D&D 3e (3.0/3.5) Rules
Entry in the 2006 Nexus Organizations Contest.
Following the Cataclysm, all wizards, (especially the Black Robes), were extremely disliked. This attitude towards Black Robes, from the people of Krynn, created trouble for the magicians in doing what they needed to do; whether it was retrieving information, meeting with others, manipulating, blackmailing, or in some extreme cases assassinating someone. They couldn't just travel in broad daylight, nor always teleport to where they needed to go. That is when a clever magician from the Black Robes came up with the answer. Ciljour Mainstream was the name of this clever wizard, and his claim to fame was in his charm spells.
Ciljour was the type of Wizard that felt that all others should do his bidding and as such, he decided to charm a simple thief that always hung out at the local watering hole. As is the case with someone who is charmed over and over again, the thief soon developed a fierce loyalty to Ciljour and there was no need to cast a charm spell on him any longer. Seeing the effect that his spells had on this individual, Ciljour set to the task of finding a way that was less time consuming to make such loyal thieves. Ciljour met with other colleagues, and finding that they too would be interested in such a spell, he conspired with them to find a suitable spell of a level of intensity enough to charm a person into loyalty for life. The magicians put their collective heads together and after much arduous research came up with a spell they called "The Black Hand".
After several successful attempts at the loyalty based spell, Ciljour and his conspirators decided a little order was needed amongst the thieves that were being charmed. One of the thieves was sent out to a small town called Windkeep near the forest of Wayreth. His duties were to start a guild of thieves from which only the most elite would be taken to the higher level of individuals under the spell of the Black Hand.
During their service to the Black Robes the thieves will be able to do as they desire when not in the employ of the magician, however, when a Black Robe needs service of his Black Hand, the thief's right hand gets very hot until they can get to a place where they are alone and can't be disturbed. Through telepathy, the Black Robe wizard notifies the thief of what they need done, leaving the Black Hand no choice but to do as commanded. Hence, the Black Hands were created. Of course the benefits were many and there was little cause to think the Black Hand would not do the bidding of the magicians in question, but it was a good spell just in case one of them changed their mind.
With the War of the Lance near completion, the Black Hands moved to Palanthas, where Raistlin Majere recently opened that Tower of High Sorcery. There they have continued to thrive, until after the War of Chaos, when the world was stolen away by Takhisis, and magic was no longer. Operating as a normal thieves guild, they awaited, hoping and preying that Nuitari would return magic to his Black Robes. When finally it did, his former Black Hand contacted Dalamar, and the Black hands were re-blessed by their old and new Black Robes.
The Black Hands were formed to help the Black Robes to do their "dirty work" so to speak, anything from stealing a vital element for a spell, to assassinating a power crazed politician who might be standing in the magicians way. With the Blessing of the Black Hand, they are entirely loyal to their Black Robe master, putting the magicians need in front of the needs of the Guild.
They do this because...
A drawback of the spell is that the thief is more of a pet and if a magic user abuses the power of the spell the thief is let out in public for all to see. The spell allows for recklessness at times and can be a hindrance if not properly applied.
Headquarters/Areas of Influence:
Originally founded in the town of Windkeep near the Forest of Wayreth, the Headquarters was moved to Palanthas with the opening of the Tower by Raistlin. In both areas the Guilds are strong and thriving.
The leader of the Guild was the minion of the Black Robe, who was the Head of their Order. Though since moving to Palanthas, the leader is the one who assists the Master of the Tower of Palanthas. That being the true Master, Raistlin, and then following him, his apprentice Dalamar, as he is the one that now heads the Tower of Palanthas.
Before Moving to Palanthas
Leader: Minion to the Head of the Order.
Due to the move from Windkeep to Palanthas, the rank structure has changed as well:
After Moving to Palanthas
Leader: Minion to the Master of the Tower of Palanthas
Allies and Enemies:
The primary allies of the Black Hand Thieves Guild are the Black Robes. No other wizards know of their existence, except as a Thieves Guild. The Thieves Guild is also tolerated by the Palanthains because they give just as much as they take. The Guards often take bribes and many individuals have found out that it is worth their time to provide information, shelter, or anything else they can do. The Knights of Solamnia are not fond of them, but since the town doesn't complain about them, they only occasionally try to imprison one or two for show. Later they escape and return to their guild. All of this would change in a heart beat if the knowledge that they served the Black Robes leaked out... Fortunately, they haven't had any leaks yet.
When first joining the guild, inductees learn the ways of the Black Hand. Already being a thief allows them the rights and privileges of rank that is accorded them through the thief's guild infrastructure. Any level of thief may be asked to join; there is no discrimination of age.
Once being inducted into the order of the Black Hand, the chosen go through a rigorous training course for a minimum of 2 years, but while in training they must keep up all appearances within the thieves' guild of being just an ordinary thief. Within the guild house, not many rules are in place, unless they are an inductee. Inductees have no communication with the other inductees, EVER. In this manner, if they were to be compromised they would not be able to lead to the downfall of the secret society.
Once a chosen attains the rank and privileges of a true Adept in the order of the Black Hand, things become much easier depending on their master Black Robe. As long as a Black Hand doesn't fall from the graces of his Black Robe counterpart, the Adept has pretty much free reign over his life. The Blessing of the Black Hand also works as a member identifier, for only a Black Robe and a fellow Black Hand see that the right hand is black, to anyone else, they see a normal hand. Once a Black Robe has blessed them, the bidding of their Black Robe counterpart is their main concern. The chosen must follow all Master-given rules and obey any commend given to them by a Black Hand. If even a minor rule is broken, the chosen learn quickly what disobedience means in the organization, or they eventually die.
Joining the Organization:
Nobody joins the guild; they are sought out by Black Hands. Once someone is approached about joining, they either join or they are killed. This keeps others from knowing about their true origins, but often enough once they are giving the decision, they join. This also explains why training is so rigorous and why inductees aren't allowed to know who is involved with the order.
Costs and Benefits of Membership:
There are no costs for inductees, when they are recruited. Only after they become an Adept do they start to add to the guild's treasury. A portion of the earnings that a Black Hand makes, during the service to a Black Robe, go right into the Treasury. In this manner, the Order pays for any and all expenses incurred during the call of duty to a Black Robe Master.
The benefits or joining the guild...
This spell acts in the same manner that a permanent Charm Person spell would. There is no Saving Throw or Spell Resistance because the recipients of this spell consider this their destiny.
Also, the illusion of the Black Hand works in the same fashion as the Black Moon does...meaning you can't see it unless you are a Black Hand or Black Robe.
This item has been published here with permission from the author(s) and may not be reproduced without permission. This is a fan submission and its contents are completely unofficial. Some characters, places, likenesses and other names may be copyright Wizards of the Coast.