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Knight Templar / Tabletop Games

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  • Many factions in BattleTech count. The Clans believe its their destiny to conquer the Inner Sphere and restore the Star League. ComStar still has access to pre-Fall lost tech, but they think that they should wait out for the Successor States to knock themselves back to the stone age and they would come in an bring enlightenment to the IS.
  • Heroes in Beast: The Primordial are what happens when you mix this trope with Axe-Crazy and Black-and-White Insanity. Fixated to a psychotic extent upon the Begotten, Heroes can effortlessly justify any atrocity that they commit by twisting it around and laying the blame squarely on the Beast. Abandoning their wife without any income? Humanity needs them to slay the Beast! Murdering someone who happens to work at the same company as the Beast? Clearly, they were minions of the Evil One! Setting a nightclub on fire and killing dozens of people in the inferno? Collateral damage to try and slay the Beast! It's no wonder that any Hunter who gets to know a Hero either goes jumping off the slippery slope to work alongside them, or, more commonly, tries to kill them for being as big a monster as the Beast they hunt.
  • In the RPG Deadlands: Hell on Earth, there is a group of people — including some player characters — that call themselves Templars. In a post-apocalyptic setting named, well, Hell on Earth, you can imagine what they're like: unflinchingly hard-nosed and often turning away those in need simply because they don't live up to some subjective moral standard. Even worse, sometimes they force others, who are less "worthy", to do unseemly tasks with their awesome supernatural powers. And they're the good guys. They were founded by a man who witnessed how the Law Dogs, a group of people who try to be paladins who save everyone, despite lacking magic, often end up dead or betrayed by protecting "innocents" who weren't worth the trouble, and they receive their divine powers because the Almighty, who originally empowered the more actively benevolent Blessed, has taken a harsher stance towards humanity since the Reckoners escaped.
    Jo, Templar Grand-Master: Here's the way we see it. The old world was full of greedy, violent people. It was also full of lazy bags of crap who knew the world was going to Hell and didn't do a damn thing about it. The small minority who stood up against evil, who sacrificed everything to help fight oppression, didn't usually get much help. Templars have vowed not to let that happen again.
    • How harsh are the Templars? There's a Templar archetype in the core rulebook for Hell on Earth. In its attendant fluff-bite, the Templar lambasts a town as to why he considers them unworthy of saving from a bandit gang, and declares he would normally leave them to the bandits' mercy. However, since there is another town nearby that is also in the bandits' path who he does consider worthy, he decides to be merciful... He's sending every man and woman in town on a Suicide Mission against the bandit's camp, whilst their children are being sent to the other town as slave laborers to help ensure they get their defenses ready in time, just in case any of the bandits survive fighting his Cannon Fodder.
    • The Templars are so harsh that the Anti-Templars, who attempt to draw upon the power of the Reckoners to turn it against the monsters of the wasteland, despite knowing that it's inevitable that they will be corrupted and become monsters in turn, are still seen by many as being more heroic than the true Templars.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has several examples from several settings.
    • At least 10% of anyone involved in anything in Eberron are Knights Templar. The Church of the Silver Flame's hardliners a) want to forcibly convert everyone and b) consider fire a divinely sanctioned weapon, even against civilians. This is from a Lawful Good religion, with help from Eberron removing the rule about cleric alignments. And one of the basic premises of the Silver Flame is that swordpoint conversions are utterly meaningless. Shifters are also rarely members of the Church, mainly because of their recent crusade against lycanthropes: many shifters were similar enough to the lycanthropes to be targeted as well. They're still not pleased on that score. Then there are the Ashbound, an Animal Wrongs Group of the first order whose ultimate goal is the extermination of everything...unnatural, including arcane magic, constructs (usually including warforged), divine magic not tied to druidic traditions, the lightning rail, most manifest zones, cities, most kinds of house and any druidic sect not wholeheartedly devoted to the scouring. The government of the nearest "proper" nation to the Eldeen Reaches, Aundair, considers them a terrorist group, and it's easy to see why.
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    • Forgotten Realms 3.5 ed. sourcebook City Of Splendors - Waterdeep introduced a special feat, "Veil of Cyric". It makes evil characters (but not following an evil deity) undetectable (only) as evil, as they rationalize any acts they "have to" do as just and pure. Cyric is here probably because the Prince of Lies used to see the people who indulged in such self-deception as his personal jesters.
