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The tale begins in early July 2006 with a 'Yahoo Groups' mailing list called "UD NecroTech". At one point, it had been a place with many members coordinating their UD tactics, talking about the game, as well as some fairly lively off-topic conversations between the members. It was not a "team" per se, more of just a group of players trying to help each other out. A small handful of list members began to make regular contact with each other, with the character names Poodle Of Doom, Silkentresses, AbleSentinel, Big JD, B J Wiley, Owen Coyle, Clopper, and Conner Micmanus being the relevant characters to this account.
BJ Wiley: "I started playing way back in early '06. I took part in Mall Tour '06 and fought to my last at the mall. Then I got into a battle at one of the forts and fought until it fell, then pretty much wandered the map until we formed KT."
Big JD: "I was but a lowly lvl 12. The wiki was still being put together, and was not much more than a suburb map and skill list. I was wandering around the then virgin Caiger Mall. No zombie had ever broken in, and it was the greatest bastion of humanity. I was in the Caiger area and looking for a group. There were very few pages for groups, and so I searched Yahoo and stumbled across a Yahoo mailing list group called "UD Necrotech".
Poodle Of Doom: "It was originally an open forum. It had been moderated prior to me having joined, but became open shortly before I joined, and became a shit hole for spam and random conversation. It was really quite the dump. It was originally aimed at fixing problems in game, and it's basic function was that of the suggestions page on the wiki pretty much."
BJ Wiley: "I joined NecroTech, but it was either a shell of what it once was, or the people who started it just didn't care anymore. There were so many people on it."
Big JD: "Joining the list, I found the forum to be on its last legs. The mailing list was a slow dead format anyway, while highly organized forums, with chatboxes for meta gaming were the ideal communcation method. Only a dedicated few were left. There was much infighting, and we didn't even have a group name to put in the tag box in our profiles. Fast forward a month or two of lonesharking it, with the mailing group being my source for hotspots of activities and xp gathering. We gained a charismatic new leader, and we let him gain authority."
AbleSentinel: "I too came across the Yahoo NT group during a search. But it was pretty much dead and mostly just spam. So, I wound up joining the Malton Forensics Unit (MFU), which at the time was under the Malton Police Department. While away at the DEM training Academy, I contacted my Canadian girlfriend, Silkentresses, aka 'Silk', and asked her to join me in Malton. I didn't really want her to be with me in the MFU, so I showed her some other groups I had found, including the NT group me and JD was in. (Actually, I think being a researcher by trade, she had discovered the group for herself)."
Silkentresses: “I was in dire need of help when I first started this game. Able had gone off without me after 2 days in the game and I was playing by myself and dieing nightly until a few guys noticed my problem and started staying with me to protect me.”
Poodle Of Doom: "That's where I met Silkentresses and BJ Wiley, who formed the new group (KT) with me."
Owen Coyle: "Most of (the mailing list) was spam, but occasionally noobs would post looking for info. One such noob was Silkentresses. Most of the group thought she was a troll trying to stir up trouble, but a few of us tried to help her. The first was AbleSentinal (I think they knew each other out of game) quickly followed by JD, Poodle and me. This must have been mid 2006. Because Silk kept posting her movements on the board, she kept getting killed - in particular by a guy named Captain Beer."
Silkentresses: “I remember the huge controversy in the beginning about that player who was targeting me for rape and murder (of my player) which is partly how it all got started. I'd have to say part of the reason why KT started had to do with me being a girl. I mean, I doubt the guys would've banded together to protect me from Captain Beer had I been a guy. And that is how the friendships formed that led to the formation of the guild.”
BJ Wiley: "I came to rest in a building and went to sleep that night. When I woke up, I saw on my update page that Silk had been text raped and it really upset me. So I killed the guy. Silk thanked me and we started talking. I think Poodle Of Doom was in the room too and he joined in to talking. It was hard talking in UD at the time, so we met at NecroTech."
Big JD: "And it was then that the spam attacks began. Slowly at first, Yahoo bots began sending dozens of listings a day. And with the original leaders of the mailing list awol, there was no way to ban them."
Poodle Of Doom: "The forum was defunct, and was going to be deleted. I put forth a last ditch effort to establish a group before it went under."
Poodle then contacted Silkentresses and BJ Wiley about starting a new mailing list, as well as forming a more formal alliance between the three of them.
BJ Wiley: "We just saw the state of decay of NecroTech and decided that we wanted something new. We wanted to protect our people and put a sense of honor into the game that wasn't really there before."
Poodle Of Doom: "Me, Silk, then Dragon (BJ Wiley). That's your founding fathers/mother. I wanted to be to the human side what Shacknews, and the Mall Tour, and RRF were to the zeds. That was my goal for the group, and my purpose in it. My vision for the group I should say. I wanted to be a hero. And that's why I formed the KT. Through them I'd be a hero, and they'd all be heroes through me. No one seemed to realize my vision though. We all pondered names, and we wanted to be the 'Knights of Malton'....someone to save Malton valiantly. Silken eventually came up with the idea I believe, but not without us doing a lot of pondering to get there together."
But a different idea for a name was brought to the table.
Big JD: "A member who is no longer around, and who's name I've forgotten, was serving in Afghanistan and had taken pleasure in reading the then ragingly popular 'DaVinci Code'. He suggested 'Knights Templar'. In appreciation of his service we all agreed."
Poodle Of Doom: "The name of the guy in Afghanistan was BJ Wiley."
BJ Wiley: "Yeah I did name the group. It had a ring to it. We wanted a name that people would know. A name that stood for the little people, that wouldn't let people get stepped on. 'Knights Templar' sort of clicked. I said it and everyone else ran with it."
Thus, on July 26, 2006, the Knights Templar was born. On that day, Poodle, Silken, and Wiley posted the now legendary words in the 'NecroTech' forum:
"Out of the dust a valiant group rides, death on their heels, as they scour the lands. No one knows who they are. They just exist. No one knows where they are. They just are. How to become one has yet to be seen. Only, those who seek us may find more than they bargained for. Looking to right the wrong, kill the unjust, and retake what once belonged to the rightful."
Poodle Of Doom: "We had sent in our poem to the 'NecroTech list', "Out of the dust a valiant group rides,....", the first part of the wiki article for you guys. All of us wrote it, Silken, Wiley and myself. I was a bit of a writer back in the day. I know we had an influx of people around the time she posted that."
