Hall of portraits
Deep within the Bureau's many hallways and corridors lies a small gallery dedicated to the individuals who have sacrificed their lives and careers outside the Bureau in the name of restoring order to a war-stricken world. The portraits in this hall were painted with great care to ensure that they would last an age, and each image captures the story of their subject with surprising detail.
Bureau of Balance Director Lucretia Lockhaven
Lucretia Lockhaven is the enigmatic leader and founder of the Bureau of Balance. Standing over 6 feet tall, she is an imposing figure that represents the order that the Bureau fights every day to reinstate in the world as we know it. Lucretia is a abjurer; meaning a wizard of the School of Abjuration, a magical order dedicated to banishing evil from the world and warding off extraplanar threats. The Bulwark Staff, an artifact of her own design, emanates a powerful divine beam - it is the tool by which the Bureau is able to purge the Grand Relics from the world. In the Bureau's infancy, when a devastated world was just starting to recover from the Relic Wars, Lucretia worked in the field as the first Reclaimer, using what little knowledge she had to hunt down the now dormant Grand Relics. This first hunt proved futile, and when she was at her weakest, Lucretia paid a terrible price to save her own life, and ensure that the Bureau could continue its crusade - even if it meant its most capable wizard would have to stay in the shadows. Beyond this, much of The Director's history is shrouded in mystery - she attempts to avoid the subject entirely and becomes quite mournful when her past is brought up, but maintains a dignified and vengeful air. The Director has seen a world at peace, and will stop at absolutely nothing to make it so again; she is a force to be reckoned with, a figurehead that demands fear, respect, and adoration from all beneath her.
Bureau of Balance Master Regulator Kraal Corvona
The dragonborn Kraal Corvona has held the title of Master Regulator at the Bureau for nearly its entire history. While his regal horns may be imposing, he is small in stature compared to his kin; where muscle and hardened scale of brilliant hue would normally be found, Kraal's scrawny frame is covered in a strange leathery hide of grey. Whether or not his cold heart hardened as a result of his deformities, it was his weakness in battle that truly sealed his fate - he was never destined to be a warrior like his brethren, and he was treated like an outcast as a result. Kraal found solace in the shadows, using his keen mind to gather followers and orchestrate the deaths of his foes, keeping his own hands clean. He quickly became a powerful player in the underworld during the Relic Wars; organizing crime, gathering information, and toppling any fool who stood in his path to the top, all while staying quite clear of such lofty goals as world conquest. Such is his business within the Bureau, and the main reason the Director saw fit to employ him when the Grand Relics resurfaced - he founded the Department of Artifact Regulation and Control (D.A.R.C.), employing a host of elite field agents called the Regulators to quickly (and quietly) respond to threats when a Grand Relic's unique magical signature is detected. Some of his Regulators also act as spies, gathering more sensitive information than the Seekers might be able to obtain without getting their hands dirty - but whether or not these secrets should be unleashed upon the Bureau, or the world, is a common point of discussion. The Voidwyrm's ability to consume knowledge and purge it from the minds of common folk is also quite useful in this regard; Kraal tends to use the wyrm more often than necessary in order to keep certain names off the tongues of those who might harm the Bureau or its agents.
With all this in mind, understand that Kraal is untrustworthy, unfriendly, and generally darkens the door of any place he may visit; quite the opposite of his roguish younger sibling, Jaxi, who works beneath him as a Regulator alongside the half-orc Killian Speartooth and the dwarf Boylan Brazzik. Regardless of his size or his insecurities, Kraal Corvona is not to be taken lightly - he is as brilliant as a cut diamond, and with just as cruel an edge.
Bureau of Balance Master Artificer Silas Selwyn
Silas Selwyn is perhaps the most brilliant artificer to have ever lived - second only to the group of mysterious red robed artificers who created the Grand Relics, and his late wife Petrilda. Though he is still young for a human, born during the height of the Relic Wars, Silas is naturally gifted and an accomplished inventor - he comes from a long line of seasoned artificers who are responsible for much of the technology used in the world today. The Selwyn Laboratory, a recent addition to the family’s claims to fame, floats silently above the Sapphire Bay, invisible to those outside the Bureau, and holds several generations worth of inventions and experiments within its walls. Though his methods may be questionable, and his morals even more so, Silas performed admirably within the Bureau and quickly rose through the ranks to his the position of Master Artificer. But with his success came tragedy - his wife died suddenly within weeks of his new assignment, and his chipper attitude and never-ending quest for knowledge turned to bitterness and cynicism, alongside a strange obsession with the study of the planar system, a field with few breakthroughs in modern history. This obsession led to a grievous betrayal of the Bureau, when he took possession of a Grand Relic for personal gain, thus ending his illustrious career.
A young human boy, who is apparently the greatest detective in the world. A passenger on the Rockside Express who assisted in solving the murder(s) during the trip and in keeping the Amulet of Az’karranth out of the hands of the nefarious Jenkins. He later became a Junior Seeker at the Bureau of Balance due to his incessant habit of snooping around, though it is speculated that he was only admitted due to the Bureau’s strict prohibition of child murdering. Known collector of famous boy detective novels.
