Username Password
   or Create an Account
HomeForumsFAQArticlesReviewsDownloadsLinksTop 20Feedback
 Features
 
Greyhawk Wiki


 
Canonfire :: View topic - High Level NPCs
High Level NPCs
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
vestcoat
Adept Greytalker


Joined: Jul 29, 2006
Posts: 366
Location: Dantredun, MN

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CombatMedic, we seem to be on the same page and I get that GH is GH with or without the famous personages, but I want to correct a few misconceptions.
CombatMedic wrote:
(Mordenkainen) does not even show up in the Folio or the later WoG boxed set. I forget what level the Rogue's Gallery assigns, but I seem to recall it wasn't over the top. I may be thinking of one of the modules.
Mordenkainen is mentioned in the Folio (19) and several times in the boxed set (as a likely companion encountered with the quasi-deties). Rogues Gallery and Dragon #37 both came out the same year as the Folio and the statistics and relationships of Mordy, Bigby, Tenser, etc. began to emerge. There's no doubt that these characters and their association exist in the earliest published sources.

BTW, Mordenkainen, Bigby, and Tenser were 16/13/14 level, respectively, in Rogues Gallery. In Dragon #37 they were 20/18/19.
CombatMedic wrote:

After all, before the Circle of Eight( not Citadel) was created /assembled by those later designers (and Rary got a big level boost) GH was GH.

Again, the Circle may have been codified by later designers, but Gygax absolutely created it and started the assembly.

TMI: Tenser is a Circle member is WG6. Bigby, Mordenkainen, and "seven other mages and wizards" are Circle members in AoE. Melf is also present and identified as a servant of Mordenkainen earlier in the book, but it's unclear if he sits on the actual Circle. The Glossography mentions Otiluke and Bucknard in the same context as Tenser and Mordenkainen, making them likely candidates, but that's as far as Gygax got.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
CombatMedic
Adept Greytalker


Joined: Mar 24, 2006
Posts: 255

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vestcoat wrote:
CombatMedic, we seem to be on the same page and I get that GH is GH with or without the famous personages, but I want to correct a few misconceptions.
CombatMedic wrote:
(Mordenkainen) does not even show up in the Folio or the later WoG boxed set. I forget what level the Rogue's Gallery assigns, but I seem to recall it wasn't over the top. I may be thinking of one of the modules.
Mordenkainen is mentioned in the Folio (19) and several times in the boxed set (as a likely companion encountered with the quasi-deties). Rogues Gallery and Dragon #37 both came out the same year as the Folio and the statistics and relationships of Mordy, Bigby, Tenser, etc. began to emerge. There's no doubt that these characters and their association exist in the earliest published sources.

BTW, Mordenkainen, Bigby, and Tenser were 16/13/14 level, respectively, in Rogues Gallery. In Dragon #37 they were 20/18/19.
CombatMedic wrote:

After all, before the Circle of Eight( not Citadel) was created /assembled by those later designers (and Rary got a big level boost) GH was GH.

Again, the Circle may have been codified by later designers, but Gygax absolutely created it and started the assembly.

TMI: Tenser is a Circle member is WG6. Bigby, Mordenkainen, and "seven other mages and wizards" are Circle members in AoE. Melf is also present and identified as a servant of Mordenkainen earlier in the book, but it's unclear if he sits on the actual Circle. The Glossography mentions Otiluke and Bucknard in the same context as Tenser and Mordenkainen, making them likely candidates, but that's as far as Gygax got.


Thanks for sharing. Good catch on the Folio.
I had not realized that the Circle of Eight was ever referenced that early. I had thought only the Citadel was referenced that early, and not the later Circle. When I write Circle in this context, I mean the faction and not the NPCs taken as individuals.
When did the Circle of Eight, by that name, with the roster of wizards shown in the City of Greyhawk boxed set, first appear in print?

It may seem like hairsplitting.
But I am interested in what the Citadel looked like, and how it differed in composition and purpose from the Circle of Eight ( as presented in City of Greyhawk.)

I actually have Dragon #37, because I have this:www.amazon.com/Dragon-Magazine-Archive-PC/dp/B00002EIWS

Good times.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
CombatMedic
Adept Greytalker


Joined: Mar 24, 2006
Posts: 255

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vestcoat wrote:
CombatMedic, we seem to be on the same page and I get that GH is GH with or without the famous personages, but I want to correct a few misconceptions.
CombatMedic wrote:
(Mordenkainen) does not even show up in the Folio or the later WoG boxed set. I forget what level the Rogue's Gallery assigns, but I seem to recall it wasn't over the top. I may be thinking of one of the modules.
Mordenkainen is mentioned in the Folio (19) and several times in the boxed set (as a likely companion encountered with the quasi-deties). Rogues Gallery and Dragon #37 both came out the same year as the Folio and the statistics and relationships of Mordy, Bigby, Tenser, etc. began to emerge. There's no doubt that these characters and their association exist in the earliest published sources.

BTW, Mordenkainen, Bigby, and Tenser were 16/13/14 level, respectively, in Rogues Gallery. In Dragon #37 they were 20/18/19.
CombatMedic wrote:

After all, before the Circle of Eight( not Citadel) was created /assembled by those later designers (and Rary got a big level boost) GH was GH.

