Signup
Welcome to... Canonfire! World of GreyhawK
Features
Touring the Flanaess
Greyhawk Wiki
#greytalk
JOIN THE CHAT
ON DISCORD
    Canonfire :: View topic - 4e Points Of Light & Greyhawk
    Canonfire Forum Index -> Greyhawk- D&D 4th Edition
    4e Points Of Light & Greyhawk
    Author Message
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 28, 2006
    Posts: 336
    From: Barony of Trellwood, The Great Kingdom

    Send private message
    Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:27 pm  
    4e Points Of Light & Greyhawk

    In 4th edition there is no default campaign anymore, but there is a default assumption about the world that players will be adventuring in.

    “The Dungeons & Dragons game assumes many things about its setting: The world is populated by a variety of intelligent races, strange monsters lurk on other planes, ancient empires have left ruins across the face of the world, and so on. But one of the new key conceits about the D&D world is simply this: Civilized folk live in small, isolated points of light scattered across a big, dark, dangerous world.”

    Please see the complete article here:
    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/drdd/20070829a

    It isn’t a stretch to imagine that the first campaign world for the new edition, the Forgotten Realms, is going to get a major reset to fit this new vision of D&D. Already there are rumors that a spell plague will change the face of Faerun.

    With that in mind, how would you reset the World of Greyhawk to match this basic assumption of the new edition?

    Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus[/b][/list][/code][/quote]
    Forum Moderator

    Joined: Feb 26, 2004
    Posts: 2568
    From: Ullinois

    Send private message
    Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:43 pm  

    It doesn't fit well in my opinion. The concept reminds me of Warhammer actually. It can fit Faerun which seems to be geographically more spread out to begin with, but with Greyhawk in many of the more 'game developed' areas there is a long history of human migration in all directions and then empires and feudal monarchies. Bascially, the Flanaess is still a dangerous place but across the middle its been explored and settled sufficiently. This points of light concept could work in the northern areas like Blackmoor, the Bandit Lands, Stonehold...or maybe the southern extremes too, but across the middle no.

    So to answer the question how would you reset Greyhawk to fit this vision? It would have to go back to about the point of the migrations, when kingdoms were first forming. That would be a rewind of of several hundred years. Now to move forward like FR is likely to do, it would take a hell of a lot in my opinion. The Great Kingdom is fractured enough to maybe qualify as renewed dangerous wilderness, but Keoland and Furyondy are stable countrysides as is much of the Greyhawk Domain. It would have to take an end to alot of the geopolitical landscape and a reversion to a dark age isolationism of key regions.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 28, 2006
    Posts: 336
    From: Barony of Trellwood, The Great Kingdom

    Send private message
    Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:56 pm  
    The Long Winter

    Granted, my campaign will continue without a reset, but if I were going to do it here is my idea.

    Mine Greyhawk would not reset by a catastrophe involving magic or a victory for evil, but the release of the god Vatun's wrath upon the world when he breaks free of his prison:

    The Long Winter.

    Rather than a repeat of Greyhawk Wars and changing things by fiat I would make this a campaign for my players so they could affect what is saved and what is lost. In essence it would be an Adventure Path...

    It would start with the PCs doing what PCs do best, kicking down doors and looting some dungeon. Unfortunately this act sets off a chain of events
    that releases the imprisoned god Vatun.

    From then on it would be their job to try and save as much of the world from the North God's rage...

    Cold snaps and marching glaciers would devastate the North, forcing a migration of evil humanoids and humans into the southern lands. For those in living in the south, staple crops would be wiped out and famine would grip the land.

    Meanwhile, the North God fueled by his followers cries for vengeance against the Old One's trickery (see 5 Shall Be One and Howl From The North) seeks out and destroys Iuz on the material plane and in turn dies in the attempt. The fury release by the death of both gods creates the perfect storm that not even Telchur expected... after all it was his plan to drive Vatun insane so that he would spread the icy realm south and take all the blame... This leads to a war between gods in the "heavens"

    Depending on the PCs actions the City of Greyhawk is either a bastion of light in the north or a ruin to repopulate when the new campaign starts.

    Flash forward 70 years.

