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

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
It was fine. To begin with, the original U Series (Saltmarsh) wasn't exactly heavy Greyhawk! :) But it neither particularly offended, nor made me stand up and go, "A ha! They have it! That's it!" Probably because the material could be easily transposed into any campaign setting (how much work would it take to use that material in a FR setting?).

On the second point, I think that most of the peripheral debates about Greyhawk are usually red herrings for the real issue. It's not (in my mind) really about Tieflings and Dragonborn and whatever.

It's a debate between those who want to have Greyhawk released in some way that respects the integrity of the setting, and those who just see it as a grabbag of names and things to use for 5e. It would not be overly difficult to have an amazing new Greyhawk that has the capacity to include "Tieflings" (modded as fiendish and Iuz) and Dragonborn (exotic seafarers from the blank parts of the map, perhaps?). Who knows?

But I would hate for them to just release a Greyhawk as another default, kitchen sink setting.
Hm. This didn't really answer my question, being what you thought specifically about the content centered around Keoland and the town of Saltmarsh.

I'm sensing a bit of a problem here, in that a lot of Greyhawk players don't want Greyhawk to be super-filled in, detailing nearly as much information as FR does because they want more of a sandbox that DMs can fill themselves.

However, if you make Greyhawk too vague, it seems more like a kitchen sink (using your words) that can be planted in any "generic default fantasy."

I thought Ghosts of Saltmarsh struck that balance quite well, feeling tonally distinct from FR and more of a rugged, frontier setting. But you took it as still too generic.

So yeah, not really sure what release is going to make most Greyhawk fans happy. I'm starting to think it is better to just steamroll over GH fans complaints as their too contradictory, and just make a book with the style (editing/format of book, not the tone/material) of Eberron: the Last War.
 

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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Hm. This didn't really answer my question, being what you thought specifically about the content centered around Keoland and the town of Saltmarsh.
Pretty sure I started with the answer?

"It was fine. To begin with, the original U Series (Saltmarsh) wasn't exactly heavy Greyhawk! :) But it neither particularly offended, nor made me stand up and go, "A ha! They have it! That's it!" Probably because the material could be easily transposed into any campaign setting (how much work would it take to use that material in a FR setting?)."

But Chapter 1 (Saltmarsh), consisting of 29 pages, was fine. It has carousing. It had a dreadnaught with a mad wizard. It had some nice touches. It was fine.

That's not a small thing- there's been a lot of material than used Greyhawk that was, most assuredly, not fine. But it's just some background to an AP. I didn't read it and think that this was the Campaign Setting I had been looking for.
 


Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
@Snarf Zagyg (or anyone with an opinion who wants to answer really) what was your reaction to the 3e (3.5-4e really) Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk?
It's ... complicated.

I'd love to give you an analogy, but I don't have one. As an actual adventure, it's not that good (IMO). But it does show someone clearly loved the original material, which is great!

...and then there are so many nods to the past, which is awesome. But it starts to feel like all fan service, no substance. Which isn't awesome.

So, mixed? Is that fair?
 

Remathilis

Legend
It's ... complicated.

I'd love to give you an analogy, but I don't have one. As an actual adventure, it's not that good (IMO). But it does show someone clearly loved the original material, which is great!

...and then there are so many nods to the past, which is awesome. But it starts to feel like all fan service, no substance. Which isn't awesome.

So, mixed? Is that fair?
You basically described the Star Wars sequel trilogy, so it's fair.
 

Mort

Hero
Supporter
It's ... complicated.

I'd love to give you an analogy, but I don't have one. As an actual adventure, it's not that good (IMO). But it does show someone clearly loved the original material, which is great!

...and then there are so many nods to the past, which is awesome. But it starts to feel like all fan service, no substance. Which isn't awesome.

So, mixed? Is that fair?
That's more than fair -and actually mirrors my opinion.

Clearly it's a labor of love with an attempt to do the original material justice. But the actual adventure - why is it so hard to write a good published adventure with the resources these guys have?
 