    • Planescape:
      • Roughly half of the Mercykillers faction can fall into this category; they were originally two separate factions, the Sons of Mercy (Lawful Good) and the Sodkillers (Lawful Evil), but when the Lady of Pain declared that only 15 factions could exist, they joined forces; after the Faction War, when the Lady banished all the factions, the Mercykillers split apart again. Even worse, the leader of the Mercykillers was like this, and she was one of the biggest allies of the guy who was responsible for causing the Faction War in the first place.
      • This also applies to another of the Law-aligned factions, the Harmonium. Their goal is to bring peace, harmony and civilization to the multiverse — and they very much believe that the end justifies the means. To put things in perspective, they already did this to their homeworld, Ortho — by means of the wholesale genocide of all non-Lawful Good or Lawful Neutral races and peoples living there, all for the sake of their Lawful paradise. One of the most notable results of this attitude (and one of the biggest black stains on the Harmonium's cause) was when the Harmonium in Arcadia, the Lawful Good-Lawful Neutral plane, tried to forcefully convert the locals into all being Lawful Good. Their approach was forceful enough that in the balance it caused more evil than good, enough so to cause a whole layer of the plane to shift one "degree" towards the evil planes and into Mechanus, the Lawful Neutral plane.
    • It's also an inherent risk of certain paladin-based prestige classes, such as the Grey Guard (who get cheap atonement when they do something less-than-angelic in the service of good, like beating someone to death to get information out of them) and the Shadowbane Inquisitor (who, despite having levels of rogue, are considered unusually hardassed even by other paladins).
    • The Monster Manual 3 from the 3.5 version introduces the Lumi, a race of extraplanar light-empowered beings who believe lying to be the ultimate sin. To be clear, if the choice was between telling a lie and letting thousands of people die, a Lumi would have no doubt: all those thousands of innocents would have to die. It seems that these guys are planning a mass invasion of the Material Plane to destroy any and all deceivers...and those who have so much as told a white lie.
    • Ravenloft:
      • The paladin Elena Faith-hold became so extreme (as in, not even her god, Belenus, would support her pogroms against the "unworthy") that the Dark Powers took notice of her and stuffed her and her domain of Nidala into the Mists, making her the Darklord of the domain. Every night, she is taken on a ride across her domain to see the spirits of all she has tortured to death, and when she gets back up, she is filled with a desire to make her domain a better place. Unfortunately, this usually means more torture and pogroms. Plus, her "detect evil" actually detects strong passions, so people who like her register the same as people who loathe her, and both usually end up on the chopping block. Despite all of this, she is still completely convinced that she is still a paladin, and that what she is doing is right.
      • The Demiplane of Terror is also home to Diamabel, who closely fits this trope, as well as some more sympathetic examples, such as the well-meaning but ignorant Tepestani Inquisition, and monster-hunters or Darkonian Ezrans who've gone overboard in their crusades against supernatural evils.
    • One of the game's most famous figures tops all these as the game's ur-example and an inversion. According to 3.5 mythos, Asmodeus starts out as an immensely powerful angel tasked with fighting demons and keeping them from wrecking the gods' shiny new Creation. Over time, he proves to be the very best at this task, and he and those like him take on demonic aspects to better fight and kill demons. When mortal species begin sinning and tearing down the orderly lawful framework made to keep the demons out, Asmodeus creates the concept of punishment. The gods love this new idea, and give Asmodeus and his angels the task of tormenting sinners after death, so that living mortals will understand that their actions have consequences and stop misbehaving. Asmodeus and the angels following him take to their new task of torturing the souls of sinners with relish, making the heavens run red with blood and echo with screams. Eventually, horrified by this, the gods sign a contract with Asmodeus to get him and his followers to agree to leave the celestial planes, so they can do their demon-fighting and sinner-torturing elsewhere. They do so, but only to create Hell and begin tempting mortal souls into evil to make themselves more powerful. When the gods see this and charge into Hell to stop it, Asmodeus reveals just how much he's completed his inversion of the trope, pointing out that the contract gives the devils permission to do all of this. Or at least, that's his version of what happened.
      Asmodeus: "You have granted us the power to harvest souls. To build our Hell and gird our might for the task set before us, we naturally had to find ways to improve our yield."
      Hieroneous: "It is your job to punish transgressions, not encourage them!"
      Asmodeus smiled, and a venomous moth flew out from between his sharpened teeth
      Asmodeus: "Read the Fine Print."
    • Of course, how much of that legend is actually true is subjective. There is ample evidence that Asmodeus was actually cast into Hell after being banished from Heaven. One thing is true, however: The contract, which is called the Pact Primeval, is very real.
    • Grim Hollow: Oath Of Zeal Paladins throw away all honor, compassion, and personal morals to dedicate themselves utterly to the destruction of one particular (perceived) evil, and will do absolutely anything to see that enemy destroyed. Anything.
