Grey Creed (5e Guild)
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|“||They call us darkness, but what are they? Nay, we walk the thin line between the light and dark, life and death. Morality is dead, and we tread upon its corpse, the grey border between the self-righteous and insanely indulgent.||”|
|—Holkern Durrinson, Longsaddle Creed chapter master|
Inside the Grey Creed
The Grey Creed is a network spider-webbing across the land, with hierarchies in every institution, all adding up to one big super-organization. It is believed that at the top is a small group of elite necromancers who are Vecna fanatics. They obsess over the control and utilization of undead, but have ideas to expand this control to other races to brainwash them. Their faces and names are unknown, as they keep solely to their shadowy circle, conducting horrible research on forbidden magic. To the rest of the Creed, they are simply called the Ashen Crown, and their authority over the entire organization is absolute. It is believed they sustain the organization with their vast resources and connections, which hints at their real-world influence.
Under the Ashen Crown is a series of lower-ranking local masters. They are essentially managers of individual locations held by the Creed. Most are former mercenaries who have worked their way there, through unscrupulous means usually. They create their own hierarchies as they please, and so these organization ministructures differ from one to the next. Typically, they hire a ring of agents or officers to be their loyal men.
Under them would then be the hordes who do the Creed's dirty work. Much of the Creed's jobs lie in infamy and shadowy affiliation, from assassination, to kidnappings and other unsavory work. Those who rise as stars in their accomplishments may be eyed as competition or a possible new pawn to their local master. Most members in the operating core of the Grey Creed are emotionless and brainwashed. The Creed may have kidnapped and raised some from a young age, breeding them to be their vision of a perfect soldier.
Goals of the Grey Creed
The main goal of the Creed is to eventually perfect the arts of mind control to take over the world, in a most cliche villain plan ever. However, for now, they will settle for the ability to control their own nation state. Thus, their most important jobs from above, when they aren't taking requests from powerful lords, is to sow seeds of discord in communities via violence and other means. This will weaken the governmental hold on the locale and allow the Creed to swoop in amid a power vacuum to seize the reins of power.
Grey Creed Characters
Alignment: Usually lawful to the Creed's rules, and very self-interested, so often neutral
Suggested Races: Any, but mostly either humanoid (human, elf, triton, etc.) or undead type (revenant, etc.)
Suggested Classes: Mainly martial classes like fighter or rogue. For the ones closer to the top of the hierarchy, they may have spellcasting capabilities
You might enjoy playing a Grey Creed guild character if any of the following sentences describe you:
- You don't mind following orders.
- You revel in creating chaos mindlessly.
- You have ambitions that involve controlling others.
- You have little regard for the well-being of others.
Joining the Grey Creed
Most Creed members, particularly the lower ranks, are brainwashed after either being kidnapped or indoctrinated by the Creed at a young age. There are also undead members who are risen and sworn to the Creed, or manipulated through necromancy. There are individuals who were powerful rivals perhaps, that eventually joined due to sympathizing with the Creed's goals or for personal greed and satisfaction. These are under watch, rather than being forcibly mind controlled.
Background: Grey Creed Member
|A simplified form of the Creed's mark. The inner diamond is the Crown, with the four pointed star representing chapter masters, and the hordes being the circle. By Godzephose|
As a member of the Grey Creed you live only for the wills of your employer. You have no past or future beyond what you will do within the Creed. You were reborn to live and die for them. The Creed has decades long dealings in many events; the sudden death of kings, villages burned to the ground, mercenaries within warring nations... These and many more can be thanks to the Creed and their expansive reach.
Many find the regular workers of the Creed to be single-minded, lacking a will of their own. This is true in that the Creed makes it a point to fashion their workers into efficient worker bees. They have completed this through acts of brainwashing, and have even resorted to raising undead warriors to recruit them as mindless pawns. All thoughts not having to do with basic self-preservation, communication, and ability to work are suppressed deep in the mind with almost no chance of recovery. But maybe you were one of the lucky ones where this brainwashing didn't stay in effect forever.
How did you end up a member of this profit-driven group? Were you sold into it? Did you join willingly looking to get in a high position and earn profit only to learn the horrible truth of losing your individuality? Or were you risen as one of their many undead slaves and had your will erased? What do you plan to do? Will you just survive within this oppressive group, or do you have other plans?
Tool Proficiencies: Poisoner’s Kit, Thieves’ Tools
Languages: You can read, write and speak Undercommon.
