Mercenaries and mercantile organization in Faerûn.
Faction Alignments: Chaotic Neutral, Lawful Evil, Evil, Chaotic Evil
⦁ The Harpers
⦁ The Lord’s Alliance
⦁ The Cult of the Dragon
⦁ The Rundeen
The Zhentarim, (pronounced: /zˈhɛntɑːrɪm/ z-HENT-ah-rim) previously known as the Black Network, was a mercenary company, and greater mercantile organization in Faerûn, who, over their 200 years of existence, has had a storied history as a cadre of self-serving thieves, spies, assassins and malevolent wizards, who for a time, were indentured by their leaders to serve dark gods Bane and Cyric. Over the decades, the organization experienced several leaps and bounds in terms of successes, but also major misfortune, particularly for their historical strongholds around the Moonsea. As of 1489 DR the Zhentarim was headquartered in the Western Heartlands, at Darkhold Castle, nestled in the valley of the same name.
In order to achieve their financial goals the Zhentarim agents often dealt in illicit goods and contraband, using their extensive mercantile contacts to move products throughout the Moonsea, neighboring lands and over Faerûn's more hazardous terrains. The types of commodities they dealt in were slaves, poison, drugs and even smokepowder weapons.
As a means of eliminating their competition, the Zhentarim used the Zhentilar army of Zhentil Keep or recruited bands of monstrous humanoids to take down rival caravans, often completing the route under their own banner to earn good faith and new business with merchant groups. They were not above resorting to sabotage, blackmail, arson to outright murder to undermine their mercantile or political opponents. They were even known to purposefully upset the balance of natural beasts, stir up aggressive monster populations within the wild, and even have their mages summon foul monstrosities to threaten isolated towns and villages, in effect forcing the residents to rely upon the protection of the Zhentilar.