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

Doc_Klueless

Doors and Corners
I wanted to believe in that, when I read in the book that "the residents react to other visitors, especially tieflings and dragonborn, with a mixture of curiosity and fear" (page 11).

Basically, the book encourages that kind of prejudice and bullying on any player that doesn't want to play a member of the Fellowship of the Ring...
I played a Tiefling in PRECISELY because they are viewed with a mixture of curiosity and fear in Saltmarsh. It opened up realms of roleplaying for me: Gaining the communities trust, etc. If it'd been the bland mishmash you're proposing it should have been, it would have killed that for me.

When I played my Dragonborn in FR, I did so because I just wanted to be a Dragonborn. I expected to fit in just like everyone else. And I did.

I expect different campaign settings to be... I don't know... different in regards to how everyone acts towards each other.

But I also completely respect that you didn't like it. To each his own.
 

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I think it is because those settings have a strong thematic presence that doesn't feel like "generic fantasy"

So much fantasy writing happens in not!England/not!France during the not!Medieval Period that it almost feels like a blank slate when you start off that way. Sort of like writing Sci-Fi stories in a space station. It is just the start, even if it should be interesting in and of itself.

But, Darksun, Ravnica and Theros have strong thematic settings that break that blank slate beginning. They are inherently different than the norm, so there is no desire to make them different than the norm.

Dragonlance and Birthright I feel like would run into the same problem (I've never played Birthright, but I've seen people talking about it on the forums) but they aren't being discussed or advocated for, so the debate doesn't come up.

And, while Greyhawk was alway a bit of a kitchen sink, the kitchen was smaller back when Greyhawk was conceived, so it feels limited compared to settings that have continued to evolve with 5e.
To you too the irony of my post was lost...

I play in Greyhawk. I have a Dragonborn nation right south west of Nyrond. I have seen Tieflings in my games. Yes these were ostracized a lot but at least players knew what to expect as they were playing in Furyondy and Iuz made sure that Tieflings would ever been seen with suspicion. It took a while but Sir Kangash was finally accepted. Tabaxi could come from Hepmonaland for all I care. The "Kitchen Sink" redux bears no meaning for me. Again I will state that I am not a purist that stuck with the 1983 box set (Sacrilege! some would say). But Greyhawk has that medieval feel that the FR do not have. Society is surrounded by unknown and evil things, none the least are the Great Kingdom, The Bone March, Iuz empire, The Horned society (if you don't get into the FtA box set) or the Pomarj or the Scarlet Brotherhood and so many others. The general population is low enough that a lot of mega polis barely make it in the 100k mark and many don't (save the Great Kingdom at its peak). The diversity of cultures keeps the feel of medieval society even if they are quite different from Europe.

But I want something done for Greyhawk for 5ed. An update that will give common ground to players and DMs alike. A basis on which to start fresh. Just like the FR had. Just like Eberron had. Just like any other setting should have.
 

Aldarc

Legend
But I want something done for Greyhawk for 5ed. An update that will give common ground to players and DMs alike. A basis on which to start fresh. Just like the FR had. Just like Eberron had. Just like any other setting should have.
The fans of Jakandor appreciate your endorsement.
 

Hussar

Legend
I think @Hellditch makes a pretty strong point here. GH is the original points of light setting. Forgotten Realms and Eberron do not seem to be that way to me. When you travel in FR, there's civilization pretty much within a day's ride from most of the places.

There's a buttload of empty space in Greyhawk. Which is why I would love to see it treated as the "carve out your kingdom" kind of setting.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
But I want something done for Greyhawk for 5ed. An update that will give common ground to players and DMs alike. A basis on which to start fresh. Just like the FR had. Just like Eberron had. Just like any other setting should have.
It's fascinating how many sub-arguments get started! To paraphrase Jaws .... I'm gonna need a bigger tub of popcorn.

But completely agree.

Briefly-

1. Yes, original Greyhawk was a "kitchen sink" setting for OD&D/1e (through Gygax's ouster) via dissemination in Dragon, as a testing place for new materials, and as the only TSR published setting and the default reference for 1e materials. I don't think that there has been any real dispute over that.*

2. That said, there is already a default setting for 5e- FR. If you're going to publish a new Greyhawk, you might as well do something interesting with it, not just re-publish the Folio and say, "Look, kids, it's Forgotten Realms, but with names you don't recognize." So repeatedly seeing, "Sure, Greyhawk is fine, but just make it a kitchen sink again," kind of misses the point. I'd rather they re-publish Greyhawk as the "anime land" for wuxia adventures than make it FR 2.