The next task for the trio was bringing in players to fill out the roster. The first was Big JD.
Big JD: "Poodle of Doom made a new list and invited us there, cementing his role as the de facto leader."
On July 30, Big JD was asked to be the fourth member of the 'Grand Council'.
Poodle Of Doom: “[The Council was] just something that we decided upon when we formed the group, but it wasn't supposed to be what it became. It was supposed to be my group with a Council beneath me. I would make the decisions, and the Council would assist me with them, but ultimately it would be my choice. [They] thought I was a Council member, a leader that was equal to those who helped him make decisions. They took it as being equivical to parliament. I was king as long as they said I was.”
BJ Wiley: "I think the Council was one of the first things we decided on because you can't rule alone, and we didn't want one person having a kill switch to kill the group by kick / ban or something. So we wanted a Council and went with it."
Another signee on this day was Owen Coyle.
Owen Coyle: "Poodle was the leader to start with, although all of us had input."
BJ Wiley: "Silk and I wanted to be equals, but I don't think Poodle wanted that and it led to some fights. In the end, I think we just let him think what he wanted."
At the same time, AbleSentinel joined the Knights at the request of Silkentresses.
AbleSentinel: "I basically only got involved here and there to spout posting discretion's, thinking I knew something about RP posting or something. Being rather new to Malton, I didn't get too involved with the actual planning."
Two other players who had been collaborating with the others on the old list were Clopper and Murph Micmanus.
Clopper: "I was just a rank and file member. I quit playing pretty shortly after the group was formed (I started a new job, things got hectic), so I didn't really see much about the workings of the group."
So, by the end of the day of July 30, 2006, the first incarnation of the Knights Templar was born.
The Grand Council: Poodle Of Doom, Silkentresses, B J Wiley, Big JD
Knights: AbleSentinel / KnightSentinal, Owen Coyle / Johnathan Weir, Conner Micmanus / Murph Micmanus, Clopper
With a solid foundation built on which to grow, the next order of business was to actually get all of the members together in-game.
Big JD: "We had all made a trip to organize and regroup in Yagoton, just south of Bale Mall. It was there that we came under pressure from the surrounding human groups. With so many people competing for limited xp resources, our guys, including myself, were not leveling very fast at all. Back then, malls were a lot stronger, they rarely went down, and if they did, it was usually one of the two big z groups, the FU and RRF. Zombies didn't metagame to much effectiveness until, I think it was, Shacknews."
A potential problem was brewing for AbleSentinel however.
AbleSentinel: "Able did move over to Yagoton with them, but couldn't stay, as he was already involved with another group (Malton Forensics Unit). Able was never really a member of the KT. I was one of the first to sign up on their group board, but I was not an official member. So, I created 'KnightSentinal' to be with the KT while Able was with the MFU. But soon afterwards, they moved down to Kempsterbank and picked Whitenoll as a HQ. And Silk more or less demanded that I (Able, her RP husband) move down there. So in a way, KnightSentinal was just used as a stand-in while Able was away."
Life in Yagoton proved to be difficult for the fledgling group however. At the time, it was one of the more populated suburbs, with survivor groups fighting each other nearly as much as they fought against the zombies. Territoriality and arguments over resource building claims led the group to consider other options for their home turf.
Finding A Home
Big JD: "We decided it was time to move away from the crowded tit of a mall, and forge off into a survivor empty, yellow/orange 'burb and claim it as our own. We had several viable options. Dartside and other corner burbs needed attention, but were too far from the action, and resources. Others said we should try absorbing as a team into a greater group right there in Yagoton. But I, at the time, had a better idea. I had been combing the suburb maps looking for advantageous anomalies, such as having all three major TRP (tactical resource points) within one step, along with proximity to a mall for backup and safe haven. Well, there were several, but they were either in zombie deep suburbs, or claimed by other stronger, extremely territorial human groups. Eventually, I came to see Kempsterbank, which was the perfect set up. A mall five blocks away, with a cluster of central TRPs, and several inconspicuous buildings to base in.”
Poodle Of Doom: "They actually had decided to start moving south to Kempster sooner than I could get there."
Owen Coyle: "JD definitely picked Kempsterbank and the Whitenoll as our base."
Poodle Of Doom: "West Grayside was almost where we decided on. Kempster or West Grayside, that was our debate."
Big JD: "So relaying my research and findings to the group, we quickly made a decision to go to Kempsterbank. I volunteered to try and establish a forward base in the schools in our NW, but of course the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. I arrived through Shackleville, only to find that just over the border, Kempsterbank was in shambles. Open buildings everywhere. I eventually came to Courage Cinema and McNeil Towers, which were the only couple of buildings caded within 5 blocks. And there I met, and had first contact with what would be our first, and greatest allies, the Kempsterbank Neighbourhood Watch. I do believe he's still there, living in Courage Cinema to this day. His name is EyeZak, and he almost single handedly saved KT. Because, had I died and not been able to report any safe buildings, we would have had to abandon Kempster as our home."
Poodle Of Doom: "Our first alliance was with Kempsterbank Neighbourhood Watch. They weren't really paying attention to K-bank so we took it off their hands, and they helped us when they could. We joined up with them immediately."
Big JD: "So yeah, I slept in either McNeil or Courage Cinema, and had the group come down there and mass in a nearby fire station. And we set about to getting the buildings barricaded, and eventually getting them powered up."
Silkentresses: “Some members were traveling with me to protect me (on the way to Kempsterbank).”
Poodle Of Doom: "It was an uphill climb just to secure the burb. Not really ruined, just in need of attention."
Big JD: "So there we were, a loose handful of players working, and leveling up, in Kempsterbank. Although, at this point, we all had the human skills, but usually not all of the obtainable ones. We began to start talking about a permanent base to call home by nearly the second week there. We knew that we were supposed to be near the resource buildings, but which one? Again we polled the group. Some wanted to stay in Jillard, as we had been at that point in time (which would lead to the rule we now have about not having groups own resources). Some wanted to try the warehouse, others the junkyard north of Whitenoll. Even the The Bornard Building. But I put forth, (and again, you can ask PB about this) that we should move into The Whitenoll Building. Poodle was a bit adamant about it being Jillard, or maybe in the junkyards (note that, although today junkyards make ideal bases as they can't be ruined, that feature was not implemented back then). But after debating with him over the advantages, and the current barricade plan laid out by KNW, we should stay in Whitenoll."
