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So I noticed in the Hellknight faction description in the Inner Sea World Guide that there are numerous lesser orders of the Hellknights, most of which are not named. After reading on the forums the discussions surrounding how fitting it is for Paladins of different faiths being drawn to becoming Hellknights, I thought I'd try my hand at naming and fleshing out one of these small orders.
The concept began along the lines of: "What sort of lesser order would paladins of faiths other than Iomedae be drawn to?", and came up with the Order of the Scales. So, may I humbly present:
Order of the Scales
A small order, with fewer than 100 active Hellknights, the Order of the Scales are firm believers in the ideal of allowing transgressors to repent their sins. It is their belief (and one that has gotten little more than a knowing look by the mysterious members of the church of Pharasma) that when one commits a sin against his fellows - in effect, by breaking the laws - then he has put himself into the debt of society, and marked his soul.
In order for the law-breaker to repay this debt (usually referred to as “balancing the scales”) and to erase this mark so as to find peace in the afterlife, he must work until he has made amends. Thus, Hellknights of this order are loathe to use deadly force unless necessary, or against a foe that is utterly unrepentant of the heinous crimes and evils it has committed. Though this preference for arresting criminals and requesting service to the community as punishment is often derided by other orders, one should not mistake the Order of the Scales for being any more merciful or compassionate than any other. Even the smallest infraction of law is seen as something to be punished, and they are relentless in their pursuits. Most often, they target banditry and corruption, which generally means that most of the order is constantly on the move, following rumours of such things across the Inner Sea region.
Though nominally based at Castle Dunnarc in the northern Menador Mountains of Cheliax, in truth the small fort is usually only home to a few active Hellknights at a time, along with their Armigers and the various servants and slaves that are always found in such places. In keeping with their doctrine, only those who have been sentenced to slavery due to properly recorded and convicted crimes will be found in service to the Order of the Scale - slavemasters who have attempted to sell kidnapped men and women from other lands have swiftly felt the wrath of the Hellknights.
Older members of the order often elect to remain at the fort as its protectors and keepers of knowledge, more than once proving to the occasional wandering band of Orcs that a seemingly-harmless group of old men and women are not something to be taken lightly!
Paladins are relatively common in the ranks of the Order of the Scale, especially ones that follow the teachings of Abadar, though those who worship Sarenrae and Iomedae also are represented.
Almost a dozen of these holy warriors are present within the ranks, and it perhaps unsurprising that those with an evil bent are almost non-existent within this particular order. Still, even the most pure-hearted of these Hellknights are exemplars of law and order, and see the punishment of the evil in the world as secondary to bringing peace and stability to an otherwise unstable region.
Aaaaaawesome! I love it at first glance!
When I have time, I'll try and remember to respond more, and to post the three (newly created!) Hellknight Orders that have arisen from our Council of Thieves game: the Order of the Angel, the Order of the Flames (not to be confused with the order of the pyre: that's a totally different Order!), and the most important order of all, the Order of the Sewer!
No, seriously, it's the most important of the Orders. No, I'm not joking.
(Okay, so I say it with some amount of humor, but, in many ways, it really, truly, no-for-realsies is the most important Order of them all.)
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Okay, so it took some editing.
Well, first, it took some finding.
For the record, I use two things for these orders that aren't found int the typical Order stat-blocks (though I quasi-house-rule similar things for those orders as well): Significant Traits and Significant Spells.
Significant Traits are traits that a hellknight who is part of that order can take, regardless of the normal limitations on taking traits, so long as they can take a trait. For example, although advantageous distraction is a racial trait, a creature (whether or not they are a goblin) who is part of the Order of the Sewer may take that trait, so long as they can take a trait - even if they have another racial trait.
Significant Spells are spells that appear on the spell-list of creatures that follow the hellknight order. Thus, it doesn't matter what class you are, you have access to the spell in question. If the spell allows a saving throw and is not normally on your class list, it's equal to the lowest spell-level on another class' list for your class. If the spell not allow a saving throw and is not on your class list, it is instead equal to the highest. Otherwise, it appears as normal for your class.
Order of the Sewer
"Refuse must be properly channeled or properly repurposed."
