The Champions of Avendar (also known as the Champions of the Light, the Order of Aramril, or the Champions of Aramril) are Avendar's primary bulwark against the machinations of evil. Espousing both valor and service, Champions are often among the first to defend the pure-hearted or lead a sortie into the heart of darkness. Their membership accepts all manner of the Good-aligned characters who complete the induction process.
The Champions reside in the Tower of Aramril, situated amidst the Tower Grounds north of the Arien Plains. The Tower itself takes its name after Aramril, who along with his beloved, Salyra, awakened Jolinn from His deep slumber. With Aramril's martyrdom and the end of the War of Fire, the Father of the Seas established the Order to prevent such nightmarish destruction from happening again. As such, the Champions have traditionally venerated Jolinn first among their patrons, which also include Aeolis and Rystaia.
The Champions were established at the close of the War of Fire with the martyrdom of its first saint, Aramril. The martial foundation of the Order can be found in these times, as many early Champions fought in armies against the rampaging srryn and humans. During the War of Night, the famed Templar-General Amiraiya and her Champions are well-remembered for the Battle of Aramril, in which the Tower itself was beseiged. Without the magics of spirit (as the Day of Two Dawns had not yet occurred), Amiraiya battled against the the shuddeni, aelin, and a void-dragon with the magics of Water. Although the Tower remained standing, the victory came at the cost of many Champion lives.
Champions have found themselves in diametric opposition to the diabolic Coven of the Shunned ever since the release of Serachel. Although some were unwittingly used in the Mask Lord's designs, many gave their lives to resist their grip. Additionally, Champions have been well-known for their aid in imprisoning or destroying demons, such as Gyel-Xan or Kyez-Ralin.
During the War of the Eyeblight, the Tower of Aramril was defiled by a contingent of shuddeni calling themselves the Scourge. While the Tower was occupied, the city of Earendam housed the orphaned Order in the Temple of Jolinn. The Surface Alliance, a coalition of armies from Avendar's city-states, retook the Tower, allowing it to be restored and expanded, and it has housed the Champions ever since.
Although many Champions have been Sons or Daughters of Jolinn, there is no shortage of religions represented within Aramril's ranks. Famed Champions have also followed Aeolis, Calaera, Girikha, Rystaia and Vaialos.
The traditional structure of the Champions has involved a single leader and multiple soldiers. Although each Champion leader tends to function in a slightly different way, none stray too far from this original design. A notable exception is Lord General Teris, who implemented a more complex series of ranks, although much of that has been eschewed over time. However, his lasting contribution is the positions of Chancellor and Paladin. That said, even that which has remained has not gone untouched by the passage of time, and merely retain their namesake.
|Lord General||The martial leader of the Champions of the Light, the Lord General oversees the induction process and, when possible, leads his fellow soldiers in battle. Because of the heavy responsibility which comes with this position, it is often filled by a Champion of renown who is known and respected by the Order. It is upon his shoulders that the legacy of his generation is laid. In the absence of a mortal leader, Akraelyn serves in this capacity.|
|Chancellor||The Chancellor serves as a high moral authority for the Order of Aramril, lending itself to the less militant. Often the Chancellor is a strong advisor and aide to the Lord General, and a worthy leader in his own right. Disciplinary action and the preservation of the Champion ideals are the purview of the Chancellor. This position serves as a key counter-weight to the crusades of the Lord General and his battle-brothers. If not held by a mortal, Ealiryon assumes this role.|
|Paladin||A sole and distinguished Champion, the Paladin is named by the Lord General for to marshal efforts for a specific quest or task. This makes the tenure of any given Paladin a temporary one, although the position itself is a high honor. During the duration of the quest, the Paladin serves as a personal lieutenant to the Lord General and organizes others devoted to the cause. Additionally, this position can be used to grant leadership experience, to determine the Paladin's fitness for greater responsibility within the Order. There is only one Paladin at a time.|
|Knight||The rank and file of Aramril, a Knight is someone who has been inducted into the Order. Each Knight has been tested in their understanding of the Champion tenets, as well as their physical aptitude. Although this position calls for no specific responsibility within the Order, it is not considered subserviant to those within it who do. Each Knight must make his own decisions and acts in accordance with his own beliefs, as well as the official position of the Lord General and/or Chancellor. His primary responsibility is to protect and preserve the light as best he is able, in concert with other Champions.|
The following is a timeline of the leaders of the Champions of Avendar.
Note: Please feel free to update or add to this list so long as it includes no currently living PCs.
Before an applicant is inducted into the Champions of the Light, he must perform a vigil. A vigil is a task assigned to him by the Lord General, Chancellor, or Paladin (as applicable) which grants an opportunity to the applicant for personal growth. This may be to enhance the applicant's understanding of the Champion tenets, to test their martial prowess, to allow meditation and reflection, or any number of other objectives. Once a vigil has been completed, the applicant should explain what revelation the task undertaken has revealed, if any. This, along with a thorough understanding of the tenets, are the two primary precursors to the induction ceremony.
The tenets of the Champions, as codified in the Commandments of the Champions, are as follows.
|Justice||A Champion's actions should be to mete out justice where it would otherwise be overlooked. This often includes the punishment of the wicked, by way of death or disarm, and the destruction of their plans. Additionally, a Champion should seek to defend the pure-hearted to the best of his ability, even if this comes at high personal cost.|
|Courage||A Champion must show courage when facing evil. This may be in the form of traveling to cursed locations, the slaying of the undead, or facing other adventurers on the field of battle. Although the archetypical example of courage is a lone hero facing the darkness, it can also be found in the actions of a commander leading his allies. Above all, a Champion must not let his fear overwhelm his dedication to the salvation of the peoples of Avendar.|
|Mercy||Perhaps the most tenuous of the tenets to the martially inclined, it is a Champion's duty to offer mercy when he can. This may come in the form of helping redeem an enemy who truly seeks it, or a clean death for those whose souls cannot be saved. A Champion need not be led astray by false claims of repentence, but he should not simply put down all who question his efforts.|
|Holy Avenger||This enchantment is granted to a weapon, and that weapon in turns deals 20% more damage to foes of Evil alignment.|
|Reveal||Reveal causes characters within the area to glow as they would had they been affected by faerie fog. Characters so afflicted are unable to hide, camouflage, become invisible.|
|Brotherhood||Champions can cast this on one another, allowing one to suffer the hp damage dealt to the other when that damage would be fatal.|
|Scourge of Darkness||An Area of Effect spell, scourge of darkness deals holy damage (akin to fireball) and potentially teleports Evil-aligned characters to a random location.|
|Soulblade||The pinnacle power of the Champions, soulblade is an attack spell that deals holy damage to the target. Although it does not affect Good or Neutral-aligned characters, it has a chance to instantly kill those of Evil alignment.|
Joining the Champions is often a life of servitude, humility, and war. Champions are very often instant targets among the darkhearted. Many times folk of evil intent will take hostages, attempting to force the Champion into doing their will. What sets a Champion apart from other good-aligned adventurers is their adherence to the Tenets even in the face of overwhelming adversity.