Dragon Talk Interview with Kate Welch re Ghosts of Saltmarsh

Pauln6

Explorer
Updating for 5e could involve regional backgrounds, clerical subclasses, alternate class features, or feats for specific deities, an old faith Bard subclass, famous NPC conversions, write ups for places of mystery that have not been done before, more conversions of famous modules, new modules, updated magical items, and updated history for pc races that were not around at the time of the original boxed sets, or details of the Far West.
 
Updating for 5e could involve regional backgrounds, clerical subclasses, alternate class features, or feats for specific deities,
By it's very nature Greyhawk is a CORE RULES setting. Sure, you could start adding that stuff, if you wanted the setting's fans to burn you with fire for messing with their favourite setting.

an old faith Bard subclass,
Sure, that would be good anyway. So you have filled half a page.

famous NPC conversions,
Given the lack of novels, Greyhawk NPCs are slightly less famous than last year's reality TV stars and exist only as names with maybe a class attached.

I don't see much point in statting NPCs in any setting, anyway. If the players aren't going to kill it it doesn't need stats.

write ups for places of mystery that have not been done before,
All of them, then.


more conversions of famous modules
There are exactly ZERO famous modules that actually make use of the Greyhawk setting. They are all generic, and where located in Greyhawk because that was the official setting at the time of publication. It makes no business sense whatsoever to publish them as anything other than "setting agnostic".

updated magical items,
Nearly every magic item in the 5e DMG is a Greyhawk item.

and updated history for pc races that were not around at the time of the original boxed sets
Shoehorning in Dragonborn seems like a good way to provoke apoplexy in Greyhawk fans.

or details of the Far West.
Congrats. You have just made Trigger's Broom. A 99% completely new campaign setting with the word Greyhawk attached.
 

Parmandur

Legend
By it's very nature Greyhawk is a CORE RULES setting. Sure, you could start adding that stuff, if you wanted the setting's fans to burn you with fire for messing with their favourite setting.



Sure, that would be good anyway. So you have filled half a page.



Given the lack of novels, Greyhawk NPCs are slightly less famous than last year's reality TV stars and exist only as names with maybe a class attached.

I don't see much point in statting NPCs in any setting, anyway. If the players aren't going to kill it it doesn't need stats.



All of them, then.




There are exactly ZERO famous modules that actually make use of the Greyhawk setting. They are all generic, and where located in Greyhawk because that was the official setting at the time of publication. It makes no business sense whatsoever to publish them as anything other than "setting agnostic".


Nearly every magic item in the 5e DMG is a Greyhawk item.



Shoehorning in Dragonborn seems like a good way to provoke apoplexy in Greyhawk fans.



Congrats. You have just made Trigger's Broom. A 99% completely new campaign setting with the word Greyhawk attached.
I actually really love the old Greyahwk boxed set, which I have a PDF copy of and is 100% 5E compatible, but this seems like a good rundown of what went wrong with the 3E implementation of Greyhawk as the ostensible "core setting."
 

Parmandur

Legend
That said, if I it was my job to brainstorm a viable 5E Greyhawk product, I would start with Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica as a templatte, mixing it with the Gygax boxed set:

-Possibly include all or most of the material from the box set, ala Curse of Strahd and Castle Ravenlost or Ghosts of Saltmarsh and U1-3.
-Make it a Sword & Sorcery, gonzo old fashioned pulp genre book: crashed spaceships, embrace Gygax's sense of humor, "Appendix N" etc.
-New PC and Race that are generic stuff, yes, that can be used in other settings: expand the game, give non-Greyhawk players a reason to check it out
- Expanded adventure generation material expanding on chapters 3-6 of the DMG, such as we see in Ravnica, riffing on the pulpy old school vibe, including possibly Megadungeon generation rules expanding on the DMG
- More magic items and spells from 1E that have fallen by the wayside, to create that 70's-80's gameplay feel
- Bestiary of old 1E monsters that have not been included in subsequent editions

I think a legit, large hardback expansion of the PHB, MM and DMG can be made that would offer a different flavor.
 
