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I'm currently running LMoP for 4 players. One of them has already joined the Lords' Alliance, and I expect another to join the Emerald Enclave in the near future.

I'm planning to run SKT next, and have already started reading the book. The same 5 major factions of the Forgotten Realms - the Harpers, the Order of the Gauntlet, the Emerald Enclave, the Lords' Alliance, and the Zhentarim - are mentioned quite often, and usually in a way that if one is a member of the faction they can get free lodgings/special items/a special quest.

I wonder, though... How would NPC members of these factions know that party members are, in fact, part of their faction?

  • Would they be wearing a symbol on their clothes (such as a pin)?
  • Would they have to explicitly state to the NPC that they are a part of this faction?
  • Or would the NPCs simply be already informed about the new member and his/her appearance?

Any other possibilities?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This question doesn't really seem specific to SKT or LMOP, as currently phrased. If you want to ask about something specific to those adventures, you should ask those things directly - though if it's substantially different from what you're asking here, you should do so as a separate question. In addition, if you want to mention potential spoilers but don't want to accidentally spoil it for others, you can spoiler-tag a section of text by starting a new line with >! followed by the text you want to hide (e.g. >! this is a spoiler, if it were on its own line in a question or answer). \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Apr 27 '20 at 1:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, I assume you're specifically asking about the existing/canon factions in D&D 5e lore in general (especially the 5 major factions in FR? Or are you asking about a specific faction? \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Apr 27 '20 at 1:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast To me the question is specific to LMOP and SKT, because in LMOP these titles are given to the players without much explanation of how and what. Then in SKT (which has the option to play it as a continuation of LMOP) these titles are quite heavily used. Thus, I think the question is relevant to those adventures. However, 1) the answers to this question will probably also be relevant to other people playing other aventures, 2) It is likely the answers will not be found in the books of LMOP or SKT, and will need to be found elsewhere. \$\endgroup\$ – Opifex Apr 27 '20 at 15:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast I'm asking about the 5 main factions in FR, because these are the ones mentioned in SKT and LMOP. However, if no answer to these factions is available, I'd also be willing to accept an answer that applies to some other faction in D&D lore. \$\endgroup\$ – Opifex Apr 27 '20 at 15:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've edited the title and tags accordingly based on your clarification in the comments. Tags are meant to describe the issue you're asking about - even though LMOP and SKT are the reason you had the question, the question/issue itself is not fundamentally about them (e.g. you don't need to be an expert in those adventures or even have read them to provide information about how the 5 major FR factions work); as such, I removed the tags for those 2 adventures and added the [forgotten-realms] tag instead. That said - great question! I know it's occurred to me before as well. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Apr 27 '20 at 21:01
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Well, seeing as how the faction agent's starting equipment contains a "Badge or emblem of your faction", I'd say that's the most likely thing for identifying a member of a faction. To avoid someone just replicating an emblem and masquerading as a member of the faction, there could also be some sort of code or password to identify a member of the faction.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center center for more guidance. To improve your answer it might be helpful to others to include the page and book name in which it lists the starting equipment. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Senmurv Apr 25 '20 at 18:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ So, do you mean that once someone declares a player as a member of a faction (e.g. Sildar declaring someone a Cloak of The Lords' Alliance), he should also give the player an emblem or badge? This is something I haven't done up until now in my campaign, but it's not too late to make amends. There's one big drawback of this though: by wearing a badge, you show everyone that you're a member of that faction, and not all factions are allied with each other. \$\endgroup\$ – Opifex Apr 26 '20 at 9:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, what do you mean with "seeing as how the faction agent's starting equipment contains a badge"? Are you talking about the Background "Faction Agent" ? Or is there some other rule that I'm missing here? \$\endgroup\$ – Opifex Apr 26 '20 at 9:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Opifex - I'm not familiar with LMOP and its factions, but I do know that, in the real world, the Freemasons have, over the years, used a number of small, unobtrusive pins an other symbols to indicate membership, which a non-member would be unlikely to notice, and would not recognize the significance of even if they did. Only another mason would be likely to pick up on them. If the factions in LMOP are secretive, they may well do the same - but (based only on the name) I would assume that members of a "Lords' Alliance" would want to show everyone that they're a member. \$\endgroup\$ – Dave Sherohman Apr 26 '20 at 13:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Opifex Regarding the drawback of publically advertising your membership, it's a tradeoff - you get the positives and negatives of people knowing you're a faction member. It's also worth noting that a badge can be concealed - you could keep it in a pouch and only bring it out when you tell people you're a faction member to confirm your identity, the way things like FBI badges get used in a lot of TV shows. \$\endgroup\$ – LizWeir Apr 27 '20 at 7:40

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