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What is Greyhawk?

Hussar

Legend
Sorry haven't been following this thread so the conversation may have moved on, but I loved this post. And those are all (more or less) reasons I like Greyhawk more than FR.

A lot of people cite all the books about FR as an advantage, that there's all this "lore". I actually think it's a downside. I've only read a few of the books (and detest them) so I'm actually mostly ignorant of FR lore. But all the official supplements seem to assume some base level of lore. I don't think it's intentional, but names and place and such get sprinkled about here and there, and although I'm sure the authors are thinking that you don't HAVE to know what they refer to, the reality is that it's hard to get the gestalt of the whole thing without knowing. I'm sure for people who are fans of all the books these constant references improve the experience, but for those of us who are in the dark it lessens in. (Or for me, anyway.)

So, yeah, Greyhawk: I don't recall ever having that same (negative) experience.

And maybe that's your point #7.
I understand the point you're making here, but, you're forgetting an important side point. Settings, by and large, are for DM's. The players don't care that much and most of their knowledge of a setting will come from that DM. This is particularly true in smaller settings like, say, Primeval Thule, where, outside of maybe reading the player primer (and that's a BIG maybe), the players know nothing about the setting and, really, don't care that much. The DM, OTOH, is trying to do all these things to bring the setting to life for the players and is likely thinking, at least in the back of the mind sort of way, about the setting every time an adventure is written or whatnot.

OTOH, for Forgotten Realms, you have this MASSIVE library of player facing material. What 300 (ish) novels? Video games galore. It's pretty likely that a player, with any degree of gaming experience, has a basic grasp of what the Realms is, and some degree of background in the setting. It makes the DM's job easier because the DM isn't forced to keep trying to info-dump setting information on the players just to get them to have a minimal grounding in the setting itself.

It really is a double edged sword. It's great that a new player, sitting at your table, has a reasonable idea of the geography and societies of your setting. It's also a major pain in the ass that a new player, sitting at your table, has a reasonable idea of the geography and societies of your setting. :D
 
I understand the point you're making here, but, you're forgetting an important side point. Settings, by and large, are for DM's. The players don't care that much and most of their knowledge of a setting will come from that DM. This is particularly true in smaller settings like, say, Primeval Thule, where, outside of maybe reading the player primer (and that's a BIG maybe), the players know nothing about the setting and, really, don't care that much. The DM, OTOH, is trying to do all these things to bring the setting to life for the players and is likely thinking, at least in the back of the mind sort of way, about the setting every time an adventure is written or whatnot.

OTOH, for Forgotten Realms, you have this MASSIVE library of player facing material. What 300 (ish) novels? Video games galore. It's pretty likely that a player, with any degree of gaming experience, has a basic grasp of what the Realms is, and some degree of background in the setting. It makes the DM's job easier because the DM isn't forced to keep trying to info-dump setting information on the players just to get them to have a minimal grounding in the setting itself.

It really is a double edged sword. It's great that a new player, sitting at your table, has a reasonable idea of the geography and societies of your setting. It's also a major pain in the ass that a new player, sitting at your table, has a reasonable idea of the geography and societies of your setting. :D
Most people in my generation (25 or younger) aren't really that well versed in the realms or know anything about it or, in a lot of cases, even know if it exists. I'm finding Realms stuff (and all its stigmas) are really a 30+ y.o thing.
 

Hussar

Legend
Most people in my generation (25 or younger) aren't really that well versed in the realms or know anything about it or, in a lot of cases, even know if it exists. I'm finding Realms stuff (and all its stigmas) are really a 30+ y.o thing.
Oh, that could quite possibly be.

Although, to be fair, I'm not sure I'd be able to generalize like that. After all, someone is putting Salvatore on the top of NYT best seller lists regularly. So, obviously there's someone out there that's reading Realms fiction. I mean, good grief, I can find Japanese translations of Realms fiction in my small town library here in Japan. So, it's pretty wide spread.

