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Force Grey, otherwise known as the Gray Hands, was a group of elite adventurers who worked directly for the government of the city of Waterdeep. Their job was to deal with threats to the city that the Guard and the Watch could not handle without risking significant loss of life.[4][2]


They were a small band of powerful and highly skilled adventurers who had the talents and experience necessary to deal with the toughest enemies and threats to Waterdeep. Would-be members were required to demonstrate great prowess in battle or command of mid-level spells. They were typically barbarians, clerics, fighters, rangers, sorcerers, and wizards, with skills in alertness, climbing, interrogation, and planar lore, and many trained as Gray Hand enforcers.[2] They enjoyed a regular intake of new members, thanks in part to their high risk of dying.[5] Circa 1372 DR, there were only around twenty members, with sixteen humans, two half-elves, one shield dwarf, and one frost giant.[2] Past members had included other giants and monstrous humanoids.[6]

In the early 1370s DR, the Gray Hands were commanded by the ranger Jardwim.[2]

The Gray Hands were answerable directly to the Lords of Waterdeep.[2] The Blackstaff gave orders to the members of Force Grey, but rarely worked with them directly unless the threat facing Waterdeep was particularly dire.[4] Around 1492 DR, the Gray Hands were under the control of Blackstaff Vajra Safahr.[7]


Like the other armed forces of Waterdeep, the Gray Hands were expected to enforce law and order on behalf of the Lords of Waterdeep. However, members were not expected to patrol the city for threats nor stand guard, but rather to respond to emergencies and act as an elite strike force for those threats that required a more extreme or specialized approach.[2]

When not on a mission, they were basically free to follow their own goals, so long as they were available in the city, ready to be called to action, for at least thirty hours per week. In exchange, the city paid each member 100 gold pieces per month.[2]

They were called upon only as a last resort, however, since the Lords of Waterdeep tended to not be fond of their methods, namely the damage that might befall Waterdeep when they acted.[2] Damage done to private property was never the Gray Hands' concern.[8]


Force Grey were called upon to minimize any loss of life that could be caused should they not be available to deal with a threat.[4] The members of the group were therefore expected to be equal to, if not the better of, said threat in terms of power.[9] They approached most problems in a brute force kind of way, causing collateral damage to property and infrastructure in their attempts to save as many lives as possible.[2] Those who crossed them were advised to surrender or die.[8]

They had the greatest morale when acting in and around Waterdeep.[2]

Base of Operations[]

Although the group used Blackstaff Tower as a base, members were not expected to frequent it save when orders were being handed out.[2] Harshnag remained within his cave on Mount Sar, outside of the city proper until he was needed, whereupon he would enter Waterdeep via a gate that connected to Blackstaff Tower.[9]


When called upon, each member was given magical equipment that would aid them in defeating the current threat to the city. This equipment was marked by the then Blackstaff, Khelben Arunsun, with spells that would cause the items to return, along with their wielders, to Blackstaff Tower after a few days.[10] Fully funded by the Waterdhavian treasury and supplied by the Watchful Order of Magists & Protectors, the Gray Hands could have any weapon, armor, or magical item they required in short order, but did have to pay for personal armaments.[8]


As an official arm of the government of Waterdeep,[4] Force Grey was answerable to the city's lords and was allied with its other law-enforcement groups.[11] The average Waterdhavian wasn't too certain just how they related, however.[8]


The Gray Hands had a reputation for fierceness in Waterdeep itself, and news of them being active—especially a frost giant—was enough to send the citizens running for cover, for fear of their collateral damage or the danger of the threat they faced. They were little-known outside the City of Splendors, however.[8]


In the Year of Wild Magic, 1372 DR, the Force Grey, under command of the Open Lord of Waterdeep, Piergeiron Paladinson, were assembled in response to the Return of the Archwizards event that shook Faerûn.[12]

By the Year of the Scarlet Witch, 1491 DR, Force Grey had been dismantled for some time. Mirt the Moneylender and Lady Lord Laeral Silverhand contemplated reestablishing the organization to aid her leadership of the City of Splendors.[13] However, as of the Year of Three Ships Sailing, 1492 DR, the Gray Hands had been reformed and placed under the control of Blackstaff Vajra Safahr.[7]

In the late 1490s DR, a group of the Gray Hands competed in the High Sun Games of Neverwinter at the newly built arena there, after the event was revived by Lord Forge Fitzwilliam. The gambler Din Caldwell of Baldur's Gate bet '20,000' on the Gray Hands, before the Red Wizard Sofina invoked the horn of beckoning death over the arena and it was evacuated.[14][note 1]



Harshnag the Grim, a Gray Hand enforcer.

