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    Canonfire :: View topic - Working forum for “Broadside: The Restatement of Canon”
    Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion
    Working forum for “Broadside: The Restatement of Canon”

    Do you think this is a good idea?
    Yes
    30%
     30%  [ 4 ]
    No
    53%
     53%  [ 7 ]
    Not sure
    0%
     0%  [ 0 ]
    Don't care
    7%
     7%  [ 1 ]
    Other (explain)
    7%
     7%  [ 1 ]
    Total Votes : 13

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    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:10 am  
    Working forum for “Broadside: The Restatement of Canon”

    I am opening this forum to lay the foundation for a possible article on the meaning of “canon.” Both Broadside and Canon are of course a play on cannon, but they are also intended to suggested consensus and authority. Using the terms in title of an article (hopefully one that can be linked on the front page, rather than buried in the archives), would be good. Such might be useful and give some respectability to CF! that is, I think, waning. CanonFire! at least, should know what “canon” is and how to deal with it.

    Restatements are legal source books that do not merely “state” the law. That say what it has been and what the authors think it should be. There are many restatements, many editions, and many different sections. Here is a sample:

    Restatement of the Law, Second, Torts

    § 652B Intrusion Upon Seclusion
    One who intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of another or his private affairs or concerns, is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy, if the intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.
    Comments:
    a. The form of invasion of privacy covered by this Section does not depend upon any publicity given to the person whose interest is invaded or to his affairs. It consists solely of an intentional interference with his interest in solitude or seclusion, either as to his person or as to his private affairs or concerns, of a kind that would be highly offensive to a reasonable man.
    b. …

    To start, I think there should be some links of prior discussion for reference. Please add links.

    See pages 6 and 7 (perhaps later pages too) of this forum:
    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=1983&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=125

    Polling with other forums might be good hereafter with links to them, to see what types of consensus can be gathered.

    I think that canon is something like: “Any materially officially published for the Greyhawk campaign setting.” I think a solid unquestionable definition is the way to go, followed by a set of rules or guidelines for dealing with everything that falls in or out of that definition.

    That is just a starting definition and it will likely have to be changed. What is “material”? What is “official”? What is “published”? What is “for the greyhawk campaign setting”?

    What other questions are relevant. How about “What has ‘canon’ meant in the past?” “How has the term ‘canon’ been officially used?” What should different canon-like, non-canon be called?

    This is just my opinion, but I do not think novels should be considered canon because their primary purpose is not to develop the setting, although that may be a very strong second, but to tell a story. Likewise, just out of deference, I think it might be worth including pronunciations from Gygax on anything Greyhawk, and Lakofka on the Suel, etc. as canon. The magazines should be included. LGG, but not the scenarios. You can get the former, but not the latter.

    It has to be understood that there will be conflicts within canon and that some canon, even if there is no conflict is beyond worthless. There needs to be rules or guidelines to deal with those. What should those be called? “Comments”? That could be consistent with restatement form, but so would be just calling them “sections” to be enumerated.

    Definitions of canon from http://www.rhymezone.com/r/rhyme.cgi?Word=canon&typeofrhyme=def&org1=syl&org2=l:

    noun: a collection of books accepted as holy scripture especially the books of the Bible recognized by any Christian church as genuine and inspired
    noun: a complete list of saints that have been recognized by the Roman Catholic Church
    noun: a rule or especially body of rules or principles generally established as valid and fundamental in a field or art or philosophy

    If you want, dig in …
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:16 am  

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_(fiction)
    GreySage

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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:17 am  

    I don't think "canon" is a very useful concept. We don't need a consensus about the way things are - it's enough to discuss how they could be.

    I don't think GVDammerung and Samwise would be so much at odds if the word "canon" was removed from their discussions. The word hinders more than it helps.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:26 am  

    rasgon wrote:
    I don't think "canon" is a very useful concept. We don't need a consensus about the way things are - it's enough to discuss how they could be.

    I don't think GVDammerung and Samwise would be so much at odds if the word "canon" was removed from their discussions. The word hinders more than it helps.


    Thanks for the input. I don't agree with you, but I think you are on to a very important notion. That should be addressed if this project goes forward.

    While not the only way of addressing that concern, it might or might not be appropriate to have more than one defintion of canon, just to recognize disagreement, while the restatement hold out what it should be.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:37 am  

    This might be a start: "The concept of “canon” is of limited utility. It can stifle creativity and bread divisiveness. Yet is can also lay a foundation for our common understanding of what is the World of Greyhawk."
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:41 am  

    On canon and creativity

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=1953&highlight=canon
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 10:45 am  

    rasgon wrote:
    I don't think "canon" is a very useful concept. We don't need a consensus about the way things are - it's enough to discuss how they could be.

    I don't think GVDammerung and Samwise would be so much at odds if the word "canon" was removed from their discussions. The word hinders more than it helps.


    Canon is a useful concept when defining a baseline.
    It is a nearly useless concept when it comes to Canonfire!, as the whole site essentially stomps all over canon when it gets down to it.

    The objection I have to what GVD is trying to do is two-fold:
    1. He is attempting to extend the definition of GH canon beyond what it is.
    2. He repeatedly tries to set up a double standard where he gets to decide what is relegated to a lesser, or non-existent, status in canon, and everybody must accept it or be subjected to his scorn for being a "revisionist" or wanting to warp the GH setting into Eberron because they aren't using the "canon" version of Elves or what not.
    Defining or eliminating canon is irrelevant to that.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 11:14 am  

    To the question at hand, "yes." I think the attempt is worthwhile. I sympathize with Rip's thought but I find the notion of canon at least moderately useful on its own terms and unavoidable when more than a couple of fans are speaking of their shared experience with the setting.

    And now, without further ado Laughing -

    Samwise wrote:
    The objection I have to what GVD is trying to do is two-fold:
    1. He is attempting to extend the definition of GH canon beyond what it is.
    2. He repeatedly tries to set up a double standard where he gets to decide what is relegated to a lesser, or non-existent, status in canon, and everybody must accept it or be subjected to his scorn for being a "revisionist" or wanting to warp the GH setting into Eberron because they aren't using the "canon" version of Elves or what not.
    Defining or eliminating canon is irrelevant to that.


    Who says "what it is?" You? The Secret Masters of Greyhawk? There is no definition of GH canon so precise that it is possible to go "beyond" it. Greyhawk is not yours, it is not mine, it is not Paizo's, it is not Wotc's. By degrees, it belongs to all of us and we all have input into what consistutes GH "canon." Your difficulty is that _you_ have a (narrower) definition of what you believe to be canon and you see me going beyond what you would have. Of note, while I disagree with you, I do not accuse you of going "beyond" canon.

    No double standard. I think I've been quite clear in holding to a broad definition of canon - Any direct GH reference and any secondary reference incorporated by reference. Of course, within that broad definition, there will be alternatives and inconsistencies. You appear to dislike alternatives and inconsistencies in GH and want one, final answer. I don't think the GH ouvre admits of that.
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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 11:26 am  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    Who says "what it is?" You? The Secret Masters of Greyhawk? There is no definition of GH canon so precise that it is possible to go "beyond" it. Greyhawk is not yours, it is not mine, it is not Paizo's, it is not Wotc's.


    GH is in law WotC's, so they in fact get to say what is canon.

    Quote:
    Of note, while I disagree with you, I do not accuse you of going "beyond" canon.


    Well actually, you do. You quite openly challenged the canon background of the timeline. And, continuing with your double standard, you directly challenged the canon status of the additional material I got from GLH.
    And you demanded changes to fit your interpretation, personal preference, and proclamation of what is "good" for the players.

    It seems the only one who keeps demanding a single black and white vision of Greyhawk is you GVD. Either everyone accepts your version, or we are labeled revisionists who should go off and play Eberron. But should someone refute what you say in the same manner, suddenly we are trying to force our personal preferences on everyone.
    Well, no. I accept neither option.
    GreySage

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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 11:41 am  

    Samwise wrote:

    1. He is attempting to extend the definition of GH canon beyond what it is.
    2. He repeatedly tries to set up a double standard where he gets to decide what is relegated to a lesser, or non-existent, status in canon, and everybody must accept it or be subjected to his scorn for being a "revisionist" or wanting to warp the GH setting into Eberron because they aren't using the "canon" version of Elves or what not.
    Defining or eliminating canon is irrelevant to that.


