Red Knight

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Red Knight

Symbol of Red Knight
Title(s) Lady of Strategy
Grandmaster of the Lanceboard
Power Level Demigod
Subservient Deities
Symbol(s) Red Knight chess piece with stars for eyes
Home Plane Warrior's Rest
Alignment Lawful Neutral
Portfolio Planning
Strategy
Tactics
Worshipers Fighters, Gamesters, Monks, Strategists, Tacticians
Domains Law, Nobility, Planning, War
Favored Weapon {{{favored_weapon}}}
Superior
Primary Allies
Primary Foes

Cleric Alignments

LG NG CG
LN TN CN
LE NE CE
Amia Domains Knowledge Law Nobility Protection Strength War [1]
Calm and logical in demeanor, the Red Knight displays a great wealth of compassion, though she is unafraid to send her worshipers to their deaths when necessary to secure the objective of a plan. She rarely raises her voice and is said to love a good joke and have a throaty laugh. She dislikes flighty behavior, and looks unfavorably upon those who switch alliances often or capriciously.

The church of Red Knight, known as the Red Fellowship, is an offshoot of a monastic order within the hierarchy of the church of Tempus that concentrated on planning and strategy and has only emerged from the shadow of the temple of Tempus since the Time of Troubles. Members of the Red Fellowship serve in armies throughout Faerûn, often as high-ranking commanders of elite squads.

Others are well-respected instructors in war colleges. A few are quartermasters skilled at obtaining and managing supplies or establishing and maintaining supply lines over hostile territory. Quite a few clerics of the Red Knight have authored tomes on military strategy.

When not on duty, clerics of the Red Fellowship are known for their love of gaming. Although they avoid games of chance that require the smile of Lady Luck more than the brilliance of the Red Knight, clerics of the faith strive to constantly improve their skills in abstract games of all sorts to further challenge their development of parallel lines of thought and new strategems and to sharpen their ability to read an opponent's intentions.

Clerics of the Red Knight pray for their spells at night before going to sleep, preparing for the day to come. In addition to observing the holy days and important ceremonies of the church of Tempus, the clergy of the Red Night honor two important holy days.

The Retreat is an annual event held every Midwinter's day. During this solemn ceremony, the clergy of the Red Knight assemble for a daylong retrospective on the previous year's campaigns. Strategies are discussed, battles are analyzed, and the accumulated lore is integrated into the church's teachings.

The Queen's Gambit is celebrated on the first day of Tarsakh. During this festival, the clergy of the Red Knight unwinds with a day of feasting and gamesmanship. Daylong tournaments of chess (also known as lanceboard) are held, with the tournament victors receiving recognition, titles of merit, promotions, and, sometimes, a precious gift from the temple armory. Many clerics multiclass as divine champions, fighters, or monks.

History/Relationships

The Red Knight was elevated to divine status by Tempus as a natural counterbalance to Garagos. She loyally serves her patron, whom she regards as a father figure, and seeks to undermine both Garagos and Cyric. She works closely with Torm, who holds a similar disposition, and sees Valkur the Mighty as her best ally in naval combat, even if he is somewhat unreliable.

The Red Knight keeps her true name secret from all but the Lord of Battles, as she realizes that if any being, mortal or divine, were to gain any measure of control over her, they would be privy to all the plots and strategems of rulers throughout Faerûn and the deities throughout the planes.

Holy Strategists of the Red Knight

Holy Strategist is the name by which a cleric of the Red Knight is known, and is an apt title indeed. By devoting themselves to mastering military tactics and strategy, these militant clerics hone their minds and bodies into the deadliest weapons in Faerûn. So impressive is their reputation that armies outnumbering their foes three to one have been known to surrender upon learning that a holy strategist leads the opposing force.

