From Sundren Wiki
Factions are special organizations in Sundren. While there may be many organizations in the world, the Sundren factions have a large amount of power in Sundren. There are a variety of factions for all sorts of ambitions. Destroying evil, replacing the government, protecting nature, and getting rich are just a few faction goals. Your goals may not match precisely, but joining up with a larger organization yields several advantages:
- DMs give special attention to factions in their plots.
- There are special member-only faction forums on the Sundren Web site.
- There are special faction-only stores, giving players access to rare, powerful goods.
- Factions have ranks through which players can escalate. Higher ranking players yield more power and control over those with lower ranks. They also have access to more powerful items in the faction stores.
- Within many factions exist sub-factions. Sub-factions are smaller organizations with similar purposes as their parent faction. They are considered allies and partners to the parent factions. They share faction forum access and some resources as well.
The Sundarian Empire
It is the advent of a new age.
With an earth-shattering crack, the falling City of Sundren had brought with it changes to the valley beyond what most could see. While the Day of Broken Blades was a fading light, the settlement of the City was a new dawn that signaled the coming of a new era of peace and prosperity for all who called Sundren Valley their home.
The noble families in both the Regional Council and the Senate seek out skilled individuals in both blade and word, elite fighters and diplomats to serve them in their dealings.
Mercenaries sworn to noble service, the Condottieri are men and women acting as the arms, hands, and fingers of the noble families. While each adventurer serves his or her own particular family, they are viewed as a whole as noble servants. Sworn to service, these unique men and women answer to family problems, represent family interests where there is no familial member present, and fight their battles whether by word or blade.
Lady Tehk of the Lance, sworn paladin of the Red Knight sought favor with her fellows for a purpose: to seek out the reason behind the blindness, and to remove it. A sworn faithful of the Red Knight, Lady Tehk rode off into the wilds of Sundren with a small cadre of knights, calling themselves the Vanitium. These knights are a small group even within the Triumvirate, and are seen mostly as foolish wanderers who chase the wind. Ridiculed by some, they are a priceless aid in the wilds. While they are seen rarely within civilized lands, the Vanitium protect explorers and travelers when they are come across in the wilds. Many a merchant or explorer has owed their lives to these questing knights, and they have a fearsome reputation as trackers and warriors.”
A collection of goodly clerics and knights from a variety of faiths who seek out the meaning behind the Blindness of the Gods, and to work Their will through the valley. Unlike the old Arbiter’s Alliance, these young divine warriors do not necessarily adhere to the traditional means of knighthood and battle. Instead, the Vanitium welcomes all those who not only seek to work their gods’ will, but questions their faith and the faith of the more traditional and conservative orders. They are based within Sundren City, but are known to roam the wilds to not only protect travelers, but to seek out the meaning behind the gods' blindness within the valley of Sundren.
The Aquoran Protectorate
Aquor gains autonomy five years after the Day of Broken Blades, under the protection Felicia Pendraig and by extension the Zakharan Empire. The Zakaharans negotiate a deal with Felicia’s cousin, Evelyn Meriadoc, for immigration rights from Zakhara. As a result, Aquor has a rolling influx of Southern Continent merchants and coin, which diffuses through the country through the now protected roads of the Regional Council.
With the return of Felicia Pendraig, the town has once again come under the rule of the noble family albeit with loyalties to a nation thousands of miles away. Felicia and her Zakharan troops took the town, with the help of River Highsun, turned it into a trading region for the entire country. Goods travel from the Port, Sundren City, and even Sestra to be traded for the rare furs, metals, and goods from the Spine. A simple taxation on the transactions has turned Aquor into a wealthy town once again, attracting mercantile interests of all kinds. Of course, this could not have happened without an intervening force. Avanthyr still takes a strong stance against both Thay as well as Sestra, and the Sundarian Empire too ostensibly refuses to conduct trade with Sestra straight out.
The Saharin (Non-Player Faction)
What some call the Silent Peace made this feasible, with the Zakharans sworn to Felicia keeping the peace and profiting from the nexus of trade. The Saharin, as they call themselves, are sworn to the Pendraig family and its masters in the Southern Continent. Zakharan men and women who grew up in the wastes and deserts of their homeland, they hold unique views on everything from honor to hospitality. The cultural and racial differences between the and the residents of Sundren valley has at times caused distinct tensions, but the growing population cannot be ignored.
What the Saharin do not lack, is skill and loyalty. Their lives are dedicated to the Pendraig family, and their blades are bound to keep the Silent Peace. Woe be to those who seek to violate the Peace, for the Saharin's curved blades wait patiently.
While the Saharin are loyal to both Felicia and to their motherland Zakhara, the Brightspears are the Pendraig's alone. Derisively known as the "Burning Men," they are the equivalent to the Condotierri in Aquor. Mercenaries sworn to the service of House Pendraig, the house uses them to maintain their influence both inside and out of Aquor.
