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Imperial Knights Houses- Part One


Darth Nyrys
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Imperial Noble Houses

 

The majority of Imperial Knights characters come from a noble house, or at the very least have sponsorship from one. If a player wishes to build their own house, benefits from it must be approved by the mods, or the house can use the benefits of one of the following houses either as a breakaway/vassal house, or a house that is running on a similar mechanical trajectory but has its own culture. Imperial Knights, while influential in their holdings, are not the hierarchical leaders of the noble houses, and the people that are in power favor conservative consistency, and will actively push against firebrands trying to radically alter their house. House boons reflect the political nature of the Imperial Knights, with squires getting a basic boon from their own house, knights getting the intermediate version of boons from both their own and an allied house, either from an arranged marriage or as a symbol of fellowship/gratitude/sponsorship, and then at liege acquiring the highest form of benefit from their own house. While this is often restated in the descriptions, house boons are tied to the Imperial Knight and being light sided, and go inert/become unusable if the character falls to the dark side or leaves the Imperial Knights.

 

House Corrado: The silken threads that bind the cosmopolitan jewels of the galaxy together are the shipping lanes of House Corrado, one of the major merchant families that have managed to survive corporate metastasization and expansion. Corrado thrives through its connections to other noble houses, monopolies on specific premium goods, and timely and secure transport of valuables. While the rebel alliance’s associations with smugglers and pirates deterred interest in finding common ground with this house, the Imperial Remnant’s tendency to embrace law and order was far more appealing.

 

House Corrado has always been a political powerhouse that most nobility treats as synonymous with high culture on a galactic scale, because their fortune is based not on exporting their own culture, but in delivering the very finest of everything that the galaxy has to offer. Every house Corrado noble is a representative of chic and fashionable daring, an icon of timeless classics and tomorrow’s trends. Even its more distant diaspora conduct themselves with roguish panache and bravado around others, carefully crafting an image of the sardonic devil may care privateer.

 

The great house operates a number of luxury space stations at key trade intersections, along with a number of luxury cruise vessels, and is often more associated with interstellar living than any of their throneworlds. Suite availability and location on both stations and luxury vessels is commonly used to engineer interactions with people in ways that benefit house Corrado. Some scions will spend years in space without ever setting foot on terra firma. If you've ever wondered how the people behind the political and financial power structures survive during times of intense fighting in the galactic core, chances are they have been living it up on Corrado space megayachts in deep space. 

 

As a consequence of being so heavily tied to the trade lanes, House Corrado has amassed a considerable fleet crewed by veteran operators and often carrying elite marine units that have received the best training and equipment that money can buy. House Corrado rarely if ever tithes soldiers to the imperial army or redcloaks, instead wholly devoting its recruitment power to the Imperial navy and their elite Vipere Stellari task force, bolstering existing crews and providing the Empire with much needed experience and tactical guidance for smaller, faster crew ships.

 

House Corrado’s “look” varies, with its naval officers adopting a militaristic and professional appearance of navy blue, black, and silver. Meanwhile, its more wayward children tend to cultivate a leather swashbuckling sort of appeal that very few if any real corsairs could ever actually afford. Courtly members of the house tend towards whatever fashions are in or Corrado wishes to push as being in, although blue and black with silver trim is a constant presence. House Corrado’s heraldry is a black spider on a blue field, with a silver spiderweb pattern overlaying the blue. The house words are “Le stelle nelle nostre mani” or “The stars in our hands” in galactic common.

 

House Corrado’s artisanry is exceptional even by the standards of the other noble great houses, and this extends to the implements of the Imperial Knights. Lightsaber crystals are always of the highest quality cut and clarity, and are known to cut through heavy materials like durasteel even quicker than most other lightsabers. While many first think of the benefits in armor penetration, the Vipere Stellari value these blades for the ability to rapidly create breaches that they can move through to outflank and outmaneuver enemies, especially in boarding actions. Beyond lightsaber crystals, heirloom jewelry that has been carefully selected and cut to enhance the suggestive power of the Force is common among House Corrado scions, who use their powers to enhance their political acumen against the unsuspecting and mentally defeated.

