- "A Blood Dragon should strive for excellence in all matters, but especially in the martial pursuits. Countless Knights and Warriors have I bested in battle, and many more come in hopes of slaying me each year. Unlike them, the passage of the ages strengthen me. You can never know what it is to know what certainty that one's skill with blade and bow increases year upon year, instead of deteriorating into middle age, dotage, and eventually death. That in itself is reason enough to give up mortal life and take up the eternal challenge of immortality..."
- —Sir Holbein of Blood Keep, Blood Dragon Champion[2a]
Their training and discipline in life was enhanced by the unnatural speed and strength of the vampiric curse. Blood Knights were nigh indestructible, riding with fangs bared through storms of arrow and shot. Such was their honour that they would refuse no martial challenge, and would fight at the forefront of an Undead army without question. It was said that even the fabled Grail Knights of Bretonnia could not match the Blood Knights lance for lance upon the field. Despite this rumour, such beings had proven to be a deadly anathema to vampires, and simply being near them could induce great pain. Their armour is encrusted with images of death and slaughter. Their blades are fell weapons inscribed with dark runes, chased with precious metals and fashioned in the likenesses of evil beasts. The knights do not ride mortal steeds, but charge across the field upon evil Nightmares that are clad in thick barding painted with disturbing icons of necromantic power.
To Blood Knights, every Human in the world can be broken down into two categories: a worthy opponent or a training dummy. The only time a Knight might show mercy is if he encountered an opponent who has great potential to one day be a worthy opponent; it may be better to let such a mortal become something interesting rather than snuff him out with the rest of the vermin. Despite their aloof nature and singular obsession, they sometimes attract followers. If a Blood Knight finds fame with his particular approach to the quest or a devastating new combat style, others may flock to imitate and learn. So it is that new orders spring up or take root in already existing orders or organisations. The infamous Red Duke of Aquitaine was such a creature, beginning as a lone knight but ending up with an entire army at his command, both mortal and immortal, as word of his martial skill spread across Bretonnia. The Knights of Irrana were a mortal order of Estalian knights until their grand master concluded that the techniques of Abhorash far outstripped those of Myrmidia and brought his whole unit into the darkness to join him. And there are many more such groups, small and large. The rest are lone hunters, renegades and vagabond knights who roam the Old World alone and unaided. Sometimes they are found guarding remote bridges or fords, testing all who would cross in mortal combat. Others live an austere existence in high mountain fortresses or secret caves, perhaps training those who have the tenacity to seek them out or perhaps just killing them for food. Alternately, they may hide amongst Humans, mixing with the noble classes or slipping amongst the ranks of knightly or monastic orders. A Blood Knight will be anyone as long as it allows him to practice his swordplay and feed when needed.
Notable Blood Knight Orders Edit
- The Blood Dragons - The most infamous order of Blood Knights were easily the Order of the Blood Dragon. Centuries ago, the people of the Empire would have named the knights of the Order of the Blood Dragon among the noblest of warriors defending their lands. Their great fortress, Blood Keep, guarded the passes to Bretonnia and was famed for the strength of its walls and the valour of its defenders.
- The Drakenhof Templars - The original Drakenhof Templars were a genuine knightly order. Founded long before Otto von Drak was usurped by Vlad von Carstein, they had the noble goal of driving the darkness out of Sylvania. Needless to say, they failed, and Konrad von Carstein himself tore the last Grand Master apart hundreds of years before the End Times. There were several iterations of the order, for Vlad and his heirs were ever imitators of human tradition, and the most recent incarnation of the order was comprised of vampires considered unworthy to bear the von Carstein name.
- The Knights of the Red Death - None were more bloodthirsty or more merciless than the Knights of the Red Death. These vampiric fiends were the butchers behind the Massacre of Modruin and the slaughter of every living soul in the siege of the walled town of Ostwald. The vampire Gorgivich Krakvald rode at the fore of these knights, and their standard was emblazoned with a representation of Krakvald Castle.
- The Seneschals - Each a fearsome dark champion in their own right, these knights were the ancient protectors of Duke Merovech of Mousillon. Clad in archaic, serrated plate armour and wielding powerful weapons of darkness. It was the Seneschals who led the mightiest of undead armies to befall Bretonnia, cleaving their way to the very gates of Couronne. These knights fought with callous ferocity, striking with such force that shields shattered beneath their axes and blades. Their lances punched straight through armour, lifting knights from the saddle and tossing them aside like children. Many of these fearsome warriors were slain by the Grail Knight, Calard of Garamont, along with their dark master.
- The Knights of the Black Grail - A mysterious group of Blood Knights who replaced the Seneshals, acting as the personal knights of Mallobaude during the Bretonnian Civil War. (Not to be confused with the more infamous Black Grail Knights).
Notable Blood Knights Edit
- The Red Duke - also known as the Scourge of Aquitaine, was a former Bretonnian Duke of Aquitaine.
- The Dark Knight of Maleaux - disciple of Abhorash.
- Varison the Blade - a disciple of Abhorash.
- Gorgivich Krakvald - leader of the Knights of the Red Death.
- Mallobaude - Bastard son of King Louen Leoncoeur.
- Anark von Carstein - A Grandmaster of the Drakenhof Templars.
- Duke Merovech the Mad - Vampire Duke of Mousillon and a brutal warrior, slain by the Grail Knight, Calard.
- The Dark Knight - A Bretonnian Questing Knight, corrupted and transformed into a vampire.
- Sir Tiberius Kael, a former member of the Knights of the White Wolf.
- Count Rabe von Stahl, leader of the undead forces during the Nemesis Crown incident.
- Sir Morten the Black, a great Blood Knight who had terrorised the Bretonnian lands of Gaudaron for centuries. Morten crumbled to dust as he challenged the Grail Knight Amalric to a duel.
- 1:Warhammer Armies: Vampire Count (8th Edition)
- 1a: pg. 45
- 2:Old World Beastiary (2nd Edition Fantasy Roleplay)
- 2a: pg. 72
- 3:White Dwarf #310 (Oct. 2005, UK)
- 3a: pg. 108
- 4:Warhammer: Grail Knight by Anthony Reynolds
- 4a: pg. 129
- 5: WHFRP: Night's Dark Masters