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

Cadence

Hero
Supporter
Ok, @Chaosmancer, you're not even trying to argue in good faith now. If you honestly want to claim that LotR has 20 characters? Lessee, who did you leave out? Off the top of my head - Faramir, all the hobbits in Hobbiton like Ruby and the ones that steal Bilbo's home and the farmer with the mushrooms, The Nine Ringwraiths, Gollum, the big spider thingie whose name I forget, Galadriel. And I'm not even a big Tolkien fan.
If the Sackville-Baggins and Ruby count (and the nine Ringwraiths count separately), then I need help orienting myself to what counts as important enough before I continue in doing a count on "The Swords of Lankhmar":

Going through the first three chapters -

Fafhrd and Mouser obviously count

Slinoor, Hisvet, Frix, Lukeen all get a bit of writing and at least one is major throughout iirc

Sheelba, Ningauble, Glipkerio Kistomerces, Hisvin all show up a bit later or in previous books

I don't remember if the Chamberlain shows up later, and I'm guessing Karl Treuherz doesn't count even though our dimension crossing German does show up on more pages than I remember (with a mention several pages after he's goner).

Jumptng to the end, do the four gods of Llankhmar all count?

Anyway, I'm hoping to get some rules so I'll be able to determine which of Elakeria, Reetha, Hreest, Skwee, Radomix Kistomerces-Null, Kreeshkra, that I see skimming the last few chapters would count (not to mention any others showing up in the middle).
 
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The answer, as always, is this- find someone who loves "Old Greyhawk" (WOG) and is also a good designer. And let them make a great product.
We've been at this for 700(ish) posts and I haven't heard one candidate who fits this criteria. I'm not even sure I seen one nomination? Did I miss/forget them? This has been a long thread. Can such a person be found today?
 

Aldarc

Legend
Tackling the last point first, do we want to consider angering the Greek Gods as not conforming to the morality of the world? For example, in the tale of Psyche Aphrodite is angered because other people are claiming that Psyche is as beautiful as her. The Girl herself does nothing to spark the Goddess's ire, and yet she is the one to be punished.

Yes, there is a morality that these heroes might fail to meet, but the Gods also fail to meet these standards and are shown up at times.
You are jumping from discussing an epic tale to an aetiological one? Why? But yes, the characters in The Illiad and The Odyssey are being measured against an external morality, with some failing and achieving those moral expectations. But there is also moral codes of honor in regards to combat. Or how one treats the dead.

Let us look at Aragorn again, who in actuality most people did not know he was to be a king. No one is judging him based on his royal blood, except himself. He feels he should abide by that standard, no one set the standard and then told him he had to meet it.
Most people not knowing is missing the point. JRRT has a vision regarding the divine right of kings and divine providence at work here. There are a lot of expectations on Aragorn placed there by both Elrond and Gandalf that he will ascend to become king of Gondor. And once we get to the Council of Elrond, we are constantly hearing Aragorn being referred to as Isildur's heir. From the moment that he learns of his identity, Boromir begins judging Aragorn as heir.

And, Conan is the only one of these characters I've heard enough about to say this for certain, but he does have a moral code. It is simply an older code, and if in some stories he is completely without morals, that does not mean the code is not still present. Just because no one else believes in the morality of Conan, or tells him it should be that way, does not mean that the morality does not exist.
This likely demonstrates that you either fail to understand the point that is being made or going out of your way to misconstrue it. The moral code that Conan adheres to is his own. The moral code that Elric adheres to is his own. These are not external moral codes of society (or religion), but, rather, internal ones. Furthermore, even if one were to say that his code is that of a Cimmerian, Conan is not a Cimmerian in Cimmeria, but a Cimmerian who is constantly traveling the world and applying his own moral ethic to it rather than conform to society's.

LoTR is the Nine from the Fellowship, Elrond and his daughter, the Rohan King and his daughter, Treebeard, Sauroman, Sauron, King of Gondor, his son, Wormtongue, and that's about it? Bombadill could maybe be another major character. That is about 20.

