The High Heralds were the leadership council of the Heralds of Faerûn. Each High Herald used the traditional name of his or her office instead of their real name when conducting Herald business. As of the Year of Rogue Dragons, 1373 DR, there were six High Heralds:
- The acknowledged head of the High Heralds, it was the first office to be created. This office had veto power over the council that could only be overridden by the unanimous vote of a quorum of other High Heralds.
- Old Night
- The head librarian of Herald's Holdfast and trainer of the Heralds Pursuivant as well as the "everchanging offices" of Green Shield and Gauntlet.
- Black Vizor
- Chief watchdog on all things political, especially disputes and wars. The holder of this office traveled extensively, keeping abreast of intrigues, court dynamics, the mood of various populations, and briefed the Lords' Alliance and the Merchant's League on the status of conflicts around Faerûn.
- This office was in charge of training the local Heralds and presenting all sides of issues brought before the High Heralds, often taking a contrary position to ensure a thorough debate. More often than not, this office was held by a female.
- Red Dragon
- Traditionally given to young Heralds in the hope that fresh ideas and idealism would counterbalance the older members, this office was primarily a diplomat and matchmaker. Red Dragon arranged marriages between the hundreds of noble houses and was the ceremonial escort of the recipient when a title, award, or honor was being bestowed.
- Silver Stag
- Invited to form a new High Herald office in 1373 DR, Ilvarthaele Everstone chose the name Silver Stag and set up office in the town of Songhal, Impiltur. She was charged with nurturing the heraldic traditions in Impiltur, Thesk, Damara, and the lands east of the Sea of Fallen Stars.
The High Heralds were ranked by seniority in office but a popular Herald usually had more influence than his or her seniors because the main tool of the Heralds of Faerûn was peer pressure. New High Heralds were chosen from the pool of Heralds Pursuivant and, whether an office was vacated by death, retirement, resignation, or excommunication, the remaining High Heralds usually shuffled positions so the newcomer did not get promoted into an office without a mentor available, except for the office of Old Night, which was usually held until death. The office of Silver Stag was the first High Herald office created around the Inner Sea since the group's inception in the Year of the Watching Helm, 992 DR.
All other Heralds were granted their offices by charter from the High Heralds. In the event that all the High Heralds were deceased at the same time (an event that had never occurred in the history of the organization by 1373 DR), the power to grant charters fell to the Scrivener of the Stars, the highest ranking priest of Deneir in the Realms, until such time as new High Heralds were chosen (presumably by the active Heralds Pursuivant).
Originally there were nine High Heralds, but in the early days of the organization the offices of Blue Blade and Starscepter were found to have abused their power and were eliminated for corruption. By tradition, when an office became tainted by scandalous exploitation and the office holder judged irredeemably corrupt, both the office and the office holder were eliminated and said to have "vanished". In this way, the Heralds maintained their reputation for fairness, integrity, and impartiality, which was absolutely essential to the stability of society. This happened again in the decades before the Sothillisian War in the Year of the Tankard, 1370 DR—the High Heralds were forced to eliminate the offices of Huntsman and Manyshields. In some circles, it was rumored that the reason these and other lower heralds were removed was because the cult of Gargauth was gaining a foothold in the organization, which would have been a terrible blow to their position of trust if it was ever proven true.
High Heralds were sometimes asked to be regents for underage rulers or to step in temporarily when a royal succession was in doubt. Occasionally they became war leaders in a civil war or regional conflict, but they were strictly forbidden from harming or imprisoning another Herald. This rule was rarely broken. When it did happen, the offending Heralds were excommunicated.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Ed Greenwood, Julia Martin, Jeff Grubb (1993). Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting 2nd edition (revised), Running the Realms. (TSR, Inc), p. 26. ISBN 1-5607-6617-4.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood (1993). The Code of the Harpers. (TSR, Inc), p. 75. ISBN 1-56076-644-1.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Steven E. Schend, Sean K. Reynolds and Eric L. Boyd (June 2000). Cloak & Dagger. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 88. ISBN 0-7869-1627-3.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Ed Greenwood, Eric L. Boyd (March 2006). Power of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 105. ISBN 0-7869-3910-9.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Ed Greenwood (1993). The Code of the Harpers. (TSR, Inc), p. 77. ISBN 1-56076-644-1.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Ed Greenwood (1993). The Code of the Harpers. (TSR, Inc), p. 78. ISBN 1-56076-644-1.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Ed Greenwood (1993). The Code of the Harpers. (TSR, Inc), p. 79. ISBN 1-56076-644-1.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 George Krashos (August 2006). “Impiltur: The Forgotten Kingdom”. Dragon #346 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 59.
- ↑ Ed Greenwood (1993). The Code of the Harpers. (TSR, Inc), p. 73. ISBN 1-56076-644-1.