The Knights of the North were a semi-secret group of adventurers and soldiers from the Moonsea North region of North Faerûn who were dedicated to the complete destruction of the Zhentarim. Through various hit-and-run tactics and relative secrecy of their identities, the Knights disrupted Zhent trade and attempted to foil their plots and machinations at every opportunity.
They had no headquarters, but rather maintained a series of safe houses and refuges both in the wilderness around and cities throughout the Moonsea.
The structure of the Knights' organization as a whole was two-tiered:
The inner council of the Knights of the North was comprised of the original survivors of the Zhentarim assault on the Citadel of the Raven, and their close subordinates. These founding members, who all served under the command of Galauntar Hawkhelm years before, shared their accumulated experience and wisdom amongst one other to plan ahead for the Knights. They were fairly exclusive, and were seldom available to other members of the Knights as a whole.
The outer corps of the Knights of the North were all of the spies, informants, agents and soldiers who operated under the banner of the winged helm and compass. Just like their leaders, they came from all walks of life but were united under the shared cause to fully stop the Zhentarim.
Although the life of a Knight of the North was a difficult, full-time calling, if someone were to garner too much attention to themselves they would be pulled from active duty. They would be asked to lay low for a while, taking a brief trip to a foreign land, either by adventure or a vacation of sorts.
Base of Operations
Interestingly enough, the Knights had supporters in some of the beholders that dwelled in the Moonsea. The enigmatic aberrations utilized the Handful of Coins mercantile group to contact the Knights, using them to combat the Zhentarim for their own gain.
In the Year of the Harp, 1355 DR, the Zhentarim struck a surprise assault against the Citadel of the Raven, which at-the-time served as home to citizens from the various united city-states of the Moonsea. This event would shape the founding of the Knights of the North.
As an horde of invading orcs closed upon the citadel, their army, led by Galauntar Hawkhelm, marched out in defense their home. As the city was left near-defenseless, Zhent spies and wizards struck down any remaining defenders with poison and magic, and claimed the fortress for their own. Eventually the soldiers were forced to retreat and arrived home to a fortress, only to be locked out. Facing overwhelming forces and without a refuge in which his forces could recover, Hawkhelm took his people to hide in the Dragonspine Mountains. Although the remainder of the citadel's army was in relative safety and hiding, their commander would die from wounds he suffered in battle.
Driven by their hatred of the Zhentarim and their want of vengeance, these remaining forces began excursions against the Black Network. These guerrilla tactics proved to be quite dangerous, as the Zhentarim responded with a wrath that would send many of the knights to their graves. Zhentil Keep offered gold for any information as to the Knight's whereabouts, placed bounties for the heads of their leaders and even set up decoy caravans along isolated trade routes which were revealed to be deadly traps.
The Knights of the North heeded caution and patiently outmaneuvered the Black Network. They earned the respect of the common folk of the Moonsea, which garnered their approval and respect. The Knights parlayed this trust into the establishment of a series of safe houses within the region's cities. During the Time of Troubles in the Year of Shadows, 1358 DR, they used the chaos caused by the deity Cyric to their full advantage, playing groups of various Zhent religious sects against one another.
Following the catastrophic destruction of Zhentil Keep in the Year of the Banner, 1368 DR, the Knights were faced with the stark realization that the Zhentarim could not be stopped by the tactics that had served them the past 13 years. They made a change of face and began to alter their tactics. The Knights began active recruitment campaign to bolster their numbers and befriended local guilds and downtrodden groups to increase their influence with the widely varied populations within the Moonsea. Lastly, the Knights sought new means to fight the Zhents, adopting new martial philosophies beyond hit-and-run tactics.
Prospective members were sought out and recruiting by existing Knights of the North. If someone showed open enmity towards the Zhentarim, and proved they could handle the rugged, hard lifestyle that came with service within the Knights of the North.
Warriors, archers and fighters were always in need to guard caravans, or serve as intimidating enforcers during negotiations. Arcane spellcasters were highly sought after to provide firepower in a strike force, and healers to care for wounds after an open fight. Rogues and other members capable of subterfuge were often recruited for stealthy missions or undercover operations.
- Galauntar Hawkhelm
- Referenced only
- Dungeon #170, "Monument of the Ancients"
- Thomas M. Reid, Sean K. Reynolds (Nov. 2005). Champions of Valor. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 95. ISBN 0-7869-3697-5.
- Brian R. James and Matt James (September 2009). “Monument of the Ancients”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dungeon #170 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 58.
- Thomas M. Reid, Sean K. Reynolds (Nov. 2005). Champions of Valor. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 117. ISBN 0-7869-3697-5.
- Kevin Melka and John Terra (April 1995). Ruins of Zhentil Keep (Campaign Book). (TSR, Inc), p. 59. ISBN 0-7869-0109-8.
- Thomas M. Reid, Sean K. Reynolds (Nov. 2005). Champions of Valor. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 92. ISBN 0-7869-3697-5.
- Kevin Melka and John Terra (April 1995). Ruins of Zhentil Keep (Campaign Book). (TSR, Inc), p. 38. ISBN 0-7869-0109-8.
- Thomas M. Reid, Sean K. Reynolds (Nov. 2005). Champions of Valor. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 94. ISBN 0-7869-3697-5.
- Brian R. James and Matt James (September 2009). “Monument of the Ancients”. In Chris Youngs ed. Dungeon #170 (Wizards of the Coast), p. 56.
- Thomas M. Reid, Sean K. Reynolds (Nov. 2005). Champions of Valor. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 93. ISBN 0-7869-3697-5.
- Kevin Melka and John Terra (April 1995). Ruins of Zhentil Keep (Campaign Book). (TSR, Inc), p. 19. ISBN 0-7869-0109-8.