Actually looking through the list of Greyhawk adventures past, most of them seem to be silly spoofs. The only so-far unrepublished adventure worthy of the name "classic" (and having the grimdark tone WotC are trying to associate with Greyhawk) I can find is the Slavelords sequence (A1-4). But that could easily be made setting agnostic for a broader appeal.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Actually looking through the list of Greyhawk adventures past, most of them seem to be silly spoofs. The only so-far unrepublished adventure worthy of the name "classic" (and having the grimdark tone WotC are trying to associate with Greyhawk) I can find is the Slavelords sequence (A1-4). But that could easily be made setting agnostic for a broader appeal.
Silly spoof and dark pulp are both a legit part of the campy feel of old Sword & Sorcery fiction, which D&D was going for originally. Sure, any adventure can be put in any setting, that's D&D too. Classic Greyhawk modules that have not been republished for 5E:

-Against the Cult of the Reptile God
-The City of Skulls
-Descent into the Depths of the Earth
-Dwellers of the Forbidden City
-Expedition to the Barrier Peaks
-The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun
-The Ghost Tower of Inverness
-The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth
-Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure
-Queen of the Demonweb Pits
-The Secret of Bone Hill
-The Temple of Elemental Evil
-Tomb of the Lizard King
-Vault of the Drow
-The Village of Hommlet

I would expect any of those to be potentially part of any future book along the liens of Saltmarsh or Yawning Portal. Sure, they can all be put into other settings, and only the 2E City of Skulls really makes use of any sort of Greyhawk specific metaplot (2E, ya know?). This isn't even getting into any 3.x era modules that people loved.
 

Pauln6

Explorer
By it's very nature Greyhawk is a CORE RULES setting. Sure, you could start adding that stuff, if you wanted the setting's fans to burn you with fire for messing with their favourite setting.



Sure, that would be good anyway. So you have filled half a page.



Given the lack of novels, Greyhawk NPCs are slightly less famous than last year's reality TV stars and exist only as names with maybe a class attached.

I don't see much point in statting NPCs in any setting, anyway. If the players aren't going to kill it it doesn't need stats.



All of them, then.




There are exactly ZERO famous modules that actually make use of the Greyhawk setting. They are all generic, and where located in Greyhawk because that was the official setting at the time of publication. It makes no business sense whatsoever to publish them as anything other than "setting agnostic".


Nearly every magic item in the 5e DMG is a Greyhawk item.



Shoehorning in Dragonborn seems like a good way to provoke apoplexy in Greyhawk fans.



Congrats. You have just made Trigger's Broom. A 99% completely new campaign setting with the word Greyhawk attached.
Hmm, I think you've demonstrated that you personally don't have much knowledge of Greyhawk or its history. Many of its famous NPCs are people you might want to kill (Eclavdra, Dragotha, the Slave Lords, Aulicus, the Falcon, Brazemal, Iuz, Zuggtmoy, Lolth, Vecna, Kas, Rary, Robilar, Iggwilv, some of whom have been ported as generic characters but the same can be said of any NPC) but I personally also enjoy write ups of well known characters like the Circle of Eight or even versions of the old 1e pregen characters from the original modules like Gleep Wurp the Eyebiter.

You clearly have no interest or personal history with the setting but many of us were there first time round and would love some updated material even if I can't see the point in rehashing the fluff for 5e.
 
You clearly have no interest or personal history with the setting but many of us were there first time round and would love some updated material even if I can't see the point in rehashing the fluff for 5e.
I absolutely do have a personal history with the setting. That's how come I know it was garbage, inferior to the previously published City State of the Invincible Overload, or what my 12 year old self could cobble together in an old exercise book.
 

Pauln6

Explorer
I absolutely do have a personal history with the setting. That's how come I know it was garbage, inferior to the previously published City State of the Invincible Overload, or what my 12 year old self could cobble together in an old exercise book.
Interesting, although you have hit the nail on the head in one sense: Greyhawk was a great basic chassis upon which even a 12 year old could layer their own vision. My Greyhawk campaign will be 30 years old next year. I've even cobbled together 12" action figures of our long running PCs ready for the anniversary. No setting will suit everyone but that doesn't mean we should be opposed to those settings getting a new gloss of paint.
 
Interesting, although you have hit the nail on the head in one sense: Greyhawk was a great basic chassis upon which even a 12 year old could layer their own vision. My Greyhawk campaign will be 30 years old next year. I've even cobbled together 12" action figures of our long running PCs ready for the anniversary. No setting will suit everyone but that doesn't mean we should be opposed to those settings getting a new gloss of paint.
I think it's fair enough to point out that:

a) WotC have good reason to focus their limited resources elsewhere;

b) That fans of Greyhawk are looking through lenses with more than a tint of rose;

c) That any update is as likely to anger Greyhawk fans as it is to please them;

d) That the original setting is still available and "edition agnostic".
 

