D&D 5E Greyhawk: Why We Need Mo' Oerth by 2024

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Supporter
This. Viewed as a whole FR lore is a mess, but players don't get to see it as a whole. They only see a tiny part of it. Only the bit the players see needs to make sense.

I agree, except ..... it depends on the table.

Everyone has had the experience of playing with someone who is really into a setting. If you've played with someone who is really, really, really into FR lore, one of two things can happen-

(A) That person sets it aside, because they realize that the DM controls what is really true within that world; or

(B) That person can't set it aside, because their headcanon is too strong, and the experience is miserable for everyone.

A is great. B? Not so much. I think most players, thankfully, fall within A.


ETA- I would add that disregarding the lore of FR also disregards one of its greatest advantages. I mean, regardless of how you feel about the setting overall, it has had the advantage of a lot of work that has gone into it.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
It is strange that Forgotten Realms always insists on some cataclysmic event (or un-event, in the case of reversing the Spellplague) to explain edition changes. I don't recall any other setting doing this...well Dragonlance SAGA maybe, but that's a completely different system.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
I'm running a campaign in Greyhawk after over a year running in FR. Its a breath of fresh air for us, where no one really knows as much about Greyhawk compared to FR (due to all the focus on FR, novels, etc.). Its also mostly a blank slate. I can run it straight from the original core box, which really just gives broad strokes of areas, relationships, and lore. Its almost like running a homebrew, except it comes with a huge hex map and pre determined country boundaries (for the areas covered by the maps). I've drilled down into the Furyondy/Iuz border, immediately post From the Ashes, and the party is travelling in that area. Again, I'm left with lots of room for switching up deities, enemies, etc., and none of my players are like "wait, wasn't that X who did that in 1459 DR?"

Granted, what I'm saying can apply to any campaign, but I have no interest in Eberron (steam punk/techno is a no go), or Exandria, or Dark Sun (players moan about non metal weapons), or Dragonlance (we did that 30 years ago). Greyhawk feels unexplored to us, and that's good enough.

Edit: I'm not sure that I want a 5e, current, sourcebook on Greyhawk. I'd prefer they just leave it and maybe focus on some new setting that they can push in whatever direction they want. Although, I guess it doesn't really matter in the end, as we're all free to use 5e, or whatever edition we prefer to run in, and use all the lore thats out there anyway.

Is a 5e supplement strictly necessary - not at all. Heck the Greyhawk Gazateer alone is essentially system agnostic (though technically it's for 3e) and is packed with more than enough ideas for a lifetime of campaigns.

But I'm lazy and would love some new ideas to steal and adapt, particularly nicely packaged in a 5e coating so I don't even have to waste effort converting.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Supporter
It is strange that Forgotten Realms always insists on some cataclysmic event (or un-event, in the case of reversing the Spellplague) to explain edition changes. I don't recall any other setting doing this...well Dragonlance SAGA maybe, but that's a completely different system.

In fairness-

(1) A lot of FR fans haven't been particularly happy with that; and

(2) This is pretty familiar to comic book fans, too! (How many giant events do we need to retcon the past?)
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
In fairness-

(1) A lot of FR fans haven't been particularly happy with that; and

(2) This is pretty familiar to comic book fans, too! (How many giant events do we need to retcon the past?)

It's not like Greyhawk hasn't tried pulling the same stunt -that was the whole point of Fate of Istus!

I'll have to reread it when I have a moment. I remember it having some fun adventures but overall being pretty clunky.
 

If you've played with someone who is really, really, really into FR lore, one of two things can happen-

(A) That person sets it aside, because they realize that the DM controls what is really true within that world; or

(B) That person can't set it aside, because their headcanon is too strong, and the experience is miserable for everyone.

A is great. B? Not so much. I think most players, thankfully, fall within A.
Frankly, if I had a player in my group who knew a setting better than I did, I would switch to a different setting. Not so much for my benefit as for theirs. The DM gradually revealing the setting is a big part of the fun of playing.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I'd actually rather they make it a flexible campaign setting that gives players the tools to do what they want with it. A simple template for it to evolve into a half homebrew setting for its players, like they did with Ravenloft.
The reason why i think this is the best approach is because it goes back to the very roots of the Campaign setting from the 70s, thats how Gygax designed it, a unfinished portrait that the players/adventure writers fill in the details
Grab a chair and let me tell you about a magical setting from the days of 4e called the Nentir Vale...
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Supporter
It's not like Greyhawk hasn't tried pulling the same stunt -that was the whole point of Fate of Istus!