So, my Urban Fantasy book should count as Epic Fantasy, right? Except it most certainly does not. Even if I counted the other Eleven books in the series (which add more characters of course) still I doubt anyone would say this is in the Epic Fantasy Genre.
I agree with Hussar that it's hard to imagine that you are arguing in good faith anymore. You do not seem interested in coming to any understanding, only to distort arguments people are making about genre. You are trying to disprove particular points of the argument about a genre, but doing so horribly while completely missing or ignoring - hard to say with you - the point people are making. In your latest bout of bad faith arguments, you are trying here to counter Hussar by simply counting characters. But the point Hussar making about LotR is that there is a difference in SCALE. It is not just a rote function regarding the number of characters but also their histories and how they fit into the setting. And often these characters bring with them their host of unnamed characters: Entbeard brings the ents; Theoden brings the Rohirrim; Aragorn has his Dunedain; Denethor II has Gondor; Faramir has his rangers; Imrahil has his swan knights and the men from western Gondor, etc. There is a tremendous amount of chronological/historical SCALE that contextualize the action of the characters.
 

Hussar

Legend
Ok. Apparently school needs to come into session. Fair enough.

Features of Epic Fantasy

Note, not every example of epic fantasy will have all of these features, but, all will exhibit at least one of these features and typically more than one.

1. Epic Numbers - Just like epics in any other genre, you will have epic numbers of characters. Cast of thousands. Everyone will have a name and everyone will have a story.

2. Epic Themes - By an large epic fantasy will be large in scope - clash of cultures type stories. There will typically be multiple sides and factions, shifting alliances, and a focus on big picture events.

3. Epic Geography - Epic fantasy will typically involve the entire setting. You won't be (generally) focused on a single city or location. The story will rove from hither to yon and back again. (which is why the examples of Lankmar and Urban Fantasy aren't examples of epic fantasy)

4. Epic Time scales. - Epic fantasy will generally cover a pretty lengthy period of time. Years, if not decades. Often generations are also involved - it's entirely possible that the children or grandchildren of the original protagonists are the ones to resolve the story.

Note, there are other elements as well, but, those four are probably enough to keep things in mind.

Is that clear enough?
 

The Hobbit therefore isn't epic, and it isn't sword and Sorcerery right?
Here is why The Hobbit is not S&S:
  • It is written for children and thus has no sex and most of the violence happens in reportage;
  • Bilbo is not a mighty warrior;
  • It is too long, it was published as a novel, not a magazine story;
  • The climax features a knotty moral problem (which the protagonist solves correctly), not a fight between the protagonist and a villain.
Note that this refers to the novel, the stuff that Peter Jackson adds into the movies is much more S&S.

Or, to put it another way, these are a just a few of the few edits to make The Hobbit a S&S story:
  • Bilbo befriends Beorn by besting him in a wrestling match;
  • Instead of a king the elves are ruled by a queen. She has a clothing allergy;
  • Bilbo rescues the dwarves from the elves by seducing the elvenqueen;
  • Bilbo steels the black arrow and uses it to slay Smaug in single combat;
  • Bilbo steels the Arkenstone for himself, and slips away on the eve of battle to sell it in the nearest city;
  • As he leaves, Bilbo sees the approaching goblin army, and, in a fit of conscience, follows it;
  • During the Battle of five Armies someone cries out "Bilbo is coming! Bilbo is coming!" Bilbo turns up just in time to defeat the goblin king in single combat;
  • Gandalf turns out to be a scheming villain, who wants the Arkenstone for himself. Bilbo kills him;
  • Upon returning to Bag End Bilbo slays the Sackville-Bagginses to reclaim his home.
 

The more you talk about S&S, the less sense it seems to make. You are saying that Sword and Sorcerery can be low stakes, personal vendettas, or high stake save the world quests. The heroes can be entirely ammoral, or have secret hearts of gold.

What makes it different than Epic Fantasy or Heroic Fantasy then? Epic Fantasy is generally defined by having epic-scale stakes, but S&S also has epic scale stakes sometimes. Heroic Fantasy is more focused on the characters, Mercenaries and soldiers struggling with their flaws and sometimes being heroes and sometimes not being heroes.... it is even something S&S is compared to in some of the articles I read, which is how I learned about it.

