Conference Z was an clandestine think tank funded by the Aspis Consortium unknown even to most of its leadership. It operated across the Inner Sea region and beyond and engaged mostly in obscure, occult research.123
Conference Z was founded by Jhandorage Vaulnder Alexayn, a co-founder of the Aspis Consortium. In Aspis Consortium Inter-Branch Directive 1111, Alexayn organised a conference where the Consortium's best minds discussed radical means of expansion and profit; he subsequently judged it so successful that, since then, a percentage of the Consortium's annual budget has been deducted to the think tank. Conference Z's existence was only leaked to the public once in 4652 AR, when Pathfinder Society agents intercepted Inter-Branch Directive 1111 when ambushing an Aspis Consortium messenger and subsequently published it:12
|Research department heads, electrum agents: Aspis Building, Ostenso. Dawn, 8–24. Conference Z.
From its creation, Conference Z was a clandestine organization free of taboos or conventions, especially after numerous executives pushed it further down into the depths of the Consortium. Most of the Aspis leadership had forgotten about its secret annual budget allocation to Conference Z. As of 4716 AR, A. X. Adrius was the only active Consortium executive who knew of Conference Z's existence and kept its work a secret.12
Professor Tantis Mais, who resided in hidden laboratories under the Aspis Building, had served as executor of Conference Z for more than 40 years and was the only living person with full knowledge of Inter-Branch Directive 1111. However, even he was not fully aware of all operations that began before his tenure. Scholars funded by Conference Z regularly reported to Mais, and each kept their own staff and security who never heard the name Conference Z and did not know that the Aspis Consortium funded their work.1
All electrum agents possessed documents allowing them to appropriate Consortium assets if necessary. A cabal of nearly identical agents clad in black, who reported directly to Mais, carried out his orders, monitored underperforming ventures, and silenced those who knew too much about Conference Z.1
Little information about Conference Z or its agents, operations, or goals could be verified. Its cells engaged in all kinds of bizarre and dangerous studies, such as alien languages, biological hypnosis, elder sciences, enhanced cryptozoology, geothermic industry, immortality, interplanar economics, mass teleportation, psychic enrichment, revivified prophecy, and temporal redundancy. Some projects had been officially suspended but still received funding nearly equal to that of active ones.1
Rank-and-file Aspis agents first discovered evidence of Conference Z's existence in 4716 AR after raiding the laboratory of Slumbersun at Wirholt's Rictus in Nidal.45 Pathfinders learned of its existence soon after, and rogue agents of the Aspis Consortium's Korholm Agenda faction then joined with Pathfinders to neutralize Conference Z and excise its influence from the Consortium.67 Some Conference Z expeditions continued nonetheless, such as Paracountess Domiana Lix's expedition to locate the lost city of Ird in the Mwangi Expanse.8
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- “Secret Societies” in Occult Mysteries, 20. Paizo Inc., 2014 .
- First Taste of Eternity, 3. Paizo Inc., 2016 .
- Agents of Evil, inside front cover. Paizo Inc., 2015 .
- Serpents' Ire, 3–4. Paizo Inc., 2016 .
- Serpents' Ire, 30. Paizo Inc., 2016 .
- “Chapter 1: Introduction” in Pathfinder Society Guide, 11. Paizo Inc., 2020 .
- Serpents Fall, 4–5. Paizo Inc., 2016 .
- “Geography” in The Mwangi Expanse, 157. Paizo Inc., 2021 .