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Knights of the Common Vow

PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2009 7:27 pm
by Mark
Knights of the Common Vow
Many individuals are knighted for a plethora of reasons, from king to faith and many more in between. The Knights of the Common Vow, however, place their devotion not in any entity, but rather into the Creed of Knighthood itself. Dedicated to knighthood for knighthood’s sake, the Knights of the Common Vow work tirelessly to become paragons of what a knight should be and to protect all that require their aid, regardless of the source of strife.

The Knights of the Common Vow were founded in 1378 by Garland Waynwood, but their spiritual history stems from time immortal. Since the foundation of knighthood as an idea, knights have found themselves placed as common heroes throughout history, tale and legend, heard by the high and low born, and across all races. Garland, the son of a House long since having said farewell to its glory days, aspired to be a knight from youth, and struggled against many obstacles in his attempt to reach the glory of knighthood, wishing to emulate the ideal knights presented in the fireside stories.

Garland’s dream came to a reality upon meeting Ser Uthgar Charney, an elderly knight who had been cursed by his god, Tempus, for a failure in his knighthood. Ser Uthgar had been a noble knight who had dedicated himself to many righteous causes, but into his later years, found himself growing impatient. Due to a lapse in judgment, Ser Uthgar sentenced an innocent man to death while the murderer had fled his reach. Cursed by Tempus for his failing with a club foot and unending pain, Ser Uthgar traveled in pursuit of the criminal for years, until he reached Waterdeep and met with Garland. Taking the squire under his wing, Ser Uthgar gave Garland his final lessons in knighthood, while the idealistic Garland restored Ser Uthgar’s confidence in himself and his knighthood.

Working together, Ser Uthgar and Garland eventually found the murderer Ser Uthgar had been seeking, and with the aid of several other adventurers, were able to slay him before the villain was able to harm another innocent person. His quest fulfilled, free of his curse, and mortally wounded, Ser Uthgar knighted Garland as his last act before dying, finally fulfilling the boy’s dream of knighthood.

Eternally grateful to his final mentor, Garland attempted to found an Order of Knights dedicated to Knighthood as the guiding principle. Granted a manor and land by Open Lord Peirgeron the Paladinson of Waterdeep, Garland has opened the Order as a shining new example of heroes for not only the city in which they were founded, by the entire world.

The Knights Today
A fledgling Order of knights, the Knights of the Common vow are still shaping their own identity. Since its inception, Garland has sent missives throughout Faerun, requesting that any knights who wished to join to travel to Waterdeep, to become founding members. Even so, response has been slow, as many older knights find the idea to be unrealistically idealistic, or have other responsibilities to keep them from aiding the newborn Knighthood. Likewise, the rather unrestraining Charter of the Order renders the Knighthood to be rather disorganized, serving as more of a confederacy of knights rather than a cohesive group.

Members of the Knights are charged with the task of being ideal knights in all forms, remaining true to the Creed of Knighthood more than any other task that they are presented with. Free to come and go as they wish, many adventuring knights and chivalric individuals find themselves drawn to the Order, allowing them to remain unfettered by location in the pursuit of noble activity that may take them across many lands.

Sir Garland Waynwood serves as nominal Grand Master of the Knighthood, though most of the administrative affairs are attended to by the Steward, Sir Wilhethas of Candlekeep. When decisions must be made that effect the knighthood as a whole, the Grand Master and six other knights, known as the Knights of Chivalric Virtue, convene and put the matter to a vote. Otherwise, the decision falls to the Grand Master, though any decision he makes can be overridden by the other knights in a vote if need be.

Every member of the knighthood is placed into an honorary lance, made of six knights, with the longest serving member serving as Lance Captain. While the members of the lance are not expected to remain together at all times, they are encouraged to, and are required to band together upon command from their Lance Captain or higher ranking member of the Knighthood. Also, members of the Knighthood are sworn to obey the command of the Open Lord of Waterdeep as if the command had been placed by the Grand Master.