Again, the Circle may have been codified by later designers, but Gygax absolutely created it and started the assembly.

TMI: Tenser is a Circle member is WG6. Bigby, Mordenkainen, and "seven other mages and wizards" are Circle members in AoE. Melf is also present and identified as a servant of Mordenkainen earlier in the book, but it's unclear if he sits on the actual Circle. The Glossography mentions Otiluke and Bucknard in the same context as Tenser and Mordenkainen, making them likely candidates, but that's as far as Gygax got.


Thanks for sharing. Good catch on the Folio.
I had not realized that the Circle of Eight was ever referenced that early. I had thought only the Citadel was referenced that early, and not the later Circle. When I write Circle in this context, I mean the faction and not the NPCs taken as individuals.
When did the Circle of Eight, by that name, with the roster of wizards shown in the City of Greyhawk boxed set, first appear in print?

It may seem like hairsplitting.
But I am interested in what the Citadel looked like, and how it differed in composition and purpose from the Circle of Eight ( as presented in City of Greyhawk.)

I actually have Dragon #37, because I have this:www.amazon.com/Dragon-Magazine-Archive-PC/dp/B00002EIWS

Good times.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
SirXaris
GreySage


Joined: Jul 26, 2010
Posts: 2325
Location: LG Dyvers

PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CombatMedic wrote:
But I am interested in what the Citadel looked like, and how it differed in composition and purpose from the Circle of Eight ( as presented in City of Greyhawk.)


I don't remember where I read this information, but I recall that the Citadel of Eight was the predecessor to the Circle of Eight. The Citadel included fighters, like Robilar, and clerics, like Rigby, as well as mages (including Mordenkainen). Mordenkainen later replaced the Citadel of Eight (named for his Obsidian Citadel in the Yatils) with the Circle of Eight, which contained only mages.

SirXaris
_________________
SirXaris' Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SirXaris?ref=hl
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
CombatMedic
Adept Greytalker


Joined: Mar 24, 2006
Posts: 255

PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SirXaris wrote:
CombatMedic wrote:
But I am interested in what the Citadel looked like, and how it differed in composition and purpose from the Circle of Eight ( as presented in City of Greyhawk.)


I don't remember where I read this information, but I recall that the Citadel of Eight was the predecessor to the Circle of Eight. The Citadel included fighters, like Robilar, and clerics, like Rigby, as well as mages (including Mordenkainen). Mordenkainen later replaced the Citadel of Eight (named for his Obsidian Citadel in the Yatils) with the Circle of Eight, which contained only mages.

SirXaris


That is also my impression. I thought that the Circle of Eight was developed for the City of Greyhawk boxed set, and did not feature in earlier sources.
No Circle, only the Citadel.

I'm still not 100% sure if Vestcoat means that the Circle appeared in print before CoG, or just that some of the mages described as members appeared (with levels, stats, and not just as names associated with spells) in print earlier. The latter bit I knew. The former surprises me.

I'm talking here about the real world publication history of GH, not about the later canon presentation and development of a game world history.
When would anyone reading and using TSR products have first seen ''Circle of Eight" on the printed page? Is it in WG6?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
rasgon
GreySage


Joined: Aug 03, 2001
Posts: 2803
Location: Michigan

PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure (1984)

Page 2:
Quote:
The Citadel of Eight is a serious force in the events of the WORLD OF GREYHAWK‘“, and the four characters [Mordenkainen, Bigby, Yrag, Riggby] are amongst the eight principals of the fortress.



Page 4:
Quote:
Mordenkainen the Mage and his boon companions, Yrag, Riggby, and Bigby (see APPENDIX 3 for complete character information) have been tempted to explore Maure Castle because of the widespread rumors concerning the “unopenable” doors. Preferring not to attract attention, they have traveled from their abode, the Citadel of Eight, upon Mordenkainen’s carpet of flying.



Isle of the Ape (1985)

Page 6:
Quote:
High above the Free City of Greyhawk, somewhere upon the lonely south coast of the Nyr Dyv, you and your associates trekked to answer a summons that could not be taken lightly. Adventurers of your exalted status know much that lesser individuals do not. The call issued by most secret and occult channels. It was for only the best and most powerful of Those Who Serve. It came from a Fellow of the Circle of Eight, but which of that August Body, none of you knew until just a moment ago. In answer, each of you set out from his or her home to the teeming warrens of Greyhawk City. In a secret rendezvous you met your fellows for the first time, and as a group you made the journey north and came to the hidden fortress of Unknown Depths. Now each of you is aware that the Summoner was the renowned Tenser, boon companion of many of the most redoubtable adventurers in the Flanaess and one who is privy to the Council of the shadowy figures who are the determiners of the course the world will take.


Plus, under Warnes Starcoat's character relationship section on page 27:
Quote:
Wishes to become member of the Circle of Eight


... which Roger E. Moore finally made happen in Return of the Eight (1998).