    To the contrary, it's at the root of both issues. If no one attempted to define canon, both contentions would be irrelevant.

    The term "canon" meaning simply the body of relevant works is useful. When it's used in the exclusionary sense (the body of acceptable works) it becomes needlessly contentious, at least for the purpose of fan discussion.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 11:52 am  

    Remember a few weeks ago, when I tried to motivate the posters of this board to brainstorm for an Adventure Path that we could develop - at least conceptually, even if we never got around to actually writing the thing? With a few exceptions (my thanks to the responders - Rasgon, CSL, Anced, Wolfsire) the post was basically ignored, and died a quick and quiet death. The fact that this thread is markedly more popular than that one kind of breaks my heart.

    Does anybody on here actually PLAY D&D anymore?
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:01 pm  

    btgrover wrote:
    Remember a few weeks ago, when I tried to motivate the posters of this board to brainstorm for an Adventure Path that we could develop - at least conceptually, even if we never got around to actually writing the thing? With a few exceptions (my thanks to the responders - Rasgon, CSL, Anced, Wolfsire) the post was basically ignored, and died a quick and quiet death. The fact that this thread is markedly more popular than that one kind of breaks my heart.

    Does anybody on here actually PLAY D&D anymore?


    Actually, several of us continue to discuss such a thing in the chatroom. I continue to plot my Aboleth Rising campaign, discussing things with Dethand and Duicarthan, and I am starting to structure the adventures.
    Also, I've started discussing a completely different version of the lost continent with Duicarthan.
    And I am plotting more things about the Serpent Creatures, expanding on my ideas for the Yuan-ti with Cebrion and Duicarthan.
    And I've discussed even more variant concepts.
    The thing is, all of these are still in the very early development stage. And they are quite divergent, both from general expectations and certain various canon assumptions. Rather than deal with general attacks from certain quarters, and because I don't like to open such concepts to general discussion until I have them more fleshed out, I haven't commented further on them here. If you'd like to wander by the chat room for a real time exchange, and possibly join in email discussions of expanding the ideas, come on by. Just be prepared for my ideas to be really out there.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:31 pm  

    btgrover wrote:
    Remember a few weeks ago, when I tried to motivate the posters of this board to brainstorm for an Adventure Path that we could develop - at least conceptually, even if we never got around to actually writing the thing? With a few exceptions (my thanks to the responders - Rasgon, CSL, Anced, Wolfsire) the post was basically ignored, and died a quick and quiet death. The fact that this thread is markedly more popular than that one kind of breaks my heart.

    Does anybody on here actually PLAY D&D anymore?


    My campaign stalled a few months ago and might or might not start up again the the forseeable future. Now I enjoy writing articles. I hope that this forum will resolve the problems with canon to clear the way for myself and others to address other issues. Arguing over canon is antithetical to the notion of canon and hinders creativity. Please help on this if you can.

    Samwise wrote:
    GH is in law WotC's, so they in fact get to say what is canon.


    I do not know the ins and outs of intellectual property law, but am pretty sure, but not positive, that the term “canon” is not addressed by intellectual property law. And so I cannot agree with your statement. I think what you are getting at is a very relevant issue, however. TSR once had it and although WotC can publish new material, and exclude others, they cannot unpublish nor can that take away the revered status of Gygax.

    To take an idea to the absurdity, if WotC said tomorrow that everything published to date was all the bad dream of Elimester, I would not accept that. Also, my absurd scenario brings about a possible flaw in my first draft of a definition. I guess I would accept such an absurdity as canon, because doing so would be of no harm, but I would dismiss it any way. Guidelines should address why for those cases that are not so clear. Puppets? Gargoyles?

    rasgon wrote:
    The term "canon" meaning simply the body of relevant works is useful. When it's used in the exclusionary sense (the body of acceptable works) it becomes needlessly contentious, at least for the purpose of fan discussion.


    What is relevant or acceptable? That will differ for everyone. Canon is by its very nature exclusionary. Exclude everything labeled Forgotten Realms, but what else?

    Gentlemen, please clearly articulate a definition of canon, or better yet, tweek my first draft, so that I can pick up anything relating to greyhawk and say whether it is canon. It might be useful if you added terms to explain other thing. Here are some that I did not make up: non-canon, full-canon, near-canon, fanon, apocrypha.

    “Any materially officially published for the Greyhawk campaign setting.”
    GreySage

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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 12:50 pm  

    Wolfsire wrote:
    What is relevant or acceptable? That will differ for everyone. Canon is by its very nature exclusionary. Exclude everything labeled Forgotten Realms, but what else?


    Relevant is just that: anything that pertains to the discussion. That doesn't mean that things labeled Forgotten Realms should necessarily be excluded. A FR book about drow might be relevant, if only for comparison.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 1:29 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    ..."canon" mean[s] the body of relevant works ....


    rasgon wrote:
    Relevant is just that: anything that pertains to the discussion. That doesn't mean that things labeled Forgotten Realms should necessarily be excluded. A FR book about drow might be relevant, if only for comparison.


    I get from that: “Canon means any body work pertaining to the discussion, which could include works from other settings.”

    I do not have a problem bringing into a discussion works from other settings, but I cannot think of them as canon. They might be better than canon, and I do not know what to call them, but I cannot call them canon. The U.S. Constitution is canon because it informs the Keoish Charter?

    First Rough Draft to Broadside:

    Ancient Meaning of Canon:
    Recent Meaning of Canon:
    Historical Meaning of Canon for the Greyhawk Setting:

    Meaning of Canon favored by the Restatement:

    Unless agreed otherwise, or ruled so by the Dungeon Master, for Greyhawk, canon means any material officially published for the Greyhawk campaign setting and any conclusion that naturally and necessarily follow.

    Comment a. With the supernatural readily available it is problematic to have natural logical consequences, but until published canon provides otherwise, this is a reasonable assumption.

    Guidelines for resolving canon conflicts, in order of priority:

    1. Canon supporting the Dungeon Masters vision is favored.
    2. Canon that more readily implements the vision of the author, for internal canon conflicts, is favored.
    3. Canon relied upon or reiterated is favored.
    4. Canon published more recently is favored.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 1:46 pm  

    Wolfsire wrote:

    Unless agreed otherwise, or ruled so by the Dungeon Master, for Greyhawk, canon means any material officially published for the Greyhawk campaign setting and any conclusion that naturally and necessarily follow.


    Please define "officially published".

    Who or what entity makes it official?

    I voted other. What function do these statements and definitions serve?
    GreySage

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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 1:58 pm  

    Wolfsire wrote:
    I get from that: “Canon means any body work pertaining to the discussion, which could include works from other settings.”


    No, when I said "relevant" I didn't mean "canon" in the way you mean. Canon implies some aura of officiality, which isn't my intention. I think the notion of canon is counterproductive for our purposes.

    Quote:
    I do not have a problem bringing into a discussion works from other settings, but I cannot think of them as canon.


    Nor should you. You're looking at what I wrote backwards: my intent was to say that the word "canon" should be diminished to the status of what is merely relevant. Instead, you seem to be interpreting my words to mean that what is relevant should be given the weight of canon. My intent is that the word "canon" doesn't need to be given any weight at all.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 3:17 pm  

    Rasgon, I am not intentionally trying misunderstand you. I think canon should be given only the weight it is due. Which is that it should be accepted as true if there is no reason to deny it. But there is so many different understandings of canon that I think there should be this restatement so that there is common ground. A broadly defined canon would make canon less relevant and the guidelines should shift the focus on putting the weight to where it should go.

