The Order of the Griffin
Knights of Mystra

by Scott Paffenroth

Type of Building: Barracks to The Order of the Griffin

Business Conducted: Training of Mystran Knights, Patrolling the Temple of Mystra and School of Magic

Patroness: Sharelle Brightstar

Commander: Karel Truesilver

Karel Truesilver and Sharelle Brightstar first established the Order in Silverymoon in 1363 DR. The Order is a military unit composed of highly disciplined heavy cavalry (fighters, rangers, cavaliers, and paladins). The Order is allied with the Towers of Balance and the Knights of the Order Mystic Fire. The Order was established in Arylon in 1366 DR by the promptings of Edain Bradley (by Kimberly Moser ), a Knight of the Mystic Fire and retired member of the Silver Crescents.

The populace sees the Order as training Mystran Knights and protecting the school of magic and Temple of Mystra. The Order has an additional purpose for their presence in Arylon, to report all planar activity and aid in protecting Arylon from possible incursions from the outer planes. The Order also concerns itself with the wild and dead magic areas in the Fields of the Dead.

The Order is composed of Sharelle's and Karel's followers. It was organized after the year the Gods walked Toril. Sharelle was a high priestess and her followers were growing in number. Within her followers were trainable soldiers and Karel banded them together under his leadership and her colors to become the knightly Order of the Griffin, Mystran knights. Knowing he would need to train his troops in all situations he hired his men out to guard caravans for the Towers of Balance. Using the time Sharelle stayed in Silverymoon, he created a force of specialized, elite soldiers who are highly trained in magical and martial battle.

Karel and Sharelle went before the City Council with Edain to request a charter for the Order of the Griffin. The Order's charter has limitations to its growth and activities. It has been stated by the Council that the Order can never grow larger than 50 active troops and when requested, in the defense of the city, joint authority will be granted to the Silver Crescents. As a precaution, the Council and Silver Crescents have appointed Edain to act as liaison between both factions. In consolation to restricting its activities, Karel has been given permission to increase the horse herd and create an aviary for a single family of Griffins.

The Griffin numbers may not grow beyond 5 in total. Their use will be limited to communication between field units and scouting patrols. All other hatchlings will be trained and sent to other aviaries (such as Waterdeep) upon reaching maturity. As of yet, Frithnath is the only griffin in the aviary.

Currently there is room for growth in the Order, its current active membership is 35. To be considered for service within the Order a candidate must have a patron. In most cases the patron is an active or retired member. Exceptions are made on a case by case basis with the final vote made by Karel. Candidates undergo physical strength, endurance and mental fitness testing. All candidates undergo questioning by one of the lieutenants and a priest of Mystra. All members are required to act civilly at all times, helping and or defending any citizen or visitor to Arylon to the best of their ability. If any member fails in these duties a board of inquiry is set up to investigate and the member is placed on inactive status.

Due to the Order being comprised of Mystran Knights, military discipline is strictly enforced and members undergo intensive field maneuvers at regular intervals. This training, coupled with extensive drill, results in the unshakeable discipline of the troop. Mounts and men alike are well-versed in war and fighting amongst magic. The troops have seen numerous small engagements fending off orc, goblin and ogre raids.

The Order uses the Fields of the Dead as training grounds for field exercise. Once per month the full contingent parades out to the fields of the dead, also taking a group of priests and mages, for field training. On rare occasions, they have joined the Silver Crescents on larger patrols to the Fields of the Dead. The Griffins will send a force of 10-15 fully armored heavy war-horses under the command of a Lieutenant and the Order will defer to the leadership of the Crescents. If the call to arms to protect the city is sent, 80 percent of the troops muster as Heavy Cavalry to support the Silver Crescents and an order will be sent to activate all able retired members; currently totaling 15.

Each troop member is outfitted with field plate armor and large shield. Each is trained in the use of Heavy Lance, Long Sword, Horseman's Flail, Light Crossbow and is an expert rider. Their shield colors are a Nightshade purple field with a griffin in the upper quadrant, a sash of white from right to left, Mystra's Symbol in the Center, and Sharelle's wizard mark in the lower quadrant. While on guard duty and foot patrol, on temple grounds, the troops carry longswords and wear chainmail, with the symbol of Mystra on their over- tunics of cerulean blue, and helm.