Equipment: A set of common clothes, thieves' tools, either a tattoo on you or an object with the mark of the Creed, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp
Feature: Mark of the Creed
To be easily identifiable, the creed affixes a magical brand to all its active members. If this brand is seen, you are subject to some distrust by the general, common populace due to the creeds history of ruthless jobs and sell-out work ethic. Common folk are prone to disassociate with and avoid you. If something bad should occur in the town you currently are in, you may be one of the immediate suspects and people may go as far as to drive you out of town if they see fit. However, if your mark is shown to those high in power or working in illegal dealings, like an underworld, you may be very favored for the creed's job well-dones in this area of expertise. These possible patrons may be willing to provide you shelter and supplies, though possibly in exchange for favors.
Grey Creed Spells
Prerequisite: Spellcasting or Pact Magic class feature
Grey Creed spells focus on a variety of detrimental effects, with uses against undead as well as non-undead. They also are trained with spells which could augment their ability to do jobs like espionage as well as kill. It is common for the spells to also have a theme of domination.
For you, the spells on the Grey Creed Spells table are added to the spell list of your spellcasting class. (If you are a multiclass character with multiple spell lists, these spells are added to all of them.)
|Cantrips||thaumaturgy, toll the dead|
|1st||command, inflict wounds, unseen servant|
|2nd||alter self, darkness, hold person, phantasmal force|
|3rd||animate dead, fear|
|4th||compulsion, greater invisibility|
|5th||dominate person, geas, modify memory|
The Grey Creed doesn't leave a lot of background to be imagined, due to their ruthless tendency to brainwash members. However, there are quirks here and there that remain of the core personality that help prevent total zombification. If you're one of the lucky ones overlooked, you retain a good deal of your personality and mental freedoms.
|1||I live everyday in fear.|
|2||I will never run away from a challenge.|
|3||I keep my head low and say nothing even in the presence of injustice.|
|4||For the sake of those I care about, I will tolerate evil.|
|5||When the going gets tough, I run.|
|6||People say I have scary eyes.|
|7||I don't talk to anyone because I can't trust them.|
|8||Rather than talk, my face and actions makes my points for me.|
|1||Survival. This Creed is all I know. I'll fake it and make it. (Neutral)|
|2||Revelry. It doesn't matter if it's evil. I feel good doing it. (Evil)|
|3||Mercenary. There is money involved and that's all I need. (Chaotic)|
|4||Zombie. I don't like to think or feel anyway. (Neutral)|
|5||Fear. This name the Creed carries allows me to get away with a lot. (Chaotic)|
|6||Freedom. I want to get out of this evil organization one day. (Good)|
|1||There is someone else in the Creed who hasn't lost their mind. We're friends.|
|2||I ran away from the Creed and now everyone is an enemy.|
|3||I want to return to normalcy and feel love from another again.|
|4||My comrades, even brainwashed, are my only family.|
|5||There is only pain in getting close to others.|
|6||I will use others as means to reach my ends.|
|1||I am a ruthless murderer and feel no remorse ever.|
|2||My fear prevents me from doing anything.|
|3||There is no one I will ever trust truly.|
|4||I have no empathy for anyone.|
|5||Even the wants of allies do not move me.|
|6||The Creed ties me down, no matter what I do.|
The Grey Creed has spread its holds expansively about the continent over its existence, though mainly concentrated near the Sword Coast. It is no surprise that it collaborates extensively with other shady groups focused in insurgency and chaotic dealings as well. Their members are well feared among those who know them, and held at arm's length even when their notoriety is unknown. Many operate at suboptimal levels, perhaps needing extra hands for a problem in their midst, making them viable campaign seeds. Examples of contacts are shown below.
