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(A Templar Knight) is truly a fearless knight, and secure on every side, for his soul is protected by the armor of faith just as his body is protected by the armor of steel. He is thus doubly-armed, and need fear neither demons nor men.
-Bernard of Clairvaux
The Templars is the ﬁrst in a series of COLONIAL GOTHIC sourcebooks covering secret societies and other organizations. Within these pages you will ﬁnd detailed and authoritative information on the activities of the Knights Templar in the world of COLONIAL GOTHIC, including their acknowledged and secret histories, their structure and organization, their goals in the Thirteen Colonies and around the world, and the implications of membership. Although they do not show their hand openly, the Knights Templar remain a force in the world of COLONIAL GOTHIC. Their hand is seldom seen, but it pulls on many strings. This book is divided into the following chapters: Chapter 1: History covers the acknowledged history of the Order from its founding in 1119 to the execution of Grand Master Jacques de Molay in 1314. It also covers what is known about the fate of those Templars who survived the fall of the Order. Chapter 2: Templar Legends summarizes the various legends and conspiracy theories that grew up around the Templars, both during their ofﬁcial existence and afterward. Chapter 3: Templar Secrets presents the “ofﬁcial” history of the Order in the world of COLONIAL GOTHIC.
Chapter 4: Encountering the Templars discusses the Order’s agendas and activities in the world of COLONIAL GOTHIC, and the various capacities in which the Heroes might encounter Templar agents. Chapter 5: Templar Characters covers rules for Templar characters in the game, including notes on the various ranks of membership, how Heroes may join the Order, and example NPC descriptions.
From Parzival through Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade to The da Vinci Code, the Knights Templar have had an enduring hold over the popular imagination. At dawn on Friday, October 13, 1307, they went from being one of the most powerful organizations in medieval Europe to prisoners and fugitives. They were questioned under torture and their leaders were executed for heresy. Ofﬁcially disbanded in 1312, the Knights Templar ceased to exist. The legend of the Templars has proved harder to destroy. Rumors persisted of hidden treasure, of a curse that blighted a dynasty, and of a secret so powerful that it threatened the very basis of the Church. New organizations such as the Freemasons looked back to the Templars, and became shrouded in myth and conspiracy theory themselves. From their origins during the Crusades until their fall two centuries later, the Templars had grown in wealth and power. Some said they grew too powerful, and had become arrogant. Some whispered that they had acquired secret knowledge in the Holy Land. Some accused them of heresy, witchcraft, and worse crimes. The ofﬁcial history of the Knights Templar extends from the Order’s founding in 1119 until the execution of its last Grand Master in 1314. To many historians, it is a tale of growing pride and an inevitable fall. The Order’s wealth and power became a threat to kings and Popes alike; the Order forgot its humble origins and 3
its vows of poverty, and paid the price. Templars were arrested on trumped-up charges of heresy, most examined under torture, and many were executed. The Templars’ lands and other possessions were given to the more manageable Order of the Knights Hospitaller, and the Templars were no more.
Between 1096 and 1099, the First Crusade made its way from Europe to Jerusalem, wresting the Holy Land from Muslim control. A Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem was established, and Christian nobles controlled lesser ﬁefs, protecting – and proﬁting from – Christian pilgrims who began making their way to the holy sites. The journey from Europe to Jerusalem was still a long and arduous one, fraught with dangers from bandits and slavers. Many would-be pilgrims died of disease or violence, and many others found themselves robbed in a foreign land, unable to pay for passage home. Around 1119, two French knights, Hugues de Payens and Godfrey de SaintOmer, approached King Baldwin II of Jerusalem with a proposal. With his permission, they would establish an order of knights on monastic lines, holy warriors whose duty would be to protect pilgrims as they travelled through the wilds of Outremer to Jerusalem. King Baldwin agreed. The knights were given space in the captured Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount to use as their headquarters. Close to the site of Solomon’s Temple, this spot is holy to Jews and Muslims as well as Christians. The knights named themselves the “Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon,” which soon became abbreviated to the “Knights of the Temple” or the “Knights Templar.”
COLONIAL GOTHIC: THE TEMPLARS
For nine years, little was heard of the Knights Templar. In 1129, they were ofﬁcially sanctioned by the Church at the council of Troyes. Leading churchman Bernard of Clairvaux wrote De Laude Novae Militae (”In Praise of the New Knighthood”), extolling their cause and defending the novel idea of an armed religious order. Their fundraising efforts in Europe resulted in donations of money and land and a ﬂood of new recruits. Like the monastic orders on which their constitution was based, Templars were required to swear vows of poverty and hand over all their goods to the Order. Their seal, which showed two knights sharing a horse, underlined their vows of poverty. In 1139, Pope Innocent III issued a Papal Bull titled Omne Datum Optimum (“Every Perfect Gift”), which exempted members of the Order from the laws of the kingdoms in which they operated. They could pass freely across borders, were exempt from taxation, and answered only to the Pope. Unlike other bodies of knights, no king could command the Templars.
