These are some of
the groups and organizations that shape the daily lives of the Velitar.
The Ancient Order of the
Knights of the Velitar. (AKA: The Knights of Velitrium, or, The Knights
of the White Horse):
According to legend and myth the order was founded thousands upon
thousands of years ago in the ancient homeland as the defenders of
Mitra and the Enforcers of the Law. For most of that time the
membership was both hereditary and by merit, but some twelve hundred
years ago that changed. The Knights of the Velitar closed ranks and
became exclusively hereditary. For many centuries this did not prove to
be a problem but then came the Exodus.
During the battles of the Civil War and the hardships of the Exodus and
the early years in the valley, many thousands of the Velitar died.
Amongst them where the best of the Knights. These brave men sacrificed
themselves with selfless courage so as to save the Clan. In this they
succeeded, but in doing so they ruined their Order.
is true in any hereditary organization there is a percentage of
deadwood and craven scum that are present only by the right of their
birth. Always last in a charge and first in a retreat these men
survived the Exodus in disproportionate numbers. Unfortunately bad
blood often begets bad blood and for the last six hundred years the
reputation and quality of the Order has deteriorated. Such was it's
repute that King Barren elected to establish a new order to defend the
Wall rather than entrust it to the Knights of the White Horse.
to give credit where credit is due, it must be said that the Knights of
Velitrium gave exemplary service during the darkest hours of the Great
Rebellion, the Battle of Tralee would not have been won if it hadn't
been for them. Of course it must also be noted that there were many
Knights of Velitrium in Mulgrave's band of refugees that slunk into
Khun Dhagra after the war.
Today, as always, membership is by birth except for the King. At the
coronation of a new King he is also knighted and initiated into the
Order and is elevated to the rank of `Grand Marshal'. This is an
honorary position as leader of the order. The actual leader is the
`Field Marshal' and this slot is always filled with a Knight of `Old
Family'. It should be noted that any son of the King is also knighted
and henceforth the family is entitled to membership in the Order.
`White Book' is an ancient volume in which are recorded the names of
all those families that are eligible for Knighthood. An individual, no
matter how well known, must prove his or her lineage before at least
three Knights before being accepted as a squire. Just because some one
comes from a family who's name appears in the book they are not
automatically eligible for knighthood. It means that a knight may
accept the individual as a squire, however training must be completed
and the individual properly elevated and knighted.
many years the very fact that an individual was of the proper family
virtually guaranteed knighthood. Since the Rebellion the Order has
become a little more discriminating.
(For a PC to be from a
`Booked' family is a 5pt advantage.)
A member of the
Knights of Velitrium always includes the emblem of the White Horse in
his coat of arms.
The Knights of the Wall or
`The Order of Barren':
Founded in 149 by
King Barren the Knight's of the Wall were charged with the defense and
maintenance of Barren's Wall.
structure is forty feet high and thirty feet thick and stretches
completely across the northern end of the valley. It was built to keep
the Jhensari out of Velitrium,
though it doesn't stop all their raids it does reduce them to a
manageable level. Garrisoned full time by some twenty five hundred
infantry and three hundred Knights and reinforced with strategically
placed garrisons of mounted infantry lead by other Knights, the Wall
has proved to be an excellent investment.
Membership in the Order is by merit only and requires the
recommendation of at least two other Knights of the Order. Even the
King requires such a recommendation to be accepted.
nominee must be prepared to live and die on the Wall, or at least close
by. The Order is commanded by a senior knight called the
Captain-General. This man answers only to the King and the Duke of the
Knights of the Wall are highly respected for their courage and
dedication. The Battle of Tralee was the first time that the Knights
engaged in combat, as a group, outside the Frontier and in the company
of the Knights of Velitrium.
the years a number of the Knights of the White Horse have been accepted
into the Order of Barren; but for the most part the Knights of
Velitrium look down their noses at the younger order.
A member of the
Knights of the Wall always includes an image of the Wall in his coat of
740 King Urien had perceived a growing problem. Although the Knights of
the Wall did an excellent job of keeping the Jhensari in check, the
humanoids of the mountains and Khun Dagra were becoming a menace. The
King concluded that the enemy' was not afraid of the Velitar. This he
decided was because for centuries the Velitar had only responded to
provocation. They had fought a purely defensive war bent on keeping the
raiders out and limiting the damage they did when they got in. Urien
decided it was time to fight fire with fire by initiating raids into
the humanoid strongholds. Attacking Khun Dagra was impractical, but
there were many other lairs both in the mountains and the Great Forest.
He quickly discovered that large bodies of troops were unsuitable for
this. The long columns were slow and vulnerable. When they finally
reached their target the enemy was gone or present in such force that
the fight was hopeless. The King decided that the people best
for this were those who dedicated their lives to danger, adventurers.
a rouges gallery of Velitrium's most hardened mercenaries and
adventurers the King hand picked a score of the best and gave them the
"With you is
created a new Order. Your purpose goes
protecting and defending the Kingdom. Your
is to avenge the Kingdom! You are to
penetrate the Wilds and treat with the savages
as they treat with us. Burn their villages,
their crops, terrorize their peoples! Teach
meaning of fear!"
Today membership is by invitation. There are only three people that can
elevate someone into the Avengers, the King, the Captain of the
Avengers, and the King's wizard Mog-Sur. Any noble may recommend
someone for membership but the final decision rests with these three.
There are at present eighteen Avengers in the company.
Despite describing the Avengers as an Order they are not knights. This
step was fiercely resisted by the Knights of the Velitar and for a
variety of reasons the King took the path of least resistance.
Avengers are very popular with the common people. They recognize the
risks associated with the position. In the years preceding the Great
Rebellion the King had increased the membership to fifty and despite
constant replacements the Avengers numbered only eleven when the war
Since its creation those that have lived to retire from the company
have prospered. Many have gone on to titles and high rank. Duke
Demetrius, Countess McCoy, Count Aragorn, Count Sparrowhawk, Bishop
Durr, to name a few. Some have been accepted into the Knights of the
Wall, others have retired to comfort and wealth. There are those that
speculate that the next King may well be chosen from the ranks of the
The Royal Army and the
Army is composed of full time professionals that enlist for six year
hitches. There are garrisons in all the Duchy's either in important
strategic locations like the Gate's of Nygg and the Wall, or at
important and valuable installations like the Royal Mint and gold and
silver mines. They are also found in the major cities, large towns and
in the fortresses guarding the passes in and out of the mountains.
Royal Army numbers about twelve thousand full time troops. These are
the nucleus of the Velitrium defense forces which are filled out by
Militia, mercenaries and Hauscarls. The Royal troops are heavily armed
and armored and are specialized as either crossbowmen, horse archers or
heavy infantry armed with glaive spear or poleax.
Militia, sometimes called inaccurately `the Spear Levy' are part time
soldiers made up of adult males aged fifteen to fifty. The difference
between the Militia and the `Spear Levy' is that the Militia is all
volunteers while the Spear Levy is conscripted from every able bodied
Militia trains three days a month and must be available for one month
of active duty per year plus being on call in an emergency. Militia
troops are trained to use one or more of the following, crossbow,
spear, sling and a hand weapon. They are also taught shield tactics and
are equipped with leather armor, helm shield and the weapons of their
unit. This equipment is kept at the individuals home so that he can
respond on short notice if called up.
Spear Levy is called up only in the event of a major emergency. They
are armed with their personal weapons or, if none are available, from
the armory that every community is obligated to maintain. The law
requires that every town and village keep at least one weapon and one
shield for every male in the community. Generally this means spears
since they are cheap, hence the name.