In the Dragonlance campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, the Knights of Neraka is a lawful evil order founded by Lord Ariakan. They are also known as the Dark Knights and formerly as the Knights of Takhisis. The word "Neraka" is derived from a Malay word (from Sanskrit नारक nāraka) meaning "hell".
The order was founded by Lord Ariakan as the Knights of Takhisis in 370 A.C. He was guided by a vision he had received from the Queen of Darkness shortly after being released from captivity by the Solamnic Knights in 357 A.C. During his captivity, he learned the structure of the Solamnic Knighthood and copied many of their ideas into his own Knighthood. Each knight was devoted to the goals of Takhisis and a Vision of a "One World Order".
The Dark Knights are bound by honor dictated by the Blood Oath ("submit or die") and the Code, a set of laws modeled after the Oath and the Measure of the Solamnic Knights. Strict discipline, obedience and above all absolute loyalty to the order are required of all knights. Personal considerations must come secondary, and the knight must be prepared to sacrifice whatever is necessary.
Unlike the Knights of Solamnia, the Knights of Neraka accept members of any race except kender, gnomes and draconians. They are permitted to lie, steal or murder when necessary, as long as such actions do not violate a given order. However, the knights never engage in needless cruelty and those who submit to a knight are generally treated well.
Like the Knights of Solamnia, the order is divided into three suborders: the Knights of the Lily, the Knights of the Skull and the Knights of the Thorn. Unlike their rivals, all three orders have equal status within the organization.
Knights of all three orders begin as squires of the Lily. Squires are put through rigorous training, and at the end of their training all are sufficient warriors. Once they are ready, they are presented before a the Council and swear to abide by the Blood Oath and the Code. They then choose the branch of the order they will serve in.
Order of the Lily Edit
The Knights of the Lily are warriors and soldiers. They focus on their strength to win the day, and form the bulk of the Knighthood. They also are the most numerous on the battlefield. These Knights are taught that being like ones peers is ideal; any individuality is looked down upon. All orders live by their own code, and the Order of the Lily has this for theirs: "Independence breeds chaos, submit and be strong."
The great hero Steel Brightblade belonged to this Order.
Order of the Skull Edit
The Order of the Skull specialize in divine magic, as clerics or as mystics. If the Order of the Lily is the body and the Order of the Thorn the mind of the knights, the Order is the Skull is the spirit. They are masters of intrigue and manipulation, and often assigned to influence foreign powers or to work as a secret police within the knights. These clerics also carry weaponry into battle to remain useful. The Order of the Skull consisted of clerics before the Chaos War; afterwards, mystics. Their code is "Death is patient. It flows both from without and from within. Be vigilant in all and skeptical of all."
Order of the Thorn Edit
The Order of the Thorn specialize in arcane magic, as wizards or as sorcerers. They are known as the "gray robes" for the color of their robes. Unlike the black robes of Nuitari, they are not bound by the laws of the Conclave. Thorn knights are especially proficient in the art of divination. They are tasked with guiding the knights by understanding the current and future state of the world.
They used to gather power from all three moons of magic with the aid of Takhisis, making them fearsome foes. The Red Robe Justarius, once Archmage of the Conclave of Wizards, was slain by their magic. With the loss of the old magic, they became powerful sorcerers; however they lost their former advantage over the Conclave members. Thorn Knights are still using sorcery, as without Takhisis, they cannot use their former powers. Their code is "One who follows the heart finds it will bleed. Feel nothing but victory."