Thrice The Brinded Cat
Mordenkainen is one of the most powerful archmagi of the Flanaess and is most noted as a member of the Circle of Eight.
Mordenkainen’s fortress, the Obsidian Citadel, is a symmetrical castle in the Yatil Mountains. Of past and current members of the Circle of Eight, only his former adventuring companions Tenser and Bigby know its exact location. It is defended by its location in the harsh windy mountains, by illusions and other disorienting magic effects that extend into the Ethereal Plane, by wards against teleport, plane shift, and similar spells, and by the soldiers in Mordenkainen’s employ.
Mordenkain was born 509 CY. His birthplace is unknown, but before coming to prominence in the early 560s, he is thought to have resided on the Wild Coast. He also resided for a time in the City of Greyhawk, as well as Highfolk. He is rumored to be of Oeridian blood, possibly Aerdi. Some claim that he is a descendant of Ganz Yragerne, first Landgraf of the Selintan, which would mean he’s also related to Zagig and Heward. According to some sources, he is distantly related to House Cranden, one of the royal houses of the Great Kingdom of Aerdy.
About 561 CY, with his young apprentice Bigby, the warriors Robilar and Yrag, the clerics Riggby and Serten, the ranger Otis, and fellow mage Tenser, Mordenkainen formed the Citadel of Eight. The group was named for the Obsidian Citadel, Mordenkainen’s stronghold in the Yatil Mountains. The Citadel disbanded after the Battle of Emridy Meadows in 569 CY, which is regarded by many as one of the most important events of the sixth century. Only Serten was present at Emridy Meadows, and he paid with his life.
Two years later, Mordenkainen formed the Circle of Eight, a cabal of eight wizards with himself acting as the ninth “shadow member” and leader. Mordenkainen felt that the failure of the Citadel was due to its composition. He felt that such a group as he envisioned could only succeed if its members were “men of intellect and sorcerous skill, whose primary interests were more than material.”
Mordenkainen appears much younger than his years, perhaps in his mid-forties. He is tall, of medium build and often depicted wearing black, blue, or grey. He wears a Van Dyck beard (a mustache with a goatee) with two prominent grey streaks. Its shape has changed over the years, and in recent art is narrow and pointed, but was originally broad, covering the whole chin. He once wore his graying black hair at medium length, but since 591 CY has been shaving his pate bald, as well as trimming his goatee to a fine point. He speaks with a deep, melodic voice.
When traveling, Mordenkainen often disguises himself as a poor, elderly merchant.
Mordenkainen can be stubborn and difficult, and does not tolerate fools. He normally spends much more time listening than talking, but when he does speak, his pronouncements are authoritative and rarely questioned.
He has been described as a form of one-man peacekeeping force. Trying to prevent wars and conflicts, he operates according to a theory based on power balance and Neutrality, trying to keep neither Good nor Evil from getting the upper hand. Exactly how this is done is not entirely clear, but he is very manipulative and operates very much from the shadows.
Mordenkainen has made many enemies over his lifetime, among them Evard, Iuz, Kermin Mind-Bender, Rary, Terik, and Sir Robilar. He also has many allies, including the lesser deity Dalt. He can sometimes be spotted visiting with his distant kinsman Heward, or traveling with Keoghtom and Murlynd, with Zagyg and Keoghtom, or with Keoghtom and Heward. Of course, he has access to the full resources of the Circle of Eight.
He is distantly related to Heward, Zagyg, and Bigby. Bigby was at one point his apprentice.
Mordenkainen is an associate of Elminster of the Forgotten Realms and Dalamar of Krynn, occasionally meeting with them on the world of Earth to swap news and magic.
Mordenkainen’s citadel is defended by the powerful fighters Eraj and Felnorith, who ride trained griffons. His elite troops include dwarves, gnomes, and humans. Mordenkainen is also allied with a tribe of stone giants, who helped build his citadel, and a tribe of cloud giants, who offer him assistance in remembrance of his aid in defeating a flight of evil dragons who were wreaking havoc on them in 575 CY.
Mordenkainen has many friends and aides in the City of Greyhawk, but his most important are Jallarzi Sallavarian, Otto, Ravel Dasinder and Celeste.