Organizations of the East

Many of the secret societies and orders familiar to characters from western Faerûn have little or no influence in the lands of the Unapproachable East. For example, the Zhentarim, whose shadow lies over lands from Scornubel to Mulmaster, are simply not a force in the East. Similarly, the Night Masks of Westgate, the Lords' Alliance, and even the far-ranging Harpers have little to do with lands such as Rashemen or Thay. From time to time, these western organizations dispatch spies or emissaries to the East, but the real power beyond the Easting Reach lies in the hands of those organizations that are native to the area.

The Blightlords

Deep in the heart of the Rawlinswood lies a festering wound, the wreckage of Dun-Tharos, the ancient Nar capital. (See Great Dale for more information.) Here a malevolent creature known only as the Rotting Man has raised his own dark citadel, marshalling forces of corruption and evil against the surrounding lands. The Rotting Man's handpicked lieutenants and emissaries are the blightlords, evil clerics and druids who hold the power to warp forest creatures to their sick purposes and scourge the East with Talona-sent plagues.

The blightlords and their feral minions menace Damara, Impiltur, and the Great Dale. Centaurs, treants, and many noble animals of the Rawlinswood have fallen prey to their magical plague, becoming horrors of unthinking bloodlust and hate. Worse yet, the blightlords have ensnared many volodni warriors for their nihilistic cause. Legions of blightspawned pine folk now hold the heart of the Rawlinswood and march at the Rotting Man's command. His army is not yet strong enough to take on a strong realm such as Damara or Implitur, but bands of blightspawned marauders have brought blood and madness to the sleepy clanholds and farmsteads of the Great Dale.

The blightlords are captains and champions of the Rotting Man's forces, lending their leadership and magical might to bands of blightspawned marauders. (See the Talontar blightlord prestige class.)

Typical Blightlord: Human cleric 7/Talontar blightlord 3, CR 10; Medium-size humanoid (human); HD 10d8+20; hp 6; Init +0; Spd 20 ft.; AC 20 (touch 10, flat-footed 20); Atk +11/+6 melee (1d10+4/x3 and disease, +1 diseased glaive) or +8 ranged (1d8/19-20, masterwork light crossbow); SA Blight touch 1/day, rebuke undead 4/day; SQ Blightblood, illmaster; AL NE.; SV Fort +12, Ref +3, Will +11; Str 14, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 16, Cha 12.

Skills and Feats: Concentration +12, Heal +9, Knowledge (nature) +2, Listen +5, Spot +6; Brew Potion, Combat Casting, Great Fortitude, Martial Weapon Proficiency (glaive), Weapon Focus (glaive).

Blight Touch (Su): Inflict Talona's blight with successful melee touch attack (supernatural disease, Fort save DC 16, incubation 1d6 days, damage 1d4 Constitution and 1d4 Charisma, victim cannot recover without magical healing). Usable 1/day.

Blightblood (Ex): Immune to all disease, magical or otherwise. Blightspawned creatures do not attack the blightlord unless the blightlord attacks them.

Illmaster: Any animal companions the blightlord possesses gain the blightspawned template (this blightlord has no animal companions).

Possessions: +1 diseased glaive, +2 full plate armor, wand of unholy blight (5 charges), potion of invisibility, masterwork light crossbow, 20 bolts.

Spells Prepared (6/6/6/574/3; base DC 13 + spell level): 0 - cure minor wounds (2), detect magic (2), light, resistance; 1st - bane, command, cure light wounds (2), divine favor, protection from good*; 2nd - bull's strength, cure moderate wounds, death knell, hold person, Snilloc's snowball swarm*, summon monster II; 3rd - bestow curse, contagion*, cure serious wounds, dispel magic, protection from elements; 4th - air walk, death ward, enervation* summon monster IV; 5th - cone of cold*, healing circle, righteous might.