Force Grey had had a number of members throughout its existence, but some made their mark on the group so as to stand out in particular:

  • Asper, Mirt's sorcerer wife and an informal member as of 1372 DR.[2]
  • Carolyas Idogyr, the niece of Gamalon Idogyr, a former student of Khelben Arunsun, and former member of the Watchful Order of Magists and Protectors, active circa 1374 DR.[1]
  • Harshnag, a good-natured frost giant and the group's longest-serving member as of the late 14th century DR,[4][2] who remained the organization's member after its reformation in the late 15th century DR.[15]
  • Hrusse, a priest of Assuran from distant Unther banished from his homeland by the Church of Gilgeam, active in the late 14th century DR.[4][2]
  • Jardwim, a ranger of Mielikki who was once petrified by the original Xanathar. His two blink dog companions lent him their aid on missions for Force Grey, in the late 14th century DR.[4][2]
  • Maliantor, formerly a student of Khelben Arunsun and known as Khelben's strongest ally within Force Grey, active circa 1374 DR.[1][2]
  • Osco Salibuck the Elder, once a captive of Force Grey, Osco reformed his criminal ways and was invited to join. Although he himself wasn't particularly powerful, he commanded the loyalty of a mighty djinn servant named Amprantines. He was active in the mid–14th century DR.[10]



Force Grey was adapted by Wizards of the Coast for a series of webisodes starring celebrities as members of the group, to coincide with the release of Storm King's Thunder.[16]


  1. The Gray Hands are only mentioned in the movie Honor Among Thieves and do not appear on screen. It's unknown if these are the same Gray Hands or another adventuring company of the same name. If they are the same, it's unclear why they're here, acting publicly outside Waterdeep and apparently not on a mission. One possibility is that the reformed Gray Hands are permitted to compete and represent Waterdeep in the Games. Another is that they are also investigating Forge and Sofina because of a perceived threat to Waterdeep.



Novels & Short Stories

Referenced only
The Paladins • The Siege • Death Masks

Film & Television

Referenced only
Honor Among Thieves

Video Games

Board Games

Organized Play & Licensed Adventures


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Steven E. Schend (July 2006). Blackstaff. (Wizards of the Coast), chap. 25. ISBN 978-0786940165.
  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 2.17 2.18 Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 13, 19, 33, 37–38. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  3. Ed Greenwood (March 1991). “Game Wizards: Understanding Undermountain”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #167 (TSR, Inc.), p. 89.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Dale Donovan, Paul Culotta (August 1996). Heroes' Lorebook. (TSR, Inc), p. 155. ISBN 0-7869-0412-7.
  5. Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 80. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  6. Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 77. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Christopher Perkins, James Haeck, James Introcaso, Adam Lee, Matthew Sernett (September 2018). Waterdeep: Dragon Heist. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 37. ISBN 978-0-7869-6625-7.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Eric L. Boyd (June 2005). City of Splendors: Waterdeep. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 79. ISBN 0-7869-3693-2.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Ed Greenwood and Steven E. Schend (July 1994). “Campaign Guide”. City of Splendors (TSR, Inc), p. 73. ISBN 0-5607-6868-1.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Ed Greenwood and Jeff Grubb (September 1988). City System. Edited by Karen Boomgarden. (TSR, Inc.), p. 6. ISBN 0-8803-8600-2.
  11. Christopher Perkins, James Haeck, James Introcaso, Adam Lee, Matthew Sernett (September 2018). Waterdeep: Dragon Heist. Edited by Jeremy Crawford. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 16. ISBN 978-0-7869-6625-7.
  12. Troy Denning (November 2001). The Siege. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 978-0-7869-2678-7.
  13. Ed Greenwood (2016-06-07). Death Masks. (Wizards of the Coast), chap. 5. ISBN 0-7869-6593-2.
  14. Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley (2023). Honor Among Thieves. (Paramount Pictures).
  15. Christopher Perkins, et al. (September 2016). Storm King's Thunder. Edited by Kim Mohan, Michele Carter. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 118. ISBN 978-0-7869-6600-4.
  16. Force Grey. Wizards of the Coast. (2017-07-25). Archived from the original on 2019-03-28. Retrieved on 2018-07-05.