Greyhawk Elevator Pitch?
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    Greyhawk Elevator Pitch?

    ...I've tried a couple times to get into Greyhawk, but as a setting it never really grabbed me. I am thinking that maybe it has to do with me not coming at it from the right angle. With Ghosts of the Saltmarsh out, I'd like to get excited about Greyhawk.

    So far, I understand that Greyhawk was 1) the original DnD setting, 2) has a little bit of everything, 3) Somewhat low magic (though how you reconcile that with point 2 is interesting) and 4) has some science-fantasy elements kicking around the corners. Thats not enough to hang my hat on though, especially as I dont have nostalgia going for me.

    Anyone willing to try a Greyhawk elevator pitch to sell the setting? What makes Greyhawk different and exciting?

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    Neutral isn't just a little space between Good and Evil - there is an actual faction (the Circle of Eight as led by Mordenkainen) that actively tries to keep things in balance.
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    Quote Originally Posted by WeaponizedInk View Post
    ...I've tried a couple times to get into Greyhawk, but as a setting it never really grabbed me. I am thinking that maybe it has to do with me not coming at it from the right angle. With Ghosts of the Saltmarsh out, I'd like to get excited about Greyhawk.

    So far, I understand that Greyhawk was 1) the original DnD setting, 2) has a little bit of everything, 3) Somewhat low magic (though how you reconcile that with point 2 is interesting) and 4) has some science-fantasy elements kicking around the corners. Thats not enough to hang my hat on though, especially as I dont have nostalgia going for me.

    Anyone willing to try a Greyhawk elevator pitch to sell the setting? What makes Greyhawk different and exciting?
    It's basically just standard, by the book D&D, without the metaplot weight of a ton of popular novels and regular cataclysms common to the Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance.

    The lack of major distinction is basically the selling point: it's generic fantasy, with room for whichever kind of story you want (ancient Mayan temple ruins? Sure. Arabian Nights? Sure. Grissly Medieval urban shenanigans? Sure.), and the room to move from one kind to another across the map. The old 80's boxed set is cheap on DMsGuild, and is worth the time to read. Nothing else is needed to run the setting as-is from the core rulebooks.
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    "Idiosyncratic setting with funny names allows you to journey into the uniquely strange imagination of Gary Gygax; probably not for those under 40, unless you're a collector of eight-tracks and miniatures made of actual lead."
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    Quote Originally Posted by billd91 View Post
    Neutral isn't just a little space between Good and Evil - there is an actual faction (the Circle of Eight as led by Mordenkainen) that actively tries to keep things in balance.
    Okay, that has my interest.

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    I'm kind of in the same boat. I started collecting FR back in the 80s and then got into making my own settings and never got into Greyhawk. 5e has me default back to FR with the boxed set and just expanding some things from there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WeaponizedInk View Post
    ...I've tried a couple times to get into Greyhawk, but as a setting it never really grabbed me. I am thinking that maybe it has to do with me not coming at it from the right angle. With Ghosts of the Saltmarsh out, I'd like to get excited about Greyhawk.

    So far, I understand that Greyhawk was 1) the original DnD setting, 2) has a little bit of everything, 3) Somewhat low magic (though how you reconcile that with point 2 is interesting) and 4) has some science-fantasy elements kicking around the corners. Thats not enough to hang my hat on though, especially as I dont have nostalgia going for me.

    Anyone willing to try a Greyhawk elevator pitch to sell the setting? What makes Greyhawk different and exciting?
    The World of Greyhawk is different from The Forgotten Realms in large part because of the approach taken by their respective creators.

    The Realms was first conceived of by Ed Greenwood as a childhood fantasy, a world where his imagination could run wild and populate it with magical people and things, and put some dark and dangerous elements in there for them to fight and be heroic. It has come a long way since, and has been expanded by countless different creators, but it's core remains the space between "Once upon a time" and "happily ever after."