In short, if you want Greyhawk as your kitchen sink for 5e, then just download the folio / box set from Drivethru and have fun. I'd rather see a good designer make a great new product so that a new generation of fans gets to enjoy it. It's how to keep the original D&D setting alive.



*People can, and do, argue about the ways in which Greyhawk therefore reflects an OD&D/1e mindset, but I don't think that's particularly productive.
 

In short, if you want Greyhawk as your kitchen sink for 5e, then just download the folio / box set from Drivethru and have fun. I'd rather see a good designer make a great new product so that a new generation of fans gets to enjoy it. It's how to keep the original D&D setting alive.
My thoughts exactly. Nothing prevents WotC to incorporate new races and what not. The PHB is the main assuption here. But again, we should stress what Greyhawk has that the other settings don't. It is the build your own kingdom, fight the unknown, help civilization stay alive. Whether you do it for your own pocket, a higher power or simply your liege is irrelevant. Evil and Chaos is out there waiting for you to try. We can play on so many aspect of Greyhawk. Not every single adventure should be about saving the world. Lining your pockets with gold and magic is a good motivation too.


*People can, and do, argue about the ways in which Greyhawk therefore reflects an OD&D/1e mindset, but I don't think that's particularly productive.
Yep, I'd go as far as saying that it is counter productive. Greyhawkers needs to adapt to the new reality of RPG. Yet, it is possible to keep a particular feel and still be both respectful of the setting and catter to the younger audience.
 

And isn't Reynolds back with WotC again?
I actually think he's working with Monte Cook Games, currently. Or at least, the last I knew.

Strange that the kitchen sink trope plagues Greyhawk but not: Darksun, Theros, Ravnica, Birthright, Dragonlance, Innistrad, Amonkhet, Ixalan, Kaladesh and others. The "Ho but they're MTG settings! They don't count!" is pure BS. Three of these are not, and you could add others that are in the DM guild or even Drive thru. A setting is a setting and so far, the printed ones were well received and the PDF of the others were not receiving the tropes' accusations either.

As for inclusivity. You'll get the suspicious/xenophobic tropes even Eberron depending on your race and the region you'll be in. The changelings hide and do not show their heritage for a reason. Even in the realm there will be suspicions/xenophobia involved depending on your race, culture, class or simply because you're not from the village. Some places are cosmopolitan others are backwater areas. Not everything is and should be Mos Eisley...
I am all for inclusivity for the game itself, but whatever setting is in question should likely have a myriad of approaches to the topic, from acceptance and cooperation to outright racism and fear.

It seems to me that some folks are conflating the situation in the setting as that of the game itself.

I do think that setting and fictional elements of the game may be tailored a bit to the participants, and that generally speaking you want everyone involved to be comfortable and have fun. I've played far too many characters who were mistrusted and feared and had a blast doing so to think that this is really an issue.

But at the same time, if you have a player who doesn't want to examine the idea of being an outsider or similar trope, but really wants to play a tiefling, then like adults you should work it out. Not have the villagers constantly grabbing torches and pitchforks when the character shows up.

To you too the irony of my post was lost...

I play in Greyhawk. I have a Dragonborn nation right south west of Nyrond. I have seen Tieflings in my games. Yes these were ostracized a lot but at least players knew what to expect as they were playing in Furyondy and Iuz made sure that Tieflings would ever been seen with suspicion. It took a while but Sir Kangash was finally accepted. Tabaxi could come from Hepmonaland for all I care. The "Kitchen Sink" redux bears no meaning for me. Again I will state that I am not a purist that stuck with the 1983 box set (Sacrilege! some would say). But Greyhawk has that medieval feel that the FR do not have. Society is surrounded by unknown and evil things, none the least are the Great Kingdom, The Bone March, Iuz empire, The Horned society (if you don't get into the FtA box set) or the Pomarj or the Scarlet Brotherhood and so many others. The general population is low enough that a lot of mega polis barely make it in the 100k mark and many don't (save the Great Kingdom at its peak). The diversity of cultures keeps the feel of medieval society even if they are quite different from Europe.

But I want something done for Greyhawk for 5ed. An update that will give common ground to players and DMs alike. A basis on which to start fresh. Just like the FR had. Just like Eberron had. Just like any other setting should have.
I think that this is great, and I largely approach the setting that way myself. It seems that most of the folks who've been active in this thread and who are fans of GH are pretty open minded. That's not always the case, though.

There are a lot of fans of the setting that take a pretty "from my cold dead hands" approach to adding elements from later products and editions. I mean, I think this stance is prevalent enough that some folks mistake it for being an aspect of the setting more than a trait of some fans. For me, this is one of the big obstacles for the setting....there's this stigma that, although unfair, is present because of some loud and vocal groups within the fanbase.