    A new and violent world has been hacked out of the southern reaches (the jungles of the Amedio and Hepmonaland). After a bloody war with the Scarlet Brotherhood and constant skirmishing with Olman/Suloise barbarians. New kingdoms spring up from the blood, sweat, and tears. At at night the stories of of the old kingdoms would be told and the old survivors would get misty eyed for their ice covered homelands.

    Reports filtering down from the north claim that the Long Winter is slowly releasing its grip and the reclamation begins. Are you willing to win back your birthright in the north?

    PROs:
    * The long complicated history Greyhawk becomes a ready source of old lore for the PCs to discover.
    * A mini iceage allows complete freedom to reconfigure the physical aspects of the land as you see fit. Don't like a castle where it was? Gone. Want to keep something, you find a way to preserve it.
    * A hostile world in the north to conquer. Barbarians and mega-fauna.
    * If politics and intrigue are more your style, the machinations of the southern kingdoms is your new playground.
    * The god war leaves the world with a smaller pantheon and no god is allowed to step on the material plane, ever.

    CONs:
    * This would require a whole new set of cartography for the campaign.
    * While there would be familiar elements, much of what we know of GH would be gone.

    Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus


    Last edited by Saracenus on Sun Sep 02, 2007 7:05 am; edited 2 times in total
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 16, 2007
    Posts: 56


    Send private message
    Sat Sep 01, 2007 8:57 pm  

    Can anyone give me a brief synopis? I refuse to register as a D&D insider on that site just so I can read a single article.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 28, 2006
    Posts: 336
    From: Barony of Trellwood, The Great Kingdom

    Send private message
    Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:00 pm  

    weaver95 wrote:
    Can anyone give me a brief synopis? I refuse to register as a D&D insider on that site just so I can read a single article.


    Weaver,

    If you have a login for the WotC forums then you don't have to register, just use that username and password. Right now its free.

    Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3095
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:01 pm  

    With its relatively tiny human and demihuman populations (tiny relative to medieval Europe), and its vast swathes of howling wilderness, I think it fits Greyhawk perfectly well. Obviously, Greyhawk has nation-states, but they seldom have much power over the monster-haunted wilderness.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 25, 2007
    Posts: 951
    From: Neck Deep in the Viscounty of Verbobonc

    Send private message
    Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:08 pm  

    I truly don't want to start an argument, but I've never seen it that way, mort. I realize the maps look to be pretty thickly populated (especially the recent Paizo maps), and I realize most of us probably play as though the Flanaess is thickly settled, but that's only as may be. Could this tendency perhaps be due to our modern minds projecting contemporary reality onto the setting? After all, in the modern world even the "wilderness" between towns is filled with houses, farms, and such.

    In an old Dragon article (please don't ask me which one - I can't remember), Gygax described exactly the situation suggested by WotC. Since then (and I think it was in the very early '80s), I've played as though the settled areas were relatively isolated. The "safe zone" extends to a mere few miles around each settlement. As justification for this, I cite the numerous random encounter tables from the early days, few of which listed that many "civilized" encounters - most were with monsters.

    Whether my memory and observations are correct or not, it seems to me that it would be a simple matter to adopt such a model. One could easily rule that yes, there are roads, towns, patrols, and so forth, but the world is only safe in or near the towns. Monsters rule the outlying areas, which is why caravans and other travellers always travel armed and in the company of guards. One might encounter certain logical problems with such an arrangement, but I should think they could be easily dealt with. Not only does the "points of light" model mesh with 4e (spit!), but it also provides a justification for monster raids on towns, ruins that no one has ever discovered, inaccuracies in the "knowledge" of NPCs, and various other common game motifs. It also provides answers for those who wonder why the various figures for Greyhawk's population are so low and why so few have travelled beyond the borders of the Flanaess. In short, the "points of light" model provides ample opportunity to incorporate an element of mystery back into GH.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 28, 2007
    Posts: 725
    From: Montevideo, Minnesota, US

    Send private message
    Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:10 pm  

    I read this article as well a few days ago and here is the impression it left with me....

    The idea in itself I liked, it reminded me more of how 1st edition was played in the late 70's and early 80's, a little more rustic feel.

    As a DM, I eventually wondered how merchants could travel from one country to the other and even survive, so when working on Greyhawk, I made things safer in regards of travel and the random encounter tables I created reflected that.

    Once you got into a mountain range, desert, or other harsher area, things changed drastically, I guess there is a reason why people take the long way around.