 

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House Synyakvitka: As an industrial mining house that has made its fortunes harvesting on extreme hazard worlds, House Synyakvitka now largely uses remote drones and droids to work the mines while its people enjoy leisurely existence in luxury hab domes and enviro sealed towers. Force sensitivity appeared within the house’s descendants naturally, and while it is rumored that the nobles used the Force to ensure their initial prosperity, they avoided the traps of using it to monopolize power or crush their workers while hoarding wealth. When the nobles began their plan to create their own Force tradition, Synyakvitka readily joined and offered the designs of its heavy mining suits that would eventually inspire the rook class armors, and later the practice of Paladins using power armor as a whole.

 

Synyakvitka territories are exceptionally prosperous, and its people are well paid to compensate for living in extreme ecologies. There is a heavy emphasis on valuing technical and programming skills, and most manufacturing jobs are for skilled technicians that oversee and maintain the droid workforce. Communities are tight knit and crime is largely associated with juvenile attention seeking and outsiders as the work of smugglers, pirates, and bandits. Synyakvitka’s armed forces straddle the roles of territorial protection and peacekeeping, but there is a clear distinction in how crime is handled inside the dome versus outside of it, with internal offenders enjoying reformative justice systems and outsiders being shot and becoming a footnote in an incident report. Newcomers are treated with a mix of wariness and zealous hospitality, until the locals get a feel for them and whether or not they will fit as part of the community.

 

Synyakvitka colors are red with blue viewplating and power reservoirs, inspired by their hazard suits and droids. Standards and banners were never a part of Synyakvitka culture, so the house does not have a singular design, with knights that have heraldic focused traits choosing symbols of their hab dome or of personal meaning to themselves. Choosing the wellbeing of its populace over trinkets and extravagances means that the house has few heirloom weapons, but given its preference for rook class suits and tech based weaponry for lighter classes, they aren’t particularly bothered by it. Lightsabers almost always have the distinctive sapphire blue hue that is so heavily associated with the house. The house words are “My troshymo hory”, or “We Crush Mountains” in galactic standard.

 

Every citizen in Synyakvitka holdings is trained for a hab breach, and wearing an enviro suit is second nature to them. Even the most thinly armored Executor from this house will always have integrated sealed suit functions, mag gloves and boots, and an emergency air supply. Generally speaking, knights of this house will have uprated armor, not enough to get them into the next class, but enough to be worth mentioning, and their clothing will always incorporate a sealed enviro suit with an attached oxygen supply. Robotics and technical skills are a cultural pastime in Synyakvitka, and scions have an inherent knack towards repairing their own armor and damaged tech and droids with what materials are available(Treat like Force healing but for armor and droids that can only be used outside of combat). 

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House Lán Zhǎo: A house that almost faded away into obscurity when its lords and ladies neglected their duties in favor of the idle pursuits of nobility, Lán Zhǎo’s standing was preserved by a timely marriage to a wealthy Yunhua Medical Technologies executive. The house’s course has since stabilized, and a number of its nobles have since found matches within the corporation’s hierarchy. This can sometimes lend itself to a confusing and obscured power hierarchy, but overall both the house and the corporation have benefitted from this alliance.

 

Lán Zhǎo scions are caught between the obligations of court and the ambitions of business, often making a definitive choice between the two worlds, although some straddle the two by pursuing medical research and patronage. While courtly Lán Zhǎo knights easily fit the mold of the stereotypes, corporate Lán Zhǎo can be something of an oddity, trading noblesse oblige for professionalism, fairness, and other business virtues that are often spoken of but rarely practiced. The house also operates several off the books vigilante research labs that secretly test medical products and anonymously tip off regulators regarding harmful or deceitfully marketed pharmaceuticals.