Poodle Of Doom: "JD actually picked it out for tactical advantage, and everyone agreed. I still do. Police dept, fire dept, NecroTech building, and hospital. It was good for getting all our supplies quickly at an arms reach."
Big JD: "Now, no one knows this, but I had also chosen the building for its name as well. You see, a knoll is another name for a hill. And me being a fan of White Castle, along with having seen the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy, thought that the idea of having our home be figuratively translated as "the White Castle on the hill" would be great. However, a clever name was not going to convince Poodle to make it our perma-base."
Poodle Of Doom: "It would have been more of an incentive for me to go with it. (lol)"
Big JD: "So it would seem that Whitenoll was not to be our home. But deus ex-machina, through Kevan, would change that. A few days/weeks (not sure how quick it was) later, binoculars were introduced, allowing people to see the outside without having to go outside, or visit a NT for a scan (which was not always accurate since it only showed those recently scanned). The catch being that only tall buildings had that ability. So, with the hot new innovation, I was able to convince the rest of the group that it was necessary. Overruling Poodle with a unanimous decision, we founded in Whitenoll."
With a new suburb and a new HQ, it was time to move the team forward. However, BJ Wiley, known for taking long absences due to his real life situation, was MIA.
BJ Wiley: "I never left the Templars. I got deployed to the Middle East and wow, the internet connection was horrid. The most I could do was help in-game and leave my mark. I became the shadow of the group. Being there, but not talking. The internet would cut out a lot, so I just played the game in the hour I had."
Poodle Of Doom: "He was always with the group, and I don't know that he ever officially left per say. He was always on missions. He rarely got time on a computer, and his internet sevice sucked. But when he did get on he played. He never coordinated with us though, because of his busy schedual. I wouldn't say he faded away. I'd say he was the shadow at the breaking point of day. He was there until daylight hit, then he'd be gone for a time. But somehow, he always came back."
A replacement was needed on the Council. The obvious choice at this point was Owen Coyle.
Owen Coyle: "The whole Council idea was Silk's (I think), and she came up with daft names for everyone - I was 'Seneschal'. Nobody used them though."
Wanting an odd number of members for tie breaking purposes, it was decided to add AbleSentinel to the Council on Aug. 17th.
AbleSentinel: "So, after getting lost by the DEM after my graduation, I moved down to Kempsterbank on my own to work for the MFU at Ebbutt Road doing revives and such, so as to be with the Knights Templar, whereupon Able was soon promoted simultaneously by both the MFU and the MPD. This was also about the same time he was promoted to Council in the KT."
Poodle Of Doom: "He was part of another group, and had a lot on his plate. We managed to coerce him into taking on that role as well. We just asked nicely, and batted our eyelashes basically, and that's how it happened."
AbleSentinel: "I don't think Poodle ever fully realized that Able was never an actual member! But yes, I do believe I was the fifth Council member along with Silk, Poodle, JD, and Owen Coyle."
It was now time to get to work as a unit. They decide to make Ebbutt Road their main revive point. It was previously a seldom used RP for the Kempsterbank Neighborhood Watch. It's prime location in the center of town amidst all possible resource buildings did not go un-noticed by the group. They focused their efforts mainly on the nine block square around the Whitenoll Bldg.
Big JD: "After perhaps a month or so, we had the suburb under control, although Jillard was still giving us trouble."
That trouble came in the form of a small zombie group named "Heaven Smile". This group is notable for having amongst it's ranks 'The Great Zomboni' and 'Brain Roy'. Both are still prowling the streets of Kempsterbank as members of the St. Ferreol's Hospital Noise Abatement Society which all current Knights are more than familiar with. The two groups battled over Whitenoll and the Jillard Building, with possession going back and forth several times. By the end of August though, the zombie group seemed to move on to other areas, and a victory was claimed by the Knights.
The Shacknews War
But trouble was brewing around the Darnell NT building in nearby Wray Heights. A large zombie horde began making waves. Calling themselves the "Shacknews Horde", they would become one of the fiercest of the mega-hordes. At that point, it contained over 30 members. They launched an initial attack on Knight territory on Aug. 31.
On Sep. 11-12, the Knights ran retaliatory strikes on the horde on their home turf at the Darnell Bldg. The horde had grown to over 50 zombies and appeared to be growing at a rapid pace.
On Sep. 13, Shacknews launched an all out invasion on Kempsterbank, and the Knights in particular. On Sep. 20, Julie General Hospital fell to the horde, and many survivors were slaughtered. A day later, Barnerd Way Police Department suffered the same fate.
Poodle Of Doom: "They were south east of us and just ran through Kempster. It wasn't so much a fight as it was a blood-bath as they passed through."
Owen Coyle: "The Shacknews attack was the worst. It was our first concentrated attack and they used all sorts of zerging and human spy tactics."
Poodle Of Doom: "Imagine a group so fearsome, and with such immense strength and coordination, that no one could really stand up to them, let alone resist them. In most cases, this would describe a zed horde/group. Now, take it to the tenth extreme beyond that! That was Shacknews. They were smaller than the first mall tour, 150-200 members, but just as destructive."
The Knights needed help if there was to be any chance of making progress against the horde. An official alliance was formed with local survivor group Tactical Strike Force. The alliance was dubbed 'The Rebel Alliance'. Coordinated efforts against Shacknews could now commence. A separate forum was established for the new allies to ease communications. By late September, Shacknews began to move toward Pole Mall. However, their numbers drastically increased, and feral zombies arrived in Kempsterbank. So, even with the horde proper moving south, over 100 zombies were still hampering any survivor reclamation operations in Kempster. A chance meeting between AbleSentinel and the survivor group The Randoms eventually added more numbers to the 'Rebel Alliance'. With the revive lines reaching unmanageable and chaotic levels at Ebbutt Road, a decision was made to move the Alliances' primary revive point from Ebbutt Rd. to Bant Park in southern Kempsterbank. By mid-October, progress could definitely been seen around Kempster, as more and more buildings were caded and lit, and revive lines began to shrink. By the 1st of November, Shacknews, and the destruction they brought down on the Knights and Kempsterbank in general, was nothing but a painful memory. In fact, by mid-November, some survivors were said to be able to sleep on the streets in between sessions!