*Domain spell. Domains: Blightbringer (rebuke or command blightspawned creatures and evil-aligned animals or plants as an evil cleric rebukes undead, 4/day); Evil (cast evil spells at +1 caster level); Suffering (pain touch 1/day; successful melee touch attack bestows -2 penalty to subject's Strength and Dexterity for 1 minute, does not affect creatures immune to critical hits).

The Church of Kossuth

No one questions the authority of the Red Wizards over Thay, but the red-robed mages are not the only power in that guarded realm. The faith of Kossuth, the Firelord, is prevalent throughout Thay. The clerics of Kossuth defer to the Red Wizards - as all in Thay must - but for generations, many who, would check the wizards' power have turned to the Church of Kossuth. The clerics of Kossuth have come to stand for law, justice, and a fierce national pride that is, in its own way, every bit as dangerous to the neighboring lands as the naked ambition of the RecL Wizards. Thay's millions are cowed by the Red Wizards and obey their commands out of fear - but should the Church of Kossuth ever supplant that power, Faerûn might face the threat of a Thay whose people served with courageous and selfless devotion.

The Church of Kossuth has little reach outside of Thay, although priests of the Firelord often accompany Red Wizards abroad. Clergy of Kossuth obey the Red Wizards, but unlike most Thayans, they are reasonably protected against the whims of the ruling mages. The zulkirs know that in a contest for the hearts and minds of the Thayan people, the Firelord's clerics would most likely win - and therefore they harshly discipline any of their underlings who threaten the Church or its agents without sound reason.

The Church sponsors several prominent orders or societies. The Order of the Fire Drake is a militant arm of the faith, whose knights guard its holiest locations and are bodyguards to important Kossuthans abroad. The Order of the Black Flame is a secret society of holy assassins who strike at the enemies of the faith wherever they may lurk. (See the Black Flame zealot prestige class.) Finally, the Society of the Illuminating Flame is a monastic order that schemes to seize mastery of Thay.

Circle of Leth

The Forest of Lethyr is home to one of the most powerful druidic hierarchies in all Faerûn - the followers of the Nentyarch, who traditionally governs affairs in Lethyr (and the Great Dale by default). They are known collectively as the Circle of Leth, and they are served by the Nentyar hunters, a strong society of rangers, scouts, and warriors who carry out the commands of the druid circle. (See the Nentyar hunter prestige class.)

The Circle of Leth comprises three concentric rings, forming orders. Five high druids make up the first ring, standing just below the Nentyarch. The high druids advise the ruler of the Circle and are teachers and mentors to those below them. Nine druid masters make up the second ring and are the most active in searching out threats to the forest and the dale. They command the Nentyar hunters in times of war; currently, several are engaged in a desperate battle to preserve what can be saved of the nearby Rawlinswood, working to stop the depredations of the Rotting Man and the blightlords. The third and most numerous ring is composed of the Circle's initiates, low-ranking druids and novices who serve among the Nentyar hunters or apprentice themselves to a high druid or druid master, as the Circle requires.

The Nine Golden Swords

Among the teeming Shou towns of Thesk's Golden Way lurks an insidious peril - the Nine Golden Swords, a secret society of yakuza and their minions who seek to bind the Shou expatriates beneath their own ruthless rule. Once all Shou in Thesk serve the Nine Golden Swords, the masters of the society aim to make themselves the secret lords of the land.

The rogues and thugs who make up the hundreds of "soldiers" in the society go about their sordid business in much same manner as crime syndicates anywhere do. They peddle vices of all sorts in dens and houses of ill repute along the Golden Way, rob passing caravans, and intimidate local business owners, demanding a ruinous cut of legitimate enterprises. So far, they have been cautious in extorting native Theskians, preferring to maintain a chokehold on their fellow Shou instead of provoking the merchant-princes. Now the Nine Golden Swords have just about conquered their chosen battlefield, and the riches of their neighbors beckon. Shou thugs and gangsters are moving their operations into the heart of Theskian business all along the Golden Way. The Nine Golden Swords are led by a mysterious figure known as the Golden Master. The city of Phsant is the base of their power; the Golden Master can muster hundreds of loyal soldiers in the Shou quarter of that city, if he so chooses. The Shadowmasters of Telflamm have no use for the Nine Golden Swords, and a fierce gang-war has sprung up between the two powerful societies.

