Postfest V: Thanes' Glory
Date: Tue, July 12, 2005
Topic: Power Groups & Organizations
Thanes' Glory is a secretive order of mostly rural knights in Furyondy that harkens back to the days of the Viceroyalty of Ferrond. Their goals and allies are various and may be considerably more potent than even the knights of Thanes' Glory fully appreciate. The dead hand of the past reaches out to grasp the future.
By: Glenn Vincent Dammerung, aka GVDammerung
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
History of the Thanes
In the Viceroyalty of Ferrond, Thanes were the chief liegemen of the Viceroy. With both feudal and administrative responsibilities, the Thane was less than a true noble but greater than a mere civil servant. The Thane owed typical feudal obligations to the Viceroy but did not enjoy full recognition as a feudal noble, being subject to recall at the Viceroy’s pleasure. Over time, with the vesting of hereditary noble titles within the Viceroyalty, Thanes became more of a class of true nobility. Their prominence was, however, to be eclipsed by the creation of greater nobility, in Furyondy proper by the Seven Families. At the time of Furyondian independence, the Thanes had practically all but passed into history.
In subsequent years, many families among the lower nobility continued to recall the prominence they had formerly enjoyed as Thanes. In some, recollection turned to resentment. Though never voiced aloud, these proud scions of ancient lineage grumbled at having been pushed aside or passed over by the course of history. They saw themselves and their traditions as what had made Ferrond great. Joining together with others of similar heritage and disposition, the heads of these families formed the organization they called Thanes Glory, Thanis Glorfinel in the Ferrond dialect.
Thanes Glory - The Sons of Ferrond and The Knights of the Thanic Order
At first, meeting in secret and then moving more openly, Thanes Glory has survived for hundreds of years. Today, there is a public and a private face to Thanes Glory. Publicly, Thanes Glory is known as the Sons of Ferrond. Only at higher levels of initiation is the name Thanes Glory used.
Publicly, the Sons of Ferrond is a civic organization composed of some of the oldest families in all of Furyondy. Still styling themselves Thanes, these worthies espouse the preservation of the traditions of old Ferrond and the maintaining of a strong Furyondy. They meet regularly, put on civic displays, eat, drink and drill as a militia. Other nobles regard them as a harmless order of knights obsessed with past glories. Members of the Sons of Ferrond may progress through the first three levels of the Thanic Knight prestige class. They are then known as Chevaliers.
Privately, Thanes Glory is a military organization that seeks not only a strong Furyondy and the preservation of tradition but the downfall of the feudal structure of Furyondy and the return of the Thanes to positions of ultimate, local power. Should they succeed in their plans, Furyondy would no longer be ruled by a king but by a revived Viceroy, who would insure and coordinate the rule of the Thanes. In private, these Thanes refer to themselves as Knights of the Thanic Order to distinguish their membership from that of the Sons of Ferrond. Knights of the Thanic Order may obtain the fourth and fifth levels of the Thanic Knight prestige class.
A member of the Sons of Ferrond is not advised of the agenda of the Knights of the Thanic Order until they are admitted to that inner group. All members of Thanes Glory, Son of Ferrond or Knight of the Thanic Order, must take appropriate levels of the Thanic Knight prestige class. Thanes Glory is the term used by the Knights of the Thanic Order to refer to both themselves and the Sons of Ferrond.
Upon being elevated to the Knights of the Thanic Order, a member goes through a secret ceremony that grants the new knight the benefits of a permanent Mind Blank spell. The ceremony also has the effect of a compulsion that prevents the knight from revealing the existence or plans of Thanes Glory. Only the Grandmaster and the three Masters of the Knights of the Thanic Order may evade this compulsion. Only they may induct new members.
The Grandmaster of the Knights of the Thanic Order and thus of Thanes Glory is Sir Lyonnais of Worlende. Diplomatic, cautious and deeply conservative, the elderly but still vital Sir Lyonnais is an outstanding knight, a brilliant administrator and a passable leader. His chief concern is preserving Thanes Glory, however. Advancing its agenda is of secondary concern.
Sir Hugen and Sir Marche are the two most prominent Masters of the Knights of the Thanic Order. Sir Hugen is very much like Sir Lyonnais and is thought to be his eventual successor. Sir Marche is Sir Hugen’s great rivial. Bold, dashing, charismatic, and completely without scruples, Sir Marche believes the time has come for Thanes Glory to fulfill its destiny. With Belvor’s death and Artur’s accession, Sir Marche believes now is the time to strike! He has little patience with Lyonnais and Hugen.