At this point it seems like S&S is less of a useful definition of a genre and more of a shorthand for "Conan and some other very specific stories written around the same time as Conan." it seems more like a transitional period, where the genre was in the middle of evolving and now it is something else entirely.
I'm not really sure what to say to you here. You're rather continuing to prove my point that if you don't understand a thing, and try and argue about it, you may get confused.

It's not correct to say it's a transitional period, because that would suggest one thing turned into another. Rather it's a parallel kind of fantasy, that exists before Tolkienian fantasy, and after it, that influenced RPGs, computer games, and so on more than it did literary fantasy post-1990. S&S was massively influential on D&D and thus fantasy RPGs in general, Warhammer (and thus Warcraft), and via those sources massively influential on how fantasy computer games are.

I'd say it's extremely useful and important because it's a major influence on fantasy, particularly non-literary fantasy, that does not relate to Tolkien at all. There's a strong tendency in writing about fantasy to essentially attribute almost everything to Tolkien. I saw a very literal example of this in the NYT or some such paper not long ago, where it was being claimed "all fantasy" owed a debt to Tolkien. That would be true to say of epic fantasy - as a genre it barely exists, if at all, before Tolkien, and literally all the examples I can think of since have at least some influence in the terms of approach to world-building. But it's not true of all fantasy, and it's particularly less true of the kind of fantasy we find in RPGs, which typically picks up some of the world-building and aesthetic elements from Tolkien, but very much leans towards the spirit in actual play of S&S.

Epic fantasy is defined largely by being extremely long - literally epics. Maybe this is a difference that is more obvious? Virtually all S&S is short stories and novellas and the like. Even normal novel-length is rare. Giant fantasy novel length is unheard-of with S&S (I can't think of a single example), whereas it's routine/expected with epic fantasy.

Heroic fantasy is rarely-used term with far less of a consistent definition than S&S. S&S at least has a clear canon, a clear body of work - it's pretty clear what works are S&S (even if there's some debate, compared to other genres/subgenres, it's well-defined!). It's unclear what "heroic fantasy" is - it seems like it's a term people use when they think S&S is too "trashy", and seems to be a subset of S&S. I see L. Sprague de Camp literally said it was a synonym for S&S, and he's the originator of the term. His definition of S&S seems more purely escapist than a lot of S&S though, so perhaps you could say heroic fantasy is "particularly escapist S&S"?

Popped this out, because this is a tangent, but what exactly do you want Kaladin to have done?

He is a low-born man, a slave, and branded a violent criminal and traitor during the war. And most of that is from him being wronged by a high-born nobleman, who has spent decades convincing everyone that he is the most honorable, kind and generous person in the entire kingdom. The type of man who would never stoop to such tactics or do something like that to another man.

What exactly is Kaladin supposed to do about that? Tell them the truth? No one would believe him. Fight? He tried that. Foment a rebellion? He tried doing that a few times too, to get his fellow slaves to escape, it usually ended up with the other slaves getting killed while he got viciously beaten.

By the start of the story he has been a slave for years, constantly beat down and oppressed and every time he fights back, it only makes things worse and gets other people killed. This is exactly the type of person who is going to struggle with "doing something about it" when he is treated unjustly or unfairly.
The issue for me isn't him being beat down (that's plausible) a number of moments when Kaladin does get it together to actually do something about what is happening to him and others (and usually that thing would at least have a chance of being effective), overcoming the being beaten down and so on, and then one of two things happens:

1) He just suddenly goes from being angry and righteous to being a Boy Scout. The anger and righteousness is believable. As is not wanting to risk others. But at least a couple of times he suddenly and inexplicably develops a ridiculous milksop attitude as he's about to do something which would put him in opposition to one of the other "good guys", even though morally, it would be righteous. It feels rather artificial and is something characteristic of Sanderson's work.

2) His ridiculous spren (probably the most irritating character Sanderson has ever written, yes even beyond the various talks-in-riddles-types!) just straight up Author Insert/Deus Ex tells him not to do something, and he just obeys. With the bloody flimsiest of explanations (if any). It's some Jiminy Cricket stuff which is very out of place. Rarely has it looked so much like the author getting in the way of his own character.

