Grogbards, Tell Me Stories of Greyhawk

ParanoydStyle

Peace Among Worlds
I want to learn anything and everything I can about what canonically happened in (that is, the in game history of) the Greyhawk setting, from the modules published before I was born to the Living Greyhawk campaign that wrapped up just as I was getting really into D&D.

The most accurate and complete Greyhawk wiki available is not all that complete, and I think the timeline in particular might be suspect. My understanding is that the last canonical thing to happen in Greyhawk was the 3.5 campaign Expedition to the Ruins of Castle Greyhawk so if i'm wrong about that, correct me.

I'm paying special attention to anything involving dragons. Compared to most other D&D settings or indeed any fantasy settings that have dragons, there don't seem to be a lot of named dragons in Greyhawk's history, but I'm hoping I'm wrong. (I'm aware of Dragotha and he is in fact the big bad of what I'm working on, but I want to know more about established dragons with names and personalities and goals, if any exist in Greyhawk. The setting, at least in its early days, seemed to just treat dragons as big scary monsters, which clashes with my understanding that dragons are big scary monsters, and most of them are also master manipulators with intricate schemes.)

But my interest is not limited to the dragons of Greyhawk. I'm curious about everything significant that happened in that setting up until now (the only lore I would say that I feel sufficiently brushed up on is anything involving the Circle of Eight, as well as the Battle of Emrody Meadows/Temple of Elemental Evil).
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I don't use anything after the 1983 boxed set. Basically post Gygax I ignore

There was a war they kind of blew the setting up. The 3.5 adventure paths were set on Greyhawk.
 

Pauln6

Explorer
I suppose the only modules that had any official impact on the timeline were the ones involving Vecna. The Age of Worms adventure path had the possibility for regime change in Alhaster.
 
You need to bear in mind that under Gygax the Greyhawk timeline did not advance. So nothing "happened" in the "true" setting. And there are few named dragons because Gygax never got around to naming many.

I'm trying to think if there are any named dragons in those early AD&D modules, since they where all by default located in Greyhawk, but I can't think of any.

I think one of the reasons for creating Dragonlance is up till then there wasn't much D&D stuff that actually featured dragons.
 
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It depends on what you mean by canonical. Gary Gygax actually blew up the setting in one of his post TSR Gord the Rogue Novels (Come Endless Darkness)

But really, he never really meant it to be a setting. He was initially even puzzled by the idea that people wouldn't want to create their own worlds.
 

Iry

Adventurer
I'm sure there are a few important events in Greyhawk's timeline, but Greyhawk has almost always been the "Silent Protagonist" of RPG settings. An intentionally generic setting where you could fill in the blanks with your own innovations, and not a lot of history beyond what the actual players at Gygax's table accomplished. You've got a few repeat villains, so a vague timeline exists just because one happened before the other. But nothing on a really grand scale where you can say "Against The Giants definitely took place before Tomb of Horrors, and had political ramifications for White Plume Mountain."
 

Lidgar

Adventurer
Against the Giants has a few dragons, including two white and one red. In the original modules (G1-G3) they were not named. However, in the 5e update (Yawning Portal), they named the red dragon 'Brazzemal'.
 
Greywiki.com is probably the best source for canon material, but even that has issues. Finding "canon" Greyhawk is tricky, for a couple of reasons.

First of all, players are going to disagree on what defines canon, since unlike the Forgotten Realms, after Gygax was deposed there was never a single figure to define it. Many like myself don't want to acknowledge anything post Gygax, leaving it stopped at 1985. Others accept everything from WotC, which would take it through the Greyhawk Wars and Reconstruction of 2E and include from 3E the Greyhawk Gazetteer (not Living Gazetteer) Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil and Expedition to the Ruins of Castle Greyhawk (some don't even consider this canon, since it's only partially completed). Finally there is the Living Greyhawk, which probably has the greatest amount of material available, but most consider that a separate Greyhawk from canon Greyhawk.

Second, there were 3ish series of novels written for Greyhawk. The first 2 books, written by Gygax, were intended to describe aspects of HIS Greyhawk, so it may not have been intended to by canon (a lot of Gygaxian campaigns use them, however). Rose Estes took over that series title after Gygax was deposed, but took a completely different direction (many believe that not only did she have no idea about anything in Greyhawk, but D&D in general). Gygax continued his series under a different name and publisher (changing several Greyhawk names to avoid copyright issues), where he eventually destroyed the world, since he'd rather it no longer exist than be tied to the abomination TSR turned it into. Finally WotC rebooted the novel franchise with a number of books written by different authors set in the classic adventures (most of which are Greyhawk), and they were a success IMO, but I don't know if I'd consider them canon.

Finally, Greyhawk was designed to be expanded upon by the DM, and while TSR and WotC advanced the timelines, there are still significant gaps in the setting that various DMs have filled in and put online (see the Canonfire websie for examples). This means that probably about half of what is online isn't canon, even though it may look like it is.