The Red Wizards of Thay

No discussion of powerful organizations would be complete without mentioning the Red Wizards, a society of such ambition and ruthlessness that their reach extends across a continent. Red Wizard enclaves dot the shores of the Sea of Fallen Stars, exporting deadly and wondrous magic to cities and kingdoms throughout Faerûn in exchange for goods, slaves, and coin of unimaginable value.

While the Red Wizards are discussed at length in Red Wizards, their influence pervades all the lands of the Unapproachable East. Thayan spies skulk among the people of Aglarond and Rashemen, seeking ways to sow dissent and weakness among the traditional enemies of their land. Thayan merchants. and wizards dominate the Wizards' Reach and wield great power in cities such as Nethentir and Tammar. Those states are nominally independent, but the Red Wizards could devour them in a tenday if they chose.

The Shadowmasters of Telflamm

Ruthless and sinister, the Shadowmasters are one of the most successful and widespread thieves' guilds in all Faerûn. Only the Shadow Thieves of Amn, and perhaps the Night Masks of Westgate, rival their power. Shadowmaster guilds lurk in Emmech, Escalant, Laothkund, Nethentir, Nethjet, Nyth, Phent, Phsant, Uthmere, and even Bexantur in Thay, scheming to plunder from commoner and noble, alike. The Shadowmasters secretly rule Thesk, since many of the merchant princes who make up the land's governing Council are either spies for, or thoroughly intimidated by, the guild.

While the Shadowmasters virtually rule Telflamm through its weak Merchants' Council, they do not yet exercise the same political power in other cities, such as Emmech or Escalant. There the Shadowmaster presence is limited to small bands of thieves content to burglarize, embezzle, extort, and mug in the manner of criminal gangs everywhere. But unlike other guilds, these Shadowmaster cells are eyes and ears for the entire organization, funneling information back to their hungry overlords in Telflamm. In turn, the presence of Shadowmasters in nearby cities allows these minor guilds to quickly dispose of dangerous merchandise and offers ready safehouses to members in trouble with local authorities.

Shadowmaster agents seek out news of mercantile transactions or the discovery of unexpected wealth, such as the recovery of a long-lost hoard by a band of adventurers. They inform the organization's leaders, who decide on the appropriate course of action (often an operation to seize the wealth they view as rightfully theirs). The Shadowmasters also serve as information brokers for those who aren't picky about the source, although their services, are not cheap. Those who once do business with the Shadowmasters find that the thieves can make it difficult, even dangerous, not to do business with them again.

Shadowmaster Enforcer: Human Rog2/Ftr2; CR 4; Medium-size humanoid (human); HD 2d6+2d10+4; hp 25.; Init +7; Spd 30 ft.; AC 18 (touch 13, flat-footed 15.); Atk +5. melee (1d6+2/19-20, masterwork short sword) and +5 melee (1d6+1/19-20, masterwork short sword), or +6 ranged (1d6+2/x3, mighty composite shortbow [+2 Str bonus]); SA Sneak attack +1d6; SQ Evasion, search for traps; AL CE; SV Fort +4, Ref +6, Will -1; Str 14, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 8, Cha 10.

Skills and Feats: Appraise +7, Balance +8, Climb +9, Gather Information +5., Hide +8, Intimidate +5, Jump +8, Move Silently +8, Open Lock +8, Spot +4, Tumble +8; Dodge, Improved Initiative, Mobility, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus (short sword).

Possessions: +1 mithral shirt, 2 masterwork short swords, mighty composite shortbow (+2 Str bonus), 20 arrows, potion of hiding.