Pauln6

Explorer
I think it's fair enough to point out that:

a) WotC have good reason to focus their limited resources elsewhere;

b) That fans of Greyhawk are looking through lenses with more than a tint of rose;

c) That any update is as likely to anger Greyhawk fans as it is to please them;

d) That the original setting is still available and "edition agnostic".
I agree that re-releasing the setting is largely pointless as it is edition neutral and fans don't want monkeying with the overall setting. I agree that the modules are often Dungeons that can be adopted to any setting but then isn't that a plus rather than a minus? I'm not sure I agree that no resources whatsoever should be spent on 5e Greyhawk. I suppose people's reaction to 5e Saltmarsh may give them an idea how to bring in more Greyhawk stuff in a more setting neutral way. I admit, I thought the official 5e translation of sahuagin was poor in that they stripped out all the groovy idiosyncrasies and vulnerabilities from 2e that they left in with vampires.
 
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mach1.9pants

Adventurer
Wow, those are not 'cobbled together'!

I'd just like them to open up Greyhawk on, and really every seeing, on the guild.
 

Pauln6

Explorer
Wow, those are not 'cobbled together'!

I'd just like them to open up Greyhawk on, and really every seeing, on the guild.
The only classic character in amongst this lot is Black Jay, the grizzled shepherd from the Village of Hommlet, although he lost an arm to necrotic damage in the Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun so I used Winter Soldier body to represent his Arm of Nyr.
 
I suppose people's reaction to 5e Saltmarsh may give them an idea how to bring in more Greyhawk stuff in a more setting neutral way.
I don't see how that would work - whilst Saltmarsh may have been located in Greyhawk, there was never anything of Greyhawk in Saltmarsh.
 

Pauln6

Explorer
I don't see how that would work - whilst Saltmarsh may have been located in Greyhawk, there was never anything of Greyhawk in Saltmarsh.
Nobody will see how it works unless they try it. No reason not to if all it takes are a few paragraphs. I would think they will not do much more than what they did in the Yawning Portal though.
 
Nobody will see how it works unless they try it. No reason not to if all it takes are a few paragraphs. I would think they will not do much more than what they did in the Yawning Portal though.
That's my point though - it doesn't take ANY paragraphs. The Saltmarsh series wasn't originally written for Greyhawk, it was written for Don Turnbull's homebrew setting, and as such it bares no resemblance to Keoland, the Greyhawk location where it was dumped, presumably on the basis of G. Gygax giving it a stretch of coastline with the swamp symbol.

Thus, unless they have put in something in that wasn't in the original modules, someone who plays Ghosts of Saltmarsh will learn nothing about Greyhawk.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
They should do a series of adventures set in the Baklunish West. That would at least be something new.
That *would* be cool. My current campaign contains a conflict between Veluna and Ket (and soon to be more Baklunish nations), with the Baklunish somewhat annoyed because the High Priestess of Xan Yae was killed while travelling through Veluna...

Cheers!
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
That's my point though - it doesn't take ANY paragraphs. The Saltmarsh series wasn't originally written for Greyhawk, it was written for Don Turnbull's homebrew setting, and as such it bares no resemblance to Keoland, the Greyhawk location where it was dumped, presumably on the basis of G. Gygax giving it a stretch of coastline with the swamp symbol.
I agree with this entirely. Saltmarsh might give a Greyhawk map location, but it's an adventure that is only Greyhawk because of that. Of course, that sort of thing can be made to work and integrated very well into the structure of the setting, but when you have a once-off adventure trilogy that never gets revisited, it doesn't become "core" Greyhawk. The one thing that makes Saltmarsh Greyhawkian is the conflict against the sahuagin, which evokes the giants and the drow; that type of conflict works well in Greyhawk. (And elsewhere, of course! But that "enemies of humanity and demi-humankind" feels more Greyhawkian in theme).

Compare to the Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun. That's something that could be considered a one-off, but Tharizdun is referred to again in subsequent Greyhawk lore. (Even moreso if you read the Gord the Rogue books).

Cheers!
 

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