Again, present company here in this thread excluded. Everyone here seems pretty open minded about allowing new elements to the setting and about making some changes to appeal to new crowds.

My thoughts exactly. Nothing prevents WotC to incorporate new races and what not. The PHB is the main assuption here. But again, we should stress what Greyhawk has that the other settings don't. It is the build your own kingdom, fight the unknown, help civilization stay alive. Whether you do it for your own pocket, a higher power or simply your liege is irrelevant. Evil and Chaos is out there waiting for you to try. We can play on so many aspect of Greyhawk. Not every single adventure should be about saving the world. Lining your pockets with gold and magic is a good motivation too.
I think that, if it was up to me, I would likely eliminate alignment for PCs entirely in Greyhawk. Paradoxical as it may seem, I think that doing so will actually result in players giving more thought to how they want their character to behave in any given moment, at any given decision point. Get rid of the idea of heroes and villains as it pertains to the PCs. I also think that it will allow for slightly more morally gray characters who can still be protagonists, but who we don't need to be paragons of virtue and righteousness....although someone can still play a character like that if they want.

I'd keep alignment for monsters, especially planar ones, and maybe as a loose descriptor of nations or peoples as a whole (the monks of the Scarlet Brotherhood tend toward Lawful Evil, etc.).

I know that the Good/Evil and Law/Chaos axes are pretty central to the setting for many folks, but I think it's time to portray that in other ways.

I do think that should WotC ever craft a new adventure book along the lines of the ones they've made for the Realms, that they will need to consider ways in which to involve the PCs that don't rely on them simply wanting to do what's right and fight evil. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I like the idea of GH being less about purely and always heroic PCs.
 

Zeromaru X

Arkhosian scholar and coffee lover
But again, we should stress what Greyhawk has that the other settings don't. It is the build your own kingdom, fight the unknown, help civilization stay alive. Whether you do it for your own pocket, a higher power or simply your liege is irrelevant. Evil and Chaos is out there waiting for you to try. We can play on so many aspect of Greyhawk. Not every single adventure should be about saving the world. Lining your pockets with gold and magic is a good motivation too.
Is this really the only "unique thing" Greyhawk has to offer compared to... I don't know, the FR? I mean, I can do this in the Nentir Vale just as fine, and without having to deal with "Greyhawk's sacred cows".

There are a lot of fans of the setting that take a pretty "from my cold dead hands" approach to adding elements from later products and editions. I mean, I think this stance is prevalent enough that some folks mistake it for being an aspect of the setting more than a trait of some fans. For me, this is one of the big obstacles for the setting....there's this stigma that, although unfair, is present because of some loud and vocal groups within the fanbase.
I guess that this is my issue. The only Greyhawk fans that I personally know are purists who want not to "sully" their Greyhawk with "millennial stuff".
 

Mort

Hero
Supporter
Is this really the only "unique thing" Greyhawk has to offer compared to... I don't know, the FR? I mean, I can do this in the Nentir Vale just as fine, and without having to deal with "Greyhawk's sacred cows".
Greyhawk has a lot of unique flavor to offer, but I think the easiest way to market it if WotC chose to do so would be to simply hit the "FIrst D&D" setting, pound on the nostalgia and then, of course, make a good setting book. The brand is pretty hot- Frostmaiden has an Amazon sales rank of 29 right now, an adventure book has that rank! Tasha's is well in the top 100 and isn't even out yet.

I bet many, many people would love to see a supplement that talks about the things they've seen just mentioned, Mordenkainen, Tenser, Rary in their "actual" setting.

Doesn't hurt that Ghosts of Saltmarsh was pretty well received (as far as I have seen).


I guess that this is my issue. The only Greyhawk fans that I personally know are purists who want not to "sully" their Greyhawk with "millennial stuff".
Well, I'm a Greyhawk fan and I'm anything but purist. Considering the wahoo nature of the setting (from it's inception onward) the whole concept of being a purist as to what goes in is kind of laughable!
 

Is this really the only "unique thing" Greyhawk has to offer compared to... I don't know, the FR? I mean, I can do this in the Nentir Vale just as fine, and without having to deal with "Greyhawk's sacred cows".

I guess that this is my issue. The only Greyhawk fans that I personally know are purists who want not to "sully" their Greyhawk with "millennial stuff".
There's a good amount of overlap between the two settings, but you can make them sufficiently different if you approach them with that goal in mind.

And yes, I think that some fans are overly vocal about setting canon and "purity", and that needs to be ignored. Your DM who took the minor suggestion in Saltmarsh that certain races might be viewed with suspicion or mistrust, for example, went way too far.

Honestly, most of the arguments that the setting purists tend to make are pretty easily debunked. It's just their preference that it play out that way, there's very little in the actual setting that would really support their take.

