The Circle of Eight

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Havard
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The Circle of Eight

Post by Havard » Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:58 pm

I'm reading up on the Circle of Eight. So from what I understand the Circle of Eight was originally a group of PCs created by Gary:

Mordenkainen (wizard), Yrag (fighter), Bigby (wizard), Rigby (cleric), Zigby (dwarf), Felnorith (elf), Vram (elf) & Vin (elf)

Later, ths concept was reinvented(?) by Carl Sargent and Rik Rose to become an organization of Greyhawk Wizards:

Mordenkainen | Gary's Character. Creator of Mordenkainen's Disjunction and other spells Rary | Based on Briam Blume's character. Also known as Rary the Traitor Bigby | Gary Gygax' character, originally a henchman to Mordenkainen Otiluke | Based on Luke Gygax' character Otis. Killed during the signing of the Treaty of Greyhawk Drawmij | Based on Jim Ward's character Bombadil Tenser | Created by Ernie Gygax. Killed during the signing of the Treaty of Greyhawk, but brought back to life later Nystul | There are several conflicting stories on whom Nystul is based on. Otto | Jallarzi Sallavarian | Ninth member, created by Carl Sargent and Rik Rose Alhamazad the Wise | Joined in Return of the Eight Theodain Eriason | Joined in Return of the Eight Warnes Starcoat| First appeared in Isle of the Ape. Joined in Return of the Eight

Have you used The Circle of Eight in your campaign? How have you used it? Do you prefer the original version or the second version of the Circle? Or should both have existed, perhaps at different times in the setting?

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Re: The Circle of Eight

Post by Khedrac » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:28 pm

What about the post-Greyhawk Wars version? (Which I think is when Jallarzi joins...)
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Re: The Circle of Eight

Post by Blackleaf » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:27 pm

My introduction to the Circle of Eight was through the City of Greyhawk box set so yeah I used them and the Rary the Traitor module.

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Re: The Circle of Eight

Post by ripvanwormer » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:44 pm

Havard wrote:I'm reading up on the Circle of Eight. So from what I understand the Circle of Eight was originally a group of PCs created by Gary:

Mordenkainen (wizard), Yrag (fighter), Bigby (wizard), Rigby (cleric), Zigby (dwarf), Felnorith (elf), Vram (elf) & Vin (elf)
Yeah, Mordenkainen and Yrag were Gary's PCs, while the other characters were their henchmen.

The module Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure included Mordenkainen, Yrag, Bigby, and Riggby as pregenerated PCs.

Isle of the Ape had Tenser (Ernie Gygax's PC) join the circle as a ninth member. One of the pregenerated PCs in Isle of the Ape was Warnes Starcoat, whose background said that he hoped one day to become a member of the Circle of Eight.

Gary Gygax's novel Artifact of Evil featured the Circle of Eight but only named Bigby, Mordenkainen, and Tenser. Carl Sargent's later version of the Circle was based on the references in this novel, but as he was working from incomplete information he filled out the rest of the circle with mages who had given their names to famous spells (Rary, Tenser, Drawmij, Nystul, Otiluke, and Otto). Felnorith and Yrag (called Eraj in the novel) were also mentioned in the novel, and Sargent added them to the City of Greyhawk boxed set as henchmen of Mordenkainen rather than full Circle members.

Gary Gygax's novel Come Endless Darkness introduced a mage called Allton, who was also said to be a Circle of Eight member. Because Come Endless Darkness was published by New Infinities rather than TSR, Allton doesn't appear in any TSR sources.

Later sources made a distinction between the Citadel of Eight (mentioned in Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure as including Mordenkainen, Riggby, Bigby, and Yrag) and the Circle of Eight (first mentioned in Isle of the Eight and assumed to be a group of eight wizards + Mordenkainen). The Citadel of Eight were an adventuring party including mages, fighters, rangers, and clerics. The Circle was founded by Mordenkainen after the dissolution of the Citadel with the mission of promoting Balance in the Flanaess. Besides the nine wizards, there are a number of lesser agents and henchmen of a variety of character classes.
Khedrac wrote:What about the post-Greyhawk Wars version? (Which I think is when Jallarzi joins...)
Jallarzi joined in the City of Greyhawk boxed set, which was before the Wars (it was set in 581 CY; the wars started the following year, in 582 CY). The Circle of Eight at the time included eight wizards and Mordenkainen, who stood above them as their leader (Jallarzi replaced Bucknard, who had gone missing in 579 CY). Jallarzi was one of the eight when they were all killed by Halmadar the Cruel in Vecna Lives! (they were later all brought back to life with clone spells).

