Schemes of the Lich King
The Aspis Consortium is a trade organization with interests in many parts of the Dragon Empire. What distinguishes them from other trade groups is the size of their operations, and their willingness to do whatever is necessary to accomplish their goals. While it is not unknown for merchant groups to sell weapons to both sides in a conflict, the Consortium might take it further and actually have a hand in starting the strife to begin with. Others might praise the Consortium for providing desperately needed grain to a famine-struck region, without knowing that agents helped cause the drought. They are loyal to no government, having members from many countries and nationalities. This also allows them to take neutral positions in any disagreements and appeal to all sides. Whereas not every member is a criminal, and not every endeavor they undertake is by its very nature criminal, the organization has performed numerous criminal acts in the name of profit. Their reason for strict secrecy is so that they can live without fear of the decisions they make in the name of profit.
The overall goals of the Aspis Consortium are dictated by a shadowy group calling themselves the Patrons. They meet once every three months in a different city (Dragonmeet, Magnimar, Shaydenhall or Shadow Port) and take great pains to hide their identities from outsiders and even each other. Their leader is referred to as the Aspis Prophet.
Membership in the Consortium can be broken down into two groups: merchants and mercenaries. Merchants are the brains behind most Aspis operations, deciding where profits can be maximized and how the goals of the organization should be implemented. They are drawn from the tradesmen classes of many lands, although all seem most eager to promote the Consortium’s profits before all other considerations.
Second are the mercenaries, who provide protection for the Consortium’s operations and provide guidance on military matters. The rest of the people working for the Aspis Consortium are unaware of whom they serve, only knowing that they are paid well for their work.
Calling them ‘evil’ is not inaccurate but does not truly sum up this organization which is far more complex. For instance, they most likely despise most of the evil Icons as individuals such as the Lich King would certainly stand in their way and the wholesale destruction of cities and societies would hardly further their interests.