The Glen

Adventurer
If you're going to bring back Greyhawk you have to pitch it to the new players. The grogs already have made up their mind, but for the new players, it's a brand new setting. You have to convince them that it's a great setting to play in. Talk up the low powered magic aspect, the split between the nobles and the commoners, the constant threat from other nations or threats just outside of civilization, and the numerous hidden threats like the Scarlet Brotherhood. Make it grim but not dark, talk about how disease is a constant threat because there's not enough high-level clerics to stop an outbreak. People are poor, adventurers can stop the monsters but are powerless to prevent the brush wars that plague the setting. To reference a recent topic with the combat wheelchair, people would need things like wheelchairs because there's maybe three people in an entire setting that can heal them, but you couldn't build the magical version because there are a dozen wizards that know how and they are too busy to help the little people.

Greyhawk would be muddy and overcast. It's dirty, there are more mercenaries than the nations can use unless it's in a time of war. This leads to a large number of bandits. A dragon is a once in a lifetime event, and you'll find the burned-out remains of the town from an attack decades back. The biggest threat is other humans, whether they are brigands or warmongering nobles. Paint that picture and you'll bring in new players, because that is far different than Forgotten Realms.
 


The encounter tables in the 1983 Greyhawk boxed set mostly default to those in the 1e AD&D DMG. Per the DMG pg 184 in sub-arctic mountains there's a higher chance of meeting a white dragon (10%) than a wolf (7%).
Yep, but it said that most dragon encounters are actually sightings. Unless the group looks weak, the dragon will simply go away. Remember that the first edition dragons were not the power house that we have today. There was a reason that the first Forgotten Realm box set introduced 11th and 12th age categories of draconic power. Some (if not all) encounter tables would need adjustments by today's standards.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Incidentally, Robert Schwalb is creating a new version of Shadow of the Demon Lord that is not so subtly based on Greyhawk: Shadow of the Weird Wizard:
This is already longer than it should be, so let me give you a snapshot of what the setting’s like and then we’ll move on with other posts about specific aspects of the game. The changes I made and the reasons for those changes.

  1. Civilization has grown and fallen at least twice before. The first place it fell is a faraway place known as the Devastation. It’s a place of nightmare, fire, and death. Don’t go there. The second place is the Old Country, which was dominated by the Great Kingdom. Unfortunately, the Lord Commander of the Paladins murdered the Pontifex of the High One, burned the Cathedral of Hope, and ended the royal line. These actions plunged the kingdom into a civil war that’s still raging. Not the best place to hang your hat.
  2. People flee the Old Country in droves, seeking refuge in a place known as the Lands of the Weird Wizard, a mysterious, eccentric, bearded fellow whose reckless use of magic has made these New Lands rather strange and mysterious. It’s not an ideal place to rebuild, but it’s the best hope anyone has. Best of all, the Weird Wizard hasn’t been seen for years and is thought to have withdrawn to the Clockwork City, which rises from a blasted, shattered plane, under a sky that burns and in which drift chunks of rock crawling with weird things.
  3. Your characters are among the refugees looking to start again having escaped the troubles in the Old Country. You likely begin in the Borderlands, a stretch of territory that forms a band between the Old Country and new and set out on expeditions into the unknown to blaze a trail for settlers. You might battle strange monsters, explore old ruins of faerie cities, broker peace with orc tribes, find treasure, and, maybe, eventually, become renowned enough that you can carve out places for yourselves to rule.
 

Doug McCrae

Legend
The encounter tables in the 1983 Greyhawk boxed set mostly default to those in the 1e AD&D DMG. Per the DMG pg 184 in sub-arctic mountains there's a higher chance of meeting a white dragon (10%) than a wolf (7%).
Dragon encounters are also relatively likely using the Monster Manual II encounter tables. 6% chance (7 or 15 on 2d10) of a white dragon in cold wilderness mountains, forest, or plains. 5% chance of a green dragon in temperate wilderness forest. A combined 12% chance of a black, red, or copper dragon in tropical/subtropical wilderness mountains. Even inhabited regions are not dragon-free! There's a 5% chance of an earth dragon, a type of "oriental dragon" from the Fiend Folio, in temperate civilised mountains. About half the tables on pgs 135-6 of the MMII have dragons though the chance might be as low as 1%.
 
