The Circle Of Eight
The mysterious assembly of wizards known as the Circle Of Eight has long benefited from a past obscured by misinformation and enigma. The group’s influence reaches from the Baklunish west to the Solnor Ocean, though its secretive methods ensure that few know the extent of its ministrations. Certain members of the Circle are well known and liked, their talents appreciated throughout the Flanaess. The mages Bigby, Jallarzi, and Otto, for instance, are welcome in courts far from cosmopolitan Greyhawk. Others, such as Drawmij, Nystul, and Theodain, prefer to operate away from the public gaze.
Although membership in the Circle itself is restricted to the most powerful wizards, the group employs many agents and spies to look after its interests. This scattered network of spellcasters and spies operate in secret and emphasize stealth and subtlety, or at the very least discretion. Bards and wizards are their most prominent members. The agents work to maintain the balance of power between the various groups competing to influence the world.
Mordenkainen the archmage formed the Circle Of Eight as a tool to manipulate political factions of the Flanaess, preserving the delicate balance of power in hopes of maintaining stability and sanity in the region. Mordenkainen’s view of “enforced neutrality” is not tit-for-tat equality, but rather a detailed theoretical philosophy derived from decades of arcane research. He has fought ardently for the forces of Good, most recently during the Greyhawk Wars, but just as often has worked on darker plots to achieve his ends. In all things, the Circle of Eight prefers to work behind the scenes, subtly manipulating events to ensure that no one faction gains the upper hand. In the last two decades, the Circle has seen members come and go, but its dedication to Mordenkainen’s goals and methods remains steadfast. Current members include Bigby of Mitrik, once Mordenkainen’s apprentice and now an archmage in his own right; the rotund and jovial Otto, who favors the kitchen over the laboratory; Jallarzi Sallavarian of Greyhawk, one of the most dynamic wizards in a city of mages; the reclusive Drawmij, who oversees Keoland and the south from his undersea lair near Gradsul; and Nystul, a Tenha expatriate who wishes to expand the Circle, beyond eight if need be, to combat the growing threats presented by Iuz, Turrosh Mak, and the consolidating factions of the former Great Kingdom.
The treachery of Rary in 584 CY saw the destruction of Tenser and Otiluke, leaving the Circle at five. After a successful mission to rescue one of Tenser’s clones from the clutches of the infamous necromancer- witch Iggwilv, the Circle added three new members, rounding out the membership. (Tenser left the group in disgust after his rescue.) New members include the redoubtable Warnes Starcoat of Urnst; Alhamazad the Wise of Zeif; and the cold, unemotional elf Theodain Eriason, the Circle’s first non-human member. Mordenkainen remains the ninth member, a “shadow leader” dictating his agenda to others and influencing the Flanaess through his powerful network of agents and servitors.