Artifact of Evil (1986)

Page 50:
Quote:
"How can little folk such as we hope to do what deities cannot? Rest assured, my good friends, that those far beyond our powers ask the same question. Still the Hierophants of the Cabal, Golden Dawn, and Rosy Cruciform stand ready to serve, as do high priests and arch-mages, the circles of each Archdruid, the tiers of the Circle of Eight, high and low, prince and peasant."


Page 58:
Quote:
"There are two servants of the Circle of Eight here, agents who have no little skill and power in human terms. One is a dweomercrafter of high standing, the other a knight of renown who left off clerical studies to take up sword and lance against Evil," the druid explained. "This, and that the two are sworn foes of the Suloise cause and the dark Tharizdun, is all that I have been told."


Pages 58-59:
Quote:
"The Circle of Eight are known to me, Curley. Those who sit on its uppermost tier are always seeking after treasure... for whatever purposes they might have. Could it be that these two were after the legendary city and its fabled hill of gemstones?" Gellor smiled at the group. "That, my comrades, would explain their purported knowledge of the Suss."


Page 70:
Quote:
Gord saw that both wore the silver unicorn horn of the goddess Ehlonna, and the green of an oak to symbolize a unity with nature. These were the two sent from the Circle of Eight to assist them with their quest for the second part of the evil artifact!


Page 71:
Quote:
"Well, let's not stand around with our thumbs up you know where," she said sarcastically. "I am Deirdre, a knight of Hardby and minion of True Womanhood. Despite that, I serve the Circle of Eight this day, as does my boon companion, Oscar, a wizard from the Gynarchy's good lands as well."


Page 321:
Quote:
Scattered throughout these stout companies were many minor spellcasters of both clerical and magical sort, while Mordenkainen stands with the archmage Bigby and the seven other mages and wizards who, with Bigby, formed the Magical Circle of Eight.


Pages 322-323:
Quote:
Mordenkainen alone was more than a match for the archmage Ormuz, and together with Bigby he held the enemy in check. Thus, the seven others of the Circle were free to roam the field. With their power they brought down the trolls, slew the chimeras, and sent the great ogres down into death.


Come Endless Darkness (1988)

Page 130:
Quote:
Gord, Gellor, Chert, and Greenleaf were ranged around one side of the round table in the room, while the two cloaked men were opposite the four. Both of them now threw their hoods back just a little. Anyone viewing the room through a spy hole would still not be able to distinguish them, but the four others could see their eyes and lips. One was the wizard Allton, from the Circle of Eight. The second man was a high priest named Timmil, who was associated with Tenser the Archmage.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
CombatMedic
Adept Greytalker


Joined: Mar 24, 2006
Posts: 255

PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So it looks as if the first TSR published reference to the Circle of Eight comes in 1985, in Isle of the Ape.
Which means I was correct that the Circle of Eight is not in the Folio or the WoG boxed set. It is introduced in a later module.

But I was mistaken in thinking it was introduced in 1989. Gygax wrote Isle of the Ape. Therefore the Circle is indeed a name and concept introduced in print, in a GH game product, by Gygax. 85, not 89. It really is a Gygax thing, after all.

The version that appears in City of Greyhawk was probably created by the designers of that boxed set (Sargent, Rose, Niles) just as I suggested, yes? It seems that they took what came before, filled in a lot of stuff, modified and adjusted, and created their own take on the Circle of Eight.


No Allton. Of course, the Gord novels are not game products, and the last one was not even a TSR publication. There's a funny relationship between those books and the game line, isn't there?
I have only read Saga of Old City. But my wife contributed a copy of Artifact of Evil to the shelves here, so maybe I will read that too...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
rasgon
GreySage


Joined: Aug 03, 2001
Posts: 2803
Location: Michigan

PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It does seem that Allton is a member of the upper tier of the Circle of Eight, like Bigby is, rather than one of the Circle's lesser members like the henchmen from Vecna Lives!.

Quote:
Allton was, after all, one of the greatest of dweomercraefters; only a handful of spellbinders anywhere surpassed him. One was here [the evil wizard-priest Gravestone]. Mordenkainen worked elsewhere, as did Tenser, the one who had sent Allton. None of the dark ones other than Gravestone came close to his power. Sigildark had approached the mark, but that one was no more. Bigby was perhaps on a par. There was one of awful weal who was likewise, and one of chaos far to the west. There were none other than that.


Interesting detail: Allton carries two curved-bladed Baklunish-style knives, of dwarven craftsmanship and "thrice-enspelled by the legendary dweomercraefter Yartsenag seven centuries past."

Allton is described as "lion-maned" at one point, and as an expert in "knowledge of energies," among many other talents. He's definitely true neutral in alignment. If I were going to pretend he was one of the canon Circle of Eight, it would probably be Rary. If you want Rary to only be a medium in your campaign, replacing him with Allton would make sense.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
CombatMedic
Adept Greytalker


Joined: Mar 24, 2006
Posts: 255

PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rasgon wrote:
It does seem that Allton is a member of the upper tier of the Circle of Eight, like Bigby is, rather than one of the Circle's lesser members like the henchmen from Vecna Lives!.

