D&D (2024) Greyhawk Confirmed. Tell Me Why.

pemerton

Legend
That explains why magic isn't as prevalent on Oerth as on Toril.
I'm a bit sceptical about this claim.

Prompted by learning about Quests From the Infinite Staircase, I'm reading my copy of Beyond The Crystal Cave. The small fishing port of Sybar has a 5th level cleric and a 5th level MU among its inhabitants. And a magical garden in its hinterland.

The DMG City/Town encounter matrix, which presumably is suitable for use in GH cities and towns, has an indentured MU as part of each guards encounter, and an indentured cleric as part of each watch encounter.

There are plenty of MUs and clerics on the random NPC tables in the DMG too. The rulers of GH, according to the Gazetteer and boxed set, include plenty of high level magic-using PCs. The City of GH boxed set gives us a magical university, a wizard's guild and a Society of Magi as features of the place.

You can hardly throw a stone in the Great Kingdom without hitting a demon summoner or their summoned fiend.

Etc.

GH, as a setting, is permeated by magic.
 

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Chaosmancer

Legend
This gets a big sigh out of me. Paizo, as a company, is based on adventures and subscriptions. They have multi-year plans for material they will release about the lore of the world over that time, as well as new rulebooks they will produce.

As a result, they plan adventures to coincide with those other books, to lead up to or follow them and generate interest. There's no need to pick up multiple books to run a Paizo adventure path. You can pick up the book, read it, and run it. And if you're interested in the part of the world it's set in, you can pick up a book about it. The adventure can be run just with the book.

Okay, I think I may have misunderstood your original point then. It is more like they know they are releasing the "Big Book of the Gods" in 2026 and so they plan to have a divine focused adventure at the same time? That is far less onerous to deal with.

But they also are committing to making things long before they are relevant, so everyone knows for years when something they want will be available? That's a tricky model, with a lack of flexibility.

What is WotC's similar plan? In the past, they've had plans for books on different character options or parts of the adventuring world planned out, and you similarly had an adventure to go with that. They aren't giving off any signals at all about that.

And moreso, there is little if any consistency within actual chapters of a single adventure. Morrus said that this has gotten better, and I trust him, so I hope that part is getting better.

What WotC does not give off, to me anyway, is a semblance that there's a development cycle plan overall for the game. Yes, we are going to have a staggered release schedule that will likely be fairly well organized, but after that? Don't know. It sounds like that's not a concern for you, so enjoy it. For me? I'd prefer to know what's coming and for things to seem like they're organized. Right now, it's like the game is herding cats. It seems like this is really about "how do you feel WotC is shepherding the game right now?" For me, I have some issues. I hope things get straightened out with the launch. We'll see, I guess.

It is fair that Paizo announcing a product three to five years before they release it is comforting to you. But I don't see the lack of that from WoTC as a problem. They announce things a year in advance, and they still get a lot of flak for things when something is or is not released, even though we all know what is being planned for the year.

And, while it can be good for people to know that in five years they plan to release a set of rules for Canines and a set of dog-focused adventures... it is also equally good for them to not have solid plans locked in like that. To see where the market is, what is popular, what is planned. Dragonlance didn't get much traction, and they had a dispute with the authors. If they'd planned two years of Dragonlance content and locked that in... it could have been a major blow to the company. Either they need to pivot, and the schedule is unreliable, or they need to commit to two years of products that are not selling well and having a legal dispute.

I am not here to say which style you need to like more than the other, I've followed companies that do both styles of announcements. What I am saying is that approaching their year to year flexibility, and desire to keep things under wraps, as a lack of vision or lack of plan seems uncharitable. After all, do we have any evidence that they DIDN'T have a five year plan, beyond simply saying "it doesn't look like it"? Perhaps they had multiple five year plans, and when one was showing signs of not working, they pivoted to a different one.

