38

A few options for introducing the cultist: Introduce via a trusted third party. The PCs' friends can vouch for the cultist. Inherit trust from others. The cultist is already well-known and respected by friends of the party, or by civilization at large. Bonus points scored by foreshadowing the cultist's identity before he is relevant, perhaps as a shop-keep ...


29

Do not label him as 'a cultist' You know he works for a cult and is associated with some shady powers. But these kinda things are usually not written on someone's face. Introduce him as an 'informant' who might have some information that might interest the party (maybe even charge for it). Or simply give him another role. He might worship Azazel on every ...


28

How do you get punished when you fail a task at work? Well, if you are a professional athlete, if you lose a game they sack you and never let you play the sport again. However, I see from your profile that you are a programmer so I know if there is a bug in your code they just shoot you dead because no software ever has been released with a bug, right? ...


26

Following Thomas Jacobs' excellently researched answer which traced the term to Ed Greenwood in a Dragon magazine article and in the Powers of Faerûn book , I took the matter to Ed Greenwood himself, who is active on twitter, and asked him for the origin of the term. My tweet: @TheEdVerse Hey there. A question has arisen in the RPG Stackexchange site ...


23

An Ardragon refers to one of two things: A rank within the Zhentilar, the former standing army of Zhentil Keep, the primary base of operations of the Zhentarim. An Ardragon was a rank on the level of Colonel, rank 6 when using the rules for mass battles described in the 3.5e book Power of Faerûn (p. 29). Incidentally, none of the other ranks mentioned in ...


19

The Zhentarim might expel you, or worse It's understandable to be unsure what would happen in this situation. After all, it's hard to predict how an organization that values ruthlessness and personal achievement will view those values when directed against one of their own members. The honest answer is that your DM will have to decide. There may be ...


16

On the contrary - the Communist secret society in Paranoia is no better nor worse than any other secret society. (In 2e, at least, there are no meaningful mechanical differences) The key here lies in the fact that nobody in Alpha Complex actually knows what a Communist is, least of all the communists themselves. In fact, the only reason they even exist is ...


16

You're the DM. If you want to roll this in as a plot hook, then go for it! A few things to keep in mind, though, based off planning I have done for this campaign. Hunting Artus is a big deal, and the Zhents know how many people are looking for Artus. They aren't going to assign hunting him to just anyone. It would likely be only highly-trusted operatives ...


16

There is no specific purpose, for now First of all, Daran does not just give you a title, he offers you to join the Order. He basically recruits the character: Daran Edermath privately approaches certain members of the group to urge them to join the Order of the Gauntlet. He speaks with those who exemplify the virtues of the order, such as honor and ...


15

Xanathar's Guild is well known among criminals, but the identity of Xanathar is a closely guarded secret. Xanathar is detailed in Dungeon #206, in an article titled "The Xanathar: Beholder Crime Lord of Waterdeep". It quotes a thief working in Waterdeep, who says: I don't know if the Xanathar really exists, but as long as I'm working in Waterdeep, I make ...


10

The Knights of the Black Fist in Phlan are the result of Zhentarim activity, but they are not presently connected. Short Version The Zhentarim conquered Phlan and the governor they installed was a worshiper of Bane and the leader of the Brothers of the Black Fist, which were eventually re-organized into the Knights of the Black Fist--which became the city'...


9

That's entirely a matter of writing your background story, and working with the DM so that it fits the world. I would go little further than to choose or roll the specialty, and the traits/ideals/bind/flaw, and talk to the DM about the rest. The specialties have no mechanical function; they only give some info about what aspects of military life your ...


8

There's no inherent point - so it's up to you as DM The party members are given the opportunity to join a faction as part of the adventure, as you point out. However, there are no story implications for joining these factions as part of the adventure. As such, any consequences of joining a faction are entirely up to you (as DM), and whether you want to ...


8

The short answer: yes, it's as manageable as any other party with different motives/alignments. Though advancement through the guilds is vastly different you can simply adapt the situations to make it count for everyone. Here's an example of some elements that can be pulled from the same situation to apply for some of the guilds. The party stops a ...


