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D&D 5E Greyhawk: Pitching the Reboot

Hussar

Legend
Just a correction to your historical correction. :D

The G series of modules came out in 1978. And, I wonder how the sales were of the Folio edition? I know that I've never actually seen one in print. The boxed set was everywhere, but, that was some time later. The Greyhawk Folio though? Not sure it was that widespread. Certainly nowhere near as popular as some of the modules.
 

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Sithlord

Explorer
The whole point of this thread is to see what niche Greyhawk fits in. We are discussing how GH would work as an alternative to typical D&D. Saying "Oh people won't like this because it's not high-magic enough" defeats the purpose. People buy new setting books for alternative ways of playing D&D.

And yes, there is obviously a market for people who want to play in low-magic settings, even if the PCs themselves do not follow the rules of the setting around them. Some people do want to play Daenarys discovering dragons in a bleak desert, or Geralt helping a hapless town from the griffin taking their livestock.
Greyhawk or Oerth is not low magic. It is the most magical of earth, urth, yrth, and Aerth as described by Gygax.
 

Greyhawk or Oerth is not low magic. It is the most magical of earth, urth, yrth, and Aerth as described by Gygax.
True. I've never understood why it's even considered low magic by some. What with gods vying here and there and championing their positions for power, the many wars and power plays, and not to mention that it was not that developed (thus more of the same was on the horizon), one can almost equate the power employed to events from the ancient Grecian Myth cycles. Sacking of the TOEE led to Robilar's castle (in the campaign, but as recorded in TOEE as published) being sacked and to a major Demoness being released. My Demonic Knights of Doom previewed in Dragon Magazine ended up being re-enlivened in Ivid the Undying. The plot was always thickening in Greyhawk. Just take a look at Maure Castle and try to say that my creation in any way equals low magic. Oerth is not low magic; it's engaged at every level as any rollicking, up-tempo Fantasy setting should be.
 

Sithlord

Explorer
True. I've never understood why it's even considered low magic by some. What with gods vying here and there and championing their positions for power, the many wars and power plays, and not to mention that it was not that developed (thus more of the same was on the horizon), one can almost equate the power employed to events from the ancient Grecian Myth cycles. Sacking of the TOEE led to Robilar's castle (in the campaign, but as recorded in TOEE as published) being sacked and to a major Demoness being released. My Demonic Knights of Doom previewed in Dragon Magazine ended up being re-enlivened in Ivid the Undying. The plot was always thickening in Greyhawk. Just take a look at Maure Castle and try to say that my creation in any way equals low magic. Oerth is not low magic; it's engaged at every level as any rollicking, up-tempo Fantasy setting should be.
One of the thing I really liked about oerth was that it was a very neutrally aligned plane and because of that the outer planes had a strong interest in tilting it in their favor. Iuz became a big deal (and was cool), but the daemons and a strong presence and a good chance of tilting Oerth in their favor.
 

One of the thing I really liked about oerth was that it was a very neutrally aligned plane and because of that the outer planes had a strong interest in tilting it in their favor. Iuz became a big deal (and was cool), but the daemons and a strong presence and a good chance of tilting Oerth in their favor.
Again very true! Methinks (as Gary would have said) that people should re-read Gary's run of "Up on a Soapbox" articles from Dragon Magazine wherein he recounts Mordenkainen's and crew adventures into my own Castle El Raja Key and environs; then his foray against the Iron Golem (1973) recounted in his "Swords & Sorcery in Wargaming" (1975) wherein he retells that adventure (which would move on to be WG5 > Maure Castle); during that adventure in 1973 he discovered a link to my Lost City of the Elders I had started creating (that place was built and eventually lost by a God, no less). That's in 1973-1974; and it only carried forward from that point with demonic invasions (two adventures into my 9 page map-area of Demon World, 1974) and what not. Low magic? <snicker>.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
True. I've never understood why it's even considered low magic by some.

I think that the reason that it's pitched for low magic is two-fold.

The first is as a reaction to the character builds in 5e. Most "classic Greyhawk" (in other words, the 576 CY timeline of the DMG/Folio/WoG/Modules) is considered "low magic" in the sense that the characters are low magic in comparison to 5e characters. To be clear, that doesn't mean that Mordenkainen and Bigby and the other magic users didn't exist; simply that magic items and artifacts provided the impetus for magic for many characters, and martials (such as Robilar) didn't have innate "spell-like" abilities. Many times the term "low magic" is really used as a short-hand for "more like OD&D / 1e."

