The Greyhawk revival by WotC was short lived before it got turned into Living Greyhawk in the 3.x days and whatever happened in the pages of Paizo's Dragon and Dungeon magazines.
There were a couple of organizations hinted at that, to my knowledge, never went on to feature in another product or article.
The first was Tenser's personal organization of lawful good guys that he was going to create after he came back in Return of the Eight. I'd say that they don't need to all be lawful good given that Cymria of Celadon would almost certainly hold a high position in the organization, and she's chaotic good. In my personal campaign, Tenser was a patron of a group of adventurers (the Company of Nine) in the CY 573-81 period that would make good officers of the organization.
The second was the Circle of Darkness that was mentioned in Doomgrinder. While it has somewhat of a melodramatic name, it actually is fitting in a setting where there's the Circle of Eight. This organization was only slightly involved with Doomgrinder, but one of their agents, Elanal, is a drow that's quite important to them, and she's actually slightly more powerful than Cymria (she's a M12/F12 to Cymria's F12/M11).
I might argue that rather than go the expected route with the Circle of Darkness being an evil organization, instead make it an organization that's about stealth. Maybe pull in Passing Shadow from her mention in Iuz the Evil as another agent/head of acquisitions.
Great topic! Sadly these, imho, great products never went further with the end of 2E. I never gave much thought to Tenser's nascent organization, but the Circle of Darkness did cause a few neurons to fire. Based on the nature of the agents in Doomgrinder and who they were working with, I assumed they are based in the Underdark with the purpose of destroying/weakening he city of Greyhawk. To me, they were the power pushing forward the efforts of Blackthorn, the humanoids beneath the Tower of War in Greyhawk Ruins and the derro of Doomgrinder.
I for one think the Flannaess have enough campaign world-wide surface transnational (anachronistic for medieval fantasy perhaps, but I can think of no better term). To start with, their are the churches and cults, including those of Iuz, and Pholtus that have the longest reach and most interest in politics. Then there is the Scarlett Brotherhood, Circle of Eight, Circle of Five, knightly orders such as the Hart and Watch, etc. It is not too full, unlike a certain other campaign setting that may as well include the Bavarian Illuminati and Bildebergers with all the "wheels within wheels" that seems to define it, but it is, like Greyhawk is to me, "just right".
So what is the Circle of Darkness' goals and who is in it? In my mind, they are a cabal based in the Underoerth with members of various races, but not representatives of them; i.e. the aboleth members do not speak or lead any large numbers of aboleths, but are rather seeking personal aggrandizement. They are looking to expand some of their operations towards the surface, and also do not like have surface-dwellers disrupting their plans in the Underoerth. Greyhawk is a particular locus of trouble for them, being home to so many adventurers, and particularly powerful wizards. The destruction or weakening of the city would allow them to continue their plans unmolested as adventurers and other dangerous groups focus on that crisis and try to take advantage of it. This is also why they use intermediaries such as the humanoids and derro so as not to directly signal their involvement.
So, what is the Circle of Darkness (CoD from now on) doing that may interest the surface... not much actually. They are mostly involved in personal aggrandizement, and actually function similar to the Circle of Eight in the Underoerth, not allowing any one group to dominate. However, adventurers tend to plumb the depths, and sometimes, often inadvertently and clumsily, upset their plans and the balance of power. The CoD has learned that the City of Greyhawk is home to many of these interlopers, as well as large numbers of powerful wizards, learned sages, etc. What I see them doing is trying to create a large diversion to attract adventurers and other trouble-makers away from them and to something else.
I think most of your powerful Underoerth races would have a member or two in the circle, including the drow, derro, duergar, illithids, and aboleths. Thoughts?
Oh, also, they might be behind the events in
The Night Below
I like that idea! To take my reference to Passing Shadow from Iuz the Evil, I would also make her the same as the thief "Shadow" mentioned in City of Greyhawk (under the Thieves' Guild in the High Quarter section). She stole an Ebon Skull from Iuz, the Jacinth of Inestimable Beauty from Niole Dra; she's the Circle's top acquisitions agent on the surface (which sounds so much nicer than "thief" doesn't it?).
I'd want to keep the CoD relatively small, and in addition to your list of underground races, I would also suggest putting in a single Deep Dragon as a member. A Shadow Dragon might be the expected draconic race to add, but I feel that Deep Dragons are different enough to be a nice swerve.
Perhaps there is a shade as a member, as well, and they're instigating some things on the surface because the Mage of the Valley's research into becoming a shade is causing some concern?
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