Complicating matters is the third Master of the Knights of the Thanic Order. She is known only as the Sphinx. Her identity is known to Lyonnais but to neither Hugen nor Marche, which infuriates the latter to no end. Rumors of her identity, prowess and some say powers are many and conflicting. The mystery of the third Master prevents Marche from too closely calculating the odds of any attempt to depose Lyonnais or Marche. The motives, plans or agenda of the Sphinx are almost entirely unknown.
The rank and file of the Sons of Ferrond are not really a threat to anyone and are something of a red herring. They are just civic minded lesser nobility who gain a greater measure of pride by harkening back to days of yore.
The rank and file of the Knights of the Thanic Order are similarly harmless; for the most part, they play at being conspirators, although some do take matters more seriously. There is, however, an unseen presence growing stronger within the Order.
The ability of a Knight of the Thanic Order to summon an Ancient Ally is not altogether beneficial or harmless. Ghosts from the past advise a number of Thanic Knights. Some Thanes are actually controlled by ancestral ghosts who act through them, these knights suffer repeated possession by the ghosts of their ancestors. The goal of these spirits is not a revived Ferrond but the propagation of a cult dedicated to ancestor worship. The power of these restless spirits within Thanes Glory is growing and is almost completely undetectable to a casual observer.
Those Knights of the Thanic Order truly dedicated to overthrowing the government of Furyondy are lead by Sir Marche, who is a practicing diabolist. These knights are black magicians in league with the powers of Hell. They do not serve these fell powers, however, but seek to command them. It is a dangerous game and more than a few would-be masters have ended up as servants of the Nine Hells or worse.
The deepest secret is that of Sir Lyonnais and Sir Hugen and those lead most closely by them. After existing for so long as an organization without accomplishing very much, some of Thanes Glory have developed a strong belief in an End Time when the Thanes will rise up to save Furyondy from certain destruction but will be destroyed in the process. Both Sir Lyonnais and Sir Hugen are of this mind. They believe they are destined to save Furyondy from great evil but at the cost of their own lives. For a time, they believed this evil to be Belvor after he quaffed a potion of longevity and appeared poised to rule as an eternal king. Now, they are uncertain of how to proceed. This sub-group calls itself the Knights of Prophecy and are quite dangerous, for they are not only willing to give up their lives, they are actively looking for a reason to do so.
The agenda of the Sphinx is to be the future of the Thanes, after the prophecy of their destruction is fulfilled. The Sphinx partakes of the mystery of the Knights of Prophecy but is not of that body. The genesis of her unique relationship with Sir Lyonnais is unknown. It is rumored that the Sphinx is actually seeking after the Grail, an ancient druidic relic, thought by most to be a myth, which allegedly has the power bless or restore the land and banish all evil, but which could also be used to usher in a terrible tyranny. If true, one is left to wonder how the Sphinx will utilize the Grail if it actually exists and she were to discover it.
THANIC KNIGHT (Prestige Class)
A Thanic Knight is a knight trained in the traditional ways of the old Thanes of the Viceroyalty of Ferrond (levels one to three) as they have been preserved by the Thanes Glory organization, lead the the Knights of the Thanic Order (levels four and five). Thanic Knights are proud traditionalists with a great pride in and reverence for the past. While cultured, their culture is that of the former Thanes of the Viceroyalty of Ferrond, which means it is altogether more primal than present standards of knighthood.
A Thanic Knight will not usually declare himself to be such. He will likely declare himself to be a Son of Ferrond. Rarely, a Thanic knight might declare himself to be a Knight of the Thanic Order. Never will a Thanic knight declare himself to be a member of Thanes Glory. His oath prohibits it.
Thanic Knights are not bound by the Code of Chivalry that binds most Knights of Furyondy. That Code of Chivalry was not in place in old Ferrond and the Thanic Knights predate it. To be considered for admittance to Thanes Glory as a Thanic Knight, a character must already have been knighted, however. To be recognized as a knight in Furyondy, this means the character must have attained at three levels in the Knight of Furyondy prestige class. Upon becoming a Thanic Knight a Knight of Furyondy may choose to continue to adhere to the Code of Chivalry of Knights of Furyondy or may abandon it without penalty.
