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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default What to call elite warlock-knights?

    In my setting, there is a nation-state that propelled themselves into an industrial revolution by making pacts with devils en masse. They have demonblood-powered internal combustion, gunpowder (also made with demon-blood, and most relevantly, an elite group of a few dozen to perhaps a hundred or so extremely powerful warlock-knights.

    The problem is, I don't know what to call them. Initially they were just warlock-knights in my notes, but I feel like they should have a more distinctive title. Since the nation-state is aesthetically & linguistically French- and Slavic-inspired, I considered calling them the Warlock Gendarmerie or something (they also operate as a sort of secret police), but that also feels a little lackluster. My current best name is the Red Hussars (maybe most of them ride phantom steeds or demon horses or w/e), but I still think a better name is possible.

    Any ideas, Playground?
    Last edited by Rusvul; 2019-10-16 at 12:56 PM.

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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: What to call elite warlock-knights?

    I agree, they need a little more pizzazz.

    In no particular order (and assuming they're evil):
    The Blooded
    (The) Blood Pact
    Knights of the Bloody Circle
    The Dreaded
    Red Hands
    Knights Encarmine

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    Griffon

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    Default Re: What to call elite warlock-knights?

    Hexenmeisters

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    Default Re: What to call elite warlock-knights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusvul View Post
    In my setting, there is a nation-state that propelled themselves into an industrial revolution by making pacts with devils en masse. They have demonblood-powered internal combustion, gunpowder (also made with demon-blood, and most relevantly, an elite group of a few dozen to perhaps a hundred or so extremely powerful warlock-knights.

    The problem is, I don't know what to call them. Initially they were just warlock-knights in my notes, but I feel like they should have a more distinctive title. Since the nation-state is aesthetically & linguistically French- and Slavic-inspired, I considered calling them the Warlock Gendarmerie or something (they also operate as a sort of secret police), but that also feels a little lackluster. My current best name is the Red Hussars (maybe most of them ride phantom steeds or demon horses or w/e), but I still think a better name is possible.

    Any ideas, Playground?
    In functional terms, mounted warlocks with black powder weapons are more similar to dragoons that hussars.

    However, my money says you should go look at Slavic (and Turkic) titles. Voivoides, hetmen, janissaries, sipahi.

    But if I were going to home in on one term: something that references the Oprichnina. Ivan Grozny's bodyguards were warriors, acted as secret police, had a bit of the religion-tied creepiness of their tsar, and did witchy things like carry severed dog's heads on their saddle (to smell treachery). Also, it's an Vladimir Sorokin reference. The adjectival forms would be oprichniki I think.
    Last edited by Yanagi; 2019-10-16 at 05:11 PM.

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    Default Re: What to call elite warlock-knights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yanagi View Post
    In functional terms, mounted warlocks with black powder weapons are more similar to dragoons that hussars.

    However, my money says you should go look at Slavic (and Turkic) titles. Voivoides, hetmen, janissaries, sipahi.

    But if I were going to home in on one term: something that references the Oprichnina. Ivan Grozny's bodyguards were warriors, acted as secret police, had a bit of the religion-tied creepiness of their tsar, and did witchy things like carry severed dog's heads on their saddle (to smell treachery). Also, it's an Vladimir Sorokin reference. The adjectival forms would be oprichniki I think.
    I considered calling them dragoons, but honestly it just kind of sounds silly IMO, especially when dragons are a real thing. Thank you for the historical touchstones, I like 'Janissaries' and 'Oprichnina' a lot. The Oprichnina in particular are also useful as a touchstone for characterization--so, thanks again. I might go with some kind of gallicized variant of Oprichnik--change the plural to -s, pronounce the 'ch' as soft instead of hard, and it fits fairly well into French (which is my analogue for the language of nobility in this nation, the semi-assimilated conquered peoples speak a more Slavic langauge).

    I'm thinking their official name is something like "The Faithful Order of the Empress's Oprichnina" ("L'Ordre fidèle des Oprichniks de l'Impératrice"), and officially they're called the Oprichniks/Oprichnina, but colloquially they're the Empress's Faithful (or, less charitably, the Empress's Hounds).

    Thank you so much!

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    Default Re: What to call elite warlock-knights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusvul View Post
    I considered calling them dragoons, but honestly it just kind of sounds silly IMO, especially when dragons are a real thing. Thank you for the historical touchstones, I like 'Janissaries' and 'Oprichnina' a lot. The Oprichnina in particular are also useful as a touchstone for characterization--so, thanks again. I might go with some kind of gallicized variant of Oprichnik--change the plural to -s, pronounce the 'ch' as soft instead of hard, and it fits fairly well into French (which is my analogue for the language of nobility in this nation, the semi-assimilated conquered peoples speak a more Slavic langauge).