THE ORDER GROWS
The Christian gains of the First Crusade lasted for less than a century. The Second Crusade failed to take Damascus, and Saladin, the Sultan of Egypt, reconquered Jerusalem for Islam in 1187. The Third and Fourth Crusades did not return Jerusalem to Christian hands, and three subsequent Crusades (or four, according to some historians) were fought without success in Egypt. Unlike the majority of Crusaders, the Knights Templar were professional soldiers. In battle, a charge of heavily-armored Templar knights was worth any number of peasant levies from Europe, and in the councils of the Crusaders, the Templar Grand Master spoke with as much authority as any king present. Although individual Templars took a vow of poverty, the Order grew rich and powerful from donations of land and money by benefactors across Europe. In addition to protecting pilgrims’ persons while they traveled, the Order used letters of credit to protect their money. A would-be pilgrim or Crusader could deposit money at a Templar preceptory, which were now widespread across Europe, and receive a letter of credit that could be redeemed for cash at any other Templar preceptory. This early banking operation proved extremely proﬁtable. From these beginnings, the Order grew and grew. It maintained its own ﬂeet, which was used for trade as well as to transport pilgrims and Crusaders. At one time, the Order owned the whole island of Cyprus, along with farms and other lands across Europe. Templar castles belonged to the Order, and were independent of the king in whose country they were built.
COLONIAL GOTHIC: THE TEMPLARS
The collecting of holy relics by churches, kings, and other groups reached a fever pitch in the Middle Ages. One historian commented drily that there were enough splinters of the True Cross in medieval Europe to account for a small forest of trees. The Order is recorded as having a piece of the True Cross, which was carried into the disastrous Battle of the Horns of Hattin in 1187 by the Bishop of Acre. It was captured by the Saracens and subsequently ransomed back to the Crusaders. The Templars also possessed the head of Saint Euphemia of Chalcedon, who was martyred in the arena in 306 or 307. Among the goods conﬁscated from the Paris preceptory in 1314 was a reliquary in the shape of a woman’s head, which contained two bones from the head of a small woman and a label on which was written “caput LVIIIm” (“head 38m” or possibly “head 38, female” as some
FULL-LENGTH PHOTOGRAPH OF THE SHROUD OF TURIN WHICH IS SAID TO HAVE BEEN THE CLOTH PLACED ON JESUS AT THE TIME OF HIS BURIAL. GIUSEPPE ENRIE, 1931
USING THE TEMPLARS
The Knights Templar can ﬁll many roles during the course of a Colonial Gothic campaign. They can be encountered as friends or enemies, or as a shadowy enigma to be pursued. Ideally, the Heroes should be kept guessing as to whether the Templars are friends or enemies. The truth should always be just out of reach.
Colonial Gothic Heroes can encounter a Templar agent in the role of a patron, like Grant de Beers in BOSTON BESIEGED. A Templar patron may provide the Heroes with material assistance and information, as well as sending them on missions that further the Templar cause in some way. However, it is unlikely that the Heroes will ever know that their patron is a Templar. The only time a Templar agent will reveal his or her afﬁliation is when approaching a character who has performed well enough to be considered for membership in the Order, and has been thoroughly investigated and found suitable. Everything will be conducted in the utmost secrecy. For a character who has been inducted into the Templars, the local preceptory offers a regular source of missions and assistance, but the character will have to prove his or her loyalty and ability many times over before being fully trusted. Contact will be restricted to the character’s patron and perhaps one or two other members, so that no junior member of the Order can give away information that will harm the preceptory or the Order if they are captured and interrogated. If a Templar character performs well and is promoted, a few more contacts are revealed, but only if these contacts are necessary to carry out a mission. Only the most senior members of a preceptory know the identities of all the members.
DEUS EX MACHINA
If the Heroes get into trouble while working against the Order’s enemies, it is possible to have one or two Templar agents step in to help. The Order keeps a close eye on its enemies and on its enemies’ enemies – they could prove to be useful tools, or even friends. Once again, the Templar agents will not usually reveal their identities, and they will never identify themselves as Templars. Unless they wish to maintain contact with the Heroes and use them in future plans, the Templar agents will melt away as quickly and suddenly as they appeared. Trying to discover the identities of their mysterious saviors can develop into a major story arc within the campaign, and if the Order thinks the Heroes have potential as agents, things can develop into a complex test as they follow enigmatic and often misleading clues to their goal.
