Princes of the Apocalypse
Below is a list of the factions in the Sumer Hills area.
A scattered network of spellcasters and spies, the Harpers advocate equality and covertly oppose the abuse of power, magical or otherwise. Agents operate in secret and emphasize stealth and subtlety, or at the very least discretion. Bards and wizards are their most
prominent members. Harpers operate in small cells throughout the North. One is based in Triboar: Darathra Shendrel, the Lord Protector, belongs to the faction, and Harper agents can find welcome at the Home of the Boars. Another cell in the prosperous trade center of Yartar monitors traffic in the Dessarin Valley and the actions and policies of the city’s Waterbaron. The Harpers work to maintain the balance of power between the various groups competing to influence the city. In the Sumber Hills, the Harpers warn travelers and adventurers to stay clear of Rundreth Manor and the Dark Lady who dwells there. Harpers also watch the ruined Halls of the Hunting Axe.
The Order of the Gauntlet
This faction is primarily a military organization made up of paladins, clerics, and monks. Members of the order are faithful and vigilant seekers of justice who protect others from the depredations of evildoers. They exact swift retribution against those who violate the law. Atop a high crest in the Sumber Hills stands Summit Hall, home to the Knights of Samular. This venerable order of paladins of Tyr strives to promote justice in the savage North. The Order of the Gauntlet hopes to expand its influence in the region by joining the Knights to its cause. In the western Sumber Hills, the order has little political influence. It hopes to correct this weakness by establishing alliances with local leaders who share its goals, such as the Waterbaron of Yartar. The order is even pursuing negotiations with fringe organizations.
The Emerald Enclave
This widespread group of wilderness survivalists preserves the natural order while rooting out unnatural threats. Many of the Enclave’s members are barbarians, druids, and rangers. Some wander the untamed lands while others make their homes on the outskirts of towns and villages, where they help to protect travelers from the dangers of the wild. The enclave’s greatest stronghold in the region is the fortified farm and abbey to Chauntea called Goldenfields. Abbot Ellardin Darovik is a senior agent of the Emerald Enclave. In the High Forest to the east lies Shadowtop Cathedral, another of the enclave’s meeting places.
The Lords’ Alliance
The Lords’ Alliance is a shaky compact of aggressive political powers concerned with mutual security and prosperity. Fighters and sorcerers are prevalent among alliance agents, and they are often glory hounds seeking personal recognition. Most agents are lawful or neutral; in the courtly circles of the lords, those who don’t follow the rules seldom last long. Trade along rivers and roads links the cities of the Lords’ Alliance, so its operatives eliminate threats to that trade as soon as they appear. Located at the confluence of the Dessarin and Surbrin rivers, Yartar is a prosperous center of commerce. Various groups vie to control its wealth and influence its trade. The Waterbaron of Yartar, Nestra Ruthiol, is a member of the Lords’ Alliance, and her decisions affect the politics of not only her city but the other cities of the region.
This shadow network seeks to expand its influence and power base throughout Faerun. Its members coerce, persuade, or buy their way into every major area of influence. Rogues and warlocks fill the Zhentarim’s ranks, but the faction recruits any who can conduct its business without too many moral reservations. Zhentarim operatives might be found in any settlement, but in the North the organization is based in the Bargewright Inn. Zhentarim mercenaries and spies meet within its many private chambers. The Black Network disguises its ownership of the inn to avoid unwanted attention. The organization also has a vested interest in maintaining the prosperity of Yartar.
Elves of the High Forest
The High Forest once sheltered three great elven realms beneath its boughs. Many tribes of wood elves—and a few moon elves—still protect the ruined monuments to their golden age. Few beyond the borders of the High Forest know much about these elves; they have no single leader and make little contact with the outside world. The wood elf Morgwais, known as the Red Lady or the Lady of the Wood, seeks to unite the disparate tribes through the Caerilcarn (“Council of the Wood”). Her aim is to resurrect the ancient kingdom of Eaerlann, and she has made steps in that direction by allying various elven settlements. As yet, though, only a few elves believe in her vision, and they are spread far apart over the eastern reaches of the forest. The Emerald Enclave is friendly to the elves of the High Forest. However, Morgwais has a troubled history with Turlang, a treant leader of the enclave in Shadowtop Cathedral.
The Hand of Yartar
The famous chronicler Volo once said that everyone in Yartar is after money or power—preferably both—in as short a time as possible. The Harpers, the Lords’ Alliance, and the Zhentarim compete within the city. The local thieves’ guild, the Hand of Yartar, vies for a larger piece of the action, but infighting has kept the guild from having much influence. Within the guild, a new and deadly group is flourishing, comprising ambitious young female thieves and assassins. They are masters of disguise and infiltration, impersonating officials and commoners alike in order to steal, bribe, and murder. The Hand of Yartar might work with the Zhentarim when it’s convenient for both parties.
The Knights of Samular
This order of paladins dedicated to Tyr has pursued justice across the North for over five hundred years. Its founder, Samular Caradoon, built Summit Hall in the Sumber Hills as a training monastery for the order. Young men and women across the North travel to Summit Hall so that they might learn from its aging heroes. The Lady of the Hall, Ushien Stormbanner, is sympathetic to the Order of the Gauntlet.
For over a thousand years, the barbarian humans of the Uthgardt tribes have roved the North, holding to ancient customs of ritual and taboo. They are notorious for their hatred of magic, disavowal of any gods but their own, and hostility to anyone not of their tribes. Most in the North consider Uthgardt to be little better than orcs. Two tribes are the most troublesome to folk of the Dessarin Valley: the Tree Ghosts and the Elk. See chapter 2 for more about the Uthgardt.