 

The skies of Lán Zhǎo holdings are often graced with flights of Fènghuáng, massive raptors with feathers whose structural coloration often gives them a fiery red and orange iridescence. Training and riding these megafauna has been a longstanding tradition of the house, but the Force sensitive Imperial Knights have taken the bond between mount and rider to a whole new level, and the house maintains many rookeries of carefully bred prize avians. The creatures are as powerful as they are majestic, with enough physical strength to carry off large livestock in their talons. Even family members that don’t partake in the practice almost always own some form of pet, with caring for an animal being a central part of establishing an heir’s ability to take on responsibilities as they get older. 

 

The Fènghuáng is house Lán Zhǎo’s heraldic beast, often rendered in gold, bronze, or brass, on a field of iron or silver(The house’s standards are rendered in metal rather than cloth). Modern standards often depict the raptor accompanied by a fox, the mascot animal of YMT. Traditional house armor is a blending of warm and cold metallic colors, often adorned with Fènghuáng feathers, while scions working in YMT security forces wear white and green armor. Their house words are “Wǒmen chéngfēngpòlàng” or “We ride the winds to glory” in galactic common.  

 

YMT’s medical facilities and biology research has given the house access to unique medical and biological assets, which have been used both for fulfilling obligations and for leisure. Lán Zhǎo scions wear custom fitted organic body gloves that help maintain the body in a peak functional state, controlling temperature, tempering negative emotional reactions, filtering toxins, and providing stabilizing regenerative medicines in the case of physical injury. The undersuit’s regeneration is not a miracle worker, and is better viewed as keeping wounds from worsening and mitigating their negative effects rather than restoring the body to full functionality. A threat mode can be activated turning the undersuit into a full body protective membrane with an organic rebreather, protecting the wearer from aerial toxins and diseases while also allowing them to breathe underwater, however the suit does not protect the wearer from vacuum or generate its own oxygen supply. Lán Zhǎo Paladins have access to bio armor and genetic modification that imitate the benefits of its technological cousins, while also being capable of self repair in the form of regenerative functions. This comes at the cost of the armor being less damage resistant, but many happily accept the trade off for consistently functional armor.    

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House Abryct: Once one of the most esteemed and politically powerful houses, House Abryct has fallen into ruin after its initial attempts to secure Force sensitive heirs prior to the united undertaking of the noble houses managed to incite the wrath of a little known cabal of Force adepts whose revenge nearly wiped out the house and afflicted its scions with curses of madness and paranoia. To be a knight of House Abryct is to fight both the enemy without and the darkness within, while your comrades mock and jeer at you for your vigilance.

 

All scions of the house live with some measure of mental illness, often schizophrenia, extreme paranoia, obsessive compulsive disorder, or synesthesia. While some branches of the family have maintained the wherewithal to utilize stewards to manage house affairs, most Abryct holdings are falling into ruin and decay as accounts are neglected and upkeep is abandoned. It’s not uncommon to find Abryct palaces on the verge of abandonment, their lights flickering and entire rooms flooded by failing plumbing. Even the lowest houses now balk at the thought of accepting a marriage arrangement with House Abryct.

 

The remaining members of the house have become obsessed with hunting down the witches that cursed them, many believing that wiping out the cabal will lift the curse from their bloodlines. Given the ignominy of the cabal, most other houses question even the existence of these witches, and often chalk up House Abryct’s rants about them as another symptom of their insanity, or the work of Sith masquerading as a cult. It is not uncommon for Imperial knights and Jedi to insist that Abryct knights not be left unattended to ensure that they don’t go off mission tilting at windmills or innocent bystanders.

 

Much of House Abryct’s once substantial armory is now on the black market or in the hands of private collectors, either repossessed to settle overdue accounts or stolen by former servants who felt abandoned by their masters after weeks without pay. The once silvery metal of their armor and weapons has wept black ichor for so long that it coats them completely, and trying to keep the metal clean and gleaming has driven many a lord into a compulsion that drove them to scrub until their hands bled. The banner of House Abryct is a golden lion’s head on a white field with a black line dissecting the field diagonally, but few banners remain in a presentable state.

