The Knights Templar are the descendants of the medieval order of the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon.
Before 2052, the Knights Templar financed the Illuminati with the wealth of banks that they created during the Crusades. Based in Paris, the Templars were the controlling influence behind most of the world's financial institutions, and worked to influence the global economy. After the rise of Majestic 12, the Templars were destroyed by a combined Interpol/UNATCO force headed by Joseph Manderley. This operation marked the end of the 'traditional' incarnation of the order.
In 2070, the organization was rebuilt and again established by Luminon Saman of the Order Church, a worldwide religion controlled by the Illuminati, who had come to believe that the Order had deviated from the principles on which it was supposedly founded. They believe themselves to be descendants of the original Knights Templar and have a zealous belief in their religion and their "Grand Master" Saman.
Initially working in secret, Saman gathered followers from the branch of the Order Church of which he was head in Trier, Germany, before spreading the organization worldwide. Though the organisation came out of hiding, its connection to the Order Church was hidden for some time. Believing themselves to be the modern incarnation of the original Knights Templar, they are opposed to bio-modification and nanotechnology in all forms, believing it to be a plague and a violation of the "purity" of humanity. Mechanical augmentation does not appear in Invisible War, thus the group does not address it. The group is notorious for its religious zealotry and direct action policy on bio-modified individuals; these individuals are given the chance to convert, and repent for their "pollution" by using it to aid the Templars' cause, or risk being targeted for assassination. The Templars do not attempt to convert the Omar, whom they do not consider human.
|"Devoted to the eradication of human biotechnology, the Templars believe themselves to be the devout, modern incarnation of the ancient Knights Templar — a brotherhood of knights formed after the Crusades. These ancient knights made a solemn agreement to aid one another in clearing the highways to Jerusalem, protecting Christian pilgrims through the passes and defiles of the mountains to the Holy City. The extent of their agenda and membership is not yet known, but many have heard the Templars’ criticism of biomodification. They are fanatic in their belief that biomods represent pollution of the human genome and so they preach a dedication to purity."|
|— Description of the Templars, 2072, Deus Ex: Invisible War|
At the beginning of Deus Ex: Invisible War, it seems the new Templar have managed to gain access to the massive gold reserves of the original Templars, as they have vast financial resources and are even attempting to bankroll an army "larger than all other armies combined." With such a powerful force, the danger they pose to the ruling Illuminati has been established. In order to destroy a secret research lab, Saman orders the use of a powerful weapon called a 'nanite detonator' in a devastating attack that reduces the city of Chicago to dust. This terrorist act was the first in a series of strikes against ApostleCorp, the organization founded by Tracer Tong and Paul Denton, major supporting characters from the first game, to further develop bio-modification technology. Saman recognised the threat to his ideals posed by the dream of universal bio-modification that ApostleCorp sought to accomplish and decided to destroy this ambition quickly.
However, these actions thrust the Templars into the spotlight and brought about the attention of the Illuminati leaders, who began working to eliminate the Templar threat.
Knowing that their refusal to biomodify their troops puts them at a serious disadvantage against biomodified enemies, Templar scientists have developed a special Powered Assault Armor suit (financed using their gold reserves), making them as tough as a biomodified human. The Templars also commissioned the development of a powerful new weapon, the Mag Rail, but this research was intercepted by the WTO/Illuminati. The Templars have therefore been forced to equip the bulk of their new heavy troops with standard rocket launchers. Ironically, the Mag Rail is the most effective means of combating the Templar's new Power Armor, and most of the Illuminati's troops carry one.
Their soldiers are referred to as Paladins. Armored Paladins are much larger than other combatants, making them obvious targets. Like the Omar, their armor makes them invulnerable to fire, radiation and toxins as well as sub-zero temperatures; but makes them vulnerable to EMP attacks. The principle differences between the varieties of Paladins are their vulnerability to bullets and physical attacks, and whether they violently explode upon death.
Despite becoming the main antagonists about halfway through the game, the Templars are one of the four groups the player can join at the game's finale, creating "The Templar Flood", in which the Templars unleash a nanite plague that eliminates biomodifications without harming the host. This drastically weakens the Illuminati (who are dependent upon biomodified troops for their military power), allowing the Templars to eventually seize control of the planet.