Knights are smaller and less powerful one-man versions of Imperial Titans. Knights are smaller than Warhound Scout Titans, and can only mount one Titan-class weapon. These can range from Vulcan Mega-bolters to Volcano cannons.[Needs Citation]
During the Age of Strife, the Priests of Mars sent out many expeditions of spacecraft, hoping to find remnants of human knowledge on other worlds. They found an anarchic galaxy where the ancient confederacy of interdependent human planets no longer existed. The human worlds discovered retained little of their old technology. They had devolved into feudal states ruled by aristocratic nobles who welcomed the Techpriests as long-awaited saviours. The Tech-priests settled among these feudal empires, or Knight Worlds, choosing planets that were mineral rich where they could rebuild their industries. They established contacts with the Knights, trading with their worlds and investigating the ancient ruins where surviving technology could still sometimes be found. The Knights provided manpower and security against enemies such as marauding Orks and land-hungry Eldar Exodites. In return the Tech-priests provided technical expertise and help rebuilding their planets.[Needs Citation]
Over the millennia the Forge Worlds became powerful and the Knight Worlds flourished under their wing. The Tech-priests and Knights became mutually dependent and each Forge World became the hub of an empire consisting of a Forge World and its surrounding Knight Worlds. The Knights learned much from the Tech-priests and their societies were gradually transformed into technically sophisticated cultures. Many of the Forge Worlds managed to maintain sporadic contact with each other, and the Tech-priests' obsession with knowledge ensured that discoveries on one world were distributed to others throughout the galaxy.[Needs Citation]
The most important innovation that the Tech-priests brought to the Knight Worlds were the fighting machines called Knights. These machines were one-man versions of a Titan, much smaller and less powerful than a real Titan, but far better suited to the mobile style of warfare prevalent amongst the nobility of the Knight Worlds.[Needs Citation]
In the current Age of the Imperium, these Knights fight alongside the Titans and form a reserve of troops which can be called up into the Titan Legions when required. Each Knight is piloted by a noble of the Knight Worlds, these worlds having maintained their feudal societies over the millennia. Indeed, the acquisition of technology enabled the warrior nobility to strengthen its position of power on their worlds.
The Knight Worlds operate under a strict feudal system. A sub-class called the Drovers looked after the animal herds, as the nobility would not soil their hands with such work. The Drovers used walkers similar to those of their masters, but they were, by law, not armed with any weapons, despite the fact that they faced very serious threats in the form of predators and xenos raids. This forced the Drovers to rely on the Knights for protection, and created a dependency comfortable for the nobles, as it made revolt virtually impossible.
In addition to the Knight war machines, every House had multiple men-at-arms in its employ, resembling Planetary Defence Forces, although possessing a much smaller amount of heavy equipment. On several worlds, artificers and technicians became the most important subjects of the warrior nobility. They maintained the Knight walkers, and over time styled themselves as a priesthood for the half-forgotten mysteries of technology called the Sacristans. They arbitrated between the Knight Houses and ensured that the headstrong nobles did not wipe out one another in bitter feuds by ritualising the values of Duty, Honour and Valour. With the acceptance of these values, the Knights became known as The Chivalry.
In addition to the threat presented by hostile Houses, Knights had to conduct frequent battles against their worlds' indigenous predators. Hunting these beasts honed their martial skills into a deadly art. The Knights themselves would retire when they reached old age, passing their Battle Armour down to their heir, and in its stead donning the armour of a Knight Warden. They would then take the task of protecting the household and lending its members their advice. Knights form family units to fight with the Titan Legions or alongside the Imperial Guard. Knights of a given house would be led by a noble holding the rank of a Lord, or the corresponding title of a Seneschal if he happened to be a Warden.
Knight armour comes in a variety of forms, with the two most common types seen being the Knight Paladin and Knight Errant. These both use the same basic body form but are fitted with different weapons arrays. However all Imperial Knights are protected by thick adamantium armor and potent field generators called Ion Shields.
