The Council of Five was the ruling body of the nation of Amn during the 15th century DR. It replaced the previous, anonymous, administration known as the Council of Six. Like their predecessors, the Council of Five strived to maintain economic prosperity within the nation, along with their already lavish lifestyle and copiously wealthy interests.
In addition to ruling the nation as a whole, the High Houses of Amn, and by extension, the council, were responsible for the continued regulation of magic. Only members of the nation's Cowled Wizards, or licensed practitioners of the High Houses were able to practice magic, thus preventing any shift in power from these elite few.
In addition, the council influenced and manipulated other influential organizations such as the Shadow Thieves, various religions of varying power or the smaller merchant houses. These client houses, as well as other mercantile cabals constantly feuded with one another, vying for favor and scraps of power and wealth from those who comprised the council. While it was theoretically possible for one of the smaller merchant families to ascend in power, and reform the Council of Six, the existing five houses felt it unnecessary to share any of their wealth or control.
The council was comprised of the heads of the five High Houses, or largest, and likely most corrupt, merchant families of the wealthy nation. Each council member had a specific title, a holdover from the Council of Six. These were:
- Meisarch: Held by the leader of House Selemchant of Athkatla, the meisarch of the Council acted as sponsor of the Cowled Wizards. This cabal of mages served Amn's agents of magical regulation and enforcement as well as the Meisarch's spies.
- Tessarch: House Dannihyr of Eshpurta were secret masters of the Shadow Thieves and supplanted their leader to this title.
- Namarch: This position within the council was from the Alibakkar family of Athkatla.
- Iltarch: The title given to the leader of House Ophal from Crimmor.
- Pommarch: The Nashivaar family of Esmeltaran, who were closely aligned with the influential church of Cyric, held this position of power.
In the late 15th century DR, circa 1479 DR, the council was still considered a unified governing body, although one that ruled with a tight-fist. While their influence outside the nation's borders was limited, they had complete and utter control of the country's domestic economy. The laws banning the use of arcane magic were still in effect during these years, punishable by beatings or torturous death.