    I was trying to figure out how I would incorporate the idea of Points of Light and Darkness into Greyhawk. The best I could come up with was placing several communities within a stone's throw distance of the larger ones already presented on the map, with adjoining roadways still remaining safe. The lands in between these communities would be harsher (but not incredibly so). It would be tough to work into Greyhawk being much of it is wall to wall nations, unless one adds "pockets of monster hostilities" between nations and even within. Of coarse this doesn't mesh real well with the current development of the world.

    Personally, I'm all for a rewind on time anyway.....then good authors could build it up and include all the historical events which have already occurred, up to its current standing. Of coarse to achieve this means that several books would have to be written, each adding to the timeline so to speak, until the current Flanaess is reached. Perhaps another project for Oerth Journal and Canonfire?

    The other option would be to make a significant change like you suggested for FR and zoom the timeline forward. I think this is the approach they would take. Either that or if they did anything with Greyhawk they would leave the Points of Light and Dark out, because they would have presumably did it already with FR and Eberron, and by the time they got around to Greyhawk, they would want to do something different anyway. I think this is the most likely outcome.
    _________________
    Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
    Forum Moderator

    Joined: Feb 26, 2004
    Posts: 2568
    From: Ullinois

    Send private message
    Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:38 pm  

    One only needs to look to the early modules of 1E Greyhawk to see PoL is a stretch for GH. Tomb of Horrors, Expedition to Barrier Peaks, White Plume Mt, Ghost Tower of Inverness, Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, Hidden Shrines, Forgotten Temples, Lost Caverns...etc. Most of these are on the outskirts of the Flanaess' well defined core nation-states. The darkness is on the edges, surrounding the light. Its not points of light amid darkness. Later GH mods in 2E and the GHWars only emphasis the openess of the central Flanaess. Danger attacks from the edges inward, Iuz in the north, the Giants in the west, the Brotherhood in the south, barbarians in the NE, and so on.

    I like the Long Winter idea and like I said the PoL could fit GH if you generally ignore the geopolitical backdrop that has dominated since EGG's GH.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 12, 2005
    Posts: 266


    Send private message
    Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:20 am  

    bubbagump wrote:
    I truly don't want to start an argument, but I've never seen it that way, mort. I realize the maps look to be pretty thickly populated (especially the recent Paizo maps), and I realize most of us probably play as though the Flanaess is thickly settled, but that's only as may be. Could this tendency perhaps be due to our modern minds projecting contemporary reality onto the setting? After all, in the modern world even the "wilderness" between towns is filled with houses, farms, and such.

    In an old Dragon article (please don't ask me which one - I can't remember), Gygax described exactly the situation suggested by WotC. Since then (and I think it was in the very early '80s), I've played as though the settled areas were relatively isolated. The "safe zone" extends to a mere few miles around each settlement. As justification for this, I cite the numerous random encounter tables from the early days, few of which listed that many "civilized" encounters - most were with monsters.

    Whether my memory and observations are correct or not, it seems to me that it would be a simple matter to adopt such a model. One could easily rule that yes, there are roads, towns, patrols, and so forth, but the world is only safe in or near the towns. Monsters rule the outlying areas, which is why caravans and other travellers always travel armed and in the company of guards. One might encounter certain logical problems with such an arrangement, but I should think they could be easily dealt with. Not only does the "points of light" model mesh with 4e (spit!), but it also provides a justification for monster raids on towns, ruins that no one has ever discovered, inaccuracies in the "knowledge" of NPCs, and various other common game motifs. It also provides answers for those who wonder why the various figures for Greyhawk's population are so low and why so few have travelled beyond the borders of the Flanaess. In short, the "points of light" model provides ample opportunity to incorporate an element of mystery back into GH.


    Gotta say I have to agree with all of this. When I read the WotC article I loved the idea and can't wait to see the mechanics of making this a part of the world. Adapting it for Greyhawk shouldn't be too difficult. Overland travel would become more dangerous and the setting would become more mysterious but I think these changes will make GH truer to its gaming roots.

    Let's not forget that little moathouse not far from a peaceful, rustic village called Hommlet and the massive temple complex a few miles further on. There's no better example of the islands of light idea and when I played ToEE, Verbobonc and the help it offered felt a long, long way away from Hommlet.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 26, 2002
    Posts: 393
    From: Canada

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:22 am  

    I'm more inclined to agree with rasgon and bubbagump, myself.