The second is different, and it's the idea that Greyhawk would be more likely to succeed today if it had something to differentiate it from other fantasy settings (such as FR). Now, if you really know Greyhawk, you know that it's different- but for the causal new player, they both seem similar to "kitchen sink campaigns." Whether the idea is "low magic," or "more gonzo (Barrier Peaks)" or something else, the general idea is ... what aspects of GH can be played up to make it attractive to a new audience?
 

hopeless

Explorer
Emphasize the PCs are the heroes of this game?
There are no high level characters who can step in when things get bad.
But would that be enough to encourage interest?
 

Sithlord

Explorer
God I would kill to see the ides from Gord the Rogue from the first 2 novels used in the setting and some ideas from later novels. Really loved the way the planes worked and the animal lords.
 

I think that the reason that it's pitched for low magic is two-fold.

The first is as a reaction to the character builds in 5e. Most "classic Greyhawk" (in other words, the 576 CY timeline of the DMG/Folio/WoG/Modules) is considered "low magic" in the sense that the characters are low magic in comparison to 5e characters. To be clear, that doesn't mean that Mordenkainen and Bigby and the other magic users didn't exist; simply that magic items and artifacts provided the impetus for magic for many characters, and martials (such as Robilar) didn't have innate "spell-like" abilities. Many times the term "low magic" is really used as a short-hand for "more like OD&D / 1e."

The second is different, and it's the idea that Greyhawk would be more likely to succeed today if it had something to differentiate it from other fantasy settings (such as FR). Now, if you really know Greyhawk, you know that it's different- but for the causal new player, they both seem similar to "kitchen sink campaigns." Whether the idea is "low magic," or "more gonzo (Barrier Peaks)" or something else, the general idea is ... what aspects of GH can be played up to make it attractive to a new audience?
How does one differentiate low level play? Not much difference over any edition for first learners. When one starts that curve upward after getting their feet wet, yes, Greyhawk 1E would be no different (technically) from any other setting updated to 5E. What's the magic formula? I don't believe one exists if you were to whole-cloth re-render WoG as-is and just update it to 5E If there could be one it'd be investment by DM and player in it. Greyhawk would have to be remade and then looped back to what it was. Perhaps Gary had more than a passing contempt in mind when he blew his version of Oerth up in the last Gord novel? It might have been awkwardly prophetic considering the current impasse, as I see it. So? Blow it up and use its past as a relic that the survivors are seeking. You want difference? You got it! Go complete Dying Earth. That's what I'd do. Anything else is just a massage.
 

Emphasize the PCs are the heroes of this game?
There are no high level characters who can step in when things get bad.
But would that be enough to encourage interest?
That's something you can already just sort of do. I don't think you'll sell a book without providing a new option.

Which is where Greyhawk struggles - it is fairly similar to FR in terms of possibility space.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Greyhawk or Oerth is not low magic. It is the most magical of earth, urth, yrth, and Aerth as described by Gygax.

You know Earth has no magic at all right?

Back to my point, compared to Forgotten Realms or Eberron, Oerth is very much low-magic. Yes there are some powerful wizards, but not very many, and the typical village would have only seen the most basic of spellcasting.
 

You know Earth has no magic at all right?

Back to my point, compared to Forgotten Realms or Eberron, Oerth is very much low-magic. Yes there are some powerful wizards, but not very many, and the typical village would have only seen the most basic of spellcasting.
Respectfully, whether a village has or does not have access to magic, and thus by means of some "magic accrual abacus" outweighs, in comparison, Greyhawk's villages or not, has no standing with High or Low Magic, IME. The PCs are the story that as a group act out their play in a Fantasy world backdrop; and it is certain, whether villages have access to such arcana, like a commoner having access to candy from a candy shop, that they will continue to have that at their disposal, for the game is sculpted for that very reason and outcome, to further their engagement in a magical Fantasy realm. The gods to commoners are feared and respected and entreated rarely or with uncertainty at the very least; and for heroes they are patrons and their champions, or at some point their adversaries. This is Heroic Fantasy, so even if you limit the magic, limit the heroes, you just have less--but still being every player character group--which is still 100% of the players having that access. That villagers do not have it is inconsequential, as they are part of the backdrop the PCs are navigating through in their story.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Respectfully, whether a village has or does not have access to magic, and thus by means of some "magic accrual abacus" outweighs, in comparison, Greyhawk's villages or not, has no standing with High or Low Magic, IME. The PCs are the story that as a group act out their play in a Fantasy world backdrop; and it is certain, whether villages have access to such arcana, like a commoner having access to candy from a candy shop, that they will continue to have that at their disposal, for the game is sculpted for that very reason and outcome, to further their engagement in a magical Fantasy realm. The gods to commoners are feared and respected and entreated rarely or with uncertainty at the very least; and for heroes they are patrons and their champions, or at some point their adversaries. This is Heroic Fantasy, so even if you limit the magic, limit the heroes, you just have less--but still being every player character group--which is still 100% of the players having that access. That villagers do not have it is inconsequential, as they are part of the backdrop the PCs are navigating through in their story.

