The Knights of the Temple of Solomon, often called Knight Templars or Templars for short, formally called the Military Order of the Poor Knights of the Temple of Solomon, are a magickal order of knights dedicated to God.
The Templars are defined by an unrelenting faith in God. Unlike the vague and ill-defined One that the Chorus reveres, the God that the Knight Templars rever is unmistakable and uncompromisingly Christian. Individual denominations may not play as large a role as they used to, but no Muslim, Hindu or Jew has ever found entry into the Knight Templars. Beyond that, there is a large leeway on what the Templars will accept as proper christianity.
The number of Awakened mages among the Templars was never high and their doctrine did not cater to them. The Knight Templars are knights first and mages second. Despite this, they see the Ascension War as ultimately misguided. It is not a war for Ascension that mages should fight, but the war of the Apocalypse. The Adversary marshals his forces and when Christ eventually returns, there will be only two kind of people: The damned and the saved. The Knight Templars intend to stand at the right side of Christ, protecting the saved from Hell's depredation and focus all their attention on this goal. The modern Technocratic Union, however, is regarded as the Adversaries main tool and so, strikes against them are encouraged.
The magickal practices of the Templars resemble Theurgy, only backed up by Spheres instead of linear magic. The Spheres, for those that are studious, are explained to be emanations of God, and many Templars are also adept at wielding linear magic, which they don't really distinguish from each other. The Templars mainly focus on Forces, Life, Mind, or Prime. Several members also wield True Faith.
The history of the Knight Templars begins in 1119 CE, when muslims raided a group of pilgrims, killed most of them and took the rest of them prisoner. Nine knights swore an oath to protect christendom and traveled to the Holy Land. Named after their quarter in the residence of King Baldwin III in Jerusalem, until they were formed into an official military order at the Council of Troyes in 1128. Their order, now with new guidelines, began to attract new members from all across Europe. One of their numbers was Sir David de Bracy, an initiate into the Cabal of Pure Thought, along with three compatriots. Gabrielite mindsets began to shape the order into its later form.
The duties of the new Templar Knights was the protection of the faithful from infidels, which included also several supernatural creatures, under them the mages of the Ahl-i-Batin. Serving the Sacred Congregation, the Templars also fought pagans, heretics and monsters like werewolves that threatened the people's safety. Next to this duty, the Templars also became great financiers and money-lenders, whose influence began to rival that of nobles and bishops. At the same time, the Templars became more and more suspect in their own homelands. Many spoke Arabic and had adopted foreign customs. When Jerusalem fell, rumors circulated that painted the Templars as heretics, in league with the hashasheen or similar groups. The new goal of the Templars became the reconquest of the Holy Land, but they would never reach that goal.
King Philip the Fair of France, deeply in debt to the Templar Order, conspired with his stooge, Pope Clement V, to seize the wealth of the Templars for himself. Some believe that vampires (one vampire in particular) or vengeful mages also played a role in the decision. Under accusations of heresy, the Templar Order was hunted across its lands, its property confiscated and its members tortured until they confessed their heresy (along with several other charges like sodomy and devil worship) and accused others of their order of complicity. The last Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, confessed under torture, then later recanted, claiming that his only sin was admitting fraudulent guilt and called for Clement and Philip to join him at God's throne inside this year. Burned at the stake as a heretic in 1314, the papacy officially dissolved the order, seemingly ending them for good. Under mysterious circumstances, both Clement and Philip died in the same year they sentenced de Molay to death.
In secret, de Molay had been warned by the Cabal. He had raised a new Grand Master before his arrest, Henri du Marquet, who fled with a few selected knights and the main treasury to the hidden fortress Montsalvat in the Pyrenees. The survivors pledged themselves to the Gabrielites and joined their numbers.
