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General For the Love of Greyhawk: Why People Still Fight to Preserve Greyhawk

@Snarf Zagyg It certainly is more than nostalgia, and I think your aspects of what has happened with poor previous treatment of the subject is certainly a big part of that. Poor treatment results in broken trust, as you say.

I would enjoy a well done 5E GH. And yes, that would means it would not be another kitchen sink FR. No need for another :)
 

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DnD Warlord

Explorer
For a while WoTC had exactly the guy - Erik Mona. You'd be hard pressed to find a bigger fan of Greyhawk who was also a top game designer.

He was responsible for the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer (2000) a supplement I still glance at to this day. He was also responsible for quite a lot of Greyhawk content in Dragon and Dungeon Magazine from 2004-2006 when he was editor in chief (granted it was through Paizo but, at that time WotC got the benefit).
And I just had someone basically say his stuff was nothing more then fan fic filler
 

DnD Warlord

Explorer
Their kids are now often hitting their 20s and are primary players of this game. It's the combination of the older original generation and the youngest new generation which encapsulates a desire for a new Greyhawk. The youngsters have been hearing about it since they started playing from their parents.
I have some bad news for you...

(And me I am old). The people I introduced to 2e in the 90s who got married and had kids have 20 year olds now... and the guy (who I miss) who was playing in college before I was born used to call me kid... I wonder if he would have called these guys kid or grand kid...

if you ran a game in 1985 and you had teen players they could have had kids in the 90s and have grand kids now old enough to play
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I have some bad news for you...

(And me I am old). The people I introduced to 2e in the 90s who got married and had kids have 20 year olds now... and the guy (who I miss) who was playing in college before I was born used to call me kid... I wonder if he would have called these guys kid or grand kid...

if you ran a game in 1985 and you had teen players they could have had kids in the 90s and have grand kids now old enough to play

There's a pretty wide age-range out there... I started playing in middle school in 1981 and my son is just starting middle school and is several sessions into playing in his first campaign with friends. There are certainly others my age with grand kids who are getting to the right age.
 
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I only played Greyhawk in one campaign. It was boring and generic. Even the Realms are pretty generic but I just couldnt get into Greyhawk. There wasnt anything that set it apart as far as rules. At least FR has wild and dead magic for example.
Greyhawk is not for everyone. And it depends a lot on the DM running (ruining?) it. I know that a few young people at the hobby store were saying: "Greyhawk has nothing for us..." And yet, when they watched a few games, they bought the box set on the DM Guild and started to play in it. I gave them my 5ed notes on the world and they have not returned to the realm yet. It's been over 4 years now. If the DM knows the setting well and play it as it was intended to be, Greyhawk is simply a fantastic setting because so much of it is easily adapatable to each individual DM. Of course, this can be said of any other settings, but for some reasons, GH just fits the bill in such an elegant way that it is almost too easy to adapt.

Edit: it's been 4 years, not 7. Big finger stroke the 7 on the key pad... or am I just clumsy?
 
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Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
Greyhawk is not for everyone. And it depends a lot on the DM running (ruining?) it. I know that a few young people at the hobby store were saying: "Greyhawk has nothing for us..." And yet, when they watched a few games, they bought the box set on the DM Guild and started to play in it. I gave them my 5ed notes on the world and they have not returned to the realm yet. It's been over 7 years now. If the DM knows the setting well and play it as it was intended to be, Greyhawk is simply a fantastic setting because so much of it is easily adapatable to each individual DM. Of course, this can be said of any other settings, but for some reasons, GH just fits the bill in such an elegant way that it is almost too easy to adapt.
I'm still struggling to figure out what exactly in Greyhawk is different that makes it that way versus the Realms? I have seen mention of Sword & Sorcery feel, however when I think of Greyhawk I think of the old 1e adventure modules and those had magic items and magical effects sometimes literally pouring out of the woodwork so I have an altered perspective on it.
 

DnD Warlord

Explorer
I'm still struggling to figure out what exactly in Greyhawk is different that makes it that way versus the Realms? I have seen mention of Sword & Sorcery feel, however when I think of Greyhawk I think of the old 1e adventure modules and those had magic items and magical effects sometimes literally pouring out of the woodwork so I have an altered perspective on it.
My understanding it is “more limited” as it’s selling point.
 