    NathanBrazil, I am hoping that someone else will take a shot at answering your questions, but I am thinking to distinguish licensed and IP v. unlicensed products. The articles that I write are published on this site, but as far as I am aware they have no formal approval such as being the product of the IP holder or someone licensed to profit from publication.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 7:12 pm  

    OK, lets make this easy...
    1) If it's legaly published by the copyright holder and says it is Greyhawk, well it is canon. Note-see last rule
    2) If it is legaly published by someone authorized to do so by the copyright holder and says it is Greyhawk, well it's canon. Note-see last rule
    3) If it is legaly published by the copyright holder, or an authorized party, and is very thinly veiled Greyhawk, well, it should be canon. Again, see last
    4) If it can be documented to have been produced for publication as Greyhawk, again, canon. Last rule still applies
    5) Living Greyhawk material is out. Until a complete overview of the material is avalible to everyone it's impact on the setting as a whole is hard to establish. (Yes, I expect to catch hell for this statement)
    6) If 90% or more of us, the players, are sure it is crap then call it crap and bounce it.

    This covers all the major stuff from back in the day, plus the new stuff. And allows for some of the good stuff that got produced but not released that can be found here. It also allows for removal of things like the spoof Castle Greyhawk and other stuff that the vast majority of people find just damn foolish.

    Personally, I think an agreed uppon chronology would be helpful when discussing the setting, if for nothing other than an common point of reference. My two bits.
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 8:35 pm  

    I think an understanding of canon WOULD be useful when writing for the setting, but unfortunately we, the online community, will never agree
    on a definition.

    I note that several (well, at least two) people in this discussion are lawyers. People can argue law, but ultimately law is settled because there is a hierarchical AUTHORITY that decides it. GH Canon has no such authority. I would be willing to submit to the authority of the copyright holder, and accept their definition or pronouncement over what is canon. Unfortunately, WotC has shown no interest in assuming this authority and have, as I see it, abdicated this power.

    Thus, each one of us has our own personal view of what is canon, whether we have explicitly created a definition or not. Trying to write a definition of canon is similar to what trying to argue law would be if the court system had no hierarchy, if every local district was free to interpret law as it saw fit, with no oversight from above.

    In my own personal works, as best exemplfied by my OJ piece, I take the following approach: I cite everything I can, and note whether or not I agree with what has been published before. The reader will make of it what they will.
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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 8:48 pm  

    Canon is really very easy to define.

    Canon is what the IP holder decides that it is. Period. If WOTC went back and ret-conned a bunch of stuff, it would then be canon. If WOTC bought up some or all of the LG material and published it as official, it would be canon. Period.

    There is no room for a "protestant reformation" with regards to Greyhawk canon, without inducing legal action for IP violation, and so we are relegated to discussing "unofficial canon", or what should be accepted as canon among inconsistencies(such as "What heraldic device does Robilar really use?).

    Imagine if a canonical Bible were copyrighted. Any other variant version would be grounds for suit (bloody heretics!!! Wink ). Think of Greyhawk material in the same way.

    So, what the Pope (WOTC) and the College of Cardinals (Paizo- who has the WOTC stamp of approval) says is canon IS canon. It’s as simple as that.

    Discussion of canonical material is what we mostly get to do, and that is worthwhile in my opinion. Discussion of what the term "canon" means serves no real purpose in my mind.

    There is no need for such a discussion in my opinion, as we already participate in what is relevant to canon- discussion of the actual canonical material itself, its quality, how it fits (or does not fit) into our own camapigns, and how we personally add to it or alter it to suit our own ideas.
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    Fri Jul 14, 2006 8:59 pm  

    Canon is solely useful for consistent development by the IP holder. And it has not been meaningfully used in that fashion to date, so the reality is that Greyhawk "canon" neither exists in a useful sense nor ever will at this point. Especially since Iquander has said (with good reason) that he'd rather have a great adventure that's a bit sloppy with its facts than an okay adventure that's perfectly researched. And yes, that is a somewhat perjorative paraphrase of what he said.

    I don't think that a talking shop about this subject would serve a useful purpose. I certainly wouldn't visit such a forum under normal circumstances.
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    Sat Jul 15, 2006 5:03 am  

    This discussion is reinventing a wheel that's already been reinvented many times before.

    Thinking practically - a good starting place is the list of Canon that Team Greyhawk identified in 1998.

    Then, I suggest you add to that the LGG (and the unpublished LGG apocropha), the separate issues of the LGJ, the LGJ/LG approved articles in Dungeon and Dragon and the Adventure Paths (the badly shoehorned Cauldron and all).

    After that things get a bit swampy. Adventure arcs in Dungeon such as the Istivin Arc and Wolfgang Bauer's Blackmoor stuff I'd have little problem with Canonising. But as we've seen with Glacial Inferno, not all Dungeon adventures are made equal.

    The objection I have to including everything and anything even tangentially related to Greyhawk is that everything wasn't written with consistancy in mind. Stand-alone Dungeon adventures and a lot of the GH references to GH in Core 3.x rulebooks are especially prone to this. The ultimate goal should be to produce an internally consistant setting.

    What I'd suggest is that these sources be evaluated for useful content using consistancy with the body of canon established above as the critical criterion.

    Where a piece of work breaks new ground, I'd set up a secondary criterion of plausibility given the background of the established body of canon.

    It's not desirable to include every GH reference going under the umbrella of canon - to do so will just produce an inconsistant mongrel world.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to the park to enjoy the sunshine. Smile
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    Sat Jul 15, 2006 5:16 am  

    I've tried this several times myself, and FWIW most canon discussions end up reducing to favorite authors/favorite eras/editions wars---regardless of good intentions about trying to define a "defintive" canon for Greyhawk. So, on that level I think the effort is doomed to failure.

    That said, I still think that relative canon is a useful concept within the scope of favorite authors/era/editions. If you're playing a Carl Sargent GH Wars game, knowing what the key works are from then is useful, and you can get that info in list form from various sources (like Russ Taylor's site, for example). If you're a Gygax GH guy, knowing that he published several short stories set in GH Castle in wargaming magazines in the 1970s (a la the article published in Dungeon 112 describing Gygax's first encounters with Kuntz's iron golem in WG5) can be useful too. Etc.

    Some of these (failed) discussions from the WotC GH boards might be useful for reference: http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=89872 and http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=131796
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    Sat Jul 15, 2006 6:01 am  

    A few of things -

    First - ALL 3x generic material was intended by the IP holder to be set or to be applicable to Greyhawk. Citation - D&D Gazateer at p. 2. Quote -"This is the core world for D&D game products . . . The D&D game setting is located on the sphere of Oerth, most specifically on the continent of Oerik, in its eastern most portion called the Flanaess." So, for example, Races of the Wild, Magic of Incarnum, Complete Divine, Fiendish Codex Vol I, all 3X generic supplements are all applicable to Greyhawk by the writ of the IP holder. Are they canon? I think the argument is that they must be accounted as a species of canon.

    Second - The above quotes from the D&D gazateer are an example of the doctrine of incorporation by reference. The Gaz does not list all possible D&D game products; it could not. Instead in incorporates them by a general, open ended reference. Summerizing - If A references B in discussion of A, B has been incorporated by reference as part of or relevant to A. Thus, for example when the Complete Book of Elves discusses "typical" elves and a specific section on the elves of Greyhawk states they are "typical," the general observations that have been made are incorporated by reference into the specific discussion of Greyhawk. Note as well that it is the IP holder (TSR in this case) utilizing incorporation by reference.

    Third - A GH reference is a GH reference at an irreducible level. How that GH reference is evaluated within the universe of all Greyhawk references is another matter. However it may be ultimately evaluated, it remains a GH reference and should be evaluated as such rather than being subject to summary dismissal.

    Fourth - Published materials (print and electronic) are easier for most people to obtain, review and consider than ad hoc statements by designers made after publication. Ad hoc statements are just that and are difficuly to verify for people not present when the ad hoc statement was made.

    Smile
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    Sat Jul 15, 2006 8:24 am  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    A few of things -

    First - ALL 3x generic material was intended by the IP holder to be set or to be applicable to Greyhawk. Citation - D&D Gazateer at p. 2. Quote -"This is the core world for D&D game products . . . The D&D game setting is located on the sphere of Oerth, most specifically on the continent of Oerik, in its eastern most portion called the Flanaess." So, for example, Races of the Wild, Magic of Incarnum, Complete Divine, Fiendish Codex Vol I, all 3X generic supplements are all applicable to Greyhawk by the writ of the IP holder. Are they canon? I think the argument is that they must be accounted as a species of canon.