The Simbulmyn

The Simbulmyn, or Simbul's Guard, is a small company of elite palace guards who do much more than simply protect Aglarond's queen. They are also expert spies, engaging in secret missions in lands all around the Inner Sea. The primary concern of the Simbulmyn is the safety of the Simbul; but the general security and good order of Aglarond is a very close second, and they maintain a vigilant eye on all potential enemies.

The Simbulmyn devote most of their efforts to watching the armies of Thay and spying out the plans of the zulkirs, tasks that call for lengthy undercover journeys' into the heartland of Aglarond's forbidding neighbor. The Guard also work assiduously to identify and neutralize Thayan spies in Aglarondan territory. Of late, the rise of the Sons of Hoar (see below) has attracted their attention, although the Simbulmyn are hesitant to suppress the movement for fear of throwing fuel on the fire.

The Simbul's Guard is under the command of High Captain Hovor Seawind (CG male half-elf fighter 4/rogue 6/Aglarondan griffonrider 8), a former adventurer who is fanatically devoted to his queen and would give his life for her in a heartbeat Only experienced combatants who have demonstrated their loyalty to Aglarond are invited to join the Simbulmyn; the typical member is a human or half-elf Ftr4/Rog2, although many wizards and sorcerers may also be found among their ranks.

The Sons of Hoar

Not all Aglarondans are content to be ruled by an immortal sorcerer-queen. Some among the wealthy old families of Velprintalar and Furthinghome believe the Simbul's rule is a hopeless despotism with no end in sight. The Sons of Hoar are a secret society of nobles, well-to-do merchants, and landowners who long to shape events in Aglarond as in other lands - with the power of coin and the rule of law.

Many of the Sons of Hoar hope for opportunities to enrich themselves at the expense of others, but the organization also includes idealists and populists who argue that the Simbul cannot truly understand the concerns of common folk. The cynical hardcore of the society are happy to.let the idealists' stirring words and impassioned pleas mask their own plots. Thus, the Sons consist of a secret leadership of nobles and merchants (many of lawful evil alignment) who lurk behind a much larger group of younger men who. romanticize revolution and dream of winning over the hearts of the Aglarondan people.

The Sons of Hoar are bound by a common veneration for the Doombringer, as one might expect. In Aglarond, Hoar's old Untheric aspects of law, justice, and noble war overshadow the deity's portfolio of vengeance. The High Fatemaster Nomy Dedriech (LN male human Clrl2 of Hoar) is the current First Son, although the true power in the organization is the wealthy Duke Varran Gloskil (LE male human Ari8/Ftr7). Gloskil dreams of reshaping Aglarond as a land free of "witches" and elves, under the rule of merchant oligarchs such as himself.

The Sons of Hoar are growing more restive and daring. Their agents seek to cultivate foreign support for the Simbul's overthrow, intimidate the sorcerer-queen's supporters through kidnapping and sabotage, and infiltrate the army and palace guards of Aglarond.

The Wychlaran

The Witches of Rashemen, or wychlaran as they call themselves, are discussed in People of Rashemen, but like the Red Wizards of Thay, their actions and influence ripple throughout the lands of the East. For centuries, the wychlaran defended their homeland against Thay, but now that the Red Wizards have set aside their dreams of conquering their neighbors in favor of aggressive and forthright trade, the Witches are unsure how to proceed.

Without the constant threat of Thayan raids, spies, or armies, the wychlaran have turned to strengthening their land against the war they know must follow Thay's commercial overtures. Witches roam the nearby lands of Thesk, Ashanath, and the Great Dale, keeping a wary eye on all Thayan activities and building up a network of foreign informants' to provide key insights into Thayan plans. Since Thayan spies are no longer creeping in to Rashemen in numbers, the wychlaran seek them out in foreign lands and find other problems to worry about in the process - the blightlords of the Rawlinswood, the Shadowmasters of Telflamm, even the Nine Golden Swords of Thesk.

Organizations of Faerûn
Lands of Faerûn