Forgotten Realms: Empire of Ashes
Those that oppose the Empire have discovered that none have any hope of victory – nor even survival – if they go it alone. The various alliances of rebels have had to put aside generations (sometimes millennia) of enmity to join against the common foe. For the time being, anyway.
Alliance of Fallen Stars – Operating predominantly in and around the Inner Sea and the Vilhon Reach, often striking from the countless hidden coves and pirate hideouts scattered throughout, the rebels of central Faerun work to prevent the Empire from consolidating its power there. The tattered remnants of the armies of Cormyr, Sembia, and other kingdoms and sovereignties of the region form the backbone of the force. Lead by the Prince-in-Exile of Cormyr and his chosen lieutenants (many of whom are Purple Dragon Knights and War Wizards of the Royal Academy), they sail the Inner Sea in a number of light, fast pirate fleets, evading Imperial patrols with speed, tactical brilliance, and more than a little magic. The surviving Harpers lead the various spy rings, land-based cells, and field operatives, using (what remains of) their existing networks and connections to coordinate the gathering of intelligence, and surgical strikes into the Empire’s power structure.
Moonshae Alliance – Many of those that survived the devastating Sword Coast offensive boarded any seaworthy ships they could find and fled west, to the Moonshae Isles. Preoccupied with their inland campaign, the Empire sent only half-hearted efforts to pursue them, which were repelled with the unexpected and fortuitous arrival of the Elves of Evermeet. A circle of mages raised a great, standing storm around the islands, which allows only those that they choose to pass. The leaders of the refugees – remaining lords of the great cities of the west, their elvish benefactors, and the various wizards, priests, and heroes of the Sword Coast, Savage North, and Western Heartlands – were concerned first with the fates of their peoples, but once it became clear that Empire was held at bay, began to plan the return to their homelands. Operating along the tightly-controlled Sword Coast, often through the unexpected haven of Undermountain (and its many portals which, unlike almost all others in Faerun, still function), they do what they can to loosen the Empire’s stranglehold on the region.
Southern Alliance – In the lands of intrigue held by the Prelacy, the Resistance is lead by what remains of the Shadow Thieves, a few old Harpers, and the warriors, clerics, and viziers of the pre-conquest aristocracy. The vast and resilient webs of the Shadow Thieves’ influence – smuggling routes, assassination rings, and ties with various legitimate institutions – have allowed them to flourish in the larger cities, while the warlords lead swift armies of guerrillas and horsemen, hiding in the wilds and striking at patrols and supply lines.
The Harpers – The Harpers, a secret society dedicated to toppling tyrants and opposing slavery and oppression, have operated throughout Faerûn for centuries. With their networks of spies and agents, their organization was designed to operate in lands who opposed their very existence. Their structure served as a framework and model for the early Resistance, and those members that yet survive are among the Resistance’s most capable and experienced leaders and agents.
The Curia – Having been sentenced to death for their very beliefs, the priests of the Gods of Faerun are among the most devout members of the Resistance. With the absence of the gods’ direct contact with the material world, and the overwhelming common threat, old rivalries and dogmas have given way to an ecumenical tolerance between the Faithful – even the most zealous paladin recognizes that, in this war, all persons of faith are his allies.
The Shadow Thieves – Once arguably the most powerful criminal organization along the Sword Coast, the Shadow Thieves formed another natural backbone for the early organization of the Resistance. Whether smuggling weapons and supplies to Resistance fighters deep in enemy territory, or stealing from, spying on, and assassinating key figures in the Empire, the Shadow Thieves’ skills and connections have proven invaluable to the Resistance in the west and south.
The Zhentarim – The nefarious Black Network, unwelcome in most lands outside its native domain around the Moonsea, was already well-accustomed to secret operations in hostile territory. Although the organization has officially been disbanded at the command of its (captured) leaders, many cells and teams quietly kept meeting, and eventually joined the burgeoning Resistance.
The Elves – Of all the civilized races, the elves have faced the most persecution at the hands of the Empire. The elven predilection for magic leads the Empire to suspect all elves of magery, and in many provinces, suspicion means arrest (or on-the-spot execution). Indeed, rumors whisper of cities where all suspected of having any elven blood have been rounded up and taken away in great flying fortresses.
The Dwarves – The proud sons of the mountains can grimly boast that none of their cities have been occupied — only exterminated. The dwarves are some of the most ferocious of the Empire’s foes; the Grim Legion is a walking scar on the Dwarven People, and about ten thousand tons of unfinished business. Focusing their mastery of artifice on the artifacts of war, they have developed new technologies that they hope will help them keep the Empire at bay.