Otiluke and Tenser were killed during the signing of the Treaty of Greyhawk, and Rary left after betraying them (Rary killed them at the signing and Robilar destroyed their clones), so during the From the Ashes era the remaining members called themselves the Circle of Five (Mordenkainen, Bigby, Drawmij, Nystul, Otto, and Jallarzi).

A new circle was introduced by Roger E. Moore in Return of the Eight (1998): it added Alhamazad the Wise, Theodain Eriason, and Warnes Starcoat (from Isle of the Ape, achieving his dream at last) to bring the circle back to eight.

Vestcoat has a more complete history in this thread.

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Re: The Circle of Eight

Post by Cthulhudrew » Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:00 am

As I recall, Tenser is eventually brought back to life. Was Otiluke ever similarly resurrected?
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Re: The Circle of Eight

Post by ripvanwormer » Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:10 am

Tenser was brought back in Return of the Eight, but he elected not to rejoin the Circle. Some fans speculated that Philidor the Blue was Tenser, sent back to Oerth by the gods, but this seems to have not been the case. Carl Sargent's intention was apparently that Philidor was a construct created by Corellon Larethian and Pelor.

Otiluke was never resurrected. Which is okay because he was hilariously awful and he made monkeybees. He was named after Otis but Otis is a separate character who appears in Temple of Elemental Evil, once associated with the Citadel of Eight.

Otto was a henchman of Robilar, Rob Kuntz's PC.

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Re: The Circle of Eight

Post by Big Mac » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:12 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:Otiluke was never resurrected. Which is okay because he was hilariously awful and he made monkeybees. He was named after Otis but Otis is a separate character who appears in Temple of Elemental Evil, once associated with the Citadel of Eight.
Monkeybees? I never heard of those.
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Re: The Circle of Eight

Post by ripvanwormer » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:32 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Monkeybees? I never heard of those.
Here's a good article on them: http://bexshea.com/2015/11/04/monster-o ... d-dragons/

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Re: The Circle of Eight

Post by vestcoat » Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:01 pm

ripvanwormer wrote: Vestcoat has a more complete history in this thread.
Thanks Rip! I forgot about that. This link answers several questions being asked here. See my second post in the thread under "long tangent".

Harvard - a few additions/modifications for your box:
Bigby was Gygax's character and originally the apprentice of Mordenkainen, eventually becoming a peer (Dr37).
Otto was henchman and court wizard to Robilar (OJ).
I would separate any mention of Rary being "the Traitor" from the history of Brian Blume's character. Noobs might confuse Rary's published evolution with the unrelated Gygax/Blume feud, a la Nosra/Arneson
Drawmij is more accurately the published version of Jim's wizard Bombadil, renamed to avoid copyright infringement.

On to the OP questions, I've only used the CoE sparingly. Kept in the background and hinted at, the fictional world is large, mysterious, and PC's never feel too comfortable. Start revealing the biggest NPC's and where does a DM go from there?

I've used the Citadel pregens when I ran WG5 years ago. Other than that, I've only used a disguised Nystul and some of his intermediaries.

My favorite incarnations of the Citadel/Circle is the historical list with Melf and Serten in LGJ0 and Sargent's Circle of Five in FtA.
The first because it's disparate collection of quintessential GH NPC's that aren't entirely wizards, captured in their formative mid-level years when they're still vulnerable and approachable. The second because it's a struggling group ripe for DM development after recent setbacks. The smaller membership brings lower-level members to the fore. Suddenly, Otto becomes important (the Dragon article on the Orbs of Dragonkind is a good example). The DM can either flesh out and fully develop the smaller group or choose to expand it. Can Tenser and Otiluke be revived? Or will new wizards be recruited?

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