Greyhawk: From the Ashes
Rangers of the Gnarley Forest
This “little” group consists of more than two hundred rangers. They come from all over to protect the vast expanse of the Gnarley Forest. There is no set order of command except for several Ranger Knights that gather every two to three months to exchange information. Young rangers are taken in under one of these Knights and trained although rangers of any level may join by finding one one of these Ranger Knights, be interviewed and pass several woodland tests.
The rangers are a close group and will come to one another’s aid as soon as possible. Even the animals of the Gnarley Forest seem to cooperate with them by dragging wounded rangers to safety or alerting to possible dangers. Their main goal is to control lumbering in the wood, flush out bandits and protect the people of the Gnarley Forest.
They also must stay close the the forest. Any extended leave of over six months must be approved by a Ranger Knight and long journeys away without good cause will usually result in the ranger being asked to turn in his/her insignia of oak leaves.
Knights of Holy Shielding
These knights are the backbone of the army of the Shield Lands. The Knights of Holy Shielding are paladins and young men hoping to join their ranks usually start as squires. They are well respected in their homeland but have become hated and despised by Iuz and his following with whom they battle.
The head of the Knights of Holy Shielding is the Knight Commander, who leads the Order in all matters. The Knight Commander is traditionally the Earl of Walworth, the Shield lands province containing the nation’s capital, Admundfort.
Following the Knight Commander are a number of Knights Bannerette. These knights have served the Order with valor and distinction, therefore earning the right of bearing their own banners into battle. These knights are often titled and landed as well. They command battalions of the Order’s knights, and advise and report to the Knight Commander.
Knights make up the next level of the order, and may be addressed as “Sir” or “Lady.” Knights who hold their own lands are known as vassal knights, while those who don’t are known as knights-errant. These are the most commonly-encountered knights of the Order.
Squires are junior knights who have yet to swear their oaths, and therefore are not considered official members of the Order. They usually serve the higher ranks as grooms, servants, and assistants.
Pages are usually promising youths assigned to assist squires, often performing the most menial of chores, which serve to teach lessons in humility that serve them well later in life.
The military organization of the Knights of Holy Shielding is categorized as follows:
- The Knight. The smallest unit in the Order, this consists of a single knight, his squire, and any other entourage.
- The Shield. This unit consists of six knights and their retinue.
- The Lance. Four shields make a lance, which is usually under the command of a senior Shield Knight who has years of experience.
- The Banner. A banner consists of four lances. Young knights bannerette command these units.
- The Battalion. Made up of four banners, the battalion is the largest military formation in the Order. Senior knights bannerette command these units.
Knights of the Watch
These were the best of the best from the armies of Bissel, Gran March, Geoff and Keoland. They were there to protect from Baklunish threats from the west. Once their number was 6,500 but now due to the giant invasion of Geoff and the attack from Ket into Bissel their number is now only 2,500. They use traditional warfare techniques that cost them dearly when dealing with the humanoids, giants, and groups from Ket.
The Knights of the Watch are divided into two groups. The first is referred to as the Watchers. They stand on their traditions and see no reason for changing them. The second is called the Dispatchers. They tend to split into scouting parties and ambush humanoids in Geoff that shouldn’t be there.
They both fight to protect Gran March and Keoland, but while the Knights of the Watch wait for enemies to come, the Knights of Dispatch actively go out and attack them.
Knights of the Order of the Hart
This group of knights was designed to make sure that Furyondy, Veluna and High Folk kept their freedom. The nobles and lords of these areas kept their own men-at-arms and guards but to gather them together took time and this problem was solved with the Knights of the Order of the Hart who vow to always be battle ready. They are divided into three branches.
The Knights of the Order of the Hart spend their time drilling, protecting the strongholds and are well respected by the people of their nations. They do have a bit of a rivalry going on between themselves and the Knights of Shielding.
- Knights of Furyondy
The Knights of Furyondy is the largest branch of the Knights of the Hart; as of 586 CY, the order had 170 knights, as well as many other warriors associated with it. About 50 members died during the Greyhawk Wars; recruitment of new members, and strengthening the Furyondyian border with the Empire of Iuz has been a primary focus since that time. The order accepts humans and half-elves.
- Knights of Veluna
The Knights of Veluna are the most politically active branch of the Knights of the Hart. All of its 120 members are landowners, and encourage resolution of disputes with diplomacy and negotiation as much as with martial prowess. The membership once consisted exclusively of warriors, but recently has begun admitting clerics with strong combat abilities. Most members worship Rao; worship of Mayaheine, St. Cuthbert, or Heironeous is also seen, though uncommon. The order accepts humans and half-elves.
- Knights of the High Forest
All forty-five members (as of 591 CY) of this order are elven. They are skilled at skirmishing in the wild, and concentrate their efforts in the Vesve Forest, but also spend brief amounts of time outside the forests as merchant lords in an effort to raise money for their causes.
No one knows the true age of the Horned Society. Most scholars perceive them as opportunists who emerged earlier this century to fill the void left by the retreat of the luz from the city of Molag, and then were swept away after his return. Some think of them as pretentious bandits with delusions of grandeur. More ominous speculation gives the organization ancient roots. In fact, some druids speak of the dreaded “Horned Ones,” cultists who stalked the night in ancient times. It is not certain whether the modern Horned Society is a descendant of these predators. Conflicting reports place the Horned Society as worshipers of the god Nerull, or of devils. Both seem likely, since the organization is made of many factions. Their thirteen leaders are drawn from many classes, including powerful fighters, clerics, and wizards. The philosophy of the Horned Society is to rule through fear and might. Overtones of human supremacy also factor in.
The Scarlet Brotherhood
This group makes it’s home on the Tilvanot Peninsula. Their one driving goal since it’s founding a thousand years ago is to have the Suel recognized as the master race throughout the Flanaess. Apparently there was a premonition of doom right before the Rain of Colorless Fire descended upon the Suel Empire. One man named Kevelli Mauk that had founded the Brotherhood three years prior had enough time to gather ten of his students along with their slaves, the Tome of the Scarlet Sign (the Brotherhood’s manifesto) and use a now lost artifact called Lendor’s Matrix to teleport them all to the western side of Hellfurnaces just before the fall of the Rain of Colorless Fire.
They, over time, eventually made there way down into the Tilvanot Peninsula where they reside. They believe that by their physical perfection, the early birth of their empire and their mastery of magic that they are the superior race. They are a people where assassins and thieves are as common place as farmers and merchants on the main land.