DnD Warlord

Explorer
Is the bad news that due to the lack of government mandatedchild-birth ages, people have kids from the ages of 18 (or lower ...) to 45 (or higher) making generalizations difficult?
The bad news is we got old...

I may not have kids but I know more people (who were playing in 2eeras) have kids in high school or college then have kids in middle school or younger...

Now the fact that half of us don’t have kids at all screws with the idea
 

Bupp

Explorer
I ran campaigns for many, many years using nothing more than the 1983 Boxed Set. I would occasionally mix in bits of From the Ashes, but did not have the Greyhawk Wars happen whole cloth.

I think what makes the 1983 Boxed Set a near perfect setting is what the OP mentioned, it's a collection of writing prompts. Hooks. Just enough to give each DM an idea and fill in the blanks how they see fit.

Greyhawk is not a global setting for epic heroes. Each of the many campaigns I've run in Greyhawk have been regional affairs, even at higher levels. When starting a new campaign, it was quite easy to move the main setting. Fighting cultists in Perrenland? Holding back the orcs of the Pomarj? Fighting the forces of Iuz in the Vesve forest? The rise of Vecna in the City of Greyhawk? All campaigns I've run, some years apart, and all easily set in that simple box.

If we were to see an update to Greyhawk for 5e, I wouldn't want to see any update to the timeline or the world. Give me some subclasses and subraces that are more appropriate to GH. More spells from Bigby, and Tenser and the like. Stats for the Machine of Lum the Mad. Don't add in dragonborn, tieflings, and any other new races, but give a one paragraph write up of suggested ways a DM could add them in. Keep true to what made GH beloved. Give us blank spaces with just enough hooks to inspire.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
The bad news is we got old...

I may not have kids but I know more people (who were playing in 2eeras) have kids in high school or college then have kids in middle school or younger...

Now the fact that half of us don’t have kids at all screws with the idea

So what you’re saying is that your anecdotes can beat up other people’s anecdotes?
 

Remathilis

Legend
Well, since you quoted me:

Officially published D&D settings have one major goal: support the current version of the game. It can do that by providing lore, options, mechanics, or theme, but the setting is beholden to the main game, not the reverse. As such, a setting should look at what D&D is currently, and say "where does this fit?" (or "why can't this ever fit?") rather than be beholden to the era where it originated. Too many fans of classic D&D settings end up marrying it to the edition it came from (or was popular in) and thus the setting doesn't get to grow. The setting stagnates; it become an anachronism to a game whose classes and races have long since evolved past where the setting was. It becomes beholden to long lists of "canon" and "noncanon" sources, ban lists of options that didn't exist when the setting was first established, and increasingly complex house rules used to mimic the "feel" of editions that have long since passed by.

All that said, a Greyhawk can exist quite easily in 5e; Saltmarsh alone proves that. That Greyhawk though isn't going to look quite like Gary's version though. Too much time has passed, to many things have been added. You might be able to cut away the godawful Castle Greyhawk module, but it's a losing battle to fight against Tasha/Iggwilv, Vecna's divinity, or that dragonborn, tieflings, warlocks and sorcerers can't/shouldn't exist. The setting cannot be encased in amber and shielded from all change and also be relevant and supported by today's D&D.

What should happen, as with all settings, is a simple question must be asked: What is the essence of the setting? What makes it FEEL different than the other settings? Usually it's the genre, the tone, or "story" the setting is telling in its history, geography, and politics. Greyhawk captures a grittier, more mercenary tone of adventuring that focuses less on "save the world" heroics and more on "survive in the face of insurmountable odds". That is a setting worth exploring; one not steeped in shiny knights and evil dragons but one of rogues, necromancers, and others just trying to survive. That essence isn't bound to the specific names of NPCs or the available character options, and it would make a fine counterpoint to settings where Good and Evil are much more clearly defined.

So yes, I can see a Greyhawk guide that distills that essence of the setting, including elements from Gary and from later authors, into a viable setting that supports and is supported by the 5e ruleset. This is not hard, but it is not going to be a faithful copy of the setting that existed in 1982. That setting needs to grow and change in order to thrive today. And if it cannot, then it should remain a relic of a bygone time, married to a certain era and edition, as a footnote in the long story of D&D.

Empires that refuse to change cease to be Empires for long.
 


Cadence

Legend
Supporter
My understanding it is “more limited” as it’s selling point.

I think there are two ways "more limited" could apply and be good.

