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    Canonfire :: View topic - The Circle of Eight's unnamed founding member
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    The Circle of Eight's unnamed founding member
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:54 pm  
    The Circle of Eight's unnamed founding member

    LGJ #0 states that Mordenkainen gathered 8 mages together when he first founded the Circle in 571 CY, & among these were Bigby, Otto, Nystul, Drawmij, Rary, & Bucknard.

    Tenser joined in 574, replacing one a mage who went plane-hopping. Otiluke replaces Leomund (per tAB) in 576. Bucknard vanishes in 579 (hunting Dragotha) & Jallarzi replaces him in 581.

    My question: Who did Tenser replace? Any clues?
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:37 pm  

    I believe that when Mordenkainen founded his circle (circa 571) there were only 8 mages total and it didn't become Mordenkain "AND" the circle of "8" until 574 when Tenser joined.

    571 members:

    Mordenakinen
    Bigby
    Otto
    Nystul
    Drawmij
    Rary
    Leomund
    Bucknard

    574:

    Tenser joins

    576:

    Otiluke joins; Leomund leaves

    579:

    Bucknard leaves

    581:

    Jallarzi joins

    585: Rary's treachery: Tenser and Otiluke 'killed'; replaced by Warnes, Theodain and Alhamazad...etc., etc.

    This is my understanding anyway, I hope this helps!
    Forum Moderator

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    Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:41 pm  

    Good stuff. Still, who is the plane hopping mage that Tenser replaced?
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:25 pm  

    From the Living Greyhawk Journal #0, I always took it that Leomund was the plane-hopper. He retires in 574 CY to go wandering when Tenser joins, then Mordenkainen becomes the shadowy ninth member when Otiluke joins in 576 CY. Bucknard disappears in 579 CY, dropping the Circle back to 7 plus Mordenkainen and then Jallarzi brings it back to the full 8+1 again...

    Damien.
    GreySage

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    Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:50 pm  

    The wording in Living Greyhawk Journal #0 is ambiguous because the authors were aware of Len Lakofka's vehement objection to the use of his PC as a former Circle of Eight member, so it doesn't mention Leomund by name. Oerth Journal #10 shows his plane-hopping adventures, though if Tenser replaced Leomund in 574, why does Player's Guide to Greyhawk clearly state (page 23) that Otiluke replaced Leomund in 576? Unless Leomund left twice.

    LGJ#0 says "The membership of the Circle changed little in the year betweeen its inception and 574 CY, when Tenser, still bitter over the dissolution of the Citadel, sought membership. After one of the founding mages of the group abandoned Oerth to explore other planes of existence, the petition was granted... Two years later, with the addition of the mage Otiluke, the Circle solidified its reputation..." We could read this as a retcon, so that Leomund retires in 574 instead of 576.

    However, Rob is right that LGJ#0 does say Mordenkainen "gathered eight mages to his cause," and Leomund would only make seven. It's possible there was a missing Circle member. Maybe Jaran Krimeeah, or Elayne Mystica.
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:33 am  

    Just a thought off the top of my head, so forgive me if I've forgotten something obvious, but...

    What about Bucknard? He went off plane-hopping at about that time, searching for his sister and co-adventurer. The details are dealt with in the Age of Worms AP.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:42 am  

    Ignoring OJ #10, The Adventure Begins (p. 59) states the following concerning Leomund, and says nothing about plane-hopping, only that he retired:

    "Two other mages known to have joined the Circle were Bucknard (who vanished in 579 CY and was later replaced by Jallarzi) and the ancient mage Leomund, an immigrant from the east who retired from the Circle in 576 CY and has been little seen since. Otiluke replaced him later that year."

    I doubt Elayne Mystica would be considered in the first place, given Mordenkainen's apparent sexism in The City of Greyhawk: Folk, Feuds, and Factions (p. 27). Not sure about Jaran Krimeeah--he strikes me as too self-centered and isolationist.

    Melf could be a possibility, save for the fact that Theodain is clearly mention as being the Circle's first demihuman member (LGJ #0). "Serten" the Archmage of Iuz the Evil and other sources is problematic, given the fact no one's sure if he actually exists.

    I'm inclined to put forth Evard as a candidate, given the fact that he and Mordenkainen were once "good friend[s]" (LGJ #0, 9). The only problem with this, I think, is that Evard is a specialist, whereas all the other magi are generalists.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:50 am  

    I would also note, regarding Krimeah, that the LGG states that he "acquired the antipathy of the wizard Drawmij, who joined the Circle of Eight and directed certain plots against him" (LGG, 127). This seems to imply that the Black One and Drawmij were enemies prior to the formation of the Circle.
    GreySage

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    Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:48 pm  

    As Rob noted, Bucknard didn't vanish until 579 CY, so he isn't our lost member.

    Evard seems a sturdy possibility, although he isn't known as a planar traveler. There's no absolute rule that Circle of Eight members must be specialists; it's just designer preference. I'm tempted to go far afield for candidates, like Horung the Anarch (a wild mage from 2nd edition's Tome of Magic, who vanished to another plane in a wild surge - but he wouldn't work, because the AD&D collector cards say he's a half-elf from Toril), or start raiding Planescape NPCs like the Green Marvent, who could well be from Oerth, though he's only 11th level.

    Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun from the FR setting is known to have interacted with Mordenkainen and visited Oerth in the past, and there's nothing that says our lost Circle of Eight member was a native of Oerth to begin with. See Dragon #185, page 57, where Mordenkainen mentions talking with Arunsun ("Khelben said you were oft found here"), and Code of the Harpers, page 48 ("Like Elminster, Khelben spends much of his time flitting around the planes and worlds (such as Krynn and Oerth)..."). A morally ambiguous lawful neutral type with his hands in any number of pies, Mordenkainen would find him a kindred spirit. The problem, of course, is that many would have a problem with putting a Forgotten Realms PC among Greyhawk's premier group of wizards, even if only for a few years before he went back home and Tenser replaced him.