    I'm thinking their official name is something like "The Faithful Order of the Empress's Oprichnina" ("L'Ordre fidèle des Oprichniks de l'Impératrice"), and officially they're called the Oprichniks/Oprichnina, but colloquially they're the Empress's Faithful (or, less charitably, the Empress's Hounds).

    Thank you so much!
    De nada.

    It's fun to share, and I have all this stuff bouncing in my head anyway.

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    Default Re: What to call elite warlock-knights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusvul View Post
    I considered calling them dragoons, but honestly it just kind of sounds silly IMO, especially when dragons are a real thing.
    Dragons were a real thing when real world dragoons were named. They were cavalry soldiers armed with dragons, which was a kind of carbine that had a prominent muzzle flash (i.e. it was a gun that looked like it was breathing fire).

    Honestly, I would just make up a unique name for them and maybe add a real word on the end as a hint or reminder for players or readers who don't know who they are yet. For example, when you first hear about "Jedi knights", you don't know anything about their powers but you know they are some kind of elite warriors.
    Last edited by Xuc Xac; 2019-10-17 at 09:53 PM.

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    Default Re: What to call elite warlock-knights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yanagi View Post
    The adjectival forms would be oprichniki I think.
    Oprichniki is a noun (plural), not an adjective. Without looking it up to be certain, I'd guess the adjective form was oprichnichni.

    Not that it probably matters if the OP is going to Franco-ize the word.
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    Default Re: What to call elite warlock-knights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Draz74 View Post
    Oprichniki is a noun (plural), not an adjective. Without looking it up to be certain, I'd guess the adjective form was oprichnichni.

    Not that it probably matters if the OP is going to Franco-ize the word.
    Thanks.

    I think I applied some other language's suffixes to a Russian word. I do that.

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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: What to call elite warlock-knights?

    Hell knights?

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    Default Re: What to call elite warlock-knights?

    Quote Originally Posted by the_david View Post
    Hell knights?
    "Hell" makes a great prefix, doesn't it? Hellknight, hellblade, hellsword, hellsteel, helllance...maybe not that last one.

    "Diabolic" just doesn't have the same ring.

    But based on what you said, I think "hellknights" would probably be the slang/vernacular that people call them. These guys probably have a name they give themselves, and being powerful, lawful, and I'm just going to assume both egotistical and evil, it's probably an excessively long one that describes every single bit of their role, powers, and influence.

    How about "Warmidons of the Infernal Order"?

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    Default Re: What to call elite warlock-knights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Draz74 View Post
    Oprichniki is a noun (plural), not an adjective. Without looking it up to be certain, I'd guess the adjective form was oprichnichni.

    Not that it probably matters if the OP is going to Franco-ize the word.
    I hate to be that guy, but Frenchify, or at a pinch francize, is what your looking for. Making things more like certain Spanish Dictator might work in context though.

    Other names for these knights:
    - La Main Rouge (The Red Hand)
    - The Caravan of Death
    - The Red Bulls (maybe because they have horned helmets and red tabards/surcoats), could be a nickname rather than an official name.
    - Ordre du Salut du Peuple (Order for the Safety of the People - though Salut can also mean Salvation), a single knight could then be called Chevalier du Salut, Safety/Salvation Knight, for short. Of course they'll probably be nicknamed Knights of Terror or something like that.
    - Les Molosses de la Rose Noir (The Hounds of the Black Rose)

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: What to call elite warlock-knights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusvul View Post
    In my setting, there is a nation-state that propelled themselves into an industrial revolution by making pacts with devils en masse. They have demonblood-powered internal combustion, gunpowder (also made with demon-blood, and most relevantly, an elite group of a few dozen to perhaps a hundred or so extremely powerful warlock-knights.

    The problem is, I don't know what to call them. Initially they were just warlock-knights in my notes, but I feel like they should have a more distinctive title. Since the nation-state is aesthetically & linguistically French- and Slavic-inspired, I considered calling them the Warlock Gendarmerie or something (they also operate as a sort of secret police), but that also feels a little lackluster. My current best name is the Red Hussars (maybe most of them ride phantom steeds or demon horses or w/e), but I still think a better name is possible.

    Any ideas, Playground?
    In Dragonlance there were the Knights of Takisis

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    Default Re: What to call elite warlock-knights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Corneel View Post
    I hate to be that guy, but Frenchify, or at a pinch francize, is what your looking for. Making things more like certain Spanish Dictator might work in context though.

