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A Knight is a noble rank within the system of Imperial Nobility in the Third Imperium.

  • The Vilani term for Knight is Kiduunuuzi (Anglic:


Description (Specifications)[edit]

Knights hold a special place within the nobility. As the nobles most often encountered by common citizens, and the one title a citizen can readily aspire to, Knights are often seen as the most immediate face and voice of the Imperium.

  • Retainer Knights are those named by a Subsector or Sector Duke to serve his or her interests and household. [1]
  • Imperial Knights are those recommended to and confirmed by the Office of the Emperor, often with the consultation of the Master of any Order to which they were recommended.

Every world in the Imperium, save those under interdict and worlds with no permanent populations, has an assigned Landed Knight. Such knights are usually (but not always) inducted into the Order of the Emperor's Guard. [2] The specific title varies by region and the influence of Terran or other traditions.

Ceremonial Knights, on the other hand, have administrative duties as lesser functionaries within bureaucracies overseen by higher level Imperial nobles, sometimes serving as representatives of such nobles. [2]

Entitlement Synopsis[edit]

The lowest of noble ranks is knight, awarded as an honorific rank in recognition of achievement or service.

  • Knighthood is awarded within an order. Several dozen orders of knighthood exist within the Imperium. Some are restricted to specific classes of individuals, such as members of the Imperial Family, racial Aslan, racial Vargr, or other special groups.
  • Others are awarded for specific achievement or service, or for holding specific positions within the government.
  • Still others are broadly based orders into which most new knights are inducted.
  • A knighthood entitles the individual to use the prefix Sir (some females prefer Dame, but such usage is obsolete) before the name, and to suffix the initials of the rank within the order of knighthood after the name.
  • Each Order of Knighthood has its own official colors and badge. [3]
  • Ordinary members of an Order of Knighthood wear sashes with the order’s colors over formal civilian clothing or over a military uniform. Sashes are worn from the left shoulder across the torso down to the right hip, with the badge of the order embroidered where the sash passes over the heart. The bottom of the sash terminates in a highly ornate knot, the design of which is unique to each order. [3]
  • Other accouterments of Chivalric Orders vary from one order to the next, but can include:
  • A Badge of the Order suspended from a ribbon (much like a military medal in appearance) for lower ranks.
  • A Badge of the Order suspended from a neck-ribbon (much like a high-level military award of valour in appearance) and/or larger Badges of the Order without ribbon pinned directly to the tunic or sash for middle ranks.
  • Large ornate "Plaques" or "Stars" derived from the Badge of the Order pinned directly to the tunic or sash for the higher ranks.
  • Officers of each order have specific uniforms for wear during official ceremonies which are highly ornate and vary from order to order. [3]
  • Nobles with multiple knighthoods usually wear all of the associated badges on formal occasions, except when attending official functions of a particular order. [3]
  • Those rare knights who are awarded a land grant (usually as part of an appointment as Imperial representative for a world) generally receive no more than 10km2, or alternatively a single terrain hex on the world with an associated terrain hex on a non-mainworld in the same system.
  • The land grant of a Knight is known as a Lordship or Seigneury or (if it is the location of the Knight's estate) a Manor.

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

The Ziru Sirka[edit]

The lowest noble rank in the Old Vilani Imperium was Kiduunuuzii (Vil.holder of special privileges”), and corresponded roughly to the equivalent modern social position of knighthood. Kiduunuuzii held positions as lower level bureaucrats, judges, and administrators and did most of the day to day basic work for their bureau. Originally awarded only to individuals who had distinguished themselves in some administrative position, it eventually began to be awarded for distinguished military service, particularly for recipients with no other honorific. [4]

After the establishment of the Rule of Man over the defeated Vilani Imperium, most of the old Vilani titles were rendered into rough Anglic equivalents, and Kiduunuuzii was translated as Knight, though its function within the Old Imperial social and political structure initially remained largely unchanged. [5]

The Third Imperium[edit]

In the early years of the Imperium, Knights often served in minor positions throughout the majority of the Imperial government, and were often assigned to act as couriers or personal representatives of higher ranked nobles on critical missions. [4]

Under the nobility structure of the Third Imperium, Knights are not members of the peerage and are therefore not subject to all protocols. Knights instead belong to Orders of Knighthood and are awarded privileges according to the order. Individual orders have their own particular codes (some lax, some stringent) and member knights are expected to abide by these codes. Several dozen Orders of Knighthood exist within the Imperium, and while all are technically equivalent in honor, they generally are considered to have a distinct order or precedence. Further, most orders also have an internal set of Ranks that are specific to each given Order of Knighthood.