    Greyhawk, by contrast, was conceived as a backdrop and connective tissue for dungeon crawls. The world was created by wargamer, to link together campaigns created by wargamers. That means a few things:
    1: The setting exists to give you a place to put your campaign in relation to other campaigns, and to give you some ideas for your campaign. That means that a lot of the world is waiting for you to define it.
    2: The defining element of the world is conflict, most often in the form of warfare. The kingdoms of Oerth fight for territory and power. The religions of Oerth fight for followers. The races fight for survival. It is possible and reasonable for a Lawful Good character to be in conflict with another group of Lawful Good NPCs, and in fact the setting presupposes that Law and Good are almost as dangerous as Chaos and Evil. Only the path of balance offers any hope of long-term respite.
    3: Most people want to kill you. The primary human cultures around the area of the Free City of Greyhawk are the Flan, the Aerdi, the Suel, and the Baklunish. They all resent each other and carry millenia of racial animosity. The elves and dwarves don't much like each other, or humans. Most groups of elves and dwarves will give you a chance to persuade them not to kill you, but don't count on it. The exception is the large commercial centers, where your worth is measured in what you can buy or what you have to sell, with little regard for your race or culture. Of course, alliances between these groups form quickly in the face of a greater threat, but trust comes very slowly.
    4: The world is mostly cruising along in the mid-to late middle ages with little magic beyond what a hedge mage or acolyte can command. There are areas that are exceptions, some barely out of the bronze age and some experiencing a Renaissance. Some areas are home to cosmic-level magic, and some remote, secret places hide technology beyond understanding, either from other worlds or from a past so remote as to be before the time of legends.

    Here's your elevator pitch: Thousands of years of war between cultures, races, gods, and ideologies have created a world of deep grudges and strange bedfellows. Threats abound, and the promise of civilization offered by the Great Kingdom has proved to be empty. To keep the Flanaess from being consumed by tyranny, slaughter, and worse, the bloody-handed marauder has as great a role to play as the righteous paladin. These are interesting times.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WeaponizedInk View Post
    ...I've tried a couple times to get into Greyhawk, but as a setting it never really grabbed me. I am thinking that maybe it has to do with me not coming at it from the right angle. With Ghosts of the Saltmarsh out, I'd like to get excited about Greyhawk.

    So far, I understand that Greyhawk was 1) the original DnD setting,
    Blackmoor has the better claim of being the "original" DnD setting (http://www.secretsofblackmoor.com/blog).

    2) has a little bit of everything,
    Kinda. I would say it is more, "there is a place for a little bit of everything." The original Grey Hawk setting was more of an outline that the DM was expected to fill in. It did the work that many people find the most challenging, giving you a professional and evocative map and a bit of information about major realms and groups, and also tables for random encounters, determining population and weather, pantheon of gods, etc., but leaves most of the details for the DM to fill in. Mike Mearls is a fan of the setting and discusses why in a "Lore You Should Know" segment on the February 7th, 2019 episode of Dragon Talk (http://dnd.wizards.com/podcast-categ...on-talk?page=1).

    But since the 80s, when I had the Greyhawk boxed set, there have been additional settings books published for Greyhawk, organized play (Living Greyhawk), and novels. Perhaps if you include all that when you say "Greyhawk setting" it is more of a kitchen-sink setting. I don't know. I'm only familiar with the original box set.

    3) Somewhat low magic (though how you reconcile that with point 2 is interesting)
    I've never seen it as low magic. Some of D&D's most iconic and powerful spell casters come from Greyhawk. But this impression may come from the fact that Gary Gygax was not a huge fan of wizards and purposefully made them very squishy at low levels. Wizards were weak...until they were not. Maybe you are not spamming firebolt all day at 1st level, but at high levels your wizards was quite powerful. Besides, that was mechanics. I don't recall the setting having much to say on magic levels, except that many of the groups discussed in the Overview of Political Divisions section are headed by powerful wizards and clerics. There are areas whose histories describe massive magical attacks in the past (e.g. the "Sea of Dust"). There are gods of magic. Encounter tables are rife with clerics, druids, illusionists, and magic users.