A half-orc fighter who “helped” the party take down The Black Spider, and introduced them to the Bureau of Balance. She is one of the Bureau’s star Regulators, a type of field agent specifically dispatched to take down rogue individuals (typically Bureau employees) who obtain and knowingly use artifacts for nefarious purposes.
A dragonborne rogue and Regulator who is in Killian’s squad, and the younger sister of Kraal, the Master Regulator. Known to complain when people use flesh-melting spells in a friendly training match. Probably now has a fetish for being dominated, thanks to Arderrick.
The Bureau’s Transportation Specialist who develops ways for agents to travel to/from their missions; his most prolific invention being the Glass Cannon, that literally fires agents across the globe. His home town (and family name) are well known for their incredibly strong, but especially sweet, brandy distillery – he is known to keep a flask on him at all times.
The half-elf bard employed by the Bureau as their Gameskeeper, to both maintain and entertain the Voidwyrm. He is responsible for inoculating new Bureau associates using the Voidwyrm's powerful ichor, granting them knowledge about the world that the Bureau has fought long and hard to keep a secret. Though his skills with a fiddle are likely among the best in the realm, he is constantly depressed that his music falls on deaf ears - but is happy enough to play for his fellow Bureau employees whenever he gets the chance.
A large serpent-like creature that lives in a tank deep within the Bureau of Balance Headquarters, where its ichor is used to inoculate initiates and grant them the forbidden knowledge it has consumed. Its shimmering hide shows an ethereal vision of the cosmos; the creature is certainly one of a kind, and its ability to purge memories from the minds of lesser beings is stranger still. How it arrived on this plane is a mystery, and how it fell into the Bureau's hands is even more curious - but it seems happy enough being kept company by Johann, and it's a social enough creature to charm most Bureau employees into not caring where its ichor actually comes from.
An alchemist and Seeker at the Bureau. Seekers typically study artifacts and their uses, but Robert's specialty lies in the realm of intoxicating potions and tinctures, as his title of “Chief Mixologist” suggests – though this title was self-awarded, no-one that has tasted his incredibly powerful brews dares to dispute it. He consistently provides his room-mates with the fruits of his labor, even if they aren't particularly helpful.
The personal steward and assistant to the Director. He never speaks, and consistently has a smile comparable to that of a corpse. But he makes up for his grim disposition by carrying out his ordered tasks without a flaw; this typically consists of carrying things from place to place on a fancy pillow or serving dish. Whether his skill as a butler makes up for his lobotomized expression is up for debate, but the Director seems adamant on keeping him around.
An elderly gnome artificer who maintains the Seeker’s Office and the Phantasmal Fountain, which provides gifts to those who make a wish using a special coin and peer into its waters. His office doubles as an enormous library, where ancient tomes from all over the realm can be found. His real name is Leon Orryn Paggen Gimble Lingenhall, which is extremely annoying to pronounce.
A halfling warlock who maintains the Requisition Office, where agents can spend the gold they have been allotted on artifacts to help them on their missions. The role of Acting Requisitions Officer sounds like a stuffy one, but he makes the best of it by trying to get agents to haggle on his wares, and sign for things in blood.
Lummox and Flummox
Two kobold forgemasters who work in the Artificer’s Office. Neither of them are extremely intelligent, but they are both very skilled at what they do. They (along with Blackstone) are currently engaged in the study of imbuing crafted items with magical energy and storing the energy permanently, an art lost to modern smiths.
A goblin who led his brethren in looting on the Triboar Trail… until Klarg showed up. He was unhappy with his new leader and charged the party with dispatching the bugbear in exchange for the release of the captured Baltimore. This, unsurprisingly, failed, and a completely lucid Klaarg ripped him in half like a phonebook, along with the rest of his kin.
The Black Spider
An elf warlock who was a former Seeker at the Bureau of Balance. He studied the Grand Relics during his time at the Bureau, and sought to use their power for evil – he even tracked one down to a vault hidden deep within Wave Echo Cave. He met his untimely demise deep within a bottomless pit after totally messing up what would’ve been a really cool “shoot the other guy” scene.
A human fighter who was captured on the Triboar Trail by Yeemic’s goblins. He helped the party find Wave Echo Cave so they could rescue Gundren, then retreated to Phandalin to recover from his wounds. He knew more about the situation than he ever led on, but met his untimely end when Gundren destroyed the city in a torrent of fire.
A dwarf who hired the party to escort him to Phandalin, but in reality was seeking his family fortune in the depths of Wave Echo Cave. However, he wasn’t the only one; The Black Spider paid the local goblins for the capture of him and his siblings. He survived the encounter, only to put on the Phoenix Flame Gauntlet and destroy the city of Phandalin – and himself in the process.
The (now deceased) Reclaimer who was assigned to track down the Amulet of Az’karranth. He did so successfully, but was cut down by Jenkins before managing to bring it back to the Bureau. He was well liked, and though he never managed to actually reclaim anything, the Bureau mourns his passing.
