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


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Aldarc

Legend
Honestly, you probably don't really need to understand it. It's pretty much a dead genre at this point, at least in terms of having mainstream fantasy published in that genre. People keep recommending Howard, Lieber and Moorcock because no one else is writing stuff in that vein anymore.
I also like Moorcock. It was eye-opening to my world of fantasy, because I read Elric before I read Lord of the Rings but after I was reading the Redwall series. It was quite the tonal jump.

Is there anything about S&S being perfect for a short story or a novella, and neither of those really being big things anymore? A lot of the things I've liked in recent short story collections feel closer to S&S than high fantasy. A Google search turns up a variety of places that recommend some modern authors writing in more of an S&S tradition, but their regular mention of the Black Company makes me wonder if I really know the definition of the genre, or if it's just being gritty, with one character as the focus. Anyway, the short story collection "The Best of Glen Cook" has several that feel like they have the right vibe (along with some under rated sci-fi).
I do suspect that Sword & Sorcery is mainly a pulp genre, but you can also see the S&S influence in the more contemporary works of Steven Erikson, Joe Abercrombie, and Scott Lynch.
 


AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
Not every play style needs to be appreciated by everyone.
Not every genre needs to be appreciated by everyone.
Not every game edition needs to be appreciated by everyone.
Not evert RPG needs to be appreciated by everyone.
I have bought game books without ever knowing a hint about the influencing heritage the author drew from, and I liked them still. All that is just to say that a customer can like stuff with no background in what inspired it.

I have run games set in Mystara’s Known World and Savage Coast; FR’s Dalelands and The North; Grewyhawk‘s Shield Lands, Highfolk, Vesve Forest and Iuz; and Spelljammer. But mostly my home brew. I have bought all of the 5e setting books with no intent to ever run games in them because I want to to loot ideas for my own games.

I have a fondness for Greyhawk (my name is borrowed from there and I’ve spent too many years drawing maps of it) though I doubt I’d run a campaign there I know I’d buy such a 5e product explicitly set there and that shows off the Flanaess (and hopefully a tiny bit more of Oerth) as long as it has something useful to import. Maybe more backgrounds or even a new take on backgrounds, new items and artifacts, new class archetypes, interesting patron groups or villain groups even a new way to run organizations, a fresh update on the exploration pillar, a new way to add warfare to campaigns. Anything kinda like that is enough for me to buy a 5e book regardless of setting and it’ll be enough to get me to buy one for Greyhawk.

If WotC can find a hook for a way they can publish a Greyhawk product, they will. If it honors what was published before, cool. But if they progress the setting (I hope they do), cool.
 
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After 20 pages, I don't have much to add here.
Two short comments still:
  1. To me it seems that Greyhawk is not really sword&sorcery due to the presence of spell casters in the party (yes, they gray mouser is not only a thief, but also a bit of a sorcerer, but the nature of the spells he works seems very different to what D&D offers). Still, the settings seems to be a lot closer tonally to sword&sorcery than to tales of epic heroes and that's something that actually made me add it to my reading list (I have bought the PDF of the 1983 box and Living Greyhawk; sadly, only parts of the novels are available as ebooks).
  2. I think the strongest pitch for the setting as a commercial product would be "the setting that started it all". Nostalgia is a strong driver for TTRPG purchases, so that would be quite fitting. In fact, I would probably buy a 5e product for that reason, given - and that's the tricky part - rules are tweaked to match the tone better than the default 5e rules. It wouldn't have to go the full route like Adventures in Middle Earth, but some pruning and adaption would be necessary to make me interested
Anyway, the main reason to post this is that I want to say thanks, @Snarf Zagyg, for starting this thread about Greyhawk - a setting that you are clearly very passionate about. I learnt a lot about Greyhawk from you and others in this thread.
 

Voadam

Legend
I think the strongest pitch for the setting as a commercial product would be "the setting that started it all". Nostalgia is a strong driver for TTRPG purchases, so that would be quite fitting. In fact, I would probably buy a 5e product for that reason, given - and that's the tricky part - rules are tweaked to match the tone better than the default 5e rules. It wouldn't have to go the full route like Adventures in Middle Earth, but some pruning and adaption would be necessary to make me interested
I do not think anything really needs to be changed rules wise.

I ran White Plume Mountain in the 80s using 1e and then twice in recent years in 5e using Tales from the Yawning Portal and it did not feel off in 5e. There is nothing I would want to change rules wise.

The one thing that stands out as a big difference is energy draining and undead, but I would not want to go back to the 1e style. And energy draining and incorporeal undead were not particularly tied to Greyhawk IMO.
 
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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I do not think anything really needs to be changed rules wise.

I ran White Plume Mountain in the 80s using 1e and then twice in recent years in 5e using Tales from the Yawning Portal and it did not feel off in 5e. There is nothing I would want to change rules wise.

The one thing that stands out as a big difference is energy draining and undead, but I would not want to go back to the 1e style. And energy draining and incorporeal undead were not particularly tied to Greyhawk IMO.

Essentially starting at what used to be 3rd level and effectively having scrolls of regeneration (usable by any class) that reappear in your pack after each nights sleep (e.g. hit dice) seem like decent sized changes to any OD&D to 3e Greyhawk experiences. :)

Granted those might be things that are off the table for fixing. But I definitely agree that I would not want to go back to level draining undead!
 

The Prodigy feat is horribly overpriced for what it gives unless you have some sort of astonishing trick tied to it. Basically you're paying an entire Feat to get Expertise in one skill (the other benefits are pretty minor). If you were a size M STR Barb and thus had the choice between GWM and Prodigy, and were say, a Berserker, and picked Prodigy, it would be totally fair to say you weren't optimizing in any meaningful or sensible way, because you'd be ditching a huge amount of DPR to the party for a somewhat larger bonus on skill rolls with one skill.
There are so many assumptions/presumptions in this...too many to respond to.
You seem singularly focused on DPR.

A Barbarian character that has the Prodigy Feat and the Actor Feat can emulate Fafhrd, and bluff their way into the Thieves Guild to have the adventure.
They can explore, and contribute to the social pillars. They can still contribute in combat, especially Ancestor Barbarians.

Mr. McClaymore with GWM feats and the PAM feats, can't find the Thieves Guild, can't bluff their way in, and can't fight their way in...too many guards. They can't really help their group much outside melee combat.

Fafhrd the Barbarian helps their group in all pillars of play.
Conan the Barbarian excels at combat, which is cool, but is being carried by their party in all other tiers.
 


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