 

Many Abryct knights develop a spiritual divergence that they call Witchsight, where detecting the dark side through the Force manifests as unusual sensory cues, such as bad smells, colors, unlucky numbers, visual hallucinations, whispering voices, or seemingly random but severe fixations. They are usually the first to detect darkness, but tragically their mental issues can often lead to them failing to express what they’re sensing as a real threat, and a Witchsight event can look just like a bad mental health moment. Furthermore, their minds often struggle with gating responses to stimuli, so they are more likely to notice and see through illusions and other mind altering effects, although again they often struggle to effectively snap others out of it as they are often dismissed as having an episode. While few would refer to it as a gift, others can be afflicted by Witchsight due to the supernatural nature of their bloodline’s madness.

 

House Abryct uses a unique tool called a Witchbrand, that looks either like a brand or a torch (some paladins work them into the pommel of their weapons) that when in use burns with smokeless white incandescence. Witchbrands hold the light of House Abryct knights, for in spite of all of their struggles they are still champions of the light, and can be used to ignite the dark with enduring fire. Dark side conjurations are burned away in blazing radiance, and dark siders themselves, along with their tools can temporarily be set alight. A target that has been ignited has a choice, either cut off fuel to the fire or feed it at their own peril, with any consistently channeled dark side energy acting as fuel for the flames (a sword simply being a sith sword does not count as channeling, but using the Force to empower it or activate any of its special traits does isolated short power uses cause brief but severe flare ups, however the fire will not persist the following round, channeled powers act like pouring rocket fuel on the flames, and attempts to bypass this by stuttering the connection result in the same outcome as broken concentration). Even a mostly good person suffers minor burns from a Witchbrand, because everyone carries some measure of darkness inside, so it’s a constant struggle of the other knights to keep Abryct knights from burning everyone to test their virtue.   

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House Blutwulfin: House Blutwulfin believes in martial exceptionalism, but has been disillusioned by the fascist and authoritarian regimes that so often attach themselves to the pageantry of warrior cults. In the past, the house considered service in the grand army of the Republic, and then the Imperial army, as mandatory for any son or daughter that wished to inherit. Military service was lionized and the principles of command were idealized. No matter what the ruling government called itself, House Blutwulfin endeavored to be amongst its most stoic and capable defenders. But Palpatine’s empire brought with it an annihilation of all traditions not born of the empire, and identity beyond the sterilized bureaucracy of the new order became the new enemy. The empire was not the head of a body of many cultures and ideas, but rather a cancer that consumed all and starved anything not of itself. The replacement of the Imperial Army with the stormtrooper legions would shatter the house’s faith in the Empire, as their history of service was tossed away for mass produced shock troops that won wars through attrition and brutality. 

 

Blutwulfin never truly saw eye to eye with the leadership of the rebellion, they considered too many of them to be idealistic fools devoted to unattainable visions of anarcho pacifism, but they did use what remained of their military influence to erode the loyalties of exceptional imperial officers and lead them to question Palpatine’s agenda, often causing them to defect to the alliance. Even as a great house, Blutwulfin could not openly defy the Emperor’s hold on the galaxy, and so they did what they could to undermine the effectiveness of the war machine that held the empire together. When the Empire finally did fall, Blutwulfin did not join the New Republic, instead choosing militant isolationism over compromising their ideals. While they could have made a bid for galactic control with the Empire splintering into warlord factions and the New Republic struggling as a fledgling galactic superpower, it was never Blutwulfin’s ambition to rule the galaxy, so they simply bided their time waiting for a government worthy of their fealty.

 

It wouldn’t be until Empress Raven’s Imperial Remnant that the noble house would find what it was looking for. While Blutwulfin has no love for the remnant’s darker tendencies towards authoritarianism and facism, they value its pragmatism and willingness to focus on results over politics. It is the hope of the great house that it will be able to guide this new empire from within so that it does not become another victim of the temptations of absolute power. To this end, it has willingly tithed great numbers of its own, both heirs and oathbound alike, to the Imperial Remnant’s war machine. Should an officer or bureaucrat show signs of corruption or parasitic tendencies… well, accidents happen, and casualties are a part of war.

