Grogbards, Tell Me Stories of Greyhawk
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  1. #1
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    Grogbards, Tell Me Stories of Greyhawk

    I want to learn anything and everything I can about what canonically happened in (that is, the in game history of) the Greyhawk setting, from the modules published before I was born to the Living Greyhawk campaign that wrapped up just as I was getting really into D&D.

    The most accurate and complete Greyhawk wiki available is not all that complete, and I think the timeline in particular might be suspect. My understanding is that the last canonical thing to happen in Greyhawk was the 3.5 campaign Expedition to the Ruins of Castle Greyhawk so if i'm wrong about that, correct me.

    I'm paying special attention to anything involving dragons. Compared to most other D&D settings or indeed any fantasy settings that have dragons, there don't seem to be a lot of named dragons in Greyhawk's history, but I'm hoping I'm wrong. (I'm aware of Dragotha and he is in fact the big bad of what I'm working on, but I want to know more about established dragons with names and personalities and goals, if any exist in Greyhawk. The setting, at least in its early days, seemed to just treat dragons as big scary monsters, which clashes with my understanding that dragons are big scary monsters, and most of them are also master manipulators with intricate schemes.)

    But my interest is not limited to the dragons of Greyhawk. I'm curious about everything significant that happened in that setting up until now (the only lore I would say that I feel sufficiently brushed up on is anything involving the Circle of Eight, as well as the Battle of Emrody Meadows/Temple of Elemental Evil).

  2. #2
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    The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)



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    I don't use anything after the 1983 boxed set. Basically post Gygax I ignore

    There was a war they kind of blew the setting up. The 3.5 adventure paths were set on Greyhawk.
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    I suppose the only modules that had any official impact on the timeline were the ones involving Vecna. The Age of Worms adventure path had the possibility for regime change in Alhaster.

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    The Great Druid (Lvl 17)



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    You need to bear in mind that under Gygax the Greyhawk timeline did not advance. So nothing "happened" in the "true" setting. And there are few named dragons because Gygax never got around to naming many.

    I'm trying to think if there are any named dragons in those early AD&D modules, since they where all by default located in Greyhawk, but I can't think of any.

    I think one of the reasons for creating Dragonlance is up till then there wasn't much D&D stuff that actually featured dragons.
    Last edited by Paul Farquhar; Saturday, 13th April, 2019 at 08:09 AM.
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    It depends on what you mean by canonical. Gary Gygax actually blew up the setting in one of his post TSR Gord the Rogue Novels (Come Endless Darkness)

    But really, he never really meant it to be a setting. He was initially even puzzled by the idea that people wouldn't want to create their own worlds.
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    I'm sure there are a few important events in Greyhawk's timeline, but Greyhawk has almost always been the "Silent Protagonist" of RPG settings. An intentionally generic setting where you could fill in the blanks with your own innovations, and not a lot of history beyond what the actual players at Gygax's table accomplished. You've got a few repeat villains, so a vague timeline exists just because one happened before the other. But nothing on a really grand scale where you can say "Against The Giants definitely took place before Tomb of Horrors, and had political ramifications for White Plume Mountain."
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    Lama (Lvl 13)



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    Against the Giants has a few dragons, including two white and one red. In the original modules (G1-G3) they were not named. However, in the 5e update (Yawning Portal), they named the red dragon 'Brazzemal'.

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    Grandfather of Assassins (Lvl 19)



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    Greywiki.com is probably the best source for canon material, but even that has issues. Finding "canon" Greyhawk is tricky, for a couple of reasons.

    First of all, players are going to disagree on what defines canon, since unlike the Forgotten Realms, after Gygax was deposed there was never a single figure to define it. Many like myself don't want to acknowledge anything post Gygax, leaving it stopped at 1985. Others accept everything from WotC, which would take it through the Greyhawk Wars and Reconstruction of 2E and include from 3E the Greyhawk Gazetteer (not Living Gazetteer) Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil and Expedition to the Ruins of Castle Greyhawk (some don't even consider this canon, since it's only partially completed). Finally there is the Living Greyhawk, which probably has the greatest amount of material available, but most consider that a separate Greyhawk from canon Greyhawk.

    Second, there were 3ish series of novels written for Greyhawk. The first 2 books, written by Gygax, were intended to describe aspects of HIS Greyhawk, so it may not have been intended to by canon (a lot of Gygaxian campaigns use them, however). Rose Estes took over that series title after Gygax was deposed, but took a completely different direction (many believe that not only did she have no idea about anything in Greyhawk, but D&D in general). Gygax continued his series under a different name and publisher (changing several Greyhawk names to avoid copyright issues), where he eventually destroyed the world, since he'd rather it no longer exist than be tied to the abomination TSR turned it into. Finally WotC rebooted the novel franchise with a number of books written by different authors set in the classic adventures (most of which are Greyhawk), and they were a success IMO, but I don't know if I'd consider them canon.

    Finally, Greyhawk was designed to be expanded upon by the DM, and while TSR and WotC advanced the timelines, there are still significant gaps in the setting that various DMs have filled in and put online (see the Canonfire websie for examples). This means that probably about half of what is online isn't canon, even though it may look like it is.


    Edit: White Plumb Mountain mentions the dracolich Draogtha, which I think is the first named dragon in Greyhawk. It was printed during Gygax's reign, and is official Greyhawk.
    Last edited by Shiroiken; Saturday, 13th April, 2019 at 04:48 PM.

  9. #9
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    Hey, thank you everyone, this is great stuff. And yes, I was about to point out as Shiroiken did that from my previous research, Dragotha was definitely a dragon that Gygax named (making it one hell of a callback if he made no appearances between White Plume Mountain and Age of Worms). I have also been using this website: http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules....showpage&pid=7

    (Torc and Volte are the two I know so far that I'm using for the thing I'm working on, in addition to Dragotha.)

    Does anyone know where the most recent, up-to-date WotC advanced timeline can be found? I want to know what year it is in Greyhawk now according to WotC.

    I find it interesting that most people consider living Greyhawk not to be canon. I think my question might actually have been better phrased as "what happened during the events of Living Greyhawk?" since that is information I cannot seem to find ANYWHERE.

  10. #10
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    Waghalter (Lvl 7)



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    Depends on your definition of canon. Living Greyhawk retroactively placed module I2, Tomb of the Lizard King, in Greyhawk. If you accept that, then Aulicus is a named black dragon with his lair in the great swamp south of the Dreadwood. He is almost 400 years old, so according to the 5e MM he is and adult, but AD&D had size ranges for dragons and Aulicus is not the biggest. Black dragons had 6-8 HD and Aulicus has 7, so for 5e he might be something between a large young and a huge adult. I created a stat block for him as a slightly de-tuned huge adult black dragon. His lair is fairly close to where Saltmarsh was also retroactively located, so Aulicus might be ripe for revival with the upcoming GoS book.

    Edited: I got the age categories for 5e wrong.
    Last edited by Volund; Sunday, 14th April, 2019 at 04:51 AM.

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