    I'm a strong advocate for the "Serten the Elder" theory. It's apparent from some sources that he does exist, but just as clearly he isn't the same person as Serten the cleric who was a member of the Citadel of Eight. He could, therefore, be an older relative who the cleric of St. Cuthbert was named for.

    There are a number of unused names in 2nd edition's Tome of Magic, though we know nothing about most of them.
    GreySage

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    Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:33 pm  

    I like the Evard choice a lot, actually. It explains better what his backstory with Mordenkainen is, and he's a good classic Greyhawk wizard name.

    I've convinced myself that Khelben is the next best possibility; his only advantage (other than being a generalist wizard and of neutral alignment, neither of which are deal-breakers for the Evard argument) over Evard is that he's a known planar traveler. His disadvantage is his weaker connection to Greyhawk. While Khelben has spells named after them, they aren't Greyhawk spells.

    Dragon #241 includes correspondence between Mordenkainen and Elayne Mystica, but Rob is right. The guy who said "Tenser, she's a woman!" when Jallarzi was nominated hadn't nominated another woman previously.

    Serten the Archmage seems a vague possibility, but since we know nothing about him other than he might be connected to Mordenkainen's old adventuring companion Serten, and he might simply be an error, I'd consider him less likely.

    It might be conceivable that Drawmij joined the Circle of Eight in order to get closer to his old enemy the Black One, but I doubt it.

    Random Planescape NPCs or random names from the tome of Magic, seem forced and arbitrary.

    Saying Evard "abandoned Oerth to explore other planes of existence" seems wrong, though. He clearly hasn't abandoned Oerth, and (even if the abandonment was only temporary) deciding to go exploring doesn't seem the drama of betrayal that one would expect from Evard, and doesn't seem likely to have made Mordenkainen his enemy. Khelben seems very likely to abandon Oerth, on the other hand, as it's not his homeworld anyway.
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    Thu Jul 01, 2010 12:40 am  

    I don't really see Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun getting too interested in joining the Circle of Eight. He just has too many irons in the fires of Toril around that time. His namesake, Khelben "Ravenscloak" Arunsun the Younger might be a better choice, and more in line with the power levels of most of the Circle. He lives in Greyhawk City and is also a known planar traveller if I recall correctly. It might also explain Khelben the Younger's reticence to get involved with influencing the Flanaess, having had a taste of Mordenkainen's machinations...

    However, I do feel that using a realms npc as a member of the Circle, even a footnote npc like Khelben Ravenscloak, spikes the cheese-o-metre just a little too high...

    I have a dark horse suggestion. I kind of like the aged wizard Ilkif from the Treasures of Greyhawk short adventure book. He would probably have some proficiency with planar travel given his funky tower and I think he was very aged indeed. I can't remember the exact name of the adventure but I think it may have been called Crossing into Steel. I've no idea where it was set in the Flanaess as I altered it to be set in the south eastern verge of the Vesve, near the Barony of Kalinstren. Come to think of it, I even tied Ilkif in to my game as Tenser's former teacher.

    Damien.
    GreySage

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    Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:20 am  

    Damien wrote:
    I don't really see Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun getting too interested in joining the Circle of Eight. He just has too many irons in the fires of Toril around that time. His namesake, Khelben "Ravenscloak" Arunsun the Younger might be a better choice, and more in line with the power levels of most of the Circle. He lives in Greyhawk City and is also a known planar traveller if I recall correctly. It might also explain Khelben the Younger's reticence to get involved with influencing the Flanaess, having had a taste of Mordenkainen's machinations...


    He might be a better choice, actually. I'm not sure there's anything official on him other than Code of the Harpers saying he probably lives on Oerth now.

    Quote:
    I have a dark horse suggestion. I kind of like the aged wizard Ilkif from the Treasures of Greyhawk short adventure book. He would probably have some proficiency with planar travel given his funky tower and I think he was very aged indeed. I can't remember the exact name of the adventure but I think it may have been called Crossing into Steel. I've no idea where it was set in the Flanaess as I altered it to be set in the south eastern verge of the Vesve, near the Barony of Kalinstren.


    It doesn't seem to be set anywhere in particular. The map just says "woods" and "town." The Vesve seems a good place, though. "Crossing Into Steel" doesn't give any detail on Ilkif's level or alignment (both are irrelevant to the adventure), but he must have been pretty powerful, given his stone golem and magic spheres. Unlike Evard and Khelben, we don't know of any canonical connections to Mordenkainen and the Circle, but he was likely well-known in wizarding circles at some point.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Aug 02, 2010 5:25 pm  

    After reading this, I think I'm going to stick with Evard for my game, I like the politics of it, the possibilities for betrayal and the unease other Circle members may have had with having him in their organization, as part of of Mordenkainen's balance or even due to their friendship.

    It also offers some possible depth in Evard's rise in infamy, its possible that when he began developing a name the other archmages might not have wanted to be associated with, the Circle could have forced him out and done their best to remove mention of his ever having been included.

    A fallout between friends (Evard and Mordenkainen) could have led to dismissal, or Evard's removal may even have been the reason for them to no longer associate with each other.

    I feel that I can have some fun with this angle, thanks for the information!

    P.S. I have an inherent dislike of anything Khelben and prefer to ignore that idea 8)
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