There are many organizations active in the Commonwealth, the wider Emerald Plane, and beyond.

Organizations can be useful, for both players and GMs. For a player, membership in an organization can explain why a character is undertaking a particular adventure, and can give that character access to the kind of resources and support that they might find useful. For GMs, these organizations can make good quest-givers—if you want to send your players out to tackle a supernatural, "black-swan" problem, then an organization that tracks and combats those kind of threats — like the Far Watch — is a good place to start the adventure.

Nevertheless, players should not feel like their characters need to belong to a particular organization, and GMs should not feel like these organizations need to play a prominent role in the adventures they build; they are available if are useful, but they are not required.

And, of course, there are many more active organizations than the handful presented here; GMs and players should feel free to add more.

How do you join an Organization?

"Pick an organization" isn't a character-creation step, and listing your "organization" isn't included anywhere in the "representing a character" section. So, how exactly do you join an organization?

As with many things in Renaissance, there's no one canonically correct answer to this question; in general, you should start by taking the Member Class, and detailing it as appropriate for the organization you want to join. If your arrangement with the organization is complex or comes with very specific rules, you could represent this with an additional class; likewise, if you have a prominent position in the organization that provides you with additional benefits, you represent this with an additional class (like the Rat Queen example class).

The Far-Watch

The Far Watch keeps watch over the affairs of spirits, magical creatures, mages, alchemists, and other powerful, unpredictable sources of danger; as their name implies, they also look to the horizon and the future, keeping an eye out for new threats beyond the understanding of the citizens of Commonwealth today. Their task is a difficult one, because their resources are limited, and their opponents are both powerful and unpredictable.

The Formation of the Far Watch

The Far Watch as such was formed only three years ago, when several independent organizations merged (and a few individual actors agreed to pool their resources). Prior to that, there was a hodge-podge of organizations, temples, libraries and individuals, each dedicated to patrolling one particular "great threat".

This was inefficient and ineffective. Most of those organizations where poorly funded, as they where often made up of academics, activists and fanatics, pursuing agendas that wider society did not take seriously. Worse, they where often competing for the same resources and recruiting from the same pool of talent; this often meant that organizations with very similar goals could end up starving each-other for resources or pushing each-other out of territory.

In CY 824, the leaders of the Mage-Watch and the Wheat-Way Guard agreed to cooperate with one another, by sharing resources and aiding one-another's operatives. Over the following year and a half, the arrangement was extended to more "Great Threat" organizations, and to a few individual actors. In CY 826, the group began to draft the charter for one combined organization, the Far Watch; it was approved the following year. The organization is still in its formative years, still attempting to bring more of the disparate web of organizations, patrons and vigilantes under their aegis, and beginning to recruit new talent in earnest.

Structure of the Far Watch

The Far-Watch is organized into Watches, which in turn are either Vigils and Guards. A Vigil is devoted to a specific threat or task; they often correspond to one of the organizations that combined to form the Far-Watch. A Guard is a specific holding of the Far-Watch — an office, outpost, fortress, manor or monastery. At present, there are few Guards, and they are relatively new; when an organization joins the Far-Watch, they are expected to surrender some of their holdings to form (or contribute to) an independent Guard. (Unsurprisingly, this has sometimes been a sticking-point in recruiting.)

The Far-Watch has little central command or governance; it has a Council, which is expected to meet every three years, and a Treasury, which collects and disburses resources. There is no capital for the Far-Watch; the Council's meeting-place will rotate, and is to be selected at the close of each Council meeting (the second meeting of the Council has not yet occurred, since the Far-Watch is less than three years old). Each Watch sends one representative to this Council, and each representative is allowed one vote.

Mostly, the Council is expected to oversee the disbursement of resources and manage disputes; for the most part, each Watch is allowed to pursue their own ends — subject to the requirement that they share resources and support one-another, according to the charter of the Far-Watch.

