The Red Knight, or the Lady of Strategy, is the Faerûnian deity of strategy, planning and battle tactics. Her dogma dictates the use of careful tactics in battle to achieve victory, under the belief that sound strategy is the best way to win a battle with the most favorable outcome.
She is an exarch of Tempus. Where Tempus is the lord of martial skill, warriors and "Battle" in general. Red Knight is the patron of officers and strategists, who string enough battles to win "Wars." It is believed the Red Knight was elevated to divinity by Tempus to balance Garagos' destructive aims.
The Red Knight is worshiped by generals, tacticians, lawful-minded warriors and paladins alike. Although the Red Knight serves all sides in battle, villagers and city dwellers perceive her as an ally of civilization who enable small numbers of brave defenders to triumph through superior intelligence and foresight against ravening hordes of rapidly breeding humanoids.
The clergy of the Red Knight is also known as the "Red Fellowship," and consisted of clerics, paladins, monks and specialty priests styled as "holy strategists". Members of the Red Fellowship serve in militaries across Faerûn, often as high-ranking commanders, often of elite squads. Others are well-respected instructors in war colleges in kingdoms throughout the Realms. A few are quartermasters skilled at obtaining and maintaining supply lines over hostile territory. Most paladins of the faith are members of the Order of the Red Falcon.
The clerics of the faith often penned tomes on military strategy. One such book, Master Tactician, was used as a teaching tool, both in the art of war and the Red Knight's secret magic. Holy clerics of the Red Knight could gauge the strengths and weaknesses of their enemies using an analyze opponent spell.
When not on duty, priest of the Red Fellowship are known for their love of gaming. Although they avoid games of chance that require the smile of Lady Luck more than the brilliance of the Red Knight, priests of the faith strive to constantly improve their skills in abstract games of all sorts to further challenge their development of parallel lines of thought and new stratagems and to sharpen their ability to read an opponent's intentions.
HierarchyRegardless of class, priests of the Red Knight are regimented into a hierarchy with corresponding titles. In ascending order of rank these are: Page, Squire, Knight, Knight Quartermaster, Knight Commander, Knight Captain, Lord Knight, Lord Knight Commandant, Lord Knight of the Red Standard.
VestmentsFor ceremonial functions, holy strategists wear red enameled half or full plate, often complementing them with ornate, full face helmets when they wished to convey a grand impression. Over the plate, a snow white tabard embroidered with the Red Knights holy symbol is worn.
For less formal occasions, flowing robes of red accented are preferred. The shade of red denotes the rank of the wearer - starting at almost black at lower ranks to brilliant crimson at the higher ones.
A holy strategists holy symbol is usually carved from semiprecious red gemstone, but is comparable in most way to silver holy symbols of other faiths.
Adventuring holy strategists are not expected to wear red enameled armor, but simply to wear the highest quality armor they can afford. While not a requirement to keep their armor spotless, almost all do so as a point of pride.
While in the field, strategists are expected to carry a banner or shield with a distinguishing design to serve as a rallying point for their allies. Some chose to simply use the Red Knight's holy symbol for this, but many others use personal coats of arms or insignias. Despite this requirement, holy strategists are not prohibited from removing or concealing their symbols if it would provide some tactical advantage.
Unlike Tempuran priests, followers of the Red Knight are not forbidden to conceal their faces with their helmets.
TemplesTemples of the Red Knight are dominated with images of chess pieces and the floors are inlaid with a giant lanceboard in white and either black or red and polished to a brilliant gleam by the priests. They are typically guarded by blood red and bone white stone guardians, carved in the shape of various, enormous chess pieces.
The Citadel of Strategic Militancy: Located northeast of Baldur's Gate, the Citadel of Strategic Militancy was a noble estate that belonged to the Bloodhawk clan that was pillaged during the Time of Troubles. Rebuilt by the Bloodhawk scion, Lady Kaitlin, she transformed it into a bastion of her faith and home to the Red War College, with miles of surrounding farmland.
The House of Strategy: The House of Strategy is based in Ankhapur. The Red Knight was formerly the patron of Ankhapur's royal family and was that city's state religion for a couple of decades. When Janol Famisso became king, he had the state religion changed to that of Lathander, causing the Red Knight's clergy to suffer a marked loss of influence.
Temple of the Red Knight: A small temple in Cimbar, built in 1359.
RitualsClerics of the Red Knight, or "holy strategists," pray for their spells at night before sleeping to prepare for the next day. In addition to observing the holy days of the church of Tempus, the church of the Red Knight — the "Red Fellowship" — has two important holy days of its own.
Midwinter Day: On Midwinter Day the Red Fellowship observes the Retreat. This solemn ceremony consists of an assembly wherein the clergy discuss the previous year's campaigns. Strategies are discussed, battles analyzed, and the accumulated lore integrated into the church's teachings.
The Queen's Gambit: On the 1st of Tarsakh, the clergy of the Red Knight have an annual festival called the Queen's Gambit. During this day-long extravaganza, the Red Fellowship unwinds with feasting and gaming. Day-long tournaments of chess (also known as lanceboard, hence the Red Knight's second title, "Grandmaster of the Lanceboard") are held, with the tournament victors receiving recognition, titles of merit, promotions, and occasionally a gift from the temple armory.
OrdersThe Order of the Red Falcon is a fellowship of crusaders, warriors, and a few paladins who serve the Red Knight and Lady Bloodhawk. Small in number, the elite knights of this order are dangerous opponents who have triumphed in the face of overwhelming odds on numerous occasions. Based in the Citadel of Strategic Militancy, many of the knights serve as instructors in the Red War College. Other serve stints in various armies throughout the Realms training the officers in military history. On rare occasions they are all summoned back to the Citadel and led into combat by Lady Bloodhawk herself.
War is won by those with the best planning, strategy, and tactics, regardless of the apparent odds. Any fool can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory with fortune's aid. Only a master strategist can ensure lasting victory. War is a series of battles. Losing a battle does not necessarily indicate the war is lost. Seek out your opponent's weaknesses and recognize your own; avoid an opponent's strengths and play to your own. Only by focusing one's own strengths on the opponent's vulnerabilities can triumph be ensured. In times of war prepare for peace; in times of peace prepare for war. Seek out your enemy's enemies as allies, and be prepared to compromise. Life is an endless series of skirmishes with occasional outbreaks of war. Be ready — and have a contingency plan.
She is depicted as a dark haired woman in red plate armor who wields a longsword called "Checkmate."
The Red Knight looks to Tempus as a father figure and it is only he who knows her true name. If anyone else discovered this they would gain insight into every strategy and every war plan throughout the planes.
Another ally of the Red Knight is Torm. The duo are well-known to be very close, but whether they are friends or lovers is something they've kept to themselves. She also works closely with Valkur, god of naval warfare and another exarch of Tempus. Her enemies include Garagos and Cyric.
She is known to have good relations with Tyr, god of Justice.