Citadel Ghetto in Westcrown's Dospera
Leaders Lichtor-King Jinkoo, Master of Blades Crommat, Paravicar Bugbutt
Symbol A sewage grate
Armor A smooth rounded helm with wide "wings" (for goblin ears), and special piecemeal hellknight armor (stone lamellar cuirass, steel lamellar thigh guards and leggings made of metal reinforced with leather and cloth, and arm pieces constructed of horn plates laced together in parallel rows and reinforced with leather)
Weapon gauntlet (spiked or otherwise) or whip
Reckoning taking a gauntleted fist to the face, the gut, or the leg
Significant Spell: blot (used on heretical tomes), limp lash
Significant Traits: advantageous distraction, blade of mercy, carefully hidden, charming, dog-sniff-hate, hellknight ancestry, iron liver, resilient, purity of faith
The Order of the Sewer is a Hellknight order founded in 4709 AR by the Goblin Jinkoo (previously a "member" of the Order of the Rack), after a more or less accidental suggestion by one of the heroic Children of Westcrown to "get them organized and disciplined".
The Order of the Sewer is the first predominantly goblin Hellknight order, and the first to throw their lot in with the rising power of the Children of Westcrown. Though unruly for a Hellknight order, the goblins quickly took to the idea of blotting out and destroying evil written things, and, with the heroes' help, managed to settle down, become civilized, and actually begin functioning as a genuine Order, much to the chagrin of most people.
Their primary duty is to seek out criminal activity below the surface of the city and eliminate it, especially seditious ("seducing?" "decisive?" "delicious!") groups, and especially those that implement the use of the horrible thing: writing. *Shudder*
They also work tirelessly to bring order to the sewers of Westcrown, and to keep those passages safe, thoroughly maintained, and very well-marked, making travel and transportation by many of those locales very convenient... for those who know how to read the unwritten signs. They hunt down any monsters and forcefully recruit and either convert or kill (by accident) any goblins that seek to move into Westcrown's sewer system. Dogs and horses they capture (if possible) to submit them to "processing" (which they generally erroneously believe to be some sort of horrible destruction) by the ones they organized under in the first place: the Children of Westcrown.
Lichtor-King Jinkoo has successfully created a variant of the Measure in pictographic form integrated into every surface of Citadel Ghetto, and the gist of the Chain in pictographic chains embedded into the floor of his throne room and the throne itself.
Lictor-King Jinkoo is in a unique position of being both king of goblinkind (or at least those that live under him) as well as being a Lictor. While most other Hellknights find this dubious at best, his unique dual-position has enabled him to bring order to an otherwise violent and crazed people, visibly demonstrating the victory of civilization in the face of savagery in a traditionally destructive race, and has forced them to question their typical insistence of forgoing all other duties and allegiances in becoming a Hellknight.
Lictor-King Jinkoo holds religious devotions to "the Angel" daily, both privately and in public, and quietly loves her thoroughly.
Order of the Flames
"When chaos rises, burn it down."
Citadel Ghetto in Westcrown's Dospera/The Maggot Tree
Leaders Vicarious Flemenka, Master of Blades Pee-yew-wee, Paravicar Umsnot
Symbol A fire
Armor A helm burning with continual flame, red-stone lamellar cuirass, reinforced copper lamellar thigh guards and leggings made of metal reinforced with orange leather and yellow cloth, and arm pieces constructed of orange-and-red stained horn plates laced together in parallel rows and reinforced with red leather
Weapon fire (of any kind) [they make excessive use of the firebrand and protection from energy spells] or a bladed scarf
Reckoning any one to four of the following spells: blistering invective (the most common), burning disarm, burning hands, fire sneeze, fire of judgment, flame blade, flaming sphere, heat metal, hellfire ray, produce flame, or pyrotechnics
Significant Spell: blistering invective, heat metal, and fire sneeze; continual flame; and firebrand and protection from energy
Significant Traits: burnished skin, flame touched, focused burn, hellknight ancestry
The Order of the Flame is (once again) relatively unique within the broader sprectra of both Hellknight orders and goblinkind in general. Made up of almost exclusively spellcasters (similar to the Order of the Gate) and almost exclusively goblins (similar to the Order of the Sewer) this order follows the creed that controlled fire is the best solution to chaos. A splinter group from the Order of the Sewer who disagreed with King Jinkoo's insistence that "burning it wasn't the answer" they (in a surprisingly orderly fashion) organized themselves, took over a wing of Citadel Ghetto, and eventually surrounded the Maggot Tree in order to allow their leader, Vicarious Flemenka, to seek the Well of Ether as Jinkoo had before her.