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Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
A. Humanocentric
B. Swords & Sorcery (think Conan if you don't have a background, not LoTR).
C. Gritty
D. "Low Magic" (to acknowledge what @Minigiant wrote, GH isn't low magic per se, as it is kind of the opposite of Eberron in some ways; magic is rare, but what magic there is can be very powerful.)
E. "Grey" morality. This is the whole, "Good nations can fight each other, neutral is a balance, evil often triumphs," sort of thing.
F. Last points of light of civilization holding on (a somewhat post-apocalyptic vibe), with decaying greatness (Great Kingdom).
I'm going to use this list to move the discussion forward in a more-practical less-theoretical way. Discuss or ignore as you choose.

1. Humanocentric:

This is saying that you want to pare back the allowable PC races to being limited to Human, and some of the variations of Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings. You may or may not include Gnomes or Half-Orcs (they were in 1e). All the other PC race choices would be either off-limits or allowed by GM fiat only. The major and medium powers of the lands the PCs will be interacting with will be the same as this list, with all other humanoids either evil rampaging tribes or far-away cultures the players won't interact with on a regular basis. Correct?

2. Swords & Sorcery:

This is saying that you want magic to be "strange" and almost everyone the PCs encounter will be nonmagical. PCs may have some magic items at their disposal, and the PCs might be the very odd travelling mage, but even in a large city the number of LVL3+ NPCs who can cast spells could all fit in one large room. Magic encountered by the players can be pretty crazy, but the encounter would be very out of the ordinary. Correct?

3. Gritty:

You want there to be a beefier system for lingering wounds, disease, curses, and other items to have lasting penalties for characters. You want healing to be slower than the 5e standard. Correct?

4. Low Magic:

I'm not sure how this differs from #2 to dissect it.

5 & 6. Grey Morality + Last Points of Light:

You want there to be few to no societies that are "Good", "Free", or "Progressive". Politics is only painted in shades of grey and even the nicer civilizations exist in the sea of evil lesser civilized humanoids who are slowly chipping away at the "civilization" they offer. Correct?


Now that I have defined your categories (to the best I can guess what you are meaning), I will try to add my thoughts on their application to Dungeons and Dragons in 2020. I feel that I should add that I am 47 years old, started "playing" D&D in 3rd grade when I stole the B&E boxed sets from my older brother who threw them unused in the closet, and didn't know the difference between "Forgotten Realms", "Greyhawk", and "AD&D" until I started getting into the map when playing Pool of Radiance on my Commodore 64.

On points 1, 2, 4, and partially 5&6: The biggest hurdle you are facing when asking for an official Greyhawk with these aspects is, as I said before, you essentially wanting a campaign setting that asks the players to ignore 50%+ of the content of the books they already have and only use this small subset of races/classes/backgrounds/spells/equipment/etc. I am an old-school grognard of a player. I understand where you are coming from and get why you would be interested in a campaign setting that works this way. BUT....i'm also not the target market of 5e anymore. I am in the "and if that guy buys the book that's just a bonus" category of their marketing. Young players today want to be able to play what they want. They want to be a magical witch who rides around on a broomstick with a panda familiar. They want to be a robot from another world who crash landed their ship on the D&D planet. They want to be creative and they want to not be constrained by "needless" restrictions. Paladins no longer have to be good, or even lawful. Assassins don't have to be evil. As of 2020, pretty much no humanoid race is expected to be evil. The game is opening up. Points 1, 2, 4 and the evil outsider part of 5&6 are asking for there to be a setting where you ditch all the "anything goesness" of 5e and return to the restrictions of 30 years ago.