And, frankly, you are the target demographic for D&D. It's certainly not me, old fart that I am. And the fact that there are what, 5 Realms adventure paths for 5e means that anyone who's been playing 5e for a while is probably at least aware of the existence of Forgotten Realms. Unlike, say, Primeval Thule. :D
 

doctorbadwolf

Adventurer
I understand the point you're making here, but, you're forgetting an important side point. Settings, by and large, are for DM's. The players don't care that much and most of their knowledge of a setting will come from that DM. This is particularly true in smaller settings like, say, Primeval Thule, where, outside of maybe reading the player primer (and that's a BIG maybe), the players know nothing about the setting and, really, don't care that much.
I see this said a lot, but the same folks mostly, but...what?

How the heck do you see enough players not caring about the setting that you’ve taken it as axiomatic!?

This is entirely, completely, foreign to me and my play experience.
 

Hussar

Legend
I see this said a lot, but the same folks mostly, but...what?

How the heck do you see enough players not caring about the setting that you’ve taken it as axiomatic!?

This is entirely, completely, foreign to me and my play experience.
Really? IME, players couldn't give a tiny rat's petoot about the setting. They really, really don't care. And, while I know that there are those out there that apparently have players that dive deep into settings, anecdotally, I'd say they were very rare and should be cherished.

Heck, getting players to read a four or five page setting background is rare. Skim, maybe. But actually learn about the setting? That's a rare player.
 

S'mon

Legend
Really? IME, players couldn't give a tiny rat's petoot about the setting. They really, really don't care. And, while I know that there are those out there that apparently have players that dive deep into settings, anecdotally, I'd say they were very rare and should be cherished.

Heck, getting players to read a four or five page setting background is rare. Skim, maybe. But actually learn about the setting? That's a rare player.
This certainly fits my experience.
 

Hussar

Legend
DM has to bring the setting alive IMHO.

Helps to play up hard whatever makes that setting distinct.
Well, that's kinda my point. When you start with, say, Forgotten Realms, you can lean on the fact that your players probably have a decent knowledge of the setting. Or, at least it's far more likely that they know about elements of Forgotten Realms, than, say, Cerilia .

Which becomes something of an issue in play. You want to bring the setting to life, but, you also have to actually run the adventure, balance out what the players are doing, and juggle fifteen other balls. And, in the face of that, you have player apathy over the details of the setting itself because they are far more interested in their own characters and whatever the group is doing right now.

I mean, recently I started my Ghosts of Saltmarsh campaign. I expressly told the group we would do character generation as a group. Session 0 starts and every single one of my players already had a character made, complete with background, NONE of them actually referencing the campaign. Drives me up the wall, but, hey, what are you going to do?

This is a problem I've been dealing with across many groups and ages. Trying to ground groups in a setting is HARD and often somewhat akin to nailing jello to a tree. I remember back when trying to get the group into Scarred Lands and having EXACTLY the same issues.

IME, most players do not care at all about settings. All the hoopla about blowing up settings and setting fidelity and "distinctness" of settings is all in the DM's head.
 

Zardnaar

Adventurer
Well, that's kinda my point. When you start with, say, Forgotten Realms, you can lean on the fact that your players probably have a decent knowledge of the setting. Or, at least it's far more likely that they know about elements of Forgotten Realms, than, say, Cerilia .

Which becomes something of an issue in play. You want to bring the setting to life, but, you also have to actually run the adventure, balance out what the players are doing, and juggle fifteen other balls. And, in the face of that, you have player apathy over the details of the setting itself because they are far more interested in their own characters and whatever the group is doing right now.

I mean, recently I started my Ghosts of Saltmarsh campaign. I expressly told the group we would do character generation as a group. Session 0 starts and every single one of my players already had a character made, complete with background, NONE of them actually referencing the campaign. Drives me up the wall, but, hey, what are you going to do?

This is a problem I've been dealing with across many groups and ages. Trying to ground groups in a setting is HARD and often somewhat akin to nailing jello to a tree. I remember back when trying to get the group into Scarred Lands and having EXACTLY the same issues.

IME, most players do not care at all about settings. All the hoopla about blowing up settings and setting fidelity and "distinctness" of settings is all in the DM's head.
I don't disagree with any of that. I ran an Egyptian themed game. 0 anthromorphic races or Egyptian gods picked.

I bet if I ran FR that special player would want a gnoll or something.

O
 
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Coroc

Explorer
Well, that's kinda my point. When you start with, say, Forgotten Realms, you can lean on the fact that your players probably have a decent knowledge of the setting. Or, at least it's far more likely that they know about elements of Forgotten Realms, than, say, Cerilia .

