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The Simbasta Overseer

by Bruce Heard

Following their major defeat at the hands of the Davanian Simbasta, a race of lion-like humanoids, the knights of the Order have had to yield and swear allegiance to the Simbasta on Vanya's grave. As a result, the Order must obey these regal overseers for all affairs taking place within the Simbasta kingdom. Furthermore, they cannot use their holy artifact and the warbirds for evil deeds, such as oppressing the weak and the innocent. The Simbasta consider native Heldann freeholders as a conquered people, which is acceptable, but do not tolerate undue brutality and injustice from their masters. The conqueror's law, in this case Heldannic Law, must be applied impartially to everyone. Outside of Davania, the Order otherwise remains a sovereign power. Finally, the Order must pay tribute to the Simbasta, in the amount of one tenth of its total earnings.

Having Simbasta as overseers presents problems for the Heldannic Knights. The Order honours wars and conquests, presuming it does the conquering. Aside from healing internal conflicts within the Order, profound soul-searching was needed to cope with the situation, both in terms of personal pride and religious significance. The event is crucial in the history of the Order since it is the one putting the knights back on the track to become morally acceptable to the rest of the Known World community.

The other issue concerns the present bias against non-human races. In this case, the knights are forced to respect a people whom they consider inferior savages. Despite their spectacular victory against the Order, many of the knights still haven't gained the wisdom to recognise the Simbasta as worthwhile beings but also as the bearers of a divine message. Conquerors must learn to respect a foe and never underestimate it. Provided its lessons sink in, the defeat may yet make of this Order one that is more powerful and wiser so it may better serve Vanya.

Simbasta may be present among the knights, outside of Davania. These warriors have come to test their bravery and learn the ways of the knights. It also helps verifying that the Order honours its oath. The Heart of Vanya(*) has accepted their presence with some conditions. Simbasta are subject to Heldannic Laws as long as they remain with the Order, and are equivalent to brother knights (without horses). Simbasta must obey the orders of their commander. Simbasta shamans and other spellcasters are not allowed in the Order. Simbasta aren't officially part of the Order since they have no defined terms of service (they aren't paid like other lay brethren) and have not taken an Oath of Service (**). The knights have assumed that no Simbasta would be willing to take this oath, and therefore could not earn official ranks. The situation has not occurred and hasn't been officially addressed by the Voice of Vanya (***) precisely because of the prevailing bias and the fear of provoking another schism.

Simbasta living among the knights are called Companions of the Order, or "Sir Companion". These Simbasta are few enough that they normally are organised in small detachments (a Simbasta war-party of ten to twelve members). Simbasta remain under the authority of a Knight Bachelor commanding an infantry company, with one such detachment for roughly forty or fifty such companies. One of the Simbasta among the war- party is a chieftain responsible for executing the Knight Bachelor's orders. So far, Companions of the Order have proven both reliable and outstanding warriors.

(*) & (***) Various branches of the Heldannic priesthood that run the Order, as opposed to secular knights who form the military branch.

(**) Knights and priests take this oath, swearing allegiance to the Order and obedience to Heldannic Law. The Oath of Service implies service for life (without pay).

Could this be a geas? It could indicate how the Order could issue orders and expect them to be obeyed. It is possible that the knights expect something like this for the first while to ensure no backsliding. It might also be mandatory for Warbird crews so that incidents similar to the Sturmkondor don't re-occur. It could also have the effect of weeding out any Chaotic knights who are still with the order. And it might be mandatory to have all members of the Order reaffirm their Oaths to the revamped Order.

Just some thoughts


Yes, but not necessarily. RW Templars showed a good example of military discipline -- without *magic*. Chaotic recruits among the knights can be screened with collective Detect Alignment. Following this, I think the priesthood would probably allow the chaotic knight to stick around during the trial period. The postulant knight is then either converted to one or the other shades of Lawfulness, or rejected.

Bruce Heard

Yes but I think the point I'm trying to make is that it wasn't always a Lawful order. And while a great many of the non-lawful knights have left they most likely still have some in the rank & file. Although some might even be hiding their alignment because they believe the order will revert back to its conquest ways, as soon as the Simbasta are taught a lesson.

Whoa that could be a real nasty adventure lead. Members of the Spanish... i mean Heldannic Inquisition! (sorry too much Monty Python lately :)


(*) & (***) Various branches of the Heldannic priesthood that run the Order, as opposed to secular knights who form the military branch.

So in addition to the Heart & Voice perhaps there is the Eyes of Vanya (information gathering & divination) Which might be more inclined to tolerate other races since they may have to deal with them on a more frequent basis. Also the Change Purse of Vanya (can you say accountants?)

But it makes me wonder, could there be the Pancreas of Vanya? and what would they do for the Order?

Just some silliness.


Pancreas of Vanya, eh? LOL!

Actually I have the Heart, Voice, and Hammer of Vanya in addition to the military, following an organisation that ought to be familiar to many on this side of the RW Atlantic -- these are executive, legislative, and judiciary branches, which are separate from the military, naturally.

Bruce Heard

The "Eyes of Vanya" sounds more like a black-ops division, to me -- maybe a secret branch of the Order's pre-Simbasta military forces, that did things even the old HKs wouldn't have wanted to be attributed to them! With the change in the wider knighthood, such a group could shift from secret police/"storm-soldier" tactics, to the CIA-style destabilisation of regions the Knights seek to control. Just because they're Lawful now, doesn't mean that the Order has foresworn ALL of its ruthless tactics (fanatical loyalty is Lawful, too)... although the Simbasta better not catch them pulling any such "dishonourable" stunts, on their watch!

For that matter, such a covert-operations branch would be a good candidate for the anti-Simbasta faction to gravitate to: It'd give those knights who despise the rakasta a chance to sabotage the Overseer's operations, while blaming it all on "Chaotic elements" they'd secretly be provoking into causing trouble for the lion-folk.


Regarding these executive, legislative, and judiciary branches being separate from the military -- of course one should not forget a fundamental difference with any secular form of government since the church *IS* the state! :o)

Bruce Heard