How are the Zhentarim holding up around the time of the Tyranny of Dragons campaign?

I haven't been able to find much information: SCAG doesn't have anything on them at all, and the campaign books have some campaign-relevant info but no background. Even the wiki doesn't have much for that time period.

I know strongholds like Llorkh and Zhentil Keep have been lost or destroyed, but the faction is presented as recovering, and even trying to go legitimate and gaining reputation.

I'd like to know where their faction leaders reside, where the bulk of their forces are and what they are doing, and really anything that'll allow me to add more flavor to my campaign.


1 Answer 1


The SCAG, set in 1489DR has this information, page 78:

  • There was one stronghold of the Zhents that had not fallen and whose leader never wavered in his dedication to the organization. Darkhold stands deep in the mountains of the Western Heartlands, and there (...) they swore allegiance anew to the leader who promised to reforge the organization into something stronger than before. The man to whom this new Zhentarim owed fealty was a dark knight known only as the Pereghost. The Pereghost had long led the armed forces of the Zhentarim at Darkhold. and his vision for the revival of the organization was along military lines. After a time of recruitment and training, the Zhentarim emerged from Darkhold not as conquerers or as bullying capitalists but as mercenaries willing to serve others instead of forcing them to serve.

  • Membership in the Zhentarim is difficult to assess, but my source told me they might have greater numbers now than before their organization's fall. New leadership for this larger group has led to a shift in focus. While still a source of capable mercenaries, the Zhentarim have diversified into mercantile pursuits.

  • They have no need to terrorize the folk of Darkhold Vale, for one simple reason: they already control them.

Darkhold's setup is described in more detail on page 79.

  • The Zhentarim maintain two war units within Darkhold: the Storm Watch, a cadre of veteran Zhentarim soldiers who act as heavy infantry, and the Gray Feathers, archers primarily responsible for the defense of the fortress.

  • An aerie of wyverns, bred and trained to defend Darkhold and to obey the Pereghost. Their trainer is a ranger named Grigarr, whose body is pocked with myriad scars from wyvern stings. The man is a greedy wretch who claims he is now immune to the wyverns' venom, after having been stung so many times.

And on page 147

  • The Zhentarim. In recent years, the Zhentarim have become more visible in the world at large, as the group works to improve its reputation among the common people.

Page 152:

  • Some organizations, such as the Zhentarim, Flaming Fist, and the nation of Mintarn have hundreds or thousands of members and can provide private armies to those with enough funds.

I also found a writeup, dating back 5 real-world years, but citing no sources.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It may be closer to 1492, but the Zhentarim can also be significant players in Waterdeep. \$\endgroup\$
    – Raj
    Commented Mar 10, 2022 at 12:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Wow. I wonder why they didn't list the actual relevant content in the SCAG index. That only lists pages 12 and 147 under "Zhentarim". \$\endgroup\$
    – Jorn
    Commented Mar 12, 2022 at 18:01

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