    I really do not think it is accurate to call Greyhawk a "low magic" campaign setting.


    and 4) has some science-fantasy elements kicking around the corners.
    There are adventures that throw in some sci fi, but the settings books themselves really don't. If you are looking for a mix of fantasy chocolate and sci fi peanut butter, you'd be better off at looking at the Numenera setting that is being converted to 5e (Arcana of the Ancients kickstarter).


    Thats not enough to hang my hat on though, especially as I dont have nostalgia going for me.
    If you are looking for a rich and highly detailed setting book for 5e, and are not nolstalgic for any setting from a prior edition, I think the best settings are published by 3rd parties. For high quality, very rich, settings that take a traditional fantasy approach, I would look at:

    Kobold Press: Midgard Setting (https://koboldpress.com/midgard/). Darker than Forgotten Realms and not as saddled by the expanded lore and canon arguments. Kobold Press materials are excellent. Well written with good mechanics that balanced for 5e, but leaning on the more difficult side. In addition to the setting book, there are character option books, cult books, and more. Pretty much everything you would want for a fleshed out D&D campaign. Also, much of this is available in digital tools like RealmWorks, Hero Labs, and various VTTs.

    Frog God Games: Lost Lands. 40 years in the making. There is an old-school flavor to these materials, many of which were written for prior editions. Many of the best adventures and setting books have been updated to 5e, such as Bards Gate, Rappan Atthuk, and many of the adventure books. They are currently Kickstarting the first full campaign guide for the Lost Lands. Like Kobold Press, FGG has excellent production values (though not quite up to par with Kobold Press when it comes to editing). Also, they are doing some very cool things with this setting. First, it will be available on World Anvil, an online campaign-management system, if you want to have a digital version of the setting. Also, they will be opening much of it up with an open gaming license so you can not only use the setting for your personal campaign, but you can create your own adventures and other material for the setting and sell it.

    Anyone willing to try a Greyhawk elevator pitch to sell the setting? What makes Greyhawk different and exciting?
    If you have not read through Greyhawk, spend the $8 and get the PDFs from DMs Guild:

    https://www.dmsguild.com/product/173...ld+of+Greyhawk

    It gives you a good sense of D&D's flavor in the 1st edition era. While many of the complicated tables do not match the preferences of modern-day players (e.g., pages of weather tables, discussion on frost bite and how wearing gloves effects casting spells with somatic components, migration patterns, a chapter on the trees found in the setting), the book still remains a trove of DM inspiration that is easy to browse and steal what you want. It was meant as a kit for DMs to kick-start their own world building.

    And the map remains one of the most evocative and influential pieces of art in TTRPG history. See pages 108 and 109 in the book Art and Arcana and Eye of the Beholder: The Art of Dungeons and

    Hope that helps.
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    Do you want a secret society of monks and assassins dedicated to world conquest and racial domination? Or a imprisoned, insane god that wants to destroy all of reality? A once great kingdom that has been sundered under the rule of a mad king and a coalition of its once vassal states dedicated to mutual defence and opposition of the kingdom's oppressive and expansionist rule? Pirate kingdoms? A hald-demon demigon that rule from a throne of bones that threatens the borders of goodly nations?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Parmandur View Post
    It's basically just standard, by the book D&D, without the metaplot weight of a ton of popular novels and regular cataclysms common to the Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance.

    The lack of major distinction is basically the selling point: it's generic fantasy, with room for whichever kind of story you want (ancient Mayan temple ruins? Sure. Arabian Nights? Sure. Grissly Medieval urban shenanigans? Sure.), and the room to move from one kind to another across the map. The old 80's boxed set is cheap on DMsGuild, and is worth the time to read. Nothing else is needed to run the setting as-is from the core rulebooks.
    It is no different from Forgotten Realms, it is all generic fantasy. Add and remove and replace whatever you like, and if you're running a pregen module campaign it hardly matters, just the names of gods and cities change.

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