Neverwinter: Tyranny of Dragons
That is the true Harper way: subtle and quiet, behind the shouting. Trust and wisdom, and outfoxing others is what we deal in.
The Harpers are an old organization that has risen, been shattered, and risen again several times. Its longevity and resilience are largely due to its decentralized, grassroots, secretive nature, and the near-autonomy of many of its members. The Harpers operate as cells and lone operatives throughout Faerûn, although they interact and share information with one another from time to time as needs warrant. The Harpers’ members pride themselves on their integrity and incorruptibility. Harpers do not seek power or glory, only fair and equal treatment for all.
Harper agents are trained to act alone and depend 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. Although most Harpers prefer to operate in the shadows, there are exceptions.
The Harpers have been shattered, reformed, and reorganized many times in their thousand-year history. They reached a high point of public notoriety before the Spellplague, with a single Faerûn-spanning organization that was not only openly known in itself, but even allowed many of its members to be publicly known. They suffered greatly in the Spellplague, and Netheril swept in to take advantage of the situation, destroying them all but completely. One of the survivors, Eaerlraun Shadowlyn, founded the Harpers of Luruar, operating out of Moongleam Tower in Everlund. This new organization had a more narrow mandate: to counter the forces of Netheril. Eaerlraun’s death at the hands of a Shadovar assassin showed the importance of secrecy in this new era, so while the Harpers of Luruar have made their existence known to provide hope to the enemies of Netheril, who is or isn’t a Harper is a closely-guarded secret.
Other regional Harper organizations have appeared since then, such as the Harpers of Mornskeep, who seem to focus on the aberrant threat as the Harpers of Luruar focus on Netheril. The Harpers of Athkatla oppose the city’s tyrannical Council of Five. The Harpers of Selgaunt work to raise rebellion in Sembia against that country’s Netherese occupation, while and the Harpers of Ormpur in Narfell are dedicated to frustrating the plots of demons and devils. The Harpers of Cormyr do not seem to have such a singular focus, operating on the same sort of broad charter that the old Harpers seemed to adhere to, though limited geographically. It is possible that not all of these Harper groups are truly worthy of the name. Some may have more nefarious or selfish purposes, but try to appropriate the name of heroes of old to gain support.
In each of these organizations, though, agents are given a great deal of freedom to pursue their own activities. However, the Harper Code also includes this ominous command:
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.
An agent who betrays the harp can expect to be visited by a fellow agent before long.
- One can never have too much information.
- Too much power leads to corruption.
- No one should be powerless.
To gather information throughout Faerûn, discern the political dynamics within each region or realm, and promote fairness and equality by covert means. Act openly as a last resort. Thwart tyrants and any leader, government, or group that grows too powerful, and aid the weak, the poor, and the oppressed.
As a secret organization, the Harpers don’t advertise what they’re up to. You’ll need to make contact with a Harper agent to learn more.
The Harpers are loosely organized, but as a covert organization who they can trust matters a great deal.
Rank 1: Asset
Prerequisite: 1 renown with the Harpers.
Each Harper agent works through a number of contacts and assets. If you’re able to complete a task successfully for an agent, they’re likely to try to use you again. Agents won’t risk their lives or identities to save an asset, but they will do whatever else they can to save an asset who gets into trouble.
Rank 2: Prospect
Prerequisite: 3 renown with the Harpers
A particularly useful asset garners attention from the Harpers as a potential recruit. Prospects are usually given more difficult or sensitive missions to see how well they handle the challenge.
Rank 3: Agent
Prerequisite: 10 renown with the Harpers, swearing an oath of loyalty
Assets who prove their ability to handle situations with the subtlety, delicacy, and tact that the Harpers call for may be invited to join the organization as full-fledged agents. Those who accept are given a Harper pin, a magic item that identifies you as a Harper agent and provides valuable aid in your work.
Rank 4: Spymaster
Prerequisite: 25 renown with the Harpers
A successful Harper is unknown to the world at large, but not within the organization. The most accomplished Harper agents become local spymasters, helping to coordinate the organization’s activities across a region like Neverwinter or Waterdeep. At this rank you can use the Running a Spy Network downtime activity to expand the Harper network in your region.
Rank 5: High Harper
Prerequisite: 50 renown with the Harpers, invitation and approval from the other High Harpers
It is said that the Harpers were destroyed in the Spellplague. Since then, local groups have arisen, like the Harpers of Luruar, of Mornskeep, of Athkatla, of Selgaunt, or of Ormpur. Some of them are small gangs trading on the Harpers’ name and reputation. Others, though, are part of a growing network, each dedicated to one specific part of the Harpers’ old agenda. What no one but the highest ranking Harpers knows is that the High Harpers survived the Spellplague, and have since worked tirelessly to build a new, more secure organization.