I’ve been writing a bit about factions in Dungeons & Dragons 5E and how they might be used in home campaigns separate from the Adventurer’s League organized Play program. Last week, I explored the Harpers, an organization that has been part of the Forgotten Realms since the original first-edition boxed set.
This week, I’m going to talk about an organization that is only as old as the current edition of the game, the Order of the Gauntlet.
Order of the Gauntlet History
While the Order of the Gauntlet has appeared in multiple published adventures as a potential faction for the PCs to join or work alongside, almost no history has been released at this point.
Here are the key points that have appeared in adventures so far:
Lost Mind of Phandelver
- Daran Edermath is a non-active member of the Order living in Phandalin.
Hoard of the Dragon Queen
- Ontharr Frume is a member of the Order of the Gauntlet who helped organize the alliance between the Order, the Harpers, and the Emerald Enclave against the Cult of the Dragon when they tried to summon Tiamat to the Prime Material Plane. He operated out of the headquarters of the Order in Elturel, a tavern called A Pair of Black Antlers.
Rise of Tiamat
- During the final battle at the Well of Dragons, the Order mustered clerics and paladins to help heal the wounded and combat Severin’s devil allies directly.
Princes of the Apocalypse
- A group from the Order of the Gauntlet was transporting the body of a slain knight to Summit Hall, a chapter house of an order called the Knights of Samular, when the entire delegation from Mirabar went missing.
- The senior knight at Summit Hall is Ushien Stormbanner, a woman of sixty years and ally of the Order of the Gauntlet.
- Erned Stoutblade is a human knight from Tethyr and a member of the Order of the Gauntlet. He traveled to Red Larch with the intention of battling the Iceshield tribe, a group of orcs who have taken to raiding the farmlands in the area.
- The Order is attempting to establish alliances with local leaders in the western Sumber Hills area, such as the Waterbaron of Yartar.
Out of the Abyss
- Sir Lanniver Strayl is a knight of the Order of the Gauntlet, based in Gauntlgrym. He commands five human veterans of the Order: Thora Nabal, Sylrien Havennor, Olaf Renghyi, Elias Drako, and Tamryn Tharke. His squire is Rhiele Vannis.
- A knight of the Order, Aljanor Keenblade, was captured by drow during a surface raid, and has spent months as a prisoner in Menzoberranzan.
Storm King’s Thunder
- Lady Harriana Hawkwinter is a Waterdhavian noble and a champion of Helm. She and her squire rescued a couple of children trapped under the wreckage of a barn that had been demolished by stone giants.
- Sir Jordeth Tavilson and his squire fought a pair of frost giants, and the squire was killed. Sir Jordeth managed to kill one giant, but the other got away. Sir Jordeth took up a quest to kill the second giant.
- The Order of the Gauntlet runs and protects Hawk’s Nest, a fortified settlement that overlooks Silverymoon Pass. Arthus Cavilos is a human knight of Tyr, a member of the Order, and the Lord of Hawk’s Rest. Cavilos raises hippogriffs, which the knights of Hawk’s Nest train as mounts and use to patrol the trade road between Silverymoon and Sundabar.
- A splinter sect of the Order of the Gauntlet, the Order of the Gilded Eye, holds a fortified monastery named Helm’s Hold a short distance southeast of Neverwinter.
- The Order of the Gauntlet has a strong presence in Neverwinter.
Tomb of Annihilation
- Undril Silvertusk is a half-orc priest of Torm and a representative of the Order of the Gauntlet in Port Nyanzaru (and Camp Vengeance).
- The Order committed considerable resources toward quelling the undead menace in Chult. Its forward base, Camp Righteous, was overrun by undead. Their second camp, Camp Vengeance, was built shortly after even deeper in the jungle, but fell on hard times under the inept leadership of the noble Niles Breakbone.
- Ord Firebeard is a gold dwarf veteran and Perne Salhana is a human veteran, both captains under Commander Breakbone.
- Sister Cyas is a human priest of Helm, also stationed in Camp Vengeance.
- Lorsa Bilwatal is a human scout, and Wulf Rygor is a half-elf scout and longtime friend of Breakbone.