Well, I'm a Greyhawk fan and I'm anything but purist. Considering the wahoo nature of the setting (from it's inception onward) the whole concept of being a purist as to what goes in is kind of laughable!
I agree, it really is silly to try and limit options in a setting that already contains insanely disparate elements.
 

Azzy

Newtype
I guess that this is my issue. The only Greyhawk fans that I personally know are purists who want not to "sully" their Greyhawk with "millennial stuff".
I recommend the site Canonfire!, it has a much wider breadth of GH fans that run the spectrum of Gygax essentialists to those that embrace all the Living Greyhawk and Paizohawk material, and everything in between. As it is a site dedicated entirely to Greyhawk, you'll get a far better representative sample of the Greyhawk fan base than you would here. The people are also pretty friendly and inviting.
 


GSHamster

Adventurer
After reading this thread, and trying to get a feel for Greyhawk from the Greyhawk partisans, I have the following related thoughts:

I feel like there are two types of D&D settings:
  1. The adventuring party reflects the setting
  2. The adventuring party is significantly different than the setting
Forgotten Realms and Eberron are Type 1. Ravenloft and Dragonlance (in the War of the Lance, at least, due to clerics) are examples of Type 2.

It feels to me that Greyhawk is a Type 2 setting, and that's the main difference between it and the Forgotten Realms.

Specifically, as everyone says, Greyhawk is a Swords & Sorcery setting. To me, the difference between S&S and other Fantasy is that S&S does not have "magic". It has "sorcery".

Sorcery has very different connotations than magic. Sorcery is tainted, unclean, malevolent, corrupted. It's the difference between saidin and saidar in Jordan's Wheel of Time. At best, major NPC sorcerers like the Circle of Eight are neutral, rather than good. Most end up evil, though.

Magic, on the other hand, is a neutral force. It can be used for good, or it can be used for evil.

The thing is, though, D&D PC adventurers have "magic", not sorcery. That's perhaps a subtle difference, but I think it's hugely important, and is ultimately the source of the disconnect. The way the PCs interact with magic is very different from the way the rest of the setting interacts with magic, and there is no explicit explanation as to why. It's all a matter of tone, and what looks like arbitrary writer's fiat.
 

Azzy

Newtype
After reading this thread, and trying to get a feel for Greyhawk from the Greyhawk partisans, I have the following related thoughts:

I feel like there are two types of D&D settings:
  1. The adventuring party reflects the setting
  2. The adventuring party is significantly different than the setting
Forgotten Realms and Eberron are Type 1. Ravenloft and Dragonlance (in the War of the Lance, at least, due to clerics) are examples of Type 2.

It feels to me that Greyhawk is a Type 2 setting, and that's the main difference between it and the Forgotten Realms.
That's an intersting way to break things down. The adventuring party really isn't different than the setting, though. There are adventurers other than the PCs and they can have all the same bits and bobs that the PCs have. There's nothing inherent about PCs that make them different or special (in contrast with Ravenloft where the PCs are either not native or are otherwise in strong contrast to the everyday person, or in Dragonlance's WotL time period where PCs could be clerics where they were entirely absent from the regular populace).

Specifically, as everyone says, Greyhawk is a Swords & Sorcery setting. To me, the difference between S&S and other Fantasy is that S&S does not have "magic". It has "sorcery".
No, Greyhawk is definitely (and strongly) influenced by S&S, but it takes inspiration from many other sources as well. So, painting it as a S&S setting is misleading at best (though it's possible to lean into that aspect for a 5e product).

Sorcery has very different connotations than magic. Sorcery is tainted, unclean, malevolent, corrupted. It's the difference between saidin and saidar in Jordan's Wheel of Time. At best, major NPC sorcerers like the Circle of Eight are neutral, rather than good. Most end up evil, though.
Magic, on the other hand, is a neutral force. It can be used for good, or it can be used for evil.

The thing is, though, D&D PC adventurers have "magic", not sorcery. That's perhaps a subtle difference, but I think it's hugely important, and is ultimately the source of the disconnect. The way the PCs interact with magic is very different from the way the rest of the setting interacts with magic, and there is no explicit explanation as to why. It's all a matter of tone, and what looks like arbitrary writer's fiat.
[/QUOTE]

Again, no. Greyhawk definitely has "Magic", not "Sorcery" (in the context you're using it). In Greyhawk, magic/mystical power is entirely neutal and can be a tool for either good or evil (or militant neutrality, as is sometimes the case in GH). There are universeries for magic study, and magic isn't something that is inherently frightening to the average commoner. Greyhawk really is just a (well, THE) stereotypical D&D setting at its most essential, and that's what it was intended as.
 

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