No living persons are more famous in the Flanaess than Mordenkainen and the Circle of Eight. These nine wizards serve as unofficial "watchdogs" on the continent, monitoring Oerik for trouble. Because most members are neutral in alignment, the group is concerned with maintaining balance in its world and not allowing any faction to become too powerful or overwhelming. In recent years, however, as evil forces have threatened to seize control of the land, the Circle of Eight has worked on the side of good in order to contain these ever-growing evils.

The contributions of the Circle of Eight are woven into the fabric of Greyhawk and Oerth itself. Much has changed since Mordenkainen first founded the organization. The Flanaess has suffered years of continental war. And the face of this pivotal group has changed forever. In the current era of the campaign, the Circle of Eight is needed more than ever to counter the forces that threaten to upset Oerth's delicate balance of power.                                              

A Balance is Struck

The Circle of Eight's reputation spans the breadth of the Flanaess. Its name (if not its exact demeanour) is common currency among noblemen and villagers alike. Despite this, the Circle's full membership has never been known to those outside the organization (everyone knows of the ‘eight’ – but there are many underlings). The group has not always been so reclusive. Its precursor, The Citadel of Eight, was a known opponent of darkness in its many guises. Its members stood, and fell protecting the land, defending Oerth from the influence of malign beings and rarely those of benevolent interlopers as well.

The Citadel

The series of alliances that would evolve into the Circle of Eight began simply over a meal of venison and Celenese nectar wine in a posh inn near the shores of the Wild Coast. At that table, nearly thirty years ago, Mordenkainen debated with his young apprentice, Bigby, the merits of taking an active hand in maintaining the celestial balance of power. Thereafter, the two struck upon a plan to gather a group of like-minded individuals that would act to hinder advances by those who would dominate the Flanaess. That their expected exploits would impart upon the mages no small amount of lost magical lore only served to hasten the alliance. Within months, Mordenkainen had brought the renowned warrior Robilar to his cause, as well as the cleric Riggby, and his zealous assistant, Yrag. From the shores of the Nyr Dyv, Mordenkainen recruited the righteous Tenser, who in turn introduced the dim-witted though well-meaning Serten to the assembly. Finally, the young woodsman, Otis, rounded out the group. They called themselves the Citadel of Eight. Taking the name from Mordenkainen's renowned Obsidian Citadel, in the Yatil Mountains. In the years that followed, their adventures focused on Greyhawk and the Selintan valley and the crags of the Cairn Hills and depths of the Suss Forest were opened into their prying vision. In the years of their companionship, both Robilar and Yrag were ennobled by Greyhawk and Riggby was promoted speedily within the church of Boccob in Verbobonc. ­ Tenser, Bigby, and Mordenkainen likewise advanced in their own wizardly ways, gaining arcane knowledge and power. For a group that so decisively defeated its enemies, there remained several problems. Robilar never quite bought into Mordenkainen’s philosophy, and he and Tenser often bickered over matters of morality. Serten, though seen as useful was never truly respected and Otis, tired of uunderground excursions and forays into urban territories left the group, decrying his friend’s as cave-delvers and treasure seekers blind to the real problems of the world. Over the years, the Citadel played home to such luminaries as Prince Melf Brightflame of the Olvenfolk, the half-orc Quij, Felnorith, Robilar's brother Terik, and even, at one point, the Quasi-Deity Murlynd in disguise.

Nearly a decade after the Citadel's formation, Otis' critical words took on the air of prophecy. In 569 CY, the first arrow flew at Emridy Meadows. The Citadel was noticeably absent. Whether investigating magical secrets far to the west or unearthing lost passages in Urnst's Maure Castle, these self-absorbed celebrities were too preoccupied to influence one of the century's most critical battles. All were absent save Serten, who fought valiantly at the side of Prince Thrommel, against the hordes of Elemental Evil. When Serten fell none of his friends stood at his side. Though most attended his ostentatious funeral service in Verbobonc, a crucial rift had been torn in the organization. The Citadel was crumbling. Tenser blamed Mordenkainen and retired inward to his castle. Terik and Yrag vanished, some said to the anonymity of the Bandit Kingdoms. Even the loyal Bigby left the side of his one-time master and returned to Oldridge, where he adventured for a time with a band of boyhood friends. Mordenkainen, the man who had brought the Citadel together, simply shrugged and returned, with cold eyes to his studies.