I will say Sanderson did at least once criticise himself for doing this kind of thing, and large sections of what is being published today by Sanderson was actually written a decade ago (which I think adds to the confusion, because Sanderson has developed as a writer, but a lot of what we see being published now is from when he was less developed, and mixed in with more up-to-date stuff).

There's also a lot of frustrating equivocating from the author (via Kaladin and particularly Dalinar) over whether all this slavery and what is essentially genocidal colonialism is wrong or "just a misunderstanding" and then most of that is swept away by events and conveniently left un-examined.

But hey as frustrating as Kaladin is, nothing will ever be as "What is wrong with you Sanderson?!?!" as all the weird lap-sitting in book 2 of Mistborn (I think it's book 2 where that's a "thing").

Anyway I mostly moan about Sanderson because I think he has a lot of talent but I'm not sure he's developing it fully.

Note, there are other elements as well, but, those four are probably enough to keep things in mind.

Is that clear enough?
Man, how did you miss arguably the most important defining characteristic of epic fantasy? The length of the story in real-world terms! I.e. a dead minimum of three books and many hundreds of pages per book or even thousands of pages (Stormlight Archive is over 1000 pages each book!). Remember when 350 pages was kind of a long book? Pfffffft.

I joke slightly but only slightly. All those things can potentially lead to a long story, but epic fantasy, thanks to Tolkien, is almost unique in the literary world in that it produces these incredibly connected series that are very different from the "same character, different story" books of a lot of genres. We've mentioned Butcher and Dresden Files, and they're much more akin to traditional genre series (indeed a lot of urban fantasy is like that), in that you could potentially read and enjoy any one of them, and they're all a sensible length (some of Adrian Tchaikovsky's stuff is similar).

It's got to be the only genre in the world where an author can essentially come out of nowhere and drop multiple 500+ word novels and be successful.

It is also notable that some epic fantasy doesn't hit all 4, as you said. For example, somewhat hilariously, Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series is set over what, three years? If that. I think someone said it was 2 years 10 months. But it arguably does have the epic timescale in that we're constantly told about or shown stuff from the past via visions and so on (literally from page 1).

But anyway the length and interconnectedness is a particularly clear difference from stuff like S&S and Urban Fantasy.

S&S is rarely anything but short stories, novellas, and the odd novel. They're often interconnected but each piece stands alone. You don't need to have read other Conan or Lankhmar stories to "get" the one you're reading. Whereas with epic fantasy, if you didn't read the book before, you'll be lucky if you have much of an idea what is going on (and people get some amusing misunderstandings as a result), and it certainly won't have the intended emotional impact and so on.

Urban fantasy tends to be like a lot of genre works, particularly spy and detective fiction, in that it's normally reasonable-length novels, and whilst they have the same characters, and often a linear time progression, they're not usually required to be read in order, and don't tell a single story over multiple books.
 
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pemerton

Legend
you cannot define a genre of literature by putting forth that the action is not driven by the main characters.

All good stories are character driven.
You seem to be talking here about the focus/centre of the story. I'm talking about what the story presents as the relationship between the characters and events. To speak a bit crudely, what does the story tell us about the nature of agency? REH's Conan is an agent par excellence. Whereas what characterises Frodo is that he so often refrains from agency. In the Earthsea trilogy, we see the perils of agency (in Book 1, Ged's agency brings trouble upon himself; in Book 3, Cob's agency brings trouble upon everyone).

Take Hussar's example of The Illiad as being an Epic Fantasy. It starts with Paris kidnapping Helen of Troy, the plot is driven by the men who want to fight, or do not want to fight, by the actions of the Greek Gods (who are all characters).
The Iliad is a story about how fate and the gods overwhelm human agency!

I don't think that this is charitable or accurate reading of what pemerton is saying. My reading of @permeton's argument is that the difference is not about whether one set of stories are character driven or not, but, rather, it amounts to the relationship of the protagonists to external moral codes.
Not just moral codes, but "forces" or tendencies in the world.

