The Templar Order of Thedas is the military strong arm of the Chantry. They are charged with the defense of the Chantry and defending the world from the dangers and abuses of magic. As such they are always found within the Circles of Magi and community chantries alike.
- The defense of followers of the Chant is the first priority of any templar. This is shown most notably in the case of Ser Bryant of Lothering when he and his men stayed and worked to evacuate Lothering during the Blight, postponing all hunts for illegal magic until the crisis was addressed.
- Templars are charged with hunting down and containing, or destroying, illegal magic and mages. It is left up to each individual templar to decide if an apostate can be saved and brought back to a Circle, or if they are beyond help and should be executed. All mages outside of Chantry law are apostates, but only those who practice the forbidden arts of blood magic or demonology are called maleficars. All maleficars are slain on sight; they do not get a second chance.
- Templars also guard mages, be it from the potential corruption within them or from the general population. All mages are to have passage to the tower though it is not uncommon for the fearful in a village to attempt to handle the problem themselves. While it is the duty of a templar to defend the mage, not all feel the need to.
Requirements and TrainingEdit
- Recruiting for templars starts with the young. The younger the better in many cases though the Order will take any warrior with sufficient will and belief in the Maker. For the most part they focus on collecting good Maker-fearing children by age twelve. The young are recruited so that the Chantry might drive out any rebellious thoughts about the Maker before the child starts to question things, like teenagers do.
- All children are taken to monasteries and brought up in the same manner as the brothers and sisters of the faith. Those that show proficiency in combat and possessing the strong mind required go on to be trained, while the rest are usually brought into the fold as a brother or go on to the priesthood in the case of women. The introduction to the lessons of the Chant starts early and is promoted constantly.
- Upon being selected for the Order, trainees are moved to another monastery, this one focusing completely on training the initiates first to use the templar abilities, then later on military tactics and combat techniques. The lessons of the Chant and teachings of the Maker are reinforced throughout, but the main focus is on becoming a soldier of the Maker.
- There is a night-long vigil before templars take their vows, much like a knight before swearing allegiance to a lord.
- Lyrium is given three times daily after a templar takes their vows. It is kept well away from the trainees for fear of misuse.
- Through training to be a templar, a non-mage is taught how to force a small, focused connection to the Fade. The use of lyrium amplifies this connection and makes it easier to use, though it is possible to use templar abilities to some extent without lyrium.
- As a rule, the templar’s mental training and conditioning are not discussed outside of the Chantry. One of the reasons for this is due to the similarities between templar and mage training. Both require heavy concentration and total control of oneself, and both require access to the Fade in some manner. Another reason is the use of lyrium to amplify a templar’s abilities, which is also a means of ensuring their obedience.
- All templars receive etiquette training, for when they are dealing with the nobles of the regions. While they are not under any noble’s commands, they are to respect the law and those charged with keeping it. This however varies depending on the templar’s attitude.
- All templars are trained in conventional investigation procedures and basic tracking methods, similar to scouts or city guards. These are to help track mages when there is a lack of phylacteries; to determine whether a mage is involved in an incident; and it also helps the templar identify when a mage might be manipulating the guard or military in a region.
- Fraternizing with mages is strictly prohibited. Templars may be friendly with their charges, but nothing more, and even this level of congeniality is sometimes denied. Having a romantic relationship is a punishable offence and is dealt with harshly.
- Templars are permitted to marry and have families after they take their vows, but only in very rare circumstances. The templar in question must be devout, proven, and his or her loyalty to the Chantry not in question. However, the limitations on templars entering into official relationships do not prevent templars from having unofficial dalliances or unrecognized marriages in some cases. It is something of an open secret that, on the road, templars visit their families or, if stationed in a tower, ask those on the road to see how their families are. The net of support is a closely guarded secret for many of the order, for nothing is more frightening than the thought of a renegade mage with a grudge going after a loved one. (For Warden's Vigil purposes, any marriages or relationships must occur through roleplay, and marriages must be approved by the templar's Revered Mother and Knight-Commander, a.k.a. the moderating staff.)
- Templars are tasked to remain pure of body, heart, and soul. This means an avoidance of vices. Gambling, drinking, and even sex are all frowned upon by the Chantry. There is a general rule of thumb however that no templar asks and no templar tells about the degenerate ways of his brothers or sisters. This stems from the need for a united front against the mages and heathens of Thedas. Any problems are handled within the Order if at all possible. If an issue becomes public, it will always be downplayed so the masses are not alarmed.
- The most commonly punished problem that runs rampant within the Templar Order is lyrium abuse. This is usually punished by serving time in a enforced vigil, either in a cell or the templar’s quarters. The templar is denied lyrium for as long as he or she can safely do without before there starts to be serious health problems or possible episodes of psychosis.
- The most severe punishment for templars is reserved for those caught helping apostates or maleficars. They are seen not only as traitors and excommunicated, but depending on the number of charges, nature of the help, and even how bad of standing the mage was in, they can be executed for their crimes.