The Knights’ Foes
Newly founded, the Knights have yet to establish any particular foes. Philosophically, the Order is opposed to any group or individuals that would seek to harm the innocent and weak. Combining this with the Knights’ encouragement for members to travel across all lands to perform their knightly duties, the Order may find itself facing many potential adversaries in the near future.

The Knights’ Allies
Despite its failings, the Knights have found themselves with plenty of support from the Lords of Waterdeep, and the common people. Serving as knights of the people in some regard, the new Order has found itself becoming the champions of common causes. Likewise, several more progressive nobles support the Knights, often times more for the ideal than any actual accomplishment the knights had accomplished. As such, members of the Knights will likely not find themselves without at least one friendly face among any crowd.

Other knightly orders, such as the Order of the Aster and the Knights in Silver have pledged themselves as steadfast allies of the Knights of the Common Vow. While the exchange between these Orders are friendly and with mutual respect, there is some opinion that the new Order is too unfocused to truly serve as an effective force in the world. Even so, several beneficent knightly organizations seek to mentor the new Order through any oncoming difficulties and growing pains it may be faced with in the near future.

It is whispered that the Order has also gained the support of the secretive Harpers, though the relationship may be one of subtle manipulation on the part of Those Who Harp.

Membership in the Knights
There are several routes of membership into the Knights of the Common Vow, depending on an individual’s background and training.

The first route is one available to individuals who have already been knighted, whether by another knight, a government representative or religious organization. If a knight petitions to become a member, the individual can be initiated through the sponsorship of three knights who have already been a member of the Order for at least three years. If three knights are unavailable, or do not wish to sponsor a knight, the initiate will be allowed into the knighthood as a probationary member for a year. After the course of the year has come to a close, the knight’s behavior and examples of chivalry will be presented before the assembled knighthood, and all will vote as to accept the individual or not.

The second route is much slower, but is available to any individual who wishes to join. The knight-to-be is placed as a squire of an existing knight, who will train the squire in the Code and Combat of knighthood. After a training of no less than two years, upon the recommendation of their mentor knight, a squire will be knighted as a member of the Order.

The third route falls as an intermediate between the two previous routes. If an individual interested in the knighthood, such as a squire or an ally of the knighthood dubbed too old to be a squire, performs an act of overwhelming chivalry and good, a present member can knight the individual on the battlefield. If the member knighting is a Knight of the Chivalric Virtues, the newly knighted individual is accepted as a full member into the Order. If the member knighting is not, then the newly knighted individual is placed as a probationary member for one year, as presented in the first route.

Charter and Organization
To be included shortly

Knights of the Common Vow (Minor Knight); AL NG, LG, CG, LN; 3000 gp resource limit; Membership 75; Isolated (52 humans, 12 half-elves, 5 dwarves, 3 elves, others 3); Dues 100 gp/year (no cost to join).
Authority Figures: Sir Garland Waynwood (NG Chondathan human bard 9/fighter 2/ Noble Adventurer 1; founder and Grand Master of the knights). Sir Uthgar Charny (CG Chondathan human fighter 14; spiritual predecessor of the knights, deceased).
Important Figures: Sir Wilhethas of Candlekeep (LG Sun Elf Wizard 5/Paladin of Oghma 1; steward of the Order).
Associated Classes: Bard, Cleric, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Swashbuckler
Associated Skills: Diplomacy, Gather Information, Handle Animal, Knowledge (Nobility), Perform, Ride, Sense Motive
Requirement: Members must be either any good alignment or lawful neutral to be accepted into the knighthood. A member is expected to remain true to the Code of Chivalry above all, serve the common good of whatever land the member is in, and to serve as a paragon of knighthood to both commoner and nobility. If called to service by the leaders of the Order, members are expected to serve unless exceptional circumstances make this impossible.
Favored in Guild Benefit: Coming soon.