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

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Mordenkainen's Movie Madness! Starring The Grandmaster of Flowers (who may be Bahamut) in....The Seven Secrets of Kung-Fu Death!
 

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Orius

Legend
Calling anything after the first Gord book a "novel" is overly generous.

I have always felt that if you meet someone who is still unable to acknowledge that Gygax had any faults ... just sentence them to reading the whole Gord series.

Gord can't possibly be worse than Rose Estes' books. I won't even dignify them by calling them novels.


It's interesting that the people who keep arguing that there should be no Greyhawk are those that are heavily invested in the idea that (1) other people should not be allowed to have what they want, and (2) the pushback would actually be from fans of the setting, as opposed to the continued drumbeat of, "Fans of Greyhawk can't have Greyhawk because I, someone who doesn't like Greyhawk, keep saying that all true fans of Greyhawk don't want it!"

It's especially weird in a thread that explicitly states that a primary purpose of a rebooted Greyhawk is to attract new fans.

I mean, I suppose people could show up to threads about Nentir Vale, or Dark Sun, and start caterwauling about how no true fan of those settings would actually want it to be rebooted. But that would be rude, and unlikely to be a productive use of anyone's time.

I don't think that Greyhawk fans shouldn't be given what they want, I just don't think the setting can really succeed, and WotC probably doesn't want to take any risks on it. Unfortunately, it has some valuable IP so they don't want to just give it up either.
 


grimslade

Krampus ate my d20s
I would love to see Greyhawk for 5E. I love Greyhawk. The WoG boxset was my first purchase with birthday money as a kid. I played a lot to Living Greyhawk in 3E (Kingdom of Keoland represent), so it is near and dear to my heart.
That being said, I would like to see Greyhawk updated a bit. I have everything from before, I don't need a reprint. The setting needs the damage of 3 major revisions to be buffed out and it needs to mesh with the new aesthetic of 5E. You keep the soul of the world Gygax created but filter it to a modern audience. Play up the Circle of Eight, the defenders of the status quo, meddling wizards of immense power and almost antimoral stances.

I want a Gygaxian Game of Thrones. I want the names that echo across almost 50 years of gaming to have context for newer players.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Waaay back in 3.5, the PHB2, I think it was, published a Feat called Robilar's Gambit. I had to explain to my group who that even was, and why he had a Feat named for him (amusing, really, since the character existed in an era where Feats weren't even a twinkle in a game designer's eye).

WotC is constantly mining older sources for content. That's why we have books named for Mordenkainen and Tasha, and why spells are properly attributed to their creators. The PHB doesn't have Elminster's Simulacrum, but it sure does have Bigby's Hand.

And like I mentioned before, they have no problems taking things that rightly belong in Greyhawk and dropping them in somewhere else, like Acererak's schemes moving to Chult, of all places.

But despite these name drops, presumably kept in to make D&D 'feel' like D&D, WotC quickly moves onto other settings. Funny how that works.

You have people in the Forgotten Realms casting Leomund's Tiny Hut without even a "Leomund who?".*

Basically, they know that the majority of people who play D&D, their customers, don't know enough of Greyhawk lore to want the setting- but they also know that everyone knows about the Hand and Eye of Vecna.

*I do recall the old 2e Netheril boxed set tried to rectify this by giving lore-friendly names to all spells. Never really took off. Nor have attempts to take the names of the creator's off their spells.
 

Warpiglet-7

Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
I think the most mind boggling thing about Greyhawk and 5e is just that; how much have been scooped up and reapprpriated.

Who would even like Greyhawk these days? Apparently the fan base if it had not been plundered. If all of these characters and ideas are so great that we take them, feature them and make them central to modules, books, spells artifacts and so on, why wouldn’t we like Greyhawk?

I think the idea that it has all been done before is so frustrating because it’s all still being used! It’s not been done before, it’s still half ass being done!

Now the question I have is this: could this all be marketing fodder for a Greyhawk book? “Explore Oerth and learn the origins of Tasha, Vecna, Mordenkainen…adventure in their world if you dare!”