- While there are punishments for templars abusing their mage charges, they are rarely implemented. Due to the standing unofficial rule of don’t ask, don’t tell among the templars, mages rarely find any of them to support their claims of abuse. Mages are often required to protest in number to get any attention for such issues and even then the templar in question is simply reassigned. Some templars, however, sympathize with the difficulties mages face from some of their brothers and sisters, and seek to root out the bad influences from their order.
- Lyrium is also known as The Waters of The Fade. When used by mages, it helps project them into the fade and can (if in enough quantity) also send normal people into it. The process requires a large amount of lyrium though and as such is almost never done for anyone but a mage due to the risk of overdosing. It does however establish a small connection with the Fade in a normal person. Without a disciplined mind to direct one’s thoughts however it is easy to get lost in the dreams and nightmares making it nothing but a hallucinogen for all but mages and templars.
- All templars require lyrium three times daily after they take their vows. They receive a set amount in its pinkish powder form on a daily basis, if they are stationed at a Tower or Chantry; if they are on assignment, they will be provided enough lyrium for the length of their mission. They are constant targets for pickpockets wanting a quick score of cash in the cities and on the road must be very careful not to run out. This also makes excommunicated templars easy targets for dealers and criminal elements wanting an advantage over the other guy’s apostate, as most will work for little more than a hit of lyrium or enough coin to buy one.
- There are three set ways a templar can take their lyrium: mixing it into food or drink, putting some under their tongue, and snorting it. Mixing is the most common but dilutes the potency. Under the tongue gives a strong high and is a good way to ration on the road. Snorting requires more time than the other two but gives the best results.
- Overdosing on lyrium causes psychotic episodes that, depending on the person, can be violent. Combined with the high of the person and disconnection from reality, they can present a danger to themselves and others.
- After a combat situation, due to adrenaline and use of abilities, a templar will need a hit of lyrium. The amount would depend on how much the body has used.
- Withdrawal symptoms by degree (number correspond with number of missed doses):
- Headaches that increase in severity
- Shaking hands
- Slow disconnection from reality
- It should be noted that withdrawal victims are not usually violent. They see and register people and things but do not seem to connect the dots completely or are particularly dim.
- Benefits of lyrium, aside from the magnification of templar abilities, include a slow build up of magic resistance. This does not nullify spells, but rather makes some easier to resist (like Horror) or quicker to wear off (like Winter’s Grasp).
- It is technically possible for a templar to survive withdrawl and become "clean". If they can survive with the symptoms for 1 month the need for lyrium will decrease. The want however will still be there, a strong temptation if the templar can get ahold of the lyrium. In addition, there is a chance that the withdrawal process will result in a severe and possibly permanent mental break, in which the templar becomes lost in delusions and unable to function normally.
- Knight-Commanders are in charge of their templars in major cities and Towers.
- Knight-Commanders can have seconds (called Knight-Captains) if they have a large number of forces under their care. In the case of Ferelden the templar forces are not as abundant. Mages are mostly contained in the Tower and the Chantry faces no threats. As such there are three Knight-Commanders (in Amaranthine, Denerim and the Circle respectively), but no Knight-Captains.
- Senior Knights are in charge of smaller forces set in strategic towns around Ferelden, such as Lothering. Due to the habit of Ferelden natives to make war on each other some templar forces base themselves out of monasteries to avoid being pulled into politics.
- While all templars answer to the Knight-Commander, the Knight-Commander answers to the Grand Cleric, who in turns answers to the Divine.
- While all templars are considered Knights of the Chantry, and are all addressed as Ser, there is a difference among them. Some are Knights-Sentinel, who guard the towers and chantries. Others are Knights-Tracker, that actively hunt down mages and demons. It should be noted that there is no difference in training and is not unlike military personnel being given guard duty or active patrols.
- Lyrium is not required to use templar talents. The only real requirement is the training that establishes the small connection to the Fade. The mineral however does increase the effectiveness of the abilities, which allows templars who use lyrium to take down mages faster than someone without.
- Cleanse and Holy Smite cause a templar to drop into the first two steps of lyrium withdrawal if they have been taking it. The two abilities use some of the lyrium in the blood and leaves behind the craving.
- The use of Cleanse and Holy Smite cause all templars to get pounding headaches, due to forcefully pulling power from the Fade through the pre-established connection. Although the action is not unlike that of a mage casting a spell, mages are born with their talents and therefore such an action is a natural thing, causing little physical reaction.
- When on the hunt for a mage, templars are given a small dose of lyrium mixed with a drop of blood from the mage’s phylactery. It establishes a connection between the two in the Fade and allows the templar to track the mage more easily than conventional means. When the mage dies, the templar loses the connection, but until that time they must be vigilant in their lyrium doses to maintain it.
- Templars are trained to recognize when spells are BEING CAST in their immediate area (less than 10 meters in diameter). Passive mage abilities do not fall into this category, and sustained abilities only when the mage first activates them. This templar ability gives them a slight edge over regular warriors when dealing with potential mages. The templar is unable to determine what spell is being cast, and only a vague sense of direction for it. The further away the spellcaster, the less reliable the ability.