Do I really need a license to be an adventurer?

That depends on where in Faerûn you live or work! The Sword Coast is dotted with city-states and large tracts of wilderness between them filled with all kinds of dangerous beasties. The people depend on adventurers to defend the countryside and protect trade. Heroes are adventurers, but not all adventurers are heroes. The rulers of Cormyr know too well that armed individuals roaming the countryside is a recipe for trouble. They have taken steps to ensure that adventurers are well behaved and tracked.

The law was enacted after Gondegal created a mercenary army and tried to secede from the kingdom. Since then the government has required a royal charter for any group of adventurers. Adventurers must disclose their names and number of members in their company. If someone joins or leaves they must return to the capital of Suzail to update the record. All members must always wear their coat of arms. In exchange for their registration fee of 1000 gp and 300 gp per year, registered members may bear arms in public including on the roads (Cormyr, 1994, p 62). The fees may sound excessive, and the system may seem bureaucratic, but adventurers are not the only ones who are licensed. Smiths must pay 600 gp per year and keep records of their purchases and sales to prove they are not secretly making weapons. Arms dealers must pay 4000 gp for a license and 2000 gp per year after (Volo’s Guide to Cormyr, 1995 p 9-10).

Adventuring is an occupation that has little respect. The concept of taking up arms and putting one’s life in danger for money is quite foreign to the people (Cormyr, 1994, p63). The military has a strong presence in everyday life. The people fear rampaging monsters and bandits less than they do in other parts of the realms. There are still unexplored ruins in the frontier lands and agents of the crown are more likely to hire adventurers to investigate concerns that are not worth the military’s time.

You do not have 1000 gp to buy a license even if you gather several like-minded adventurers because you are just starting out? Then it is time to become an apprentice to someone more experienced until you have the skills and fortune to start your own business. Adventurers in Cormyr may have a bureaucracy to deal with, but novices have the support of a formally licensed adventuring company which means safety in numbers. Adventuring in countries where a license is required can be challenging, but everything has its tradeoffs. The great thing is that most licensed adventurers in Cormyr are not the wandering murder hobos found in other lands. If you are a murder hobo you will not have a license for very long!