    Sure, there are "civilized" countries, but even these have populations of orcs and goblins constantly living under their noses, skilled at raiding civilized areas in spite of the best efforts of human patrols to stop them.

    Some lands, like Furyondy and Veluna, are safer, but even these are constantly plagued by bandits and goblins. These individual bands are not a major threat to the cities or well-patrolled roads, but they're a perennial hazard to smaller bands of travelers and merchant caravans.

    For me, it's utterly ludicrous to believe that you could ever "clear out" a given area-the monsters will be back sooner or later, unless there is a clear and concerted effort of mass settlement. And the mountains and marshes are even worse-for every hill giant steading and orc den that is cleared out and destroyed, chances are there are five more out there just waiting for their moment. And for every adventuring band that succeeds in its goals, there are four more that die horrible, screaming deaths and are never seen again.

    To me, the countries of Greyhawk are patchworks of light and darkness to varying degrees, as are the wilderness areas. Some areas-Celadon Forest, Furyondy-are more light than dark, while others-Suss Forest, Vast Swamp-are more dark than light, but patches of darkness exist in the first, and patches of light in the second.
    Forum Moderator

    Joined: Feb 26, 2004
    Posts: 2568
    From: Ullinois

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:23 am  

    Well clearly Greyhawk would still need some kind of adjustment, especially if they seem to think Faerun needs some kind of upheaval to make this grand vision work. I still see Faerun as more wilderness than the Flanaess by far.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: May 14, 2003
    Posts: 349
    From: the Free City of Dyvers (Kansas City, MO)

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 02, 2007 2:52 pm  

    I haven't read all of the posts here yet, so this is only a response to basic thread.

    The only way I would "reset" WoG for the new 4E "points of light" styel would be to go back in time, back to the post-Cataclysm/Great Migration era, when there were no nations as we know them now.

    I don't see doing this, especially since I am not going to switch to 4E, but that's what I'd do.
    _________________
    Greyhawk is dead; long live Greyahwk! It is not heresy; I will not recant!
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Sun Sep 02, 2007 2:56 pm  

    Saracenus wrote:
    Granted, my campaign will continue without a reset, but if I were going to do it here is my idea.

    Mine Greyhawk would not reset by a catastrophe involving magic or a victory for evil, but the release of the god Vatun's wrath upon the world when he breaks free of his prison:

    The Long Winter. . . . . .


    I really like the idea of a Vatun Iuz showdown and the resulting Long Winter.

    mortellan wrote:
    One only needs to look to the early modules of 1E Greyhawk to see PoL is a stretch for GH. Tomb of Horrors, Expedition to Barrier Peaks, White Plume Mt, Ghost Tower of Inverness, Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, Hidden Shrines, Forgotten Temples, Lost Caverns...etc. Most of these are on the outskirts of the Flanaess' well defined core nation-states. The darkness is on the edges, surrounding the light. Its not points of light amid darkness. Later GH mods in 2E and the GHWars only emphasis the openess of the central Flanaess. Danger attacks from the edges inward, Iuz in the north, the Giants in the west, the Brotherhood in the south, barbarians in the NE, and so on.

    I like the Long Winter idea and like I said the PoL could fit GH if you generally ignore the geopolitical backdrop that has dominated since EGG's GH.


    I agree with Mort on the PoL thing. The only argument for PoL fitting GH is the extremely low population figures. Given that the population figures are so low for the level of civilization demonstrated in the Flaness, I don't see this as much actual support for the PoL idea at all. In practice, as Mort points out, the darkness is at the edges of some significant civilization ie light.

    The PoL, however, is supported by the canon population figures all the same, even while the darkness is on the edge practically, so I guess either position is equally supportable according to taste. My taste runs contra to the PoL.
    _________________
    GVD
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: May 14, 2003
    Posts: 349
    From: the Free City of Dyvers (Kansas City, MO)

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 02, 2007 3:10 pm  

    Now, having read (or at least skimmed through) the posts, here's my thoughts on this whole PoL and Greyhawk.