Some are concerned that the Far-Watch may be hobbled by internal politics as the different Watches battle for resources. The hope is that the Guards will counter this, since the Guards, in theory, should represent the interests of the whole of the Far-Watch within a region — as opposed to the narrow interests of one particular Vigil. The hope is that, as the Far-Watch grows and expands, new Guards will be formed much more frequently than new Vigils, and that patronages will shift from the Vigils individually to the Far-Watch as a whole.


The Wheat Vigil

The Wheat Vigil is devoted to policing contracts with Spirits, particularly those made by manors, land-holders and governments; it was formed from the Wheat-Way Guard.

The Wheat-Way Guard was formed after a disastrous contract with a Great Spirit resulted in the fall of the city of Wetwheel in CY 796. Wetwheel was a city of more than twenty thousand in Heartland Province; built where the Wheat Road crossed the Wheat River, it was named for a large water-wheel used to grind grain. The city fell when a prominent citizen brokered a deal between a Great Spirit and the city; the spirit deceived them, their binds did not hold it, and it destroyed the city. Little more than a hundred people are known to have survived Wetwheel.

The Wheat-Way Watch attempts to prevent such a tragedy from every happening again. They do this in a number of ways; perhaps the most benign is by offering the services of priests and scholars in their ranks to governments brokering deals with Spirits, to attempt to prevent such a disastrous deal from being struck. They are not, however, above the use of darker and more direct means to prevent the powerful from striking deals with Spirits that could prove to be disastrous; it is whispered that they have resorted to blackmail, intimidation, and even assassination in the name of preventing catastrophies like Wetwheel.

Unsurprisingly, they have no shortage of powerful enemies.

Redstone Hold

Redstone Hold is the largest Guard, and it was the first one to be established entirely from new resources (rather than being built from the holdings of a previous organization). It was founded when the charter to a manor two demarc from Stormsword's Rest was granted to the Far-Watch by the Lord Durandel.

Redstone Hold itself is still under construction, but it already represents an important site for the Far Watch; though meager, the taxes collected by the Hold from the residents of the manor represent a vital, independEnt source of resources for the Far-Watch — one that is under the control of the Far-Watch itself, that they do not have to wrest from the control of a Vigil.

The Far-Watch has put considerable effort into building up the library at the hold, and to ensuring that the site has the resources that scholars of spirits, magic and alchemy will need; they have also used endowments to lure scholars, artisans and scribes to the hold, and to manor-town nearby.

Far-Watch Characters

The Far-Watch is an interesting and challenging organization for a player to join. One the plus side, the Far-Watch offers players access to highly skilled NPCs (powerful mages, skilled alchemists, and well-read scholars of the strange and arcane) and rare resources (well-stocked mage's shops, alchemists' laboratories, strange treasures and libraries full of arcane or forgotten knowledge). On the down-side, though, they also present challenges: the Far-Watch has powerful enemies, even in the Commonwealth (in the form of nobles they've crossed, powerful cults who view them as their major enemy, and possibly even powerful Spirits whose agendas they've spoiled), and can suffer from poor resource availability (because their outposts are few, and, though they do have some wealthy patrons, they have many more projects and operatives than they have resources).

Consider joining the Far-Watch if you:

  • Want to be a Call of Cthulhu—style investigator or an Eclipse Phase—style agent.
  • Want to be a volunteer for a resource-strapped organization that will require you to improvise and do without.
  • Want to have mages, scholars and artisans as peers.
Far-Watch Campaigns

The Far-Watch is, unsurprisingly, inspired by Firewall, the presumptive player-faction from Eclipse Phase; they are designed to tell similar stories.

The Far-Watch investigates out-of-context problems, black-swan events, and strange, weird and powerful forces beyond the ken of mortal souls or lesser Spirits alike. if you'd like your players to confront cosmic forces and out-of-context problems, the Far-Watch is a great quest-giver faction; similarly, if you'd like to adapt a Strugatsky brothers novel, Twilight Zone episode or Thomas Ligotti story into an adventure, then an agent of the Far-Watch with a "problem" is probably a good place to start.