Formation of the Circle     

The chaos surrounding the return to power of the demi-god Iuz, in CY 570 prompted Mordenkainen to consid­er a new paradigm. Though the Old One worked to check the growing power of the Horned Society, and kept Furyondy's eyes on its northern borders, Mordenkainen knew well that the situation would not last. The dissolution of the Citadel left Mordenkainen without a tool to shape events as he would and though he hardly admitted it to himself he longed to return to a life of adventure. The Citadel's primary failure, he surmised had been its inclusive philosophy. As its founding concept had been arcane, he had been foolish to assume that men like Robilar or Rigby would rally to his cause without subtly working against it for reasons personal, spiritual or political. Men of intellect and sorceress skill, whose primary interests were more than material, would replace them. Thus was born the Circle of Eight. Over the next year Mordenkainen invited some of the most prominent magi in the Flanaess to join him. By the first month of 571 CY, he had gathered eight mages to his cause. Among them Bigby, Otto, Rary, Nystul, Drawmij, and the affable Bucknard. The Circle in those early days worked to check the power of influential beings in Eastern Oerik. When they could not directly intervene they sponsored groups of adventurers, as in the sacking of Iggwilv's former haunt at the Tsojcanth Caverns in the mid-570's. Whether or not those agents always knew who set them upon their quests is a matter of some debate. Privately, members of the Circle explored fantastic corners of Oerth, including the strange and foreboding City of the Gods near Blackmoor, further depths of Castle Greyhawk, and even the manifold layers of the infernal Abyss. More importantly, through their own adventurers and the exploits of those related to them, the Circle began to formulate what soon would become one of the most impressive networks of informers and agents the Flanaess has ever known.                                 

The Circle Completed    

The membership of the Circle changed little in the years between 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 and Tenser brought his unique, if less-than-subtle, ambition to the ideology of the group. Two years later, with the addition of the mage Otiluke, the Circle solidified its reputation as a political power in the Central Flanaess. As president of the Society of Magi, Otiluke brought with him a seat on Greyhawk's Directing Oligarchy and the group initiated its long-anticipated drive to influence the policies of temporal leaders throughout the Marklands. Jallarzi Sallavarian was invited to join in 581 CY, replacing the much esteemed Bucknard, who had mysteriously vanished two years earlier. The final week of her six‑month trial membership was to be a baptism by fire.

The Return of Vecna

Alerted to a rising evil in the Flanaess, the Circle hastily gathered for a nearly unprecedented field operation in 581 CY. A new power sought to join Oerth's vast pantheon, and its efforts threatened to corrupt the magi­cal order of the known world. The Circle travelled to the hills south of Verbobonc, where they investigated the tomb of a long-dead Oeridian tyrant who was thought to have possessed the awesome artefacts known as the Hand and Eye of Vecna. Finding the tyrant alive, after a fashion, and completely controlled by the Whispered One, the ill-prepared Circle of Eight panicked and was defeated. Vecna destroyed the entire Circle, save Mordenkainen, who had elected to remain in Greyhawk as a safeguard against lust such an occurrence. When news reached the arch mage he mobilized the Circle's allies and a small cadre of apprentice wizards. Former companions, and long-time confidantes embarked on a nearly hopeless bid to thwart Vecna’s apotheosis. Somehow (it is whispered that they employed the aid of luz, who stood to lose much under the deification of the Lich Lord). The intrepid adventurers managed to banish the Maimed God at the strange stone circles known as the Tovag Baragu, and Oerth returned to relative normalcy, save for the absence of the Circle of Eight.