The holy strategists' devotion to discipline and a structured, military lifestyle makes them popular with priests of Torm and Tyr and clerics of the Red Knight often cooperate with priests of Valkur to jointly oversee naval battles. Most holy strategists harbor a certain distaste for clerics of Garagos and almost universally despise Cyricists. They get along well with most other characters who demonstrate an understanding of (or at least a healthy respect for) the use of tactics. Although they are closely allied, priests of the Red Knight and priests of Tempus often find themselves at odds, since many of the Lord of Battle's followers disdain planning, preferring to simply rush into battle.

The Clergy

Collectively, the clerics of the Red Knight are referred to as the Red Fellowship. Many members serve as high-ranking commanders in armies throughout Faerûn, often personally leading elite "special forces" units. Others who are not directly in the employ of the church serve as instructors at military academies or as quartermasters in charge of keeping the troops on the front line fed and supplied.

As benefits the clergy of such a militant goddess, holy strategists are ranked in a rigid hierarchy. Their titles of rank are almost always based on character level, but extraordinary events can earn a holy strategist a promotion or demotion that is not in accordance with level.

The titles used by the Red Fellowship are, in ascending order:

Page (1st-2nd)

Squire (3rd-4th)

Knight (5th-6th)

Knight Quartermaster (7th-8th)

Knight Commander (9th-10th)

Knight Captain (11th-12th)

Lord Knight (13th-14th)

Lord Knight Commandant (15th-16th)

Lord Knight of the Red Standard (17th level and higher)

Recently, as the clergy of the Red Knight has grown in size, the practice of preceding this title with a relative ranking has fallen out of favor. Not surprisingly, many holy strategists also have military ranks bestowed by whatever armies they serve in.

Affiliated Orders

Most paladins who serve the Red Knight are members of the Order of the Red Falcon. Although small in number, the knights of this order are master soldiers who have triumphed against overwhelming odds on numerous occasions.

The Order of the Red Falcon is based at the Citadel of Strategic Militancy, but many of its members travel throughout Faerûn, serving in various armies to teach intriguing battle tactics. Paladins of the Order of the Red Falcon may freely multiclass as Fighters or as clerics of the Red Knight.

Vestments

For ceremonial functions, a holy strategist wears a suit of half-plate or full-plate enameled in a blood red hue. Over this armor, she wears a snow-white tabard embroidered with the Red Knight's Holy symbol. For less formal occasions, holy strategists wear flowing robes of red accented with white. The shade of red depends on the individual's rank, ranging from almost black at lower ranks to brilliant crimson at higher ones. Unlike Tempuran priests, holy strategists are not forbidden to cover their faces with their helms, so they often wear ornate, full-face helmets when they wish to convey a grand impression. A holy strategist’s holy symbol is usually carved from some type of semiprecious red gemstone, but it is treated as a silver holy weapon for the purpose of determining price, weight, and hit points.

Adventuring holy strategists are expected to wear the highest-quality armor they can afford, although their regular armor is not usually red-enameled. The Red Fellowship does not expect its members to keep their armor spotless at all times, but almost all holy strategists do so anyway, as a point of pride. In the field, a holy strategist is expected to carry a banner or shield marked with an easily recognizable symbol (often the Red Knight's holy symbol, but just as frequently a personal coat of arms or insignia) to serve as a rallying point for her allies. Despite this requirement, however, holy strategists are not prohibited from removing or concealing their symbols should doing so provide some tactical advantage.

Places of Worship

The most important temple of the Red Knight is the Citadel of Strategic Militancy, which is located about 40 miles northeast of the City of Baldur's Gate. This massive keep was once the home of a minor noble family that served the goddess. During the Time of Troubles, the Red Knight possessed the last scion of that family, Kaitlin Bloodhawk, to serve as her avatar. Although the citadel was destroyed during that period, it was rebuilt later and now serves as the home of the Red War College, a new but already famous school for military officers.