    That is the D&D Gazetteer, not the GH Gazetteer.
    Further, WotC later changed their policy, specifically excluding all GH trademarks from the OGL.
    So in fact, none of the additional material is automatically applicalbe to GH.
    If one later considers various statements that GH as core world meant it was just as a source of proper names, it is even more obvious that Core and GH are not synonymous.
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    Sat Jul 15, 2006 2:10 pm  

    Hi. I voted for this not being a good idea so it could be represented in the poll numbers, but like I said in another thread, I'm happy to provide constructive feedback. When I have time, I like meta-conservations, or reflecting on the process that produces our content. Perhaps I'm a devotee of Cebrion's feared olven god of navel lint (and gazing!)? ;)

    I think that attempting to develop a Restatement of Greyhawk Canon is not a good idea "at this time" because, like Rasgon said, the basic notion seems to produce oppositionality, as folks put forth competing definitions, but tend not to try to bridge them / achieve a consensual one. I think this is not the right time both because it might have been easier back in the old Council of Greyhawk days and also because there are no current products being produced officially for the Greyhawk campaign setting.

    The closest we come to it are LGH modules (not intended to further the campaign setting but rather the living campaign itself) and online articles (generally of good quality, IMO); and works that Erik Mona edits in Dungeon or Dragon. And as several posters in this and other threads have noted, those works vary greatly in terms of their care for consistently representing Greyhawk.

    Personally, I was surprised to read Woesinger's suggestion to add all the first Adventure Path, which was not originally designed to further the Greyhawk campaign setting but instead to produce an exciting series of adventures in Dungeon. In contrast, the second adventure path was clearly designed with the Greyhawk setting in mind. I expect that the upcoming one will also be done well.

    Okay, shifting away from my personal responses to this thread, I reviewed a lot of the links posted. Thanks especially to Wolfsire's link to the Wikipedia article on "Canon (fiction)" and Grodog's links to a couple 2003 threads in the Wizards of the Coast message board.

    The Wikipedia article started with:
    Quote:
    In the context of fiction, the canon of a fictional universe comprises those novels, stories, films, etc. that are considered to be genuine (or "official"), and those events, characters, settings, etc. that are considered to have inarguable existence within the fictional universe. Usually items that are considered canon come from the original source of the fictional universe while non-canon material comes from adaptations or unofficial items.


    This appears useful and comports with the understanding expressed by several posters about the importance of legal ownership as dispositive of canon-production. Personally, I reject that definition because I'm not employed by the legal owner. Along with you, I'm using some leisure to play with the idea of GH canon. Therefore, my purpose is to engage with you, the online GH fan, and to perhaps facilitate your (and my) creation of creative works related to the GH campaign setting.

    I also think this definition is fundamentally ill-conceived for our purposes because we're dealing with role-playing games, which in basic purpose are different from entertainment like novels or films. Even accepting the notion that audiences reception of such creative works is not simply passive but instead involves acts of interpretation, role-playing games exist to stimulate people's imagination about a set of collective adventures.

    Nevertheless, for this project's purposes, it seems that "official" GH products (or "authentic" as explained in a post by Grodog on WotC's boards) is the best place for us to hang the hook of GH canon.

    Wolfsire's proffered definition incorporates this seemingly majority-agreed-upon notion. He offers, Greyhawk canon is "[a]ny materially [sic] officially published for the Greyhawk campaign setting."

    Official publication should mean publication by the legal owner of the IP, which has been TSR, Inc. and Wizards of the Coast, Inc. Also, Gary Gygax reportedly retains certain rights, perhaps a license, to certain Greyhawk related IP, and so may Rob Kuntz.

    While we might prefer physical publication, digital publication, should be accepted too, especially in the 21st century, no? (Yay for Ivid, which was published if not edited so completely as it would have been if published in print.)

    "for the Greyhawk campaign setting," is the tricky part. Here I expect we'll disagree, but here is my suggestion.

    The phrase should mean texts that are primarily intended to develop the setting. Competent evidence of primary intent derives from inspection of the text. A rebuttable presumption of intent to develop the setting exists where the text features the Greyhawk trademark. (Rose Estes novels rebut this presumption, as does the joke GH castle module, and the three 1990s unfavored RPGA modules.)

    From this set of definitions, the various 3e books do not constitute canon because their primary intent has nothing to do with the GH campaign setting but instead to establish or augment D&D rules.

    To incorporate parts of these texts into GH canon, we need a supplementary rule dealing with fragments of texts. I leave that to someone else to suggest.
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    Sun Jul 16, 2006 2:58 am  

    I think the aim of threads related to this usually tends to be more about separating the wheat from the chaff. As Woesinger said, not all GH material is created equal. Some of it is downright bad. Inconsistencies are legion. That is my perception at least.

    There are many flubs in many products from different times when GH material was published. I think a better discussion thread would be aimed at ironing out such inconsistencies. This would lead to filling in some blanks and some ret-conning in most cases, but with the right intent in mind I think. Working out the knots in the tangles of GH would be a more worthy undertaking than any discussion of canon in my opinion.
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    Sun Jul 16, 2006 4:41 am  

    MTG, on the Cauldron thing - I'm not entirely happy with SCAP given its dropped-from-orbit-into-the-setting nature, but I can live with it as it'll be referenced in the third AP, which is solidly GH.

    GVD, it's clear that while the core 3.x books used GH as the core world, many of them used GH as a random name generator. The core books, by their nature, were pitched to offer the widest number of options to gamers - most of whom are home brewers anyway. I think it'd be wrong to assume that the core designers gave much thought to whether ilumians or goliaths fitted into the World of Greyhawk. I also think it'd be wrong trying to shoehorn every reference in without any regard for internal consistancy just because it's a GH reference.

    For that reason, I wouldn't automatically admit throwaway GH references in 3.x core to Canon. A better way to go about it, I think, would be to evaluate them on consistancy and plausibility grounds, reject the inconsistant and implausible and admit the consistant and likely.
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    Sun Jul 16, 2006 10:07 am  

    I hope that the new AP creatively retcons Cauldron and Sasserine. Maybe we should tell that to Erik?

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    Sun Jul 16, 2006 8:02 pm  

    On the subject of secondary/tertiary sources, we've seen a LARGE selection of original Greyhawk mauscripts sold (by Rob Kuntz) in the time since the last really big canon discussion.

    Where, if anywhere, should these fit into the mixture as info sources? I have archived all of the auctions, and will be updating RJK's CF! bibliography with their additional details (if I ever get admin rights back). Further, some of these mss. are very likely to be published in one form or another---perhaps all, if we're lucky.

    Something additional to think about :D

    edit - here's another useful thread to consider: http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?threadid=59505
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    Mon Jul 17, 2006 5:21 am  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    A few of things -

    First - ALL 3x generic material was intended by the IP holder to be set or to be applicable to Greyhawk. Citation - D&D Gazateer at p. 2. Quote -"This is the core world for D&D game products . . . The D&D game setting is located on the sphere of Oerth, most specifically on the continent of Oerik, in its eastern most portion called the Flanaess." So, for example, Races of the Wild, Magic of Incarnum, Complete Divine, Fiendish Codex Vol I, all 3X generic supplements are all applicable to Greyhawk by the writ of the IP holder. Are they canon? I think the argument is that they must be accounted as a species of canon.

    Second - The above quotes from the D&D gazateer are an example of the doctrine of incorporation by reference. The Gaz does not list all possible D&D game products; it could not. Instead in incorporates them by a general, open ended reference. Summerizing - If A references B in discussion of A, B has been incorporated by reference as part of or relevant to A. Thus, for example when the Complete Book of Elves discusses "typical" elves and a specific section on the elves of Greyhawk states they are "typical," the general observations that have been made are incorporated by reference into the specific discussion of Greyhawk. Note as well that it is the IP holder (TSR in this case) utilizing incorporation by reference.