    I don't think any major revision is necessary in the way that I run WoG to fit this PoL vision. IMC, I have that some nations, such as Furyondy, Veluna, Keoland and Nyrond are relatively safe. More heavily populated, better pratrolled, etc. This keeps monster and humanoid populations low, and cuts down banditry. These places still aren't perfectly safe, however. The less populated nations get increasingly more dangerous, and fit more in with PoL. And places that have experienced a great deal of turmoil or are "wilderness" areas to begin with are escpecially well-fitted to PoL (such as Geoff, Iuz, the Barrens, etc.). IMC, no revision would even be necessary.

    I know that conflicts a bit with what I said in my earlier post. The way I see it is that some areas are already there, and some are further from the PoL concept. I wouldn't put the WORLD in such a concept, and will not throw out the old (especially with 20+ years worth of game history in WoG) just to fit WotC's view of what a campaign world should be.
    _________________
    Greyhawk is dead; long live Greyahwk! It is not heresy; I will not recant!
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3769
    From: So. Cal

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 02, 2007 3:36 pm  

    What is mentioned in the article really seems to be just generalizations, not a round hole that every square peg campaign world must be smashed into.

    What I do think is good about the generalizations is the lack of communication between even neighboring towns. Common folk simply do not have the luxury of traveling, and most have only ever been to the next nearest village, if that. They have to work every day of their lives to eek out a meager existence. Nobles may travel, but usually only to visit family or other nobles, and they travel well guarded. The only people who consistently travel are merchants and nomads by virtue of their trade of lifestyle. The only others you are going to find on the roads are lawless folk not welcome in most communities and who prey upon travelers(wealthy or otherwise). There will be the odd traveler here and there, but that is not going to be a common thing. And then you have the adventurers...

    These generalizations do not sound like any specific campaign world- they should sound like ALL of the fantasy campaign worlds. To often people apply modern ideas of community to what a campaign world is like. Safe travel from place to place is an everyday thing for us, but this is not so in a roughly medieval world. We have social services, but in a medieval world there is no welfare, and even in a medieval fantasy world, the goodly churches can do only so much. If you do not work, you starve, so people work. If you get robbed, you may not have money or tools to ply your trade or buy food, and so you starve to death, or resort to banditry to survive, and the long arm of the law extends only a short ways from the walls of the nearest town. Some folks might like that Errol Flynn Robin Hood feel to their campaigns, but in my games, in my Greyhawk, the world is a harsh place where good folk down on their luck may be forced to make tough choices in order to survive. This aspect of everyday life is often not played up enough in most campaign material, including adventures.

    And so I give a thumb’s up to the generalizations in the article due to the darkening of the mood that they imply.
    _________________
    - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 28, 2006
    Posts: 336
    From: Barony of Trellwood, The Great Kingdom

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 02, 2007 3:39 pm  

    Guys. I am not advocating that we chuck the nearly 25 years of Greyhawk History here. Hell I plan to continue my campaign in the wild coast as is, in either 3e or 4e.

    This is a mental exercise asking if you were going to remake the World of Greyhawk into tiny, tiny points of light in a sea of darkness... how would you do it.

    Quite frankly, the argument that current Greyhawk already fits this model is laughable at best as already pointed out by Mortellan. So give me your best shot for a reboot of Greyhawk as you would do it, not as WotC would do it.

    Get creative and let your mind wander a bit out of the rut we have all been in and see what comes out... you might be surprised at what you come up with... heck, at the very least some interesting ideas might come out of it that can be scavenged for other less extreme campaigns.

    Remember this is not a call to revamp Greyhawk, its just to see what people would come up with if it were to be done...

    Thanks,

    Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: May 14, 2003
    Posts: 349
    From: the Free City of Dyvers (Kansas City, MO)

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 02, 2007 3:52 pm  

    I think the main sticky point of the PoL article is the concept of no nations of any real size. As I recall, PoL spoke of maybe a fortified castle-city, where a local king/duke/baron/etc. rules a small area, and a few outlying communities, and so on. WoG already has established nations, however lightly populated and/or patrolled. This is what I see as the biggest difference between WoG as it exists and the PoL concept.
    _________________
    Greyhawk is dead; long live Greyahwk! It is not heresy; I will not recant!
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3769
    From: So. Cal

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:05 pm  

    I do agree there. No nations of any real size is rather unrealistic. I already have "points of light" in my campaign world. They of course vary in "brilliance" from area to area. The more civilized/good areas have larger points of light, while the more evil/lawless areas have smaller points of light. No surprises there.
    _________________
    - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:58 pm  

    A certain level of PoL is very appropriate for Greyhawk... and most fantasy campaigns that don't go the Eberron 'magic as technology' way. A medievalesque culture would tend towards that anyway. Even relatively populated places like England had plenty of "wilderness" for dangerous things to lurk in.. the dartmoors, various forests, the mountains, and just the roads between towns. Look at all the folk tales and legends of nasties lurking in the wilds around these settlements or even in them (the vampire of berwick, say).