They have camped out ever since, periodically having some groups returning to Citadel Ghetto for supplies, waiting for permission to lawfully enter the Maggot Tree and drink from the Well of Ether. During their sojourn, they have taken it upon themselves to hunt down and acquire more of the forest goblins, either training them to join the Order of the Flame, or transferring them to the Order of the Sewer, whichever Vicarious Flemenka decides best (those deemed to go to the Order of the Sewer may be vetoed by Lictor-King Jinkoo, however he has yet to actually do so); they also capture all other sentient living creatures and tend to process them for imprisonment by the official Wiscrani government.
With the Order of the Flame's influence, the Hagswood has successfully become a phenomenally safer place, and accurate maps have been crafted. There has even been substantial recruitment of barghests as well.
The Order of the Flame actually has good relationships with the fey of the forest, bizarrely enough, having come to terms with them under some action or another by way of Jinkoo. They worship "the Angel" as Jinkoo does.
Order of the Angel
"Within Her desire, order flourishes; by Her Passion, chaos ends."
Tanarick House in Westcrown's Dospera
Leaders Lichtor Gonville Chard, Master of Blades Morvius Crispin, Paravicar Imperia Wintrish-Krupt
Symbol the Angelous (a winged woman in some ways similar to a more sensuous Sarenrae symbol with Iomedaen sunburst around the head)
Armor An ornate, ancient-style helm with extremely sensuous illustrations (molding, crests with bas-reliefs, 'spines' that are sculptures of entwined individuals, and sensuous background inlays), and specially crafted armor with similar imagery and the Angelous impressed prominently on every major surface. The helms have Abyssal inlays promising ardor, order, devotion, and mercilessness.
Weapon bastard sword or whip
Reckoning experiencing some form of negative energy (such as inflict light wounds or vampiric touch, or even enervation) while maintaining focused meditation in the midst of ongoing distraction and pain
Significant Spell: scholar's lock, vampiric touch, waves of ecstacy
Significant Traits: carefully hidden, charming, hellknight ancestry, indomitable faith, iron liver, memorable, pain is pleasure, purity of faith, steel skin
The Order of the Angel is a Hellknight order founded in 4709 AR by the Lichtor Gonville Chard (previously a paralichtor of the Order of the Rack), after being swayed by Angel Trameldor that they could no longer afford to refuse to act.
The Order of the Angel is often considered heretical or compromised by other Hellknight orders (with the possible exception of the Order of the Scourge... and even that order is unsure, at best), as they are a religious order that focuses almost exclusively on the will of the Angelous, the ancient patron of the Dunblood people and House Angelous; because their various activities, stylistic portrayal, and services are all exceedingly sensuous in nature; and because they are a schism group splintered originally from the Order of the Rack. Despite this, the Order of the Angel has proven to be one of the most effective Orders in terms of swiftly and thoroughly eliminating criminal activity, keeping ordered peace, and bringing the victory of civilization and self-determined law. Due to this, the fact that it was Lichtor Chard's own actions that directly led to the successful creation of two goblin Orders, and that the members of the Order are only marginally able to be considered 'human' (as all are outsiders or goblinoids, thus highly limiting their actual size and influence) the other Orders have done nothing to destroy them... yet. They have a strongly antagonistic relationship with the Order of the Rack, and generally feel that said order no longer serves a purpose (and lost sight of their true goal when recreated by Thrune).
Their primary duty is to root out and destroy organized criminal activity, fifth-column infiltrators, insurgency, and terrorism; as well as to destroy infernal and abyssal influences and eliminate fiendish soul bargains, cults, and corruption. This is primarily accomplished through the heavy use of spell-like abilities. Predominantly acting out of Westcrown, although extremely small, they have a disproportionate amount of influence on the city and surrounding environs.
They also work tirelessly to bring order to the streets, commerce, immigration, and underworld of Westcrown and local environs, carefully monitoring trade and business when they can, as well as ensure the subtle use of suggestion to enable them to steer people away from lawless behavior and toward lawfulness.
They are the only Order to have every member fully memorize both the Measure and the Chain (accomplished by way of magical spells).
The Order holds religious devotions to the Angelous daily, both privately (as personal and group devotions) and open public.
These three orders come from our Council of Thieves game and are recently established (very late in the year).
It's worth noting that none of these orders get along well with either Pharasma's faith, or traditional goblin faiths for various reasons. Or archdevil or any sort of demon cults, for that matter.
Religiously, the closest allies tend to come from Iomedae followed by Abadar, Arshea, Erastil, Sarenrae, and Shelyn; and then Asmodeus, Irori, and (really oddly) Calistria and Urgathoa. While entirely unable to be clerics and Hellknights in the orders, Calistrians of all strips still find their way to being allies of these orders in a bizarre alliance that actually furthers both groups' goals.