    Third - A GH reference is a GH reference at an irreducible level. How that GH reference is evaluated within the universe of all Greyhawk references is another matter. However it may be ultimately evaluated, it remains a GH reference and should be evaluated as such rather than being subject to summary dismissal.

    Fourth - Published materials (print and electronic) are easier for most people to obtain, review and consider than ad hoc statements by designers made after publication. Ad hoc statements are just that and are difficuly to verify for people not present when the ad hoc statement was made.

    Smile


    A followup.

    1st - The D&D Gaz, by its terms (see above), is synonomous with the World of Greyhawk. Oerth is Oerth. Oerik is Oerik. The Flanaess is the Flanaess.

    2nd - The use of Greyhawk as the "core" setting for D&D continues in 3.5 as one finds the GH deities still ensconced as the "default" deities for D&D. The same "core" GH is on display in the most recent Dragon Magazine where Pelor and Mayaheine are both featured. One may also continue to find GH references in a variety of D&D releases. While there is an argument that this use merely is one of names, see above, IMO a GH reference is a GH reference. That less thought went into the usage is irrelevent as there is no objective test for such thought and a GH logo has proven no guarantee of thoughtfulness.

    If one wishes to exclude 3X GH references under one theory or another, the argument to include 3X GH references is at least as strong. It is not all the way or no way. And accepting a GH reference as a GH reference is but the first step before the weight of the reference is considered.
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    Mon Jul 17, 2006 5:21 am  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    A few of things -

    First - ALL 3x generic material was intended by the IP holder to be set or to be applicable to Greyhawk. Citation - D&D Gazateer at p. 2. Quote -"This is the core world for D&D game products . . . The D&D game setting is located on the sphere of Oerth, most specifically on the continent of Oerik, in its eastern most portion called the Flanaess." So, for example, Races of the Wild, Magic of Incarnum, Complete Divine, Fiendish Codex Vol I, all 3X generic supplements are all applicable to Greyhawk by the writ of the IP holder. Are they canon? I think the argument is that they must be accounted as a species of canon.

    Second - The above quotes from the D&D gazateer are an example of the doctrine of incorporation by reference. The Gaz does not list all possible D&D game products; it could not. Instead in incorporates them by a general, open ended reference. Summerizing - If A references B in discussion of A, B has been incorporated by reference as part of or relevant to A. Thus, for example when the Complete Book of Elves discusses "typical" elves and a specific section on the elves of Greyhawk states they are "typical," the general observations that have been made are incorporated by reference into the specific discussion of Greyhawk. Note as well that it is the IP holder (TSR in this case) utilizing incorporation by reference.

    Third - A GH reference is a GH reference at an irreducible level. How that GH reference is evaluated within the universe of all Greyhawk references is another matter. However it may be ultimately evaluated, it remains a GH reference and should be evaluated as such rather than being subject to summary dismissal.

    Fourth - Published materials (print and electronic) are easier for most people to obtain, review and consider than ad hoc statements by designers made after publication. Ad hoc statements are just that and are difficuly to verify for people not present when the ad hoc statement was made.

    Smile


    A followup.

    1st - The D&D Gaz, by its terms (see above), is synonomous with the World of Greyhawk. Oerth is Oerth. Oerik is Oerik. The Flanaess is the Flanaess.

    2nd - The use of Greyhawk as the "core" setting for D&D continues in 3.5 as one finds the GH deities still ensconced as the "default" deities for D&D. The same "core" GH is on display in the most recent Dragon Magazine where Pelor and Mayaheine are both featured. One may also continue to find GH references in a variety of D&D releases. While there is an argument that this use merely is one of names, see above, IMO a GH reference is a GH reference. That less thought went into the usage is irrelevent as there is no objective test for such thought and a GH logo has proven no guarantee of thoughtfulness.

    If one wishes to exclude 3X GH references under one theory or another, the argument to include 3X GH references is at least as strong. It is not all the way or no way. And accepting a GH reference as a GH reference is but the first step before the weight of the reference is considered.
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    Mon Jul 17, 2006 5:29 am  

    Woesinger wrote:
    GVD, it's clear that while the core 3.x books used GH as the core world, many of them used GH as a random name generator. The core books, by their nature, were pitched to offer the widest number of options to gamers - most of whom are home brewers anyway. I think it'd be wrong to assume that the core designers gave much thought to whether ilumians or goliaths fitted into the World of Greyhawk. I also think it'd be wrong trying to shoehorn every reference in without any regard for internal consistancy just because it's a GH reference.


    There is IMO a two step process -

    1) Acknowledge a GH reference for a GH reference; then

    2) Determine the value or weight to be given to that reference.

    If the reference is no more than "name dropping" evaluate it as such, but at least spare a moment for that thought by first acknowledging that there is a GH reference. Some, IMO, are more than mere name dropping - e.g., Tarth Moorda in the Complete Arcane, provides a map, key, description and location in GH.
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    Mon Jul 17, 2006 6:52 am  

    GVDammerung wrote:

    2nd - The use of Greyhawk as the "core" setting for D&D continues in 3.5 as one finds the GH deities still ensconced as the "default" deities for D&D. The same "core" GH is on display in the most recent Dragon Magazine where Pelor and Mayaheine are both featured. One may also continue to find GH references in a variety of D&D releases. While there is an argument that this use merely is one of names, see above, IMO a GH reference is a GH reference. That less thought went into the usage is irrelevent as there is no objective test for such thought and a GH logo has proven no guarantee of thoughtfulness.


    There is such a huge variance from the Complete series and the different articles in Dragon/Dungeon that it would be almost impossible to put these under an "umbrella" statement of Canon. I would argue the deity articles in Dragon are far more relevant to Greyhawk canon than the blurbs in Complete Divine.

    In contrast, the write-up on the Warmage College in the Duchy of Urnst that we are given in Complete Arcane I would be tempted to throw out completely as propernoun abuse. (Even though the reason given for the college is because of Rary's new nation in the Bright Lands Confused )

    Because these are such subjective matters I think defining Greyhawk Canon is pretty much a futile and a divisive excercise.

    For me the logical alternative (and if I wasn't so lazy I would have already cobbled together an article for 'Hawking up the SCAP) would be to construct a write-up expanding something that you believe should be considered canon and publishing it on Canonfire!, then let people use it or not based on their version of Greyhawk and if they find it fits their GH canon.
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    Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:10 am  

    Lassiviren wrote:
    There is such a huge variance from the Complete series and the different articles in Dragon/Dungeon that it would be almost impossible to put these under an "umbrella" statement of Canon.
    Because these are such subjective matters I think defining Greyhawk Canon is pretty much a futile and a divisive excercise.


    YMMV, of course, but I think I have a definition or methodology that is easily specific but allows for maximum flexibility -

    1) A GH reference is a GH reference;

    2) GH references should be evaluated or given "weight" (when read in the context of all GH references).

    Canon is then easily and broadly defined as the universe of all GH references. But within the superset there are "weighted" subsets.

    The result is, rather than arguing what is or is not canon, the discussion will focus on how to weigh or evaluate a particular GH reference. I think this shift in emphasis would be nothing salutory.

    The present course - argue what is canon - avoids consideration of some GH references by immediately and without preamble attempting to declare them "non-canon." This, IMO, is uncritical thinking at its finest; it is rather personal preference canoning making that others use to try to force their personal preferences in "canon" upon everyone else and I reject this.
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    Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:06 am  

    Homer Simpson: “Making sausages … gurgle, gurgle, drool, drool.”

    Thank you all for the comments and links. Please keep them coming. I am going to have to dig into them. Here is a start …

    Free_City_Assassin provided as rule 6 “If 90% or more of us, the players, are sure it is crap then call it crap and bounce it.”

    Mtg provided: “ ‘for the Greyhawk campaign setting,” is the tricky part. Here I expect we’ll disagree, but here is my suggestion. … The phrase should mean texts that are primarily intended … rebuttable presumption … do not constitute canon because their primary intent ….”