THE WORSHIP OF THE GENERATIVE POWERS: DURING THE MIDDLE AGES OF WESTERN EUROPE BY THOMAS WRIGHT Assisted by J. E. Tennent and George Witt London, J. C. Hotten 
COLONIAL GOTHIC: THE TEMPLARS
THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR
But the most remarkable, and at the same time the most celebrated, affair in which these accusations of secret and obscene ceremonies were brought to bear, was that of the trial and dissolution of the order of the knights templars. The charges against the knights templars were not heard of for the ﬁrst time at the period of their dissolution, but for many years it had been whispered abroad that they had secret opinions and practices of an objectionable character. At length the wealth of the order, which was very great in France, excited the cupidity of King Philippe IV, and it was resolved to proceed against them, and despoil them of their possessions. The grounds for these proceedings were furnished by two templars, one a Gascon, the other an Italian, who were evidently men of bad character, and who, having been imprisoned for some offence or offences, made a confession of the secret practices of their order, and upon these confessions certain articles of accusation were drawn up. These appear to have been enlarged afterwards. In 1307, Jacques de Molay, the grand master of the order, was treacherously allured to Paris by the king, and there seized and thrown into prison. Others, similarly committed to prison in all parts of the kingdom, were examined individually on the charges urged against them, and many confessed, while others obstinately denied the whole. Amongst these charges were the following: 1. That on the admission of a new member of the order, after having taken the oath of obedience, he was obliged to deny Christ, and to spit, and sometimes also to trample, upon the cross; 2. That they then received the kiss of the templar, who ofﬁciated as receiver, on the mouth, and afterwards were obliged to kiss him in ano, on the navel, and sometimes on the generative member; 3. That, in despite of the Saviour, they sometimes worshipped a cat, which appeared amongst them in their secret conclave; 4. That they practised unnatural vice together; 5. That they had idols in their different provinces; in the form of a head, having sometimes three faces, sometimes two, or only one, and sometimes a bare skull, which they called their saviour, and believed its inﬂuence to be exerted in making them rich, and in making ﬂowers grow and the earth germinate; and 6. That they always wore about their bodies acord which had been rubbed against the head, and which served for their protection.1 The ceremonies attending the reception into the order were so universally acknowledged, and are described in terms which have so much the appearance of truthfulness, that we can hardly altogether disbelieve in them. The denial was to be repeated thrice, no doubt in imitation of St. Peter. It appears to have been considered as a trial of the strength of the obedience they had just sworn to the order, and they all pleaded that they had obeyed with reluctance, that they had denied with the mouth but not with the heart; and that they had intentionally spit beside the cross and not upon it. In one instance the cross was of silver, but it was more commonly of brass, and still more frequently of wood; on one occasion the cross painted in a missal was used, and the cross on the templar’s mantle often served the purpose. When one Nicholas de Compiegne protested against these two acts, all the templars who were present told him that he must do them, for it was
the custom of the order. 2 Baldwin de St. Just at ﬁrst refused, but the receptor warned him that if he persisted in his refusal, it would be the worse for him (aliter male accideret sibi), and then “he was so much alarmed that his hair stood on end.” Jacques de Trecis said that he did it under fear, because his receptor stood by with a great naked sword in his hand. 3 Another, Geoffrey de Thatan, having similarly refused, his receptor told him that they were “points of the order,” and that if he did not comply, “he should be put in such a place that he would never see his own feet.” And another who refused to utter the words of denial was thrown into prison and kept there until vespers, and when he saw that he was in peril of death, he yielded, and did whatever the receptor required of him, but he adds that he was so troubled and frightened that he had forgotten whether he spat on the cross or not. Gui de la Roche, a presbyter of the diocese of Limoges, said that he uttered the denial with great weeping. Another, when he denied Christ, “was all stupiﬁed and troubled, and it seemed as if he were enchanted, not knowing what counsel to take, as they threatened him heavily if he did not do it.” When Etienne de Dijon similarly refused to deny his Saviour, the preceptor told him that he must do it because he had sworn to obey his orders, and then “he denied with his mouth,” he said, “but not with his heart; and he did this with great grief,” and he adds that when it was done, he was so conscience-struck that “he wished he had been outside at his liberty, even though it had been with the loss of one of his arms.” When Odo de Dompierre, with great reluctance, at length spat on the cross, he said that he did it with such bitterness of heart that he would rather have had his two thighs broken. Michelet, in the account of the proceedings against the templars in his “History of France,” offers an ingenious explanation of these ceremonies of initiation which gives them a typical meaning. He imagines that they were borrowed from the ﬁgurative mysteries and rites of the early Church, and supposes that, in this spirit, the candidate for admission into the order was ﬁrst presented as a sinner and renegade, in which character, after the example of Peter, he was made to deny Christ. This denial, he suggests, was a sort of pantomime in which the novice expressed his reprobate state by spitting on the cross; after which he was stripped of his profane clothing, received, through the kiss of the order, into a higher state of faith, and clothed with the garb of its holiness. If this were the case, the true meaning of the performance must have been very soon forgotten. This was especially the case with the kiss. According to the articles of accusation, one of the ceremonies of initiation required the novice to kiss the receiver on the mouth, on the anus, or the end of the spine, on the navel, and on the virga virilis. The last is not mentioned in the examinations, but the others are described by so many of the witnesses that we cannot doubt of their truth. From the depositions of many of the templars examined, it would appear that the usual order was to kiss the receptor ﬁrst in ano, next on the navel, and then on the mouth. 4 The ﬁrst of these was an act which would, of course, be repulsive to most people, and the practice arose gradually of only kissing the end of the spine, or, as it was called in mediæval Latin, in anca. Bertrand de Somorens, of the diocese of Amiens, describing a reception at which more than one new member was admitted, says that the receiver next told them that they must kiss him in ano; but, 56
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