  • Knights of all three types of nobility, Ceremony, Honor, and Landed, exist within the Imperium; however, not all Knights are recognized by the Imperium as a whole. While most Knighthoods are non-hereditary and granted only for the life of the titleholder, Landed Knights are often an exception and often may pass their Title and Fief on to one child, subject to the same Imperial approval that affects higher Titles. [2]
  1. Ceremony. Ceremonial Knights have administrative duties as lesser functionaries within bureaucracies overseen by higher level Imperial nobles, sometimes serving as representatives of such nobles.
  2. Honour. Honour Knighthoods are granted as rewards in recognition of achievement or service in some field of endeavor, and carry no duties or responsibilities other than the honor itself and its associated social distinctions and privileges.
  3. Landed. Every world in the Imperium, save those under interdict and worlds with no permanent populations, has an assigned Landed Knight. The specific title varies by region and the influence of Terran or other traditions. Most are members of the Order of the Emperor's Guard, but other Orders are represented. The specific role each Knight plays on his or her world varies considerably, from mere social gadfly, to a local administrative post such as Port Warden of the local starport . On lower population worlds, the knight may even be the local ruler. Due to the differing role played by Landed Knights as compared to the higher nobility, it is rare for Landed Knights to also hold higher title unless it is a Ceremonial or Honor title. A Landed Knight represents the Imperium to the inhabitants of his world, while the higher nobles typically represent the interests of their assigned worlds or regions to the rest of the Imperium. Since a Landed Knight will typically only rarely leave his or her world or system, Landed Knights are usually chosen from those Knights native to the world. [2]

Typical Knight Ranks[edit]

The Sovereign of the Order is the individual from whom the dignity of the title derives its legitimacy and from whom all appointments to the order are technically subject. This is normally the Emperor or the Archduke of the Domain to which the order belongs. The Grand Master or Grand Collar of the Order is the titular head of the order proper. It is typically held by a member who otherwise is of the highest rank within the order. The position of Grand Master may be held either by the Sovereign of the Order personally, or by one whom he or she has appointed to the position.

Orders of Knighthood typically have one or more "ranks" within their orders denoting varying levels of dignity. The particular number and names of ranks within any given Order of Knighthood will vary from order to order, but some typical ranks include:

  • Knight Grand Commander or Knight Grand Collar or Knight Grand Cross
  • Knight Commander or Knight Companion
  • Knight
  • Companion or Commander
  • Officer or Lieutenant
  • Member or Frater/Soror

Note that some orders consider all ranks associated with the order to be full knights, whereas others only consider certain ranks within the order to confer full knighthood, lower-ranked members being considered associates of the order (as "Imperial Gentlemen"), but not knights. In the case of the latter, full knights always have the term "knight" as a part of the name of the rank in order to avoid confusion with non-knightly ranks within the order. Also note that members associated with an order who have not been granted a rank associated with full knighthood can sometimes be granted an independent Bachelor Knighthood in addition to their membership in the order that confers knighthood independent of the order.

A special type of Bachelor Knighthood is known as the "Knight-Retainer". A Knight-Retainer is a dignity bestowed by a Subsector Duke upon one of his or her own personal retainers in order to grant them a special dignity as a “Retainer of the Household”. The dignity of Knight-Retainer carries honorifics equivalent to knighthood, at least in the vicinity of the subsector and within the spheres of influence of the granting Duke. Knights-Retainer are usually referred to in the style of "Sir Eneri Smith, Knight Retainer of [SUBSECTOR] " or "Lady/Dame Glorinna Smith, Knight Retainer of [SUBSECTOR] ". The shorter version of the title is typically “Sir/Dame [NAME], KR/ [SUBSECTOR] ”, but usages may vary from region to region. [1] [2]

Orders of Knighthood[edit]

Knighthood is normally granted within an Order of Knighthood, each of which has individual specific traditions and customs - some stringent and some lax. The Orders of Knighthood have an order of precedence determined by the date of creation of the order.

