Neverwinter: Tyranny of Dragons
Free State of Neverwinter
Free State of Neverwinter
Is anyone so good or so wise that they have the right to tell another person what to do?
The Free State of Neverwinter was founded two years ago when Branwen Farlong saved the Sons of Alagondar from self-destruction and introduced them to the anarchist philosophy of Ander Brightwood, the lost Hero of Neverwinter. Since then, the city has been divided between the Free State operating in the eastern half of the city (the River District and the Chasm District) and the Commonwealth of Neverwinter claiming the western half of the city (the Alagondar and Blacklake Districts).
The war with Netheril has kept the Brightwoods (as they call themselves) from deposing King Rodrik. Instead, they compete with the Commonwealth to prove that they can rebuild the city, wage war, and protect the people of Neverwinter more effectively without a hierarchy than with one. The Lords’ Alliance has fared poorly in the war, while the Brightwoods’ Greycloak Militia has been one of the most effective fighting forces in the conflict. However, there is little doubt that the city would have fallen to the Netherese if not for the intervention of the ancient red dragon Klauth.
The Free State is founded on the principle of free association. If you want a road, for example, you find other people who also want a road and go about the business of building it. You might take up a collection to pay for the materials and pay people willing to do the work. In practice, though, currency has been losing its value in the Free State as barter has become more popular. Much of the barter works on promises of favors owed in the future, which so far has, for the most part, worked out. Those who don’t keep their word quickly develop a bad reputation, and few people deal with them, forcing them to deal in currency once again.
Groups are constantly forming, splitting apart, and merging together in the Free State as their interests shift, all guided by long and often tedious consensus meetings. Each group can define its own methods, but nearly all of the groups in the Free State have adopted the standard that a member can agree, oppose, or abstain (meaning they don’t necessarily agree, but they also don’t disagree enough to block it). If anyone opposes, debate continues until the idea is dropped or modified enough so that no one opposes it. Sometimes one person finds herself so alone that she decides to leave the group, and they reach consensus without her, but on many occasions the truly disastrous outcomes that many feared would follow from an anarchist enclave have been averted by a lone opposing voice dragging a meeting long into the night. Many observers recently have opined that where the Commonwealth can come to a decision much more quickly, the Free State will usually come to a decision that is much better.
There is a meeting for the entire Free State that meets every Firstday, and usually goes on through the whole day and well into the night. There is generally little accomplished with such a large group (save taking up a new collection every tenday to buy new materials for the Greycloak Militia), but it provides a community forum for all sovereigns to meet, discuss the matters of the day, and learn the opinions of the community. Most effective, concrete action is accomplished by smaller groups, though.
The Greycloak Militia is, in fact, older than the Free State itself, and has been one of the most successful forces fighting in the Second Shadow War. Just as they would to build a road, the anarchists gather up those who would like to fight the Netherese, form a squad, and head into the woods to do as much damage as they can. In that, they operate in the same manner that so many adventuring parties would, with just a little bit more organization. The militia sometimes organizes larger offenses by sending messengers between squads. Each squad must reach a consensus on the plan individually, and then those squads that agree to the plan carry it out. This process makes it almost impossible for the militia to carry out large-scale offenses. Only on a handful of occasions have they managed to get more than ten squads to cooperate at once, such as at the Battle of Xinlenal. This makes them rather terrible on the offensive. However, their cell structure makes them impervious to Netherese attempts to infiltrate and take over, since their spies can, at best, only take over a single squad at a time. The squads can also respond quickly and independently to threats, making them quite effective at defense. Their role in the war may go some ways to explaining why the conflict has dragged on: they are effective at keeping the Netherese from taking over the city, but ineffective at scoring a major victory that might end the war.
The free state is guided by an anarchist philosophy first outlined by Ander Brightwood and significantly tempered by the Brightwoods’ experience.
- Most of us have barely enough wisdom to govern our own lives. No one has wisdom enough to govern another’s.
- Hierarchy is poisonous, making a society vulnerable to corruption from above and unrest from below. Absolute freedom is the only solid bedrock any society can build upon.
- Society must be built upon solidarity, not command.
Netheril poses the greatest and most immediate threat to Neverwinter, but while the conflict drags on the Commonwealth becomes more established, and with that the dream of a free Neverwinter slips ever further from their grasp. The Brightwoods hope to defeat the Netherese and rebuild the city, and hopefully to do so in a way that will humiliate Rodrik, reveal the perils of hierarchy, and in so doing ensure Neverwinter’s freedom.
Orc Bounties: Tribes allied with Netheril have sent raiding parties, which are now marauding across the countryside. Bring right orc ears to the next community meeting to collect your reward. Rewards: 10 Lords per ear, 1 renown for each set of 5 ears.
Unmask the Conspiracy: The Waterclock reported that the Bank of Waterdeep bought a controlling share of Manycoins Moneylending when the Commonwealth of Neverwinter defaulted on several of its debts last year. Since then, Manycoins has been evicting people from their homes, and many Neverwintans have been forced to declare bankruptcy. Some sovereigns of the Free State allege that the Bank of Waterdeep is controlled by worshippers of Tiamat, but the community cannot reach a consensus without more evidence. Provide evidence to allow the community to reach a consensus at the next meeting to collect your reward. Rewards: 200 Lords for the party, 100 XP each, 2 renown each.
The Brightwoods do not have any formal ranks or titles, but there are certainly members of the community who have gained more renown than others and are respected for their accomplishments and contributions to the Free State of Neverwinter.
Rank 1: Sovereign
Prerequisite: 1 renown with the Free State of Neverwinter.
Every individual is her own sovereign in the Free State of Neverwinter. No one has the right to command you, just as you have no right to command anyone else. In practical terms, others who are ignorant of this fact may try to command you, but as a sovereign you know that you have the freedom to choose whether or not you will do as they say — and the freedom to tell them so, or not. Any sovereign may join one of the Free State’s community meetings, where issues are discussed and the community comes to a consensus on what course of action to take. These meetings are sometimes sparsely attended, as they are lengthy and often boring affairs. At this level, your relative obscurity means that social skills rolls made to convince people at these meetings are at a disadvantage.
Rank 2: Compatriot
Prerequisite: 3 renown with the Free State of Neverwinter
When you have gained a few accomplishments for the community, you are recognized as an active and committed member of it. You will find others at community meetings taking your ideas more seriously. Social skill rolls made to convince people at these meetings no longer suffer from disadvantage.
Rank 3: Revolutionary
Prerequisite: 10 renown with the Free State of Neverwinter
Those who have proven their commitment to the anarchist cause are respected in the Free State of Neverwinter. Your social skill rolls made to convince people at community meetings now have advantage.
Rank 4: Folk Hero
Prerequisite: 25 renown with the Free State of Neverwinter
You have proven yourself a hero of the Free State. You can find a place to hide, rest, or recuperate among your fellow compatriots unless you have shown yourself to be a danger to them. They will shield you from the law or anyone else searching for you, though they will not risk their lives for you. Your social skill rolls made to convince people at community meetings have advantage.
Rank 5: Hero of Neverwinter
Prerequisite: 50 renown with the Free State of Neverwinter
The people of the Free State speak of you as a Hero of Neverwinter, like the founder of their philosophy, Ander Brightwood, who saved the city from ancient evils and a Luskan invasion in the days of Nasher Alagondar. You can find a place to hide, rest, or recuperate among your fellow compatriots even if doing so puts them in danger. They will shield you from the law or anyone else searching for you, even at risk to their own lives. Your social skill rolls made to convince people at community meetings have advantage.