On point 3: I think you have a pretty good hook for what makes a setting a setting. Something more "gritty" where the players are in more danger and wounds become permanent could fit into the 5e design as an expectation. I would rather see this rules module released independent of a game setting, but if thats what you want to fill your setting book up with I think its a good starting spot that has legs in 5e.

On point 4: One thing I have found is that over time the hook of "magic items" being exciting because they are rare wears off. After the 400th +1 sword a character of mine has found over the years, the novelty and amazement just isn't there...even if the sword itself is rare in the universe. I think a much better way of making magic rare but exiciting is to make each and every magical item in your campaign unique but different. There are no "+2 longswords", but there is a Sword of Smith's Farm once used to defend the farm against goblins. Legend has it that the sword glows in the presence of the goblins and whenever it rang out when crashing against a goblins armor the others wince and held their heads in pain at the sound it gave out. I would like to see a setting that has ZERO universal magic items and instead had rules for creating new ones on the spot.

A separate topic related to 2&4 is the frequency of spellcasters. While I think you can run a game where the adventuring party is the aberration to the normal, I would hesitate to try to rip things out of the list of class choices/features just to try to shoehorn in something else. As other have said, 1e rangers and paladins had magic....so why try to reinvent the wheel in 5e?

On point 5: I think there is a huge gap in the 5e arsenal for a political intrigue setting (maybe Ravnica has this, I don't have this book). I, once again, think you have a pretty solid base here for "this is what makes my setting worth playing and different than others". There already is plenty of intrigue in the Realms, however, so I don't know how you would make this amped up, but it could become a focus.

On point 6: Mentioned somewhat in my first points.....with the new 2020 "nothing is always evil" design mantra....you are going to have a hard time doubling down and saying "except in this world EVERYTHING outside the human lands is sketchy or evil". This might be your biggest roadblock of them all, pushing for an exclusive setting when inclusiveness is the current trend.
 


ardoughter

Adventurer
Supporter
@Snarf Zagyg Of your list, I think that no. 3 gritty, is the deal breaker. WoTC will not market a setting that uses a non standard ruleset. That created a setting that competes with the core game as was identified as one of the chief marketing problems that TSR had back in the day.
 

Doug McCrae

Legend
2. Swords & Sorcery:

This is saying that you want magic to be "strange" and almost everyone the PCs encounter will be nonmagical. PCs may have some magic items at their disposal, and the PCs might be the very odd travelling mage, but even in a large city the number of LVL3+ NPCs who can cast spells could all fit in one large room. Magic encountered by the players can be pretty crazy, but the encounter would be very out of the ordinary. Correct?
"Swords and sorcery" is usually used in a D&D context to mean episodic adventures and larcenous or otherwise non-virtuous PCs - a game that's not like Dragonlance.

The definition in John Clute and John Grant's Encyclopedia of Fantasy is "muscular heroes in violent conflict with a variety of villains, chiefly wizards, witches, and evil spirits whose powers are - unlike the hero's - supernatural in origin". But this doesn't really make sense in D&D where half the PCs are wizards and witches.
 
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Mecheon

Adventurer
Ho, and Dragonborns are easily introduced as dimensional travelers/refugees. I placed their arrival just south of Nyrond. Their arrival was seen as bad omen until the king saw the number of lawful good Paladins in the dragonborn nation. They were venerating Bahamuth, the platinum dragon and the tenets of their religion were close to those of Heironeous and Mayaheim. Nyrond allied with them and they are now accepted as members of the good races. This integration of the dragonborn was done in a small mini campaign and it was quite fun to play it out. If I could do it, anyone can.
Honestly, in my 'what would I do with Greyhawk' thoughts, I've stuck to Dragonborn as either 'They're somewhere off in the mysterious dragon riding place' or 'They're at the pinnacles of Azor'alq, the mysterious mist-covered dragon-inhabited islands that's also the domain of a god who kind of supports a lot of things Dragonborn stand for'
 


Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
"Swords and sorcery" is usually used in a D&D context to mean episodic adventures and larcenous or otherwise non-virtuous PCs - a game that's not like Dragonlance.