Far-Watch Adventure: A Bad Deal

A small monastery in Heartland Province holds the title to a nearby manor; the residents there are worried that the monks may be striking a disastrous deal with unreliable spirits — a deal that might claim them as well.

Are the monks striking such a deal, or do the townsfolk suspect them for nothing? How dangerous is the deal? What kind of spirit are they dealing with? How can the party stop them — or is it already too late?

Far-Watch Adventure: An Empty Town

A small, combined Kobold and Dwarven burrow in the Haven Isles has vanished; the city remains, but the people are gone. The party must determine what happened, whether the residents of the burrow can be recovered, and if it poses a threat to the wider Commonwealth.

-Where did they go? -Where they claimed by a spirit? -Abducted by Leapers? -Did they do it to themselves — where they experimenting with psionic or sorcerous power, and did the experiments backfire or work precisely as intended?

Far-Watch Adventure: A Strange Island

An explorer sailing west from the Haven Isles has found a deserted island with a long-abandoned village, built by a culture unknown. At first, the village appeared almost normal, but, upon closer investigation, it was found to contain wondrous objects — like bronze plates that hovered away from each-other, rigidly fixed and immovable as though they where connected, or an iron trellise that, if touched, would cause any metal object to sprout tiny, branching tendrils of metal, eventually vanishing into a haze or iron filaments — where scattered among deadly hazards — like strange, shimmering patches of ground that would violently wrench the limbs of any who stepped on them, shattering bones and destroying limbs. The explorers sold their discovery to the Far-Watch, who are the most qualified to plumb the secrets of the island, to determine if it could ever possibly be safely exploited — and whether or not it represents a glimpse of some greater threat that might some day come for the Commonwealth.

-What happened to the island? -Did the residents of the city do this to themselves? -Did some calamity claim them? -Was the catastrophy deliberate, or was it an incidental result of some other agenda? -What treasures may lie deeper into the unexplored city?

The High Road

The High Road is an anti-slavery organization that smuggles slaves to freedom. The High Road is active throughout the known world; they smuggle slaves out of the Goblin Empire, the Shaded Sea and the Kingdoms of Men, to freedom in the Commonwealth and Raptor's Protectorate.

In the Commonwealth, the 'Road operates relatively openly — especially in provinces far from the borders. While they still keep their contacts and routes secret, and disguise who is and is not a slave being smuggled to freedom (and most certainly keep secret those slaves' real identities), members of the High Road in the Commonwealth may make their loyalty to the 'Road known.

Agents of the High Road operating inside the Shaded Sea or the Goblin Empire are in a far more dangerous position. Often, these are not Commonwealth citizens, but natives to the Shaded Sea or Goblin Empire — Shade Elves, Ratfolk, Goblins and Gremlins who collaborate to smuggle their kin's slaves to freedom — those who too quickly believe that all Shade Elves or Goblins are evil should consider that most of the members of the High Road are Shade Elves and Goblins.


The High Road operates relatively openly in the Commonwealth. They public supports them, and they enjoy the patronage of wealthy citizens and organization.

They still have to keep their operations secret; even in the Commonwealth, operatives of slave-holders will investigate the High Road and its operatives, seeking to track their operations and recover their "property". (Or, worse, to slay its members and foil their operations.)

Operatives in slave-holding nations must be far more secretive. They are extremely careful to protect their operations, both for their own sake, and because there are precious few reliable paths to smuggle slaves to safety from deep within the Shaded Sea, the Goblin Empire's holdings on the Ruby Plane, or the Eastern Kingdoms — if an operative is discovered, there may be no-one else to take their place. They are often organized into cells, knowing only the previous links in the chain, or the few that follow them.

High-Road Characters

The High-Road can be a very morally satisfying faction to join — who doesn't love underdog heroes smuggling slaves to freedom? They can also be incredibly high-stakes; a High-Road character will be in incredibly danger outside of the Commonwealth — even within the Commonwealth, an enemy could still appear, swooping out of the darkness to capture or kill the character.

