The Forgotten Realms is full of powerful NPCs. This is sort of a function of history: lots of characters from Greenwood’s homebrew campaign have been immortalized in the setting. Others come from the bazillion novels. But when it comes down to it, it makes sense that a world so full of nations and organizations would need important people with hands the various tillers to steer.

The Code of the Harpers (1993) is Ed Greenwood’s rundown of one such organization, the semi-secret Harpers, who generally uplift the downtrodden and foil the schemes of villains and monsters when they encounter them. As rich and varied as the Realms are, it sometimes seems like everyone in it is either a Harper, a member of the Zhentarim network (essentially the evil opposite of the Harpers) or a drow. This book is a pretty exhaustive detailing of important Harpers (and because they are everywhere, it also doubles as a general lorebook and gazetteer). There’s like millions of them, and they can all kick you PC’s butts.

I love the idea of a good secret society — its almost always the villains plotting in the shadows — but the Harpers seem a little too omnipresent. They also…aren’t very cool. I think Greenwood is going for something like Strider — a guy people are careful around, who might be a bad guy, but it really a good guy. In practice, though, the Harpers…are good guys. They smile a lot. They seem pretty confident. There doesn’t seem to be much of a cost for their goodliness. The fact that nearly everyone in the book seems to be having such a good time is enough for me to root for the baddies, honestly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *