1354 DR Harpers Faction
“Down with tyranny. Fairness and equality for all.”
A scattered network of spellcasters and spies, the Harpers advocate equality and covertly oppose the abuse of power, magical or otherwise.
The Harpers are an old organization that has risen, been shattered, and risen again more than once. Its longevity and resilience are the result of its decentralized and secretive nature, and the near-autonomy of its members. The organization consist of cells and lone operatives throughout Faerûn, interacting and sharing information with one another only as needs warrant. The Harpers’ ideology is noble, and members of the order pride themselves on their integrity and incorruptibility. Harpers do not seek power or glory— only fair and equal treatment for all.
Goals and Philosophy
Harpers gather information across Faerûn, discerning the political dynamics within each region or realm, and promoting fairness and equality by covert means. Members of the order oppose tyranny—as well as any leader, government, or group that grows powerful enough to threaten tyranny. They aid the weak, the poor, and the oppressed while maintaining the order’s legendary secrecy, acting openly only as a last resort.
Harper agents adhere to a strict Code of the Harpers, focusing on a number of tenets as they pursue their goals:
- One can never have too much information or arcane knowledge.
- Too much power leads to corruption. In particular, the abuse of magic must be closely monitored.
- No one should ever be powerless.
The Harper Code
Becoming a Harper involves taking an oath to uphold the Harper Code to the best of one's ability. This includes:
- Harpers work against villainy and wickedness wherever they find it, but they work ever mindful of the consequences of what they do.
- All beings should walk free of fear, with the right to live their lives as they wish.
- The rule of law aids peace and fosters freedom, so long as the laws are just and those who enforce them lenient and understanding.
- No extreme is good. For freedom to flourish, all must be in balance: the powers of realms, the reaches of the cities and the wilderlands into each other, and the influence of one being over another.
- Whatever it takes, a Harper will do. Pride never rules the deeds of a true Harper.
- Freedom is a multiversal right, though Harpers can spare themselves less freedom than those they work to protect when the need presents itself.
- Harpers police their own. A Harper who hears the call of personal power can no longer hear the sweet song of the harp. A Harper who seizes power, and holds it above all else, is a traitor to the harp. Traitors must die for freedom to live.
- Without a past, no being can appreciate what they have, and where they may be going.
Harper agents are trained to act alone and rely on their own resources. When they get into scrapes, they don’t count on their fellow Harpers to rescue them. Nevertheless, Harpers are dedicated to helping one another in times of need, and friendships between Harpers are nigh unbreakable. Masterful spies and infiltrators, they use various guises and secret identities to form relationships, cultivate their information networks, and manipulate others into doing what needs to be done. Most Harpers prefer to operate in the shadows, though a few members of the order become well known. Quests undertaken by agents of the Harpers might include the following:
- Secure an artifact that could upset the balance of power in a region.
- Gather intelligence on a powerful individual or organization.
- Determine the true intentions of a powerful political figure or spellcaster.
- xxxxxx: xxx
- Contact: xxx
- Details: xxx
- Rewards: xxx
Harpers in good standing might receive the following benefits:
- Sponsor: Rank 1+. You have a senior Harper who has not only brought you into the Harpers, but helps to train you. The time it takes to learn one of the mentor's proficiencies by the Training downtime activity is reduced in half. Any given mentor usually knows 1d6 languages and 1d6 tool proficiencies. They can also arrange training with other Harpers for proficiencies outside of their own baliwick.
- Signs at Twilight: Rank 1+. All Harpers learn the methods for contacting and getting information to the Harpers. The use of certain songs, signs to look for, identifying phrases - all the techniques that Harpers use to find one another in a cold and dangerous world. Harpers also learn the meaning, placement, and discovery of the specific Harper sigils.
- Song Training: Rank 2+. By the time a Harper has spent some time as part of the organization, training in music is an inevitability. Harpers use music for a great many things - to subtly identify themselves to one another, to pass coded messages back and forth, and even the use of musical metaphor in their interactions. The Harper of this Rank may choose proficiency in a musical instrument or the Performance Skill for singing. A proficient Harper may play music that communicates something to other Harpers who hear it in a coded fashion, as well.
- Harper's Pin: Rank 3+. Fully acknowledged agents of the Harpers receive a Harpers pin magic item (see sidebar).