At the beginning of December 2006, the Knights had gained upwards of ten new members, had survived their first major attack, and were looking to expand their area of influence. The future was looking bright for the team. But, internally, a storm was beginning to form. The spark of misunderstanding between Poodle Of Doom and the rest of the Knights concerning his role in the commanding of the group, was growing hotter and hotter. Where Poodle had formed the group with the intention of being the ultimate decision maker with a Council of advisors, the other Council members were under the impression that all Council members were of equal stature. Orders were given by one side, and overruled or dismissed altogether by the other. The butting of heads with Poodle was taking it's toll on Silkentresses.
Poodle Of Doom: "She was just pissed off at me because I tried to assert my authority and be in control. That's why most of the shit hit the fan. I tried to be the leader as I've said many times before, and people didn't think I was really in charge. Just that I was A leader on the Council."
That, combined with a real life falling out between her and Able, led to less and less input from the Founding Mother. By mid-January, she was hardly involved at all.
AbleSentinel: "She sort of faded out a couple of months before I left. She was more into the role playing aspect of the game, and after we got in to it in real life, she just wasn't into it much anymore."
However, the team did agree on expanding their territory. A decision was made to set up an outpost base in The Shortland Arms in northern Kempster. The goal was to have control of all hospitals within the suburb to assure their resources could be accessible to all citizens. A second revive point was created at The Kitchen Monument as well.
As the new year dawned, AbleSentinal, who was fully committed to the Knights by this point, decided to move his 'KnightSentinel' character in a new direction by turning him into a PKer.
Within weeks of this move, Able decided to remove himself completely by retiring from the Knights and the DEM almost simultaneously. The decision was arrived at because of a number of factors. His desire to try his hand at forming his own group. And the continued strained relationship with Poodle Of Doom.
Big JD: "He was never able to play second chair to Poodle and take orders well, and near the end was fighting Poodle and challenging his leadership at every decision. I eventually fell in to the role of negotiator between the two, calming Able down when he got annoyed at Poodle, and trying to shore Poodle up to keep a strong front for the others."
AbleSentinel: "Poodle was always a difficult person. He said some bad things about me one day out of the blue. Later in private conversation, I learned he was upset at the groups' members and did not like me doing so much for the group without his God-given approval. He felt that I was perhaps undermining his authority, which was causing the difficulties that he believed existed."
Poodle Of Doom: "He quit for the same general reason as Silk, he just got pissed off at me."
AbleSentinel: "Able killed himself, got 'Brain Rot' and started his own group, ACRID. I left everyone in my contacts as we used Yahoo chat to coordinate things. But after I gave up on ACRID, I just sorta left Malton altogether for almost three months."
Despite the bickering and personnel shifts within the group, Kempsterbank on the other hand was doing well. The silence on the streets was only occasionally disturbed by a wandering zombie, who was quickly dispatched. Most buildings were powered, and cades were able to be kept at their proper levels for most of February and March.
Things were so stable in K-bank that the team decided to go to Williamsville and help their allies The Randoms with a zombie infestation. They valiantly defended the Krinks Power Station against the zed mobs, and helped get the local survivors a foothold to defend their territory.
In the wake of Able's leaving the Council and the apparent disappearance of Silkentresses, replacements were sought to fill the void in the Grand Council. A highly regarded Knight by the name of Echoess was raised to the position on March 29, 2007. However, he mysteriously resigned his post after only a few days and faded from view. The obvious next choice was an energetic young Knight named Omish Warrior. He gladly accepted and took his position on the Council on April 10.
Upon their return to Kempsterbank in early April, the Templars found that zed numbers were up, especially in the St. Ferreols area. At the same time, a Special Ops team was formed to send out on rescue and support missions throughout Malton. The revive points at Bant Park and The Kitchen Monument were de-commissioned, and the old Ebbutt Road revive point was re-opened as the main KT revive point, as it remains to this day.
The group gained several new members, but also lost nearly the same amount so that total group membership hovered around 12 - 15 at any given time.
The serenity in Kempsterbank was shattered on April 11 with the arrival of Mall Tour '07 at Pole Mall. Feral zombies and the usual unsavory types began streaming into Kempsterbank within hours. By the 16th, the lesser resource buildings were cleared and ruined, and on the 19th, a mob of nearly 50 zeds attacked and felled the Jillard NT building. On April 23, the ever growing horde destroyed the Burdett Way Police Department, effectively putting an end to the survivor resistance. Atrociously long revive lines, large numbers of zombies, and general mayhem would last for the rest of April, even after the Mall Tour had moved on.
By the beginning of May, most ferals had moved on, with only a handful still attacking the Jillard Bldg. and Neot Hospital in particular. The Knights were finally able to drop the lines at Ebbutt Rd. to respectable levels and continue to drive off the remaining zombies.
But, as is quite common in Malton, trouble was just around the corner. And not just from an imminent attack by The Militant Order of Barhah. The Knights Templar as a whole would soon find themselves on the brink of collapse.
In mid May 2007, the horde stormed into Kempsterbank and immediately attacked all resource buildings. The Knights called upon their allies The Randoms once again for assistance with the invasion. However, by the 16th of May, the horde had moved on, declaring that K-bank was ruined and they needed to look elsewhere for action. Poodle of Doom retorted via wiki discussion pages that in fact, the horde was rebuffed in Kempster by the allied groups and the citizens of the burb. Thus began a sparring match between the two sides which resulted in the MOB deciding to return to Kempsterbank. They did so on June 9th and immediately attacked The Whitenoll Building, killing all survivors inside, and targeting Poodle of Doom specifically. Jillard NT fell the very next day.
Not only were things in K-bank deteriorating rapidly, the Knights themselves were experiencing much internal strife as well. The fuse was lit when suspicions about one of the Knights being a spy for the MOB were brought forth.
Owen Coyle: "When the MOB attacked, it turned out one of our members - Ramarez - had an alt in the MOB and Poodle thought he was giving them info. I don't think there was ever any evidence against Ramarez. His mistake was telling Poodle about the alt."
Ramarez had just recently on June 5 been promoted to the Grand Council for his leadership and heroism. With two characters barreling towards each other, he had to make a decision quickly.
Ramarez: "The MOB was closing in on KB and PoD was suspicious of a security leak. I confessed my alt as a pre-emptive measure in case this got lumbered at me but it had the opposite effect. I'm still not certain of the ethical thing to do in a situation like that, although I kept the alt out of Kempster. He felt very betrayed, I'd gained a lot of trust and respect from him and I think he took it really personally. This was a shame, it really shouldn't have mattered."
