Knights of the Watch

The Knights of the Watch was created several centuries
ago on the foundation of an earlier organization
based in Gran March. Tasked with protecting
Keoland, Gran March, Bissel, and Geoff from the
incursions of barbaric Paynims and “westerlings”
(civilized Baklunish armies), the Watchers maintain
castles, fortresses and strongholds along the border
with Ket, as well as in the western mountains. The
order’s strongest bases of power can be found in Gran
March (Hookhill), Geoff (Hochoch), and Bissel
(Pellak). Members of the knighthood are drawn from
the best and wisest lands in the Sheldomar Valley.

The Knights of the Watch are devotees of a nearmonastic
school of teachings based upon the writings
of the philosopher Azmarender, who chronicled
a code of duty and belief known as the Twelve and
Seven Precepts. The Twelve Precepts govern how a
knight of the order is to carry out his daily activities,
with an eye toward the traditions of battle. The
Seven Precepts guide “life beyond the self,” giving
meaning to the world beyond the field of battle.
These latter teachings are jealously guarded secrets,
revealed to knights only as they gain station within
the organization. The mysterious Seventh Precept,
said to reveal ancient secrets about the creation of
Oerth, is known only to the Grandiose Imperial
Wyvern, titular head of the knighthood (currently
the ailing Hugo of Geoff (LN male human Ftr16)).
The teachings are not connected with any one religion,
yet they fit well into the lives of militant followers
of St. Cuthbert, Heironeous, Pholtus, Allitur,
and Mayaheine.

As befits the mysticism that dwells at the heart of
their organization, the Watchers are known internally
by a selection of fanciful titles. General knights, the
lowest in rank, are called Vigils, with minor ranks
adding to the base title (Stalwart Vigil, Resilient Vigil,
Radiant Vigil, etc.). As knights ascend in rank, a
number of adjectives are added to their titles, with
“vigil” replaced by the names of fantastic beasts (manticore,
hippogriff, griffon, etc.), such that a mid-level
commander is known as the Magnificent Elder
Gorgon. Few outside the order understand the ranking
system of the Watchers, which gave rise to the
peasant saying “frightful as a Watcher’s title” to denote
someone who wishes to appear more powerful than he
truly is.

Prior to the Greyhawk Wars, the Knights of the
Watch claimed more than 6,500 members. War
trimmed that number by more than half. Currently,
2,500 Knights of the Watch roam the Sheldomar
Valley, protecting the interests of their nations and
digging out “agents” of the hated west (a charge carrying
a liberal interpretation tainted with racism
against the Baklunish). The recruitment of new
members (fighters, clerics, and paladins) is a constant
and major concern.

The Watchers currently regard the giants and orcs
occupying Geoff as scarcely worse than the Baklunish.
Iuz is greatly hated; some Watchers believe the
Baklunish worship the demigod in secret. The Scarlet
Brotherhood is also an avowed enemy (possibly in
league with the Baklunish, claim some). An old
rivalry with the Knights of the Hart is also fueled.
Curiously, the knights do not see the Valley of the
Mage as a major problem area, despite periodic raids
by valley elves on nearby lands.

The Greyhawk Wars brought a new development,
the division of the order into two distinct branches;
traditional Knights of the Watch and the new
Knights of Dispatch. The Dispatchers eschew traditional
rites of battle, often forming scouting and
guerilla bands to range within conquered Geoff (and,
until recently, Sterich). The Knights of Dispatch
have traded their hatred of the west for a deep hatred
of the nonhumans who caused their homelands so
much grief in the last decade. Fighters, rangers, clerics,
and rogues fill their ranks.

While some Watchers despise the “cowardly” tactics
of this new branch, the leaders of both organizations
pledge support for each other and share the same (confusing)
hierarchy and titles. Both the Knights of the
Watch and the Knights of Dispatch share a common
coat of arms: an owl displayed argent.

Knights of the Watch

In the March of Bissel RudyHuxxxtable