In REH's Conan there are no such forces outside of human action. (The Hour of the Dragon comes close to being an exception, but even there it seems that Conan is an anti-Arthur: it is not that he can wield the powers of kingship because he is fated to do so, but rather he has rendered himself king through his own actions and hence he can wield the powers of kingship.)

Let us look at Aragorn again, who in actuality most people did not know he was to be a king. No one is judging him based on his royal blood, except himself. He feels he should abide by that standard, no one set the standard and then told him he had to meet it.

And, Conan is the only one of these characters I've heard enough about to say this for certain, but he does have a moral code. It is simply an older code, and if in some stories he is completely without morals, that does not mean the code is not still present. Just because no one else believes in the morality of Conan, or tells him it should be that way, does not mean that the morality does not exist.
This is not a tenable reading of either LotR or REH's Conan.

Aragorn is the rightful king because of his heritage. This is why providence is on his side. This is why he is able to wield the palantir to frighten Sauron into hasty action. Gandalf (the voice of wisdom) expressly counsels him not to mis-step at the last moment.

The contrast with REH's Conan is profound. The point is not that Conan is immoral or amoral - I've repeatedly argued in this thread that he is not. The point is that he is not beholden to any higher power. He is his own source of authority. This manifests itself, in the fiction, in being the self-anointed king of Aquilonia as a result of killing his predecessor.

I don't know what REH's person religious beliefs were, but his Conan stories are essentially modernist and atheistic (this is symbolically expressed by Conan's "non-worship" of Crom). Whereas LotR verges on the reactionary and is extremely religious (even though it contains no direct accounts of acts of worship; the closest we get, from memory, is the ceremony observed by Faramir and his rangers).

Earthsea is not religious in the same way that LotR is, but as I detailed a bit more above it also clearly expresses a view of the relationship between humans, action and the cosmos that is very different from REH's Conan.

The moral code that Conan adheres to is his own. The moral code that Elric adheres to is his own. These are not external moral codes of society (or religion), but, rather, internal ones. Furthermore, even if one were to say that his code is that of a Cimmerian, Conan is not a Cimmerian in Cimmeria, but a Cimmerian who is constantly traveling the world and applying his own moral ethic to it rather than conform to society's.
As Patrice Louinet explains in his critical edition of REH's Conan stories, it is not a coincidence that Conan is the only Cimmerian to appear in the stories. He is sui generis. (And, to an extent, an insertion of himself by REH into the Hyobrian Age.) In the fiction perhaps he is living a Cimmerian code; but when the stories are considered as literary works, Conan is self-made.

************

A slightly separate point: @Hussar, I agree with some of what you say about cast. REH's Conan stories are in a certain sense personal or initmate. I think this is connected to the short-story/novella form. I don't think this fully connects to "epic" vs S&S: the Earthsea stories are likewise rather personal/intimate but in my view, considered as fantasy stories, have more in common with LotR than REH's Conan.
 

Mort

Hero
Supporter
We've been at this for 700(ish) posts and I haven't heard one candidate who fits this criteria. I'm not even sure I seen one nomination? Did I miss/forget them? This has been a long thread. Can such a person be found today?
As I mentioned much, much earlier in the thread - Erik Mona. He's a Greyhawk fan from way back, has done products in the setting and has lots of experience working for WoTC.
 

I know I'm really late to the discussion, and although I've read a lot of the comments here, I'm sure there are some I've missed.

I'm not sure if any official product is needed or warranted, at this point. I mean, references to the setting such as Mordenkainen or Tasha are fine, and references in the larger D&D cosmology of the kinds found in the core books are also fine. Even the Saltmarsh book which can be placed on Oerth or dropped into the Realms or any other setting relatively easily; I mean, that's pretty much how most of the actual Greyhawk content first appeared, so that's fine.

But as far as a setting guide? It doesn't seem likely that most of the fans of the setting will agree on what should be included, what should be excluded, when it should be set, and so on. And for anyone who's not a fan of the original material, there's not a whole lot of appeal that cannot be met by another product. I like Oerth just fine.....a lot fo my 5E campaign takes place there, or relies on classic NPCs and concepts from the early days (such as Iggwilv and Eclavdra and the like). Some of that stuff is absolutely vital to my campaign.