The accusations against Ramarez, and his resulting demotion from the Council on June 8 led to a nearly full-blown mutiny against Poodle by the rest of the group. He continued to try to direct the team in defending the ongoing destruction of Kempsterbank at the hands of the MOB. But, the orders fell mainly on deaf ears as most of the group had taken to devising their own plans, or operating on their own.
Travis Wells: “Honestly, the situation got pretty dire and there were a lot of tensions. Kempsterbank got slammed by a few different zombie groups and we had a hard time taking the burb back; it was very embarrassing when we would not be able to take Whitenoll back for weeks, for example. I guess some people blamed Poodle and he felt threatened by such criticism.”
Ramarez: "To be honest I felt quite guilty about the whole issue. I don't think there was much resentment towards me from the others in the group, but I felt I carried some of the responsibility for the collapse."
AbleSentinel: "The group was in turmoil and losing members. It didn't help that Poodle berated the KT members and consistently threatened to quit as if it was solely his group and he had full power."
Travis Wells: "Poodle was very unstable, and I didn't trust him one bit. He was very touchy going about his leadership role, and he jumped anyone who tried to do anything that remotely involved leading or directing others."
With the chain of command in question, and no clear cut plan to operate as a team, the Knights were in dire straits.
Travis Wells: “I guess some people blamed Poodle and he felt threatened by such criticism.”
Ramarez: "It is true he did take ownership of the group, it sort of felt like being one of the Others in Lost being part of that group at the end of the situation.I don't think he'd mind me saying that."
OmishWarrior: "With all the disagreements, I could tell that Poodle was getting fed up and was about to quit."
Big JD: "To compensate, he got megalomaniacal, starting to give himself titles and demand respect, and more and more people were starting to turn away from him."
Travis Wells: “Basically, he just snapped and started to abuse his power, belittle some of the other Knights.”
Owen Coyle: "He threatened to quit a couple of times, and I wrote an encouraging email to make him stay. I remember it was a Churchill-esque 'never surrender' type of thing. Eventually he just got tired of people questioning his decisions - he wanted to be Supreme Leader and didn't like the fact the rest of us treated it like a democracy! Poodle had a somewhat linear view of how the Knights should be ran."
Poodle Of Doom Leaves and Downward Spiral
With Poodle realizing the gravity of the situation, and his months of frustration reaching the boiling point, he resorted to threats of deleting the teams' Yahoo mailing list (at that point, the only way they had of communicating) thus disabling the Knights.
Big JD: "Near the end he came to me asking for a reason not to do it, as I was practically his only council, and what he perceived to be on "his side". He was pretty much ineffective as a leader at this point, and he hit the Doomsday button."
AbleSentinel: "Poodle first set up the remaining KT members, and even tried selling them out to various zombie and PKer groups. When that failed, he deleted the KT group board and became a PKer."
Big JD: "His logic was that if he could not run the Knights, he would deny us the ability to pull the members from the current mailing list, and therefore kill the group. But, despite my best reasoning, he deleted the group. Luckily his almost super villain-like soliloquy gave me the time to copy out the member's email list before he deleted it."
After being spurned by The MOB of an offer to hand over the groups plans on dealing with the zombie horde, Poodle made good on his threat to delete the teams mailing list.
Finally, a situation that, from the very start was a misunderstanding over leadership of the group, and the role each member was to play, culminated in the vitriolic resignation of Poodle of Doom as a member of the Knights Templar on June 12, 2007.
OmishWarrior: "He got irritated at people trying to make other orders besides his, so he got fed up with the group and quit."
Ramarez: "I think he made his mind up, shot a few folk and stormed off. I liked PoD, he was a good chap. Complicated, but entertaining. I hope he's doing ok"
Owen Coyle: "He went on a PK mission thereafter, but eventually disappeared."
BJ Wiley: "When I found out what Poodle had done to the Knights I was not happy with him. He acted like a child who was told "NO" to a toy. He decided to destroy us, and I lost a lot of respect for him. I think for a while there I PK'd him on sight. But I have not seen him much since then."
Poodle Of Doom: "I want it to be known that I left because I felt it wasn't really my group anymore because of all the changes they implemented, and how they always overruled me. This goes with what I said before about being a leader as part of the Council, but still "The Leader", or person in charge. When I tried to explain everything, no one listened and just said I was bitching. I left because everyone thought I was an asshole. When I quit, I deleted the forum that we had on Yahoo because they were being petty with me. I was spiteful."
When asked what his best and worst memories from his time with the Knights Templar were, Poodle responded:
Poodle of Doom: "Building the team to what it was when I left. And seeing it succeed into what it is now. Those are my best memories. Leaving, and the way I did it, are the worst. I still wish I was with the group."
On June 13, a interim mailing list was set up, using the list of team members' email addresses from the deleted list that was salvaged by Big JD, to try to keep the Knights working together effectively. A Knight by the name of Taps also set about designing and establishing an official forum for the group as a more effective means of communication.
AbleSentinel: "JD took over, started a forum and tried to get everybody back together."
Ramarez: "It left an atmosphere of shock and hurt that the whole situation had happened. I think we all felt very vulnerable. At a time when we should have been at our strongest, we were really exposed."
Travis Wells: “Some members were worried the KT would fall into chaos without our old leader, but most were optimistic and business continued on as usual.”
OmishWarrior: "The group was relieved that there was no more tension, and we decided to continue the group as normal."
Owen Coyle: "It made us more determined. Plus it brought back a couple of other guys Poodle had run out of town."
Most of the active members of the group were aware of the situation, and were quick to begin communicating via the mailing list and the new forum. There was a sense of a weight being lifted off of the teams shoulders, and a new enthusiasm swept over the team.
The Knights core roster for the dawn of the new era, or the end of the old depending on your view, was:
The Grand Council: Big JD, Owen Coyle, OmishWarrior
Knights: Ramarez, Travis Wells, Skrav, Taps, Grimeyfolife, Will J Davis, Quetzalcoatl09, Jack Daniels69, Michael Wittman, Turrok
Meanwhile The MOB, more than likely delighting in the upheaval within the Knights Templar, steadfastly continued their rampage through Kempsterbank. The Knights, still reeling from the events within the group, began to devise a plan for evicting the horde from K-bank for good.
