The Council of Musicians, Instrument-Makers, & Choristers was a guild in Waterdeep catering to entertainers and those who fashioned musical instruments.[2][1][3] It was commonly known as just the Musician's Guild.[1] It was one of the more prominent guilds of the city.[5]


Guild membership cost 30 gp, with annual dues of 25 gp for full members and 15 gp for apprentices. To become a full member, one had to be considered a skilled and accomplished artisan in their field.[2][3]

Under the auspices of the guild were the majority of licensed and respectable entertainers in Waterdeep, such as musicians, singers, acrobats, jugglers, jesters, mimes, and other street performers. Although a significant number of non-guild entertainers (including amateurs and travelling bards and shows) worked in Waterdeep, and did so freely, the Council took the greatest slice of the professional entertainment industry for the city and upper classes. Therefore, an entertainer seeking to earn real coin needed guild membership to reach wealthy patrons and clients.[1] Thus, owing to the dominance of the city's guilds, the majority of bards resident there were members of the Council, if they were not themselves already legendary minstrels.[6] The non-musical performers, namely the acrobats, mimes, jesters, jugglers, and other street performers in the city were under the Council's control because they were not large enough as a group to warrant their own guild or union, nor quite fitted any other. Not liking how the Council handled their trade, they reacted in different ways, typically ignoring Council wishes or not even becoming members. Thus, the majority of acrobats and non-musical performers were not guild members. Meanwhile, those jesters who were in the guild established the satirical Ancient and Revered Order of Merrymakers.[1]

Guild members had a reputation for quality, and thus could charge high fees for their services: a performer typically charged 6 gp a day, while an instrument-maker charged on average 1 gp a day for however many days it took to craft a custom instrument.[2][3]

Bards and musically inclined adventurers could register at Halambar's Lute Shop.[7][note 1]


Rather than being self-important and demanding divas, the greatest Waterdhavian musicians were true professionals and the Council of Musicians, Instrument-Makers, & Choristers exemplified this view. They took pride in providing a client with precisely what was required and performing it as well as possible.[2][3]


Guild musicians frequently performed at private parties, events, weddings, and other ceremonies. They also commonly gave concerts to showcase their talents and their own work. These were generally hosted and sponsored by rich citizens, who found it a popular hobby.[2][3] After 1368 DR, many were held in the amphitheater of New Olamn.[3] The Council also hosted pageants for the city.[1]

Regularly, outsiders (particularly noble dilettantes) came to guild musicians with requests to set their poetry to music or even perform tunes or lyrics they'd written themselves. Although the pay was good, quite often, these were awful. However, in keeping with their practice of giving a client what they wanted, a guild musician would never alter any work without permission. This was seen as dishonest. Instead, they might only embellish to make it sound better or give a private preview performance for the client to approve or make changes. Apprentices who kept making rash efforts to improve a work remained apprentices.[2][1][3]

Guild musicians were also available to tutor students and amateurs.[2][3]

Of the instrument-maker members of the Council, some had reputations that stretched across Faerûn for fashioning musical instruments of extraordinary quality.[2][3] Prime among these were guild craftsman of the Crommor noble family.[3] Guild instrument-makers worked for both individuals and for the city;[1] they had a standing contract with the Lords of Waterdeep to supply signal-horns (a.k.a. battle-trumpets or war-horns) for the City Guard.[2][1][3] The Council inspected and approved of all of the musical instruments sold through the Aurora's Emporium chain.[8]

In addition, the Council gathered and disseminated news and information about music and other forms of entertainment from around Faerûn. This usually came from itinerant bards, who could enjoy the hospitality of the House of Song.[1]


The guildmaster was titled Master Musician. Elections for Master Musician were held approximately every seven years, with candidates nominated only from among guild members. In successive ballots, least popular candidates were eliminated until only one candidate remained to be chosen as Master Musician.[2][1][3]

Below them was the Voice of the Council, who served as its primary contact with outsiders and as second-in-command to the guildmaster, and took the Master Musician's place (though not their title[9]) if they died in office. The Voice of the Council would remain as interim guildmaster until the next time for an election, though it might be years away. Then they could either run in the election or decline to contest it.[2][1][3]