I agree we do not know, but I also acknowledge that... this is not the kindest community. And I cannot blame them for not making themselves vulnerable to the community.
 

pemerton

Legend
Based on the demographic generation stuff in the 3E DMG, Greyhawk seems to be a pretty high magic Setting.
I think there is probably something sensible to be said about the overall difference in tone between FR and GH. But I don't think prevalence of magic is the right way in.

I don't think it's easy to find a neutral way of framing it - and I'll admit to being a bit of a GH partisan - but I think FR is a bit more "comfortable" - which can perhaps verge on twee or cartoonish - than GH.
 

That explains why magic isn't as prevalent on Oerth as on Toril.
I don't get the impression magic is less prevalent on Oerth than it is on Toril - I'm far from an expert, but I've always seen them as both pretty high magic settings.

I think what that passage is saying is that the magic of Oerth has a very different "feel" to it than that of Toril.

As I understand it, Oerth is implied to be much, much older than Toril - it's home to the Fields of Pesh, for one, the site of the legendary battle where the Wind Dukes of Aaqa defeated Miska the Wolf-Spider, an event that ended a giant, multiverse-spanning war between Law and Chaos (which I believe has been largely rolled into the concept of "the Dawn War" since 4e) deep in planar pre-history and shattered the dominion of the obyriths over the Abyss, leading to the dominance of the "tanar'ri" demons we see today.

In other words, "Oerth was old when this world Toril was young", and while it's not quite at the level of Dark Sun, it still leans fairly heavily into the influence of Vance's Dying Earth and the like. It's an ancient world nearing the end of its proverbial lifespan (in cosmic/geologic terms), and everything from its lands to its magic bear the scars of untold eons of wear and tear that a younger world like Toril, for all the cataclysms and upheavals it's endured, simply hasn't had the time to accumulate.
 
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Hussar

Legend
There are a few key differences.

For one, the typical area of Greyhawk - the Darlene map are that most people associate with Greyhawk- is a helluva lot smaller than Faerun. It’s about the size of the Sword Coast map we’ve used for 5e.

Greyhawk is also a lot more empty. Either in terms of not being particularly detailed - there are vast areas that have maybe a page of details - or literally empty as in population densities typically associated with the Sahara desert. There’s just, at least by official lore, nobody there.

It does make sense when you consider that nearly all of the lands of Greyhawk were pretty much obliterated on the Rain of Colorless Fire. There just hasn’t been enough time to repopulate the lands. I mean, sure it’s been a thousand years, but at medieval level birth rates, it could easily take that long to recover.
 

Azzy

ᚳᚣᚾᛖᚹᚢᛚᚠ
It does make sense when you consider that nearly all of the lands of Greyhawk were pretty much obliterated on the Rain of Colorless Fire. There just hasn’t been enough time to repopulate the lands. I mean, sure it’s been a thousand years, but at medieval level birth rates, it could easily take that long to recover.
The Rain of Colorless Fire only affected the area currently known as the Sea of Dust, west of the Flanaess proper.
 

I just looked up Quests from the Infinite Staircase, and this WotC site is the first thing that popped up in Google:


Here's the blurb:

6 remastered classic adventures from D&D’s history: The Lost City, When a Star Falls, Beyond the Crystal Cave, Pharaoh, The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, and Expeditions to the Barrier Peaks.​

So one thing I notice is that "Expedition" has become "Expeditions" - I'm guessing that's an error, but it's a bit weird that WotC can't afford proper copy-editing on their shopfront.

Another thing I notice is that this is a bit of a mix of adventures. Pharaoh, Lost Caverns and Expedition are all hard-core dungeon crawls. Beyond the Crystal Cave is notorious for the mis-match between scenario and system, and I think even in 5e will be tricky to pull off. The Lost City has an explanatory element that is different from the others. When A Star Falls I've heard of, but don't know (unlike the others) - being a UK modules I'm going to speculate that it is also different from the first three dungeon-crawlers.

Anyway, when I think of an X-based anthology I think of some challenges in presenting X1 in a non-racist way, and some challenges in presenting X2 in a non-absurd way - but maybe it could be done?
I think Expeditions is just a typo. It's called Expedition everywhere else for that book.
 