Quote:
Allton was, after all, one of the greatest of dweomercraefters; only a handful of spellbinders anywhere surpassed him. One was here [the evil wizard-priest Gravestone]. Mordenkainen worked elsewhere, as did Tenser, the one who had sent Allton. None of the dark ones other than Gravestone came close to his power. Sigildark had approached the mark, but that one was no more. Bigby was perhaps on a par. There was one of awful weal who was likewise, and one of chaos far to the west. There were none other than that.


Interesting detail: Allton carries two curved-bladed Baklunish-style knives, of dwarven craftsmanship and "thrice-enspelled by the legendary dweomercraefter Yartsenag seven centuries past."

Allton is described as "lion-maned" at one point, and as an expert in "knowledge of energies," among many other talents. He's definitely true neutral in alignment. If I were going to pretend he was one of the canon Circle of Eight, it would probably be Rary. If you want Rary to only be a medium in your campaign, replacing him with Allton would make sense.


Hmm, that does sound fun.


I'd comment further about Mordenkainen and the Circle of Eight, but it will grow the tangent too much. Probably better for my next thread, about Neutrality and "The Balance" in GH.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
rasgon
GreySage


Joined: Aug 03, 2001
Posts: 2803
Location: Michigan

PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2015 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On topic, that excerpt does give some indication of what Gary Gygax thought the appropriate number of mages of Bigby's level or higher was.

There are only eight in all the world:

Allton (neutral)
Gravestone (probably neutral evil)
Mordenkainen (neutral)
Tenser (lawful good)
Bigby
Sigildark (evil)
Unnamed good wizard
Unnamed chaotic wizard "far to the west." [Emirikol?]

The other members of the Circle of Eight must be of lower level.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
EileenProphetofIstus
Master Greytalker


Joined: Jun 28, 2007
Posts: 718
Location: Montevideo, Minnesota, US

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rasgon wrote:
On topic, that excerpt does give some indication of what Gary Gygax thought the appropriate number of mages of Bigby's level or higher was.

There are only eight in all the world:

Allton (neutral)
Gravestone (probably neutral evil)
Mordenkainen (neutral)
Tenser (lawful good)
Bigby
Sigildark (evil)
Unnamed good wizard
Unnamed chaotic wizard "far to the west." [Emirikol?]

The other members of the Circle of Eight must be of lower level.


Where did you find this quote, I would like to read the reference?
_________________
Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
rasgon
GreySage


Joined: Aug 03, 2001
Posts: 2803
Location: Michigan

PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2015 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, that was from Come Endless Darkness, the fight scene between Allton, Timmil, Pazuzeus, Shabiri, and Gravestone.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
rasgon
GreySage


Joined: Aug 03, 2001
Posts: 2803
Location: Michigan

PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rasgon wrote:
Sorry, that was from Come Endless Darkness, the fight scene between Allton, Timmil, Pazuzeus, Shabiri, and Gravestone.


Pages 256-257.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
xo42
Journeyman Greytalker


Joined: Jan 11, 2009
Posts: 159
Location: Newport News, Virginia

PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From my point of view I don't think there are too many high level NPCs in the Greyhawk setting. I actually like having high level NPCs (good, evil, and neutral) because they open up numerous opportunities for game play at all levels. At low levels PCs can be sent on adventures by mid to high level NPCs. At mid level the PCs can be drawn into further adventures by the NPCs and start to experience political and social events beyond typical dungeon crawling. By the time the PCs are high level themselves their interaction with those high level NPCs can change quite a bit to either allies against powerful Outer Planar foes or to direct foes. Throughout I think the high level NPCs offer great opportunities for roleplaying.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Saracenus
Adept Greytalker


Joined: Nov 28, 2006
Posts: 310
Location: Barony of Trellwood, The Great Kingdom

PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

EileenProphetofIstus,

There are as many (or as little) high level NPCs in Greyhawk as you want. How you handle that is partly how you conceive of the PCs vs. the rest of the world and which edition of D&D you are playing.

I don't know what version you are currently rocking so I can't talk about specifics but here is how I am handling NPCs in my 5e game.

Most NPC interactions will be roleplay. I will give the NPCs motivations, goals, and maybe a quirk or two to make them memorable. Most of these folks the PCs could kill at the drop of a hat, where they so inclined.

Some will use some basic stats from the 5e MM (e.g., town guards, a priest that can cast spells, thugs, etc.), these are folks that could wind up in combat with the PCs and would put up a fight. Could even take the PCs depending on their level.

Major NPCs will essentially be built like a PC. These will be rare. Most low level PCs are just not going to interact with the mucky-mucks of the Circle of Eight, the Old Faith, or some other powerful individual. Most of these folks are going to be too busy advancing or defending their own interests to give the PCs the time of day.

So, sure the PCs might catch a glimpse of Tenser flying into town on his flying carpet. But that is going to be some descriptive text while they go take care of business.

In my campaign the PCs will become movers and shakers if they want to. When they get to high enough level where they come to the notice of the more powerful forces of Oerth, well then things will get interesting.

PCs are going to be rock stars in my campaign. Most everyone else is going to be "normal."