If you're curious what the Order of the Angel's helmets look like, viola, but with wings, especially a combination of this (basic form and bas-relief moding/engraving), this (color and jaw-depth) and this; however add wings, and a more sensuous saranrae-like carving (like a tiny metal statue) at the front of the crest, with an Iomedaen starburst for the hair, and fiendish features (such as a tail).
Take the chibi (ish) Sarenrae symbol, make the halo more Iomedaen burst, the wings more bat-like, and place an arrow pointing down (from neck to feet), and you've got the basic gist of her holy symbol.
The Dunbloods are a racial group in our game that was created by said creature more or less accidentally over a thousand years ago. When she was first redeemed, she led a large population of hobgoblins, orcs, and giantkin to the material plane from the realm of eternal night they'd long been trapped within, after teaching them how to be lawful good. Though significant, they paled in comparison to the human population and (at her guidance) bred into them and each other. Most of the population has split into tribal groups that dwell in southern Cheliax, while some become so integrated as humans, they're hardly recognizable as anything else. These latter kept themselves organized as a group called House Angelous, who function a little like a mystery cult, but really more like a very (very, very) extended family group. They have trade relations with the people they call the 'Dunbloods' (they don't consider themselves anything other than human, though they are), and none of the groups have their own ancient history correct (the myth has gotten... blurred through the years), though all the groups skew toward lawful good (though there are all alignments represented). The Dunbloods in general tend toward the worship of Erastil (with a very misunderstood Abadar and Sarenrae being close seconds), while House Angelous tends to worship the Angelous itself (a poorly understood or recalled ancestor figure).
In our game Gonville was of House Angelous, and hence the PCs were able to use a shared connection to establish strong relations.
The goblins of Westcrown have nothing to do with the dunbloods, but were given mass Atonements (which they accepted with defeat and diplomacy) to become lawful good... hence the Hellknight orders are possible.
Point in fact, the reason the Order of the Sewer is so important is because it represents a fundamental shift for a truly massive goblin culture. They have become lawful good, and are using their own traditional weaknesses and failures as a strength for the purpose of strengthening and reinforcing civilization. That changes everything.
Goblins bringing order from chaos for the good of all. Goblins teaching goblins how to be heroes. Goblins having a civilization that builds instead of destroys. (It's especially poignant, as part of the Angelous's portfolio is repurposing: especially of people, but it is reflected in the goblins here in both that way, as they're still goblins, just reformed, and in it's more normal concept, as they repurpose garbage and waste constantly).
Also, if you're curious, Citadel Ghetto is the name of a large region of the Dospera (the region of the city that had been abandoned and was now illegal) that was collapsed (sort of on accident, sort of over time) that, after making an agreement with Whitechin (a villain), they used a lyre of building to construct an enormous region out of all the collapsed buildings, refuse, and other materials, creating a walled city to hold the goblins (there were few doors, most of those were to the sewer, and all of which were locked from the outside). Huge letters were crafted indelibly in the stone outer walls: "HERE BE GOBLINS, ALL OTHERS STAY OUT; NO HORSES OR DOGS, EITHER!"
Hence, it became an enormous fortress from garbage, as well as a ghetto for goblin kind. Later, when Whitechin sought to betray them, they specifically sought out (by divination), "the most loyal goblin, ever" who, as it turns out, is Jinkoo, a goblin that lived under the Tanarick House (a Hellknight building for local operations away from Citadel Ravid), whom they'd accidentally run into once before. They'd seen him defeating some goblins who we're attacking some young Hellknights, and actually bothered to help, despite the fact that those same Hellknights were attempting to arrest them. (They subsequently informed Jinkoo that they were "entirely allowed to be down here" - neglecting to tell him by whom they are permitted - and convinced him to help his Hellknight allies, unconscious and bleeding as they were, to get to safety, after healing the little guy.)
Hence later choosing him to replace Whitechin.
Also, I really like the Order of the Scales. Consider them a part of my world-canon.
In their ancient history, you could have them be 'descended' from one of Ruel's original cadre who worshipped those gods, but later left the first core of Hellknights with a few apprentices to create the Order of the Scales. They'd have an ancient pedigree, in that case, and be highly respected (though they would have had to agree that supporting Thrune was the only way to end the horrible civil war at some point in their past, or been out of Cheliax during that time). If they are more recently formed, then they likely would have done so when Thrune gave a mandate that more orders be formed a couple of decades ago.
Hope that helps!