Shattered Circle

Mordenkainen addressed this absence by recovering what was left of his fallen comrades and cloning them. This endeavour consumed time that otherwise might have seen him addressing the reports of the Circle's allies in the North, who warned of alarming developments in Stonefist and the Barbarian Lands. When those events spiralled into the first conflicts of the Greyhawk Wars, the Circle's clones remained undeveloped and by the time the clones reached full maturation, the Circle of Eight had been forced to take a reactive stance to the tumultuous events unfolding before them. Though the Circle never acted concertedly during the Greyhawk Wars, certain hotspots received a good deal of their attention. Mordenkainen, Bigby and Otto fought against the Old One's army at the infamous Battle of Critwall Bridge, and Drawmij was instrumen­tal in organizing the flood of refugees from the Lost Lands to fastnesses in the Good Hills. Nystul worked primarily alone in besieged Tenh, while Otto and Bigby left Mordenkainen in the Vesve Forest to do what they could for the Iron League. Citing pressing personal needs Rary retreated to his tower in Lopolla and refused to come to the aid of his companions.

When the political rumblings that signalled the end to the conflict reached the Free City of Greyhawk the entire Circle was on hand to ensure a favourable outcome to the peace process. Their network of agents researched the backgrounds of key diplomats and participants in the proceedings and magical divinations were conducted to unmask any would-be saboteurs. Never did the view of those scrying crystals turn inward however, toward the plans of the single individual who could do the most harm to the delegates' cause. Rary's treachery that day killed Tenser and Otiluke and gained the Arch mage of Ket everlasting infamy. Spurned from his family by his brother and banned from Greyhawk itself by Mordenkainen, Rary fled to the Bright Desert to uncover its secrets and inaugurate an empire.                   

Coming full Circle 

Since the war, the Circle has admitted three new members rounding out their number. From the far reaches of the ancient lands of the Baklunish, they courted Alhamazad the Wise,  Theodain Eriason, the Circle's first true demihuman member came from the Yeomanry. The first post-war addition however, was the most obvious, Warnes Starcoat, Counsellor to the Courts of Urnst had already dignified himself by helping the Circle recover the powerful Crook of Rao from the clutches of the Mother of All Witches, Iggwilv. Canon Hazen's heroic use of that artefact in 586 CY validated Starcoat's inclusion, as did the arch mage’s crucial role in the horrific circumstances surrounding Tenser's return from the realm of the dead. In the years since the close of the Greyhawk Wars much has been done to re establish the Flanaess's balance of power. Much work remains however, and Mordenkainen and the mage Circle have resolved to ensure that it is completed.             

In the early 580’s, the Circle of Eight included Bigby, Drawmij, jallarzi Sallavarian, Nystul, Otiluke, Otto, Rary of Ket and the archmage Tenser. During the Greyhawk Wars, two members of the Eight, Tenser and Otiluke, were killed as a result of the actions of Rary of Ket, now known as Rary the Traitor. Tenser was returned to life in 585 CY, but chose not to return to the Circle of Eight. Otiluke is still dead. Three new members were appointed in 585 CY: Alhamazad the Wise, Theodain Eriason and Warnes Starcoat. The three former members are listed here, following the members of the Eight in 591CY.     

All members of the Circle of Eight possess or have access to large numbers of magical items, particularly potions. They might be approached for assistance on a quest, requesting little more than a full report of the journey or an errand in return. Any of the members of the Circle of Eight might be contacted by leaving a message at the Wizards' Guildhall, Otto's home in the Garden Quarter or Jallarzi Sallavarian's home in the High Quarter of the City of Greyhawk. The members of the Circle of Eight have fast communication with each other through various magical devices.


Mordenkainen is an extremely powerful archmage who appears middle-aged but is much older. He has a shaven head, brown eyes, and a black beard streaked with silver. A brilliant thinker, Mordenkainen feels responsible for the Flanaess and manipulates political and military events to suit his vision of what the Flanaess should be.

