The Avowed were a group of non-denominational, cloistered monks who tended to and protected the great library-fortress of Candlekeep. They came from all walks of life; from clerics of the deities who personified the search for knowledge to wizards and even some warrior-monks. These monks were united in their scholarly pursuits and their duty to preserve the collected knowledge and lore of the Realms, in all its forms.
First and foremost the Avowed protected the wisdom and information held within the Great Library. While many external threats were present, in the form of thieves or those who sought to destroy knowledge, the Avowed spent much of their time working against the effects of mold, deterioration, and natural decay. So as not to lose any knowledge to oversight, they often purchased, or other otherwise attained books by other means.
The monks of Candlekeep periodically sponsored excursions to hunt down long-lost items of lore. While its order of monks was not spectacularly wealthy, they often traded some knowledge when eliciting the service of others. When they were required to call upon adventurers, they often enticed them with maps of treasure-filled ruins, documents that detailed the creation of magical items, or scrolls containing the specifications of certain rare spells.
The keep's scribes offered copying and book-binding services to the seekers that came to visit its hallowed halls. A single non-magical tome typically cost upwards of 100 gp, whereas spellbooks cost anywhere from 25 - 150 gp per spell included, a feat that often fetched thousands of gold pieces or more.
Once a year the Avowed published a small book pertaining to a single subject, a brief compilation of other writings regarding its subject matter. These books were stamped with the sigil of the keep and attributed solely to the monastic order. While copies were sold in Candlekeep, and other major cities, for anywhere between 50 - 100 gp, they grew in value and were often resold for significantly more.
Most of the monks were quite familiar with the Art though few of them were spellcasters. Among their ranks were a a small number clerics of the deities of knowledge and a handful of wizards. Throughout the order's existence even a few paladins and warrior-monks gained entry into its ranks, though this was quite uncommon.
Before they took their oath and joined the ranks of the Avowed, a prospective member underwent rigorous tests and questioning. This was done to ensure they were not deceitful or would otherwise endanger the keep and its wealth of highly valued knowledge.
The order of monks was structured into a fairly regimented hierarchy:
- The Keeper of the Tomes was the ultimate executive authority within Candlekeep. Their word was law; every declaration was written down for posterity, to be followed by Keepers in the years to come.
- A First Reader took on the responsibility of maintaining the scholarly integrity of the keep, along with expanding its resources and accumulated knowledge.
- Eight Great Readers composed the council that oversaw all the activities of Candlekeep and its library.
- The Master Readers were the dedicated sages and elder monks who oversaw the work of the scribes and trained the acolytes in their continuing education.
- Scribes were responsible for maintaining the archives of Candlekeep. They wrote compilations for those who sought information within the library.
- Acolytes performed general labor, cleaning duties, and other regular chores that were required in such a large keep. They wore black robes.
Guardianship of the keep were entrusted to a certain group of monks:
- The Gatewarden oversaw security of the keep and the Great Library.
- Four Watchers each led a group of one dozen armed monks. They wore plain brown robes.
- The Keeper of the Emerald Door, previously known as the Keeper of the Portal, welcomed visitors into the keep and stood sentry at the great Emerald Door.
Other roles included:
- The Guide was responsible for training acolytes.
- The Chanter continually led the recitation and procession of the Endless Chant, which laid out the prophecies of the great seer Alaundo. They were accompanied by three monks known as the Voice of the North, East and South.
- Tethtoril, First Reader in the years following the Time of Troubles.
- Ulraunt, the Keeper of the Tomes during the mid-to-late 14th century DR.
- Video Games
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 76. ISBN 978-0786965809.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Ed Greenwood (1994). Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast. (TSR, Inc), p. 33. ISBN 1-5607-6940-1.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Ed Greenwood (1994). Volo's Guide to the Sword Coast. (TSR, Inc), p. 32. ISBN 1-5607-6940-1.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 Kim Mohan ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 77. ISBN 978-0786965809.