One is in terms of power level. The first and third ages of middle earth feel very different in terms of power levels and what kind of focus different character types would get. If you had access to characters from any of the ages to help Frodo get the ring to Mordor, would any from the Fellowship, besides maybe Gandalf, come close to making the cut (unless one were foresighted enough to chose Sam)? Does having a more limited background power level allows for a different kind of story with different concerns?

The second is on how specified the world is. If only a limited amount of information is given about it, does it give the DM and players more of a chance to make their own mark on it.
 


Is the bad news that due to the lack of government mandatedchild-birth ages, people have kids from the ages of 18 (or lower ...) to 45 (or higher) making generalizations difficult?
So what you're saying is we need to lobby governments for mandating child-birthing ages? Maybe a permit to get pregnant?

JUST KIDDING, no political discussion intended!

Smirk, laugh, or groan and just move on!
 

DnD Warlord

Explorer
What does antidotes have to do with getting old... did someone somehow live from 1985 until now and NOT age 35 years!?!
And since I guess I need to prove my joke... god what happened on enworld...

In the USA, the average age at which women bore their first child advanced from 21.4 years old in 1970 to 26.9 in 2018.

So if a young woman was 9 playing in 1985 and she would on average have her first child between 21 and 27 years old (12 to 18 years later) those children would be born in 1997-2003. Those children would be 17-23 now...

mid she was 15 (age I was when I started playing was just shy of 16) that would add 6ish years on there... making that 1st child on average 23-29 years old,
 

I'm still struggling to figure out what exactly in Greyhawk is different that makes it that way versus the Realms? I have seen mention of Sword & Sorcery feel, however when I think of Greyhawk I think of the old 1e adventure modules and those had magic items and magical effects sometimes literally pouring out of the woodwork so I have an altered perspective on it.
The realm is a mismatch (or a melting pot) of many different settings inspired from many time periods associated with history. Greyhawk is a lot more coherent. It is sword and sorcery mixed in with chivalry and stories of barbarians, demons, evil groups and gods. The gods of Greyhawk have a more direct impact on the prime than Fearunian gods have. Iuz is in the world, has his own country and is responsible for hundreds of thousands of death on the continent. In the setting, St-Cuthebert can and will come to the aid on anyone fighting the Old One itself if it so happen. In the ToEE, it is possible that anyone mentionning Iuz outloud in the temple has a chance to see him come. If St-Cuthebert is called for help, he will appear and both gods will go somewhere else to settle their differences out of the way of mortals. It is not as strong as in Theros, but it is also more direct.

The orders of knighthood are just that. Orders of knighthood. Only fighter type can be full members. Others can hope to be honnorary member but a caster will only be that, an honnorary member. Some orders are a little bit more lenient but even then, the fighter types are more prevalent. This is both something the new players can relate to very quickly and assimilate without a flinch and something that is alien enough from our society to be memorable. My first women character that got accepted into the Knights of the Holy Shield was litterally screaming at the table. She had accomplished something (it was 1ed.) Even today, not everyone can enter the Knighthood so easily as you can do in the FR. Wanna be a knight of Mythdrannor? Do a few missions for them. Whereas being a Knight of the Hart takes a lot more than that. Doing missions and getting paid makes you just a mercernary. Mercenaries don't enter the knighthood. I still use the old rules where you have to own lands, be a member of the aristocracy, and work freely for the order before even being considered.

Magic users in GH still learn their trade with a mentor. The college of wizardry in GH is a place where you can learn with other mages, but to enter you have to be a full fledged wizard. No accademy as those you can have in the FR (such as the Host Tower of the Arcane in Luskan).

With me, Greyhawk is not an easy setting. It is a harsh world where evil can be around the corner. If you don't do anything for anyone, no one will help you out. It is much more difficult to enter organisations as it is in the FR. You have to search and petition to get a chance to join them. This is Greyhawk.
 

Mistwell

Legend
I have some bad news for you...

(And me I am old). The people I introduced to 2e in the 90s who got married and had kids have 20 year olds now... and the guy (who I miss) who was playing in college before I was born used to call me kid... I wonder if he would have called these guys kid or grand kid...

if you ran a game in 1985 and you had teen players they could have had kids in the 90s and have grand kids now old enough to play

Ha not bad news, I am just going by averages. On average, the greyhawk players from old now have D&D player kids in their 20s. YMMV. For me, I am 51 and my daughter is age 9.
 


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