- “Magic exists to serve man, and never to rule over him.”
The Templar Order is a military order of the Chantry that hunts abominations, apostates, and maleficar and watches over the mages from the Circle of Magi. Templars are officially deemed a force of defenders by the Chantry. Their advocates claim they are saviors, holy warriors, protectors of the innocent, and champions of all that is good. Others see them as symbols of the Chantry's control over magic with a religious fervor that inspires absolute devotion to their mandate rather than moral principles. Their roles are to protect the communities of the faithful from magical threats, protect mages from themselves or the populace, and subdue any who refuse to submit to the authority of the Circle.
The history of the Order Edit
Most people don't remember the Templar Order as it once was. In the days when the Chantry was still young, templars were known as the Inquisition and combed the land in search of all dangers to humanity—whether they came in the form of blood mages, abominations, cultists or heretics. It was a dark and terrifying time in the history of Thedas, and one that only ended when the Chantry convinced the Inquisition to unite under the banner of their common faith. This agreement, the Nevarran Accord, was struck in 1:20 Divine. The Inquisition was then divided in two groups: the Seekers of Truth and the Templar Order, with the purpose of the Order becoming that of guardian and warden rather than hunter.
Templars are considered by the common folk to be the saviors and holy warriors of Thedas, protecting the world from the dangers of magic unchecked. As the Chantry’s military arm, they are recruited primarily for their martial skill and religious dedication to the Maker. Given the difficult choices templars must make in the course of their duty, they must be unswervingly loyal to the Order and maintain an emotional distance from the plight of their charges. It is said that a templar’s obedience is more important to the Chantry than his or her moral center.
The Mage-Templar War Edit
By the end of 9:37 Dragon Age, the Kirkwall Chantry has been destroyed by magic and Grand Cleric Elthina killed. After the battle in Kirkwall and the deaths of First Enchanter Orsino and Knight-Commander Meredith, Circles have begun to rebel all over Thedas.Three years later, according to Varric Tethras in his testimony to Cassandra Pentaghast, the Chantry is on the brink of collapse and has lost control of the templars. A group connected to the Chantry that includes some of the Seekers of Truth have sought to find a peaceful solution to the escalating conflict between the mages and templars by finding both the Hero of Ferelden and the Champion of Kirkwall, who could help stop the war. Yet the group has had no success in tracking down either individual.
With the Mage-Templar War wreaking havoc across Thedas, Samson was able to rally some of the floundering Templar Order and was made their general. Samson had begun serving Corypheus and introduced his templars to the Red Lyrium he supplied. Samson inspired his fellow Red Templars to master the red lyrium with the sole purpose of overthrowing the Chantry that cast them aside and to make the world a place free of the Chantry's oppression.
In 9:41 Dragon, after the disappearance of Lord Seeker Lambert, the Seekers of Truth elected Lucius Corin as their new leader. Subsequently, the Templars agree to a peace summit with the mages orchestrated by Divine Justinia V. However, a massive explosion that destroys the Temple of Sacred Ashes and sunders the Veil across southern Thedas shatters any hope of peace.
In the wake of the failed conclave, the Templar order continues to fracture. A large group follow the Lord Seeker's orders and withdraw to Val Royeaux while some join the recently re-formed Inquisition. Others insist that the Lord Seeker has failed to conduct the war properly and establish themselves in the Hinterlands in western Ferelden where they continue to clash with apostate mages without any oversight or direction. Still other Templars such as those at the Circles in Hossberg in the Anderfels and Hasmal in the Free Marches refuse to be drawn into the war at all and remain neutral to protect mages not wishing to fight.
When the Inquisition addresses the Chantry in Val Royeaux, Lord Seeker Lucius arrives flanked by a contingent of Templars. Revered Mother Hevara assumes they are returning to the Chantry to put an end to the upstart Inquisition, only to be unceremoniously knocked to the ground on Lucius' order. Lucius declares Val Royeaux unworthy of the Order's protection and takes his Templars to Therinfal Redoubt. The Knight-Vigilant, who unknown to most survived the conclave, is murdered by the Red Templars to prevent him potentially interfering with their plans at Therinfal.
If the Inquisitor recruits the Templars: Should the Inquisitor go to meet with the Templars, it is revealed that an Envy demon has taken Lucius' place and was feeding the majority of the Order red lyrium to help further fill the ranks of the Red Templars; a splinter faction of Templars addicted to Red lyrium.
