- The Zhentarim is a gold-hungry mercenary company with a long history in the Baldur’s Gate series, known for their obsession with wealth and dark magic.
- In the original Baldur’s Gate game, the Zhentarim were initially blamed for crimes committed by the villain Sarevok Anchev and his organization, the Iron Throne. The party later proved the Zhentarim innocent.
- Two early-game companions, Xzar and Montaron, were secret agents of the Zhentarim. They conflicted with good-aligned companions and had a grisly fate in Baldur’s Gate 2, where they were captured and killed by the Harpers.
Faerun, the setting of Baldur’s Gate 3, is filled with organizations and secret societies – some for good, some for evil. From the usually heroic Harpers to the mysterious Knights of the Shield, Baldur’s Gate 3 players will encounter several of these groups along their journey. One is the Zhentarim, a gold-hungry combination of a thieves’ guild and mercenary company with a long history in the Baldur’s Gate series.
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Who Are The Zhentarim?
The Zhentarim originated as a mercenary company founded roughly 200 years before the events of Baldur’s Gate 3. The group was founded and initially led by the dark mage Manshoon, who wished to rule Faerun. However, the Zhentarim continued to flourish after Manshoon’s defeat and became known for their obsession with wealth and willingness to use dark magic. The group contained a mix of money-hungry mercenaries and devotees of various evil gods, most notably Bane, Lord of Tyranny, and Cyric, God of Lies and Trickery.
The Zhentarim Were Initially Blamed For Sarevok’s Crimes
In the original Baldur’s Gate game, the Bhaalspawn Sarevok Anchev used the Zhentarim as a scapegoat for crimes he and his organization, the Iron Throne, committed. He blamed them for increased bandit attacks and poisoned iron that caused weapons to degrade. Ultimately, the party’s actions were able to prove the Zhentarim innocent, and Sarevok was uncovered as the true mastermind.
Companions Xzar And Montaron Were Secret Zhentarim Agents
Two early-game companions, Xzar and Montaron, were in fact agents of the Zhentarim. They were sent to investigate the Nashkel Mines and discover the source of the Iron Crisis. The pair could only be recruited together and would leave if the party took too long to reach Nashkel. As some of Baldur’s Gate‘s most openly evil party members, they conflict with many Good-aligned, heroic companions. A fight against a group of Zhentarim led by the mage Niemain, encountered in the shop Sorcerous Sundries in Baldur’s Gate, could be avoided if Xzar and Montaron were party members when Niemain was spoken to.
- Xzar: Chaotic Evil Human Mage (Necromancer)
- Montaron: Neutral Evil Halfling Fighter/Thief
- Would come to blows with married Harper couple Jaheira and Khalid and heroic Paladin Ajantis
The Pair Met A Grisly Fate In Baldur’s Gate 2
The Zhentarim play a little role in Baldur’s Gate 2, as the game takes place in the city of Athkatla, where the organization barely has a foothold. However, Xzar and Montaron are sent to Athkatla on unspecified Zhentarim business, possibly related to the organization’s desire to expand into the area. Unfortunately, both are captured and killed by the Athkatlan branch of the Harpers, a violent act that causes Baldur’s Gate 2‘s Jaheira to begin doubting her loyalty to the group.
The Zhentarim Are Back With A Vengeance In Baldur’s Gate 3
Baldur’s Gate 3, set approximately one hundred years after the previous games, sees the Zhentarim having greatly expanded their influence along the Sword Coast. They are involved in smuggling dangerous goods, including a flask containing a Spectator Beholder which players can deliver or keep for themselves. A secret Zhentarim hideout can be found beneath the inn at Waukeen’s Rest, and several Zhentarim have infiltrated the Baldur’s Gate Thieves’ Guild in the hopes of replacing Underduke Nine-Fingers Keene.
Players can choose whether to side with the Zhentarim or the Thieves’ Guild, and their decision affects which allies will be available in the game’s final battle. The primary Zhentarim character players interact with is Roah Moonglow, a trader who appears multiple times throughout the game. She supports whichever side gives her the greatest benefit – such as the Cult of the Absolute or the “Stone Lord” Minsc – and steals gold from the Counting House bank. Roah and the other Zhentarim agents in Baldur’s Gate 3 continue the tradition begun with Xzar and Montaron of being schemers who would work for the highest bidder.
Baldur’s Gate 3
- Baldur’s Gate
- August 3, 2023
- M for Mature: Blood and Gore, Partial Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Violence
- How Long To Beat
- 30 Hours
- Split Screen Orientation
- Vertical Only
- Number of Players
- PS Plus Availability
- Local Co-Op Support
- 1-2 Players