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

Zardnaar

Legend
Another: Terry Brooks’ Shannara stories obviously share a lot of feel and pacing with JRRT’s LotR. But the prequel series to Shannara are the Word & the Void novels-
set in present day Illinois
- are very much written in a Sword & sorcery style.

Mentioned Terry Brooks earlier.
Four Lands are the Pacific Northwest
 

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I’m not the biggest Conan fan- most of my knowledge of him comes from a few short stories, the movies, and the comics. There’s a couple of short stories where Conan drifts into Mythos territory as well, kind of like in Conan the Destroyer.
One of Howard's short stories is a deliberate parody of Lovecraft, in which Conan meets Cthulhu and turns it into sushi.

Red Nails is the best Conan story if you only ever read one. And yes it has similarities to A Fistful of Dollars.
 

pemerton

Legend
The Elric books are short. These aren't the behemoth fantasy books of today. These would be classified as novellas. I believe the first book is less than 200 pages (compare GRRM's Game of Thrones, 694 pp; Robert Jordan's Eye of the World, 782 pp; etc.). Also, there is a French comic book series of Elric that has been translated, which Moorcock regards as a faithful representation, even commending what changes the comic does make.

Conan the Barbarian has a 1980s movie. In fact, the fantasy movies of the early '80s drew almost primarily from the Sword & Sorcery genre - though moreso in a Conan-ripoff way - so you can also watch a bunch of this stuff. There are several that are generally recommended. I think that either @pemerton or @Dannyalcatraz could give you good recommendations on where to start.
Robert E Howard's The Hyborian Age is the most relevant to Greyhawk. Gygax riffs off of it in the chapter A Brief History of Eastern Oerik in the Greyhawk boxed set.

Second most relevant is probably The Lord of the Rings.
Iuz = Sauron/Mordor
Yolande/Celene = Galadriel/Lothlorien
Battle of Emridy Meadows = Battle of the Pelennor Fields

Third most relevant - any Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser story set in Lankhmar that features the Thieves Guild.
I've never read Elric but have a reasonable familiarity with the basic ideas and tropes. I've never read Leiber either but have a passing familiarity with the basic ideas and tropes. Perhaps wrongly, I think of the City/Town Encounter Matrix in Appendix D of Gygax's DMG as something of a homage to Lankhmar.

The parallels between Iuz/Celene and LotR are not very deep - they don't go below the level of basic trope resemblance. On the whole I think it's fair to say that the history of GH, as presented by Gygax, has no real moral depth. Which is a resemblance to REH's Hyborian Age essay, I guess!

In my view the single best of REH's Conan stories is The Tower of the Elephant. Other classics are The Phoenix on the Sword, The God in the Bowl, The People of the Black Circle, Black Colossus and The Scarlet Citadel. Queen of the Black Coast is well-regarded but you have to do more work to ignore the racism. I prefer Xuthal of the Dark to Red Nails but that's probably a minority opinion. I'm not a big fan of Beyond the Black River but many regard it as a classic. The Hour of the Dragon is longer but fun. I think most of these, maybe all, are available online via Project Gutenberg Australia.

I don't think that Sword and Sorcery has to be amoral, and so I don't think that GH has to be amoral. REH's Conan stories are not about an amoral protagonist. But the morality is brought by the protagonist - the protagonist does not learn or absorb the moraity from the metaphysics of the world. Those metaphysics are nihilistic, which is a point of similarity between REH and HPL.

The biggest obstacle to doing straight S&S in a GH game, in my view, is that there are too many clerics and paladins. Even before we get to Veluna and Furyondy, the setting is rife with them. I think a version of GH using 4e mechanics (confined to Heroic and low Paragon) with no clerics or paladins but using invokers and warlords in their place, as well as wizards and warlocks and bards, could pretty easily fit the existing published material, especially the Gygax-era material, and deliver a solid S&S experience.

At the moment I'm a player and a GM of ongoing, though intermittent, BW games set in GH. I played a few weeks ago, with the setting being the Ulek-Pomarj border. But it's not S&S - my PC is a Faithful knight of a holy military order - in D&D terms, a paladin - though of an order not found in canonical GH (The Knights of the Iron Tower). This has no trouble at all fitting into GH and its tropes and maps, but isn't S&S.
 

Aldarc

Legend
The biggest obstacle to doing straight S&S in a GH game, in my view, is that there are too many clerics and paladins. Even before we get to Veluna and Furyondy, the setting is rife with them. I think a version of GH using 4e mechanics (confined to Heroic and low Paragon) with no clerics or paladins but using invokers and warlords in their place, as well as wizards and warlocks and bards, could pretty easily fit the existing published material, especially the Gygax-era material, and deliver a solid S&S experience.
This is one area where IMHO 4e Dark Sun's superseded the original Dark Sun. Through its use of power sources, it could effectively excise Divine classes from Dark Sun. I get the feeling that the original Dark Sun was afraid of removing clerics from the equation altogether for a lack of other means of magical healing. This made 4e Dark Sun - at least in terms of class aesthetic and composition - feel more Sword & Sorcery than its predecessor.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
This is one area where IMHO 4e Dark Sun's superseded the original Dark Sun. Through its use of power sources, it could effectively excise Divine classes from Dark Sun. I get the feeling that the original Dark Sun was afraid of removing clerics from the equation altogether for a lack of other means of magical healing. This made 4e Dark Sun - at least in terms of class aesthetic and composition - feel more Sword & Sorcery than its predecessor.

2E clerics didn't require gods.

It's more 4Es fault for shoehorning the cleric into a power source.

It was probably to much effort redesigning the 4E cleric.

4E failure not 2E.
 

Azzy

ᚳᚣᚾᛖᚹᚢᛚᚠ
The biggest obstacle to doing straight S&S in a GH game, in my view, is that there are too many clerics and paladins. Even before we get to Veluna and Furyondy, the setting is rife with them. I think a version of GH using 4e mechanics (confined to Heroic and low Paragon) with no clerics or paladins but using invokers and warlords in their place, as well as wizards and warlocks and bards, could pretty easily fit the existing published material, especially the Gygax-era material, and deliver a solid S&S experience.

Hm. Reading that, I'm of the opinion that a GH supplement would be the perfect place to bring back the Warlord. 😈
 

Aldarc

Legend
2E clerics didn't require gods.

It's more 4Es fault for shoehorning the cleric into a power source.

It was probably to much effort redesigning the 4E cleric.

4E failure not 2E.
Hard disagree. Original Dark Sun felt like they were shoehorning in clerics for the sake of it and brought in elementals as justification. 4e felt like it was closer to the spirit of what original Dark Sun was trying to achieve with its setting. It could pull the trigger on divine classes whereas original Dark Sun could not.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Hard disagree. Original Dark Sun felt like they were shoehorning in clerics for the sake of it and brought in elementals as justification. 4e felt like it was closer to the spirit of what original Dark Sun was trying to achieve with its setting. It could pull the trigger on divine classes whereas original Dark Sun could not.

Priests handbook 1989 predates Darksun and they talked about it there.

4E was the one doing the shoehorning.
 


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