The Starless Night is a militant order dedicated to the God Arum. Their oath is to protect the weak, seek out the wicked, and punish the wrongdoer. The Starless Night maintain a fortress on the eastern coast of Traykon's main continent. The Grand Marshal of the Order is Valso De'laurance, a nobleman who founded the order and donated his grand keep to be the Knight's fortress home called the Citadel of Honor.
Currently, the Starless Night is content to keep order in their small area by the coast and let their members gain experience and knowledge of the land and it's inhabitants. Although they sometimes gather together to exterminate gatherings of evil humanoids, the membership is encouraged to cultivate resources and ties beyond that granted by the order. No military action may be taken by the membership of the order as a group without the express directive of the ruling council.
Membership: To join the order a petitioner must travel to the Citadel of Honor and present themselves before the governing body of nine knights who make up the order's inner sanctum. Petitioners must prove their devotion to Arum as well as their strength and honor. Initiates must be good in alignment and possess some combat prowess (Base Attack Bonus +1).
Benefits: Members of the Starless Night who first leave the Citadel are given a masterwork suit of armor and weapon forged from within the holy fires of Arum's forges. Although not magical, the armor grants the wearer a +1 sacred bonus to saves against spells with the Evil descriptor and the weapons can be used by Arum's priests as their focus. These items are considered holy relics and evil entities are uncomfortable in their presence. An evil being who dons the armor suffers a negative level until the armor is removed. These items can be replaced if destroyed or lost only after undergoing a quest given by the council.
Aside from the equipment, members of this order can gain room and board as well as healing at a reduced cost at any temple of Arum. Temples dedicated to good deities often provide lodging as well to members of this order as a matter of respect.
Disadvantages: Members must live by a strict Code of Conduct. Those who commit a serious violation of the code are incapable of wearing their granted armor or wield their holy weapon until they atone for their actions. Small transgressions, if repented to a superior or priest of Arum, may be forgiven. Often these small transgressions require a small action or gesture to show that the Knight is truly penitent. If a member commits many small transgressions without repenting, it is considered a serious violation of the code.
The Starless Night is a military order. Each member has a superior to whom they must report. Also, their presence or assistance may be required by any superior officer at inconvenient times. Although the order encourages their members to travel widely, each member is expected to make a personal appearance at the Citadel at least once every two years.
Ex-members: Those who leave the order on good terms, either voluntarily renouncing their vows or converting to another religion, can gain no special use from their granted equipment but suffer no other ill effects. Individuals who fail to live by the code and leave the order in disgrace can never use holy items created by Arum's priests, including healing potions. Also, these individuals are shunned by members of the order and Arum's priests. Those who betray the order or are expelled from the order for evil acts are hunted down to be brought before the council for judgment and possible execution. These individuals take 1d6 damage per round that they touch the sacred armor and weapon granted them.
Structure: The Starless Night is headed by a Grand Marshal who sits with eight other Knights on a ruling council to decide the rules and directions of the order. Being a military organization, advancement through the ranks of the order is only through the request of your immediate supervisor and must be approved by one of the ruling council. Although every member is referred to as "Knight" to the outside, within the order there are the following ranks:
- Grand Marshal
Although advancement in the ranks is encouraged, advancing more than once in a year is almost impossible. Normally an individual will stay one rank for three to five years before proving they are worth advancement. Also, those of Major rank and above tend to stay at the Citadel and seldom leave for more than a few weeks at a time. Each individual above Footman is responsible for five individuals below him. If he is promoted and there are not five individuals of the lower rank available, he is sent personnel as they become available. It is the supervisors duty to make sure each person under him adheres to the code as well as remains in contact with the Citadel. Civilian "runners" are employed by the Citadel to carry messages between commanders and through these individuals the Citadel is kept apprised of the actions of their members.