That means a lot of folks that have been given PC levels in published product might not have them in my version of Greyhawk.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
EileenProphetofIstus
Master Greytalker


Joined: Jun 28, 2007
Posts: 718
Location: Montevideo, Minnesota, US

PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I very occasionally use a high level NPC in the campaign. When I do its always been background dressing or to help character development when someone is creating an extensive background. Throwing in a name here or there sometimes makes it feel Greyhawky.

The reason I brought the High Level NPC issue up was it just seems that when I look at supplements there were quite a few individuals beyond the Circle of Eight that go somewhat unseen. The may be temple leaders, those in charge of a magic institution, that sort of thing. It was more of an observation than anything.

The other reason I brought it up I will address in another thread I had started about a war between Divine and Arcane magic which I will be using to re-kick off an old campaign.
_________________
Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Saracenus
Adept Greytalker


Joined: Nov 28, 2006
Posts: 310
Location: Barony of Trellwood, The Great Kingdom

PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2015 11:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, makes sense.

I agree that over time, high level NPCs start to crowd the design space. Part of this is as more stuff is written, more NPCs get created.

Some of it is related to editions. For example, 3e/Pathfinder monster/npc design requires NPCs to "level-up" to keep pace with the PCs. If they don't, the BBE from level 6 would be a laughable annoyance when the party is level 12.

It sounds like you handle high level NPCs just fine, they are there as a resource or an hindrance. And name dropping is a time honored tradition. PCs should drive the action.

Personally, I am going to a strip levels on a lot of PCs that just don't need them. City of Greyhawk is full of fully stated NPCs that really should be just names, extras, and RP encounters. If the PCs are killing all the inhabitants of Greyhawk City, then they are going to have bigger problems.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
vestcoat
Adept Greytalker


Joined: Jul 29, 2006
Posts: 366
Location: Dantredun, MN

PostPosted: Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CombatMedic wrote:

The version that appears in City of Greyhawk was probably created by the designers of that boxed set (Sargent, Rose, Niles) just as I suggested, yes? It seems that they took what came before, filled in a lot of stuff, modified and adjusted, and created their own take on the Circle of Eight.

First off, I think we can credit TSR's CoE entirely to Sargent and disregard Niles and Rose. Looking at the CoG credits, Douglas Niles only wrote Gem of the Flanaess. Sargent and Rose wrote FFF. Twenty-five years of obsessively reading and collecting every one of Sargent's FRPG products leaves no doubt in my mind that the Circle of Eight text in FFF is 100% Sargent. In fact, Sargent's prose and naming conventions seem to fill most of the book. He was certainly the only author of the three to be well versed in the TSR Gygax novels and Dragon articles, as the references to Greyhawk's obsolete coinage, the invasion of the Shield Lands, the Circle of Eight, etc. are drenched in his writing style.

As for his bibliography, it's clear he followed Gygax's published works as far as he could, then filled in with the wizards from Greyhawk Adventures. As stated in my previous post, the matching wizards in GA and FFF are no coincidence. Sargent even mentions Drawmij and Tenser's penchant for alteration spells.

Quote:
No Allton. Of course, the Gord novels are not game products, and the last one was not even a TSR publication.

Actually, the last FIVE novels were not TSR publications, including the one with Allton. TSR only published the first two Gord novels. Even if Sargent wanted to use him, he's a Trigee character.

With all of this talk about the Citadel and the Circle, it's useful to distinguish the different phases in their evolution. Much of what follows is common knowledge, but useful to summarize.

------------Long tangent---------------

First, there's Gygax's Citadel of Eight from his home campaign. This included Mordenkainen, Bigby, Yrag, Rigby, Felnorith, Digby (a dwarf), Vram & Vim (both elves). Digby is referred to in some interviews as Zigby and it should be noted that wikipedia confuses them as two different people. Vim is sometimes called Vin.

Then there's Gygax's officially published version of the Citadel from WG5. Only Mordenkainen, Bigby, Riggby, and Yrag are enumerated therein. He seemed to quickly change his mind about publishing the Citadel and replaced it with the Circle of Eight in both WG6 and the new novel line. (Maybe a dwarf named Digby was just too silly for the general public?)

Later authors kept both organizations, giving us a TSR/WotC version of the Citadel, best detailed in the first Living Greyhawk Journal (#0). The official founders became Mordenkainen, Bigby, Robilar, Riggby, Yrag, Tenser, Serten, and Otis. Later members included Melf, Quij, Felnorith, Terik, and Murlynd.

Gygax's Circle of Eight exists only in published form, with no roots in the original campaign. Mordenkainen, Bigby, and Tenser are the only definite members in TSR canon. Allton was added in the New Infinities novels. Melf is possible, but more likely a member of Circle's lower tier, where Oscar Longhand may serve as well. Gygax may have envisioned Warnes Starcoat as a future member. Otiluke and Bucknard are good candidates, both because Gygax mentions in context with Mordenkainen and Tenser in the Glossography and because they match TSR/WotC canon.