    And that's England, a relatively centralized and densely populated medieval nation. A model more like the Kievan Rus or something would be even more to this style.

    However, I do think that they are overdoing it in a cliche way, from the brief reading given there. We'll see.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 25, 2007
    Posts: 951
    From: Neck Deep in the Viscounty of Verbobonc

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 02, 2007 7:07 pm  

    It occurs to me after reading all the posts here that all we're arguing about is really just a matter of perception. Some of us see the spaces between GH's cities as howling wilderness, while others see them as relatively safe - but we're all talking about exactly the same materials. It occurs to me, though, that none of us would argue with the possibility of danger in those spaces. Even Greyhawk City has tribes of lizardfolk just a few miles away in the swamp. There are lots of other dangers there, too. The Cairn Hills just outside of Greyhawk's walls are chock full of badness, and much of it is far from civilized. Pick any given city or town in the Flanaess and I bet any one of us could find significant "darkness" within just a few miles.

    But since you wanted this to be a forum about what we'd change to accommodate the PoL doctrine, my answer is this: nothing. I really don't think it's necessary to change anything significantly to accommodate PoL or, conversely, to deny it. There's plenty of darkness and danger to go around in the World of Greyhawk, and that's why we all love it.


    Last edited by bubbagump on Mon Sep 03, 2007 8:55 am; edited 1 time in total
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Sun Sep 02, 2007 8:05 pm  

    The interesting thing about this is how they are going to connect this with the D&D assumptions about resources. Trade is critical to having the kinds of resources that D&D assumes. Tin (For pewter, for instance) is not generally widespread. Most of europe got their tin from Cornwall. Many other resources are going to be scarce.

    Craftsmen would be pretty constrained also. Most villages aren't generally self sufficient in all crafts and certainly don't have the demand that will support full fledged elite craftsmen. Without significant trade and communal accumulation of resources, most parts of the world will have a hard time supporting a substantial standing military or specialists. Even the "kingdoms" they mention probably wouldn't have everything. Its hard to see a lot of plate armor and the like being developed in such a world.

    Third edition assumes you pretty much have access to masterwork quickly and better than that not long after. I wonder if 4e will as well. Or will they just ignore the implications of their PoL structure....
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2002
    Posts: 717
    From: Sky Island, So Cal

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 02, 2007 8:21 pm  

    Saracenus wrote:

    This is a mental exercise asking if you were going to remake the World of Greyhawk into tiny, tiny points of light in a sea of darkness... how would you do it.

    Remember this is not a call to revamp Greyhawk, its just to see what people would come up with if it were to be done...


    The approach that I would take is actually pretty similar to the one that I will take...

    My campaign is currently in 573 CY. The campaign plot will pretty much follow canon up until the Greyhawk Wars, but will then take a left turn.
    Which is what I would do...rewind to the time of the Wars and then move forward assuming the outcome was not so balanced.

    Just prior to the wars Thrommel will return, but his return will spark a civil war of succession in Furyondy, possibly leading to intervention from Veluna, so that at the time of the outbreak of the Wars a devestated Furyondy will be in no position to resist and Iuz's gains will be more significant and more lasting.

    The Shield Lands will be erased. Nyrond will implode. The Great Kingdom will break into independent, animi-run feifs. There will be no Great Crusade, no Flight of Fiends, and Iuz's gains will be permanent. Perrenland will be officially neutral but many suspect that its leaders are secretly under the sway of Iuz. Veluna will slip into fanatacism and inquisition as it defends itself from the horrors of the north and the raiders of the west. Many nobles of Furyondy will forswear their oaths to the King in return for aid from Veluna, further fractioning the landscape.

