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The Octilliad, a wizard faction for your home campaign

The Octilliad, a wizard faction for your home campaign

Need a faction of scheming wizards? Yes, the answer is yes. The Octilliad is here to hire, betray, oppose, or tempt your PCs.

The eight factotums of the Octilliad position themselves as the self-appointed guardians of magic across the planes. Through their many agents, they work behind the scenes to police spellcasters, offer resources and mentorship to those who seem promising, and exterminate or ruin the reputations of those who seem careless or undisciplined.

When dealing with the Octilliad, one must understand that the leaders of the organization define a “promising” spellcaster as one who is pliable and obedient. Casters they consider to be “undisciplined,” on the other hand, might be considered merely independent or ambitious by another party.

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The Octilliad

The Octilliad’s influence can be felt in every stratum of society. They fund both magical and mundane academies, promoting pupils and topics of research they favor while suppressing those they don’t. Whether they are aware of it or not, many monarchs and lawmakers receive their counsel every time they consult their court wizard or a local sage. Octilliad agents can be found in most craft guilds, militaries, security services, street gangs, trading costers and religious bureaucracies. The most insidious aspect of the organization’s pervasiveness is that many who do its business aren’t even aware of who they truly serve, or that the organization even exists. In truth, the factotums of the Octilliad see themselves as the secret masters of the world.

Joining the Octilliad

The Octilliad is comprised of three distinct structures. The inner circle is a closed circle of eight powerful spellcasters, known as the factotums. Each views themself as the foremost expert in one of the eight traditional schools of magic. To become a factotum, a rival must identify and terminate one of the existing leaders, and then presenting themself to the remaining factotums as their victim’s replacement. This has occurred thrice in the group’s centuries-long existence.

The outer circle of knowing functionaries, proxies, and go-betweens is hand-selected by the factotums of the Octilliad. These individuals are often groomed for their positions. They are prized for their obedience, moral flexibility, and skill. All have endured rigorous testing of their loyalty, and have proven that they put their masters’ needs above their personal ambitions, interpersonal relationships, and families.

The remaining agents are the legions of unwitting criminals, guards, soldiers, tutors, vagrants, and adventurers that answer to their outer circle handlers. These individuals are responsible for the lion’s share of the direct actions that are taken to advance the master’s goals.

What is Expected of a Member?

The Octilliad, especially among the factotums, is not a monolith. The masters of the organization expect their peers to support their projects and the decisions they make. If one suffers a setback, the others lend aid in whatever form is most useful, be it additional resources or their own expertise. The factotums also expect that each of their fellows knows when to shutter a project that isn’t producing the intended results.

The factotums expect unwavering obedience of the Octilliad’s outer circle. If a task is assigned, it must be fulfilled to the letter within the timeframes allotted. Functionaries that cease to be useful are quietly exterminated and replaced with a new agent who is more capable and eager to please. Though members of the outer circle are expected to co-operate with one another on the rare occasion that they meet, some of them work hard to prove their peers’ incompetence to display their own superiority.

Short term agents used by the outer circle handlers are largely expendable, though some do prove themselves useful enough to become part of the Octilliad proper. Agents who ask too many questions about the nature of their tasks, or their employers have a tendency to disappear or have unfortunate accidents.

Axioms of the Octilliad

These are the true beliefs of the Octilliad:

  • The study of magic must be carefully monitored; its secrets mustn’t fall into the hands of others.
  • Be wary of new ideas; change quickly leads to unanticipated outcomes.
  • People are akin to sheep; they must be herded.

Allies and Enemies

On the surface, the Octilliad seems benign enough. It has few enemies while boasting a number of important and well-placed allies. Many monarchs and nobles are happy to call one or more of the Octilliad’s factotums friend.

A few agitators have sussed out the factotums’ desire to hoard magical breakthroughs while maintaining a status quo of societal stasis. These rebels have started gathering agents of their own to sabotage the Octilliad’s plans at any and every opportunity. Unbeknownst to the agitators, they benefit from hosting a former factotum of the Octilliad among them. While her former peers think her long dead at her successor’s hands, she plots their downfall and is slowly maneuvering their organization’s true motives into the light.

Benefits of Membership

Agents of the Octilliad’s outer circle can claim several potent benefits:

  • Agents can locate magical items for purchase without incurring expenses. In addition, they have a 5 percent discount when they purchase such items. They rarely encounter complications when making a purchase, unless a rival becomes involved.
  • When they craft magical items during downtime, they reduce the number of workweeks required by 1, to a minimum of 1 workweek
  • When an agent spends downtime researching a subject, they learn one piece of lore, even if their efforts would result in a failure.

In Midgard: The Octilliad at a Glance

Type of Organization: Magical Cabal
Symbol: An octahedron with each visible face carved with a sigil denoting one of the traditional schools of magic.
Disciplines Taught: Arcane research, crafting, ritual casting, scribing, spellcasting
Affiliated Weapon: Rod

Factotums: Artrach (human archmage), Cailleron (shadow fey archmage), Isserith (lich), Namadh (virtuoso lich (see Monster Vault)), Proughtl (darakhul archmage), Ulthgar (human archmage), Yasheva (human archmage), Zymakt (first servant (see Southlands Worldbook))

Primary Sanctuaries: Hulddra’s House, a longhouse in Skaldholm; Slithe House, a tower in Harkesh

Major Sanctuary: Prismus House, a manor belonging to the family of the same name in Triolo

Organizational Hook

Try this hook to introduce the Octilliad into your campaign: In Zobeck a purported administrator at the temple of Rava has asked the characters to look into the claims of a local student boasting about their discovery of a more efficient method of brewing potions. The characters must determine the truth of the claims, and if they are true, they need to steal the student’s research and turn it over for safekeeping.

about Kelly Pawlik

Kelly started gaming after her second son was born in 2012. She delights in worldbuilding and prefers campaigns that contain an abundance of intrigue and romance. Kelly co-founded Dire Rugrat Publishing in 2015 and has worked on many projects with Kobold Press. In 2021 she released the first three novellas in her middle-grade science fiction/horror/urban fantasy series, The Olympic Vista Chronicles.

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