The coils of the World Serpent
Becoming a Knight Of Solamnia
Becoming a Crown Knight: All who wish to become Solamnic Knights must first enter the knighthood as squires of the Knights of the Crown, regardless of which order the knight intends to eventually join.
Candidates for Solamnic Knighthood must be sponsored by an established knight (at least 5th level). The sponsor must be in good standing with one of the three orders. After the candidates are presented to a Knightly Council, they vow allegiance to the honour and ideals of the knighthood, to the causes of the Order of the Crown, and to the order itself.
If the attending knights unanimously agree and no one questions the candidates’ honour, then all are accepted into the knighthood as Squires of the Crown. Those whose honour is questioned are interviewed separately after the other candidates are sworn in. If the question of honour is dismissed, the candidate is sworn in normally. If not, the candidate is dismissed until the question of honour is satisfied.
Because their order is the easiest to follow, Knights of the Crown advance more quickly than other knights. They also have fewer special powers, for power comes through discipline.
Becoming a Sword Knight: Upon completing duties as a Squire of the Crown (gaining enough experience to be 3rd level), a knight may continue in that order or apply to the Order of the Sword. Knights who wish to become Knights of the Rose must first serve in the Order of the Sword. The applicant must seek out an established Knight of the Sword (at least 7th level) to apply to the order.
In addition, each candidate for the Order of the Sword must complete a quest that promotes the cause of the order.
The quest must be a witnessed (or otherwise verifiable) deed of heroism that exemplifies knightly honour and goodness. The quest must include a 30-day and 500-mile journey, the restoration of something that was lost, single combat with an evil and equally matched (same level or HD) opponent, and three tests of wisdom, one of generosity, and one of compassion.
After the quest is completed, the knight appears before a Knightly Council, telling of the quest and presenting evidence. If the presiding High Clerist (level 11) finds the tale and deed acceptable, the candidate takes the Oath. If the High Clerist is not present, another high-ranking Sword Knight (level 9 or above) can preside. Otherwise, the matter is tabled until a lawful council can convene.
Knights of the Sword honour the True Gods, learning clerical disciplines. Through these disciplines, Knights of the Sword receive from the gods magical healing abilities, limited foresight, and prophecy. Before the Cataclysm, these special abilities made Sword Knights a welcome sight in ravaged cities. Now, the knights’ powers are often considered sorcery and punished by death.
Knights of the Sword gain clerical spells by spending a holy day in fasting and prayer. When a knight joins the order, he selects a holy day, designating it for worship and meditation.
During devotions on that day, the knight asks his god for that week’s powers. Like normal clerics, the spells remain with the knight until used. Once used, the knight can regain the spells only on the appointed holy day.
During the holy day, the knight cannot do battle, earn profit, or speak harshly to anyone. The knight cannot travel unless in silence, and must spend three hours in solitude and meditation. The books of the Measure claim that no beast will attack a Sword Knight on a holy day as long as the knight remains true. Those who break their vows have twice the likelihood of evil encounters that day, unless the knight atones, performing a service for the temple of his god.
Becoming a Rose Knight: When a Sword Knight’s initial training is complete (has enough experience to be 4th level), he may choose to either remain a Sword Knight or apply to the Order of the Rose. An applicant must appear before a Rose Knight Council at which a high-ranking Knight of the Rose (at least 9th level) presides.
To join the order, a supplicant must appear in council before the presiding High Justice. There, the Knight must tell the tale of his family and lineage, as well as his deeds of honour. Afterward, the Council meets in private and determines whether to accept or reject the petition.
Before the Cataclysm, only Sword Knights of royal blood could become Rose Knights. Scholars say this restriction arose long after Vinas Solamnus’s time. Now in post-Cataclysmic times, the bloodline stipulation has fallen to disuse, for a number of reasons: the Cataclysm destroyed records and muddled bloodlines, marriages and dalliances between noble and common folk confused lineages, and courage and honour proved more crucial to the knighthood than royal blood.
A candidate who passes these examinations is assigned a quest to prove loyalty to the order and its cause. The quest must include a 30-day and 500-mile journey, the restoration of something that was lost, defeat of an evil and more powerful opponent, and one test of wisdom, three of generosity, and three of compassion. The completion of these tasks must be witnessed or evidenced. A candidate who returns and tells of the quest is judged before a council of the Order of the Rose. If the quest and candidate are found fitting, the person becomes a Knight of the Rose.