 

With the advent of the Imperial Knights, Blutwulfin readily embraced the opportunity to build a martial tradition around their own ideology and values, one of service, duty, and vigilance. Blutwulfin knights embody the Imperial Remnant at its best, a stoic shield against the horrors of the darkness and its many agents, pragmatic but fighting for a better galaxy. They are the great house with the most Paladin lodges and the most sponsored knights from lesser houses, and the highest number of former and current redcloaks.

 

Their militaristic ideology carries with it unyielding expectations for their scions, active military service and at least one tour with the Redcloaks is considered mandatory, with any unable or unwilling to serve called halfblooded and denied the holding of any position of power within the house, and their heirs placed at the end of any lines of succession unless the heir reclaims their proper place through service. Even access to their full finances and holdings is limited until a Blutwulfin noble has produced at least three heirs (family members unable to have children or with medical factors that make childbirth risky can still fulfill this obligation through taking in orphaned Blutwulfin children, of which there is rarely a shortage of). Widows and widowers can request similar arrangements, but if all heirs are spoken for or the leaders of the house believe that their numbers must be replenished, the request can be denied and a new marriage arranged. 

 

Almost all Blutwulfin marriages are arranged, and treated more like political contracts than relationships, as Blutwulfin nobles are taught to expect that one or both spouses will be deployed to different theaters at any given time (The vast majority of arranged marriages are to nobles of proven martial worth, which is to say ones with their own military obligations). Companionship and romance isn’t looked down upon by House Blutwulfin, it’s just considered something separate from marriage, which the house views as an arrangement for producing and raising legitimate heirs. Extramarital affairs are common, and any children conceived outside of wedlock are still openly claimed and provided for by the Blutwulfin parent, although the line of succession favors wedlock born heirs. Not all spouses are comfortable with this arrangement, especially not ones raised in cultures with more traditional relationship expectations, but child rearing is considerably more communal amongst the Blutwulfin than other noble families, and the other adults ensure that any anger is directed at the spouse and not the bastard child. Because of the emphasis that House Blutwulfin puts on preparing the next generation for war, neglecting or abusing children is considered tantamount to desertion, and disgruntled partners are expected to solve their marital issues in the practice ring, not by taking it out on innocent kids. Alternatively, some nobles who have socially improper partners seek out these marriages so that they can fulfill their political obligations while being free to pursue a relationship with whomever they please. 

 

All Blutwulfin children must go through a rite of passage to adulthood trial called the Gestaltung, a month of intense physical hardship and mental harrowing, where their dedication to the family and to their oaths is tested through violence and temptation. While physical ability is tested, the Gestaltung is not meant to evaluate it, and passing out from blood loss or overexertion is not grounds for failure. Only by quitting, asking their tormentors to stop, or accepting any form of mercy or under the table help, does one fail the Gestaltung. If the child fails the Gestaltung three times, they are disowned, and the best that they can hope for is to be married into another family willing to take pity on them. At the end of a successful Gestaltung, blood that has been collected throughout the ordeal is used in the creation of oathstones, crystalline spheres similar to a dark red ruby in appearance. While oathstones were originally used in jewelry, a not insignificant number of Imperial Knights have begun using them in lightsabers. The crystals produce crimson blades with golden cores, and while telling an oathstone blade apart from a sith lightsaber is rather easy due to the golden core, the stigma around red lightsaber blades does sometimes cause friction.

 

While contact with stormtroopers during their term of service is largely unavoidable, Blutwulfin Imperial Knights significantly prefer the armsmen of their own house to the iconic soldiers of the empire. In their eyes, stormtroopers are a cheap copy of an already mass produced soldier, and the epitome of everything that they despised about Palpatine’s empire. While it’s not impossible for these biases to be overcome, to call it an uphill struggle is an understatement. Stormtrooper units unfortunate enough to be in the general area of a Blutwulfin Knight can expect to find themselves in constant drills as the Knight tries to march the subpar training out of them. (Stormtroopers in the imperial remnant actually receive a complete and well rounded training regimen, Blutwulfin nobles are just elitist members of what is essentially a war cult and have unreasonably high and sometimes eccentric standards.) 