  • Exalted:
    • Peleps Deled's introduction has him sparring with a fellow monk over a minor theological point, only to brutally crush her windpipe when he trips her. The question: "Is Terrestrial Exaltation of the Dragons, or from them?" This is technically an important point, as the Dynasty's "divine right" to rule is based on each dragon-blooded being specially chosen by the Elemental Dragons to be more than human — if the Exaltations are "of" the Dragons rather than "from", it would mean that the Dragons are not in any way responsible for who Exalts as a Dragonblood or why, invalidating the whole philosophy — but hardly worth murdering a fellow monk over note . Just to further clarify, this is a man whose actual job is supposed to be hunting the Anathema, and he murders his own colleagues over prepositions. A large portion of his appeal to players and Storytellers is that while most Dragon-Bloods in the Realm can be treated as "good guys" in the right circumstances, Peleps is universally Thunderclap Rush Attack fodder.
    • Exalted in general who have a high Conviction virtue run the risk of becoming this, especially if it's coupled with a low Compassion.
  • The Knights of the Harrowing from Infernum might fit into this trope, or another trope entirely. They are an order of Christian Crusaders (their old name was the Knights of the Sepulchre) who deliberately decided to transport their fortress into Hell in order to exterminate every last demon, who, by the way, number in the billions...and have a reproductive system where any individual can be sacrificed to produce up to eighteen new demons (which will go from "birth" to "fully grown and ready to kill" in about six months)...and have technology roughly equivalent to the 19th century, backed by Black Magic and demonic innovation (including, but not limited to, machine guns that shoot acid, biomechanical Golems, and rudimentary guided missiles). Also a case of Honor Before Reason verging on Too Dumb to Live.
  • Magic: The Gathering frequently uses this trope with White. In fact, most angels are portrayed as fanatical warmongers. Particular examples include the archangel Radiant (turns a paradise into a police state in the name of her goddess), Akroma, Angel of Wrath (leads a genocidal war to wipe out an evil organization), and Reya Dawnbringer (raises her followers from death, denying them repose).
    • Akroma's flavor quote fits nicely here. "No rest. No mercy. No matter what."
    • The flavor text of True Believer also sums up this aspect of White nicely. "So great is his certainty that mere facts cannot shake it."
    • The Boros Legion from Ravnica. They just want to stop Ravnica's eternal guild warfare. The fact that their method for achieving this is to break huge numbers of heads, blow up a few things, and generally demonstrate the reason guild warfare is neither here nor there.
      "Scores will die in the name of peace. This is what you call compromise?" - Gideon Jura, to Aurelia, Boros Guild Leader, Renounce the Guilds flavour text
    • Yawgmoth is a Black-mana version: for him, the perfection of Phyrexia justifies any means.
    • New Phyrexia brought us two different examples: Elesh Norn, the White mana Principles Zealot, and Jin-Gitaxias, the Blue mana Totalitarian Utilitarian. Strangely enough, the two of them get along well with each other: Jin-Gitaxias even uses Elesh Norn's sacred book, the Argent Etchings, as part of the basis for his Great Synthesis.
    • Archons are an entire race of knight templars, representing by default White's more vicious side.
    • Shadows over Innistrad has Avacyn, the Purifier. Avacyn used to be humanity's literal Guardian Angel against all of Innistrad's many evils and horrors, in the form of both monsters and humans who give in to selfishness and evil... until the influence of an Eldritch Abomination drove her mad and she began to see all humans as sinful, evil and despicable, leading her to conclude that the best way to rid Innistrad of evil is to rid it of human life.
    • The Legion of Dusk in Explorers of Ixalan is an order of vampire crusaders resembling Spanish conquistadors that are associated with both black and white mana and are engaged in a war of expansion. They do this partly to have an steady supply of blood since they are only allowed to feed on enemies of state, heretics and criminals, but mostly because they are in search of the Immortal Sun, an relic that will grant them Complete Immortality and allow it to share it with the other people in the world.
  • Some Mutants & Masterminds Freedom City villains have these traits. The costumed villain Warden has a particularly extreme case: he worked on making prisons as non-cardboardy as possible, and got a bit fed up with people making that task harder by telling him that the prisoners have rights; didn't they forfeit those when they ended up in prison? His current goal is to overthrow "soft and corrupt" law and replace it with something altogether more draconian.
