The Order of the Broken Lance
The Order of the Broken Lance was founded in 1450 when the Crusades against Araby were launched. The founder of the order, Grand Master Hertwig von Kreltz earned his reputation during the fighting around the palace of Sultan Jaffar. Hertwig’s lance had broken after the charge against the palace guard and his sword was lost when the belt holding the sheath was cut off during the fighting. Bellowing Sigmar’s name he swung his broken lance with such force that it broke the neck one of the Sultan’s captains and he continued to fight in the melee with the improvised weapon. It is claimed by members of the order that he accounted for more kills with his broken lance than did the other knights with their swords. He later claimed that it was Sigmar’s favor that led him through the fight victoriously and he pledged that he would give up his (considerable) lands and money to the church of Sigmar in thanks and he pledged his life to the warrior god. A number of knights present in the battle (all of whom from minor noble families who had little to no wealth to speak of) were so moved by the fiery and pious warrior that they too made the pledge. These knights who followed him became the first members of the new order, with their chapter house being Hertwig’s ancestral estate. Such was his wealth, both from before the crusade and from loot taken that the order quickly grew as the sons of lesser nobles flocked to it. Located in the port city of Marienburg, it became a center for Sigmarite worship in the city.
The order flourished until 2429 when Marienburg seceded from the Empire. The Grand Master of the Order, Boris von Straul renounced his faith in Sigmar and attempted to recreate the order as a secular one. A number of knights followed him, but Boris’ younger brother and his seneschal, Luther von Straul, killed his elder brother and stole his blessed sword. The blade, known as both the blessed blade and the sword of fate is reputed to communicate with its wielder through their dreams. There it will show its chosen target to the wielder, as well as where they must go to find them. Taken as a sign from Sigmar and Morr, it is the duty of the bearer of the sword to follow their dreams and to do battle. It is one of the most precious relics of the order, and tradition holds that it is the seneschal of the order who must wield it. Together with a handful of knights and the majority of their men-at-arms, Luther fled from Marienburg and went back to the Empire. The knights who stayed in Marienburg were absorbed into the other orders of the city, while Luther, the new Grand Master, kept the name of the order. With church backing a new chapter house was built on the new border of the Empire. However, even with this the order fell on hard times, as few nobles wished to join what was seen as being disgraced. Luther then made what was to be the most controversial move of his reign as Grand Master. Five of the warrior monks within the order, all men of humble birth, were knighted as recognition for their valor in combat after an orc invasion out of the Grey Mountains. This practice of allowing men of humble birth into the order was, in a way, a very Marienburger concept that sat ill with other knightly orders and the noble houses of the Empire.
The Order of the Broken Lance found from then on many pious men of humble birth who flocked to the chapter house in the hope of proving themselves worthy of knighthood. They also received more than a few nobles seeking to join the order, most of whom were third or fourth sons of lesser nobles who would rather join an infamous order than an unknown one. Despite the animosity shown towards them by other knightly orders, the Order of the Broken Lance still holds the favor of the church of Sigmar and the Elector of Middenland. As the order’s fortress is located east of Marienburg and along the River Reik, the order stands as a guard against Marienburg mercenaries, Bretonnians from the Gisoruex Gap and monsters from the Grey Mountains.
The order is known for its gilded armor and for its practice of eschewing elaborate helmets. Instead, most members of the order have a simple piece of purple cloth covering the tops of their helms, which is claimed to be a sign of respect to their god. Only those of noble birth go to battle without this, as they are allowed purple plumes to show their status. However, that is all that noble birth may bring one, as advancement within the order is based purely on experience, skill and devotion. Unsurprisingly there are many warrior priests who are members of the order, and it is a rare unit of knights that goes to battle without one. The order itself is made up out of one Grand Master (Kessler von Ulster), his seneschal (Konrad von Staalsburg), six preceptors and a half dozen warrior priests. Within the chapter house there is also Father Sigismung, a retired warrior priest whose faith is such that he can perform miracles in the name of Sigmar, and over three dozen warrior monks. These monks are men who have sworn their lives and property over to the church of Sigmar and who train in the use of sword, bow and pistol. Each of them hopes to prove themselves in battle so that they can earn their spurs and become a knight of the order.