The Arcanum of the Stars, or the Arcanum for short, is a clandestine council made up the some of the most influential sorcerers, wizards, priests and psions from member worlds located in the Aegis Region of the Outlands. The council protects member worlds from those that would destroy them and sometimes will help in the resistance against the great red wyrm, Mezzenbone. The council is a huge interstellar guild dedicated to its continued freedom and expansion throughout Known Space and beyond.
The role of the Arcanum is only somewhat vital to the freedom of the Aegis Region. In reality, they don’t jump to protect worlds or affiliations that don’t have membership on the council (and sometimes the council will let member worlds be conquered if it deemed in the best interests of the Arcanum). The Arcanum mainly works against the Dragon Empire to forward the goals of the Arcanum as a whole. The Arcanum doesn’t have any desire to test themselves against the full power of the Imperial Legions. Thus, members are only secretly involved with the ongoing resistance forming throughout Known Space.
The council also dedicates its resources to expanding the membership of the Arcanum to frontier Outlands worlds, contacting other Prime Material Planes (and exploring those they do find) and learning more about the Inner and Outer Planes. The Arcanum sees the Dragon Empire in a more long term view. They believe that confronting the Empire directly is a waste of resources and are dedicated as a group to staying one step ahead of the Dragon Empire in terms of expansion and contacting new worlds. The Arcanum will contact almost any civilization they come across no matter how primitive and attempt to beat the Empire to the punch by making that world a member world. They never use force unless they are attacked first. However, they will use spies and assassins to try to secretly coax worlds governments into joining the Arcanum.
It is the belief of the Arcanum that they can, as a whole, out wait the existence of the Dragon Empire. The tenets of the council clearly state that an Empire is doomed to decadence and will eventually fall. Even an Empire with good intentions will end up this way. The Arcanum has existed for nearly as long as the Empire has been meddling in the Aegis Region. The council sees it as their duty and right to keep the Aegis Region of the Outlands free of permanent Imperial control. Individual worlds are somewhat expendable in the long run and the Arcanum tries very hard to convince member worlds on the brink of being annexed by the Empire to submit and then subvert from within.
The Arcanum’s Council is definitely not made up of a bunch of goodie-goodies, nor is its members uniformly evil. If there is one thing they have in common with the Dragon Empire it is the belief that an intelligent being should be judged based on how that being behaves. Thus, the Arcanum tries not to limit its membership by strict morality or high ethical standards. Even the vilest evil character can join the council… to a point.
Characters that would use the council as a stepping stone for their own power base are not allowed on the council. However, there have been exceptions to this rule and several self-serving, evil members have proven their loyalty to the goals of the council over their own (i.e. Manshoon). One should note that very few paladins willing work with the council. Most outlander paladins are not used to associating with evil beings and can’t stand the company that some council members keep. The council doesn’t allow most of the limited magic wielding classes and there are only a handful of paladins, rangers and bards on the council (one handful). Psychic warriors are also rare members of the council. A character that cannot cast arcane or divine magic or that doesn’t have the ability to use psionics is forbidden from being on the council… period!
Also, certain types of creatures are forbidden from joining the council. These include but are not limited to dragons, outsiders, and the undead. A dragon could turn out to be a spy for the Golden Throne while outsiders are always bent towards a particular alignment. Undead are never allowed on the council and any council member who becomes undead immediately loses their seat. There are very few illithids on the council and only one or two drow. Surprisingly, the Arcanum does allow half-dragons on the council but only those that have a good or neutrally aligned parent. The Arcanum also has a few rouge chronomancers on the council as well. These characters will have to be created by the DM and cannot be affiliated with the Guardians or any other group.
The council is divided by affiliation. This can include trading houses, any other organization, or an entire world controlled by one government. Anything is possible on the council and several races, without a world of their own, have been given seats in Arcanum House. An affiliation can have as many as ten seats on the council. However, vote is by affiliation – not by the number of seats held. This can make voting a lengthy process, as individuals tend to want what’s best for their personal agenda. If an affiliation doesn’t have a centralized leadership that controls the voting of its members then the representatives must vote amongst themselves first to determine the affiliation’s vote in the house.
Gamemasters can use what is presented here to create their own version of the Arcanum. If a GM decides to incorporate any of the D&D Worlds into an Arcanum-based campaign then I recommend that the NPCs listed below be included as members on the council. Of course, some are more appropriate but nice mix should make things more interesting. These characters would vote by world since the affiliations they are a part of are not stellar in origin, with a few exceptions.
Manshoon is my personal dark horse on the council. This “Manshoon” is one of the remaining clones of the original that was killed. He fled Toril and now lives amongst the stars. His seat in Arcanum House is part of the Theraman Trading Collective. Thus, his seat is not part of the Toril voting block.
- Gulem the Gray
- Sadira of Tyr
- Dalamar the Dark
- Palin Majere
- Kieren Jalucian
- Melf, Prince Brightflame
- Aric Cozar
- Gadaric Main
- Erin Montgomery
- Harys Hatchis
- Komosahl Trevant
- Rowan Darkwood
- Alyana al-Azzazi
- Khelben Arunsun
- Kao Shan Ten
- Japheth Arcane
The GM can setup most of these NPCs as members of the Arcanum without much difficulty. The two worlds that would be easiest to convert would be Oerth and Toril, while Athas and Krynn would require some thought. If you use the Arcane Order, from D&D Complete Arcane, on say Oerth then Greyhawk NPCs should take precedence over Japheth Arcane.
The Sigil NPCs might be a little harder to work into the history of Dragonstar but they are listed regardless. Sigil doesn’t exist in my Dragonstar campaign so any of these NPCs I use will have very different backgrounds.
Spelljammer’s Rock of Bral is considered it’s own world, no matter where the GM puts it but could have different affiliations stationed on it. I have little other information on the major NPCs of the worlds of Mystara and the Birthright campaign setting so I have omitted them from the list.
The D&D Worlds that officially exist in my Dragonstar campaign are Athas, Eberron, Krynn, Oerth, Rock of Bral, and Toril. I will also be using various Planescape and Spelljammer NPCs as well.
GM’s NOTE: Eberron will exist in another part of the galaxy and won’t be tied directly to the Arcanum. (The world won’t be an Outlands world, but it will be right on the edge.) Of course, that doesn’t mean that a few Eberron NPCs couldn’t align themselves with the Arcanum.