share of glory.
The Precept of Chivalry: A Knight must never doubt his prowess or his worth nor give the appearance of such. A Knight mustn’t take unfair advantage of an opponent, striving to show the righteousness of his cause by the fairness by which he fights.
The Precepts of Demeanor
The Precept of Deference: A Knight must pay appropriate honor to those above him and see to it that those below him witness such actions.
The Precept of Mannerliness: A Knight’s manner, behavior, and etiquette must be beyond reproach.
The Precepts of Honor
The Precept of Oath-Taking: A Knight must never violate an oath he has sworn nor swear an oath he cannot keep.
The Precept of Retribution: Knights who have broken an oath must be brought to justice.
The Precepts of Charity
The Precept of Service: The poor, oppressed, widowed, orphaned, and those seeking justice are all worthy of a Knight’s service.
The Precept of Property: A Knight owns nothing; he merely holds items in trust to fulfill the purpose he serves for the Order. A Knight must be generous and never seek the accumulation of wealth for its own sake.