- Harper Cell: Rank 3+. Harper agents are frequently put into a cell structure, giving them the support of allies without endangering the entire organization should they be compromised.
- Harper Lore: Rank 4+. Harpers gain access to repositories of arcane lore - spells known only to Harpers. These are taught by mentors or provided as spell-scrolls. These spells may be considered to be added to the spell-list of the character.
- City Lore: Rank 4+ A Harper gains familiarity with the backways and shortcuts of their main city of operation, or of any other city they spend at least a season (three months) in. These months do not have to be cumulative. You gain the "City Secrets" ability of the Urchin Background for those cities.
- Continuing Training: Rank 5+. Harpers of this degree of experience within the group have continued their training in music, choosing another musical instrument to be proficient in. They may also choose proficiency in a disguise kit, herbalism kit, or poisoner's kit.
- Harper's Adroitness: Rank 8+. By this point, a harper's career has put them into a variety of situations where they needed to talk their way out of things. The characters gains one of the following Skill Feats: Empathic, Diplomat, Menacing, Performer, or Silver-Tongued
- Harper Intelligence: Rank 10+. Harpers of this ranking receive all manner of intelligence regarding their local area. It is given to them to act upon as much or as little as they see fit, but all of it is expected to be passed to their superiors in the organization.
- Blessing of the Dancing Place: Rank 25+. Long ago, when certain gods met at the Dancing Place and affirmed their approval of the Harpers, they worked together to craft a boon for those who worked close to Harper ideals. All Master Harpers who are in accord with the Harper Code and have not blasphemed against one of those gods (Deneir, Eldath, Lliira, Mielikki, Milil, Mystra, Oghma, Selûne, Silvanus, and Tymora), they benefit from the Blessing of the Dancing Place. At the end of a long rest, the Master Harper chooses one of these effects to remain active, until such time as they choose to change it.
- Forestwalker (Silvanus): While in a forest, the Master Harper is immune from becoming lost while traveling overland, as a magical effect.
- Hunter's Senses (Mielikki): As long as it is possible to follow a track through non-magical means, the Master Harper does so without need of a check, and with perfect accuracy. If some magic conceals the track, the Master Harper may still make a Survival check to follow it, but at disadvantage.
- The Lady's Joy (Lliira): The Master Harper is immune to magical or natural fear, despair, discord, hopelessness, rage, and terror. With a touch, the Master Harper may confer this immunity to another for up to one hour, during which time the Master Harper does not benefit from this or any other Blessing of the Dancing Place.
- Lore Reader (Oghma): Once per day, the Master Harper may cast the legend lore spell.
- Moonmotes (Selûne): Once per day, the Master Harper can summon 1d4+2 motes of glowing moonlight. These function as the dancing lights spell, except that they grant advantage for those investigating lycanthropes (Perception to spot them hiding, Survival to track, etc). These motes last for eight hours after invoked. During this time, the Master Harper may cause a moonmote to enter a weapon, granting the weapon a silvery gleam; for the rest of that eight hour period, lycanthropes have a vulnerability to that specific weapon. While this blessing is in effect (even after the moonmotes have expired), the Master Harper is immune to lycanthropy.
- Musician's Ear (Milil): The Master Harper is capable of perfectly identifying the origin of a sound he hears, including who (or what) made the sound, how far away and in what direction the source lies, and whether its creation was magical.
- Rune Wise (Deneir): When encountering any rune or glyph that communicates something, the Master Harper may make an Intelligence test to determine not only what the sign means, but also if it is magical, and a quick mental flash of the one who created it.
- Scroll Mastery (Mystra): Once per day, when casting a spell from a scroll, the Master Harper may spend one Hero Point to have the spell take effect with maximum dice results (usually damage).
- Spring Sense (Eldath): As an action, the Master Harper can detect the direction and approximate distance of the nearest drinking water, cave connected to the surface world, or Harper refuge. This also gives a warning if anything is amiss with what is detected (enemies lie in wait, the water is tainted, etc).
- Tymora Smiles (Tymora): While this blessing is active, the Master Harper may elect to re-roll a failed dice roll, as with the Luck feat. This can be done up to three times per day.
Not all who achieve the renown necessary to take on these roles do so. These are additional tasks to which a character must be well-suited. Assuming this role builds additional responsibility into a Harper's duties, but come with additional rewards.