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I think that, while the latter would be rather nice, it probably wouldn't be very fitting with the size and prestige that the order has - or rather, the lack thereof. Rather, I think it would be one of the newer orders, formed out of a disparate group of dissatisfied paladins, and those who supported their views, from several different orders.
Loving the Order of the Sewer, it is fantastic!
Glad you like it! Feel free to claim it for your own games, if you like.
If they were a newer order, they were probably formed within the last 70-80 years. 4638 AR was when Thrune sponsored the formation of new Hellknight Orders, with the assistance of the (Lawful Good-leaning) Order of the Scourge (the oldest Order that has been continually active since it's first founding), near the end of the Chelish civil war.
There were a few older Orders that were organized around the defense of the Chelaxian borders that were disbanded (due to heresy and lack of discipline), before the foundation of new orders (many of which sought and gained re admittance into the new orders). They could look to the Order of the Scourge for inspiration, in that case: the 'Scourge declined Thrune's offer to be their personal guard to their face and, after narrowly not being executed for such an insult put their new base of operations right outside of Egorian, because they were hardcore enough to let Thrune know that the infernal house would be watched, and that the 'Scourge who helped put them there would not hesitate to leverage their might to remove them, if they believed that Thrune was causing more discord than it was solving.
Alternatively, if a paladin rose through the ranks of the 'Scourge, he could have been named a Lichtor of a new Order even more recently. That's certainly possible as well. I'll post details of what that looks like, if you want, later.
One error in the stats above: the Order of the Angel is found in the Spera, not the Dospera. Citadel Ghetto is in the Dospera, however.
I didn't note it here, but there are a total of 1,300-ish goblins in the two Orders. The 'Sewer has the largest at 800, but the 'Flame has a respectable 500 or so.
The 'Angel, by contrast, has only a couple of dozen to thirty (I'll have to check).
After looking it up, according to the Hellknight entry in the Faction Guide, at 45 TPA, if you're a Master of Blades or Paravicor; by spending 1 CPA, you gain the title of Lictor (or Vicarious if you're a caster).
1) (1) base of operations (a Hellknight Citadel, in this case Castle Dunnarc)
<no specific listed levels>
2) (1) lictor (he's the main guy, the one that organizes all of this; there can be only one <in a given order at one time>)
<no specific listed levels>
3) (1) master of blades or paravicar
<no specific listed levels>
4) (5) paralictor
<no specific listed levels>
5) (5) maralictor
<usually considered a 5th level fighter>
6) (25-40) hellknights [5-8 for each paralictor]
(one per paralictor may be a signifier instead) <usually considered a 3rd level fighter>
7) (70-100) armigers [4-6 per maralictor, and 10-20 per paralictor]
<usually considered 2nd level fighters>
8) (35-70) support staff [5-10 non-combatants for each paralictor, for the master of blades, and for the lictor to handle the needs of their subordinates]
<usually considered 1st level commoners and experts>
The support staff is only granted to/acquired by those who are permanently assigned to a Citadel, so a highly mobile order, such as the Order of the Scales likely loses some of those; despite having a Citadel, I'd imagine the paralictors are rather on the move, and maybe even the master of blades or paravicar, leaving only the support staff for the lictor himself.
(Smallest New Total: 112-162)
Although the levels are indicated in the Faction Guide, in the book they refer to, all of the Hellknights except for the Paralictor that you come into contact with are fighters 5/hellknight 1s, with the following exceptions:
- the a ranger 7/hellknight 2
- the a sorcerer 11
- the a warrior 1 (the goblin Jinkoo, previously mentioned)
There are, in all, 38 hellknights noted as being around the city, not including the three unique ones listed above.
Earlier in the adventure, there were 22 armigers, six hellknights (left undefined in that adventure), and one signifier. The armigers were noted as being "warrior 1"; the hellknights were left undefined, and the signifier was a "cleric 1".
That should let you know that there is some variance in how the orders work and function: the above should just be taken as suggestions rather than hard rules for who's actually there.
The lack of a support staff (or making them all fighters or rangers) would, I think, greatly help your flavor. I would tend to suggest thinking of the smallest numbers on the variable ranges as benchmarks and leveling them up somewhat - your group are small, beleaguered, and active, meaning they level up faster (in theory). Switching fighters for paladins is likely a good idea, too.
Hope that helps!
EDIT: In case it wasn't clear, the above is for a newly minted Order, if desired. Thus, a more established order is likely different as well.
EDIT: If you're curious, that's an article about them. A good one. :D