Princes of the Apocalypse
There are 5 major factions in the North, and several smaller factions. They all have a vested interest in events in the North. Most adventurers belong to a faction, but it is not required. However, those that do choose a faction have a benefit bestowed upon them, based on their Renown with that faction.
Characters can join any faction, and can gain renown and rank in that faction. As that character allied goes on adventures or performs questions for the faction using downtime actions, they earn renown for accomplishing tasks that align with the faction’s goals. This is expressed in the awarding of renown points. As characters earn renown, they progress in the ranks of their factions, granting them greater authority and additional benefits.
|Rank||Renown Requirement||Level Requirement|
|3||10 Renown||5th level|
|4||25 Renown||11th level|
|5||50 Renown||17th level|
Emerald Enclave – The Emerald Enclave is a far-ranging group that opposes threats to the natural world and helps others survive the many perils of the wild. A ranger might be hired to lead a caravan through a treacherous mountain pass or the frozen tundra of Icewind Dale. A druid might volunteer to help a small village prepare for a long, brutal winter. Barbarians and witches who live like hermits most of the year might defend a town against marauding orcs or barbarians. Members of the Emerald Enclave know how to survive, and more importantly, they want to help others do the same. They are not opposed to civilization or progress, but they strive to prevent civilization and the wilderness from destroying one another.
Harpers – The Harpers is an old organization that has risen, been shattered, and risen again several times. Its longevity and resilience are largely due to its decentralized, grassroots, secretive nature, and the near-autonomy of many of its members. The Harpers have “cells” and lone operatives throughout Faerûn, although they interact and share information with one another from time to time as needs warrant. The Harpers' ideology is noble, and its members pride themselves on their integrity and incorruptibility. Harpers do not seek power or glory, only fair and equal treatment for all.
Lord’s Alliance – The Lords’ Alliance is a coalition of rulers from cities and towns across Faerûn (primarily in the North), who collectively agree that some solidarity is needed to keep evil at bay. The rulers of Waterdeep, Silverymoon, Neverwinter, and other free cities in the region dominate the Alliance, and every lord in the Alliance works for the fate and fortune of his or her own settlement above all others. The agents of the Alliance include sophisticated bards, zealous paladins, talented mages, and grizzled warriors. They are chosen primarily for their loyalty, and are trained in observation, stealth, innuendo, and combat. Backed by the wealthy and the privileged, they carry quality equipment (often disguised to appear common), and spellcasters tend to have a large number of scrolls with communication spells.
Order of the Gauntlet -Many paladins and clerics of Tyr, Helm, Torm, and Hoar have joined the organization, seeing it as a way of making common cause against the evils abroad in the world. The Order of the Gauntlet is ready to lash out the moment evil acts, and not a moment before. When evil breaks laws, agreements, or commonly accepted codes of conduct, the Gauntlet strikes hard and fast, without waiting for the blessings of distant temples or the permission of rulers. Evil must be met in the field and smashed, or it will swiftly overcome all.
Zhentarim – The Zhentarim seeks to become omnipresent and inescapable, more wealthy and powerful, and most importantly, untouchable. The public face of the organization appears much more benign, offering the best mercenaries money can buy. When a merchant needs an escort for his caravan, when a noble needs bodyguards to protect her holdings, or when a city needs trained soldiers to defend its honor, the Zhentarim provides the best-trained fighting men and women money can buy. However, the cost of doing business with the Black Network can be high.
There are other factions in the area that have a vested interest in the campaign. These may work with or against the party.
The Believers – Little is currently known about the Believers faction, except that they are made up of some of the most powerful citizens of Red Larch, and tend to be isolationist and greedy. Their motivations seem to be isolate Red Larch from the outside world as much as possible, while also making themselves as rich as possible. They are unlikely to share any wealth or information unless they believe they have something to gain. Current known members of the Believers include Ilmeth Waelvur, Owner of Waelvur's Wagonworks; Albaeri Mellikho, Owner of Mellikho's Stoneworks; Ulhro Luruth, Owner of Luruth's Tannery; Elak Dornen, Owner of Dornen Finestone; and Aerego Bethendur, Owner of Bethendur's Storage.
The Red Wizards – The Red Wizards are an organization of wizards. During their height of power, the Red Wizards were the notorious and nefarious spellcasting ruling class of the inhospitable but well-inhabited country of Thay. Slavers, demonologists, and magical experimenters, the Red Wizards were much feared by most of Faerûn. They constantly schemed to bring down their neighboring nations of Rashemen, where they were thwarted by the equally famed magicians the Witches of Rashemen; Aglarond, where they were turned back by the Simbul of the Seven Sisters; and Mulhorand, where the people of Thay first emigrated from.
The leaders of the Red Wizards, and of Thay, were the eight zulkirs, each for a different school of magic. Chief amongst these, and, indeed, among all Red Wizards was Szass Tam, a powerful archmage and feared lich and now the ruler of Thay. Since Szass Tam’s takeover, the Red Wizards have transformed enormously, becoming a loosely organized chain of merchant enclaves who specialized in procuring magical items.
The Cult of Tharizdun – Tharizdun is an insane god whose legends date back to the earliest days of creation. It is rumored that during the Dawn Wars, he created the Abyss. His purpose has been to destroy the universe and recreate it in his image. Fortunately, he is irredeemably insane, and this keeps his powers somewhat in check.
The cult believes that Tharizdun will remake the Prime Material plane through Elemental chaos, much as he created the Abyss in the Astral Sea. To that end, they sometimes call Tharizdun the "Elder Elemental Eye", and worship him as a powerful elemental. However, the cult has not been active in almost 100 years. The last time it was notably active was in 1340 DR, when a cult of Tharizdun formed in western Chessenta. It hired bandits, consorted with demons, and caused much havoc before an alliance of forces destroyed it. Some credit the fact that Tharizdun did not gain a permanent foothold on Toril to the personal intervention of the goddess Mystra.
Tharzidun’s exact dogma is unknown, as the ages he was imprisoned in the Abyss along with his own growing insanity have left him unable to communicate in a meaningful manner; even when he appeared to his followers, he only spoke to them in the form of a shrieking babble that was impossible for mortals to comprehend. The following are his assumed teachings, followed by his cults.
- Channel power to the Chained God, so he can break his chains. Retrieve lost relics and shrines to the Chained God. Pursue the obliteration of the world, in anticipation of the Chained God’s liberation.
- The very threads of existence must be torn asunder, then burned, then the ashes scattered, until all is nothing and no one exists to remember existence.
The Cult of the Black Earth – The Cult was either working with or manipulating the Believers, but their true purpose in Red Larch is uncertain. However, at least for the time being, they have driven out of town.