Which becomes something of an issue in play. You want to bring the setting to life, but, you also have to actually run the adventure, balance out what the players are doing, and juggle fifteen other balls. And, in the face of that, you have player apathy over the details of the setting itself because they are far more interested in their own characters and whatever the group is doing right now.

I mean, recently I started my Ghosts of Saltmarsh campaign. I expressly told the group we would do character generation as a group. Session 0 starts and every single one of my players already had a character made, complete with background, NONE of them actually referencing the campaign. Drives me up the wall, but, hey, what are you going to do?

This is a problem I've been dealing with across many groups and ages. Trying to ground groups in a setting is HARD and often somewhat akin to nailing jello to a tree. I remember back when trying to get the group into Scarred Lands and having EXACTLY the same issues.

IME, most players do not care at all about settings. All the hoopla about blowing up settings and setting fidelity and "distinctness" of settings is all in the DM's head.

Agree, but here is some difference between FR and greyhawk that I personally see if a player wants to be more invested into a settings lore.
E.g. a player of a cleric wants some more background on his deity

FR: I can point him to FR wiki or whatever, but afterwards will eventually be bombarded by questions like
"What happened to the deity during spellplague /sundering/ the times when they became all mortal etc etc and how do you run your setting considering whatever has happened then?" If I dm my style with heavy restrictions / some housrules then I run into a the situation that I have to clear more things up in the end than if I had told hi mall the background stuff important for my version of the FR upfront.

Greyhawk: I can point the player to canonfire and he gets a bit more background and it fits even if I heavily houserule my greyhawk setting, put in a different tech level, and set the thing to year 579. There might be some contradictions but normally there are none.

Why is that so? Because FR is timeline heavy in what ever (official) lore is referring to what period. It might be that officially the deity for whom my player wants to play a cleric is dead during a certain period.
I Greyhawk the most likely background info my player will find is what kind of people are worshippers and in which regions, what are the colors, symbol etc. maybe some antagonist of the deity, but not much that is connected to the metaplot like in FR
e.g. like god xy killed your god during the spellplague and it was only after the resundering that she reappeared with lost Abeir returning yadda etc... (just makin up stuff here but that's the kind of issues which might occur)
 

Hussar

Legend
Agree, but here is some difference between FR and greyhawk that I personally see if a player wants to be more invested into a settings lore.
E.g. a player of a cleric wants some more background on his deity

FR: I can point him to FR wiki or whatever, but afterwards will eventually be bombarded by questions like
"What happened to the deity during spellplague /sundering/ the times when they became all mortal etc etc and how do you run your setting considering whatever has happened then?" If I dm my style with heavy restrictions / some housrules then I run into a the situation that I have to clear more things up in the end than if I had told hi mall the background stuff important for my version of the FR upfront.

Greyhawk: I can point the player to canonfire and he gets a bit more background and it fits even if I heavily houserule my greyhawk setting, put in a different tech level, and set the thing to year 579. There might be some contradictions but normally there are none.

Why is that so? Because FR is timeline heavy in what ever (official) lore is referring to what period. It might be that officially the deity for whom my player wants to play a cleric is dead during a certain period.
I Greyhawk the most likely background info my player will find is what kind of people are worshippers and in which regions, what are the colors, symbol etc. maybe some antagonist of the deity, but not much that is connected to the metaplot like in FR
e.g. like god xy killed your god during the spellplague and it was only after the resundering that she reappeared with lost Abeir returning yadda etc... (just makin up stuff here but that's the kind of issues which might occur)
See, the thing is, the likelihood of the player actually asking any of that is, IMO, close enough to zero that it can see it on a clear day. IME, the player chooses whatever god happens to fit the concept and that's about the long and the short of the work the player will then put into it. Spellplague? They'd actually have to care enough about the setting to ask questions.

AFAIC, these setting interested players are a mythological beast. Players just don't care.
 

Zardnaar

Adventurer
See, the thing is, the likelihood of the player actually asking any of that is, IMO, close enough to zero that it can see it on a clear day. IME, the player chooses whatever god happens to fit the concept and that's about the long and the short of the work the player will then put into it. Spellplague? They'd actually have to care enough about the setting to ask questions.

