Post by Harpers Live and Die on Feb 2, 2015 18:39:42 GMT -5
Selected excerpts about the Harpers.
"Those Who Harp believe in the power of individuals, the balance between the wilderness and civilization, and the good of humankind and its allied creatures. They preserve the tales of the past so that others may remember its lessons when dealing with the present."
"The Harpers usually operate in secret, alone or in small groups, traveling throughout the North and the Western Heartlands."
"The Harpers are opposed to evil organizations such as the Cult of the Dragon, the Iron Throne, the Red Wizards, the Zhentarim, and in particular the resurgent church of Bane. Harpers identified by their enemies risk torture and death, making it essential that the Harpers protect their identities from all who might reveal their allegiance. Despite these dangers, Harpers are brave folk, facing dire perils with little more than their hearts and their hands."
"Harpers have no standard equipment, although most are familiar with the use of magic items, and powerful members tend to have a large number of such items. A Harper agent might be an elf warrior in mithral full plate or a penniless human ranger in leather. Harpers spread knowledge, aid common folk in small ways, thwart the schemes of villains, and manipulate the affairs of civilized races in order to preserve their idea of balance. In addition to these active Harpers, many folk serve as their spies, give them shelter when in trouble, watch for enemies, or report unusual occurrences."
"Harpers often secretly aid adventurers and other groups that promote good causes, whether this aid consists of a pointer to a friendly innkeeper in a hostile town, a traveling cleric appearing just when the group is hurt, or a surprise attack against a common foe."
"The semisecret organization known as the Harpers has members scattered all across Faerun. These individuals are dedicated to battling evil, discovering and preserving forgotten lore, and maintaining the balance between nature and civilization. Harper agents are the "field agents" of the Harper organization, acting directly to gather intelligence and eliminate threats to the greater good. Equally adept at operating alone or in small groups, Harper agents display a versatility that few others can match."
(Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 274, Player's Guide to Faerun 58)
"A Harper is one of a company of those with similar interests-men, elves, and half-elves. Most bards and many rangers in the North are Harpers. More women than men are Harpers. We have no ranks, only varying degrees of personal influence. Our badge is a silver moon and a silver harp, upon a black or royal blue field. Many female mages, and most druids, are our allies, and we are generally accounted to be good folk. A Harper is one who tolerates many faiths and deeds, but who works against warfare, slavery, and wanton destruction of the plants and creatures of the land. We oppose those who would build empires by the sword or spilled blood, or who would work Art (magic) heedless of the consequences.
"We see the arts and lore of fallen Myth Drannor as a high point in the history of all races. We work toward the careful preservation of history, crafts, and knowledge. We work toward that which made Myth Drannor great -- the happy and willing sharing of life with all races.
"We work against, and must often fight those of evil mind: the Zhentarim; the Cult of the Dragon -- that plunders the lore and art of the Realms to enrich their revered dracoliches; the slavers of Thay; those who plunder and willfully destroy tombs and libraries everywhere; and those who would overturn peace and unleash fire and sword across the land to raise their own thrones.
"We guard folk against these, when we can. We also guard books and their lore, precious instruments and their music, and Art and its good works. All these things serve hands and hearts yet unborn, those who will come after us.
"We seek to keep kingdoms small, busy with trade and the problems of their people. Any ruler who grows too strong and seeks to take knowledge and power from others is a threat. More precious knowledge is risked when his empire falls, as fall it must.
"Only in tavern-tales are humans wholly evil or shiningly good. We do what we can for all and stand in the way of all who threaten knowledge. Who are we to decide who shall know or not know lore?
"The gods have given us the freedom and the power to strive amongst ourselves. They have not laid down a strict order that compels each of us to do exactly thus and so. Who knows better than the gods what knowledge is good or bad, and who shall have it?
"Harper bards always sing true tales of kings, as far as truth is known. They do not, for any reward, sing falsely the grand deeds of an usurper, or falsely portray as bad the nature and deeds of his vanquished predecessor. Even if such would make good tales and songs, a Harper cleaves to the truth. The truth-a thing slightly different for everyone-must be the rock that the castle of knowledge and achievement is built upon. Strong words, eh? I feel strongly. If you come to do so too, you will truly be Harpers. If one falls out of such belief, he or she should leave the struggle and our ranks.
"I hope only that whether you walk with us or no, or join and then leave us thereafter, that you walk always together, and take joy in each other's company. It is through such love-or longing, when in lack of it-that much learning and celebration comes about. It adds to the culture that we strive to save and nurture.
"Fight not always with blade or spell. The slower ways are the surer -- did freely given, friendships and trust built. These things evil cannot abide. It shrinks away from what it cannot destroy with fire and blade."
-- Storm Silverhand, Bard of Shadowdale, Year of the Prince [1357 DR]
(These words are often quoted by Harpers who are asked what a Harper is or stands for, and have become well-known among minstrels throughout Faerûn.)
(The Code of the Harpers 3-4)