Ah well, to dream. But as I said before, we might be looking at this all wrong. Product lines don’t have to go after only one variety in a line. Doing this book does not mean other settings are off the table.

I am pessimistic about the chances, sadly.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
I think the most mind boggling thing about Greyhawk and 5e is just that; how much have been scooped up and reapprpriated.

Who would even like Greyhawk these days? Apparently the fan base if it had not been plundered. If all of these characters and ideas are so great that we take them, feature them and make them central to modules, books, spells artifacts and so on, why wouldn’t we like Greyhawk?

I think the idea that it has all been done before is so frustrating because it’s all still being used! It’s not been done before, it’s still half ass being done!

Now the question I have is this: could this all be marketing fodder for a Greyhawk book? “Explore Oerth and learn the origins of Tasha, Vecna, Mordenkainen…adventure in their world if you dare!”

Ah well, to dream. But as I said before, we might be looking at this all wrong. Product lines don’t have to go after only one variety in a line. Doing this book does not mean other settings are off the table.

I am pessimistic about the chances, sadly.


"You know the names... Now find out where they came from!" Is a pretty good elevator/sales pitch.

Again, nostalgia is big these days.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
"You know the names... Now find out where they came from!" Is a pretty good elevator/sales pitch.

Again, nostalgia is big these days.

It's kind of weird. Given how much we recycle older IP, it would seem almost like brand mismanagement to NOT relaunch Greyhawk for the 50th.

That said, I was going to comment on this from earlier-
I don't think that Greyhawk fans shouldn't be given what they want, I just don't think the setting can really succeed, and WotC probably doesn't want to take any risks on it. Unfortunately, it has some valuable IP so they don't want to just give it up either.

This is what is mind-boggling to me. The setting can't succeed? Based on what metrics? At worst, you'd be looking at a Strixhaven or Theros. A setting that sells a few books and doesn't otherwise have a lot of current 5e games within it. At best, it could ride a wave of nostalgia and youtube and twitch videos. Most likely it would be somewhere in-between.

But just remember the initial survey from WoTC when 5e was launched. There were three tiers of settings-
A. Eberron, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, Planescape, and the Forgotten Realms.
B. Greyhawk, Dragonlance, and Spelljammer.
("Fairly Steep Drop-Off")
C. Every. Other. Setting.

Now, notice something? We are short three of the classic settings that people want. And one of those ... is Greyhawk. Moreover, there continues to be a lot of support for Greyhawk- from numerous websites that list the canon and the lore, to the quarterly Oerth Journal to multiple wikis to numerous prominent supporters that are also game developers to the multitude of maps (interactive and not) including the excellent work of Anna Meyer ... the list goes on. Greyhawk, despite even being allowed on the DM's Guild, continues to be incredibly well supported through numerous sources.

And I will continue to say that the majority of the pushback that I have seen is not from the oldest fans, nor is it from the youngest 5e fans (the ones that first start playing D&D with 5e), but is instead with ... well, others.

Because one thing I have noticed, over and over again, is that the the kids joining today shouldn't be underestimated. They are amazing. Eventually, they start to ask questions- like ... who is Leomund? Why does Bigby care about a hand? Where did that joke about Vecna's head come from? Why are there now multiple books from Mordenkainen?

The upcoming generation of new D&D players is pretty awesome, and they deserve a Greyhawk of their own. I would love to see what they will do with it.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
I have just never seen what of Greyhawk makes it worth bringing back for new players such as myself. The primary thing that I think matters with a Fantasy world is its aesthetic, which enabels and flavors the stories in that setting. However, the aesthetics of Greyhawk are really just generic Fantasy Aesthetics with a likewise generic Dark Fantasy twist. While in the 70s and 80s, the idea of Greyhawk was still fertile, and S&S + Dark Fantasy was a relatively young genre. But in 2022, what does Greyhawk offer that other settings don't?