Consider joining the High Road if you:

  • want to play a character who smuggles slaves (and other desperate people) to freedom.
  • want to occasionally assassinate slavers.
  • want to have access to a secret network whose tendrils reach into the Kingdoms, the Shaded Sea and the Goblin Empire.
  • want to play someone from the Eastern Kingdoms, the Shaded Sea or the Goblin Empire.
  • want to play a character who mixes stealth, deception and combat skills.
High-Road Adventures

The High Road are an incredibly useful organization for GMs. They can be the starting-point for countless morally-satisfying adventures: there's no end of desperate, brutally-oppressed people in the Shaded Sea and Goblin Empire looking for a path to freedom, and no end of brutal tyrants in the world that the High Road would like to see dead. As a secret organization with native operatives embedded throughout the Commonwealth's adversaries, they're also exceptionally useful even in campaigns that aren't directly about liberating slaves; they can be an invaluable source of secret information, and they might be willing to smuggle operatives from the Commonwealth into the Shaded Sea or Goblin Empire.

High-Road Campaign: Escalating Conflict

The town of Redstone Arch in the Dragonshire sits just across the Red-Bank River from Red-Weir, a town in the Kingdoms of Men that sits on a wide, shallow lake. Over the last few weeks, both towns have been wracked by a series of disappearances, abductions and murders; the residents of Redstone Arch quietly whisper that the violence is a quiet war being fought between the High Road and a gang of slavers operating near Red-Weir. The Lord of Redstone Arch offers a prize to anyone who can put an end to the violence.

  • Who's winning, the High Road or the slavers?
  • Who's running the slaver gang?
  • Does the party find out about the High Road — or does the High Road approach the party?
  • Do the people of Red-Weir support the slavers, or do they perhaps want them gone almost as much as the people of Redstone?

The Knights of the White Tusk

The Knights of the White Tusk are an independent order of warrior/diplomats founded in early spring of CY 156, during the integration of the Orcish communities of the north into the Commonwealth. Their original purpose was to act as mediators between Orcish clans and the Commonwealth; their original members consisted of pro-Commonwealth Orcs who wanted to ensure that Orcish interests were respected by the larger Commonwealth.

As time passed and the Orcish communities where integrated into the Commonwealth, the Knights' scope expanded; They were called in to assist the Commonwealth in negotiations and campaigns involving other neighboring nations and powers.

Today the Knights operate as mediators and diplomats, handling conflicts ranging from arguments between neighbors to conflicts between nations. Although they are strongly aligned with the Commonwealth and its philosophies, they have outputs scattered throughout the Emerald and Ruby Planes, and serve many different communities and nations.

Although they are Knights in more than name alone — they are trained to be formidable warriors — they use violence only as a last resort. Their founders believed that Orcs have been granted great strength and spirit not to conquer, but to protect those weaker than themselves; the idea that strength must be wisely and constructively deployed remains an animating principle.

While most of the founding members of the Knights were from Orcish communities — and most of their members are Orcs today — they accept applicants from any species or background provided that they ascribe to values of peace, unity and diplomacy. Membership is similarly open to all genders, but the organization's roots in Orcish culture has led to traditionally higher representation of women among their ranks

One of the original aims of the Knights was to provide education and support to young Orcs so that they could better acclimate to the future The Commonwealth promised. To that end, the Knights maintain roughly half a dozen schools scattered throughout The Commonwealth that provide free education to citizens from ages 6-18.

New members of The Knights are typically drawn from the student body of these schools and are recruited at a fairly young age (Between 10-13 years). Prospective Knights must meet certain standards in their academic studies to qualify, and are required to pass a number of academic and physical exams. New Initiates are given full combat training as well as an academic education.

New recruits will typically go through two to three years of basic training before being apprenticed to an established Knight as a squire for a minimum of three years. After completing their required duties as a squire and being deemed ready by the Knight they have served, a squire is promoted to the status of Journeyman and may be sent on solo missions. After a Journeyman has completed a sufficient amount of independent work for the Knights they are promoted to full knighthood.

Their symbol is a white, stylized mammoth head.