Grey Creed Contacts
|Vrad Kalem||An Ashen Crown conduit. It is believed he has connections to an infamous wight tyrant and is plotting with the Waterdeep Grey Creed chapter to take the Sword Coast by storm.|
|Bolbo Shardstar||Bartender and secret leader of the Daggerford Grey Creed chapter. He oversees an illegal slave trade up and down through Delimbiyr Vale via the river.|
|Gurjat al-Hrambi||Leader of the Anauroch chapter of the Creed. He is a duelist who collaborates with the Zhentarim in monitoring the trade route along a string of valuable oases, and has a particularly nasty plan to get rid of the Bedine tribes plaguing the route.|
|Jalara Tenshield||She's a treasure-seeking master huntress who is scouring the ruins of Teshendale. The infestation of monsters overrunning the place make her job difficult.|
|Veleri Goldfern||She is the Creed's diplomat in the city of Bezantur to the Thayan magiocracy. Her chapter aids in the slave operations in the city whilst she curries favor with the like minded elite, bent on changing their populace to undead.|
|Izalim Gaelrys||The elven master of the Neverwinter Creed chapter, he maintains the legitimate front for the Creed there. While under the Lord's Alliance, he is seeking to undermine their influence in the legal arena without giving them ammo about the Creed's illicit dealings elsewhere.|
|Furristo Stockman||He's a squire to one of the councilman in Mirabar. He spies on the Council of Sparkling Stones and relays the information to the Creed so that they might one day have the opportunity to seize the mining city for their own.|
|Gus Rustwater||This pudgy man is an arcane trickster made chapter master out of necessity. He is supposed to be spreading the Creed's influence in the new city of Scornubel, but is largely incompetent.|
Non-Grey Creed Contacts
|Zaza Myliefka||She is an arcane assassin born and bred in Llorkh. Following the destruction of the city, she has established a deal with the Grey Creed for aid against the giants who roam the area. She hopes to rebuild the city with the help of her adventuring group, who are less eager about allying with the Grey Creed.|
|Donterun Rusigton||A young man who is secretly spying on the Harpers' efforts to rebuild Snowmantle. He used to work for the Harper organization and now plans to throw a wrench in their plans with the Grey Creed's help so he can take the village for himself.|
|Father Nathaniel||He is an archbishop in the city of Baldur's Gate. After the death of his daughter, his faith turned to revulsion, as he felt betrayed by the god Lathandar, whom he had trusted. As such, he works secretly with the Creed to undermine the Lord's Alliance.|
|Dardal Radeluss||He is a robber with the strength of a headsman who makes a living commanding his coven of thieves and robbers. He used to be the son of a noble in Athkatla, but was disowned and so turned bitter. He and his men raid the trade routes in and out of Amn to Calimshan and they trade these stolen goods with the Creed.|
|Shada Vahwim||A member of the crime family El Pesarkhal, he runs between them and El Kahmir in the Calishite city of Schamedar. He seeks to sabotage Waterdeep influences, which rival that of Calimshan in trade.|
|Gilgeam||The current ruler of the Untheric Empire who seeks to reclaim all the land lost. He has contracts with many organizations as he currently tries to invade Tymanther.|
|Jessemar Thrudee||He is a grand knight who resides in the last city of Ormpur of Lapaliiya. Due to being surrounded by the wild Elfharrow, he has resorted to hiring from the Creed many a time to keep this last Lapal city safe.|
|Feldine Jagrock||She is a member of the council of merchants in the city of Heldapan in Durpar, the kingdom of merchants. Her loose morals allow for dealings with the Creed so long as the city coffers flourish.|
How Do I Fit In?
What is your character's place in the guild? You may want to consult the background portion of this page when thinking of how you ended up here. If you're in the lower ranks of mercenaries, rogues and hires, you probably don't have all your mental faculties. And if you do, you might be frightened into silence. As a thinking member, you could fit right in if you have no qualms about this group's dealings. You could have a cushy life after all. And if you perform well enough, there can be an opportunity down the road for you to climb the ladder ...
Grey Creed Party
The Creed commonly sends out their worker bees in pairs, with complementing battle styles in mind. Larger groups are reserved for diplomatic purposes, and large platoons of mercenaries might be sent for battle in wars. Since they emphasize a cohesive fighting style, they don't put much care into sorting races. Thus, their parties can end up rather mixed.
Rank and Renown
Ascending the ranks in the Creed is somewhat difficult since you're being mind-controlled and suppressed. But since they aren't squeaky clean about morals, when a chapter master is usurped by force, sometimes the newcomer is welcomed as the new master. Thus, succession is turbulent. Power given can only be kept if you use it wisely to do so.
Ashen Crown. The exclusive brains of the operation rarely shows themselves and so it is unknown if they change members or how often they do. They are believed to be highly powerful users of magic, able to maintain mind control and wash the brains of many.
Crown Conduit. Mouthpieces of the Crown are given authority over the masters of the chapter. They deliver messages directly from the Ashen Crown, such as mandated jobs. Their lips are sealed with a vow of silence so they can never speak or reveal members of the Crown.
Chapter Master. These are the local representatives of the Creed. They occupy holdings scattered across the continent and vary in all ways of life. The conduits often are their main connection to the Crown, and they receive monies as well as manpower and instruction from them. They are expected in turn to operate as ordered.
Chapter Circle. This circle consists of the chapter master's pickings. They usually pick from the members in their chapters the best of the best to serve them directly, as well as monitor others and keep people in line.
Member. The operating core of the Creed is composed of these emotionless, voiceless people. Many are hardened killers while others are brainwashed zombies, bent to do the Creed's will.