The definition in John Clute and John Grant's Encyclopedia of Fantasy is "muscular heroes in violent conflict with a variety of villains, chiefly wizards, witches, and evil spirits whose powers are - unlike the hero's - supernatural in origin". But this doesn't really make sense in D&D where half the PCs are wizards and witches.
I have always mentally defined "Sword and Sorcery" as "Like the Conan stories", but in the second definition listed here rather than the first. If a design goal of an entire campaign setting was even more pro-murder-hobo than base D&D....well....i'm not sure that's a good goal.
 

grodog

Adventurer
A very interesting conversation, thanks for starting it up, @Snarf Zagyg !

While I am a long-time Greyhawk fan, I too would be interested to see what interesting and new material could be published for Greyhawk. Unless and until WotC releases older editions for publishing via DM's Guild, that means new official Greyhawk material will be written for 5e and 6e, ad not for 1e/OSRIC or the other clones. So, if WotC publishes a Greyhawk book that I like, I'll pick it up. Adapting new material Greyhawk is a natural process that every Greyhawk DM has to do who's not playing with the current rules set; it's not a big deal, and it works forward as well as backward (all of those 1e adventures are also easy to bring forward into 5e too). I do the exact same thing with material from FR, Necromancer Games, Call of Cthulhu, and whatever else feels right to use in my Greyhawk campaigns.

One of the core strengths of Greyhawk (in addition to its resilient and enthusiastic fanbase, who provide support for the setting through many ways, including the Oerth Journal---a freely downloadable professional quality zine---to name just one example among multitudes*) is its flexibilty. When I run a Greyhawk campaign, it may be related to others that I've run before from a story/continuity POV, but it's just as likely that I'll use that game as a fresh start: to play in a region of the setting that I've not explored before (I've not yet run a campaign set in Land of Black Ice or in the era of the Migrations, for example), or to play with new classes/races/rules to try them out (an all-thieves game set in Dyvers, where the PCs are undermining the guilds of Greyhawk City, for example), or to explore multi-planar play among several inter-related Primes (Greyhawk sort of meet's MCU's Nine Realms, as in my two concurrent campaigns). Greyhawk can handle all of these options and more, and deliver a setting that drives gameplay that brings me and the other players to the table each week, excited about the next session.

Greyhawk's core flexibility is grounded in and builds upon both the setting's patchwork publishing history, and the design ethos that Gary and Rob baselined Greyhawk to support:

1. Greyhawk's spotty product support---both in quantity and quality---can be leveraged to your advantage as a DM: because Greyhawk canon is so filled with contradictions, mutually-incompatible evolutions, and alternate takes on the same people, places, and things, it demands that the DM define their take on the setting, to decide what's in and what's out from the options palette during each game. You want an undead-focused globe-trotting save-the-world campaign?---grab the Vecna modules or "Age of Worms" and have at it. You want urban high intrigue among sparring noble families?---use the CIty of Greyhawk boxed set during the signing of the Treaty of Greyhawk, or use Ivid the Undying set during the Turmoil Between Crowns. You want swashbuckling piracy?---build out Feelta's Slave Lord fleet raiding the shores of the Wooly and Relmor Bays, or fight the Scarlet Brotherhood as an Iron League privateer in the Azure Sea. You don't like how the Greyhawk Wars played out?---play the boardgame to a different conclusion, and change history by preventing the assassination of Tenser and Otiluke.

2. Greyhawk's design ethos is built upon the foundations of DIY modular campaigning. Both the 1980 Folio and the 1983 Box, Greyhawk offer a loose framework within which any DM can build and create any campaign they desire. Because it's defined in a light-weight manner---the broad sketching high points of history, geography, and the political topography---that open framework frees the DM to pick and choose among canons, to rewrite history to serve the needs of the game**, but still doesn't force a DM to fill the whole blank-slate work on their own.