AFAIC, these setting interested players are a mythological beast. Players just don't care.
When I was young I remember one player. She liked that I put in the effort to design the world. She wanted an Amazonian type PC so I drew a island for her with the culture she wanted.

The other players didn't really care.

I'll vary the theme of the campaign based on player input. I'll be hard assed once that decision is made though.

Won't please everyone waste of time trying. If you can please most of the players most if the time while not hating it yourself it's the best case scenario.
 

Coroc

Explorer
When I was young I remember one player. She liked that I put in the effort to design the world. She wanted an Amazonian type PC so I drew a island for her with the culture she wanted.

The other players didn't really care.

I'll vary the theme of the campaign based on player input. I'll be hard assed once that decision is made though.

Won't please everyone waste of time trying. If you can please most of the players most if the time while not hating it yourself it's the best case scenario.
Also true, but I have several players coming from / still /also playing the black eye (DSA) campaigns which is a german roleplaying system. And in this system lore and canon are much more influential than in D&D.

So they need some baselines sometimes to notice what is different and how their assumptions are met.
So every table is different, but at my table people partially are RP heavy.

I give you an example: In the OOTA campaign where I play as a player one of the other players portrays a Tyr priest of absolutely LG alignment that lately did cut of his little finger of the right hand to please his god. I thought to my self: "holy cow, is this yakuza?" I did not know this part of FR Lore that the most fanatic Tyr priests actually cut off their right hand to mirror their gods look, it is true it is official lore.
 

S'mon

Legend
See, the thing is, the likelihood of the player actually asking any of that is, IMO, close enough to zero that it can see it on a clear day. IME, the player chooses whatever god happens to fit the concept and that's about the long and the short of the work the player will then put into it. Spellplague? They'd actually have to care enough about the setting to ask questions.
I reference the Spellplague in my 1491 DR FR Red Hand of Doom/Elsir Vale game as the cause of the Fall of Rhestilor (which became the 4e Fall of Nerath), but none of the current players care. Whereas I have one player can only do a couple sessions weeks from now but she likes doing character background and has asked a lot of questions so I've had to explain eg Halruua is still destroyed IMC.
 

Zardnaar

Adventurer
Also true, but I have several players coming from / still /also playing the black eye (DSA) campaigns which is a german roleplaying system. And in this system lore and canon are much more influential than in D&D.

So they need some baselines sometimes to notice what is different and how their assumptions are met.
So every table is different, but at my table people partially are RP heavy.

I give you an example: In the OOTA campaign where I play as a player one of the other players portrays a Tyr priest of absolutely LG alignment that lately did cut of his little finger of the right hand to please his god. I thought to my self: "holy cow, is this yakuza?" I did not know this part of FR Lore that the most fanatic Tyr priests actually cut off their right hand to mirror their gods look, it is true it is official lore.
That's just details. FR died for me after the spellplague, used to care now I don't. Moved onto Golarion and Midgard.
 

Hussar

Legend
@Coroc - Must be nice. :'( Wish I had players that cared.

Hell, I just had a player lose his cool and walk out of our group and one of the bitches that he had was the fact that I actually DO take the time to embed my characters in the setting. Called me a spotlight hogging so and so.

It really is frustrating sometimes. All I can do is continue to lead the horses to water.
 

Coroc

Explorer
That's just details. FR died for me after the spellplague, used to care now I don't. Moved onto Golarion and Midgard.
If I would master a FR campaign I would use grey box as a baseline since I own it and quite like it and use the supplementing "ruins of xyz" sets. I would not use anything in the official timeline after that.

But my DM is using the new 5e material so no options there. When I do dm it is greyhawk anyway. I intend to DM DS for my group after that greyhawk campaign, hopefully.
 

S'mon

Legend
If I would master a FR campaign I would use grey box as a baseline since I own it and quite like it and use the supplementing "ruins of xyz" sets. I would not use anything in the official timeline after that.

But my DM is using the new 5e material so no options there. When I do dm it is greyhawk anyway. I intend to DM DS for my group after that greyhawk campaign, hopefully.
They did set up 5e FR so you can use the official adventures at any point in the 1e-5e timeline. This leads to quite a few oddly ageless NPCs!
 

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