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I'd agree. In a harsh world, if you verify that the person you are working with is an ally, you are going to treat them VERY well. It's important to have as many friends as you can get when civilized areas are spread out, and there are enemies everywhere.Mild quibble. When survival is tenuous, societies tend to have very strong rules of hospitality. So, suspicion, sure. Mistreatment without direct cause, less so.
But that is a good bullet list. Someday I may understand the appeal of grim gritty “no good guys and little to no hope for something better” fiction.
I’m curious to see what others see in the setting, though. I know from experience that some see it in a wholly different light from yours.
They aren't literary masterpieces, that's clear.So ... I remember (back when they were published) reading Saga of the Old City. And it was .... fine. I mean, Gygax wasn't a great novelist, but I like it, at the time.
And Artifact (I think?) was next. I vaguely recall it being ... not as good. I almost didn't finish it.
And after that, I think I tried to read the next one after he left TSR. And I wanted it to be good. Because GORD! GYGAX! SEA OF DUST!
It was terrible. I couldn't finish it. I really tried.
That’s certainly possible. It’s also possible that knowledge verified by direct experience creates a wholly different reaction than superstition does, but that is a choice one has to just make and trust oneself when designing a world with magic.That's actually a really good point, esp. w/r/t tribal societies. However, this isn't always a universal, and if the survival is tenuous due to (for example) humanoid raids, then there would be a strong suspicion of any non-standard humans.
In addition (and this is mere speculation, now) I think that when people have some limited knowledge of monsters, humanoids, and magic working against them, they might tend to be more on the "verify, then trust" rather than the other way around.
Yep. Tenuous survival does not breed individualism. It breeds tight social bonds and a willingness to cooperate. But that isn’t the right kind of fun for the type of setting that depends on tenuous survival, ironically.I'd agree. In a harsh world, if you verify that the person you are working with is an ally, you are going to treat them VERY well. It's important to have as many friends as you can get when civilized areas are spread out, and there are enemies everywhere.
We should realize there's a bit of illogic in this combination. Things stronger than you that will destroy civilization (either in one shot, or by defeat-in-detail) are about to succeed, but you should not expect to beat them? And the status quo of continuing threats has been around.. for centuries, right?2. It's small in scale. You aren't saving the Realms; you're making a buck. I say that partially in jest, but this is partly the aspect of Swords and Sorcery that needs to be played up in a Greyhawk setting. Small scale DOESN'T mean small stakes, however. You can save (or destroy) the village; but there should be a lot less of the "saving the world."
3. There's always something bigger, badder, and more mysterious. This is related to (2). You will never have the power of the Mages who destroyed the Sueloise civilization. There will always be the past glories or dangers, the stories of Vecna and of giant ships crashing from the sky, of beings that strode across the landscape, that are told around the fires at night.
4. Civilization is tenuous, at best. The great powers and empires are in decline and their best days are in the past, and it is always questionable if the forces of civilization will hold off the entropy and darkness. Progress is not assured. The forces of destruction are constantly howling and looking for a way in, and, more often than not, they are about to succeed.
True. War never changes (I guess?), but it does tend to change things around it.I was thinking more about the tenuous survival. I think it might depend on the type of tenuous survival.
Usually, when you get situations of isolation or deprivation (islands, deserts) breeding a culture of hospitality, it's because of the issue of survival. But I don't think that holds if the survival issue is due to, for example, war. Maybe I'm wrong on that one. Not my wheelhouse.