The Master Musician and the Voice of the Council were assisted by a council of twelve Assistant Guild Masters. They saw to the everyday matters of teaching, overseeing instrument making, and scheduling performances around the city, as well as tutoring of mines, jesters, and other street performers. An assorted group, some Assistants put in the bare minimum effort while focusing on their own interests, while others waited to take power themselves and develop their guild along their own lines.[1]

Circa 1301 DR,[note 2] Kriios Halambar was elected Master Musician and retained his position in every election since.[2][1][3] Over the years, he had a half-dozen or so assistants and would-be replacements, but he outlived them all, even singing at their funerals. Among the Assistant Guild Masters, some, like Flugel Ratanion around 1357 DR, privately fumed about the entrenched "old guard" (represented by Halambar) repressing new ideas.[1] By 1357 DR, Maxeene Rhiosann served as Lady Voice of the Council and continued in this role through 1368 DR.[2][1][3] When Kriios finally died during his eleventh term, in the early 1370s DR, Maxeene filled his place as interim Master Musician until the next election in 1377 DR.[9]

Base of OperationsEdit

The main guildhall of the Council of Musicians, Instrument-Makers, & Choristers was the House of Song, which of course stood in the Trades Ward with many other guilds.[2][3][4] It stood on the site of Olamn, the old bardic college of Waterdeep centuries before.[10][11]


The official livery of the guild included a scarlet jacket with slashed sleeves of white and purple; a long cloak of deep green; and a hat of matching dark green with white and purple plumes.[2][3]


Circa 1301 DR, Kriios Halambar was elected to the position of Master Musician. He would retain this post every seven years, despite his advancing years.[2][3]

The Council was among those who supported the reestablishment of Waterdeep's bardic college, New Olamn, in the Year of the Staff, 1368 DR.[10][11]

In the early 1370s DR, Kriios Halambar finally died during his eleventh term and the position of interim Master Musician passed to the Voice of the Council, Maxeene Rhiosann. Since she openly asserted she had no wish to hold the position, by the end of 1372 DR, leading guild musicians had begun to jostle for influence and position ahead of the next election in the Year of the Haunting, 1377 DR. This provoked thinly veiled tensions between leading Waterdhavian musicians, both in the Council and in New Olamn's leadership.[9]



  1. Although Heroes' Lorebook describes Halambar's Lute Shop as "where bards and other musically inclined adventurers register", it is not known what they register for. With Halambar as guildmaster, this is likely to be the Council of Musicians, Instrument-Makers, & Choristers.
  2. Waterdeep and the North (1987), set in 1357 DR, says Kriios had been guildmaster for 56 years, placing his first election in 1301 DR. City of Splendors (1994), set in 1368 DR, says he had been guildmaster for 66 years, placing his first election in 1302 DR. It is not until City of Splendors: Waterdeep (2005) that an election is pinned to a specific year, 1377 DR; subtracting 7-year periods from this places the nearest election in 1300 DR. It is clear that some of these values have been rounded up or down, but an average of 1301 DR is assumed here.




  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 Dan Mishkin, Jan Duursema (May 1989). “Beneath the City of the Dead”. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons #6 (DC Comics), p. 25.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 Ed Greenwood (1987). Waterdeep and the North. (TSR, Inc), p. 3. ISBN 0-88038-490-5.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 Ed Greenwood and Steven E. Schend (July 1994). “Who's Who in Waterdeep”. City of Splendors (TSR, Inc), pp. 40–41. ISBN 0-5607-6868-1.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ed Greenwood and Steven E. Schend (July 1994). “Adventurer's Guide to the City”. City of Splendors (TSR, Inc), p. 10. ISBN 0-5607-6868-1.
  5. Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 13. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  6. Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 23. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  7. Dale Donovan, Paul Culotta (August 1996). Heroes' Lorebook. (TSR, Inc), p. 36. ISBN 0-7869-0412-7.
  8. Jeff Grubb, Julia Martin, Steven E. Schend et al (1992). Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue. (TSR, Inc), p. 21. ISBN 0-5607-6327-2.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 51–52. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Ed Greenwood and Steven E. Schend (July 1994). “Campaign Guide”. City of Splendors (TSR, Inc), p. 46. ISBN 0-5607-6868-1.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 29. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
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