By Colin Chapman

This order of Decados knights is the brainchild of Grigori Decados, and was created 2 years ago in reaction to the creation of Alexius' Questing Knights.


This order of Decados knights is the brainchild of Grigori Decados, and was created 2 years ago in reaction to the creation of Alexius' Questing Knights.

An unusual exercise in propaganda, the order is well funded and maintains a high visibility. Those lucky few who qualify for the order face rigorous scrutiny to ensure they possess charisma and presence. While attractive looks are preferred, they are not entirely necessary, as the Genetechs will make substantial alterations anyway, making the Knight attractive and distinctive in appearance, usually with unusual eye, and/or hair colours. In addition, the Mantis Knights are required to avoid the bizarre enhancements that typify other Decados, thereby maintaining a more palatable public image. Of course, this doesn't mean that any given knight doesn't have a few hidden cybernetic 'surprises' for the unwary.

The prospective knights are trained extensively in fencing, horsemanship, leadership and social skills, especially oratory for the dramatic public speeches they often make. They are given instantly recognisable, almost archetypal, appearances and are expected to act every inch the hero (at least in public), although this varies from the 'grim and driven avenger', to the 'wise-cracking kid' to the 'sultry siren', and of course, the 'square-jawed hero'. They are equipped with fine white steeds, tailored black half-plate armour, ornate mantis-headed broadswords, and black ceramsteel helmets with twisted unholy visages sculpted into them. In addition they receive a generous stipend of 700 firebirds a year, as well as being a member of a glamorous, high profile order. Needless to say, the infighting between young Decados nobles who desire to try for the order can be fierce, and in some cases, lethal.

The Mantis Knights take part in as many heroic actions as possible, especially in high-profile areas, and their fame is actually spreading quite rapidly, much to the surprise of nobles, including the Decados themselves. The propaganda actually seems to be working, despite many initial misgivings. However, it is rumoured that Decados agents set up many incidents themselves specifically so the Mantis Knights can ride in and heroically save everyone, destroy the foul monstrosity, save the girl's pet Thrinn Cat from the tree, etc. Recent heroic engagements have seen the Mantis Knights fighting Symbiots on Stigmata, Vuldrok raiders on Gwynneth, and Kurgan barbarians on Kurga, performing extremely well in each conflict. In fact, Decados agents ensure their battles are recorded, and these engagements have been distributed to many magic lantern theatres where they have attracted large audiences. Several Mantis Knights have become household names almost overnight.

While they typically fight alongside their fellow Mantis Knights with little support, they also serve as elite commanders of Decados forces, and a few have even been ordered to travel the Known Worlds individually, spreading the fame of the order by righting wrongs as they go.

In many cases, the Mantis Knights have appeared in areas where Questing Knights were acting in an unruly fashion, and proceeded to 'teach the undisciplined curs a lesson'. These actions have the added bonus of making them look responsible and heroic while demeaning the Questing Knight's public image. Needless to say, these incidents have made both orders strong rivals, and when these knights meet, violence can ensue (although the charismatic Mantis Knights always avoid making the first strike, and nearly always make it seem as if the Questing Knight was in error).

The Mantis Knights have recently moved into an imposing fortress that was built for them on Severus, and spend their off-duty time there, 'ever alert for the call to action'.

Typical Mantis Knight

Characteristics: Dexterity, Endurance, Extrovert, Ego
Natural Skills: Charm, Impress, Melee, Vigor
Learned Skills: Fencing Actions, Etiquette, Leadership, Oratory, Ride, Warfare
Blessings: Handsome, Beautiful or Angelic (1-3 pts: +1-3 Charm), Striking (1 pt: +1 Impress in full regalia)
Benefices: Half-plate armour (2 pts), Nobility (varies), Riches (varies), broadsword, white warhorse
Average Salary: 700 firebirds/year

Famous Mantis Knights

Pyotr Decados, The Golden Flame

Pyotr is the archetypal hero of old: tall, imposing, with bronzed skin, an impressive physique, noble features, square jaw, shining white teeth, clear blue eyes, a thick mane of golden hair, and a deep, resonant voice, all courtesy of Genetech. Courageous and inspiring, Pyotr is highly unusual because his real personality and outlook are those of a true hero; a fact he conceals from the majority of the Mantis Knights who merely act the part.

He desperately wants to reform his House, and secretly hopes he can gradually inspire more Decados to follow his shining example.