Planejammer Campaign Setting
Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom
Founded -108 CY
Members Aerdi warriors
Symbol Crowned Aerdy sun guarded by a red arrow and a white axe (no longer used)
Headquarters [former] Morshaldin Castle
Enemies Arendagrost, Demogorgon, St Kargoth and other death knights, Ivid I-V
The Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom (also known as the Order of Knight Protectors of the Great Kingdom) is the most fabled chivalric order in the Flanaess. Once well-respected, powerful, and influential, the order is now regarded as but a shadow of its former self. However, many other knightly orders of the Flanaess have modeled themselves after the Knight Protectors of old, including the Knights of Holy Shielding and the Knights of the Hart.
The order’s old heraldry consisted of the crowned sun of Aerdy guarded by a red arrow and a white axe, but this device is no longer used.
The titular head of the Knight Protectors is known as the Knight Commander. The Knight Commander is chosen from the ranks of the Knight Protectors by the Council Gallant, made up of the eldest and wisest knights of the order.
In earlier times, the order was headquartered at Morshaldin Castle in the Great Kingdom, but now most of the order dwells in Ratik.
The Knight Protectors are the greatest defender of the common weal in the Great Kingdom, striving to embody all the greatness of Aerdy. The order seeks to restore the Great Kingdom to its former glory, under the just hand of a lawful monarch.
The code of the Knight Protectors is known as the Rules of Parslin. The order values law, honor, and valor.
Founding of the order
Originating in the Great Kingdom of Aerdy, the Order of Knight Protectors was founded in 537 OR (or -108 CY) when a group of young men, mostly farmers and woodsmen, foiled an attack on the traveling train of Grand Prince Almor II. A winged horror had been released by Ur-Flan insurgents, who ordered the beast to attack the royal tent city, in hopes of assassinating their conquering overlord. The beast was slain and Grand Prince Almor II was saved, but most of the young men perished in the battle. Almor II, impressed by the courage of his saviors, raised the survivors up as his “Knight Protectors.”
Unlike other chivalric orders of the Great Kingdom at that time, whose ranks were filled through royal appointment or by selling knighthoods (such as the Knights of Medegia), the Knight Protectors chose its own members via contests of courage and skill. Hextorians and Heironeans alike were welcome to join the ranks. Though there were strong rivalries among the two groups, violent conflicts were rare, as the order fostered a common goal of a safe and united Great Kingdom under a lawful and honorable ruler.
Caldni Vir of the Shamblefield
In 108 CY, during the reign of Overking Manshen, the Knight Protectors were at the vanguard of Aerdi forces in a campaign to uproot the Frost Barbarians from the modern-day Bone March. This campaign culminated in 109 CY when Caldni Vir of Edgefield, a young Heironean Knight Protector, led a large force of Aerdi cavalry to victory at the Battle of the Shamblefield. For his service, the Overking raised Vir up as the first marquis of the Bone March.
Kargoth the Betrayer
In the autumn of 202 CY, during Overking Jiranen’s reign, the esteemed Knight Commander of the order, Lord Nidramon the Hextorian died. Most Aerdi assumed that the Council Gallant would choose Lord Kargoth of Mansbridge, a paladin of Heironeous and the greatest knight of his day, as Nidramon’s successor. Much to everyone’s surprise, the Council proclaimed Sir Benedor Monlath of Chathold as the best example of the tenants of the order. Kargoth, emboldened by fawning cronies, nobles, and schemers who had assured him of his elevation, was incensed.
In 203 CY, at Benedor’s investiture, Lord Kargoth challenged Sir Benedor to a duel. Though Kargoth was the more skilled of the two, Benedor managed to hold his own until sunset, at which time the challenge was declared over and Benedor was named the victor, as Kargoth had failed to defeat his opponent in the allotted time, as required by the Rules of Parslin. Rejecting Benedor’s overtures of reconciliation, Kargoth rode off in anger and shame.
On the way back to his castle, Kargoth discovered an ancient shrine, where he was seduced by the demon prince Demogorgon, who transformed the former paladin into the first death knight.
As ordered by his new master, Kargoth assembled thirteen of his staunchest allies and fellow Knight Protectors to plot revenge. These were Lord Monduiz Dephaar, Lady Lorana Kath of Naelax, Prince Myrhal of Rax, Sir Maeril of Naelax, Sir Farian of Lirtham, Lord Andromansis of Garasteth, Sir Oslan Knarren, Sir Rezinar of Haxx, Lord Thyrian of Naelax, Sir Minar Syrric of Darmen, Duke Urkar Grasz of Torquann, Sir Luren the Boar of Torquann, and Lord Khayven of Rax.
Kargoth led his allies on a raid of the Temple of Lothan near Rel Deven, in order to seize an ancient Oeridian artifact known as the Orb of Sol. Using foul magic granted to him by Demogorgon, Kargoth used the Orb to deliver his allies to his master, transforming them into death knights as well, and also to unleash a great demonic horror known as Arendagrost, Maw of the Abyss upon the land.
The beast began making its way toward Rauxes, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. Sir Benedor and the other Knight Protectors rushed to intercept the creature, and eventually slew it, though they were too late to save some members of the imperial family, who had been caught near Carnifand. Many of the order also fell to Arendagrost, and Benedor and the surviving Knight Protectors vowed vengeance on Kargoth, Demogorgon, and the other death knights.
In 213 CY, an Age of Great Sorrow, proclaimed by Selvor the Younger in 198 CY, was confirmed by the Royal Astrologers of Rel Astra. Overking Jiranen’s successor, Zelcor, distanced himself from the order, perhaps blaming the Knight Protectors for the chaos wrought by Kargoth. A century later, the order had declined significantly, while Kargoth and the other death knights had only grown more powerful. Many more Knight Protectors were lost as Kargoth and his fellows began hunting them down.
In 443 CY, Ivid I gave orders to have the last of the Knight Protectors hunted down, as the order opposed his reign due his gaining the throne through assassination. Though the order survived Ivid and his successors, the remaining Knight Protectors were widely dispersed. Many found refuge in the Bone March, where their order was welcome, while others fled to Almor. When the Bone March fell in 563 CY, those resident knights fled further north, to Ratik. When Almor fell during the Greyhawk Wars, the knights there moved to Rel Deven. Others are said to dwell in the Adri and Grandwood Forests, while others joined the Iron League in Sunndi.
The future of the Knight Protectors is uncertain. Though Ivid V’s passing has brought much talk of a revival, none of the successor states of the Great Kingdom seem to have an interest in supporting the order.