Princes of the Apocalypse
Membership in the Zhentarim is like a key to a thousand doors, each one a gateway to fulfilling a personal desire. Most people shy away from this kind of freedom. They like their restraints, laws, and swaddling—it gives them the illusion of security.
The Black Network provides what I need to explore realms and dimensions that would tear apart minds accustomed to limits. Only in such places can I find magic powerful enough to defeat beings that know no such thing as time, fear, or mercy. You might not like the Zhentarim’s methods, but when a demon crawls out of the Abyss and comes for your family, you’ll be glad that I have gone to the darkest of realms to find the answer to your problem.
The Zhentarim, or Black Network, is an organization of well-trained mercenaries, savvy rogues, and crafty warlocks who seek to expand their influence and power throughout Faerûn. Agents of the Zhentarim feel that if they play by the rules, nothing gets done. Ultimately, they want to make the rules—and, in some cases, they already do. They walk a fine line when it comes to the letter of the law and don’t shy away from the occasional shady deal or illicit activity to get what they want.
To the Zhentarim, wealth is power. Its agents know that nothing else inspires such confidence and dispels doubt so well. In an instant, wealth speaks louder than a thousand bards. Zhentarim agents routinely carry the finest weapons and armor, with no expense spared. When a merchant needs an escort for a caravan, when a noble family requires bodyguards to protect its holdings, or when a city is desperate for trained soldiers to defend its walls, the Zhentarim provides the best warriors money can buy.
The organization encourages individual ambition and rewards innovators who take matters into their own hands. Results are all that matter. Those who come into the Black Network with nothing can become major players within the organization through their own moxie and hard work.
• Amass wealth.
• Look for opportunities to seize power.
• Gain influence over important people and organizations.
• Dominate Faerûn.
• The Zhentarim is your family. You watch out for it, and it watches out for you.
• You are the master of your own destiny. Never be less than what you deserve to be.
• Everything—and everyone—has a price.
A member of the Zhentarim thinks of himself or herself as a member of a large family, and relies on the Black Network for resources and security. However, members are granted enough autonomy to pursue their own interests and gain some measure of personal power or influence. The Black Network is a meritocracy. As a whole, it promises “the best of the best,” although in truth, the Zhentarim is more interested in spreading its own propaganda and influence than investing in the improvement of its individual members.
• Fang (rank 1)
• Wolf (rank 2)
• Viper (rank 3)
• Ardragon (rank 4)
• Dread Lord (rank 5)