Edit: White Plumb Mountain mentions the dracolich Draogtha, which I think is the first named dragon in Greyhawk. It was printed during Gygax's reign, and is official Greyhawk.
 
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ParanoydStyle

Peace Among Worlds
Hey, thank you everyone, this is great stuff. And yes, I was about to point out as Shiroiken did that from my previous research, Dragotha was definitely a dragon that Gygax named (making it one hell of a callback if he made no appearances between White Plume Mountain and Age of Worms). I have also been using this website: http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=7

(Torc and Volte are the two I know so far that I'm using for the thing I'm working on, in addition to Dragotha.)

Does anyone know where the most recent, up-to-date WotC advanced timeline can be found? I want to know what year it is in Greyhawk now according to WotC.

I find it interesting that most people consider living Greyhawk not to be canon. I think my question might actually have been better phrased as "what happened during the events of Living Greyhawk?" since that is information I cannot seem to find ANYWHERE.
 

Volund

Explorer
Depends on your definition of canon. Living Greyhawk retroactively placed module I2, Tomb of the Lizard King, in Greyhawk. If you accept that, then Aulicus is a named black dragon with his lair in the great swamp south of the Dreadwood. He is almost 400 years old, so according to the 5e MM he is and adult, but AD&D had size ranges for dragons and Aulicus is not the biggest. Black dragons had 6-8 HD and Aulicus has 7, so for 5e he might be something between a large young and a huge adult. I created a stat block for him as a slightly de-tuned huge adult black dragon. His lair is fairly close to where Saltmarsh was also retroactively located, so Aulicus might be ripe for revival with the upcoming GoS book.

Edited: I got the age categories for 5e wrong.
 
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Does anyone know where the most recent, up-to-date WotC advanced timeline can be found? I want to know what year it is in Greyhawk now according to WotC.

I find it interesting that most people consider living Greyhawk not to be canon. I think my question might actually have been better phrased as "what happened during the events of Living Greyhawk?" since that is information I cannot seem to find ANYWHERE.
The best source of LG is probably the articles archive found at http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=lg/arch/dndlg (I hope I did that right).

LG was designed to be a private gaming league run by non-WotC staff. They had little to no input into the LG campaign, and provided minimal support for it. This makes it non-canon in the same way the Living City campaign isn't canon for Forgotten Realms.
 

Pauln6

Explorer
LG was uneven but had some nifty ideas. I think that, given the short time frame, there was too much regime change amongst the rulers but if you focus on one region you can have a lot of fun. Bandit Kingdoms did a write up on their plot lines which you can buy, fun because it features Iuz's Boneheart. I also thought that Keoland and Geoff had a lot of magical flavour and good characterisation among their NPCs. The liberation of Geoff in particular is a great overall arc and you can incorporate Against the Giants quite easily in there too.

Don't forget Aulicus, the Dragon Prophet of the Hool Marshes. From the Tomb of the Lizard King and given more personality when he tried to obtain diplomatic immunity as the High Herald of the resurrected Sakatha. Don't worry though, Keoland's sensible laws on resurrection mean that the dead can't revoke their wills and they can't reclaim their titles.
 

Luz

Explorer
Against the Giants has a few dragons, including two white and one red. In the original modules (G1-G3) they were not named. However, in the 5e update (Yawning Portal), they named the red dragon 'Brazzemal'.
Actually, Brazzemal was named in the original G3 module, not the 5e update, so I guess he could be considered the first named dragon of the setting (at least by Gygax). Brazzemal also made an appearance in the Age of Worms adventure path from Paizo which added quite a few more named dragons to the GH list.

Dragon Magazine #230 has a good article by Roger Moore called "The Orbs of Dragonkind" that introduces the Fiery Kings - a family of powerful red dragons that fought with the Mages of Power of the Suel Empire. Well worth reading.

Not sure what the current year is for GH nowadays, it seems to have fizzled out around 597 CY, AFAIK. There was a movement in 2013 called Greyhawk Reborn that may have moved the timeline forward, but this isn't official canon. If you haven't seen Steve Wilson's exhaustive Greychrondex yet, then it is a must-have.
 

Lidgar

Adventurer
Actually, Brazzemal was named in the original G3 module, not the 5e update, so I guess he could be considered the first named dragon of the setting (at least by Gygax). Brazzemal also made an appearance in the Age of Worms adventure path from Paizo which added quite a few more named dragons to the GH list.

Dragon Magazine #230 has a good article by Roger Moore called "The Orbs of Dragonkind" that introduces the Fiery Kings - a family of powerful red dragons that fought with the Mages of Power of the Suel Empire. Well worth reading.

Not sure what the current year is for GH nowadays, it seems to have fizzled out around 597 CY, AFAIK. There was a movement in 2013 called Greyhawk Reborn that may have moved the timeline forward, but this isn't official canon. If you haven't seen Steve Wilson's exhaustive Greychrondex yet, then it is a must-have.
My mistake! Just re-read the 1978 version of G3 and indeed he is named.
 

ParanoydStyle

Peace Among Worlds
Oh, thanks everybody for the info!

