D&D General "Why Greyhawk?" in 2023 - grodog's thoughts

Rabulias

the Incomparably Shrewd and Clever
Part of the issue is the fact that the Realms timeline keeps getting pushed forward, often with "Realms Shattering Events." The setting appears to be designed for big story events, in the vein of modern APs, rather than simple sandbox adventuring. While you can use FR that way, it's possible that some event is going to happen in the official timeline to ruin the area your game is in.
Agreed. Greyhawk's timeline was set as 576CY in the original folio and/or box set. The box set From the Ashes updated the timeline to 585CY IIRC. And D&D 3rd edition updated it to 591CY. So, 15 game years (576CY to 591CY) for 20 real world years (1980 to 2000), with only one big event (the Greyhawk Wars) during this time (I think).

Meanwhile I think the Forgotten Realms started with 1357DR, jumped to 1358DR with AD&D 2nd edition, and jumped to 1372DR with 3rd edition. 4th edition leaped far ahead to 1479DR (if my google-fu is good), and 5th bumped it to 1489DR to 1493DR, depending on the adventure sourcebook you use. 27 real world years here (1987 to 2014) gives us 132 years in game (1357DR to 1489DR), and many transitions were paired with Realms-shaking events, especially the Spellplague.
 
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grodog

Hero
I find the points you make about leaving details unfinished so that DMs can flesh them out as desired, a bit at odds with the response to recent releases from WOTC. Particularly since much of the grumbling seems to come from posters who allegedly enjoyed Greyhawk. I wonder what has changed.

Hmmm. Can you please add some more context on the part of your response that I highlighted? I'm not deeply familiar with most of WotC's recent releases, or their general reception.

Allan.
 

grodog

Hero
A question about your first point (sandboxability)

In what way do you feel Greyhawk is better at facilitating sandbox play than another setting.

As an example, I feel like your exercise at crafting a starting seaside town from a map blank space could have been also done in the Forgotten Realms along the Moonsea as an example.

You can definitely do that in any setting, as long as you're willing to ignore what canon has already been published. (For the record, I do exactly that in Greyhawk all the time ;) ). And while there is a fair amount of content for Greyhawk published, much more has been published for FR over the years, so my sense is that it may be harder to find areas that are less-well-defined than in Greyhawk, as well as (on the flip side of the coin) more difficult to master the larger volume of material if you're trying to play between the lines (so to speak).

My own perspective is that Greyhawk hits a good sweet spot between giving information and leaving things blank.

There's enough information to give the feel of a living setting with established lore. At the same time, the map has blank spots and areas for growth.

That was definitely my intent: to try to show that (for me and for many other Greyhawk fans) the amount of lore available falls within that sweet spot where you have enough info to get inspired but plenty of room to grow, both within the confines of the existing lore, but also to build your own.

Allan.
 
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Redwizard007

Adventurer
Hmmm. Can you please add some more context on the part of your response that I highlighted? I'm not deeply familiar with most of WotC's recent releases, or their general reception.

Allan.
Sure, but first I'd like to mention that I agree with you. Every setting needs room to grow. Every map needs some blank space. Every court needs a few nameless NPCs to build out. Rumors, plot hooks, and contradictions, etc. all add opportunities for a DM to really make their own game in a setting. For some reason, I see this idea supported when talking about older settings, but largely absent from conversations about new releases.
Edit: Maybe not as absent as I thought.

A few (of many) comments regarding Spelljammer from some posters that I have nothing but respect for:
The setting is very, very sparse. Too sparse. 5e gave me 6 pages on the Rock of Bral. 2e gave me 85 pages on it.
...but compared to previous editions, content is certainly scarce. But maybe that is ok for die-hards since they have all the previous edition material to draw from (and this seems to be the 5E approach to everything, just cover it enough that folks can be interested can draw more content from elsewhere)...
The Spelljammer case has some interesting points of interest, Clownspace, Astral Dominions, Hazdoo homeworld, Rock of Bral, etc..., the problem is none of that is going any depth at all, a brief mention, say a paragraph or two at most and then forgotten...

...I mean their map of the Wildspace, Dead Gods, and Astral Dominions near Toril don't even get named, except Doomspace.

No explanation for how established material plane settings interact with Spelljammer.

...

There should have been a fouth book, Wildspace & Astral Dominions exploring those sorts of locations.