Hussar

Legend
The Rain of Colorless Fire only affected the area currently known as the Sea of Dust, west of the Flanaess proper.
Well, true. Basically, everything west of the mountains west of Greyhawk ceased to exist. The lands of Greyhawk proper were mostly empty as it was the movement of the Suloise and Baklunish, for lack of better term, refugees that mostly settled large swaths of Greyhawk.

The point being, the lands that are typically associated with Greyhawk are really, really sparse. This is a major difference from Forgotten Realms where there are settlements, and quite large settlements, all over the place. Put it this way. The Great Kingdom, including the North and South Provinces and Medegia is roughly 3 million square miles. About the size of Australia. It has a total population of 5 million. That's it. That's the total population of the Great Kingdom.

That's the population density of Greenland!

Or, put it another way. Greyhawk has an official population of just shy of 70 000. That's a bit bigger than half the size of Baldur's Gate. Never minding Waterdeep. Or, about half the size of Athkathla. Granted, it's quite a bit bigger than Neverwinter (about 30 000) but, considering Neverwinter is one of FOUR major cities on the Sword Coast - a sparsely inhabited area of Faerun, I think it's very fair to say that Greyhawk is FREAKING EMPTY.
 
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pemerton

Legend
the typical area of Greyhawk - the Darlene map are that most people associate with Greyhawk- is a helluva lot smaller than Faerun. It’s about the size of the Sword Coast map we’ve used for 5e.
The Great Kingdom, including the North and South Provinces and Medegia is roughly 3 million square miles. About the size of Australia.
This suggests that the FR map is absolutely vast, given that that Australia-sized area is only a small portion of the Darlene map.

Greyhawk is also a lot more empty. Either in terms of not being particularly detailed - there are vast areas that have maybe a page of details - or literally empty as in population densities typically associated with the Sahara desert. There’s just, at least by official lore, nobody there.
the lands that are typically associated with Greyhawk are really, really sparse. This is a major difference from Forgotten Realms where there are settlements, and quite large settlements, all over the place. Put it this way. The Great Kingdom, including the North and South Provinces and Medegia is roughly 3 million square miles. About the size of Australia. It has a total population of 5 million. That's it. That's the total population of the Great Kingdom.

That's the population density of Greenland!

Or, put it another way. Greyhawk has an official population of just shy of 70 000. That's a bit bigger than half the size of Baldur's Gate. Never minding Waterdeep. Or, about half the size of Athkathla. Granted, it's quite a bit bigger than Neverwinter (about 30 000) but, considering Neverwinter is one of FOUR major cities on the Sword Coast - a sparsely inhabited area of Faerun, I think it's very fair to say that Greyhawk is FREAKING EMPTY.
A 70,000 person city is not small by mediaeval European standards.

But on the bigger issue of population densities, I reckon you may have given this more thought than the authors of the GH material! Nothing else about the setting - eg the way its level of technological capability and economic integration is presented - seems to imply that it is sparsely populated.

Maybe the idea was that the distances and spaces would work well for wilderness travel and kingdom creation purposes?

Well, true. Basically, everything west of the mountains west of Greyhawk ceased to exist. The lands of Greyhawk proper were mostly empty as it was the movement of the Suloise and Baklunish, for lack of better term, refugees that mostly settled large swaths of Greyhawk.
It does make sense when you consider that nearly all of the lands of Greyhawk were pretty much obliterated on the Rain of Colorless Fire. There just hasn’t been enough time to repopulate the lands. I mean, sure it’s been a thousand years, but at medieval level birth rates, it could easily take that long to recover.
This is where GH shows its origins. I conjecture that the presentation in the upcoming DMG will find a way of downplaying this whole "settlement of a land empty but for a few Indigenous peoples" aspect of GH.

(I also very much doubt that Gygax or anyone else was doing scientific demographic calculations to work out how long "repopulation" would take.)
 

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