Mordenkainen serves as a director for the Circle of Eight. Mordenkainen lives in his Obsidian Citadel in the Yatils, but he also travels disguised as a merchant to learn facts on his own. The Citadel houses Mordenkainens unequalled library which is said to contain spell books of every known spell (except those designed by individual wizards), intelligence reports from across the continent, and a detailed and continually updated history of the Flanaess. Only Bigby and Tenser know of his home's precise location.

Alhamazad the Wise

Alhamazad became a member of the Circle in 585 CY and thus is one of the newest members of the Circle. A thin, elderly Baklunish man in plain robes and a simple turban, he looks like a poor wanderer during his frequent travels. He is in fact highly powerful as a mage, and has forged alliances with noble elementals and genies. His primary goals are the maintenance of modern Baklunish culture, society and power.


Bigby is a lean, severe-looking man with brown hair and eyes who prefers dark grey hooded robes, At 57 years of age, he is known for being cautious, quiet, nervous and puritanical. Though a fault-finder and nitpicker, he is steadfast and has a fine sense of humour. Bigby lived in Onnwal, but fled after the Scarlet Brotherhood conquered it. He now lives in the city of Mitrik in Veluna.    He adventures only infrequently, preferring to remain at home in one of his libraries or tinkering in his laboratory. Only when he gets wind of rare spell components or unusual magical items will he go adventuring, but he visits his wizard friends frequently. He nearly killed luz once and is greatly hated by the demigod; in 590 CY, he survived an assassination attempt by Iuz’s agents.    


Despite his age of 63 years, Drawmij is tall, slim and young-looking, with dark blond hair and deep blue eyes, which contribute to make him arguably the best looking male of the Eight. He is secretive and says little even to fellow members of the Eight. He is a dedicated foe of the Mage of the Valley. The mage makes his home in an underwater lair located at least a hundred miles offshore in the Azure Sea. As might be expected Drawmij is an expert with magical devices involving water (he has a number of magical boats) and in adapting spells to underwater use. He visits the City of Greyhawk only when he must.

Jallarzi Sallavarian

The only woman in the Eight and one of the few leaning more toward good than neutrality, Jallarzi offers a much-needed fresh perspective on matters put before this curmudgeonly men’s club. Even at the age of 42, she remains beautiful, with blonde hair and bright blue eyes. Jallarzi has been a member of the Circle of Eight for just over nine years; she truly enjoys her membership and uses her other affiliations to benefit the Circle whenever possible. The wizard makes her home in the City of Greyhawk and will entertain visitors there, but she prefers to hold meetings at the Guild of Wizardry. She is also known to disguise herself and creep through the seedier areas of town in order to spy on the shady side of society. Her familiar is a pseudodragon named Edwina.


This wizard's appearance is that of the stereotypical absent-minded mage. Tall, gangly, and plain, Nystul has brown hair that looks as if it has never met a comb in all his 52 years. He has become a master of disguise to conceal his ridiculous appearance, and frequently travels under the guise of a half-elven maiden to gain assistance from. Paladins and knights. Nystul has a special interest in spells involving light and darkness. He is also an expert in the use of concealing and defensive spells, claiming that a wizard who finds himself in hand­ to-hand combat has not used his arsenal of spells properly. Nystul visits Greyhawk on occasion, but is occupied with the war in his homeland of Tenh. He is always on the lookout for discovered spell books and magical items.             


Otto was once a priest of Boccob, the god of magic, but is now a major wizard and a member of the Circle of Eight. One of the younger members at age 53, Otto is also one of the most colourful Otto often poses as a rich, cheerful merchant, but he is easily picked out in a crowd because of his huge girth and his ruffled and beribboned clothing. He is a gourmet constantly in search of new, exotic dishes to sample, and is a patron of the arts. He has a natural talent for music and adds musical elements to his spells, which include singing fireballs and yodelling ice storm. Once a native of Almor far to the cast, Otto has moved to the City of Greyhawk following the complete destruction of his country. He can be found visiting the opera house, the Wizards ‘Guildhall or his fellow Circle members.