...

I don't object to the setting changes, I get their purpose, I object to the lack of depth, details, and the type of product it was turned into instead of a 320+ page book it should have been.

Now, in fairness, there were posters that loved the room to grow, but they seemed to be a minority.

I spent a few minutes looking for examples from other releases, but most of the disparaging posts were about other issues, so I may be mistaken. It is possible that I was extrapolating based on the number of Spelljammer comments lamenting the lack of details and falsely attributing those to things like Radient Citadel, Dragonlance, Netherdeep and Strixhaven.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Now, in fairness, there were posters that loved the room to grow, but they seemed to be a minority.
The 3e Forgotten Realms is the most detailed setting WotC has put out, and there's plenty of room to grow in that setting. There's room to grow in the 5e Eberron setting, and it contains far more than Spelljammer's 10 pages of lore. Sticking you in a Spelljammer setting that amounts to being in a flat, open plain with 10 plants isn't giving you "room to grow." At the price they charged for the "setting," it's highway robbery. ;)
I spent a few minutes looking for examples from other releases, but most of the disparaging posts were about other issues, so I may be mistaken. It is possible that I was extrapolating based on the number of Spelljammer comments lamenting the lack of details and falsely attributing those to things like Radient Citadel, Dragonlance, Netherdeep and Strixhaven.
I don't understand what you mean by that.
 

nevin

Hero
Forgotten realms was destroyed by WOTC long ago. too many people play it i. Different iterations and each feels like a different campaign setting.

If they want another truly popular setting they need to start over. GreyHawk could be a good candidate for that. Unfortunately DND hasnt kicked out any truly good supplemental campaign sets in 30 years, and I think hasbro is scared of innovation and new ideas. Thus we keep seeing pale versions of past glory.
 

eyeheartawk

#1 Enworld Jerk™
he 3e Forgotten Realms is the most detailed setting WotC has put out, and there's plenty of room to grow in that setting. There's room to grow in the 5e Eberron setting, and it contains far more than Spelljammer's 10 pages of lore. Sticking you in a Spelljammer setting that amounts to being in a flat, open plain with 10 plants isn't giving you "room to grow." At the price they charged for the "setting," it's highway robbery. ;)
I think the difference is not in the amount of content but rather what they choose to spend their word count on.

In the new Spelljammer they badly used the available space. What words about the setting were on the page didn't really serve to light the imagination and fill in the spots.

You read, say, a three pharagraph description of The Yeomanry and you have multiple campaign/adventure seeds. Plus, taken together the descriptions all paint a picture of an entire setting on the precipice of some major event. An event your PCs can shape. That's what makes the Folio/Box Set so great.

Spelljammer does not do this.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I think the difference is not in the amount of content but rather what they choose to spend their word count on.

In the new Spelljammer they badly used the available space. What words about the setting were on the page didn't really serve to light the imagination and fill in the spots.

You read, say, a three pharagraph description of The Yeomanry and you have multiple campaign/adventure seeds. Plus, taken together the descriptions all paint a picture of an entire setting on the precipice of some major event. An event your PCs can shape. That's what makes the Folio/Box Set so great.

Spelljammer does not do this.
It not only doesn't use the space wisely, but provides far less setting that the Greyhawk boxed set. If you go open the setting Spelljammer book and look at it, it's a bunch of character stuff(not setting), a bunch of ship types(not setting), like 7ish pages on the Rock of Braal(setting, but highly limited in scope) and a few pages on the Astral Sea(setting stuff!). You can also glean a paragraph here and there from the monsters that amounts to setting material, but the total you get from everything is right around 10 pages of setting material.
 

JiffyPopTart

Bree-Yark
Forgotten realms was destroyed by WOTC long ago. too many people play it i. Different iterations and each feels like a different campaign setting.

If they want another truly popular setting they need to start over. GreyHawk could be a good candidate for that. Unfortunately DND hasnt kicked out any truly good supplemental campaign sets in 30 years, and I think hasbro is scared of innovation and new ideas. Thus we keep seeing pale versions of past glory.
I think you set your clock back too far. Ebberon was a very good setting with a new hook (magic as technology).

People also seem to like the Nentir Vale but despite playing 4e during it's lifetime I never read much about it. I don't remember a supplement specific to it as a campaign setting, more that it just had flavor text mixed in with the monster entries.
 

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