6

The Five Factions The Five Factions have been known to work together, so there isn't any implicit conflict there. Each faction has its own motivations, goals, and philosophy. Some are more heroic than others, but all band together in times of trouble to thwart major threats. The two additional factions added in Waterdeep: Dragon Heist are relatively ...


5

The Roc is used as a mount, not as a "companion" (such as a BeastMaster's companion). As such it needs to be abide by the mount rulings if you're strictly following the written rules. This means if you are not riding it you are also not controlling it. All creatures including mounts can attack on their own. However they cannot be controlled in the same way ...


4

This is discussed in 5th-edition sources. Volo's Guide to Monsters (2016) and Waterdeep: Dragon Heist (2018) supplement, and in some cases update, the information from Dungeon #206 (2012) that Quadratic Wizard provided in their answer. The first two paragraphs of the passage quoted below discuss what Xanathar Guild members know about their leader, while ...


4

They should still get the mission specific reward, but what the consequences of them failing are depends on how badly they failed If you are going by the book on this faction mission, the Harpers have already gotten a recommendation from a long time member to They have told the characters : i.e. they want a second opinion on a group that has already been ...


3

The Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica has rules for tracking a PC's ranking and progression through the Guilds of Ravnica that could be used for similar organizations in other settings. In general, you gain two points of Renown for each relevant adventure that benefits those organizations, and each organization has a series of ranks that you can attain with ...


3

The book Rise of Tiamat may help I'll avoid details below, but there is necessarily a structural spoiler. One aspect of this campaign is unifying disparate interests. Those interests can be groups or individuals. They each have an opinion on the various doings of the adventurers or events the adventurers may influence. On page 94 there is a grid with ...


3

A 5th level character cannot join a faction unless they were already a member of another faction. As of season 8, faction membership is tied to having the Faction Agent background (or any background with the Safe Haven feature). Since you cannot change your background after reaching level 5, you can't gain the mechanical benefits of joining a faction. The ...


2

Both the Aspis and the Pathfinders are legal organizations in many countries. Therefore they can't just war on each other openly. And often their goals don't conflict in a given area. However, when they do, the competition can turn into hostilities... In the Serpent's Skull Adventure Path, several groups organize safaris to find a lost city, including the ...


1

The harpers might have a different job for them next time, one that is more difficult and pays less, since you failed to complete your assigned task, that or they are told outright, you failed to pay your dues to the guild, this is your first warning. As a gm, i generally give characters in good standing at least one mess up, depending on size and other ...


1

The upcoming Acquisitions Incorporated book may include useful information. Penny Arcade and Wizards of the Coast are collaborating on an upcoming Acquisitions Incorporated book, based on the D&D show(s) of the same name. The name refers to an in-universe adventuring mega-corporation around which the shows are based. James Haeck's article on D&D ...


1

If they weren't already citizens, owning property in Waterdeep certainly qualifies them as citizens, and thus qualifies them for membership in the Lords' Alliance. How one becomes a citizen of Waterdeep is not defined in the game, and in particular it is not defined in these books: Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide Waterdeep: Dragon Heist Waterdeep: Dungeon ...


1

Titles served to many purposes, but basically it describe what you are and what privileges (and responsibilities) you have and such. nobility: King or Queen are more "noble" than Prince or Princess, which are more "noble" then ... (sometimes the lower parts was actually more poor, than average citizen, having just the title and maybe sword, but still where ...


1

Show, Don't Tell If at all possible, a very effective method can be to leave behind evidence or find scenarios where said cultist can showcase that he is in it for the greater good. It can be notes or clues left behind, or maybe the party stumbles across him in an encounter fighting a greater enemy. Furthermore, a combat encounter where your NPC is clearly ...


1

You could introduce them in the market square of a city. If they assault the cultist, the guard will be on their backs right away.


1

Secret Society and Mutant Power only matter if the player makes them matter. Balance isn't really a problem, since Paranoia is almost exclusively a one-shot or a short run of sessions. More importantly, while there might be player knowledge that replacement clones have the same Secret Society and Mutant Power, it's not character knowledge. The next clone is ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible