The Knights of the Horn are a Danrae religious order of paladins and clerics of Heimdal. The order was founded when… (under construction). The Knights often act as protectors of important religious leaders or holy relics. As clerics of Heimdal they are steadfast and imposing guardians who will defend their charges with their lives.
Information about the powers and abilities of the clerical Knights of the Horn can be found under Culture, Pantheons, Danrae, under Heimdal. In addition to the specialty priest abilities listed, Knights of the Horn gain the following abilities and penalties:
- Like the regular clerics of Heimdal, Knights are rarely surprised (1 in 10), but because of their gleaming white plate mail and up front credo of battle, a Knight will rarely surprise a foe (1 in 10).
- Knights of the Horn, due to many long hours singing the praises of Heimdal while at weapons practice, also have access to the unique spell Battle Chant. This spell is identical to the 2nd level cleric spell Chant, except that a Knight of the Horn may use this while in combat.
- A Knight, while invoking the special protection bonus granted to regular clerics also temporarily gain the Combat Reflexes Feat and may make additional attacks of opportunity.
The Knights are an entirely male order, and the few priestesses of Heimdal have not sought entry. The Knights however are allied with the Order of Sif, an all female warrior and clerical order and both organizations have an intense rivalry with the Tempus Knights. Many of its members are of the lower nobility and the upper merchant class, but all must be truly devout to Heimdal in order to gain entry. The Knights also hold to a little known tradition that if a Knight dies while defending a charge that is of selection age, that charge would be sponsored into the Knights. More than one young commoner has gained entry into the knights this way and many have been ranked among the Knights greatest heroes.
Currently the Knights are not what they once were. In the past administrative positions were filled with Knights that were wounded in battle and needed extended time to recover from their injuries. Often older veterans, who were not ready to seek death in battle but were to old to stay in the field for extended periods also filled these positions. Over time however, many of these key positions have been filled permanently by Knights from wealthy families. There is even a movement within the Order to have new non-combatant members, and pressure to elevate leaders who tend to “oversee” battles from the rear. These changes are causing a widening gap within the ranks of the Order. Some see this change as a huge benefit as the Order has been prospering with the connections brought by the upper class administrators. Others view these changes as a betrayal of the core values which founded the Order and worry that they may lose favor with Heimdal. Some have even claimed that this has already happened, and that fallen clerics even now are within the Order, but no formal accusations or inquiries have been made.
The Knights hold to the common belief among the Danrae that they must die in combat to enter Valhalla. However, the Knights also seek to be among those chosen to stand at Heimdal’s side at Ragnarök. In order to earn that honor they believe they must complete a series of goals or quests, which are selected by each individual when they are elevated to Knighthood. Called the Life Quest by the Knights, and called the Death Quest by others (because so many knights die attempting to complete them), two of the goals commonly chosen by Knights are slaying a giant in single combat and obtaining or creating a unique horn which is the symbol of both the Order and of Heimdal. Knights of the Horn are particularly reverent of the horn’s that were carried by past Knights. They believe that the spirit of the previous owner will watch over the Knight in life and will be the first to greet him upon entering Valhalla. Often as part of their Quests, Knights will enhance the horns that they carry, adding new engravings, inlays and even magical enchantments. It is not uncommon for an old horn to hold strong magical powers, but the knowledge of how to use them has been lost upon the deaths of the previous owners.
The Knights also believe that they will be armed and armored in Valhalla with the equipment gathered during the course of their lives. Whenever possible a Knight is interred with all of their equipment, save their horn which is usually passed on to another Knight. Generally, reverent members of the Danrae religion respect this belief and will not loot and will even help to protect the belongings of a fallen Knight. Those who view the Knights as enemies and know about this belief will actively strip a dead Knight naked in order to deprive them of arms in the afterlife.