"He was a friend of a friend…"
That is all he said at first, yet you knew him… From somewhere, someplace, sometime… Long forgotten.
This is how an encounter with one of The Friends starts. You meet a man (or woman) claiming to be the friend of a friend sent to aid you, they know of your deeds. Both recent and ancient. They know your secrets, or they hint at them. Who are these Friends, and what do they hope to accomplish?
Who are The Friends? That is a very good question. They appear to be a thing of legend, though they say that everyone has a Friend, very few can remember enough details about them to provide a solid explanation for the "Friend of a friend" phenomenon. It starts with a chance encounter with a familiar stranger, they say you will know them, but not know how. A feature or sensation will remind you of a long forgotten friend. Those eyes... That smile... The way she talks... The way his shoulders move... Some aspect of them is innately recognizable in the back of your mind.
...but who... are they?
It is rare for one to realize they have had a meeting with one of The Friend until long after that Friend is gone. The Friends, as they are known in whispered tales of secret worlds and hidden things, are, or were, normal people. They used to be like me or you, maybe you really did know one of them in the past, but that's irrelevant now. Once you're taken in, you're a puppet on a string. However, from the false hands of each of these puppets extends strings of their own. A web of strings, if you will, that reaches across space and time, into the little places of your mind and perhaps even the thrones of the Gods. The full truth is unknown. There is, somewhere out there, at the center of the web, a powerful master of manipulation, a spinner of fate, using his puppets and their puppets to drive the worlds and each of its inhabitants to an unknown destination.
...but what do they do? ...
They will help you, lend a hand or piece of information. Push you towards a goal, I would say. Whose goal it may be is purely point of view. It could be one you hoped to accomplish, or something that now seems like a worthy idea. Rest assured, it will be mutually beneficial.
That is all I can say for certain. And who am I, you would ask? Well, I'm just a friend.
Additional Information and Ideas:
This Organization could be used as a one-time deus ex machina effect to provide information or get the players out of a jam, but is meant to serve the purpose of providing a reason behind the mysterious stranger phenomenon and similar plot devices. This simple idea could be the underlying plot line for an entire campaign, if you wished to take it to such extremes. The puppet master hierarchy is likely to expand pretty high into your world's power structure and could certainly contain a vast about of deception, misdirection and suitable twists. The main spinner may be a lowly hermit who knows not what he does in his dreams, or a divine being of infinite power who plays with the lives of mortals as a toy. I really don't know where to go with this idea, and have done my best to flesh it out into a useable submission. I hope you have enjoyed reading it, can use it, and/or have other ideas to contribute to it.