But it's all already detailed elsewhere. There are any number of sources with all that information, both free ones online, or those available through the DMs Guild or DriveThruRPG. There just isn't any need for a new Greyhawk setting book.

As stated in the OP, the old guard is leery of anything new using the setting. And likely they're more of an expert on the subject than anyone who would actually work on a new book would be.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
As stated in the OP, the old guard is leery of anything new using the setting. And likely they're more of an expert on the subject than anyone who would actually work on a new book would be.
"So what is to be done with Greyhawk? I think there are two simple, easy-to-understand, wrong solutions to the problem:
1. Ignore the haters and publish whatever you want; they are just going to whine and die off anyway.
2. Don't bother with Greyhawk; it's not worth it.

The reason neither of these is really suitable is because ignoring the people that are truly passionate about a product is probably not a good way to succeed (after all, even old people can evangelize) while ignoring the ur-setting of D&D in 5e (motto- "We will bring all ur nostalgia to u while also cultivating the twitch peoples") seems like a poor choice."

Greyhawk is WoTC's (via TSR) oldest campaign setting. It would be, for lack of a better word, criminal for them to let it fall into official disuse.

Catering to the Old Guard exclusively is a mug's game. But given that we are almost on the 50th Anniversary of D&D, it would be beyond comprehension for WoTC to not issue a new Greyhawk for a new generation.

Life is all about reboots; for WoTC to forsake one of their classic IPs, and their ur-setting, seems like a poor choice.
 

Zeromaru X

Arkhosian scholar and coffee lover
The problem with that is that the Ur setting must be accommodated to appeal to the new people who is buying D&D (cuz the old guard hardly could turn such a 50th anniversary book into a killing success), but revamping the setting would upset the old guard...

Greyhawk's problem is a cyclical problem.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
The problem with that is that the Ur setting must be accommodated to appeal to the new people who is buying D&D (cuz the old guard hardly could turn such a 50th anniversary book into a killing success), but revamping the setting would upset the old guard...

Greyhawk's problem is a cyclical problem.
Not really.

The key is to make a good product. That's how something succeeds. Look at any type of media "reboot." If the new product is good, people come around (however begrudgingly). If it is terrible, they don't.

There were people who really liked the original Max Max series. So they rebooted it- new actor (thank goodness), new focus, etc. It did okay. It's the same with any property.

It's weird, isn't it? People like good stuff, and dislike bad stuff.
 

Life is all about reboots; for WoTC to forsake one of their classic IPs, and their ur-setting, seems like a poor choice.
I concur. With the 50th aniversary comming fast, it would be a shame and an outrage for WotC not to do something with Greyhawk. A reboot might not be a bad idea.

The problem with that is that the Ur setting must be accommodated to appeal to the new people who is buying D&D (cuz the old guard hardly could turn such a 50th anniversary book into a killing success), but revamping the setting would upset the old guard...

Greyhawk's problem is a cyclical problem.
With zounds of reboot of beloved franchise, be it in comic books or movies or even series; would be so far fetch to at least try it? Greyhawk is distinctive enough for people in my area to try it and either I made a mistake not going for a salesman career or the setting is good for many of those that I have shown the setting that were under 30 absolutely loved it. Enough for some to but both box sets in the DMG, to take my notes and to laminate the maps at extensive costs. If I can do this in my little area, imagine what a whole company can do.

I sincerly believe that Greyhawk can catter to the younger generation as something that is way out of what the're getting in setting right now.
 


Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Well, the issue is, I can see people treating it as bad without even reading it, only because it has changes (it happened to 4e Forgotten Realms...).
I agree- having been burned many times.

...but it's almost like an IP version of, "The only bad publicity is no publicity." I would hate for a bad Greyhawk to come out, but the only thing I would hate more is for no Greyhawk to come out.

At least a bad one keeps it alive for another generation. :)


(For example, I don't agree with all of the changes in the 3e Greyhawk, but at least it brought the setting to a new generation of fans.)
 