    I think both of those notions back away from a bright line standard to the extent they address whether something is canon as opposed to quality. Without such a standard, people will argue whether something is or is not canon, rather than the merits of the work. So, IMO, novels, Rose Estes or Gygax, or crappy works, need to be declared canon or not, and if canon or not, judges when necessary. They can be judged upon the guidelines, which need to be developed.

    I think it is important to note, however, that it is not realistic to think that there can be a consensual judgment, even if it might appear that way. I do not know what it was like on-line back in the day, but I have my doubts about the degree of authority and consensus. Today with several on-line GH boards and the web having exploded number of lurkers or temporarily silent posters would be much greater thereby reducing the possibility of consensus. At best you could have consensus among posters active in a particular forum. That is not a good judge IMO. I guess that you could develop a procedures such as a poll with a 100 vote quorum and 75% super-majority for canon declarations, but I don’t think that is the way to go, but maybe. I doubt you could get enough votes to make such a thing legitimate.

    Mtg also provided an analysis of the wikipedia definition of canon finding it “fundamentally ill-conceived for our purposes.” To that I say, maybe, but from that definition I garnered little more than support for the notion of official v. unofficial, which I think is good. BTW, Mtg, thanks for digging in on my offered text.

    The Wiki entry also has a subsection particular to D&D in which can be found a fairly good justification for this project:

    “There is no single "official" canon for D&D. From the very beginnings of the game in the 1970s through to the present, the issue of canon has been left up to each individual Dungeon Master, who runs the game session for the other players. The Dungeon Master is free to determine which published materials (adventure modules, novels, sourcebooks, video games, comic books, etc.) are canonical in his or her own campaign, and how the various D&D rules apply to that campaign.

    “Nevertheless, D&D players often move between games managed by different Dungeon Masters, and many also congregate for gaming tournaments, play in shared living campaigns, or play the game on-line with different participants than in their normal gaming sessions. In order to achieve even a basic level of continuity among these various game instances, D&D fans must therefore confront the issue of canon.

    “To achieve the desired level of continuity, various mechanisms are employed to manage D&D "canon." The organizers of gaming tournaments, for example, will often specify which sets of rules and conventions are "in force" for tournament gameplay. Living campaigns usually attempt to develop a more comprehensive set of canon materials and sourcebooks, such as the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer for the Living Greyhawk campaign. And for individually-run games, it is common for Dungeon Masters to briefly discuss their own vision of D&D canon with each new player who joins his or her campaign.

    “Finally, following the emergence of the World Wide Web, a number of Web sites have arisen that enable players to discuss canon issues and work toward (or reject) canonical norms. These include the Web site of Wizards of the Coast[3], the intellectual property rightsholder and publisher for D&D, as well as fan-run sites such as EN World[4] and Canonfire[5].”

    GVD, we are pretty much on the same page, but I think there needs to be a more solid definition than “A GH reference is a GH reference.” Again an absurdity: “Only pansies write about GH.” That was just a GH reference. I cannot say that it is canon that we are pansies.

    Likewise, if you can develop guidelines for evaluating/weighing canon, I would appreciate it.

    Thanks.
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    Mon Jul 17, 2006 10:58 am  

    Wolfsire wrote:
    GVD, we are pretty much on the same page, but I think there needs to be a more solid definition than “A GH reference is a GH reference.” Again an absurdity: “Only pansies write about GH.” That was just a GH reference. I cannot say that it is canon that we are pansies.

    Likewise, if you can develop guidelines for evaluating/weighing canon, I would appreciate it.

    Thanks.


    Proposed Canon Rule One - Canon consists of all direct references to the World of Greyhawk Campaign setting, or its constituent parts, that address aspects of the setting.

    Proposed Canon Rule Two - Canon further consists of all immediate inferences and further references that are suggested or implied by direct references to the World of Greyhawk Campaign setting, or its consitiuent parts.

    These two rules would provide, I believe, the broadest definition of canon - what is specifically said and what is also meant. They are both entirely objective - 1) A direct reference, or 2) an immediate or further reference made in the necessary context of a direct reference (ie what does the direct reference refer to that is itself not a direct reference but which is all-the-same couched or presented in terms of the setting by the direct reference). Proposed Rule Two embodies the doctrine of incorporation by reference, a standard in document drafting.

    Your example above - "pansies" - is excluded by Proposed Rule 1, Clause 1 - "that address aspects of the setting." Your hypotheical does not so address tWoG as a setting. Rather, it comments on those utilizing the setting.

    Once we are past defining the superset of all canon references, for ease of discussion call them Direct References (Proposed Rule One) and Indirect References (Proposed Rule Two), we can then look to standards for evaluating a particular canon reference.

    I'd like to see other possible definitional rule drafts. In this regard, I think it would be helpful if those proposing definitional drafts were clear about what their draft language is attempting to do.

    In my case, my thought is to cast the widest net - the broadest definition of canon - and then look to systematically seperate the wheat from the chaff.

    My design objectives are ease of application - hence an objective standard. My further design objective is to reserve discussion of what weight to give a particular reference, not to argue whether it is canon or non-canon in the first instance because such an approach 1) rarely goes any farther to consider the quality of the reference, uncritically assuming that once canon status is established, no further inquiry need be made and 2) often precludes such consideration of quality by fiat with a declaration of non-canon status.

    Once a definition of canon is settled upon, if there is a need for an evaluative component, I can offer some suggestions.

    Interesting thread.
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    Mon Jul 17, 2006 11:10 am  

    Canon is not and can not merely be the personal preference of everybody including and excluding whatever they feel like.
    That isn't canon, that is silliness.

    On that basis, I hereby write the following:

    Samwise is to be the sole and exclusive arbiter of Greyhawk canon from this point forward.

    There, a Greyhawk reference, which thus must be considered as canon.
    To all my fans, I know this will be a heavy burden for me to bear, but I will prove worthy of my new responsibility.
    To all my detractors, I told you I was right.

    Canon is not a broad definition. It is, by its meaning, a very narrow definition. If you want to assemble a list of all D&D material ever, then do so. But do not confuse that with the canon of a setting.
    Especially not Greyhawk, because as you can see above, only I get to decide what is canon from Greyhawk. It was written in a Greyhawk reference so it has to be accepted, and I reject, without viewing, any statement that denies, contradicts, or supersedes it, unless I make it myself.
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    Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:02 pm  

    If you asked the IP holder whether or not we should assume that all the things mentioned in the core books (as opposed to every Greyhawk reference by anyone, anywhere) exist somewhere on Oerth, they'd probably say yes (with the exception of things like warforged and Red Wizards of Thay, which are too closely associated with other settings).

    However, WotC has made no such declaration, and seems unlikely to rule on (and thus create) a canon for Greyhawk at all. It simply does not exist at this time - Greyhawk has no WotC canon right now.

    For a relatively narrow, consistent canon that incorporates newer materials we then have three options:

    - Living Greyhawk.
    - Paizohawk.
    - Samwise.

    Of these, the first two have some sort of WotC suport - the latter moreso, as Dungeon and Dragon are "100% official content" while Living Greyhawk includes things that WotC doesn't own all the rights to.

    Paizohawk is broader than some might like - it includes things like Shackled City, and the editors like to work in all references they can find, no matter how small and tangental. However, it doesn't necessarily include things like Dungeon's "Fire and Ice" adventure, as Erik Mona has written skeptically about that.

    I suppose, then, if we feel we really need a ruling from some authorative figure on whether or not we can use a reference in our internet message board arguments, we could check on the Paizo boards and ask, and that would possibly give us a somewhat definitive ruling on the subject.

    Or we could just ask Samwise, who might be more forthcoming.
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    Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:10 pm  

    First, ROFL!

    Samwise wrote:
    Quote:
    To all my fans, I know this will be a heavy burden for me to bear, but I will prove worthy of my new responsibility.
    To all my detractors, I told you I was right.


    I could be okay with GVD's proposed Rule One except it doesn't mention the IP owner, which many people believe to be the fundamental issue and goes to the official / authentic ideas discussed in various sources we've referenced.