Their mounts are heavy war-horses, each horse was chosen for its mixture of size and maneuverability. Each mount has dwarven steel chain barding with fore quarter plates. Embossed in the plates are the symbols of Mystra and the Order of the Griffin. Currently Sheelan has begun a breeding program and is hoping to breed an extremely powerful horse with a higher degree of intelligence and speed. As with any breeding program, it may take many years before the current herd is replaced with this new breed.

Currently the Order of the Griffin is divided amongst 3 sergeants each having two five men squads assigned to him. Each sergeant has a full day of guard duty out of every three. The Lieutenants are the "Officer of the Watch" for one week at a time. Guards are on rotating duty for 24 hours in eight-hour shifts of full patrol and station posts.

For example: Monday 'A1' squad patrols for eight hours. For the next eight hours A2 squad patrols, while A1 is placed on stationary post duty. The last eight hours squad B1 patrols, A1 is relieved and A2 is on standby. Tuesday B2 squad patrols for eight hours, followed by C1. C2 takes the last eight-hour watch, followed by A1.

8:00am A-1-patrol/C-2 posts, C-1 barracks
8:00am B-2 patrol/B-1 posts, A-2 barracks
4:00pm A-2 patrol/A-1 posts, C-2 barracks
4:00pm C-1 patrol/B-2 posts, B-1 barracks
12:00am B-1 patrol/A-2 posts, A-1 barracks.
12:00am C-2 patrol/C-1 posts, B-2 barracks

Therefore, while 'A' Company is on patrol, 50% of 'B' Company is on standby, and 'C' Company is off duty. At any given time there are 5 men patrolling, 5 at stationary posts, and 5 sleeping in the barracks.

Each soldier is required to learn more than just weapon and horsemanship skills. Each is trained at the temple in reading/writing and etiquette. For those rare individuals whose calling is in the Mystran faith, they are tested by the Sharelle, Karel and Sir Stefan Darganz for possible training as a Paladin. Currently, there are 4 paladins in training. The hierarchy of the Order is a self-sustaining body and promotes only within its ranks. All sergeants are in training to become lieutenants and all lieutenants are trained to take command of the Order, as eventual replacements will occur.

Karel is a pragmatic leader and has hired a man(?) known only amongst the order as the Ebony Knight. He is rarely seen amongst his brethren and no one ever sees him enter or leave the barracks. His position in the order is one of information gathering. The Ebony Knight's true identity is known only to Gallene, Sharelle, Karel, and Sheelan. The knight joined the order at the behest of Sheelan to keep an eye and ear to all the planar activity that occurs throughout the city.

The barracks is a stone structure three stories high and is attached to the temple along the curving interior wall. It is 50 feet long and 40 wide with crenellations about its top. Atop the barracks is a cistern, which supplies water for sluicing the privies and stalls in addition to fresh water for the horses. The entrance is a double door made from ironwood with metal bands for reinforcement. The main doors enter into the feasthall where the soldiers eat and have duty rosters posted. At the far end of the hall is a double set of stairs going up to the second floor. Taking up the back section of the barracks is the kitchen and pantry. To the left of the hall is the duty office of the two Lieutenants, visitor quarters and the armory. To the right of the hall is Karel's office, Edain's office and the planning room.

The second floor holds the soldiers quarters. Sergeants have individual rooms, total of 6 and the guardsmen share one of three common sleeping quarters, one for each shift. Each soldier has a bunk, a storage trunk for personal effects, and a small upright closet for uniforms. Currently, there are 35 in the Order of the Griffin, maximum capacity is 50 knights. There is another set of stairs leading up to the third floor for the individual rooms for the Lieutenants, Karel, and other important staff members. There is an additional set of stairs leading to the top of the tower for access to the battlements.

The stable is a two story wooden structure 40ft by 60ft with a worked stone foundation, and an exterior corral. All horses are kept on first floor in individual stalls, maximum capacity is 100 horses. In front of each stall is a metal grate to ease the clean up of manure. The second story is for hay, straw and feed storage, and a small room for the stable hands. The foundation/subfloor is crafted of fitted stone and pitched allowing manure to flow, as it is being sluiced, from beneath the building into a brick walled, sand floored holding area. The Rkeyteks R US Company picks up the majority of the manure, and the rest is for use as fertilizer in the gardens around the temple.

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