David Howery

Adventurer
As one of the old fogeys who started with 1E and when the WoG was the only setting around, the idea of a reboot distresses me... not in the least. At least partly because I'm long out of the gaming scene. Even if I wasn't... who cares? If a reboot introduces a new generation to the WoG, great. If they make changes to make it fit better in 5E, fine. It's not as if I don't have fond memories of the older setting.
The one real question about a reboot is 'pre-GW' or 'post-GW'. I personally prefer pre-Wars simply because there were more nations/cultures around, and the Wars replaced several of them with 'space filling empires'. That said, if they decided to go post-Wars and everything since, it still wouldn't distress me any...
 

3e Greyhawk was not bad per see. It had weak spots but most of it was adequate or good. Could it have been better? Sure, but it was pretty obvious it was done for the sake of doing it. A 5e Greyhawk can only bring more people to the world itself. If done right, it will please both old grognards like me and the younger generations
 

"So what is to be done with Greyhawk? I think there are two simple, easy-to-understand, wrong solutions to the problem:
1. Ignore the haters and publish whatever you want; they are just going to whine and die off anyway.
2. Don't bother with Greyhawk; it's not worth it.

The reason neither of these is really suitable is because ignoring the people that are truly passionate about a product is probably not a good way to succeed (after all, even old people can evangelize) while ignoring the ur-setting of D&D in 5e (motto- "We will bring all ur nostalgia to u while also cultivating the twitch peoples") seems like a poor choice."

Greyhawk is WoTC's (via TSR) oldest campaign setting. It would be, for lack of a better word, criminal for them to let it fall into official disuse.

Catering to the Old Guard exclusively is a mug's game. But given that we are almost on the 50th Anniversary of D&D, it would be beyond comprehension for WoTC to not issue a new Greyhawk for a new generation.

Life is all about reboots; for WoTC to forsake one of their classic IPs, and their ur-setting, seems like a poor choice.
I don't know if I agree about not ignoring those who are passionate about a product when it comes to this kind of stuff. Sometimes, I think you have to do that, at least a bit.

I don't know if a Greyhawk product could be made that would meet the criteria that it appears necessary to meet. The requirements of the fans of the classic material may not align with the expectations of modern players and enthusiasts. Yes, there are some people who probably fit into some kind of venn diagram where they enjoy elements of classic play and elements of modern play (I probably fit right into that overlap myself), but would that be enough to justify a product?

For every old school fan of GH who might want a 5E version, you have another who points out he doesn't need it, he's been homebrewing everything he needs for several editions now, anyway....for every person who enjoys things like drow PCs and tieflings, you have a grognard whose head explodes at the meer mention of them.....and so on.

You're obviously very passionate about the setting, and that's cool....like I said, I dig it myself, although I don't think to the same degree. But how much of that is based on nostalgia and other factors that can't be replicated for a new audience?

Yes, you're right that a great product can appeal to a wide audience. So I think the question then is "how do you make a great Greyhawk setting book?" This has been touched upon in this thread, but even in the relatively small sampling here, an idea is posed, and immediately there are those who disagree.

I don't know if it can be done. Or that it can be done again....that may be a better way of saying it.

Maybe taking one of the old versions (either the Folio or the boxed set....but probably more likely the boxed set) and updating it with some modern layout and writing, maybe some sidebars that help reconcile differences between classic gaming and modern gaming (i.e. options being limited vs. many options being included, and so on). Maybe that might work?

Personally, I have no need of such a product, and neither do most existing fans of the setting. They'll only get so much out of it. You seem to want to capture a new generation of fans for the setting. This is not in any way a bad idea.....but I think that the question then becomes: "how do you make Greyhawk seem as awesome to people today as it did to the early gamers?"

And that's kind of tough.
 


AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
For every old school fan of GH who might want a 5E version, you have another who points out he doesn't need it, he's been homebrewing everything he needs for several editions now, anyway....for every person who enjoys things like drow PCs and tieflings, you have a grognard whose head explodes at the meer mention of them.....and so on.
The old school fan who doesn’t want anything updated and is still running out of the 1983 box is already not a potential customer. They’re not going to buy a 5e Greyhawk because they are not in the market for one. You make a 5e Greyhawk for those who are open to it and never concern with those who put themselves out of the demographic for it.
 

COMING SOON: 5 Plug-In Settlements for your 5E Game

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