The MOB took over The Whitenoll Bldg. on June 7, 2007 and went on to destroy the Jillard building the very next day. The Knights were forced to scatter themselves all around Kempsterbank to avoid complete destruction. With few unaffiliated survivors left in the burb, fending off the horde was an extremely tall order. Efforts were concentrated mostly on the HQ and the neighboring NT, but the raids failed to gain either building back into survivor hands. The horde went on to hold Jillard for 11 days straight while continuing to lay waste to the rest of Kempster at the same time. On June 18, the MOB announced that they were moving off to Tapton to the west. The next few days showed some signs of improvement, but ferals lagging behind the MOB continued to cause problems for the survivors. The hospitals in the north were especially difficult to re-claim.
The beginning of July '07 saw allies such as The Randoms move into K-bank to assist in recovery efforts. The combined forces were able to bring the burb back to it's usual peaceful status by July 10th. With the relative quiet in the suburb, the Knights were better able to work on team building and recruiting in the wake of the Poodle of Doom resignation. The new freedom for all of the members to voice opinions and ideas was a welcome change for the group. The ease of the new forum format as opposed to the previous mailing list as a form of communication only added to the uplifted spirits of the Knights.
On July 20th, the LUE horde destroyed Pole Mall and started heading into Kempsterbank. While their path of destruction was swift and sure, they had moved out of K-bank by the 27th, and a victory was declared by the Knights and their allies. This declaration proved to be the catalyst for one of the more bizarre incidents in KT history. Beginning on July 31st, a new horde of zombies sprang up in the The Dobbs Building area seemingly out of nowhere. The ransacking of central Kempster the next day proved that the horde was indeed organized and working together. With survivor numbers still low in the wake of the MOB and LUE invasions, the ruination of most of Kempsterbank was brought about quickly. It was soon discovered that the name of the zombie group was The Wingmen. After nearly a week of sustained attacks on the survivors and buildings of Kempsterbank, a shocking revelation was made. The Wingmen were in fact a survivor group! Their recent actions were in response to the Knights and allies taking credit for the reconstruction of K-bank after the recent zed invasions. Feeling snubbed by the others because they had apparently contributed a fair amount to the effort as well, The Wingmen decided to turn "zombie" and destroy the burb all over again. They then announced that they were turning back to the human side and would rebuild Kempster. By mid August, The Wingmen had helped recover Kempster, and moved on to other areas, apparently never to be seen in the burb again.
The remainder of August was peaceful in Kempsterbank, but the beginning of September saw a return of the LUE horde. Beginning with Barnerd Way Police Department on Sep. 3, the horde clawed and killed their way north until the 7th. At the same time, the RRF had invaded West Grayside to the south, with some of their numbers most certainly spilling over into Kempsterbank, causing even further chaos. By the 12th, Kempster was again virtually a pile of rubble.
At the same time that things were grim in Kempster, the Knights were having trouble of their own. The forum they had been using since June had shown signs of locking up and other technical glitches. These increased to the point where communications almost ceased between members. Desperate for other options, Big JD enlisted the help of former Council member and friend AbleSentinel. Able was quick to assess the situation and came up with a plan to get a new forum up and running for the team. On September 16th, 2007 the new forum, and the one we have used ever since, was launched. Members were contacted and requested to sign up at the forum through old email addresses and the Yahoo group that was created right after Poodle's departure. But damage had been done to the Knights. Only seven members had registered on the new forum between Sep. 16th and October 17th. The others had apparently gone off on their own, or presumably retired from the game.
Dr Summeroff: "When I was there, the mood was ok, although there was a general disconnect in communications as there didn't seem to be anyone who could fix the forum issues. Near the end, things got chaotic. No one knew what was going on. The forum was always down. No updates to the wiki. I figured the group was dying. I left when the first forum died and stayed that way for a while."
Ramarez: "I can't remember what I did next. Perhaps I chose to leave the group, however I did come back at a later date but not for long."
Owen Coyle: "I don't know why so few moved. I had a look at some of the names on the list and I don't remember half of them. I guess the move got rid of all the lightweights and left us with serious team players. Those left were determined to continue."
Travis Wells: “The fact is, the KT was completely inactive at that point. The leadership was in chaos, and many of the members were inactive or had vanished.”
However, in helping get the forum up and running, AbleSentinel found a renewed interest and energy for the Knights, and soon found himself returning to the Grand Council.
With severely depleted membership, the Knights were still faced with the dreadful situation in Kempster. Try as they might, the suburb remained a smoldering ruin until, mercifully, the zed hordes shambled away at the beginning of October. The respite was short lived though as The Second Big Bash announced on Oct. 14th that they were moving into Kempsterbank from Shackleville. The horde terrorized K-bank until around the 21st. and then moved on. Again the Knights and local survivors were faced with rebuilding Kempster.
Thankfully, zombie activity dropped to next to nothing through November and into December. Unfortunately, so did activity within the Knights Templar. At this point, AbleSentinel decided to take his character in a new direction and bought the "Brain Rot" skill and moved him away to unknown areas. Assigned to take his place within the Knights was his character 'a pit bull' which was announced on Dec. 10th. Participation amongst group members decreased rapidly. It's difficult to tell for sure, but at one point in December, AbleSentinel (now a pit bull) and Skrav may have been the only two active members for a period of time. Of course, Big JD always kept a watchful eye over things, but the few others who had fought under the banner of the honorable Knights Templar, had faded into silence.
But one by one, new Knights would sign up and bring some life to the forum. First was Beno, soon followed by Ralpmet. And as the most topsy-turvy year in KT history came to a close, the group that was thought by all to be doomed, still had a pulse.
And that pulse was beginning to quicken.
January 2008 started with clear streets and safe buildings throughout Kempsterbank. The small but determined core of five Templars, A Pit Bull, Big JD, Beno, Skrav, and Ralpmet, had the chance to rebuild and re-focus as a group. Regular patrols and communications were established as they tried to gain momentum as a working unit. The effort paid off just in time, as at the end of January, a new zed group called Zombiefark made it's way to Kempsterbank. Starting at the Dobbs Building, the group ate it's way through north K-bank and down through the central TRP section before leaving the burb by late February.