- There are eight veterans, twenty-four guards, six acolytes, and fifteen tribal warriors stationed at Camp Vengeance.
The Order in Published Sources
The Order of the Gauntlet is a new organization created for D&D 5E, and therefore has not appeared in any sourcebooks for previous editions. It has also not appeared in any novels.
The Order has appeared in all of the published adventures for D&D 5E, except Tales from the Yawning Portal (a compilation of previous-edition adventures converted to 5E stats).
Using the Order in Your Campaign
The Order of the Gauntlet has the following main beliefs:
- Faith is the greatest weapon against evil—faith in one’s god, one’s friends, and one’s self.
- Battling evil is an extraordinary task that requires extraordinary strength and bravery.
- Punishing an evil act is just. Punishing an evil thought is not.
Their goals are “to be armed, vigilant, and ready to smite evil, enforce justice, and enact retribution. This means identifying evil threats such as secretive power groups and inherently evil creatures, watching over them, and being ready to attack the moment they misbehave. (These are always retributive strikes, never preemptive.)”
Each of the published adventures explains ways in which the Order can act as allies and support to the player characters within those adventures. In your home campaign, the Order is always ready to provide support—in the form of warriors or healing or both—to PC parties who are on a mission against a direct threat against the people of the Realms.
Example Adventure: The PCs have discovered an orc horde is poised to sweep down out of the mountains to attack Silverymoon and surrounding area. The PCs have learned that a small group of evil wizards are behind the orc attack, and they know that if they can infiltrate the mountains and reach the tower where the wizards are gathered, they can take out the impetus for the horde. However, the PCs also need a way to slow the horde so that it doesn’t overrun the local small towns and villages before they can reach their goal. The Order of the Gauntlet, once made aware of the threat, is more than willing to assemble a force to block the passes and delay the horde until the PCs can take out cause of the invasion.
Like with the Harpers, if the players are running evil characters, they may find themselves at odds with this organization. Normally, however, it will be less likely to end up on the wrong side of the Order. There are still possibilities, though. For example, in the Tomb of Annihilation adventure, the PCs may end up getting “conscripted” by the Commander Breakbone, who will order the PCs arrested if they don’t agree to help out Camp Vengeance. This should not be a usual situation, however—Commander Breakbone is noted as being inept, and this should be rare among the Order. Some righteous paladins of the Order may be overzealous in demanding assistance to right the wrongs facing the organization, though, and PCs may find themselves at odds with the Order over their demands.
Characters as Members
Similar to what I wrote about the Harpers last week, appropriate PCs may want to join the Order of the Gauntlet. As DM, you might want to use the renown system from the Adventurer’s League program to track the PCs’ advancement within the Order.
The Order Campaign
You may decide to run an entire campaign focused on the Order of the Gauntlet, with players creating characters that start the game as members of the Order.
As mentioned last week, you could give all the PCs a second background for free—the Faction Agent background, or just give each PC the Safe Haven feature and the faction-specific equipment and leave it at that.
An Order of the Gauntlet campaign will generally be more combat-heavy than some of the other factions. The Order gets involved when it’s time to take the fight directly to an enemy, so characters with good combat skills (fighters, paladins) are most appropriate. In addition, the Order has many cleric members. Rangers can also be appropriate—the Order needs scouts and outriders for their armed forces, for example.
Some classes are less appropriate for a campaigned based solely around the Order of the Gauntlet, however. Bards, rogues, sorcerers, warlocks and wizards will find themselves a bit out of their element. The Order doesn’t tend to utilize the skill sets of these classes, and will likely look askance at characters of these classes trying to join. It’s always possible, however, that a player will come up with a good reason for their character to be a part of the order regardless of class, though the ultimate decision is of course up to the DM.
If you’re interested in knights in shining armor and warriors for good, then the Order of the Gauntlet provides many options, whether they are allies or enemies. This is a great tool to use when you’ve got players who just want to go out and slay monsters, which can be a fun and satisfying way to play D&D.
How have you used the Order of the Gauntlet in your campaign? Tell us about it in the comments.