City of Reign
Chivalric Orders of Alexandria
Alexandria is a city of noble knights and virtuous people. It was founded by a King devoted to protecting civilization against a world filled with barbarity. For that reason, chivalric orders are deeply entrenched in the social order and the knights who follow the precepts of chivalry are accorded great deference and authority in the city. While not exercising formal authority in the government of Alexandria, many of the King’s ministers are also Knights and the Orders are exempted from being restrained by any save members of their own Order or the King himself.
The most prominent Order of Alexandria, by far, is the Most Noble Order of the Radiant Heart. This Order of Knights believes that, “The courage of one can change the destiny of many.” To enter this Order, one must be over age 40, be nominated by a noble and also by a member of this Order. There are only 25 members of the Order. Each carries a tattoo of the Order on the surface of their right hand, the hand they place over their heart when swearing an oath. It is led by Three Prelates:
The Prelate of Progress, who attends to the assignment of the secondary Orders and the cultivation of civilization’s virtues in Alexandria;
The Prelate of Alexandria, who oversees the defenses of the City and sits on the King’s Council by right to guide the state along the path of righteousness; and
The Prelate of the Crusade, who leads the Worldwound Crusade and makes assignments of fortresses and keeps, confirms the battlefield promotions of commanders, and guards against the Crusade becoming corrupted by the evil of the Worldwound.
The Most Noble Order is the culmination of a lifetime of service to the ideals of chivalry but it is not the only order entitling one to be considered a Knight.
The Righteous Hand*
The Righteous Hand is a chivalric order devoted to fighting evil wherever it may fester. Members of the Righteous Hand are obligated to be valorous and brave and to observe their conscience at all times. These Knights are considered a part of the Order of the Radiant Heart and furnish the overwhelming majority of the Knights selected to become members of the Most Noble Order. Most are paladins and clerics but members of other classes do join when called. The Order venerates the example of Torm the Dutiful and never voluntarily relinquish a duty once accepted. This Order is led by a Chancellor who is elected every five years by the members of the Righteous Hand.
The Worldwound Crusade
The Worldwound Crusade is the newest chivalric order, existing for only the last five years. It was founded when the Darkwell opened during the death of the Slayer and the demonic hordes of Bhaal entered the world. Since that time, the Crusade has organized the efforts to stem the tide and drive back the evil that is erupting from the North. A Crusader is often changed by the challenge and many have fallen into darkness. The Crusade holds many keeps in the North, attempting to man them and fortify civilization against the tide of darkness. A Crusader values courage over all other virtues and will not back down from a challenge, even against overwhelming odds. Only the Prelate of the Crusade has sufficient sway over this Order to restrain their zealous commitment to victory at all costs. This Order has many fighters and more than a few rogues and generates the greatest glories as well as the most costly chaos.
The Paladins Penitent are the smallest Order by far and due to their peculiar practices present a challenge in assessing their numbers correctly. Some paladins remain in this Order for years, others for months, but all join it to do penance and restore their own sense of worthiness to embody their calling. Only paladins may join this Order and when they do the take up the mantle of one of the Triad. They shed their former name, identity, and appearance and take up the name of Sir Kay the Kind, Sir Sollust the Twice-Martyred, or Sir Tor the Restorer. They agree to never be in the company of another Paladin Penitent and to deny anyone who attempts to connect them with their prior identities and duties. They taken on a quest outside Alexandria and go to that location vowing not to return until their deeds have added to the esteem of these three sainted Knights. As part of the Order, they shed the benefits of any former gifts they received as Paladins and begin again as a Gallant. Those standing as Sir Kay the Kind grow their hair long but remain clean-shaven, refuse to pass-by anyone who is sick, hungry, or injured without giving aid, and become skilled healers and explorers. Those standing as Sir Sollust the Twice-Martyred go towards the greatest evil they can find, shielding their face from view under his wide-brimmed hat and long full beard, and wielding a great mace modified to release holy water as it is employed. They seek to give their lives twice in battle against evil, trusting that their companions will see them restored to life. Finally, those who take up the mantle of Sir Tor grow a long mustache and wear their hair in two long braids anchored by large rings. They equip themselves with two short swords called “Duty” and “Honor” and set themselves the task of restoring civilization and virtue to some place fallen into darkness. As a result of the vows sworn when joining this Order, a paladin penitent is stripped of any prior gifts and graces and must earn again the power given to that class of holy warriors but they are not considered to be ‘fallen paladins’ in any regard. Instead, they walk the path of the penitent to hone their own souls into better vessels of grace.
The Triad were great paladins in an earlier age, whose legends have been carried forward and enhanced through the ages to the point where many in Alexandria doubt the historicity of the originals, knowing only the acts of the Paladins Penitent to be true and inspiring.