During this time, the Knights brought in more members, including future (no doubt) Hall of Legends inductees GoingMad, Finny, and Gakul. The new Knights brought much needed enthusiasm to the group, and established the foundation on which the modern era of the Knights Templar would be built. However, The Grand Council was in a bit of disarray. Owen Coyle and OmishWarrior had seemingly disappeared from the team and the game itself. A Pit Bull decided to reestablish an active, productive Council on Feb. 27. On this day, BenoHR was brought up to join A Pit Bull and Big JD in the third Council seat.
The beginning of March brought the legendary "March of The Dead" to Kempsterbank. The destruction was swift and fierce. The entire suburb was laid to waste in less than a week. Recovery efforts by the Knights and other local groups continued throughout March.
Just when signs of improvement were beginning to show, the RRF came to Kempster in early April, stamping out any survivor progress. The suburb was blacked out for pretty much the entire month. But the Knights kept at it, and eventually made some headway around the Whitenoll HQ area by early May. Kempster was still a zombie hot spot however.
Flowers Of Disease War
Mid-May brought one of the most infamous chapters in KT history. Amidst the ongoing zombie battles in Kempsterbank, a Player Killer group called 'Flowers of Disease' turned their sights on the Knights.
Beno: "We had a big zed infestation on our hands and were trying to rebuild Kempsterbank and revive/recade. FOD came and started randomly killing KT members. It was a chaotic time for Kempsterbank and KT. FoD PKing was something we did not need."
Finny: "After a couple of days, we realized we had been sucker punched by the group. There was no announcement or declaration of war. Just a kill list on their wiki."
Beno: "Our forum had a public chatroom then, and it is there where first communication with FOD took place. One day they posted a little "we're trying to get you back in shape and help you" speech on that chatroom. I remember I simply answered: "dumbass". That's when they started talking."
Finny: "Their leader, Hibernaculum, was using our public chat box for psy-ops I guess you would say. He blathered about how they were doing this for our own good and they had "helped" other groups before. He really didn't have any understanding about our group it seemed: we were interested in fighting the zed, not PKing."
Beno: "We started attacking them back. Finny was our #1 assassin then. I think he killed more FoD than the rest of us together."
Finny: "Well it pretty much p***ed me off and I went all "Inglorious Bastard" on them. I knew the rest of the team was doing their best with helping the citizens of Kbank, and I wanted to extract a bit of revenge for the KT. I didn't really want to go off PKing, but saw it as sort of a situation where if you let the schoolyard bully pick on you, he'll just do it again and again unless you stand up to him and punch him in the nose. Hard."
A surprise element of FOD came in the revelation that they had one or more former Knights on their team.
Finny: "I think Hibernaculum mentioned in the chat box that he or someone(s) in FOD were ex-KT. I'm not sure if anyone at the time recognized him or not to his real identity. It seemed like there was a reaction from one of the "old-timers" (sorry old timers ) that they knew who it was, but I was never sure."
Dr SummerOff: "Without the KT, there would have been no Flowers of Disease. It was three of us who met as part of the KT who used our alts to form the Flowers of Disease on the side (which eventually became our primary's). The other two Templars were RCRC and Ramarez. With the FOD, I used my Hibernaculum alt. RCRC is Rob Collick. Ramarez was Daisy Pusher. Pusher retired from the game completely not long after forming the FOD with us. Basically, we wanted to see if the KT had recovered from the mess that was Collick and myself's last days there. They fit into the FOD's criteria for who we would pay a visit to."
The harrassment of the group by FoD continued until mid June. At that point, the killers declared their mission against the Knights over.
GoingMad: "This went on for some time and eventually Kampsterbank was back on track despite FoD's interference. Not long after that the FoD released a statement saying that KT were "Irredeemable Flotsam". They left soon after that and as expected the FoD'ers never bothered posting screenshots of KT Killing their members."
Amidst the tumultuous few weeks of the FoD war, the Knights decided to get more coordinated and formed two teams according to members respective time zones.
The US team was christened "The Order of St. Joan" or OSJ. The team was formed around Finny, Jonathan Kynde, and Robert Shadow, and would also include THarley a few weeks later.
The GMT or European team was named "Hugues de Payens" or HdP and consisted of BenoHR, GoingMad, and Gakul.
The intent of forming the teams was so that members could work more closely together in nearly real time.
Both teams commenced "The Stanbury Village Crusade" in early June. The operation was a joint effort between KT, The Kilt Store, and FOXHOUND against the RRF in and around Nichols Mall, and Stanbury in general. The Knights fought valiantly for as long as possible. But, like so many other survivor clashes with the RRF, the zed horde proved too much for the survivors, and the KT was headed back to Kempsterbank by the end of June.
After re-stocking and resting up in Kempster, the Knights learned that the RRF was beginning to trickle into Shackleville from Stanbury. The Knights quickly moved north to hold the horde back from advancing into Kempster. Most battles revolved around the Raymond NT. The fight in Shackleville continued into August.
At the beginning of August, the decision was made to set up a new player / member training group. The group was named the "Grasshopper's Guild" and was led by Gakul, who was dubbed "Grasshopper Guru" (the first and only Knight to have that title. Subsequent instructors have had the title "Senior Drill Instructor"). The Guild has been one of the most active and enjoyable groups within KT ever since.
In late August, the Knights were asked by The Fortress to assist against the RRF in Stanbury Village once again. Always willing to help friends in the fight against the undead, the Knights packed their bags and headed north. The fighting took the Knights all the way into dreaded Ridleybank. As expected, the battle was heavily in favor of the zombies. But the brave Knights stood their ground as best they could.
Word that Pole Mall had fallen to the MOB on September 6 brought the Knights running back to Kempsterbank. By mid-Sep. the horde had moved into central Kempster and began destroying everything it their path.
And once again, in that path stood the Knights Templar...
Climb to the top
With Templar numbers still fairly low, the MOB stormed quickly through Kempster despite the Knights' best efforts.
Recovery ops were started and by mid October of '08, things were looking up again. Except for one thing. A new zombie group announced that they were taking up permanent residence in St. Ferreol's Hospital just a few blocks to the north of Whitenoll. Led by Billy Forks, the St. Ferreol's Hospital Noise Abatement Society's members made a point of reaching out to the Knights on our forum with some friendly banter, and in the game with less friendly bites and clawing. The goal of the group was simple: move in to and ruin St. F's and stay there. It worked (and has ever since) wonderfully for them. SFHNAS has become one of the longest lasting groups in Kempsterbank, and easily our biggest rivals.