I'm on the record about what I think has been done wrong with Greyhawk over the decades, but I don't think any of that would prevent Greyhawk from thriving with the proper attention and support.

Allan.

* For my favorites, see my Greyhawk Links page at grodog's Favorite Greyhawk Links

** A great example of how one DM (Montand on Greytalk but reposted from Greyhawk-l@oracle.wizards.com) proposed changing Greyhawk nearly 20 years ago:


Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2001 05:55:16 -0400
Reply-To: Greyhawk <[log in to unmask]>
Sender: Greyhawk <[log in to unmask]>
From: Taras Guarhoth <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: The Future of Greyhawk
Comments: To: Greytalk <[log in to unmask]>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

Out of chaos, order forms. The civil war winds down in the Sea Princes, and the land coalesces into two stable states. Westkeep was held by the Keoish, but barely, and at great cost to their armies. Now two hostile nations, ruled by former Olman slaves, stare at each other across the lower Javan plains. But as much as they hate each other, they hate those to the north even more. And so it begins.

And out of renewed order, chaos and evil are born. Sterich, retaken from the giants settles back into it's daily life. But something is amiss within the land. A corruption rots at the heart of the old Earldom. A bloody coup is staged, and the Margrave is killed, some whisper sacrificed to foul gods, and the land begins to change. Keoland watches from across the Javan, sending in a token force that it quickly dispatched, their forces spent in the campaigns in the south.

Farther north, the Gran March and Geoff squabble endlessly over the city of Hochoch. Their attention is myopically focused on a tiny chunk of river land, and their resources are quickly dwindling. They fail to notice developments farther to the north, beyond the plains of Bissel. The lands of the Bakluni have been enflamed. A new leader has arisen among them, and demanded that they expand. A horde forms, and sweeps through the hills and vallies of Ket, and then presses beyond, into Bissel, swiftly destroying what resistance that land could muster. But they do not stop there. They press on, into the Gran March and Veluna, thrusting into the hearts of both lands.

Across the Yatils, the Wolf and Tiger nomads join their Bakluni bretherin, riding on Perrenland and Iuz. Although their gains are more modest, they do succeed in keeping the famed mercenaries of Perrenland home, and Iuz from pressing in upon his southern neighbor while Veluna distracts it. And distracted Furyondy is. The cities are scoured and fields emptied to push back the Bakluni horde. Veluna and Furyondy finally reunite, in a hasty attempt to shore up both lands against their invaders, and Ferrond is reborn. The horde is stopped, and pushed back to the Fals Gap...but not quite back through it.

All is not quiet elsewhere, however. Turrosh Mak, barely holding onto power, makes a renewed surge to the north, into the lands of Celene. None stand with the Fey Queen, remembering her refusal to stand with them. None can afford to, either, for war is breaking out. The elves fight hard and fiercly, but, in the end, they fail, and their land is overrun. But not only their land. Narwell and Safeton are ripped from the grasp of Greyhawk. Riots break out in the free cities as refugees flood into Verbobonc, Dyvers, Greyhawk City, and Hardby and chaos reigns in the lands south of the Unknown Depths.

The Pale strikes hard into Tenh, and pushes the Fists and a distracted Iuz from the land, claiming it in the name of He of the Blinding Light. The expanded Theocracy becomes even more repressive and institutes an inquisition across the whole of their land to root out the remnants of Iuz and other non-Pholtine religions, whether good or evil, lawful or chaotic. All will be stamped out in the name of Pholtus, while Nyrond teeters on the brink of collapse to the south, starvation and taxation and warfare having taken a heavy toll on the land.

