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

Hussar

Legend
Heh. Isn’t that always the way? Someone plunks something down because it sounds like a good idea then an army of nerds try to backfill to make it make sense.
 

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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.
These early adventures were not written for Greyhawk. They were written for the authors' own settings, then plonked into Greyhawk because that was the official D&D setting. So the individual adventures were written with widely differing concepts of what the world is like.
 

Hussar

Legend
These early adventures were not written for Greyhawk. They were written for the authors' own settings, then plonked into Greyhawk because that was the official D&D setting. So the individual adventures were written with widely differing concepts of what the world is like.
There's a bit of Chicken and the Egg going on. Yes, the modules weren't built specifically for Greyhawk, but, largely, these modules are what became Greyhawk. However, Beyond the Crystal Cave was specifically set in Greyhawk. No, it wasn't "plonked into Greyhawk". It was published in 1983. Greyhawk was pretty well established by that point.

But, yeah, there's a lot more wiggle room back then. Things were not tightly controlled, mostly because there was just so little lore and they were publishing so quickly.
 


pemerton

Legend
These early adventures were not written for Greyhawk. They were written for the authors' own settings, then plonked into Greyhawk because that was the official D&D setting. So the individual adventures were written with widely differing concepts of what the world is like.
The Gygax modules are not "low magic". Gygax wrote the DMG encounter tables, which are not light on MUs and clerics. The Gazetteer is not low on MUs and clerics either.

Beyond the Crystal Cave doesn't depart from other GH stuff in its level of magic.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
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.
The real difference is that Greyhawk was built as a wargaming playground (hence the detailing of each state's troop dispostions and composition), while the Forgotten Realms were first and foremost a place to situate a broad array of fan-ficyion (hence why it has Lankhmar, Valinar, and Aslan)
 
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Parmandur

Book-Friend
This suggests that the FR map is absolutely vast, given that that Australia-sized area is only a small portion of the Darlene map.
Faerûn is massive: the original Grey Box map had 16 folds, and two of rhtose folds are the Sword Coast region 5E has focused on, which is larger than Europe by a fair shake.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
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.
Not to get too deep into the weeds, but you might want to be leery of some of those numbers: a hot topic in the Greyhawk meganerd community is if those are actual population figures, or military manpower figures: so there may not be 5 million people in the Great Kingdom, it might be that there are 5 million eligible for military service. Amd there is reason to think that based on the text, IIRC.
 

Not to get too deep into the weeds, but you might want to be leery of some of those numbers: a hot topic in the Greyhawk meganerd community is if those are actual population figures, or military manpower figures: so there may not be 5 million people in the Great Kingdom, it might be that there are 5 million eligible for military service. Amd there is reason to think that based on the text, IIRC.
I mean, just from a practical standpoint, it would be difficult to support a powerful nation of that size with even medium-sized cities with that low of a population. Australia and Greenland at least have the excuse of having large swathes of inhospitable land, which the Great Kingdom does not. There's no sign of magic augmentation unless they have summoned fiends working in the army and in the fields on a massive scale (I don't doubt they have both on a small scale, though). Bluntly, the massive offensive they undertook in the Greyhawk Wars would have been impossible.
 


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