The Brightspears come from many walks of life, but they all have one thing in common: sworn loyalty to the Pendraigs. They can be councilors, bodyguards, mages, spies, and anything else that the family needs in order to conduct its business. As a result, many an aspiring adventurer, born and raised in the mountain town, seek an audience with Felicia in order to gain acceptance to the Brightspear name, and the brand that marks each of their arms. Trained in combat, diplomacy, and subterfuge, these elite individuals are watched closely, wherever they go.
The Whurest Kazhunki
The Whurest Dwarves' investments made by their wise leader Dryn Stonewhisperer have borne fruit. With Aquor's rise in riches, so too has the dwarven hold risen in power and prestige. Well funded, Dryn has seen fit to outfit some of the hold's dwarves as elite units, forged to defend the hold's interests within the valley and beyond.
These knights, or 'kazhunki', differ from their predecessors in temperament and ability in that they are the first organized military presence in Whurest since the Skullcleavers first swore allegiance to the Whurest Clan. No longer having to split their time between forging a life for themselves in the inhospitable North and fighting in the southern valley, these dwarven soldiers are entirely dedicated to the betterment of the hold and the protection of its interests in Sundren. While some dwarves may still hold to forgecraft and the like as per tradition, the Kazhunki are foremost Whurest's military arm in the Spine.
At an early age, noble children are carefully examined for any signs of arcane talent. Any who are shown to have even a small aptitude are immediately inducted into wizardry school, followed by a long and arduous apprenticeship to a Red Wizard. Those who survive their apprenticeship and are ambitious, resourceful, and talented are invited to join the Red Wizards. The Red Wizards send out envoys into the rest of Faerun, seeking customers for their lucrative magical businesses. One such envoy has established itself as an Enclave within Sundren.
The Sestran Stratocracy
Sestra undergoes a revolution, of sorts. Under the iron leadership of Grand Marshal Hashart Datton and his troops, the town flourishes in light of the Emperor's olive branch of peace. Datton cracks down on the fanatic tendencies of the Black Hand, forcing out those who would continuously seek open warfare with the Sundarian Empire and Port Avanthyr. After the Colibrite vampires mysteriously vanish, Hashart's efforts come to fruition; the Black Hand as it was known in the past is completely eradicated.
Instead, Hashart's philosophy of iron order combined with a tempered approach to other religions has proven to improve the lives of Sestran peasantry. Festivals to Chauntea are encouraged, and while Bane is the patron god of the town, those who worship goodly gods are not killed on sight. However, that isn't to say that those who swear fealty to other cities and the Triumvirate are welcomed. A non-aggression pact, supported by the Regional Council, is hardly a full peace treaty. Rather, Sestra instead seeks to gather resources and strength by instituting mandatory military service.
The Order of Rod and Star
The Order, usually referred to as the Black Cloaks outside formal occassions, has ties to both ruling power and the main military forces in Sestra. However, it's members (separate from official positions or status as nobility outside the order) hold no actual authority within Sestra. Descended from Korvus Tehk's Knights of the Black Gauntlet, as well as the Sestran Militia headed under both Dreadmaster Exitium and Marshal Datton, these men and women are dedicated to the preservation of not only their home, but the expansion of Sestran power and the Faiths it was built upon. Firmly holding the belief that discipline and obedience are the twin virtues that precede any other, the Black Cloaks represent the most devoted members of Sestran society to the tenants of Bane, Myrkul, and Sestran superiority.
The Sable Order
The Sable Order espouses a government ruled not by the Black Hand descended military, but by those native Sestrans who lived here before the takeover. Calling for rule by Sestran nobility, or in the alternative native Sestran families, the Order favors its members who can trace their lineage back to before the Invasion.
The Order holds many members who worship Siamorphe, the goddess of nobility or divine right, and many former military men and women have joined their ranks in response to their inability to rise higher in the Sestran Guard as a result of their 'lack of loyalty' to the Sestran cause and ideals.
Its members hold ritualistic risings in rank, each having to be sponsored by another of the Order of a higher rank. As a result, each member is intensely loyal to their superiors who have mentored them to reach higher positions within. The Order espouses a right to rule that stems from Sestran ancestry, and is beginning to hold sway with those not within the military organization, or are not 'citizens'. Many Chauntean farmers, craftsmen, and traders are finding opportunity with the Order's financial connections to large corporations such as Exigo.
The Ducal State of Avanthyr
Following the Emperor's announcement and Avanthyr's declaration of independence, the Legion withdrew its troops and the Meriadoc family took control of the Port's civil governance and security, the latter made possible through partnership with the Northern Watch in conjunction with the Avanthyr militia. Founded by Esmond Aurelianus, the Watch supplemented the Port's newly minted militia to keep peace within the city while safeguarding its borders.
