Malta and the Order of St. John

Malta is a small island in the mediterranean, south of Sicily, formerly under the rule of the Spanish. It has for over a century now been the home of the Hospitaller Order of St. John - a powerful Catholic monastic order founded in the Holy Land during the Crusades. After their expulsion they were located in various countries before being give the island of Malta by King Charles V of Spain (because it caused him too much bother and he didn't really need it). Since then the Knights have worked hard to build up their order, repulsing a Great Invasion by the Sultan Suleiman (called the Great Siege of Malta), founding the La Valette College of Magics and Medicine and developing one of the most active navies of the Mediterranean.

The Flood may have wiped Malta from the maps, but the Masters of the La Valette College had something else to say about it. An impressive display of magicks and prayer lifted the islands of Malta and Gozo and held them above the rising waters - essentially the island has remained relatively in the same position as before. This fact is a quiet boast among its university members and Knights - they consider the whole affair to have been effortless.

The Knights of the Order have taken to the seas more and more since the flooding and taken advantage of the new waterways in their exploits. Though their main enemies remain the heathen Turks they are constantly clashing with the shipping of Protestant countries including Albion and skirmishes between the Venerable Order and the Order of St. John are not uncommon.

The Great Siege 1565

Some 700 knights and 8000 other soldiers successfully resisted a reported number of 40,000 Turks, of whom only 15,000 returned to Constantinople. Under the command of Grand Master Jean Parisot La Valette the Knights were able to organise the defences, build fortifications fight the Turks across several months despite virtually no assistance from the King of Spain or the Viceroy of Sicily.

Relations with Albion

Since the dissolution of Monasteries by King Henry VIII, relations between the Order and England have been strained. The English 'Tongue' (Chapter) was closed and the remaining English knights were made part of other Tongues (such as the German one) with few new entrants to the Order from Albion.

The current Grand Master, Juan de Lascaris-Castellar, is conscious of the damage that might be caused by making an enemy of Albion, but can do little about it. Indeed, many question whether he wants to - being a Spaniard and previously outspoken against the horrors of faithless Albion.

Grand Master Juan de Lascaris-Castellar

Juan de Lascaris-Castellar has an excellent reputation at commanding and disciplining his Knights. He runs the Order efficiently and with great zeal, wishing to ever expand its operation and make the Knights of St. John the most feared sailors of the seas.

There are some who see him as too keen to engage in conflict but most Knights like his leadership. He has also become a saviour of Albion's Catholics, inviting and supporting many gentlemen from English Catholic families to be schooled in the Order.


The Order is organised in 8 different 'Tongues' or Chapters (one each in Aragon, Auvergne, Castile, England (now Albion), France, Germany, Italy, and Provence) relating to the holdings acquired over the centuries.

Knights train in various skills after joining the order (and taking monastic vows) which include not only a basic course of first aid (that would be Medieval first aid of course) but also combat, command and importantly sailing. A few knights chose to study magic in more detail at the La Valette College and the Order has a small core of excellent mages.

Knights perform their duties in hospitals, in battle, and on ships. Most significantly a large portion of the Knights command the Order's navy, the primary aim of which is to battle Muslim shipping as well as pirates and privateers. More and more they come into contact with French and Albion shipping and clashes are not uncommon.

The La Valette College

Grand Master La Valette founded the College of Magics and Medicine to further the education of the Order and of Europe, and in a very short time the College has become the premier institute for magical learnings. Since the rule of Grand Master de Wignacourt they have gained increased independance and have gone far beyond just educating members of the Order and select others. The College admits both men and women, Protestants and Catholics and teaches Theurgy, Sorcery, Conjuration, Alchemy and Medicine.


The former students of the College are well-connected and spread across Europe. The Maltese Education quirk gives you a connection to these former pupils as an alumnus of the college. Having been educated here, you are probably more skilled in the technicalities of your chose magic too.

Joining the Order

It is possible to play a Knight of Malta if you can provide a good reason for your character being such (it is possible that they are from one of Albion's Catholic families - but their presence in Albion is unlikely to be welcomed unless they are an envoy or on some official business. It is possible to create many suitable backgrounds however).

Requirements: Your character must be Catholic and a suitable combination of the Order's skills - at least 3 ranks in Fighting or Navigation and at least 2 ranks in the other.

Affiliation to the Order can be Public or Private.

Advancement within the order is possible and can be discussed with a GM.

malta.txt · Last modified: 2007/10/03 22:30 by helen