Making of a Star Knight

Before the Great Collapse, the orders of the Star Knights were counted amoung the greatest of humanity's defenders. They stood at the forefront of battle, an impenetrable wall against those who threatened their people. Many of the Orders still hold true to these principles, granting aid and protection to colonies and settlements within their reach.

Yet, more of the knightly orders have fallen into the fold of the Savage worlds or have turned to blatant piracy and other foul acts. Those that have are castigated as outcasts by any civilized worlds, believed to be little better then the Fallen with whom they so often consort.

Most Orders of the Star Knights have taken a mercenarial turn since the Collapse. While many of them have holdings of their own (which often include entire star systems), their primary concern being the maintenance of their arms and armies. While incredibly powerful, the arms and equipment of the Knights are also hideously expensive and require a great amount of resources to support.

When an Order is petitioned for aid, they often demand compensation in a process known as the Tithing. The form of Tithe requested will vary with the resources of those requesting it. Food, weapons, resources, and recruitment rights are all amoung the most common requests. More advanced worlds will often have to trade supplies of the rare Knight Armours, or occasionally even entire starships to secure the aid they need.

It is the recruits that are the true lifeblood of an Order, and the right to do so on a world is incredibly valuable it's officers. Few men can resist the allure of the wealth a Knight can earn over his long career, and few Orders suffer a lack of individuals willing to take arms in their colours and begin the long process of producing a Star Knight.

The initiates begin their new life as Levee Troopers, learning the fundamental skills of combat and serving in the many auxiliary roles in which able bodies are needed on the field of combat. It is in this service that many Levee Troopers first learn the horrors of war. Most Orders will allow the troopers to leave their service during this phase if they find the life of a warrior not to their liking, so long as it is not during an active campaign. It is not uncommon for this option to be taken.

Those that prove their bravery, cunning, and skill at arms will begin the first true step in the transformation into a Star Knight. Each warrior begins a long series of biological and biomechanical augmentations, bringing him to the very peak of human capability. The full augmentation process requires years of surgeries and therapies, and it is for this reason that only a blooded warrior is even considered for induction.

After Augmentation, the initiate joins the ranks of the Men At Arms. It is here that the advanced training begins, each squad personally tutored by a veteran Knight. Their classroom is on the field of battle, the lessons are provided by the enemy, and the tests are victory and survival. It is in this phase that they transition from being a mere warrior to to being a Star Knight, learning to many tactics and skills that give the Knights their edge in battle.

When a group of Men At Arms has satisfied their overseer that they are ready, they are granted the weapons and arms of a true Knight. Then they are formed into squads of Squires, and set loose onto the battlefield without the direct supervision of their Knight-Sargent. It is during their time as Squires that the proto-knights learn to act independent, adding skills of strategy to their already substantial tactical acumen.

Like Rome Before It

When an empire falls, it very rarely leaves peace and harmony in it's wake.

As the Terran Empire grew and expanded and crushed the minor alien races in it's way, those with the time to do so began to arm themselves and form alliances for the coming war. The Greenskins released their previous population controls, to breed armies of warriors for the coming war. The Federation was first formed as a loose alliance, which was forged into a powerful empire in it's own right during it's first war with the Terrans. Other races either grew strong enough to withstand the heat or war...or they did not.

In the wake of the Terran armies came their bureaucrats, a see of little people always seeking to expand their own influence. As the Bureaucracy grew in size, corruption began to seep into the very bones of the Empire. As groups of people grew sickened and crushed by their masters, they began to resist. The speed and brutality with which these first few uprisings were crushed only fueled the fires, and soon after the groups of rebels which would become the Crusaders began to appear and to ally with each other. The Crusaders took on the iconography of a holy, righteous crusade to rally more aid to their cause, and the Crusader Lords would become major powers.

As the war expanded across the Empire, the Loyalists turned to more and more desperate tactics. Lesser alien races were enslaved, experimented on, and modified. Those deemed suitable were turned into cannon fodder for their armies. Modification experiments were expanded to include their own troops, and in extreme cases the soldiers would have very little of their humanity left. As the experiments continued, many troops would be changed to take the form of hideous monsters, and other terrible things.

The Empire military would become as fractured as the rest of the Empire. Many elite units would directly take up the Loyalist and Crusader banners. Many more would become what is now known as the orders of the Star Knights, who would often still maintain close ties with one faction or the other. Many more would forge their own empires in the ruins of civilization, or would openly become mercenary units.

Caught in the middle of all of this, most of the colonies of the Empire have formed their own militias to defend themselves. Largely formed using supplies of pro-Collapse equipment and troops, some forces of the Colonial Militas have also managed to secure sources of new made equipment, and become powerful regional forces.