Finally, there's TSR's version of the Circle. Sargent used WG6 and AoE as his primary sources with Greyhawk Adventures to make up the difference. According to Artifact of Evil, a ninth wizard was needed, so Sargent invented Jalarzi to round things out. My only gripe with Sargent's list is that Otto isn't high enough level to cast his Irresistible Dance. It should be noted that Sargent's Greyhawk also altered some related NPC's from Gygax canon: Serten became a mysterious archmage (Ivid the Undying) capable of casting his Spell Immunity instead of the mid-level cleric in Rogues Gallery, Prince Melf became the leader of an order of knights with no explicit ties to Mordenkainen or the Circle (Campaign Book), and Felnorith became a marshal of the Obsidian Citadel (FFF), closer to the Lord in AoE than the Citadel member in Gygax's home campaign.

The year after CoG was released, WGR1 authors Mobley and Brown were inspired to create the rival Ring of Five using Zagig, the Black One, and some (at the time) unused names from the PHB: Leomund, Melf, and Serten. Most of these turned out to be poor choices and fans on the early internet soon balked and proposed better candidates, some of whom were eventually canonized to various degrees.

Also in 1990, David "Zeb" Cook killed the entire Circle in WGA4. Subsequent authors either ignored this event or assumed the entire Circle was quickly cloned. A short adventure in WGR2 was the only official recognition of the Circle's death in WGA4 for many years.

In 1991, David Cook again killed some Circle members, Otiluke and Tenser, this time in the Wars boxed set. Strangely, he made no mention of their earlier slaying. The 1992 collector's cards mistakenly added Bigby to the deceased. In FtA, Sargent redubbed the Circle of Eight the Circle of Five and clarified that Bigby had only been badly wounded.

In 1998, Roger Moore brought the Circle up to Eight again with the additions of Warnes Starcoat, Theodain Eriason, and Alhamazad the Wise. Tenser was also revived, but choose to leave the Circle. Meanwhile, the Greyhawk Player's Guide shed some light on the Circle's origins for the first time, listing Leomund and Bucknard as early members.

Trivia: Tenser also appears in the 1998 Adventurer's Guild module Ill Omens. Although set in 591CY, his stats match those in the CoG boxed set and don't reflect his clone revived in RotE.

The following year in Oerth Jounral #10, Lenard Lakofka attributed Leomund's early membership in the Circle to an imposter.

LGJ#0 remained silent on the Leomund debate, but notes that Tenser joined the Circle later and that the ninth, unnamed, founder of the Circle abandoned Oerth to explore other planes of existence (6). My suggestion for the nameless founder would be Keoghtom. He's the most wizardly of Gygax's quasi-deities, the closest to TN in alignment, and the Glossography cites him as a close friend of Mordenkainen. Finally, the Player's Guide describes him as a "devil-may-care hero fond of exploring the Outer Planes" (26), which supports the departure described in LGJ0.


Last edited by vestcoat on Mon Dec 28, 2015 12:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
xo42
Journeyman Greytalker


Joined: Jan 11, 2009
Posts: 159
Location: Newport News, Virginia

PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great background info vestcoat. I agree with you on the author of the CoE in FFF being Sargent. I'd be very surprised if it turned out that he didn't write the entire CoE portion in the book. When I first read FFF I was surprised that Mordenkainen wasn't the highest level wizard in the circle considering his fame across many sources and history with Gygax in particular. Having him three levels lower than Rary and equal with Tenser didn't quite make sense with me. Since then I have also thought it a little bit implausible that wizards of levels 20 (Mordenkainen+Tenser), 23 (Rary), and 18 (Bigby) would treat wizards of much lower level (Otiluke, Nystul, Drawmij all 16th level and Otto at 14th level) as equals in a group like the circle. Would they use wizards of their level as henchmen, apprentices, or lackeys, yes. However, I don't see people as powerful as arch mages treating lesser mages as equals.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
CombatMedic
Adept Greytalker


Joined: Mar 24, 2006
Posts: 255

PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed, great help with the development/ publication history!

Thanks, Vestcoat.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
vestcoat
Adept Greytalker


Joined: Jul 29, 2006
Posts: 366
Location: Dantredun, MN

PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

xo42 wrote:
When I first read FFF I was surprised that Mordenkainen wasn't the highest level wizard in the circle considering his fame across many sources and history with Gygax in particular. Having him three levels lower than Rary and equal with Tenser didn't quite make sense with me. Since then I have also thought it a little bit implausible that wizards of levels 20 (Mordenkainen+Tenser), 23 (Rary), and 18 (Bigby) would treat wizards of much lower level (Otiluke, Nystul, Drawmij all 16th level and Otto at 14th level) as equals in a group like the circle. Would they use wizards of their level as henchmen, apprentices, or lackeys, yes. However, I don't see people as powerful as arch mages treating lesser mages as equals.

I've always liked the fact that just because Mordenkainen is the most famous wizard doesn't mean he's the highest level in the Circle. It stands to reason that a reclusive wizard like Rary could advance further in his studies than a politically active string puller like Mordenkainen. The levels for Mordy, Bigby, and Tenser are consistent with Dragon #37, although Tenser got a +1.