Hierarchy Within the Knights


The lowest level of membership within The Knights. Initiates represent new recruits to the guild who are just beginning their education. They are typically between the ages of 10-13 years, have been previously educated at one of the schools sponsored by The Knights, and receive specialized training and education by veteran members of the guild.


When an Initiate has successfully completed at least three years of training they are promoted to the rank of Squire and are apprenticed to an active Knight. They accompany their mentor on missions for The White Tusk, providing them aid both in and out of the line of duty. Service as a Squire lasts for a minimum of three years, and a Squire can only be promoted on the direct approval of their mentor.


Upon completion of their term as a Squire, members are promoted to the rank of Journeymen and may be sent on missions for The White Tusk without the supervision of a mentor. This period of service typically lasts for a minimum of five or more years, based on the knight's performance.


After completing their time as a Journeyman, a member is formally Knighted in a ceremony conducted by the acting Harbinger of the White Tusk where they are declared a full member of the Guild and are granted the ability to take on Squires. The most challenging and important missions are reserved for Knights. Active Knights without a Squire are also expected to provide some amount of service as educators, either in the training of Initiates, or in one of the schools sponsored by The Knights.


When an active Knight is no longer physically capable of performing field work for The White Tusk, but does not wish to retire from the order, they take up a position among the Gentry. This consists of senior-level members of The Knights


A specific honor among The Gentry, The Regents are the governing body of the Guild. There are never more than 12 Regents at any given time, and membership requires that a prospective applicant be an established member of The White Tusk with at least ten years of service, receive the nomination of at least three of their peers, and receive the support of at least seven active regents. Regents may serve in their position no longer than 10 years.


The Harbinger is the most respected position within the White Tusk. While Harbinger is not considered a formal position of leadership (Such decisions are handled by the 12 Regents), The Harbinger is tasked with a number of important leadership tasks. The Harbinger is the only member of the guild with the authority to grant the title of Knight, serves as the Knight's representative in their formal dealings with other guilds, nobles and governments, and serves as a tie-breaker in in instances where the Regents are evenly split.

White-Tusk Characters

Knights of the White Tusk make great characters. Unlike many other RPGs, Renaissance is a game that rewards characters that rewards charactesr for straddling multiple roles, and that downplays combat as the first solution to most problems; Knights of the White Tusk, with their mix of social skills, academic education and combat prowess, make excellent (and very flexible) Renaissance characters. With their emphasis on peaceful conflict resolution and their origin in voluntary cultural assimilation, they also fit wonderfully with Renaissance's core themes.

The Knights of the White Tusk also provide players with a diverse array of resources (in the form of scholars, schools, diplomats, grateful patrons and battle-hardened knights) while saddling them with few burdens or complications (as the Knights have few enemies).

Consider joining the Knights of the White Tusk if you:

  • want to play a character that mixes knowledge, social and combat skills.
  • don't want to have to choose between being a humble, wise and benevolent monk or a powerful warrior.
  • want to be a member of an organization that pursues peace and seeks nonviolent solutions to problems.
  • want to be a member of an organization doing good work in the world — especially for the poor and desperate.
White Tusk Campaigns

The Knights of the White Tusk are active wherever there is conflict and desperation — which the Emerald and Ruby Plane have no shortage of. The Knights might be called on to broker the end of a seige, negotiate for the interests of peasants who cannot pay their cruel lord's dues, or settle a dispute between warring tribes.

White Tusk Adventure: Bad Neighbors

Conflict has been building between a city in the Dragonshire and another city over a river in the Kingdoms of Men. What started as a series of minor trade disputes has recently caused actual violence — a merchant in the Kingdoms city was found dead, and the ship-captain who most quarrelled with him has vanished. The White Tusk has volunteered to help resolve the situation before it gets any worse — but they'll need help.

What's actually causing the tension — is it really a simple trade dispute, or is there more going on? Is a negotiated solution possible, or is a fight inevitable — if there is a fight, is there a right side that the players need to be on, or should they step out of it?