- Recruiter: Rank 3+. Recruiters are those Harpers who add to the Watcher network. They tend to be charismatic and have winning personalities, as they are literally recruiting spies. They are given a stipend with which to pay their Watchers, and are expected to spend at least a week every month managing their Watchers, collecting information from them, recruiting new Watchers, and passing important information on to the local Brightcandle. In exchange, the Harpers cover their lifestyle expenses at a Moderate level for free. Recruiters also gain benefits when using the Harper Watcher Network.
- Harpshadow: Rank 3+. Harpshadows are Harper agents who are put in a single place, with an identity created by the Harpers for them, to watch and be ready. They are expected to perform the Work downtime activity at least one week per month. In return, the Harpers cover their lifestyle expenses at a Moderate level for free.
- Harpsinger: Rank 3+. Some Harpers spend their time out among those who are drunk and mixing freely, using a party atmosphere to uncover secrets and acquire information. They are expected to perform the Carousing downtime activity at least one week per month. The Harpers cover the cost of the downtime activity, and return, the Harpers also cover their lifestyle expenses at the Moderate level for free.
- Harpwright: Rank 3+. Harper finesmiths who focus on the creation of magical items for Harper agents and magic item caches. Each time a Wonderwright uses the Crafting an Item downtime activity to work for the Harpers, they are rewarded with either the schema for a magic item of the rarity they spent time creating, or the components necessary to create an item of that rarity. Upon taking this title, the Harper is immediately granted the schema for Harper's pins and one other magic item of Uncommon rarity.
- Harpsage: Rank 3+. Harper loremasters and sages record and gather information of use to Harper missions. In exchange for performing one week of the Research downtime activity per month, the Harper is then given general access to the libraries used by local Harpers, to perform their own research when they wish.
- Mentor: Rank 5+. Mentors are those who have taken on the duty of training up new Harper agents by taking on an Apprentice Harper. They must spend one week of downtime per month tending to these responsibilities. In return, they are assigned a junior agent who aids them with their tasks.
- Brightcandle: Rank 10+ Brightcandles are the heads of cells of Harper agents in their area. Each Brightcandle manages a single cell, for whom they are the sole operational superiors. Brightcandles often know other Brightcandles (but not their cells), and are in contact with a Wise Owl. In exchange for two workweeks of activity a month, Brightcandles have their lifestyles covered at the Comfortable level by the Harpers. They also have access to a variety of Harper agents and other resources, such as caches and libraries. Each Brightcandle is also in contact with the local Herald, working together.
- Wise Owl: Rank 25+ Wise Owls see far and wide, acting as regional coordinators for Harper activities. Wise Owls have a number of Brightcandles assigned under them, and spend a great deal of their time in facilitating their efforts, collating the information they bring in, and then putting it to good use. They are in contact with the council of High Harpers. In exchange for two workweeks of activity per month, Wise Owls are kept at the Comfortable lifestyle level by the Harpers. They also receive a small collection of magic items that help them accomplish their missions.
- High Harper: Rank 40. A small council of figures whose job it is to run the Harpers, the High Harpers are always powerful individuals. They are kept at the Comfortable lifestyle by the Harpers, but nearly all of their time is taken up by their duties. High Harpers have the whole organization of the Harpers at their disposal, but are required to remain transparent to their fellow High Harpers.
|Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun|
High Harper (Rank 50)
One of the senior Harpers, Khelben does not interact overmuch with the Waterdhavian cell. His vision must encompass something larger than the immediate locale he dwells in, so he often seems aloof from the activities of local Harpers.
Brightcandle (Rank 15)
The head of the Waterdhavian cell, Jhandess is a bard and harp-maker. She operates as a craftswoman out of Millomyr Harps, on Golden Serpent Street in the North Ward. The attics of her shop are accessible through a small secret passage in roof of the building, which is magically sealed unless the opener bears a Harper pin.
Harpshadow (Rank 8)
A half-elven escort and soft-trader at the Blushing Mermaid, Bensyl is a skilled deceiver and seductress. More than one plot has been discovered thanks to her charms and network of informants, and more than one of those plots has been undone when the perpetrators did not anticipate a mere joy-lass to be their undoing.
|Daemera of the Bow|
Harpshadow (Rank 8)
A senior agent of the Silverymoon cell, Daemera is a half-elven priestess of Mielikki, and frequently called away from her duties in the Grove of Mielikki to tend to Harper business.