The Zhentarim – also known as the Black Network – is a loose affiliation of merchants, mercenaries, and malefactors. Common folk know the Zhentarim as the people to talk to when you need the best guards or mercenaries money can buy. And if the cargo is shady or the cause is questionable or even unjust, the Zhentarim don’t mind. Affiliation with the Zhentarim can be profitable to sellswords, thieves, and rogues of every stripe. However, most residents of Faerun – including the lower ranking members of the Zhentarim – don’t know the full extent of the Zhentarim’s operations and goals.
Infighting within the Zhentarim is rife at the lower levels, and seen as a healthy method of determining the best for promotion: however, while on assignment agents are expected to follow a strict, if somewhat perverse, code of trust and honour. The upper levels of the Network are cloaked in mystery, with all orders coming down a convoluted chain of command and proxies before reaching its intended recipient. Agents of the Zhentarim can expect to find a vast underworld of crime and subterfuge open to them – for the right price.
The Zhentarim are the dark underbelly of most cities and towns across Faerun, but they are infamously good at what they do: entire nations have collapsed at the hands of the Zhentarim. The Zhentarim will accept agents of questionable morality – as long as they get the job done.