Imperium-wide Orders of Knighthood

General Imperium-wide Orders

Restricted or exclusive Imperium-wide Orders

Domain Orders

Sector Orders

Racial/Cultural Specific Orders

Planetary Orders

Minor Imperial Orders of Knighthood have been established for inhabitants of many of the major worlds of the Imperium. Like the major orders noted above, these are usually granted and overseen by the Archdukes of the Domains, or occasionally, by the Emperor. A grand commander or similar person, appointed by the sovereign of the order, usually heads a planetary order as Grand Master of the Order. Typical candidates for appointments to planetary orders are a planet’s head of state, or its Imperial Landed Nobles. Membership in planetary orders is restricted to a small proportion of the inhabitants of the world in question, and carries a certain amount of social prestige in the world’s immediate vicinity. Ranks within an order vary from world to world, but tend to be similar to those of the major orders discussed above. Planetary knighthoods exist primarily to give local magnates some political and social standing when they travel off-world, and to enhance their prestige when they must deal with off-worlders. [22]

Privileges Conferred[edit]

Membership in an order of knighthood confers several benefits that are similar to those who possess a Travellers' Aid Society membership. Knights can often obtain free high passage aboard starships travelling either within the associated realm of authority of the sovereign of their particular order, or within the spheres of influence associated with the dignity of their order. Higher population worlds with Class A starports may support hostels which exclusively serve the knighthood community. Such facilities may cater either to knights generally or only to certain orders of knighthood on a case by case basis. [12]

Depending upon the nature of the particular Order of Knighthood, membership in certain orders of knighthood can provide the advantage of a group of fellow sophonts who may be potential resources for fellow knights in the form of contacts or patrons, or who may be mutually called upon in time of need. Some chivalric orders are also seen as resources by higher-ranking nobility upon which they can call should the need arise for some service to the Imperium. [12]

See also[edit]

Imperial Nobility:

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

This list of sources was used by the Traveller Wiki Editorial Team and individual contributors to compose this article. Copyrighted material is used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author. The page history lists all of the contributions.
  1. 1.0 1.1 Gregory P. Lee. Cirque (Greylock Publishing, 2014), 184.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Andrea VallanceDonald McKinneyGregory P. LeeJames KundertRobert Eaglestone. "Nobility in the Third Imperium (Part One)." Imperiallines 7 (2015): 4-7.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Loren Wiseman. Nobles (Steve Jackson Games, 2005), 25.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Michael BerryDavid Burden. Milieu 0 Campaign (Imperium Games, 1996), 58-59.
  5. Loren Wiseman. Nobles (Steve Jackson Games, 2005), 9.
  6. Loren Wiseman. Nobles (Steve Jackson Games, 2005), 21.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Loren Wiseman. Nobles (Steve Jackson Games, 2005), 22.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 T5 Noble Patent Cards
  9. 9.0 9.1 Michael BerryDavid Burden. Milieu 0 Campaign (Imperium Games, 1996), 58.
  10. Andrea VallanceDonald McKinneyGregory P. LeeJames KundertRobert Eaglestone. "Nobility in the Third Imperium (Part One)." Imperiallines 7 (2015): 7.
  11. Library Data
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Citation Missing - {{{name}}}
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Citation Missing - {{{name}}}
  14. Gary L. Thomas. "Ghost Ship." The Travellers' Digest 14 (1989): 18.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Loren Wiseman. Nobles (Steve Jackson Games, 2005), 23.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Loren Wiseman. Nobles (Steve Jackson Games, 2005), 24.
  17. Alvin Plummer. "Water War." Stellar Reaches 12 (2010): 34.
  18. Andrea Vallance. Luriani (Mongoose Publishing, 2012), 27.
  19. Loren Wiseman. Nobles (Steve Jackson Games, 2005), 81.
  20. Loren Wiseman. Nobles (Steve Jackson Games, 2005), 78.
  21. Loren Wiseman. Nobles (Steve Jackson Games, 2005), 82.
  22. Loren Wiseman. Nobles (Steve Jackson Games, 2005), 86.