I also like the broad level range. A supergroup comprised entirely of archmages would be more at home in FR. In Greyhawk's theme of wheels within wheels, political connections and information networks are more important than who can cast the most Meteor Swarms. Sure, Otiluke can't cast ninth-level spells, but he's a Directing Oligarch. Otto isn't going to win any wizard duels, but no other wizard is ever going to be as close to the art, music, and culinary worlds (and his henchman is one of the highest-level priestesses of Boccob in the Flanaess!). Drawmij's undersea network is second to none and he probably dabbles in chronomancy.

Regardless, all of these wizards can cast 30+ spells a day and own a grip of magic items. The initiative roll is probably more important than one or two ninth-level spells.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
rasgon
GreySage


Joined: Aug 03, 2001
Posts: 2803
Location: Michigan

PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 2:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rob Kuntz has a little bit to say about the origins of the Citadel of Eight on his blog:

Quote:
Gary was very much interested in building his own army based around what he would soon name the Circle of Eight. Later on this now legendary edifice--built about its members and their forces, and then collectively known as the Golden Horde--was to be located on the original outdoor environs map. Because of his overriding desire to build an army, there came into being his rash of NPCs. This nucleus ensured that he would have the muscle and leadership needed for continuing to build and control his imagined future forces.


vestcoat wrote:
It should be noted that Sargent's Greyhawk also altered some related NPC's from Gygax canon: Serten became a mysterious archmage (Ivid the Undying) capable of casting his Spell Immunity instead of the mid-level cleric in Rogues Gallery


I pretend that the "archmage Serten" mentioned in Ivid the Undying and Greyhawk Ruins is an older relative of the cleric Serten from Rogues Gallery.

Quote:
Prince Melf became the leader of an order of knights with no explicit ties to Mordenkainen or the Circle (Campaign Book), and Felnorith became a marshal of the Obsidian Citadel (FFF), closer to the Lord in AoE than the Citadel member in Gygax's home campaign.


Eraj and Felnorith both appeared in Artifact of Evil, pages 323 and 324, which mentioned that they were mounted on griffons and that they were vassals of Mordenkainen. As you said, the version of them that appeared in The City of Greyhawk boxed set seems a direct translation of the detail they're given in Artifact of Evil, since again they're both fighter Lords mounted on griffons, working as vassals of Mordenkainen.

It's probable that Eraj was originally meant to be a variant spelling of Yrag, since it fits Gygax's MO of disguising anagrams by substituting similar letters. I think it's conceivable that they're still the same even in published works. In Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure, Yrag is a 9th level fighter. Eraj is a 12th level fighter in City of Greyhawk, dwelling with Mordenkainen in his Citadel. The Adventure Begins says that Yrag "left the Citadel of Eight many years ago, after the Greyhawk Wars" and has returned to Greyhawk after many years absence. He is now a 13th level fighter. The timeline and his level advancement fits, I think, so it's possible that Yrag and Eraj are the same person.

Quote:
The year after CoG was released, WGR1 authors Mobley and Brown were inspired to create the rival Ring of Five using Zagig, the Black One, and some (at the time) unused names from the PHB: Leomund, Melf, and Serten. Most of these turned out to be poor choices and fans on the early internet soon balked and proposed better candidates, some of whom were eventually canonized to various degrees.


The concept of the Ring of Five eventually evolved into Gary Holian's Company of Seven, an adventuring party associated with Zagyg, comprising the setting's most prominent quasi-deities.

Quote:
In 1991, David Cook again killed some Circle members, Otiluke and Tenser, this time in the Wars boxed set. Strangely, he made no mention of their earlier slaying.


I think because it had already been established that they had been brought back to life via clone spells, both in Treasures of Greyhawk and in Dragon Magazine, and because this additional part of their history wasn't really relevant to the story being told in Greyhawk Wars.

Quote:
In 1998, Roger Moore brought the Circle up to Eight again with the additions of Warnes Starcoat, Theodain Eriason, and Alhamazad the Wise. Tenser was also revived, but choose to leave the Circle. Meanwhile, the Greyhawk Player's Guide shed some light on the Circle's origins for the first time, listing Leomund and Bucknard as early members.


It's notable that Moore also wrote "The House on Summoner Court" for SHADIS Magazine #50, also reproduced in Oerth Journal #7. This scenario gives the PCs an opportunity to explore Otiluke's former home after his death, and potentially purchase it. It also included a version of Erac's Cousin that conflicts somewhat with Erik Mona's later contention that he had become the Unnamable Hierarch of the Horned Society (though I think Mona's version is preferable to Moore's version, and in theory the Unnamable Hierarch of the Horned Society could still show up at Otiluke's house disguised as an elf).

Quote:
The following year in Oerth Jounral #10, Lenard Lakofka attributed Leomund's early membership in the Circle to an imposter.

LGJ#0 remained silent on the Leomund debate, but notes that Tenser joined the Circle later and that the ninth, unnamed, founder of the Circle abandoned Oerth to explore other planes of existence (6). My suggestion for the nameless founder would be Keoghtom.