At the end of October, the RRF decided to pay a visit to Kempsterbank. And a longer than usual visit at that. Kempster proper was torn to bits quickly. But as the horde moved on Pole Mall, survivor resistance held the zombies in the southern parts of the burb for well over a month, making it difficult to fully regain control of Kempster.
By the beginning of December, the Knights pulled themselves together and went to work block by block starting in the western end and made their way back to Whitenoll. Spirits and success were kept high with a week long seige of St. Ferreols Hospital against the SFHNAS. Ultimately, both sides' attention waned and the zeds got their building back. The Knights attention was diverted to a new zombie group that had quietly moved into lonely Styles Bank in the south-east part of K-bank. Sustained attacks on Julie General, Jillard and Whitenoll by the same zeds led to a search for the unnamed but obviously coordinated group, and their hideout was found at Styles. A series of raids on the bank were the Knights' main activity for the rest of December and well into January of 2009. The main zed combatants eventually lurched off to parts unknown, and have not been seen in Kempster since.
January 2009 also brought a massive recruiting campaign that netted the largest influx of new members ever. The new recruits easily doubled KT's active membership and brought together some of the teams most legendary names, some of which are still with us:
- Stan the Chopper
- Yisselda Icebytch
- Doc Pokenprod
These Knights along with several others, brought fresh energy, excitement and new perspectives into the Templar Order.
The larger numbers also brought some new organizational issues to light. It was decided by the Grand Council that two separate teams would be formed to accommodate different styles and needs for all of the Knights. Thus was born the Cleansing Fire of St. Charles (CFSC) named by Jonathan Kynde and H_412, and the Order of the Archangel Michael (OAM) also named by Jonathan Kynde. The CFSC would serve as a mobile team to wander the length and width of Malton while the OAM would stay mostly in Kempsterbank. There was also a short lived Medical / Revive team but lack of members and things to do quickly led to the teams disbanding. Initial Commanders for the teams were Finny for the CFSC and Roddy Winters for the OAM. All members chose their preferred style and the teams were up and running by mid-February.
In early February, PKer groups DORIS, Red Rum and several others declared open warfare on the Anti Zombie Squad, who were allies of KT then and now. An announcement of the declaration was posted on Brainstock on Feb. 7 which also loosely lumped the Templars in as targets. Much debate has gone on about why exactly our group was entangled in this affair, but it signalled the beginning of a long and drawn out war with a few different Player Killer groups. While there were a couple of sporadic kills of KT members, we were largely left out of the main conflict. But our name was now in the hat for future targeting.
This was also a bittersweet time for the group. One of the founding fathers of the Knights Templar was leaving. A Pit Bull (aka Able Sentinel in the old days) had decided to hang up his sword and retire from Malton and KT. It was a shock to the Templars to read Pit Bulls resignation post. But the blow was softened by the Grand Councils obvious choice for a replacement: Finny McGee. A great strategist, leader and friend, Finny was the perfect fit, and remains on the Grand Council to this day.
In the meantime, the new CFSC's first out of Kempster operation was a trip to Stanbury Village. Finny led the team on a revive and repair mission for the first couple of days before they teamed up with the DEM for a coordinated recovery effort. They worked until the 25th of Feb and after a restock at Nichols Mall moved to north-west Tapton to defend against the MOB advancing from Greentown.
At the same time, the OAM came up with a system of dividing Kempster into 4 zones and patrolled from one to the other, reporting any hot spots or break-ins to the others. The first few weeks were general cade maintenance, genny deployment and rubuffing the occasional zed break-in.
As the MOB moved into Tapton, the CFSC were forced to fall back to Kempsterbank where the united KT made a fairly successful stand against the zeds. As usual, the horde made quite a mess of Kempster before moving on to Wray Heights on March 12. But the recovery was swift and well organized and the burb was back on its feet by the end of the month. Just in time for Mall Tour '09 to arrive at Pole Mall on Mar. 26. The OAM concentrated on keeping the two NT's in Kempster up and running to support the survivors defending Pole.
April found the CFSC organizing a trip to Fort Perryn along with the DEM and The Fortress. Lasting for over a month, the joint op is considered by many as one of the teams brightest moments.
For the OAM, April brought a visit from the Undeadites to Kempsterbank. Joining forces with SFHNAS and the ferals, the center of K-bank was a serious hot spot of activity for most of the month.
Just as the Undeadites began to disperse, another zed group called Clubbed to Death moved into Club Tremlett in southern Kempster to set up shop for a while. They proved to be a tenacious bunch and well organized, making their two week stay quite a challenge for the Knights and local survivors.
Around May 20th, a large group of zeds gathered around Neot General Hospital in northern Kempsterbank. Apparently they were spillover from the RRF infestation in Shackleville the previous week. All of the major survivor groups in Kempster, as well as the just returned CFSC from the Fort Perryn crusade, joined forces to take part in one of the more historic sieges in Kempsterbank lore. The horde who had built itself to over 50 mounted constant attacks on the hospital. Break-ins happened almost every hour but were repelled by the joint forces. The frenetic back and forth went on into June before finally dissipating with Neot still standing. It was one of the finest moments of inter-burb cooperation between survivors ever.
After Neot, the CFSC moved north to rendezvous in Edgecomb in preparation for a visit to Fort Creedy. The team spent until June 10 at the Fort before moving even farther north for the "Dulston Crusade" that continued until early July. The team tried to coordinate and help the local groups, but they were very hard to contact (if they were even still in the burb at all) so progress was minimal. The team did "clear and cade" ops daily for the next few weeks against terrible conditions and numerous zeds. But the CFSC rose to the challenge and made the best of the situation and solidified the camaraderie and tactics of the team.
During this time, a small group of player killers calling themselves WHYTRY set up base in Kempsterbank. They terrorized the Knights relentlessly, adding to the scourge of PK activity happening in West Grayside since early in the year and spilling into Kempsterbank often. The Templars issued a Kill On Sight order for all WHYTRY members within Kempsterbank, something that hadn't been done since the Flowers of Disease war. It was a bloody affair that would last well into autumn with several casualties on both sides.
The end of June brought another zed / Death Cultist group to Kempster, Batshit Insane. They set their sights on central Kempster and attacked with zed and PKer tactics to cause destruction. With Batshit, WHYTRY, SFHNAS, and other feral zeds and PKers, the summer of 2009 was shaping up to be deadly in Kempsterbank.
(To be continued)