I'll have to reread it when I have a moment. I remember it having some fun adventures but overall being pretty clunky.

Oof. I think I stuffed that one (it "explained" the transition from 1e to 2e ...) down the memory hole.

Pretty sure that WG7 and WG8 were just a big "FU" to the Greyhawk fans. Because any other explanation wouldn't make much sense.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
I mean there have been shakeups of other settings. That time a major wheel of Mechanus came down and smooshed another one, leaving us without Modrons for awhile (and instead we got the rise of the Inevitables), and then of course, the Grand Reshuffling of Ravenloft, but those are metaplot events.

I had forgotten about Istus, but it does seem the FR gets hit with this more often than not. I mean, has Athas even noticed an edition change?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
At a fundamental level, there is a difference between Greyhawk and FR as it related to lore and canon that is neither better, nor worse, but different. And, as a general rule, I think that the difference tends to appeal to different sets of people. I would further say that this difference is mostly an accident and a legacy of history- not something that was necessarily foreordained.

As I have written about before (and alluded to here), TSR (and Gygax) didn't understand that people would want pre-made adventures and settings. That's why they were happy to license that material to Judge's Guild at the beginning; the real money was in the rules (and, of course, TSR was originally set up to publish a lot of different rules for different games). So it was only somewhat belatedly that Gygax and TSR saw that people were clamoring to hand them money for adventures (modules) and a campaign setting. That's when Gygax used the (modified) version of his home setting as the first D&D official campaign setting- Greyhawk.

But there was still the core belief that DMs would just use the material and make it their own. Which is why the original Greyhawk (folio, campaign setting) is unlike more modern settings in a way that is surprising to, say, a modern FR reader- it is basically just a skeletal outline, full of ambiguities and hooks, waiting for a table to make it their own. Every Greyhawk is, essentially, different, because every table will come to different answers to the hooks provided within the setting; in addition, this was completely in keeping with the multiverse ethos at the time, which provided that there were an infinite number of Greyhawks that a person could travel to, each slightly different (in fact, this was the way that people could "port" their PCs from one campaign to the next).

The very first FR, as modelled in the Gray Box, was both different than GH, but also subtly the same in that it provided more questions than answers. To this day, that is why you see that there are people that will say, "I am an FR fan, but I like the Gray Box." In effect, they are pining for the FR version of that early GH ethos (I would add that the Gray Box also had rules for portal-ing your characters over ....). But this is where the paths in the woods diverged.

Because Gygax was ousted, Greyhawk never incorporated all that additional lore (or cruft). Sure, there were updates in the timeline, but because GH never added hundred of narrative books, and computer games, and ate up additional campaign settings, and had to keep retconning features to keep up with changes (the "spellsunderingplague") ... and because there was always some degree of flexibility regarding "canon" and "lore" because of the very nature of how it started ... it was always more open-ended.

FR, on the other hand, as I have stated ... well, the lore has lore that has lore. There are guides that go through, in detail, the levels of canon. The thing is- as a geek, I understand why that is appealing! There are many of us that love to do the deep dives into lore and canon- whether it is Star Trek, or Doctor Who, or Marvel/DC, or any one of a number of subjects that gets the blood pumping (or angered, as it seems increasingly the case). And, as you correctly note- FR, more than any other setting, has the mostest. Of all of it. Which is either a great thing, or a not great thing, depending on your approach.

There are people that totally love all that lore and canon and get into it! I think that's awesome. Others ... not so much. That's fine too.
This is a very good post. The only thing I'd like to add is that I've been running the Forgotten Realms since the Gray Box and while there is a ton of lore that has lore, there are also still a ton of unknowns and rumors for the DM to use make the setting his own and scratch that creative itch. The holes aren't as large as you get with Greyhawk, but there is still a lot of room for the DM.
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top