If the Inquisitor preserves the Order:
After the Envy demon's death, the Inquisition allies with the surviving Templars at Therinfal. They aid in closing the Breach.
If the Inquisitor disbands the Order:
After the Envy demon's death, the Inquisition disbands the Templar Order and conscripts its former members into the Inquisition. They help in closing the Breach.
If the Inquisitor recruits the Mages: The Templars at Therinfal Redoubt are fully corrupted and turned into Red Templars and serve as the Elder One's main troops in his conflict with the reformed Inquisition. The Templars at Hasmal request the Inquisition's aid in relocating the loyalist mages at their circle to the Inquisition for fear of the local populace attacking them and later ally with the Inquisition in the conflict with Corypheus.
If Cassandra or Vivienne becomes Divine: The Templar Order is re-established under Divine Victoria.
If Leliana becomes Divine and the Templars are recruited as full allies: When the new Divine dissolves the Circle, the Templars re-establish their order with a new mandate to serve the people of Thedas independently.
If the Inquisition is disbanded and Cullen stops taking lyrium: If the Inquisition is disbanded, Cullen creates a sanctuary for those who wish to cease using lyrium, and a hospice for those whose minds are too far gone with addiction.
If the Inquisition remains and Cullen stops taking lyrium:If the Inquisition remains as a peacekeeping force, Cullen promotes the Chantry's treatment of templars wishing to cease lyrium use as well as those whose minds are too far gone with addiction.
Templar recruitment Edit
Templars go through a rigorous process of recruitment and training, sometimes in monastic refuges segregated from everyday society. While the majority of their members are male, some female templars do exist, having chosen to serve the Maker as a defender of the faith rather than a spiritual guide for the community. Templars take vows upon knighthood, but these do not include vows of chastity (although some elect to take those as well). Templars are nevertheless discouraged from marrying or raising children since it is impractical to live apart from ones' dependents. Such unions are occasionally permitted, provided that the templar's spouse has his or her own means of support, for example, owning land or a title. A templar marrying another templar or a mage within the same Circle would be considered fraternization within the ranks and would seldom receive permission.
Prior to taking their vows templar recruits undergo a vigil. After the vigil, the knight's life is changed. The templar is given a philter—their first draught of lyrium—and its power. The Templar Order dictates that templars are not to seek wealth or acknowledgement. Their lives belong to the Maker and the path they have chosen.
Duties of a templar Edit
Templars are sworn to protect the world from the dangers of magic, but they also protect mages from the outside world, a world that fears these magic users for very good reasons. Outside the Circles, templars are responsible for hunting malificar, apostates, abominations, and demons. In addition, templars are responsible for seeking out mages newly come into their power to bring them into the Circle. Inevitably, the Order must also pursue mages who escape the Circle but typically can track the fugitives using a phylactery of blood from their quarry.
Within the Circles, it is the templars' place to watch their charges for signs of weakness or corruption and, should they find it, to act without hesitation for the good of all. One of the Order's most important duties occurs during a mage's Harrowing. During this ritual, a templar watches over the body of the mage, ready to kill them if demonic possession occurs.
In the extreme event that an entire Circle of mages becomes corrupted, templars can request the Right of Annulment from a Grand Cleric, which authorizes them to purge all of the mages in that Circle. This is meant to be used in the event that total chaos has been unleashed by the mages, with no chance that anyone in the Circle can be saved. The considerable power the Order holds over mages occasionally leads to charges of tyranny and abuse, since the balance between protection and oppression of the mages is precarious. Nevertheless, according to the Chantry, this is the price that must be paid for the security the templars offer.
Templars are the ideal foils for mages, having been trained specifically to counter and deny magic. This is done by a unique method of reinforcing the reality and immutability of the world. When a mage—or a demon—seeks to work magic, they tap into the Fade in order to reshape reality. A templar's ability "declare[s] the world real" and closes off a mage's access to the Fade. Magical effects dissipate and the mage is unable to reshape a suddenly stubborn world. From a mage's perspective, templars reinforce reality, making it so that spells cannot be cast in the first place. The Seekers of Truth share these powers, and some believe their abilities to be gifts from the Maker.
