With all these holiday dates my schedule has tumbled quite a bit. However, here I’ve come again after some great family time while watching the fireworks to bring you new articles.
Today, I wanted to continue a bit the article I made a while ago in which I made factions more interesting. By climbing the ranks in factions, the players can earn new benefits. If you don’t see your favorite faction listed down here, I address the fact in the Conclusion section. I originally wrote them for my Waterdeep: Dragon Heist campaign, and received pretty good feedback. Hope you like them as well!
My plan with creating these faction benefits by climbing the ranks is for you to add them to your Forgotten Realms games or for any faction in your world. Even if these factions are nowhere close to the ones from your home game, you will surely be inspired to create your own after reading these. If you consider them useful, add them to your game. If you are not the DM but would like these benefits to be offered to you by the DM from joining a faction, share it with them.
Without further ado, here are the ranks’ benefits:
Grey Hands. Rank 2: Junior Gray Hand
You’ve got my sword: You can ask for 2 Gray Hand Initiates and one of a higher rank chosen by the DM to assist you for a day. At the start of a day, you can ask for the assistance of as many as you want from the three, without requesting aid from the same member more than once a tenday. Stats may vary and are left for the DM to decide.
Grey Hands. Rank 3: Senior Gray Hand
Immediate assistance: You are given a One Dimensional Whistle, allowing you to call for assistance from the “You’ve got my sword” team when needed. These people will receive your exact location as long as you are located within their same plane, and will go to your aid. Whistling twice indicates you want them to arrive sneakily (Stealth +2)
Improved armament: As a Senior Gray Hand, you will be offered a +1 weapon or shield, as well as a Ring of Mind Shielding, and 2 lvls 1-3 spell scrolls of your choice.
Grey Hands. Rank 4: Force Gray Initiate
For the good of all: Your One Directional Whistle is improved to call for an extra Force Gray member to come in your aid. These Grey Hand (or Force Gray) members will help you as long as what you ask for is for the good of Faerûn.
Call of Duty: You are given a special red Stone of Sending, with which the Open Lord can issue you commands or ask you for Force Gray tasks. This Stone of Sending can’t be used to contact her or any other person, but to receive messages.
Harpers. Rank 2: Harpshadow
City Eye: You are offered a City Eye. This NPC can be put in charge of staying or working at one place within a 10 miles radio. They will stay at that place all day long or until the player meets them and select a new location. Once a day, roll a Wisdom (Perception) check for the City eye. The DM will establish what information you gather from it if any. Any information gathered by the City Eye will be informed to higher-ranked Harper members. The City Eye’s life lies in your hands and you may be punished if harm may come their way. The City Eye uses the commoner stat block with a Perception of +3.
Harpers. Rank 3: Brightcandle
Master of disguise: You will be offered an intensive course on how to disguise yourself (become proficient in disguise kit), as well as the chance of renting costumes (makeup included) for 5 gp, which will be refunded when the costume is returned. In case of needing an elaborate costume or clothing, you may need to ask for it in advance, to have it made as soon as possible. You may ask for these kinds of disguises in any of the Harper affiliated locales. Whoever disguises the Brightcandle member must make a Dexterity Disguise Kit Check (Harpers NPCs have a +6 on these rolls).
Improved armament: As a Brightcandle, you will be offered a +1 weapon or shield, as well as a Cloak of Elvenkind
Harpers. Rank 4: Wise Owl
Fountain of Knowledge: When you acquire the Wise Owl rank, you gain access to the great Harper archives, hidden in many cities. You can spend a day in one of these to research a specific topic. You may ask your DM 5 questions, whose answers may be hidden in the archives, and the DM must answer truthfully. You can visit this article to get a better understanding of how this works.
Lords Alliance. Rank 2: Redknife
I’m in charge here: You can now issue simple orders to City Watch and City Guard members with a rank of Lieutenant or lower like letting you through certain guarded areas as long as they aren’t working for a higher-ranked member at the moment. While following your orders, these members’ lives lie in your hands and you may be punished if harm may come their way.
Lords Alliance. Rank 3: Stingblade
My word is the law: You can now issue orders to City Watch and City Guard members with a rank lower than Commander of the Watch, similarly than in the “I’m in charge here” trait. Additionally, you’ll be allowed to take all actions that would only guarantee you an edict without being penalized. Greater crimes will still affect you as normal. Abusing the law by making use of this trait in a regular manner can lead to City Watch or Lord’s Alliance members soliciting for an investigation to be made on you, which could lead to great penalizations.
Improved armament: As a Stingblade, you will be offered a +1 weapon, as well as a Stone of Keen Aid. This stone can be used with a bonus action to call for the closest City Watch group to come to your aid.
Lords Alliance. Rank 4: Warduke
War Commander: You are given the authorization to call for meetings with the Open Lord whenever you need to. As a Warduke you have a voice in meetings where important decisions must be made and can be allowed to command a whole small army to battle, be it against another city, or some important threat.
Zhentarim. Rank 2: Wolf
Swift Death: You gain access to the Zhentarim Delivery Service. You will receive special sales prices for ranged and martial finesse weapons, and poisons. Moreover, the poisons catalog available to you will increase.
Zhentarim. Rank 3: Viper
The right tool to kill: As a Viper, you’ll get better deals on materials for creating your own poisons: Truth Syrum (50gp), Assassin’s Blood (50gp), Drow’s venom (100gp), Snake’s Venom (100gp), Essence of ether (150gp), Malice (120gp). For more information, these venoms can be found in the Dungeon Master’s Guide.
An express course will be given to Vipers to become proficient in the use of a Poisoner’s Kit. Venoms’ creation DC is decided by the DM, depending on which one is to be made. The price mentioned above gives you enough ingredients for a single dose.
Improved armament: As a Viper, you will be offered a Dagger of Venom. Additionally, you can choose to receive a +1 armor of your choosing.
Zhentarim. Rank 4: Ardragon
Master of Operations: You are provided with more faction missions of higher category, that offer better pay. Furthermore, you may solicit a number of Zhentarim agents to aid you in missions for infiltration and/or assassination. The number of operatives may vary depending how many are available to help, and any inconvenience to be had will befall on you.
Have a ceremony (even if it is as small as a simple reunion with a leader) every time one of the players go up in the ranks. Make the factions come with interesting offers to the players, such as leaving a faction to have a higher rank in another one. There’s much to do with these ranks and factions, and if properly used, they could become the most important part of your campaign.
The reason I didn’t write a 5th rank is that I wanted to give freedom to the DM to give the player whatever they are looking forward the most after acquiring that position. Give them a personalized benefit for reaching that high point in their career. They will surely like it more than a pre-established one.
The reason I didn’t write ranks examples for The Order of the Gauntlet and The Emerald Enclave (and Bregan D’aerthe if you consider that a faction as well) is because my players didn’t join those in my campaign, making me have no reason to create them. If you do like this article and would like me to create some more ranks for the ones I wrote (or some for the factions I didn’t cover) let me know and I’ll do my best to create some interesting ones!
If you liked this
What happens if your PCs are given a mission to complete a specific task that can have multiple resolutions? Get prepared for it by giving a look to my article in which I teach you how to create these kinds of encounters