    Other names for these knights:
    - La Main Rouge (The Red Hand)
    - The Caravan of Death
    - The Red Bulls (maybe because they have horned helmets and red tabards/surcoats), could be a nickname rather than an official name.
    - Ordre du Salut du Peuple (Order for the Safety of the People - though Salut can also mean Salvation), a single knight could then be called Chevalier du Salut, Safety/Salvation Knight, for short. Of course they'll probably be nicknamed Knights of Terror or something like that.
    - Les Molosses de la Rose Noir (The Hounds of the Black Rose)
    I really like these too! They fit very well with how these warlocks are perceived in this nation: their PR (read: propaganda) is that they're a noble order of knights protecting the nation from external threats, and most people never see them except maybe in a military parade, so citizens of the nation that are wholly within 'respectable society' see them in a neutral-to-positive light, even if they still feat them. Marginalized groups inside the nation and outsiders, of course, see them for the terrorist secret police they are. L'Ordre du Salut du Peuple conveys that very well. My French isn't especially good--what's the difference in connotation between 'salut' and words like 'securité' or 'protection'? Also, if you don't mind the French questions, am I using "L'Ordre" correctly? I'm not sure what the conventions are when it comes to articles and capitalization in proper nouns.

    "Hellknights" and "Warmidons of the Infernal Order" are both great--"Warmidon" is a cleverly coind word--but I don't think they'd refer to themselves that way. They are allied with Hell, but not sworn to it, and the alliance is something of an open secret. "Yes, the Empress and all her closest cohorts are suddenly tieflings, and yes, the army is suddenly filled with gunpowder and low-level warlocks, but... no, we wouldn't treat with devils! That's absurd."

    Thank you all for the excellent ideas. As of now I'm thinking I'll call them l'Ordre Fidèle des Molosses de l'Impératrice (The Faithful Order of the Empress's Hounds)--I really like the 'hounds' idea, and as much as I like 'oprichnik,' it'll be 100% foreign to my table. I'm also thinking there'll be one or more sub-sets--the only one I have any real clarity on is l'Œil Ouvert de l'Ordre Fidèle du Molosses de l'Impératrice (The Open Eye of the Faithful Order of the Empress's Hounds), an intelligence-gathering subdivision with a large contingent of noncombatant diviners whose status as Hounds is largely honorary. Might shorten the name to "The Empress's Open Eye"? Not sure. Long imperious names are fitting, but also kind of a pain in the ass.

    Once again, thanks so much everyone!

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    Default Re: What to call elite warlock-knights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusvul View Post
    My French isn't especially good--what's the difference in connotation between 'salut' and words like 'securité' or 'protection'? Also, if you don't mind the French questions, am I using "L'Ordre" correctly? I'm not sure what the conventions are when it comes to articles and capitalization in proper nouns.
    As I noted, "Salut" means amongst other things salvation and so goes further than simple physical protection or security but has definite moral and quasi-religious connotations. And to give you an idea where I got this, the ruling body during the Reign of Terror (part of the period of the French Revolution) was called "Le Comité de salut public"

    Articles are never capitalized, except at the start of a phrase/sentence. For the rest, capitalization of organisational names & titles is a bit complicated* so just apply English-like rules. I don't think anyone in your group is going to care.

    *To give a few examples
    - l'Organisation des Nations unies (the UN)
    - l'Organisation du traité de l'Atlantique nord (NATO)
    - l'ordre du Toison d'or (Order of the Golden Fleece)
    - l'ordre cistercien (Order of Cistercians)
    - l'Empire romaine (the Roman Empire)
    - l'empire de Brésil (the Empire of Brazil)

    See here for full rules and despair.

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    Default Re: What to call elite warlock-knights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cygnia View Post
    Hexenmeisters
    That's sadly already taken as the German translation for Sorcerers.

    Of course, if you go down the path of German translations of D&D terms, you end up with "Hexer" for Warlock, which when back-translated into English gives you... Witcher.

    I think the first idea is what you want to name them for. Just something poetic, like many knightly orders had (The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, Sacred and Military Order of the Holy Sepulchre, Royal Equestrian and Military Order of Saint Michael of the Wing, Military Order of the Tower and of the Sword, of Valour, Loyalty and Merit)? Or do you want to name them about the source or nature of their power (Hell knights, Knights Diabolist, Order Infernale, Knights of the Pact, Oathsworn Knights, Knights of the Seal)? Many knightly orders are also named after a place, so in connection with infernal combustion engines and firearms, you could name them after a fiery layer of hell (Knights Avernian, Fist of Zariel, Brethren of Abriymoch, Swords of Phlegethos, Knights of Cain, the Mephistophelian Brotherhood).

    Edit: Nevermind. Just saw that they wouldn't openly name themselves after hell.

    Of course, they could have templar-like secret inner circles and titles.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2019-10-23 at 09:17 AM.
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    Default Re: What to call elite warlock-knights?

    You could also pull a Varangian Guard and have them be recruited from foreigners with no allegiance to anyone in the nation but the ruler, bringing over their own superstitions and witchcraft and being literal outsiders in the realm despite representing the monarchy/government.

    This opens up various options for names, customs and appearances that are strange even within the eyes of the people who interact with them from time to time.
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    Default Re: What to call elite warlock-knights?

    You could just steal from Golarion's Hellknights

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