At first for some reason I thought the only response I got was [MENTION=6872597]Volund[/MENTION]'s so the entirety of my initial response was:

Weird! I have actually run I2...in SPLINTER of all things as part of the playtest for Sometimes Little Wondrous Things, Ugly Things, and the reworked SPLINTER core rules.

Aulicus was the inspiration for the Baphomet in Ugly Things because all True Dragons in SPLINTER are AL 10--which is the equivalent in D&D of CR20+--powerful enough to wipe the floor with the party and too powerful to be working for the Lizard King. All True Dragons in SPLINTER were ancient by default, so while not a dragon, the dragon-like Baphomet monster was created (even in chromatic flavors if I remember right, which True Dragons don't have in SPLINTER) to fill the role of the "Young Adult Dragon" slot in the bestiary.

IIRC, the PCs killed him with an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade). I'm not against using Aulicus in my unnamed Greyhawk thingy, but I will always remember the SPLINTER version of him getting killed with a rocket launcher by my PCs.

That was a really fun campaign. Probably the most fun I've had running something online, not to mention purely for reasons of playtesting.

Don't forget Aulicus, the Dragon Prophet of the Hool Marshes. From the Tomb of the Lizard King and given more personality when he tried to obtain diplomatic immunity as the High Herald of the resurrected Sakatha.
Please tell me more, if you can. (My recollection of Tomb of the Lizard King is tainted by my thorough SPLINTER-ification of it but what happened afterwards sounds even more interesting.)
 
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Pauln6

Explorer
Somebody will have to remind me of the author. I used to copy the emails to steal ideas for my own campaign but I didn't always copy everything:

The Prophet marveled at how much had changed in the nest – no, a city, that was their term for it – of humans since he had last observed it. He new of some of his ilk that preferred to change form into one of the mammals, to walk through their crude paved causeways and gardens of twisting, growing things. The Prophet scoffed at this. He preferred to enter the city as one of his breed should.

Like a conquering god.

He had chosen to arrive under cover of darkness; not to camouflage himself, but because the mammals, since they were hiding in caves and peering fearfully into the shadows of the wild, had feared the first one to night. Looking down, the Prophet smiled; it was still there. The memory of the superstitious peasants was undimmed, despite the absence of eight hundred seasons of the great Flamyltox. They need remembered the words of one of his kind. Now, he would give them another proclamation.

The enormous black dragon alighted on Dragon Roost Rock, in the center of Niole Dra. The creature's titanic weight did not budge the rock one bit; Flamyltox had nested here, and his mass was even greater than the Prophet's own. Wings of inky darkness furled around him, cloak-like.

The dragon recognized the King instantly. Not by the gaudy piece of metal on his head, but because he was the only one to break the line of fearful guardsmen and had the courage to ignore the fear his presence caused and approach. The Prophet scowled at the man. He knew of this one – strong of heart and arm – and he was not to be underestimated. His hair was graying, but his hands betrayed that
this was no simpering fop-king.

The Prophet let out a low rumble and slowly lowered his great head to the level of the King, looking eye-to-eye. The creature's head looked like a scorched, horned skull. It took a tentative sniff in the air and recoiled somewhat. It regarded the King with new hatred, and scowled. "You bear Nightbane, mammal," he snarled, regarding the blade at the King's hip with rage. "Do you mean to test yourself
against me?"

"No," said the King. He spoke carefully and evenly. No trace of a tremor was heard in his voice. Yes, the dragon mused, this was a formidable human indeed. "This weapon was gifted to my family by the hero that used it, years ago, to slay one of your ilk in the swamps of Steffenmoor to the south."

The dragon growled. He desired to snatch this arrogant warm-blooded wretch and swallow him with a single gulp, but the human's reputation, his poise, the blade at his hip, and the orders of the dragon's master all served to keep the dragon in check. "I am Aulicus. I am the Prophet. I bring a gift for you, King Kimbertos Skotti, House of Lizhal, Lord of the Lion Throne."

"A gift?"

The beast released a hiss. "A prophecy. To foretell of that which will come."

"Then speak," said the King. The old man's eyes blazed; he was unafraid. "Speak, and begone from my city."

"WRETCH!" the Prophet bellowed. Drippings of acid dribbled excitedly down the beast's maw, bubbling the cobblestones where they fell. Its voice dropped to a throaty rumble. "Listen well, King of Keoland. The prophecy is thus:"

"From one, you will hear tell of three."
"Find these three, and you will find three."
"Within that three, beware of one."

The King's eyes narrowed. "Why tell me this?"

The dragon unfurled its great wings, slowly rising. "You may find," he said, alighting his massive bulk into the air with an impossibly powerful stroke of his wings, "that although you have many allies that are secretly enemies, some of your enemies may ultimately become allies."

The King watched the great beast disappear to the southwest. He watched it go, and touched the crown on his head. It seemed to grow just a little bit heavier.
 
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Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
Canonfire! and their forums are a great source on Greyhawk information. Not the most active place, but there's a lot of members knowledgeable in Greyhawk lore there.
 

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