A human who worked as a conductor for the Rockside Transportation Company. He was murdered and had his hands chopped off by Jenkins, so that he could unlock the Crypt Keeper which was storing the Amulet of Az’karranth.
The Silent Treatment
An orc barbarian travelling on the Rockside Express with Torgga. He was murdered by Jenkins and used as an animated corpse bodyguard while he attempted to steal the Amulet of Az’karranth. Though he could not speak, he was surprisingly business savvy, and maintained all the legal affairs of his and Torgga’s pit fighting team.
A half-elf wizard posing as an employee of the Rockside Transportation Company, who murdered several people, including the Bureau’s own Leeman Kessler, in order to obtain the Amulet of Az’karranth and met his end on the Rockside Express. No one knows whether or not Jenkins was his first name, but it was certainly his last.
Sloane - The Raven
A mysterious criminal who took command of the Gaia Blade, and used it to wreak havoc on the desert city of Goldcliff. After a run in with the party at the Goldcliff Trust, she appeared to have some small amount of control over her mind after the Thrall of the relic took her. The party then attempted to strike at her ego by beating her in the battle wagon racing circuit - but instead, she became enraged and threatened to destroy Goldcliff. Hurley’s sacrifice returned Sloane’s sanity temporarily, and she was able to make the choice to free herself from the Gaia Blade’s grip - permanently.
Hurley - the ram
A young female militia captain who reports to Commander Baern, who moonlighted as the famous battle wagon racer The Ram. She managed to hide her identity from her sister Sloane, The Raven, and enter a partnership to conquer the racing circuit - all in an effort to steer her younger sibling away from a life of violent crime. In a last ditch effort to save the party, and Goldcliff itself, she sacrificed her life in order to free Sloane from her bonds.
The former Chief Regulator, responsible for hunting down the Gaia Blade in the city of Goldcliff, who posed as the Commander of the Goldcliff Militia to aid in his task. Often referred to as a “mountain of a man”. After the party finally managed to defeat The Raven and contain the Gaia Blade, he attempted to betray them with poisoned wine, then drank the wine himself - whether he did this of his own volition, in an attempt to steal the Grand Relic for himself, or as a pawn for the mysterious red-robed figure, remains unclear.
A dwarf sorcerer and Regulator who is in Killian’s squad. He is a dwarf of very few words, who is known to smoke his enormous tobacco pipe at inopportune times. Confirmed dirt-eater. Perished in Silas’ lab after a futile attempt to have a quick smoke break in a poorly ventilated broom closet, causing the sprinkler system to activate and encase him in a crystal coffin.
The former wife of Silas Selwyn - a human scientist who used her Cosmoscope to peer into the depths of the unknown, and saw something that destroyed her. What exactly she saw is still a mystery, but after being pulled back from the Astral Plane by Silas, she managed to regain her sanity and lock those memories into the conduit of her robot form. She gave this conduit to the party before following Death back to the Eternal Stockade, and with it, revealed a grim prophecy.
A bug bear with a terrible bloodlust and a fondness for oolong tea. When the party encountered him, he was outfitted with a strange collar that when struck, shocked him and caused him to become charmed. He and his new friends parted ways, but he’ll always remember their time together fondly.
The Horseless Headsman
The moniker of Torgga, a female dwarven pit fighter. She helped in solving the murder(s) on the Rockside Express by refusing to let anyone search her room and stealing the kill on a big fire lizard. She owns a magical headsman’s axe, owing to her title, which she can summon out of thin air. Occasionally hosts fights, duels, and tables-ladders-and-chairs matches at the Ring of Spears.
A young wizard travelling on the Rockside Express to visit his parents in Neverwinter. He revealed that he hates magic and always wanted to become an artist. He helped solve the murder on the Rockside Express by staying tied up in the dining car and not getting in the way of anyone else. Attends Alakaz Academy of Magic in Cinnyr.
Unit No. EL-13 (Noelle)
A robot who met the party in Silas Selwyn’s lab during their mission to track down the Coldfire Crystal. She was initially created by Silas as an experiment, to prove that his prototype conduit could actually house a departed soul plucked from the Astral Plane using the Cosmoscope - as a result, her form was less than ideal, and only barely functional. After re-defeating the villains in the Automaton Manufacturing wing, she learned the truth about where she came from, and began to remember some details about her death in Phandalin. Now, she has returned to the Bureau with the party, but where she will go from here is still a mystery.
Known by many names, Death is a fickle individual whose task is to send departed souls to the Astral Plane, where they belong - and sometimes, fetch souls who thought it wise to flee the Astral Plane back to the mortal world. When hunting for the soul of Petrilda Selwyn, Death’s servants encountered the party and discovered an anomaly - that they had died several times without ever making it to his domain. He began hunting them with the limited tools at his disposal, eventually cutting off Blackstone’s arm - but after being nearly killed by the Legion, and having his skin saved by the party, he forgave them their transgressions and allowed them to keep their souls.