In 1325, several reason mages and artificers met at the White Tower of Languedoc. The Cabal of Pure Thought, and with them the Knight Templars, joined the Order of Reason to found a world free from the tyranny of the supernatural, where the common man would live without fear under one church and one God. The Templars would become the orders most valuable warriors, and were outfitted by the Artificers with the best weapons and armor they could create. As part of the Venatores of the Cabal of Pure Thought, the Templars fought at the frontlines of the early Ascension War against the Traditions, which they regarded as blasphemers and heathens. While the world believed them dead, the Templars continued to prosper.
During the Reformation, the Templars were forced to abandon the idea of "one church", instead accepting members from all christian denomination. Still, the majority remained catholic and disputes weakened the order. The Cabal, in their turn, focused on finding a way to transcend the obvious weakness of the christian faith, while the rest of the Order began to see religion as a hindrance to unite humanity.
In the 1837, envoys of the Cabal of Pure Thought arrived at Montsalvat with dire news: the Order of Reason had decided to abandon religion altogether. The Templars were to forswear their faith and dedicate themselves to fight solely the enemies of Reason, to which they also counted believers. Outraged, the Templars mounted their defenses, but the Order of Reason arrived earlier than estimated and their troops were a new breed of Hyper Intelligence Technologies. The Knight Templars fought valiantly, but were betrayed by sympathizers from within, who opened the new machines the way into the fortress. Numerous Templars, including its Grand Master, Roland III, died and they seemed to have been finally extinguished.
In secret, Roland had appointed a new successor, Christopher the Just. Christopher had lead a handful of survivors into hiding. The new Templars went deeply into hiding, with an apocalyptic sentiment spreading among their numbers. The Order of Reason had become corrupt and spread atheism and disbelief, which would weaken the flock before the inevitable rise of the forces of Hell. The only way to counter them was to build a new christendom, which would unite humanity under one church as it was meant to be. To continue this mission, the survival of the order became even more important, with all members being sworn into absolute secrecy.
As the Technocracy tightens its grip across the world, the Templars operate deep undercover. Some curmudgeons have pointed out that the Knight Templars have become exactly like the old Cabal of Pure Thought, manipulating people from the shadows and acting behind the scenes. Most have accepted this as a necessity of the modern age.
Around the 2000s, the Templars experienced a schism. A part of their members defected to the Celestial Chorus, citing greater chances of winning against the Technocracy when fighting with allies, along with other progressive reasons like the acceptance of women. Other remaining Templars have been contacted by members of the Disparate Alliance, whose members include nearly as much heathens as the Council of Nine. It remains to be seen what way the Templars will choose in the future.
The Templars are lead by a single Grand-Master, whose location is a closely guarded secret. Under him are nine seneschals, who act as an advisory council and also act as commanders of specific purviews, like the finances of the Temple or its military goals. Under them are marshals, who are the administrators of the Templar presence in a whole country. Below them are the preceptors, who oversee the preceptories that are spread across the globe and act as safehouses for their numbers. Below them are the rank-and-file, the Knight-Brothers, and the Knight-Aspirants, who seek entry into their order. A fully awakened Templar is also referred as a knight-magus, but Awakening is not necessary for advancement. A distinguished Templar might gain the title Seargant of the Covenant, which is a reward for excellent service.
To ensure the establishment of a new christendom, the Templars heavily fund in christian universities, publishing houses and think tanks to counter the materialistic atheism of modernity. Many work to inspire christian virtues and ethics by example and carry this into boardrooms and financial regulation meetings. Members have to tithe 10% of their income into the reserves of the order, which are still massive and give the Templars strong financial influence.
The Knight Templars are an all-male order. Those who wanted reform left for the Chorus, leaving only hardliners behind. Any Templar who leaves the order is sentenced to death to avoid their secrets falling in the wrong hands. It is unknown if that sentence has been imposed on the schismatics that joined the Traditions.
Version Differences Edit
The Knights of the Temple of Solomon are styled after the historical Knights Templars and the numerous conspiracy theories surrounding them.
|Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition - Disparate Alliance|
|Ahl-i-Batin · Bata'a · Hollow Ones · Knights of the Temple of Solomon · Kopa Loei · Ngoma · Orphans · Sisters of Hippolyta · Solificati · Taftâni · Wu Lung|