I'm not a fan of the Forgotten Realms, but I don't see how I couldn't do literally anything and everything in Greyhawk in the Forgotten Realms, or even better, as a homebrew product. And when I look at 3rd Party, this aesthetic is covered by Kobold Press, Midnight, Symbaroum, and so on. So why would I, as someone who has no nostalgic connection to Greyhawk, want to play it when literally before I was born the idea was already stale, and has only gotten more stale with all the innovations in the genre sense.

Now, if Greyhawk returned back with a grunge punk vibe, and really played up the dungeonpunk aesthetics or really just did anything, literally anything other than white people in armor and elves drawn the same way they have been for 40 years, I'd be excited for it. But as it stands, Greyhawk is very much a generic Fantasy setting that offers new players absolutely nothing interesting at all that other settings don't offer (alongside their own stylish variety).

This isn't to take a crap on Greyhawk btw. I'd quite like to see a beautiful Castle Greyhawk adventure that really blows my socks off, or a modern take on the Caves of Chaos. But if all that is being proposed is just more of the same Greyhawk, well, I don't think there is enough market interest for that to be done.

Something was bothering me when you mentioned Greyhawk with Grunge punk vibe, but I couldn't place it yesterday.

I remembered this morning. The BBC developed and aired "The Watch" a grunge punk take on Pratchett's Discworld (specifically the watch of Ankh Morpork). Discworld is awesome and the Watch novels (and the characters in them) are one of the things that make it awesome.

The BBC Grungy take on the city watch - not great. It took something that could have been brilliant and made it, at best, average. You have to be careful when changing the aesthetic of something - especially just for the sake of change. Or you'll change what made it good right along with it!
 

Warpiglet-7

Cry havoc! And let slip the pigs of war!
It's kind of weird. Given how much we recycle older IP, it would seem almost like brand mismanagement to NOT relaunch Greyhawk for the 50th.

That said, I was going to comment on this from earlier-


This is what is mind-boggling to me. The setting can't succeed? Based on what metrics? At worst, you'd be looking at a Strixhaven or Theros. A setting that sells a few books and doesn't otherwise have a lot of current 5e games within it. At best, it could ride a wave of nostalgia and youtube and twitch videos. Most likely it would be somewhere in-between.

But just remember the initial survey from WoTC when 5e was launched. There were three tiers of settings-
A. Eberron, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, Planescape, and the Forgotten Realms.
B. Greyhawk, Dragonlance, and Spelljammer.
("Fairly Steep Drop-Off")
C. Every. Other. Setting.

Now, notice something? We are short three of the classic settings that people want. And one of those ... is Greyhawk. Moreover, there continues to be a lot of support for Greyhawk- from numerous websites that list the canon and the lore, to the quarterly Oerth Journal to multiple wikis to numerous prominent supporters that are also game developers to the multitude of maps (interactive and not) including the excellent work of Anna Meyer ... the list goes on. Greyhawk, despite even being allowed on the DM's Guild, continues to be incredibly well supported through numerous sources.

And I will continue to say that the majority of the pushback that I have seen is not from the oldest fans, nor is it from the youngest 5e fans (the ones that first start playing D&D with 5e), but is instead with ... well, others.

Because one thing I have noticed, over and over again, is that the the kids joining today shouldn't be underestimated. They are amazing. Eventually, they start to ask questions- like ... who is Leomund? Why does Bigby care about a hand? Where did that joke about Vecna's head come from? Why are there now multiple books from Mordenkainen?

The upcoming generation of new D&D players is pretty awesome, and they deserve a Greyhawk of their own. I would love to see what they will do with it.
I guess that is a way to look at it—-a lot of people are interested in authenticity. I don’t think it gets more authentic than the game world of the guy whose name is on the books.

If you were new to the game would it not be interesting to see where it all began?

I do like the idea of marketing the big plundered names! I read this post and started to be excited about the possibility. Man, if a fan of Greyhawk was involved it could be so great…a labor of love!
 
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