Having no desire to reinstate the Arbiters' system of government yet not wishing to relinquish their power as the city's founders, the Meriadocs now guide Avanthyr's future ruling as heads of state, supported by the Council of Ten, Supreme Tribunal, and General Assembly - a mixed government combining monarchy/aristocracy and democracy. The Duke serves as Avanthyr's head of state and chief executive and passed down the Meriadoc family tree.
The Northern Watch
The Northern Watch has grown from the small order of knights headed by Esmond Aurelianus into a full military force stationed within Avanthyr. While by no means as numerous as either Sestra's military forces nor the Legion, the Northern Watch serve as heavy cavalry to Avanthyr's own corpsmen by acting as both diplomatic emissaries as well as wartime commanders.
The Watch holds many minor nobility and religiously inclined warriors, but by no means is it restricted to carrying a blade and riding a horse. The Watch officially accepts all members of good-aligned churches and unaffiliated worshipers, though the most common patron deities are that of Helm, Tyr and Torm. The Northern Watch is led first by it's Grandmaster and second by it's Council of Three.
The Unaligned Powers
Not every organization sees it beneficial to tie themselves down to any one city-state. Those in the valley who hold their allegiance back choose so for their causes instead of governments. Whether it be for religion, coin or nature they can be where they're needed most.
The Eboncoin has always been a group shrouded in mystery, and that has hardly changed. The Eboncoin has steadily spread its tendrils throughout Port Avanthyr, claiming the trade-rich territory as its own. Smuggling into the country illegal goods, and siphoning organization's like Exigo's own resources out from under the noses of the authorities, the Eboncoin is jealous of any crossing into its territory without permission. Of course, what it considers its territory is sometimes up for dispute, but the 'Family' is always willing to come to some sort of a deal.
However, there are even rumors among those who work in the shadows every eve. Whispers of the Eboncoin having another purpose, a higher calling. While no one is able to pin down anything specific, there is a name that echoes in the black, empty night: The Guardare. Those who watch, it's said, have a great interest in the balance of power in the valley and seek to enforce it through any means possible.
A remnant of Left Hand magi, the Magisterium was formed by those magi who sought to enact what they viewed as the true will of Mundus: Magical innovation tempered by control. Some call it a guild, others a cult, the Magisterium acts as both a binding on its mages and a magical collegiate on par with the greatest of magical schools. A strict hierarchy controls the guild as a whole, headed by a council of Masters. Beneath them, a blossoming school of magical invention is guided by its elders and is pushed to the boundaries of arcane theory and practice.
The Magisterium's laws only govern those who adhere to its will; it holds no sway in the valley's city-states. But woe to those who cross the Magisterium, for its protective wings shelter those who call it home.
The Blackwood Mercenaries
When the Hellstroms fell from power and their investments vanished overnight, the Blackwood saw this as a way to escape the majority share that Hellstrom used to control their activities. Ryzad Kalim, seeing his connections within the Hellstrom family now almost entirely worthless, used his own funds to buy out the stock invested in his own mercenary company. Quickly turning to their longtime partner, Exigo, the Blackwood Mercenaries are now an independent organization within the valley; their contracts span among the city-states.
The Blackwood now work exclusively on the basis of guild contracts, no longer tied exclusively to Exigo or Hellstrom interests. As a result, the guild has seen an expansion of business in Sundren City, Avanthyr, Aquor, and even Sestra. Blackwood mercenaries are still known as some of the toughest mercenary guilds out there, but they are no longer a standing army of soldiers. Rather, the mercs seek out lucrative jobs that they can then bring back profits to their guild and seek greater benefits for 'retirement'. Although, this is hardly the case for the majority of their men and women, as one can imagine for a violent profession.
The Triumvirate is a coalition of paladins, clerics, and warrior priests united by their faith in Tyr, Torm, and Ilmater. They have come to Sundren with a sacred task: intercept and eradicate the servants of Bane within the valley. With the events of the Day of Broken Blades, the Triumvirate is now a broken faction. No longer an army, a few scattered paladins and knights travel Sundren, seeking to right wrongs and serve their gods.
Tuatha Dé Dúlra
Founded in the distant past, before Sundren's establishment of a nation, the Tuatha de Dula follow in the steps of their ancient teachers in their quest to understand, repair and nurture the mystical underpinnings of the land they have grown to love. Although all are welcome to participate in the fellowship, few are trusted with the deepest secrets of the Tuatha, sacred mysteries that the wisest of druids, shamans and sages still seek to unravel.
The Cwn Annwn hail from the frozen forests of the Icewind Dale. The cold lands and tundra of the Spine nurture a fierce survival, and this collection of people hold the mantra 'survival of the fittest' over all else. Brutal, vicious warriors and druids, the Cwn Annwn claim the lands untouched by man as their own.