Greyhawk Elevator Pitch?

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
It's not the city-states itself that I have a problem with. I should have clarified that I meant city-states surrounded by vast, unclaimed wilderness. I don't know if the Italian city-states claimed area bordering on each other (though I'd guess so), but they definitely didn't have vast wilderness.

The areas of Faerun I'm talking about are huge and the spaces in-between are very much unclaimed except by isolated villages, so I'm not sure if the analogy holds. On the other hand, Greyhawk's territory (and I understand Gygax was inspired by the American Old West) includes a lot of wilderness area too, it's just that it all lies within the border of some nation's claims (and some of it is at least occasionally patrolled), unlike in the Forgotten Realms, where the land is implausibly left for monsters to inhabit.
The real world didn't have terrible monsters controlling urban sprawl.

Also, like the real life, the "wilderness" was often "inhabited by folk that are not us." Many of the wilderness areas are inhabited by large numbers of sentient beings. They just don't get on well with human, elves, dwarves, etc.

Also, what would the world look like with multiple species of intelligent peoples who can't interbreed? They may need to be agreed-upon buffers to keep the peace.

But, mostly, D&D is a dangerous place. It's hard for folk to clear out the monsters and keep new ones from moving in, while at the same time dealing with other "civilized" populations with competing interests.
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
It's not the city-states itself that I have a problem with. I should have clarified that I meant city-states surrounded by vast, unclaimed wilderness. I don't know if the Italian city-states claimed area bordering on each other (though I'd guess so), but they definitely didn't have vast wilderness.

The areas of Faerun I'm talking about are huge and the spaces in-between are very much unclaimed except by isolated villages, so I'm not sure if the analogy holds. On the other hand, Greyhawk's territory (and I understand Gygax was inspired by the American Old West) includes a lot of wilderness area too, it's just that it all lies within the border of some nation's claims (and some of it is at least occasionally patrolled), unlike in the Forgotten Realms, where the land is implausibly left for monsters to inhabit.
The areas controlled by the Italian city states where nebulous and largely defined by what their militias could defend. There where no hard lines on the map "You are now leaving Milan, welcome to Venice". The idea that every inch of a map - including wilderness - has to be carved up with imaginary lines between nation-states is a relatively modern one (and I consider 18th century modern) and assumes monsters/large predators/orcs/goblins/Native Americans have been largely exterminated (as well as cartography being advanced enough to actually have accurate maps).

As for the Sword Coast city states, all four of them are maritime powers, looking to the sea for wealth, communications, and a significant proportion of food. They have little incentive to tame a monster-infested interior beyond the farmland necessary to feed the population.
 

gyor

Adventurer
Major trade roads do get parroled by various groups. Also some regions are more civilized then others. Allied City states dominate the the Swordcoast, but other regions have more nation states and Kingdoms, the Old Empires region, the Lands of Intrigue, Shou Lung and Wa, the Unapproachable East, Evermeet, the Western Heartlands, the Cold Lands, ect...

It's really only the the Swordcoast and the North that is like that.
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
Waterdeeps territory is fairily large outside of the borders of the actual city.
And that makes sense - it is very wealthy, has a large population for a "pseudo-medieval" city and good access to magic to make communication faster than "the speed of a fast horse". What it doesn't have is a dotted line which if you step across it you leave Waterdeap State and enter Baldur's Gate State.
 

Parmandur

Legend
And that makes sense - it is very wealthy, has a large population for a "pseudo-medieval" city and good access to magic to make communication faster than "the speed of a fast horse". What it doesn't have is a dotted line which if you step across it you leave Waterdeap State and enter Baldur's Gate State.
zNational borders are a relatively recent historical development. The fuzziness, given the monster-swamped nature of the region, make sense. Leaves it to DM control.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
The best elevator pitch for Greyhawk yet?

Greyhawk- at least you won't have pages of Forgotten Realms people squabbling with you about how to run your campaign the right way.
 

Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
See, this is a prime example of the Forgotten Realms trying to subsume Greyawk! You can't even have a thread about Greyhawk without the discussion shifting to the Forgotten Realms. ;)
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
The great cartography and political borderlines never bothered me, and still don't, about GH. After all, when you have divination magic and can ride a hypogriff, it's not hard to make perfect maps. Sure, such connotations may not be something we Earthlings developed until far later, but for a fantasy world that has access to magic and aerial surveys, it makes sense that maps would be available (at least to the political rulers) and it makes sense that kings and queens would want to lay claim to as much of it as they can, even if they can't patrol or hold it.
 

ninjayeti

Explorer
I'd say Greyhawk is the In-N-Out Burger to FR's McDonald's: their both just selling cheeseburgers and fries, but lots of people will swear one does it much better than the other.
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
I would say Greyhawk is the equivalent of buying an uncooked pattie, some cheese slices and a bread roll and making your own burgers at home.
 

Radaceus

Villager
I'd say Greyhawk is the equivalent of McDonalds (i.e., FR owners) buying In and Out Burgers and stripping what IP they could from it and reskinning the end product as their own, shelving the rest, and 30 years into the future all burgers are McDonalds burgers, In and Out burgers have no canon to bring forth to the fight.
 

gyor

Adventurer
See, this is a prime example of the Forgotten Realms trying to subsume Greyawk! You can't even have a thread about Greyhawk without the discussion shifting to the Forgotten Realms. ;)
Maybe they, should just make Greyhawk about of the Forgotten Realms. They already share more then any two other none metasettings (Planescape and Spelljammer being metasettings).
 

Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
Maybe they, should just make Greyhawk about of the Forgotten Realms. They already share more then any two other none metasettings (Planescape and Spelljammer being metasettings).
That idea should die in a fire.
 

Psyzhran2357

Villager
All I'm seeing right now is a big argument about the merits of Sunbeam vs Wonder Bread, :erm:
Maybe they, should just make Greyhawk about of the Forgotten Realms. They already share more then any two other none metasettings (Planescape and Spelljammer being metasettings).
If it helps bring back Spelljammer, then yes please.
 
I'm new to the forum so don't judge me too harshly, but here's my impression of what is compelling about Greyhawk compared to other settings...

Forgotten Realms is the default setting partly because it's the place where things never truly get screwed up beyond repair. Yes Tiamat almost returns and Acerarak almost creates a Death God, but the BBEGs are always foiled, peace returns to the Sword Coast, all thanks to our intrepid heroes (and the lore literally has some strong as hell good characters like Elminster and Drizzt played up). That's a pretty good setting for it's own uses, especially as an introduction for new players.

But Greyhawk isn't that. I won't say it's truly as grimdark as Warhammer Fantasy (where everything is on the verge of total annihilation) or Dark Sun (where everything is already screwed up beyond repair), but it is in this zone where there are good guys, but there are way more bad guys, and even the good guys often make morally dubious decisions to survive. In that way, it feels a lot more real than the "Everything will work out" of FR and the "We are already totally screwed" of Dark Sun.

And in that way, it makes the antagonists (Iuz, Yggwilv, Kyuss, Vecna, and Rary) way more interesting because they linger between "can win, but can also lose." The villains in FR never truly feel threatening because you feel someone's going to beat them. The villains in Dark Sun are threatening but have mostly already won. The villains in Greyhawk haven't yet won, but it feels like they can. I haven't watched Critical Role but that to me is a big reason why Vecna is one of their BBEG.

Anyway that's my pitch. Feels more realistic, feels more threatening, and there's a lot of room for customization of setting and character.
 

Saracenus

Adventurer
The World of Greyhawk is a collection humano-centric faux-Medieval European civilizations surrounded and beset by fantastic creatures, magic, and ancient dungeons. It is the blueprint on which many a subsequent published campaign was built or it was spurned in attempt to do something "different."

Truth is, Greyhawk has had many incarnations and authors in its publication history. Each brought a different point of view to Greyhawk.

I think the most important thing is found in the Forward of the World of Greyhawk box set from 1983...

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Greyhawk is what you make of it.

Is it a composite of Gygax's Appendix N from the 1st Edition DMG al la the Folio and Box set?
Is it the war-torn and grim-dark world of Carl Sargent's From The Ashes?
Is it the reconciling "Silver Age" of Greyhawk during the Anne Brown/Roger Moore/Sean K. Reynolds era?
Is it the sprawling Living Greyhawk shared world Organized Play brought us on the heels of Brown/Moore/Reynolds?

Or is it your interpretation of one or more of these possible Greyhawks?

You decide.
 

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