Note that Leomund's biography in Oerth Journal #10 had Leomund abandoning Oerth during the Greyhawk Wars to dwell on another world, Dyrth, before eventually returning to the Spindrift Isles after the Wars were safely over. It seems a safe assumption that the reference to a founder who left to explore other planes was meant to mean Leomund, though if you accept the Oerth Journal #10 account in full it must have been the imposter, "Guy Gas," instead.

You could, of course, invent a scenario in which Keoghtom was a member of the Circle of Eight, but it would mean ignoring both the Player's Guide account that Leomund had been a former member and the Oerth Journal #10 account that contradicted it, unless "Guy Gas" was actually a guise of Keoghtom. Admittedly, I'd personally rather accept that Keoghtom briefly impersonated Leomund than accept a character named "Guy Gas."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
vestcoat
Adept Greytalker


Joined: Jul 29, 2006
Posts: 366
Location: Dantredun, MN

PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rasgon wrote:

I think because it had already been established that they had been brought back to life via clone spells, both in Treasures of Greyhawk and in Dragon Magazine, and because this additional part of their history wasn't really relevant to the story being told in Greyhawk Wars.

Treasures of Greyhawk and the second Wizards Three weren't released until June and December 1992, respectively, well after the Wars boxed set (Dec. 1991). Absolutely nothing had been said about the Circle's dramatic demise between WGA4 and Wars, so it is very strange that Cook didn't mention it. As far as I can tell, TSR seemed to officially ignore or deconinize WGA4 until the 1998 revival. Neither Cook nor Sargent nor Pryor ever mention the Circle's death, only Ed Greenwood and the freelancer Jack Barker. Rary's stats in WGR3 don't reflect any cloning, which could be an oversight, but it's telling that his extensive history doesn't mention it.

Quote:
Note that Leomund's biography in Oerth Journal #10 had Leomund abandoning Oerth during the Greyhawk Wars to dwell on another world, Dyrth, before eventually returning to the Spindrift Isles after the Wars were safely over. It seems a safe assumption that the reference to a founder who left to explore other planes was meant to mean Leomund, though if you accept the Oerth Journal #10 account in full it must have been the imposter, "Guy Gas," instead.

You could, of course, invent a scenario in which Keoghtom was a member of the Circle of Eight, but it would mean ignoring both the Player's Guide account that Leomund had been a former member and the Oerth Journal #10 account that contradicted it, unless "Guy Gas" was actually a guise of Keoghtom. Admittedly, I'd personally rather accept that Keoghtom briefly impersonated Leomund than accept a character named "Guy Gas."

LGJ0 leaves two founding seats of the Circle empty. Leomund or Guy Gas fills one, but we still need one more. Tenser replaced the unnamed founder in 574, which is rather early for Leomund to be leaving for the Wars. Also the Player's Guide already said that Otiluke replaced Leomund in 576 (23). So, the explaner explorer mentioned in LGJ0 p6 can't be Leomund and we need another wizard anyway. Keoghtom fits the bill perfectly, from his stats in the Glossography to the description in the Players Guide (26) and LGJ0.

---CoE timeline---

571CY founders: Mordnekainen, Bigby, Otto, Rary, Nystul, Drawmij, Bucknard (all LGJ0), Leomund/Guy Gas (Players Guide/OJ10), Keoghtom (me)

574CY: Keoghtom --> Tenser (LGJ0)

576CY: Leomund --> Otiluke (Player's Guide)

579CY: Bucknard vanishes (PG)

581CY: Jallarzi replaces Bucknard (PG)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
CombatMedic
Adept Greytalker


Joined: Mar 24, 2006
Posts: 255

PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So when does Vecna/Halmadar kill most of the Circle?

582 CY?

Edit: Greywiki says 581, months after Jallarzi joins.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
rasgon
GreySage


Joined: Aug 03, 2001
Posts: 2803
Location: Michigan

PostPosted: Mon Dec 28, 2015 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vestcoat wrote:
Treasures of Greyhawk and the second Wizards Three weren't released until June and December 1992, respectively


I recall this being addressed in the letters column of Dragon Magazine originally, though I couldn't tell you which issue at the moment.

Quote:
LGJ0 leaves two founding seats of the Circle empty.


Ah, so it does. This makes sense, actually, since Tenser wasn't a founding member of the Circle/Citadel in the original Lake Geneva Greyhawk campaign.

Quote:
Tenser replaced the unnamed founder in 574, which is rather early for Leomund to be leaving for the Wars. Also the Player's Guide already said that Otiluke replaced Leomund in 576 (23).


I phrased that badly; I meant Leomund had departed before the wars, not during them. Oerth Journal #10 has Guy Gas retiring in 576, which fits, and has Leomund departing Oerth for Dyrth (after a brief stop in the ancient Suel Imperium) on 1 Brewfest 580. Obviously well after the unnamed founder's departure.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
Page 2 of 3

Jump to:  

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Canonfire phpBB2 theme by Jakob Persson (http://www.eddingschronicles.com).
Powered by phpBB © 2001 phpBB Group
All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Stone textures by Patty Herford
Ported for PHP-Nuke by nukemods.com
Forums ©


Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises

Contact the Webmaster.  Long Live Spidasa!

PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
Page Generation: 0.30 Seconds