Templar abilities to dispel magic and inhibit spellcasting, as well as develop a considerable immunity to magic, come primarily through ingesting lyrium. Cole says that the bodies of the templars become incomplete and try to connect to something older and bigger than they are. They reach for that "other thing" and magic has no room to come in. The lyrium is prepared by philters—boxes containing tools that are used by templars to prepare the daily draught of lyrium which consequently allows the denial of magic. If Lyrium ingestion is stopped, Templars will eventually lose their abilities. Though their abilities are mostly used as a foil for mages and fade creatures, some of their talents can have practical uses for the mundane. For example, Holy Smite is an attack that causes magical spirit damage. Abilities such as Silence and Lasting Cleanse can prevent even normal opponents from using their talents for a short time.
When a templar taps into their power, their sword visibly courses with a white power that disrupts mana. This power can also be channeled through their skin and used, for example, to activate plates housed in special dwarf-created doors within the Circle of Magi such as the entrance to the phylactery storeroom, which require the presence of both a templar and a mage working together to open them.
Templars are also specifically trained to fight against demons, which are often summoned by maleficar.
Lyrium addiction Edit
- “The mages have made their suffering known. The templars never have.” ―Cassandra
- “Inside you, there is something you don't know you possess. Becoming a templar will make you keenly aware. You will feel empowered. It is joyous. But once you are accustomed, that something will get hungry. You have never felt this. The Order fights it with brotherhood.” ―Ser
All templars are addicted to lyrium, which is used to enable their anti-magic skills and is unofficially used as a control mechanism by the Chantry. A lack of lyrium causes the templar to start to feel withdrawal symptoms within a week and to lose touch with reality and suffer from delusions within 1-2 months. The effects of lyrium addiction include paranoia, obsession, and dementia. Symptoms of lyrium hunger pangs include weakness, forgetfulness, an unquenchable thirst, headaches, and cold hands. Over time, templars grow disoriented, incapable of distinguishing memory from present, or dream from waking. They frequently become paranoid as their worst memories and nightmares haunt their waking hours.
Templars also lose their memories to prolonged imbibing of lyrium. It starts small at first—a misplaced item or words to a song—but more fades away over time. Those cut off from lyrium and who could not endure the suffering either go mad or die. Templars start receiving lyrium once they've taken their vows. Ingestion also seems to change how the recipient smells after a while, described as something akin to burnt ozone.
Though unusual, dwarven initiates are not immune from the risks, either. Exposure to lyrium does not preclude the dangers of ingestion. This also indicates that dwarves are recruited into the order, or at least the training.
It is confirmed that lyrium does have effective benefits for templars, as it builds a resistance to magic in them over time, and is needed for their abilities, such as being able to shut off a mage's abilities entirely. It also puts templars in a state of boldness and empowerment while under the influence. Some people think that templars are conditioned to be dependent on this mineral for its attributes and that the Chantry knows of its addictiveness. Both Alistair and Evangeline claim that "the Chantry controls the supply of lyrium, and thus they control the templars." If Lyrium ingestion is stopped, templars will eventually lose their abilities, but since the first infusion of lyrium used in the initial ritual is so concentrated, it is assumed that trained templars are able to utilize their powers for at least a year with diminishing effectiveness over time. Alistair for example, could utilize templar talents during the Fifth Blight which lasted about a year; allegedly without the ritual imbibing of lyrium. The hunger pangs start immediately however, and nightmares or recurring bad memories could manifest in a couple of months. This either means Alistair is able to resist the addiction or his Blight connection drowned out the lyrium song. Ritual imbibing of the lyrium is meant to stave off the hunger pangs yet it is a double edge sword since the adverse effects, both in the addiction's withdrawal symptoms and satiating it with the continuous habit, gets worse overtime with prolong imbibing. The most successful templars learn to ration their lyrium dosages to delay it from consuming their minds and endure the pain of lyrium withdrawal. Those that can't quit lyrium eventually become lyrium addled simpletons.
When Templars retire honorably, they are provided a small stipend of lyrium to stave off the hunger for the substance, but the craving hits some templars much harder than others. Furthermore, those kicked out of the order have no such provision made for them.
The Order is composed of numerous branches, each of them centered around a specific community or region they are assigned to defend and monitor. Templars may be assigned to the Circles of Magi but also to individual chantries. Each main branch of the organization is led by a Knight-Commander. In Thedas, there are at least fifteen Knight-Commanders, who in turn answer to the head of the local chantry, often a Grand Cleric, depending on the region. The size and strength of each branch also differs, depending on the community they serve or their specific mandate. For example, the templars present in Lothering are few in number, and may in fact be a smaller unit within a larger chapter. Meanwhile, the Order in Kinloch Hold and Kirkwall is much more powerful, and in the case of Kirkwall, perhaps more powerful even than the civilian government in the city.
