Legacy of the Green Regent
The Harpers are a semi-secret organization in Faerûn.The Harpers operate mainly in the North Faerûn, along the Sword Coast, the Western Heartlands and the Dalelands. Due to the influence of the Moonstars, the Harpers have a relatively small amount of influence within Waterdeep. They have roughly 120 members at any time within the city’s walls. The group itself is extremely decentralized and the nearest thing they have to a base of operations is Twilight Hall in Berdusk. An often employed means of achieving their goals is assisting adventurers who are on quests that would further Harper interests.
The organization was created near the founding of Myth Drannor by elven elders, generals, and priests, and led by an elven mage named “Lady Steel” (and advised by a young Elminster.) Over time, and after the fall of Myth Drannor, this organization evolved into a new group, founded by Elminster and other influential and powerful individuals, with support from many freedom loving and good-aligned deities and churches (although the churches don’t always agree with Harper aims, the deities themselves do.) The deities who sponsored the Harpers are; Deneir, Eldath, Liira, Mielikki, Milil, Mystra, Oghma, Selune, Silvanus, Tymora, and The entire Seldarine. Most of the Seven Sisters, especially Storm Silverhand, are dedicated Harpers.
Pushing for Balance as well as what is right, they oppose all evil organizations such as the Zhentarim and the Red Wizards of Thay. The Harpers strive for many small, allied kingdoms, keeping rulers close to their people and too occupied with actively helping their subjects to be concerned with making war and conquering their neighbors. They are also concerned with maintaining a balance between nature and civilization, keeping woodlands and other natural areas safe from too much destruction, and with preserving all knowledge and learning, especially history, music and art. They recruit a variety of people, but the majority tend to be human, elven, and half-elven rangers, druids, and bards (people who are free to roam around a lot); there are more female than male Harpers. Harper members are recognizable by their magically imbued silver pins, which grant various magical protections (such as immunity to electricity, and to magic missiles.)
Those Who Harp are led by a council of seven High Harpers, who are responsible for most of the group’s long-term plans and goals. High Harpers are elected through the means of secret ballots among the other High Harpers, with the criteria being long time service and extreme discretion in the implementation of their plans.
Harpers are hated in many countries such as Thay or Tethyr, for a variety of reasons, but especially for their vehement opposition to the practice of slavery. The Tethyrian government has a grudge against the Harpers for assassinating their last recognized leader, driving the country of Tethyr into a swirling chaos of civil war and assassinations. However, the Harpers were framed by another, unknown, secret organization.
In 1371DR- The Year of the Unstrung Harp (1 year previously to the start of the 3rd edition campaign)- there has been growing divisions between the Harpers who wished to further the cause of Balance (neutral-aligned) and those who wished to combat evil (good-aligned). A schism happened after the Harper Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun made a deal with Fzoul Chembryl, leader of the Zhentarim. He was expelled from the Harpers, and, with his wife Laeral Silverhand of the Seven Sisters, he went on to form the Harper splinter organization known as the Moonstars.
- Harpers work against villainy and wickedness wherever they find it, but they work ever mindful of the consequences of what they do.
- All beings should walk free of fear, with the right to live their lives as they wish.
- The rule of law aids peace and fosters freedom, so long as the laws are just and those who enforce them lenient and understanding.
- No extreme is good. For freedom to flourish, all must be in balance: the powers of realms, the reaches of the cities and the wilderlands into each other, and the influence of one being over another.
- Whatever it takes, a Harper will do. Pride never rules the deeds of a true Harper.
- Freedom is a multiversal right, though Harpers can spare themselves less freedom than those they work to protect when the need presents itself.
- 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.
- Without a past, no being can appreciate what they have, and where they may be going.
“What it is to be a Harper”
Mirt the Moneylender explaining the Harper’s purpose to Shandril:
“ Right, then, good Lady Shandril, I shall try to tell thee something of what it is to be a Harper."
“A Harper holds peaceful sharing of the lands above all other goals.”
“By sharing, we mean all the races living in and under the land, where each prefers to live, trading together where desire and need stir them to, and respecting each other’s holds and ways—without the daily bloodletting that all too often holds sway in the Realms today.”
“True, we must fight, it seems often enough to keep our swords and our tempers both sharp enough. Yet, know ye; all of us fight when we must, or die. Moreover, ye only hear of blades drawn and death and spells hurled, and never know of the many, many times that a quiet word or a skillful deal has turned enemies aside from each other, forced a way clear where none was before, or distracted foes from the eager task of tearing each other’s throats out. That is the true Harper way: subtle and quiet, behind the shouting. Trust and wisdom, and outfoxing others is what we deal in.”
— Mirt the Moneylender in Crown of Fire, pp173-174