  • Ubiquitous in the New World of Darkness. Hunters, Vampires, Werewolves, Mages...all of them have the threat of becoming this hanging over them. (Hunters are "extreme risk," since they're able to modify their code to facilitate hunting... and this tends to send them over the deep end, especially since the average "veteran" hunter, i.e. one who hasn't been dismembered yet, hasn't had a good night's sleep in five years.)
  • The three Twilight Courts in Princess: The Hopeful fall squarely into this trope. They are still Princesses, still servants and avatars of the Light... but their views of the Light are horribly warped.
    • The Court of Storms have abandoned all hope of building up the Light, dedicating themselves exclusively to burning out the All-Consuming Darkness without concern for collateral damage or mercy for those Darkened who could still be cleansed.
    • The Court of Tears have dedicated themselves to preserving their city of Alhambra, the last remnant of the Kingdoms of Light. But to keep Alhambra protected from the Darkness requires a steady supply of Light stolen from the Earth, and each stolen Wisp strengthens the Darkness's hold on the Earth.
    • Each Princess of Mirrors is told by her Queen that she is the True Heir, the one destined to drive back the Darkness and restore the Kingdoms. But she is also told that this can only happen if she is in charge. The True Heir can have minions and lieutenants, but she certainly cannot have equals or superiors.
  • Iron Legacy, an alternate-universe evil Superman Expy in Sentinels of the Multiverse. He's part of a long line of superheroes, and each eldest child inherits their parents' powers, plus a boost. When his eldest child dies before him, he concludes that he's only got until he dies of old age to end evil forever.
    • Fanatic can occasionally verge on this, despite being a superhero. The devs have stated that you do bring Fanatic when you're expecting a fight with alien invaders or Balarian or someone, but if it's just some bank robbers or something, you don't even try and get in touch.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade: The Faithful also known as Noddists (different from historians that simply record vampire lore) are Cainites that have taken the Road of Heaven, which encourages vampires to tame the Beast within through religious devotion. While this can make them prime candidates for Friendly Neighborhood Vampires, they can get end up corrupted by taking alternate paths such as the Path of Retribution, where they see themselves as The Scourge of God and its their duty to crush it whenever they find it. The logical extreme of this trope is the Path of Divinity, where they literally consider themselves favored by God and a straight Superior Species in every way.
  • Considered an ideal in Warhammer where rigid thought control is the only known way to keep the villains' More Than Mind Control from spreading.
    • The followers of Solkan, one of the gods of law, are this to the point that even other extremists fear them.
    • The Witch Hunters bear a decree from the Grand Theogonist himself to hunt down Chaos cultists, undead and uncheced magic users no matter the cost. They are both The Dreaded and The Friend Nobody Likes among the Empire because they could order for anybody to be summarily executed or even for your entire village to be purged off the earth and nobody (at least officially) would question it. And what's worse, their actions are still a grim necessity to protect the Empire and its people - with Greenskins to the south, Chaos raiders from the north, Vampires and their undead armies to the east and Beastmen infesting the forests of the interior, the Empire is a bastion of human learning and civilisation in a dangerous world where dark forces are constantly circling, looking to extinguish its light and bring about a living nightmare where mankind is once again divided, hunted and living in constant fear.
  • And presented again in Warhammer 40,000 by the Inquisition of the Imperium of Man, who eradicate entire worlds to stop heresy from spreading. Justified, considering that heresy is inevitably followed by the horrors of the Warp, but also a problem because there are plenty of cases where the heresy in question could have been stamped out without killing off entire star systems in the process.
    • Some chapters of the Imperial Space Marines themselves fall into this. There's even a chapter called the Black Templars who are notorious for their intolerance of aliens, mutants, and heretics — going as far as to "purge" entire planetary colonies because somebody there has bought equipment from alien traders. (The standard Imperial response would be to round up and execute only the buyer/s and whoever is suspected of being a collaborater/enabler, unless the stuff came from a Rogue Trader — in which case it's all good, unless it's contraband even for Rogue Traders — or starts showing signs of Chaos taint.) Their colours and insignia are derived from The Knights Hospitallers, though.
    • This applies to the Tau, too, to a lesser extent. At least they ask others to join them first, and if they don't they open fire with everything they got. Their aim is more to spread their superior culture and way of life to benighted savages everywhere than to slaughter everyone else, as with most other factions.
    • If we ignore the extreme speciesism common to all factions in the universe, the Eldar would come across as almost heroic. As it is, the whole "We would rather ten thousand humans die than one of our own" mindset dooms them to this territory.
    • Virtually all the factions in Warhammer 40,000 whose main goals are not self-serving are this, perfectly representing its Black-and-Gray Morality. That, or they are the Orks or the Tyranids.


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