The lands of Aerdy have not been quiet, either. Old North Province and Old South Province finally settle their scores within the heartlands of that formerly Great Kingdom. Warfare rages, cities burn, and in the end, Xavener takes his rightful place on the Malachite Throne, ruling a reunited empire that stretches from Idee in the south to North Province in the north. The land is awash in humanoids and mercenaries, a new round of civil war ready to sweep the land after it's Second Turmoil Between Crowns...but Xavener has something else in mind...

Aerdy's forces march on Almor, and that ravaged land swiftly returns to the fold of Imperial Aerdy as troops march across the land, sweeping through the near-rebellious Nyrondese. Nyrond rapidly gives ground to the Aerdi, suddenly feeling a dagger in it's side. The Pale. Revolts erupt in the north and west as the renewed warfare brings even greater hardship. Midmeadow openly rebells, and invites Palish troops in. Nyrond finds itself disintegrating rapidly. When the dust settles, the lines have been round to a halt. Rel Mord stands on the border, and Womtham has fallen. Nyrond is a much reduced nation and pleads with the Urnst states for help, which they grudgingly give, allowing the fallen kingdom to keep itself from being swept from the face of the Oerth.

Xavener also sends his troops south...and while Irongate withstands even more years of seige easily, Sunndi is not so lucky. For the second time in under two decades, the land finds itself fallen to Aerdy...and this time, there is no Osson to liberate them. The "king" of Sunndi is executed for treason, and Aerdy sets about occupying the land. But their occupation faces an unexpected setback. Bullywugs and lizardmen and other creatures from the Vast swamp pour out in all directions, slaughtering the forces of Sunndi and Aerdy alike. They claim half the Pawluck valley before they are finally ground to a halt by humanoid troops. The short-lived Kingdom of Sunndi is no more.

But is this all? Or is there more?

============================

Ok. Yes, there was a reason to all of that. A revelation hit me tonight. Greyhawk is stagnant. It is bloated. It is everything we accuse the Forgotten Realms of being, and then some.

Why do I make these outlandish claims?

Let us take a look. It has been a decade since the Wars were published, and like them or hate them, they were the last major change to the Flanaess. Nothing of real note has happened since then. A few borders shifted a little bit, a few faces changed, a few titles changed. But no real change happened. The Flanaess remained in the exact same place it was in 10 Real Life years ago.

And since then, we've sat around doing nothing of note. We've contemplated the scent of Otto's toejam, and what color Mordenkainen's belly-button lint is, all based on obscure passages from books so long out of print they aren't worth worrying about anymore or based on some utterances of some half remembered events that may have actually happened handed down from various creators, which, of course, are at odds with everything published.

And in doing so, we've locked out two simple things.

New People. And New Ideas.

We've let ourselves become every bit as decadent and decrepid as Imperial Aerdy under the last of the Raxes and the Naelaxes. We chained ourselves to our precious "Canon" for so long that we refused to accept the existance of anything not already mentioned in it. Hell, we codified it, in the form of NiteScreed's essay.

And so we damned ourselves.

How did the Forgotten Realms survive for years on a constant stream of product, which is probabily easily triple or quadruple what was produced for Greyhawk? They weren't afraid of change. They weren't afraid to shake things up. They weren't afraid to introduce a fresh face into the halls of power or use a fresh idea. But Greyhawk was. We demanded that villans be heavily tied to the setting, and so we forced the same tired faces to be reused. We never killed our enemies. Doing so would drastically reduce our options.

Greyhawk, if it is to survive, needs to change. It needs to burn, and then rise like a phoenix from it's ashes. It needs to shed itself of the foolish notions of rooting everything in something that came before.

Above was one possibility of how to do this...but there are others...I know, I've heard them. They came from the ancient and near-mythical time of TSR on the AOL boards. I have dim recollections of such things as a Rennisance in Keoland, and a Plague sweeping out of Celene. This is what Greyhawk needs now.

The question is...can we get it from anywhere?

Taras Montand Guarhoth
Canonfire! Canonfire!
Submit Early, Submit Often...but make no mistake, you Will Submit!
 

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