 

House Blutwulfin’s heraldry is flexible, with the consistent elements being a red wolf and at least part of the field being golden yellow. A Blutwulfin noble chooses their heraldry upon the arrangement of their marriage, and common influences are the heraldry of their spouse, the insignia of a military unit that they served with or are awaiting assignment to, additional wolves to represent a spouse and children, or the insignia of their lodge if they are a Paladin. Blutwulfin armor is red with gold trim. “In allen dingen, unerschrocken” or “In all things, unflinching” are the house words.

 

Blutwulfin Imperial Knights have access to oathstones from their Gestaltung (as do their spouses, oathstones are common wedding gifts) that are often used to focus lightsaber blades or serve as resonant symbols of the house’s extreme sense of duty. Oathstone lightsabers possess a phantasmal mass and heft to them that other lightsabers lack. While this makes them less effortless to handle than normal lightsabers, their impacts hold considerably greater consequence in terms of inertial force. Blutwulfin lightsabers tend to have longer grips than traditional lightsabers to allow for more flexibility in holding and leveraging the weapon. Oathstones can also be worked into jewelry, creating heirlooms that allow the wearer to channel the Force to counter attempts to make them lose their footing or throw them at a much more efficient rate of power. Oathstones only respond to the light side of the Force.  

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House Edsbryder: A noble house that owes its original wealth and power to dark sorceries that marked their bloodlines with ghastly pallor, unnatural hair colors such as white or blue so dark that it’s almost black, and strangely brilliant eyes that weep black or crimson ichor rather than normal tears, but has since undergone a transformative journey to becoming champions of the light. They often conceal their ghoulish visages behind helmets and masks, and their knights are eager to prove their devotion to fight against the darkness. In spite of their return to virtue, their blighted blood continues to haunt them, even afflicting outsiders who come into the family and spend enough time in their ancestral homes. Some spouses intentionally distance themselves from the Edsbryder throne world, while others accept the inevitable either out of duty or solidarity with their spouses. Parts of the look can be concealed of course with cosmetic alterations.

 

The original places of power for this house are evocative of gothic horror, equal parts overt majesty and lingering dread. They are haunted places, often both in a literal and metaphorical sense, which contributes to the house’s nonchalant familiarity with the dark and gallows humor. Edsbryder scions tend to shrug off encounters with the supernatural, while evading social interaction with outsiders who often treat them as untrustworthy or malevolent. More recent structures are more in line with the house’s new direction, and are considerably brighter and more modern, although their walls are high to keep the outside world at bay when the nobles need respite.  

 

In spite of their unsettling appearance, or perhaps more accurately because of it, house members hold a great deal of empathy behind their courtly demeanor and sardonic quips. For those unaccustomed to their ways, Edsbryder nobles can come across as abrasive, overly direct, and casually cruel, but those that weather the initial storm find them to be intensely loyal to their allies, in a discreet fashion. They are also protective of the outcast and abnormal when often their peers would turn up their noses or look the other way.

 

Edsbryder’s heraldry was originally a black serpent coiled and ready to strike over a purple field, but since its rebirth the serpent is now gold and coiled protectively around a pale maiden on a blue field. The House words “Natten hvisker gift” (“The night whispers poison” in galactic standard) has transformed from a threat to enemies into a warning to those that would follow the same dark path they once did. For those among the house that use lightsabers, orange, yellow, blue, and white blades are favored, although some scions have inherited purple bladed lightsabers of discreet origin. Their armor and ceremonial garb is dark purple and black with gold trim.  Edsbryder scions that have served their military obligation in the Redcloaks are honored with a red silk signifier of some sort, such as a cape or sash. 