    However, I think proposed Rule Two goes too far. From the contracts I've reviewed, incorporation by reference tends not to be a presumed standard but rather an explicit clause, i.e., a contract states that it hereby incorporates by reference X, where X is a specific different document. NB: I'm not a contracts attorney, but I have reviewed contracts (and statutes) for litigation purposes. This is not a legal opinion but rather a statement of general legal principles.

    More generally, I think that GVD has and is pushing a substantially different definition of canon than I hold. As Rasgon stated earlier, the corpus of official works that mention GH forms the potentially relevant set. Definitionally, that set is what we might refine, if we were the authorized body, to determine the GH canon. (Remember my understanding of the idea of GH canon follows on the little I know about Earthly Church canon.)

    However, as we all know, the online GH fan community lacks an officially authorized body. Likely, only Wizards of the Coast could be it, and as another poster suggested, they seem to have abdicated that power and eschewed that role.

    As for evaluating GVD's "canon," what I and some others are calling the body of potentially relevant texts, it seems clear that the online GH fan community has already identified many conclusions about what is canon. The Zavodex and Russ Taylor's and Grodog's website come to mind, as does the Iquandex and the Steve Wilson's Greyhawk Timeline. Unearthing the principles that motivated those conclusions should be time-consuming but far from impossible.

    In fact, this thread has already stated several, e.g., was the text published by the IP's owner? (Several owners have been mentioned.) Does the text bear a GH logo / trademark?

    Here are a couple others: was the text published at a time when one (or more) authoritative GH author existed? if so, was it by that author (or those authors)?

    Note these last suggestions could apply both to the early days, the FtA era, the GH '98 era, the LGG and apocrypha, Erik's early days as Wizards / Paizo editor, and the current situation.
    GreySage

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    Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:52 pm  

    It's a tangled mess, which is why I think the concept is of little use at this time. For example, the Dragon article "Setting Saintly Standards" - is it Greyhawk canon? St. Kargoth and St. Bane have been canonized at least to some extent, but how about the others? Only by inference.

    What purpose does it serve to say that the other saints are noncanonical? The only purpose I can think of is to use as a weapon against fellow fans.

    By the strict standard of "Who owns Greyhawk?" Erik Mona's apocryphal articles or Gary Gygax's and Rob Kuntz's post-TSR revelations cannot be considered canonical. They may be relevant and interesting, but not canon. On the other hand, something like the warmage school in Complete Arcane might very well be considered canonical - it's hard to argue that it wasn't the intention of the IP holder to put a warmage school in the
    Duchy of Urnst.

    The Forgotten Realms and Eberron have clearly defined canons. Greyhawk does not at this time, and I can only think that's a good thing.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:58 pm  

    Samwise wrote:
    Samwise is to be the sole and exclusive arbiter of Greyhawk canon from this point forward.

    There, a Greyhawk reference, which thus must be considered as canon.
    To all my fans, I know this will be a heavy burden for me to bear, but I will prove worthy of my new responsibility.
    To all my detractors, I told you I was right.


    I don't think that would fit into GVD's defintion because it does not address the setting, but I think this would: "Tavish looks like Wolfsire." I don't think that the statement I just made, because I made it, should be canon. If Pizaro published it, then I think it would be canon, even if it is lame.

    Actually, one of the things I am tossing around in my head is how to evaluate fanon. Wiki says fanon is fan fic that has been widely accepted. Such acceptance standard run into the same "judge" problem as canon. Someone once used the term "Sam canon." I am not sure what exactly was meant, but I took it as giving a deserved nod. I would not call fan works canon, even if they are better than and based on canon, but I think guidelines should address such an issue.

    When it comes to evaluating canon, fan works are relevant. Fan works are also relevant to evaluating other fan works. I, for one, readily turn to Sam's works on the Sheldomar because he is an authority in the area, although I try to get the official works first.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Mon Jul 17, 2006 6:59 pm  

    After the LGJ's, http://melkot.com should also be considered canon, of course. Smile
    Heck, if Samwise gets to choose, its only fair. Happy

    Denis, aka "Maldin"
    ==========================
    Maldin's Greyhawk http://melkot.com
    Loads of edition-independent Greyhawk goodness... maps, magic, mysteries, mechanics, and more!
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:50 pm  

    mtg wrote:
    I could be okay with GVD's proposed Rule One except it doesn't mention the IP owner, which many people believe to be the fundamental issue and goes to the official / authentic ideas discussed in various sources we've referenced.

    However, I think proposed Rule Two goes too far. From the contracts I've reviewed, incorporation by reference tends not to be a presumed standard but rather an explicit clause, i.e., a contract states that it hereby incorporates by reference X, where X is a specific different document. NB: I'm not a contracts attorney, but I have reviewed contracts (and statutes) for litigation purposes. This is not a legal opinion but rather a statement of general legal principles.


    Good criticism. Lets try this -

    Proposed Canon Rule One V2 - Canon consists of all direct references to the World of Greyhawk Campaign setting, or its constituent parts, occuring in materials published by or licensed from the IP holder that address aspects of the setting.

    Proposed Canon Rule Two V2 - Canon further consists of all immediate inferences and further references that are suggested or implied by direct references to the World of Greyhawk Campaign setting, or its consitiuent parts, occuring in materials published by or licensed from the IP holder that address aspects of the setting.

    Incorporation by reference is always intentional/volitional-

    Example 1 - "In addition to the members of the Seldarine described in Monster Mythology, there exist four other elven deities who frequently receive veneration in Celene." In this example, the Selderine as described in Monster Mythology is specifically invoked as the basis to which the four deities to be discussed are being added. That portion of Monster Mythology describing the Selderine has been incorporated by reference into the discussion of the deities worshiped in Celene, now to include the four deities to be described.

    Example 2 - "Typical elves have pot bellies and enjoy smoking foul smelling cigars. The elves of Celene are typical." In this example, the second sentence invokes the information in the first sentence, incorporating it by reference through the use of the word "typical" that was previously defined. We know that the author is saying that the elves of Celene have pot bellies and enjoy smoking foul smelling cigars, even though he did not come right out and say so in either sentence.

    Incorporation by reference can have a legal meaning in construing legal documents, but it can also have a very commonly encountered meaning as exempified above. We often incorporate by reference when we speak or write rather than stating or restating every foundation for what we now say.

    rasgon wrote:
    It's a tangled mess, which is why I think the concept is of little use at this time. For example, the Dragon article "Setting Saintly Standards" - is it Greyhawk canon? St. Kargoth and St. Bane have been canonized at least to some extent, but how about the others? Only by inference.

    What purpose does it serve to say that the other saints are noncanonical? The only purpose I can think of is to use as a weapon against fellow fans.


    Rip,

    I have said it before and I will say it again, and I hope you will know that I am not just buttering your bread - I greatly appreciate your contributions to every fora in which I have encountered you. Your far darting eye has divined the ugly truth of the matter. Canon is often used chiefly as a weapon by one fan against another.

    If you wish to dignify something you say or write, you invoke canon or give that appearance, whether or not there really is any "canon" to what you have written or said. And despite a lack of commonly agreed upon meaning to canon. If something is "canon," it ostensibly makes your argument harder or perhaps impossible to refute because anything another might say would be "non-canon." This is cheap argumentation - argumentation by invocation of color of authority that attempts to foreclose any other position. There is no reasoning, no critical thinking, no real discussion once canon is declared. It is a way to have your say and tell others to shut up - because what you say is canon.

    I find one bullying, belligerent poster loves this method of presenting his opinions, more often than not, presenting them as canon or implying such to foreclose any disagreement with his position or the possibility that any other position might be considered. Do other but accept his dictates and feel his wrath.

    Of course, the way out of the not so cleverly laid presentation is to note that what is held out to be canon is, in fact, not clearly so. Which only enrages the bully for he is caught out. Even suggesting he is not absolutely "right" is intolerable to him. The trouble with this counter is that the bully resorts to "is too/is not" argumentation (and the wonderfully ad homineum "You don't know what you are talking about/are ignorant" when his rage boils over etc.), which leads nowhere. Certainly not to any thoughtful conversation.

    The bully appears to see conversation in terms of "winning" and "losing" and is determined to "win" at all costs. The pity is that "winning" and "losing" should be irrelevant as the point is conversation and discussion, not lockstep uniformity. And when no such conversation or discussion occurs, the forum loses.