Other, much rarer, types of Knight armour are used on some Knight worlds. Amongst the heaviest types of Knight armour made by the forge worlds are the Crusader and the Castellan. Although slower than other suit types, these two benefit from substantially increased firepower and much thicker armour, and are instead used in a fire support role. The Lancer is a faster version of a standard Knight suit. These agile machines are used to outflank the enemy, scout out their defences and distract hostile forces while slower units get into position to attack. This type of armour is sophisticated and extremely difficult to manufacture, and its use is therefore usually reserved for rulers of knightly houses, or for Nobles that have proven themselves worthy of it in the fires of victory. However, while the Crusader, Castellan and Lancer are rightly revered, the Paladin and Errant’s perfectly balanced combination of speed, firepower and armour make them the supreme examples of Knight design.
Types of Knights
- Knight Paladin: The archetypal Knight, armed with a large-calibre Battle Cannon and a giant Chainsword.
- Knight Errant: Highly suited to attacking larger targets like Mega Gargants. They carry fearsome Thermal Cannons capable of easily vaporizing steel or flesh.
- Knight Lancer: A faster version of the standard Knight, the agile Lancer out-flanks the enemy and scouts their defensive positions. The Lancer is armed with a Battle Cannon and Power Lance for close combat.
- Knight Crusader: The heaviest types of Knight made by Forgeworlds along with the Knight Castellan. Though slower and less nimble, they have increased firepower in the form of Lascannons, Quake Cannons, and Heavy Bolters in addition to increased armor.
- Knight Castellan: Similar to the Knight Crusader, but replaces its Lascannon with a multi-barrel Autocannon, giving it better firepower against enemy infantry and light vehicles.
- Baron: The leader of a contingent of Knights with razor-sharp warrior skills. As a sign of status every Baron has a custom-made Knight suit. Most Barons' suits are armed with power lances and rapid-fire battlecannons.
Known Knight Houses
- House Alaric
- House Arakon
- House Arundel
- House Beaumaris
- House Cadmus
- House Col'khak
- House Coldshroud
- House Dunstan
- House Feardraken
- House Fvaber
- House Griffith
- House Hawkwood
- House Hawkshroud
- House Hyperion
- House Khord
- House Korvath
- House Krast
- House Lakar
- House Mortimer
- House Raven
- House Taranis
- House Terryn
- House Trainor
- House Vymar
- House Warwick
When Knights were introduced in White Dwarf 126, they originated during the Dark Age of Technology from agricultural worlds whose human inhabitants had copied farming techniques learned from Eldar Exodites already present on them. The humans began utilising combat walkers invented by the Eldar and referred to them as "Knights". In a period referred to by the Exodites as The Coming of Men, the xenos and the human colonists clashed in a number of bloody conflicts as the Eldar Knights sought to protect their homes from the colonists.
When these planets were cut off in the Age of Strife a warrior aristocracy rose to prominence amongst its human populations, mimicking the lifestyle of the Eldar Clans. These planets were rediscovered by Rogue Trader Jeffers and brought into the newborn Imperium of Man. Most often Knight Worlds became affiliated with a particular Titan Forge World, supplying it with food and raw materials, whilst its Sacristans would fall under the control of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Other Knight Worlds were left with a large degree of autonomy, required only to produce food and obey the call to arms when it was given.
- 1: White Dwarf 178 The Titan Legions, by Rick Priestley
- 2: Codex Titanicus (1st Edition), pg. 27
- 3: White Dwarf 126 (UK), pg. 29
- 4: Codex: Imperial Knights (6th Edition) - The Imperial Knights
|Scout Types||Knight • Paladin • Errant • Knight Lancer • Crusader • Castellan • Baron • Warhound|
|Battle Types||Reaver • Warlord • Emperor • Imperator • Warmonger|
|Close Combat Weapons||Titan Chainfist • Titan Chainsword • Titan Power Claw • Titan Power Fist • Titan Power Lance|
|Ranged Weapons||Apocalypse Missile Launcher • Gatling Blaster • Inferno gun • Hellstorm Cannon • Melta Cannon • Plasma annihilator • Plasma blastgun • Plasma Destructor • Quake Cannon • Thermal Cannon • Turbo-laser Destructor • Volcano cannon • Vulcan Mega-bolter|
|Adeptus Mechanicus||Collegia Titanica|