 

Oathbreaker, the blade that shattered the night that the house rebelled against the dark, had its shards melted down to forge heirloom blades, with the largest shard becoming the dagger Slangebid, known for finding its way into the hearts of corrupt nobles when they least expect it. For all of its efforts to reimagine itself, Edsbryder nobles don’t hesitate to go for the throat when the moment calls for it, and will readily run an enemy through while they lie asleep in their bed. This has led to them developing a reputation in the Imperial inquisition as prime operatives, although they apply the same determination and drive regardless of where they are assigned. House Edsbryder demands that its scions commit to mandatory military service with the Redcloaks, both to show commitment to the light and to keep its heirs from falling into total isolation. 

 

The Edsbryder look is more than just a physical disfigurement, it’s a sign of deeper scars left by the darkness of past sins. Scions with this condition benefit from a strange alchemy between that darkness and their own inner light, with the two canceling each other out for anyone trying to detect disturbances in the Force. Edsbryder Knights are also known for their sinister guile, and practice a unique form of telekinetic fighting with knives called Nachtschim, a short range TK application that holds a single knife for close in fighting. The knife is limited in range, capped at a meter for any form of finesse and two meters at the absolute extreme, and attacks with the same strength and speed as the (unaugmented) wielder, but the power requires little energy and is instinctive to the Knight. Nachtschim can be taught to others, but Edsbryder Knights tend to only share it with their closest confidantes and partners.  

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House Gah’Hidloh: Originating from a cluster of hundreds of moons orbiting a gas giant that share atmosphere, House Gah’Hidloh rules over a luxurious procession of environmentally engineered paradise moons. The unique atmospheric qualities and drifting bioluminescent organisms of the cluster cause the moons to appear in eternal sunset, giving them the sobriquet of the golden strands. House Gah’Hidloh plays the role of host to a large number of the galactic elite who lease mega estates or even entire moons, paying exorbitant amounts to live in decadence and beauty. The proper name for the Golden Strands has both verbal and hand signed components, but the bastardized misrecorded version that became standard on the star charts is Tsiku.

 

Having easy access to the galaxy’s ultra elite gives House Gah’Hidloh greater political reach than the size of their holdings would indicate, although they have begun using their wealth to migrate key flora and fauna and terraform other gas giants that meet their parameters for establishing new holdings. They have used their political power to shelter their people from the war, currying influence and favor with major political and economic players on both sides as a means to sideline themselves in the conflict. This has put them in a complicated situation with their choosing to align themselves with the Imperial Knights, as they are now opening themselves to retaliatory strikes if they press any guests aligned with the wrong side too hard.

 

As masters of soft power, House Gah’Hidloh members often style themselves as gracious hosts who greatly value the virtue of hospitality. They will often suggest a mutually beneficial path, but rarely command it be done. Those who wrong the house will often face tragedy soon after, with no real understanding of who engineered their demise. Initially, the house’s only interaction with outsiders was with galactic high society, but a business move to gain tax incentives on their expansion initiatives led to them gaining a greater sense of empathy to refugees they housed in their newly established colonies. It didn’t hurt that the Tinde were themselves once a group of nomadic refugees, spiritual sky warriors who settled in the strands after their leaders received visions. This call to action brought the house into the Imperial Knights, along with their teachings about diyí', their name for the Force.

 

House Gah’Hidloh is the house responsible for the Zephyr class armor, and due to the unique terrain of its homeworld, contributes a large number of Zephyrs and Chevaliers on flying mounts. The house also has a long tradition of knife fighting, especially with concealed blades, as some of the more entitled and insistent guests have discovered upon crossing too many lines. The Tinde(The People), the populace over which the house directly rules, enjoys idyllic lives of active leisure, flying, sport hunting, and exploring the ever changing landscape in sections of the Golden Strands cordoned off from the guests without explicit invitation. House Gah’Hidloh palaces feel more like community centers than private homes, providing medical care, education, and food to any of their people that need it.

 

Tinde culture is heavily expressed through masks that are often gendered, but the wearer’s gender does not restrict them on what mask they can wear, it just informs others of the wearer’s intended role in society. Some masks are multi gender or agender, and ceremonies for changing masks are common and don’t carry any stigma as long as the person changing masks isn’t abandoning an obligation or need of the people. Some masks can only be worn with the permission of the community, and shameful behavior can result in a person losing the privilege to wear any mask tied to responsibility(Some communities have paths to redemption and reintegration, others do not). Interactions without masks generally only occur during private family occasions, consultations with spiritual advisors, and intimate moments with romantic partners. Families are matriarchal, but positions of power are entrusted on consensus rather than gender.