    But the bully only cares to be seen by others as "right" or "knowledgeable." Speaking of "canon" for the bully becomes his way of saying he is "right" and "knowledgeable." Canon or its seeming invocation is the way the bully tries to push others around.

    Any definition of canon that might be objective threatens the bully for canon must be subjective for him to have any chance of invoking it to serve his end - to "win." Similarly, any definition of canon that is broadly inclusive threatens the bully, who believes himself to have mastered one narrow subset of canon and is threatened by the possibility of other material being considered as canon of one sort or another. Why? Because his "mastery" extends not so far and certainly no farther. He again appears to feel threatened. In a freewheeling discussion, the bully cannot be assured of "winning." That is unacceptable to the bully.

    You are right Rip. Canon is a weapon. The bully wields it. Others have a choice - 1) submit to the bullying, 2) keep silent, 3) try to ignore the bully, 4) confront the bully for what he is, or 5) don't hang out where the bully does.

    I've tried a little of each. None provide any real satisfaction. In the end, the bully just becomes tiresome, mores the pity as he is not stupid, but he cannot or will not be other than a boor. That's when the old adage comes in - why are internet fights so seemingly vicious? Because there is so little to actually fight for. At the end of the day, who needs the aggravation?

    Back to the thread proper.

    An objective definition of canon is, I think, worthwhile because the subjective definitions are too subject to personal preference and hence real conversation (not just position taking). Which just happens to be where the bully lives. Two birds. One stone.

    On the other hand, who really needs the aggravation?
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    Mon Jul 17, 2006 11:17 pm  

    2 pages of this and all I can really think is who really gives a flying f***.... Use what you want for your definition of canon, dont use what doesnt fit with your view of it. Toss out your ideas of canon to get opinions but remember that opinions are like arseholes. Everyone has one.

    Why all the debate anyways. I dont use half of the stuff that the rest of you use (especially anything 3e or 3.5) but I consider my version of it correct and I can garuntee that it twists wildly from what you all might think is canon. But guess what its mine so I'll continue to use it.

    Ah well, I have a headache, its 12:28 am PST, I have to finish 4 reports and two bookings not counting logging in some evidence. I need coffee, another smoke, 12 hours of sleep and the companioship of my wife which I wont see until at 6pm today.


    Maraudar - Tired and grumpy and not giving a damn much any more
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Jul 18, 2006 2:38 am  

    GVDammerung wrote:


    On the other hand, who really needs the aggravation?


    You seem to, since you can't go a single thread without going out of your way to stir the pot. You've made several threads specifically to stir the pot further. You two have different views of things. BFD. If you don't like his work, just ignore it. What's so hard about that?

    Its just a game. If canon is a weapon, its a pretty dull and ineffective one since anyone who wants to can just ignore it completely. Even if everyone here agreed that the Complete Book of Elves accurately depicted GH olves and WoTC muckety mucks showed up declaring it an 'official GH' product, I still wouldn't be obliged to use it or care what it says. Similarly, if I don't like the arrangements Samwise has made in the Sheldomar, I don't use them. *Yawn*

    I would be nice if all the folks here refrained from attcking each other instead of just disagreeing at times.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Tue Jul 18, 2006 7:54 am  

    Weapons, personality conflict, irrelevance of canon. I don’t see how any of these things would be made worse by a clear definition of canon. I think the exact opposite would be true.

    But so what. I have said before that I want my work to conform to canon as much as possible. I am pretty sure others feel the same way. I get a kick out of becoming a packrat and digging up obscure references and trying to put some order to it and make it feel like some commonly understood vision of Greyhawk or finding new paths that havn’t been developed before. I feel like I have accomplished something more for GH if I create something new when it is based on something old. I think I did that pretty good doing that with the most canonically scholastic piece I did so far on Plars (in line and coming soon preview in the readers workshop). I could have just made something up, but I like having it justified better. YMMV.

    GVD, Example 1 does look something like incorporation by reference to me. Example 2 yields to a logical conclusion, but that is not incorporation by reference. Without attachments, from a legal perspective, incorporation by reference is more slippery. For example, it is easier to dismiss one of the several Seldarine described in Monster Mythology as not being worshiped in Celene as opposed to the whole body. Better yet, if there is a member of the Seldarine that is described other than in the Monster Mythology, the quoted statement would not make it canon.

    The last definition I proposed was: “Unless agreed otherwise, or ruled so by the Dungeon Master, for Greyhawk, canon means any material officially published for the Greyhawk campaign setting and any conclusion that naturally and necessarily follow. Comment a. With the supernatural readily available it is problematic to have natural logical consequences, but until published canon provides otherwise, this is a reasonable assumption.”

    The language “naturally and necessarily follows” I think is similar to what you are describing. I do not know which formulation is better, but I think that it is good issue to resolve. Perhaps the terms “incorporated” or “logical” should be used.

    As it has just jumped into my mind, I will state an underlying principle that perhaps should be a guideline: “All other things being equal, canon is preferred over non-canon.” That just kicks in further analysis to get into why things are not equal.

    Example: IMO friendly, tribal gargoyles flying about and crashing into things in every encounter, trying to get their wings back and get for themselves a king is just lame. The joke goes too far to be funny and the sociology and physiology of the gargoyles is contrary to my conceptions of how they should be. So, if I were do a write up on the area of the Hold of the Sea Princes in which that module were set, I would trying to take out the lame parts. That would probably include the whole premise of the module, but not all the details. Maybe a different humanoid could be substituted. Whatever. I would keep the town there and other things. All of it should be acknowledged as canon but judged on its merits.

    Other than the above stated principle, can a guideline be derived from this? This is surely not right, but it is a start: “Jokes in canon that are contrary to the largely sober feel of Greyhawk that engender discomfort are not favored.”

    I will not say anything that engenders discomfort is not favored: evil, racism, etc. are IMO, integral.
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Jul 18, 2006 10:17 am  

    At the noble Wolfsire's request I'm reposting this from one of my posts on the other thread:

    Quote:
    What's wrong with heresy? Nothing.
    It just isn't Canon. But Canon only really matters if you're talking about publication. If you've any ambitions in that regard, then you'd do well to try to be as consistant as possible with the core GH Canon - which at the very least is Team GH '98 + LG Gaz.

    Canon is important to publications as it maintains the internal consistancy of the setting and internal consistancy is what Canon is all about - maintaining a common baseline that everyone can relate to and then improvise from. Some people like to make up stuff that's consistant with Canon. Others - like CSL -for example - like to march to a different drum. It doesn't make one piece of development any better than the other.


    In response to his question as to what is heresy - well, simply it's development that doesn't tie in with Canon.

    For example, one of the Great Old Ones from GreyTalk had the Church of Pholtus as the Imperial Church of Aerdy and effectively had the Great Kingdom as a monotheistic state.
    Very little to back this up in Canon, but nothing at all wrong with it.

    Ditto - Steve Wilson's OJ1 timeline. It contradicts his Canon-based Grey Chronodex in a lot of places, but is still a fine piece of work.

    If you want to produce heresies, produce heresies. It's not a term that should be used as a pejorative. It simply means that you're taking you're own slant on GH.
    CF Admin

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    Tue Jul 18, 2006 3:26 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    Nothing more to say.


    How true.

    I would like to remind all veiwing this thread of the posting rules in the FAQ here

    I would like to introduce Dethand's Rule of Canon: There is NO right or wrong way to use canon in your personal Greyhawk game.

    With that said, in declaring what is or what is not canon, it's best to look too that rule when trying to proclaim your own version as the most correct, especially while denoucing others. What distresses me more directly is the claim by several people in the last few months that their veiws of canon and in general their opinions about Greyhawk are more correct than others. This is nothing new as GH fans often spar over the minutia of the details of the setting quite often, what is new is the very contentious tone that others seem to be taking when addressing differeing views of canon.

    This thread is going to be locked and others will follow if this how canon debates are going to be conducted.

    Please follow the Rules for Safe and Happy Posting in our FAQ.
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