The Order itself is ruled from the White Spire in Val Royeaux by a Knight-Vigilant. However, there are other sources that suggest that the Order is actually led by a series of Knights Divine, a division within the Order who serve directly underneath the Divine herself and act as her enforcers and bodyguards. In addition to making the rules, these Knights oversee day-to-day operations. Above the Templar Order, but separate, are the Seekers of Truth who serve as “watchers of the watchmen,” providing accountability for the templars.
The Templar heraldry is a stylized representation of a flaming sword. The flames represent purification, just as Andraste was purified by flame upon her martyrdom at the height of the first Exalted March. The sword is an emblem of mercy in Chantry symbolism because Hessarian ran Andraste through with his sword to save her from a slow and painful death. The sword was also a part of the constellation Visus; it is said that the star that marks the point of its blade only appeared in the night sky after Andraste's death. The early Inquisition took Visus as their symbol, and upon their partition the Templar Order took the sword while the Seekers of Truth retained the eye.
The exact design varies. There are at least six variations.
- The sword is pointing up with two small flames on either side.
- Pointing down with four larger flames.
- Pointing down with three flames on either side.
- With the sword pointing down with four flames on either side. The flames end about two thirds of the way down.
- Same as above but the flames are larger closer to the hilt.
- With four flames on either side running the length of the sword.
Notable templars Edit
- Delrin Barris, may be promoted to Knight-Commander by the Inquisitor (c. 9:41)
- Bryant, templar commanding the Lothering unit of Templars (fl. 9:30)
- Brynn, Knight-Captain & commanding Templar of Aeonar
- Carroll, Templar at Kinloch Hold (fl. 9:30-9:41)
- Carver Hawke (if not present during The Deep Roads Expedition)
- Cullen Rutherford, Templar at Kinloch Hold (to 9:31), Knight Captain in Kirkwall (9:31-9:37), Knight Commander in Kirkwall (9:37-9:40)
- Emeric, templar in Kirkwall (fl. 9:31-9:34)
- Evangeline de Brassard, Knight-Captain at the White Spire (fl. 9:40)
- Greagoir, Knight-Commander at Kinloch Hold (fl. 9:07-9:32)
- Hadley, Knight-Captain at Kinloch Hold (fl. 9:32)
- Haron, a companion of Inquisitor Ameridan
- Harrith, Knight Commander of the Redcliffe Chapter of Templars (c. 9:30-9:31)
- Irminric, Templar in the Denerim chapter of Templars (fl. 9:31)
- Laros, currently the only known dwarven templar (c. 9:42)
- Martel, Knight-Commander in Orlais (c. 9:22)
- Meredith Stannard, Knight-Commander at The Gallows (9:21 - 9:37)
- Mettin, templar at The Gallows (fl. 9:31 - 9:37)
- Nolan Brisson, Knight-Divine and alleged lover of Divine Amara III (Exalted Age)
- Otto, nearly-blind templar in the Denerim alienage
- Otto Alrik, templar at The Gallows (fl. 9:31 - 9:34)
- Rylock, a Ferelden templar (fl. 9:31)
- Tavish, Knight Commander of the Denerim Chapter of Templars (c. 9:30-9:31)
- Thrask, a templar at The Gallows (fl. 9:31 - 9:37)
- Trentwatch, Knight-Vigilant and leader of the Templar Order (c. 9:41)
- Varnell, a templar at The Gallows (fl. 9:31 - 9:34)
- Wesley Vallen, a Ferelden templar (fl. 9:30)
- Ser Mallorick, supervisor of the laundry room at the Circle of Magi in Ansburg.
- Despite the prevailing understanding, Alistair claims that templars don't need to take lyrium to learn templar talents, only that it makes templar talents more effective. Alistair may have been alluding to the templar talents of the Seekers of Truth, since even Alistair would later need to take lyrium again in order to use his templar abilities.
- Despite being part of the Chantry, there are implications in Dragon Age: Asunder that the Templar Order is autonomous to a certain degree.
See also EditCodex entry: Templars Codex entry: The Seekers of Truth Codex entry: Confessions of a Lyrium Addict Codex entry: At What Cost Manual: Templar
"A is for Abomination: The Templar's Alphabet." A book that explains what templars do, and how they do it.