Monday, December 22, 2008

Teutonic Knights

The Teutonic knights are a German military order modeled on the Order of St John. They have a similar rule and structure and follow those practices regarding the required lineage of knights and high officers. The Teutonic Knights played an important part in the holy land, controlling the major port of Acre and had holdings from the low countries to the Balkans. After the crusaders were pushed from the holy land, the Teutonic knights next aided the Kingdom of Hungary against the Pagan Cumans on the borders of Transylvania but were expelled by force by the king after attempting to place themselves and their possessions under solely papal authority. They next undertook a crusade against the Pagan Prussian tribes and it was this that created their current power base on the Baltic. In addition to the manors and commanderies of Knights, the order maintains hospitals and almshouses in order to carry out their duty of Christian charity.

The knights are efficient fighters and excellent tacticians and have bested forces many times their numbers and now control vast lands, with the wealth and levies to maintain formidable military forces. However, the Christianisation of pagan Lithuania and the ascension of Lithuania's Grand Duke to the throne of Poland put the order in a vulnerable position and they suffered a crushing defeat at Tannenburg in 1410. Though the Emperor-elect wished to support the order, he was prevented by the Electors of the Empire who are jealous of the Order's power

The Order has lost a large number of it's Knights at Tannenburg, but the subsequent peace at Thorn is the more ruinous. The indemnities that must be paid to Poland and Lithuania mean that the Order's lands must be taxed hard, increasing resentment amongst their subjects and drawing much attention away from the crucial task of rebuilding the Order's power. Mercenaries now form an important part of the Teutonic Knight's forces and local nobles now enjoy important roles in these forces as semi-lay brothers in the order.

Devices and colours: White surcoat with a Black Cross. Brothers are forbidden to incorporate this into personal coats of arms.

Skills: Military Arts, Melee Arms, Maneuvering, Animal Handling, Theology.

Secret Masteries:

Warrior Monks (Theology (Meditation) Mastery) Through devotion to their holy cause and observance of the vows of their order, including regular prayer and meditation, the Knight gains the ability to use their Theology (Meditation) Skill to resist arcane, pagan and satanic influences. They also gain knowledge of St Mary.

Holy Knighthood (Military arts (Command) Mastery), the novice is Knighted (if of sufficient station or deed) and the accorded the right to command his own Gleve (Lance) of lesser soldiers. If he is unable to attain the rank of knight he will be styled "Sergeant" and hold the same position of command. He will be granted a sword of good quality along with armour and horses appropriate to his station. His sure presence will give +1 to defense rolls for his Gleve (any party may act as a Gleve outside of battle) when in formation.

Bulkwark (Military arts (Command) Grand mastery) The Knight attains one of the Order's high offices: OrdenMarschall (Order Marshal), Gross Hospittler (Hospitaller), GrossTressler (Grand Treasurer), OberstTrappier (Quartermaster), or Landmeister (provincial Master) and in addition to having a Commanderie of Knights (not to mention the associated Gleves) under his direct authority, he also may requisition resources and other Gleves anywhere in the Order's possessions.

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