Hit Dice: d10
To qualify to become a Thanic Knight, a character must fulfill all the following criteria:
Base Attack Bonus: +8
Feats: Mounted Combat, Armor Proficiency, Martial Weapons
All classes may take all skills equally. The limitation of skills to particular classes as described in the D&D rules is an example of poor game design by designers attempting to create complexity and “difference” between classes in an artificial way. The justification for the limitation fails to recognize the practical effect of poor skill selection and the limitation on skills points per class. It is unnecessary and will not be followed. Individual DMs may choose to add class skills if they choose to do so, of course.
Skill Points: 2 + Int Modifier
All of the following are class features of the Thanic Knight prestige class.
Vengeance (Ex): At 1st Level, the Thanic Knight may swear destruction upon an enemy and enter a terrible battle frenzy before joining battle. This is identical to the Barbarian’s Rage ability. The Thanic Knight having sworn himself to the fight temporarily gains +4 Strength, +4 Constitution, a +2 morale bonus to Will saves but takes a -2 to AC. The battle frenzy lasts a number of rounds equal to the Thanic Knights Constitution modifier +3. When the battle frenzy is over the Thanic Knight is fatigued (-2 Strength, -2 Dexterity, cannot run or charge) for the duration of the encounter. A Thanic Knight may use the Vengeance ability a number of times per day equal to his Wisdom modifier +1.
Honeyed Words (Ex): At 2nd Level, the Thanic Knight has partaken of the Ferrond tradition of knighthood which was informed by bardic traditions. The knights of old Ferrond were expected to be able to sing and speak in cultured and affecting tones as a sign of their quality. A number of times per day equal to a knights Charisma modifier +1, a Thanic Knight may evoke the effect of a charm person spell on any one individual or creature that hears his words and can understand them.
Dolorous Blow (Ex): At 3rd Level, a Thanic Knight may strike a Dolorous Blow a number of times per day equal to his Strength modifier +1. For those who would dismiss the Sons of Ferrond as a lesser sort of knightly order, this ability alone, if no other, demands respect. A Dolorous Blow does maximum damage (and may be a critical hit, as well), plus 1d4 points of damage in that round and every round thereafter that an attack by the Thanic Knight succeeds in doing damage to his or her affected opponent. The Dolorous Blow continues to sap the vitality of its victim until the end of the encounter or until a heal spell is cast on the victim. Such a heal spell will only remove the effect of the Dolorous Blow; it will not also restore hit points. The effects of multiple Dolorous Blows against a single opponent stack, however, a single heal spell will remove the effects of all Dolorous Blows that may be in effect.
Ancient Ally (Ex): The Knights of the Thanic Order have done more than develop a deep regard for the past; they have made contact with it. Once per day at 4th Level, a Thanic Knight may summon an Ancient Ally to his aid. The Ancient Ally is a ghost as described in the Monster Manual. The ghost will be the spirit of one of the Thanes of old Ferrond. It will answer questions, perform tasks or attack on the Thanic Knight’s behalf as it is able. It may also try to possess the Thanic Knight at the DMs option.
Song of Glory (Ex): Once per day at 5th Level, a Thanic Knight may sing a Song of Glory, vividly summoning up the wonders and glories of the old Viceroyalty of Ferrond. The Song of Glory will:
(1) Immediately act as a cure serious wounds spell.
(2) Immediately remove any fear effects affecting the Thanic Knight.
(3) Provide DR 5/- so long as the Thanic Knight continues to sing and can hear his or her own singing.
(4) Provide a +2 bonus to hit every time the Thanic misses an opponent until a hit is eventually scored (e.g. if a Thanic Knight singing a Song of Glory misses in 3 consecutive rounds, in the 4th round he is +6 to hit, if no hit is scored in the 4th round, he is +8 to hit in the 5th round and so on). Once a hit is scored all bonuses are lost. As long as the Thanic Knight keeps singing, however, the bonuses will begin to accrue again until a hit is scored and so on. There is no limit on how long a Thanic Knight may continue to sing a Song of Glory in a single encounter. However, the Song of Glory may still only be used once per day. When the encounter in which the Song of Glory was sung ends, the Thanic Knight may not use a Song of Glory for the remainder of that day.
NOTE: This article makes reference to aspects of the Furyondy Reforged article submitted to Canonfire by myself.
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