The Order of the Ebony Gauntlet is not quite like many of the other Knighthood Orders. They always fight unmounted, using crossbows before engaging with heavy weapons. Their tenacity and might in combat surpasses even the strongest Fierdsvain infantry. The Order of the Ebony Gauntlet is extremely anti-Noldor, with it following that they are at odds with the Order of the Silvermist Rangers as well. While they may lack the steeds most other Orders use heavily, they are not to be underestimated. Wielding siege crossbows with unmatched accuracy, they can easily take down foes at a distance that many longbowmen have difficulty trying to even hit and thanks to these heavy-duty crossbows their bolts can hit harder than most bows do; this allows these knights to take down or cripple foes at a greater distance than many bowmen and just about anyone else with a crossbow to their name. While they may not fire volleys as quickly as archers, they hit their target more accurately and unlike their typically more numerous ranged allies, they rely far more on marksmanship to take down their targets instead of massed volley fire. Should these knights be forced or sent into close combat, they can easily take down most of their adversaries unless grievously outnumbered by opponents using high damage weapons or simply a larger number of hardy or just plain faster soldiers like huscarls, dervishes, highlanders, or legionnaires, though even these vicious faction elites will likely lose at least a few of their comrades to the gauntlet's mace or hammer in the process.
Their melee skills can be matched to even experts like the Empire Immortals, likely due to them having committed to fighting on foot in such heavy gear giving them great strength and endurance. Their range of melee weapons include the morningstar, infantry mace, the occasional longsword, and the great hammer. While many of them do use shields, those wielding the great hammer abandon the use of the shield completely and some with the lighter weapons may not have one at all leaving these members considerably more vulnerable. These sharpshooters are excellent in both open battle and sieges but it is in sieges where they show their full prowess: A decently sized contingent of Ebony Gauntlet knights backed by the Hammers can tear through all but the hardiest garrisons with comparatively light losses of only as few as a handful of knights and sergeants to hundreds of defenders with the majority of losses likely coming from the initial charge across the siege tower gangplank or up the ladder.
Despite their effectiveness against cavalry, the order regularly recruits foot soldiers from commoners to act as a deterrent against cavalry. Wielding polehammers, the aptly-termed Ebony Gauntlet Hammers are heavy infantry that can effectively fight off both men and horsemen.
While they are not as well-trained as the Ebony Gauntlet Knights, their effectiveness is still acknowledged and appreciated by the Knights. Using the spike to stop a horse right in its tracks and the hammer to beat its riders into submission, they are extremely effective in capturing prisoners using this tactic, especially against the mounted Noldors. Quoted from a travelling Ebony Gauntlet Knight; "There's nothing more poetic than hearing the dull thud of a polehammer against the skull of a wounded elf", something that many, if not all of the Ebony Gauntlet Knights enjoy hearing.
You must have a Qualis Gem to found a chapter of this Order. Knights of the Ebony Gauntlet upgrade from Pendor Foot Knights. The Order regularly recruits commoners with a healthy disdain of the Noldor to join them as Ebony Gauntlet Hammers which can be trained from Pendor Men-at-Arms.
Note that you start with negative relations (-10) with the Order, but you may improve it by helping their occasional companies, as lost patrols and questing knights may sometimes be seen roaming around (small warbands spawn in Seven Cross Keep and Almerra Castle, as well as patrols in High Pass Fortress that wander around the D'Shar territory) or simply by creating a chapter (as creating a chapter boosts relations with the order by 10).
They have no allies and they share a great rivalry with the Order of the Silvermist Rangers (-100). They are neutral with the rest of the orders.
Tavern conversation Edit
Player: Who exactly are the Knights of the Ebony Gauntlet?
Knight: We exist to serve the greater good of the whole of humanity, though I suppose that sounds a bit pompous. We consider ourselves above petty matters and politics, the squabbles of kings and queens.
Player: I see. What of the Noldor then?
Knight: Filthy tree rats hiding in the shadows. They're like a curse. That Red Plague which damn near ended life in Pendor, came from them, I'd wager. They ever lurk in ambush. Only way to deal with Noldor is a bolt between the eyes.
Player: Yet some scholars embrace the elder knowledge of the Noldor and claim to have reached enlightenment from it.
Knight: Bollocks. The only true enlightenment for a Noldor is the light let into his skull from my morningstar. Till the day they all lay dead, I will fight them. I will stand with my shield brothers, hell, I'll even even stand with the Hammers. They may be dressed up commoners, but they sure can swing those hammers. The sound of one of their hammers crushing a Noldor ranger's head is poetic, to say the least.
- The Ebony Gauntlets commonly term the Noldor as filthy tree rats.
- The Gauntlets theorize that the Red Plague came from the Noldor to wipe out humanity, and are either unaware of or simply refuse to admit that the Snake Cult may have been responsible.
- Boris the Raven broke with the tradition of the Knights of the Ebony Gauntlet and now has created a schism in the Order. Dozens of those Knights have sworn allegiance to him!
- Silvermist Ranger: "Look, the last thing Pendor needs is an Order like Ebony Gauntlet. Don't you think there are enough people seeking to feud with the Noldor? When they are done hunting the Noldor, who will they choose next to hunt? Madness of this sort must end!"