 

Another aspect of Tinde culture that manifests as a physical object is a journey ribbon, a ribbon or ribbons marked with locations that represent the wearer’s personal and spiritual path. Falsely adorning a journey ribbon can be a criminal offense, and variations of calling someone’s ribbon too long are common ways to call someone a liar or suspicious. Youths are also regularly cautioned not to trip trying to sprint their way down their own path. Academic Tinde often use the ribbons as markers of their educational path, and it’s not uncommon to see ribbons denoting attendance at prestigious galactic universities. 

 

Despite largely being considered an idyllic paradise, the Golden Strands are not without their dangers. Swarms of shrieker locusts can emulate electromagnetic storms if they accrue in numbers great enough. Cloud stalker dragons hunt livestock and the occasional sapient being, liquifying their insides by injecting the prey with microorganisms from a barbed tail, returning to feed on them later with a serpentine piercing tongue that houses a feeding canal. Perhaps most insidious were the Naagloshii, sapient cannibal serial killers that were either shapeshifting aliens or Force adepts that used the Force to alter their biology. After extended diplomatic efforts and outreach, House Gah’Hidloh has been able to entreat the Naagloshii into largely joining under their banner, although a few holdouts remain (Naagloshii that remain cannibals are undoubtedly evil, but find the Sith too bound to “Silly traditions and ancient hatreds”, and have no interest in becoming part of that eternal war, preferring instead to pursue their own sadistic games). 

 

The house colors of Gah’Hidloh are orange, gold, and white, and their heraldry is a white cloud stalker dragon with gold claws and teeth on an orange field. House Gal’Hidloh’s words are actually non verbal, and expressed in a secondary language built entirely around hand signs, but it can be translated into “We keep the paths”. For gatherings without spiritual or traditional significance, scions wear orange and white, accented with gold, but many ceremonial and sacred gatherings have outfits associated with them outside of the identity of the house.

 

House Gah’Hidloh scions are well versed in both flight and acrobatics, often spending much of their youth bounding through floating rock fields and learning acrobatic dance rituals to honor their traditions and spirits. For the Force sensitive, this translates into a natural intuition for acrobatic and weightless movement, allowing Paladins to perform mind boggling flips(excluding when they are wearing Rook class suits, they’re good but there are limits.) Falcons can move like liquid mercury, performing Force enhanced stunts more efficiently than their peers. House Gah’Hidloh weapons feel lighter than their size would indicate, and return readily and easily when called upon through the Force, making many knights of this house favor throwing weapons.

 

Executors of House Gah’Hidloh practice a sacred form of ceremonial shamanism that outsiders refer to as Cloudweaving. These truthkeepers can conjure the orange clouds of their homeworld to conceal themselves and their allies, form the clouds into shapes to animate stories, and meditate on the nature of their homeworld to drift weightlessly over the ground, gracefully suspended in mid air. This is not flight in the sense of a rocket or jet pack, but a languid motion that moves at a rate somewhere between a walking and jogging pace.

 

Alternatively, players can choose to play a reformed Naagloshii, or the descendant of one. In lieu of the Gah’Hidloh boons for throwing weapons and Cloudweaving, these penitent predators can shapeshift, altering their appearance at will. They can’t change the underlying frame of their body or precisely imitate someone’s appearance(or DNA, no shapeshifting past biometric scanners), but they can shift their form to create natural weapons, change their apparent age and features, and precisely mimic voices. Not all Naagloshii that have reformed join the Imperial Knights, some join the Jedi to pursue the naturalist path and build a healthier relationship with the natural world that they mimic. (Imperial Knights from other houses that receive this boon confound others on how its shared, and theories abound from secret rites to some form of infection process that progresses over time with heavy exposure).

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