The walls of the Citadel of Strategic Militancy are built of checkered red-and-white marble and a massive blood-red dome caps the central keep. The chapel is actually an enormous chessboard, where the priests play out ritualized human chess games during religious ceremonies. The first Lady Knight of the Red Standard, Kaitlin Bloodhawk, governs the citadel -- the same woman who served as the Red Knight's avatar during the Godswar.

Other temples to the Red Knight are somewhat rare, although more are built every year. Each is dominated by a red-and-white chessboard floor, which the attendant priests keep polished to a brilliant gleam. Temples to the Red Knight in dangerous lands are often guarded by stone golems built of red or white marble and sculpted to look like enormous chess pieces. Smaller shrines, however, are common in fortresses and military barracks all across Faerûn. Such a shrine might consist of nothing more than a chess set placed in a special alcove where supplicants can go pray for the Lady of Strategy's guidance.

Holy Strategist Characters

Most holy strategists take a few levels of diviner to gain access to information-gathering arcane spells. The following notes provide suggestions on how to create a typical holy strategist character.

Key Abilities: Intelligence and wisdom are the two most important abilities for holy strategists. Wisdom is vital because cleric spells are wisdom-based, and intelligence is important both for diviner spells and for skills such as knowledge (history) that give benefits to planning battle strategy. Strength and constitution are also useful, since holy strategists are expected to enter battle regularly. Charisma can be an important ability as well, particularly for characters who aim towards a prestige class such as Warmaster or Purple Dragon Knight. Since most holy strategists wear armor heavy enough to limit their agility, high dexterity is not vital.

Alignment: Although clerics of the Red Knight can be of any alignment that is one step of Lawful Neutral, most match their deity’s alignment perfectly.

Recommended Domains: War and Planning are usually the best domains for a holy strategist, since they provide an excellent mixture of offensive, defensive and tactical spells. Furthermore, the bonus feats granted by these domains free up the holy strategist's available feat slots for other choices.

Recommended Skills: A holy strategist usually spends her skill points on Concentration, Diplomacy, Knowledge (arcana) Knowledge (architecture and engineering), Knowledge (history), Knowledge (nobility and royalty), Knowledge (religion), Ride, and Spellcraft.

Recommended Feats: The Cosmopolitan and Education feats, both presented in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, are helpful in gaining access to key skills that are cross-class for both clerics and diviners. Combat feats such as those in the Power Attack and Dodge chains are helpful to a front-line cleric, while various divine feats presented in the Defenders of the Faith can help the holy strategist and her allies crush undead foes, stave off poison and disease, and otherwise keep soldiering on.

Recommended Spells: Although holy strategists are war priests, they are most effective when they prepare spells that enhance themselves or their allies (bull's strength, endurance, divine transformation, and similar spells) and spells that provide information about their foes (scrying, commune, augury). A smattering of offensive spells (such as flame strike or searing light) and defensive spells (such as blade barrier or wall of stone) help to round out the holy strategist's spell list.

Multiclassing: As noted above, holy strategists usually take diviner levels in addition to their cleric levels. Typically, a holy strategist advances to 5th level as both a diviner and a cleric and thereafter advances solely in her cleric class. A more martial cleric of the Red Knight might prefer to take fighter or paladin levels rather than diviner levels. Likewise, a holy strategist wishing to focus on commanding troops should consider taking levels in the Warmaster, Warpriest or Purple Dragon Knight prestige classes.

Dogma

War is won by those with the best planning, strategy, and tactics, regardless of the apparent odds. Any fool can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory with fortune's aid. Only a master strategist can ensure lasting victory. War is a series of battles. Losing a battle does not necessarily indicate the war is lost. Seek out your opponent's weaknesses and recognize your own; avoid an opponent's strengths and play to your own.

Only by focusing one's own strengths on the opponent's vulnerabilities can triumph be ensured. In times of war prepare for peace; in times of peace prepare for war. Seek out your enemy's enemies as allies, and be prepared to comprimise. Life is an endless series of skirmishes with occasional outbreaks of war. Be ready - and have a contingency plan.