Theodain Eriason

The first demihuman to join the Circle in .585 CY, Theodain is a tall, slim high elf with long black and silver hair, high cheekbones and a pale complexion. His manner is cold, and he often seems disdainful or even evil, but he is in fact a  passionate defender of regional stability, since such order protects his homeland, the Yeomanry. Theodain is unusual in that he is able to use a short sword despite being a wizard. He shows no compunction in attacking foes directly.

Warnes Starcoat

Warnes Starcoat joined in 585 cy to become one of the newest members of the Circle, a middle-aged man with a bald spot in his long blond hair and piercing pale eyes. He has a long-standing interest in the politics of the central Flanaess, particularly the County and Duchy of Urnst. He was involved in the recovery of the Crook of Rao.

Rary the Traitor

Rary is about 80 years old, but at Last sighting, Rary was healthy in both mind and body. Age has diminished none of the mage's faculties. Rary of Ket was originally a trusted member of the Circle of Eight; known as a gentle, quiet man, and a skilled mediator and peacemaker. His sage abilities earned him a reputation far and wide. He was even known to avoid offensive spells, preferring charms and other non-combatant spells to assist him m difficult negotiations. At some point he decided that turning to evil was the way to accomplish his goals. In 584 CY, he organized what seems to have been a plot against the Circle of Eight. Mere moments before the Pact of Greyhawk was to he signed, which would end what has become known as the Greyhawk Wars, Rary attempted to destroy the signing site. Members of the Eight, Tenser the Archmage and Otiluke, were killed m the subsequent magical battle, leaving nothing that could be resurrected. Simultaneous to the battle, fellow conspirators including Lord Robilar attacked the residences of Otiluke and Tenser, destroying all their clones and cloning material The notion that Rary had plotted against his fellow Circle members and killed two of them came as a total shock to all who knew him. Rary and Lord Robilar fled the scene and eventually found their way into the Bright Desert.


Formerly a member of the Circle of Eight, Tenser the Archmage is still associated with this group in the public mind, though he does little work with the Circle now. Before his death in 584 CY, this wizard was the strongest advocate for law and good in the Eight~ and often found himself at loggerheads with those members who prized balance above all. Following a near‑tragedy at the hands of Vecna's followers, all members of the Eight kept a number of active clones However, after the battle that killed Tenser and Otiluke, all discoverable clones of the two mages were destroyed by co-conspirators of the assassin, Rary of Ket. One clone of Tenser was finally recovered from a secret location. When the cloned Tenser returned to his castle on the shore of the Nyr Dyv in 585 CY, he retired from the Circle of Eight and began a campaign to promote the forces of law and good in the Flanaess.

Otiluke and Other Past Members

Otiluke joined the Circle of Eight in 576 CY, replacing the aged wizard Leonund who retired that year to pursue other interests. Like Tenser, Otiluke fell to Rary's treachery m 584 CY and was slain in the City of Greyhawk, though not before wounding Rary. Otiluke seems to be permanently dead. He was formerly the President of the Society of Magi and a member of the Directing Oligarchy of the City of Greyhawk, and his membership in the Circle of Eight was a complete secret to any but the other members. Leomund was a clever and practical individual who invented numerous spells of containment used by adventurers the Flanaess over. He kept his whereabouts a secret, though he is generally thought to have once lived in Medegia. He has not been heard from in some years. In 581 CY Jallarzi Sallavarian replaced the powerful wizard Bucknard, who vanished in 579 CY while exploring an unknown demiplane. His fate is not known. Bucknard was fairly young when he disappeared, but he was rumoured to have become an archmage and was well-known in royal courts from Keoland to Nyrond.