Campaign of the Month: January 2013
DANgerous Kalamar 4
Order of the Pike
Undeterred by ethical considerations, the existence of the Order of the Pike centers around the art of warfare. Worship of the Strategist involves training both mind and body for performance in battle. When not practicing on the field, these clerics hone their mental skills by playing chess and other war games.
The chief tenant of this religion is that success is possible only if individuals unerringly place the welfare of the group above their own. This requirement necessitates a certain level of physical prowess and an increasing level of knowledge and wisdom as one progresses in the hierarchy. The main function of the clergy is to teach their underlings, yet they also willingly serve as cadre in battle.
Sects of the Strategist’s followers exist across the ethical spectrum and sometimes come to blows with each other. This is actually encouraged, as the lessons learned from facing one’s peers are far more valuable than those obtained by dispensing an inferior foe. Bested opponents always receive the respect due a worthy adversary.
Battle is the truest form of worship to the Master of Tactics, and the Order of the Pike seeks out opponents expressly for this purpose. The Strategist especially favors combat with those espousing chaotic notions of individual strength in melee. Nothing makes the Old Man prouder than to see his followers methodically dissect a horde of the Battle Rager’s followers.
Worshippers of the Strategist tend to be an exceedingly dangerous lot. The concentration of seasoned fighters in the lay clergy, as well as the physical and mental discipline enforced upon believers as a whole, tends to turn confrontations into a meticulously executed massacre. Prayers made by fighters before battle are actually meditation techniques. Clerics, however, use their own prayers (spells) to maximize a worshipper’s effectiveness by allowing him to make intelligent, rational decisions in the heat of battle.
Adventures: Members of the Order of the Pike use adventures to test their martial skills. An adventurer’s violent lifestyle is the perfect place to test his strategy in a wide variety of challenging situations. The truly dedicated followers of The Old Man are respected and feared for their impact on the battlefield. Acting as leaders and commanders as well as front line warriors, members of the Order can turn the tide of battle against even the longest odds.
Characteristics: Members of the Order of the Pike come in many varieties, but all strive to lead the soldiers under their commands, with both insightful orders and inspiring examples. The ideal cleric is a skilled strategist and tactician who fights with the strength and skill of a master. Some officers are especially talented in one area or another, and cover their weaknesses by carefully selecting lieutenants whose abilities compensate.
Background: The Old Man is a favored god amongst fighters able to endure the strict discipline of the religion. Surprisingly, very few gentry are among his followers. This stems from the fact that the Old Man advocates tactics that the gentry find beneath their station.
Races: Other than humans, dwarves and hobgoblins are likely members. Elves, gnomes and halflings rarely pursue this class, while half-orcs of military bent usually follow the Battle Rager instead.
Relations With Other Classes: Fighters are servants, not peers. Members of the Order of the Pike consider most other classes to be advisers, at best. Paladins, although known for their personal charisma and ability to lead by example, are best suited for individual roles rather than positions of command.
Relations With Undead: Clerics must destroy undead at great cost, but need not sacrifice themselves or others. Clerics may animate or associate with undead only in rare, vital situations important to the faith. This may still bring excommunication, if the church leaders do not agree with the cleric’s assessment of the situation. There is no penalty of excommunication for animating the bodies of unintelligent creatures.
Role: In an adventuring party, the cleric of the Order of the Pike might or might not be a tyrant who assumes control in all situations. However, when on the battlefield, the cleric believes that his god gives him the ability to overcome his enemy, and it is a matter of faith for him to demonstrate this skill. Thus, the cleric is very motivated to assume command; the larger the numbers involved on both sides, the greater the motivation to be the leader.