-The Emerald Enclave
Dedicated to maintaining balance in the natural order and combating the forces that threaten that balance. Members of the enclave live in the wilderness or in small communities, and the order has almost no representatives in towns and cities. They are not opposed to civilization, however. Rather, they seek to prevent civilization and wilderness from harming one another.
The secret society known as the Harpers has been disbanded and rebuilt several times over its long history. The latest incarnation of the group retains its focus on gathering information, keeping a close watch on the balance of power in Faerun, and promoting fairness and equality in quiet, unobtrusive ways. Harpers try to keep out of the public eye, preferring secrecy to fame and using knowledge to win the day over brute force.
-The Order of the Gauntlet
The Order shares the Harpers’ dedication to justice and equality, but their methods and attitud eare quite different. Bearers of the gauntlet are holy warriors on a righteous quest to crush evil and promote justice, and they never hide in the shadows. Evil must be opposed openly and vanquished in the light of day, so that all can see and be emboldened by its destruction.
The Lords’ Alliance” is not a metaphor. This organization was created and is led by leaders and nobles from across Faerfln. Although many of its members have conflicting goals and long-standing rivalries outside the alliance, they band together in the face of events that are too big for any of them to handle on their own. The rulers of Waterdeep, Silverymoon, Baldur’s Gate, and other cities, families, and trading houses of the Sword Coast might never set aside their differences, but they can pull together when the survival of all depends on it.
Also known as the Black Networ, is a loose affiliation of merchants, mercenaries, and malefactors. Common folk know the Zhentarim as the people to talk to when you need the best guards or mercenaries money can buy. And if the cargo is shady or the cause you’re fighting for is questionable or even unjust, the Zhentarim don’t mind.
The third council features another new face—the tiefling Rian Nightshade, introduced as a special adviser to Lord Neverember. Characters who pay attention notice that some at the meeting—including Sir Isteval, Ontharr Frume, and Ambassador Brawnanvil—are doing their best to ignore her, who makes no statements unless addressed by the party.
News that the dragon attacks in the elven forest have ended is gratefully received by all on the council. However, King Melandrach responds with cold fury to news of his son Neronvain’s betrayal. He remains hesitant to put elves in the front lines of combat, but no longer acts as a roadblock to negotiations.
All the delegates are impressed if the party has gained the support of the metallic dragons, even if their own faction was asked to make concessions. The good dragons are wise and just creatures, and their acceptance of the party greatly boosts the adventurers’ standing in everyone’s eyes.King Melandrach is furious if the characters agreed to an apology for the Dracorage mythal. He makes the apology because honor demands it, but he resents the party for forcing his hand. Connerad Brawnanvil is similarly unhappy if a concession was made in response to the ancient dragonmoots of the dwarves. The traditions of the dragonmoot saved many lives in their time, and the fact that one metallic dragon was injured indicates that it was probably misbehaving. Dwarves have no patience for tolerating misbehaving dragons, no matter what their color.
At the summit, information comes to the characters revealing that a senior member of the Cult of the Dragon seeks to defect from the group, and that the cultist is offering a dragon mask as part of his plea for aid. Though the offer could be a trap, the council delegates believe that the risk is worth it. The defector is holed up in a fortress known as Xonthal’s Tower, recently taken over by the cult. Because a small team has a better chance to successfully infiltrate the tower than a larger force, the adventurers are asked to investigate.
The Red Wizards are integral to the cult’s plans for summoning Tiamat, but the Red Wizards allied with the Cult of the Dragon are exiles with no connection to Thay. The Thayan Red Wizards approach the Council of Waterdeep asking for an envoy to be sent to Thay.