I don't really disagree with anything here, although this does mean that any D&D setting can't be low-magic without putting hard limits on character capability. I disagree with the semantics (I think if the PCs are powerful heroes, but 90% of the world is non-magical, it's still a low-fantasy setting).

That said, I don't really want to disagree strongly with one of Greyhawk's founders, so I will humbly bow out ;) .
 

hopeless

Explorer
Need to explain why its that way.
Was there a war and the world is just barely recovering from the devastation that happened as a result?
And where did all the magic go?
Did the bad guys release some dramatic wave of power that negated magical items perhaps permanently and the world is slowly recovering.
Perhaps the divine gates has sealed away most of the power available before they were created and its a long gradual process to regain what was lost?
How would you handle this?
Is Iuz behind this even or was he freed as a result of it and his rise to power is because he ahs access to that power whilst the locals don't?
 



I don't really disagree with anything here, although this does mean that any D&D setting can't be low-magic without putting hard limits on character capability. I disagree with the semantics (I think if the PCs are powerful heroes, but 90% of the world is non-magical, it's still a low-fantasy setting).

That said, I don't really want to disagree strongly with one of Greyhawk's founders, so I will humbly bow out ;) .
I have no standing in this other than my own views. They are either meritorious or not, whether I'm King Tut or Joe at the end of the bar. So disagree away, I have +3 Hagar armor. ;)
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Again very true! Methinks (as Gary would have said) that people should re-read Gary's run of "Up on a Soapbox" articles from Dragon Magazine wherein he recounts Mordenkainen's and crew adventures into my own Castle El Raja Key and environs; then his foray against the Iron Golem (1973) recounted in his "Swords & Sorcery in Wargaming" (1975) wherein he retells that adventure (which would move on to be WG5 > Maure Castle); during that adventure in 1973 he discovered a link to my Lost City of the Elders I had started creating (that place was built and eventually lost by a God, no less). That's in 1973-1974; and it only carried forward from that point with demonic invasions (two adventures into my 9 page map-area of Demon World, 1974) and what not. Low magic? <snicker>.

I know this is off-topic, but have you considered reaching out to Goodman Games for licensing some of your content like Castle El Raja Key?

They've recently shown a willingness of updating non-WotC owned modules like The Dark Tower by Jennel Jacquays. They have updated a few famous modules as well (Castle Amber, Isle of Dread, etc) for 5E with updated maps and art. I'm sure they would love the opportunity to work with you to bring some of your projects to a new audience.

Just my 2 cents, feel free to ignore... I know from experience that unsolicited business advice is usually bad advice!
 

I know this is off-topic, but have you considered reaching out to Goodman Games for licensing some of your content like Castle El Raja Key?

They've recently shown a willingness of updating non-WotC owned modules like The Dark Tower by Jennel Jacquays. They have updated a few famous modules as well (Castle Amber, Isle of Dread, etc) for 5E with updated maps and art. I'm sure they would love the opportunity to work with you to bring some of your projects to a new audience.

Just my 2 cents, feel free to ignore... I know from experience that unsolicited business advice is usually bad advice!
I know Joe and might well do that. There's a few options cooking. Not to thread-jack, so I'll do the short version: I have some offers I'm considering, but one would involve me setting aside for 6 months a novel that I'm currently sailing along on and that I'm contracted to complete.. El Raja Key is my baby and I'll finish it (flesh it) in 1E and not license it before that's done; it's a stickler, for sure, finding the time to wrap it. The fact is I have too much happening and one of these happenings will likely see me traveling back to the USA in the next 2 months and that's for something other than the novel. The old humorous saying that "I am busier than a one-armed paper hanger with an itch," applies here. ;)
 

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