dedicated to preserving the natural order-might be
less friendly toward characters who have not cultivated
at least 3 renown within that organization, becoming
- ri endly by default only when a character has gained 10
renown within the Emerald Enclave. These thresholds
apply only to the default attitude of most members of an
organization, and such attitudes aren't automatic. NPC
faction members might dislike an adventurer despite
tha t character's renown-or perhaps because of it.
Perks. Earning a rank within an organization comes
wit h certain benefits, as defined by you. A character of
low rank might gain access to a reliable contact and
adventure leads, a safe house, or a trader willing to
offer a discount on adventuring gear. A middle-ranked
character might gain a follower (see chapter 4, "Creating
_ -onplayer Characters"), access to potions and scrolls,
the ability to call in a favor, or backup on dangerous
m issions. A high-ranking character might be able to
call on a small army, take custody of a rare magic item,
gain access to a helpful spellcaster, or assign special
missions to members of lower rank.
Downtime Activities. You might allow characters
to spend downtime between adventures building
;elationships and gaining renown within an
organization. For more information on downtime
activities, see chapter 6, "Between Adventures."
Disagreements with members of an organization
aren't enough to cause a loss of renown within that
organization. However, serious offenses committed
against the organization or its members can result
in a loss of renown and rank within the organization.
The extent of the loss depends on the infraction and is
left to your discretion. A character's renown within an
o rganization can never drop below 0.
\Vith a few alterations, the renown system can also
erve as a measure of a character's link to the gods. It's
a great option for campaigns where the gods take active
roles in the world.
Using this approach, you track renown based on
pecific divine figures in your campaign. Each character
b as the option to select a patron deity or pantheon with
goals, doctrine, and taboos that you have created. Any
renown he or she earns is called piety. A character
gains piety for honoring his or her gods, fulfilling their
commands,. and respecting their taboos. A character
loses piety for working against those gods, dishonoring
them , defiling their temples, and foiling their aims.
The gods bestow favors on those who prove their
devotion. With each rank of piety gained, a character
ca n pray for divine favor once per day. This favor usually
comes in the form of a cleric spell like bless. The favor
often comes with a sign of the divine benefactor; for
example , a character dedicated to Thor might receive a
pel! accompanied by the boom of thunder.
A high level of piety can also lead to a character
ga ining a more persistent benefit, in the form of a
blessing or charm (see chapter 7, "Treasure," for such
Magic in Your World
In most D&D worlds, magic is natural but still wondrous
and sometimes frightening. People everywhere know
about magic, and most people see evidence of it at some
point in their lives. It permeates the cosmos and moves
through the ancient possessions of legendary heroes,
the mysterious ruins of fallen empires, those touched
by the gods, creatures born with supernatural power,
and individuals who study the secrets of the multiverse.
Histories and fireside tales are filled with the exploits of
those who wield it.
What normal folk know of magic depends on where
th.ey live and whether they know characters who
practice magic. Citizens of an isolated hamlet might not
have seen true magic used for generations and speak
in whispers of the strange powers of the old hermit
living in the nearby woods. In the city of Waterdeep
in the Forgotten Realms setting, the Watchful Order
of Magists and Protectors is a guild of wizards. These
arcanists wish to make wizardry more accessible so the
order's members can profit from selling their services.
Some D&D settings have more magic in them than
others. On Athas, the harsh world of the Dark Sun
setting, arcane magic is a hated practice that can drain
life from the world. Much of Athas's magic lies in the
hands of evildoers. Conversely, in the world of Eberron,
magic is as commonplace as any other commodity.
Mercantile houses sell magic items and services to
SAMPLE FACTION: THE ZHENTARIM
The Zhentarim (also known as the Black Network) is an
unscrupulous shadow network that seeks to expand its
influence and power throughout the Forgotten Realms.
The public face of the Black Network appears relatively
benign. It offers the best and cheapest goods and services,
both legal and illicit, thus destroying its competitors and
making everyone dependent on it.
A member of the Zhentarim thinks of himself or herself
as a member of a very large family and relies on the Black
Network for resources and security. However, members are
granted the autonomy to pursue their own interests and gain
some measure of personal wealth and influence. As a whole,
the Zhentarim promises "the best of the best," although
in truth the organization is more interested in spreading
its own propaganda and influence than investing in the
improvement of its individual members.
Motto. "join us and prosper. Oppose us and suffer."
Beliefs. The Zhentarim's beliefs can be summarized
- The Zhentarim is your family. You watch out for it, and it
watches out for you.
- You are the master of your own destiny. Never be less than
what you deserve to be.
Everything and everyone has a price.
Goals. Amass wealth, power, and influence, and thereby
Typical Quests. Typical Zhentarim quests include
plundering or stealing a treasure hoard, powerful magic item,
or artifact; securing a lucrative business contract or enforcing
a preexisting one; and establishing a foothold in a place
where the Zhentarim holds little sway.
C HAPTER I I A WORLD OF YOUR OWN