The Templars are for sure the most fanatic of the Covenants. They are the enforcers of spirituality and are very fanatic about the Dark Father. They are the Guardians of Faith, if the Kindred have such a thing at all. The Templars usually achieve their goals through manipulation or, if that does not help, simple intimidation. The Templars attract those Kindred, who were always on the more fanatic side and like the thought of being special children of a greater, dark god.
While you can find Kindred of all ages within the Templars, most of the Covenant comprises Ancillae. Few Elders decide to stay with the priests once they reach a certain level of political influence. A member of the Templars who selects his progeny will usually choose somebody who has already tendencies in a clerical way of any form or colour.
The Big Picture
The Templars don’t care about Masquerade, Progeny or Haven. They care about the religious aspect of their condition and - of course - about their savior, Vecna. They always follow the same patterns. Try to tempt the innocent to blasphemy, and then root those out, who follow the temptation. While these attacks and temptations usually target mortals, there are some Priests, who focus on kindred targets - especially these from other Covenants.
While some of the Templars might have political ambition, usually they try to convert kindred to the faith and prepare mortals for the eternal service towards a dark, unforgiving god. They see themselves as the holy betrayers, the ones chosen to thin the flock. And they do.
The Templars with their twisted morals are the spiritual center of the Kindred and take every opportunity to preach and practise their faith. And while they do it, the Elders smile about their fanaticism and underestimate them. A misjudgement. Even if an insulted Templar may not act himself, he for sure knows one or two Ancillae who are more than willing to give in to the temptation of more power.
Because of their nature as fanaticisms, they will try everything to destroy every other church, especially these, who do not worship Vecna. But some of them would say that they will not accept any small kindred cult they do not control.
Unlife with the Templars
Unlife among the Templars is characterised by religious service to Vecna. The pastoral care of Kindred, whether they belong to the Templars or not, is considered one of the most important works of the Templars. Directly second is conversion, with a special focus on younger vampires who are still looking for a place in society within the Danse Macabre.
The Book of Night
Vecna wrote the Book of Night, as Holy Scripture for the Kindred. But none of them uses it so much as the Templars. They base their lives as much as possible on this scripture, and they often punish every deviation from this life. The local High Priest decides which aspects of the holy scripture are considered the most important within his city.
Regardless of the detailed focus of a local church however, Templars believe in redemption or eternal damnation by the Dark Father. The church recognizes the first vampire not only as saviour and redeemer, but as a God who created the vampires to do his will. Interpreting this will is subject to the superiors of the church.
Apocrypha & False Prophets
Although Vecna is very real and very active in the world, false prophets keep appearing, supposedly receiving visions from the Dark Father. Usually these are dream visions that the “prophet” in question receives during his daytime rest.
Often these prophets are high-ranking priests who use such stories to increase their power and influence, especially in cities under Templar control. These prophets, after their “visions” have become known in the city's church, often write a so-called apocryphal testament, which then becomes part of the code of faith of the respective city.
If it becomes known that these are false visions and wills, they threaten the priest with final death and an erasure of his name from the history of the Church. This ban usually extends to his descendants as well, since the Church takes a “root and branch” approach to removing problematic priests.
Titles & Hierarchy
For hierarchy, the Templars are not as complex as the Invictus, but they are close to it. Malicious tongues would say that the Templars have as many titles and ranks as there are members. These claims are, of course, exaggerated. The structure of the Templars differs primarily according to the area of responsibility.
Templars have two important branches. The first is the spiritual branch, which is concerned with the moral direction and salvation of souls within society. Their military branch has the primary task of protecting the priests of the covenant and helping with the conquest of new cities in military terms.
Members of the Spiritual Hierarchy are often called “Saints”. They usually have high social skills and focus their unlife on study and preaching.
Novice - Saints within the Templars begin their career as Novice. In this stage, they study and learn the Book of Night, but may not yet preach.
Priest - Priests handle the nightly rites and preach to their flock. This is the lowest official rank within the hierarchy, reserved to those who dedicate their unlife to the studies of the Book of Night.
High Priest of Vecna - Saints that are rewarded with the title of a High Priest have mastered their knowledge of the Book of Night. They handle the coordination of the priests in one city and prepare the greater rites of the Templars. They are also responsible for sharing new insights into the deeper meanings of the Book of Night.
Exalted Priest of Vecna - At some point, there are communications between different cities needed. This is the responsibility of the Exalted High Priests of Vecna. They coordinate the actions and approach of the Templars in a larger geographic region. They hold no responsibilities within a single city, but they may coordinate Saints and Knights, to conquer new cities for the Templars.
Avatar of Vecna - The Avatars pass on the Dark Father’s instructions to the Exalted High Priests. Because of their special situation, the Avatars are the only rank that can command every Templar - and even revoke given orders if they contradict the word of Vecna.
Templars call members of their military branch “Knights”. They are not only responsible for conquering new cities and improving the military power of the Templars, but they also serve as bodyguards. The Inquisitors serve as an internal police force.
Page - Knights start their career as Pages. They receive basic training and an intense study of the Book of Night. At that point, they serve an Inquisitor or Paladin, depending on the direction they selected the recruit for.
Squire - The Squires have already served their Paladin or Inquisitor for an extended period and mastered the basics of combat. Now it’s time to intensify that training and focus more on the direction they will take. For Inquisitor Squires, that means they will focus on Blasphemies, while Paladin Squires will focus on Military Tactics.
Inquisitor - Inquisitors serve the Templars as an internal police force. They observe, investigate and conduct trials for blasphemous offences within the Templars. They rumour that no Templar who has attracted the attention of the Inquisitors ever survives that attention. Inquisitors are usually specialists in the interrogation and torture of Kindred.
Paladin - The primary task of the Paladins is to protect the High Priests and the Exalted High Priests. In addition, they are also the major force of military troops and the spearhead of the Templars in the fight for a new city. They are specialists and masters in military tactics and defensive manoeuvres.
Crusader - The Avatars chose their Crusaders from among all the Paladins and Inquisitors and are the ones responsible for protecting the Avatars. Six Crusaders protect each Avatar during public appearances. In the event of a major war, they are the Templar warlords. The Crusaders are fiercely loyal and are allowed to take any necessary actions to fulfil their duty. They are the only ones who can cancel the public appearance of an Avatar without explaining their reasons.