    Only Keoland will stand as a stable bastion, but its cohesiveness will start to weaken. As all its client states face challenges from the wilderness, the politics of aid will be endlessly debated. The Scarlett Brotherhood gains in the south will act as a threat, keeping troops around important cities, rather than helping out in the provinces and client states, which will slowly dim.

    With a considerably worse end to the greyhawk wars, with far greater gains for chaos and evil, the world will be effectively reduced to the PoL paradigm.
    _________________
    My campaigns are multilayered tapestries upon which I texture themes and subject matter which, quite frankly, would simply be too strong for your hobbyist gamer.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Mp7Ikko8SI
    Forum Moderator

    Joined: Feb 26, 2004
    Posts: 2568
    From: Ullinois

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:02 pm  

    Good post Kirt, that is essentially what I would do. It all boils down to breaking up the theme of 'balance' in Greyhawk and letting evil have the advantage. As an extreme there are a few adventures that can be perfect set ups for a PoL campaign, if one assumes the heroes LOSE. Vecna Lives (Vecna), Age of Worms (Kyuss), and Return of the Eight (Iggwilv, Tuerny) come to mind, I'm sure there are more.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3769
    From: So. Cal

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:00 pm  

    All of the campaign worlds are PoL campaigns. A simple lack of communication ability is the main key to keeping it that way. There are no cell phones, radios, tv's, or computers. You have magical sendings, but those are rare and only available to spellcasters or the wealthy; certainly not local law enforcement or some rural lordling. The lands abound with criminals just because its a heck of a lot easier to be one than it is in the real modern world, plus it is often more necessary for survival.

    PoL is just a pervading theme. Will it be the only option for 4e material to written in? Can't say as yet, as we are only getting snippets of info so far. It's Greyhawk folks. There are always exceptions to the rule of absolutes. Either way, the person who will choose to implement it or not is each individual dm, so is it really important to be discussing absolutes anyways? Another thing is that Points of Light is a simple conceptual buzzword that has a proscribed meaning attached to it. The 4e design notes are full of them. When you are bandying about dozens of ideas, buzzwords help cut down on misunderstandings and speeds things up(which is a good idea of course).

    And another thing- this will only affect Greyhawk material if WotC actually writes some! Anybody care to hold their breath until that happens? Laughing
    _________________
    - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Dec 07, 2003
    Posts: 636


    Send private message
    Mon Sep 03, 2007 3:21 am  

    Well there are loads of ways to adjust Greyhawk to a darker vision dpending on the year and what mods you want to run. RttToEE - just advance their plans to conjure forth an avatar of the big T. Vecna Lives - just make Vecna's plan at Tovag Baragu a bit more successful no matter what the pc's achieve; or in AoW - just make sure the Ebon Triad or Kyuss are more successful.

    It may also be that LG will run core mods that have dire effects on the political landscape as part of the finale.
    Site Theocrat

    Joined: Aug 15, 2003
    Posts: 235
    From: WoG 2.0

    Send private message
    Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:00 pm  
    No PoL for GH

    Hi all -
    Remember "Editions Change, Greyhawk Endures!" Thus with the new edition, why should Greyhawk change to fit the new rules. The rules should be flexible enough to fit our campaign setting. There is no need to re-write the history, make a major Ice Age, God War, or other such massive thing to change the setting to fit the new rules.
    From what I read, PoL is to be how they are doing things for their new world. Just as Asmodeous is now going to be a god. We do not have to do this. Just as we did not have to let st. cuthbert take Tritherion's aspect of revenge and retribution. Thus, PoL is some new world and it's conepts don't fit with Greyhawk. Just as we've heard that 4e will have Warforged or some sort of living construct. Many of us will not accept that aspect of 4e or any others that are part of 4e, even if we are using 4e. Again, we'll do it because we want to stay current, but we'll make sure the rules fit with our choosen settig.
    Editions Change, Greyhawk Endures.
    Be Well. Endure Well.
    Theocrat Issak
    _________________
    Theocrat Issak
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3769
    From: So. Cal

    Send private message
    Mon Sep 03, 2007 6:06 pm  

    "Points of Light" is not a campaign world, it is an adventure writing concept.

    "And don't forget to write the adventure with 'Points of Light' in mind, Bob."

    It just means that adventures will likely not focus on big Greyhawk Wars/From the Ashes politically charged subject matter. Its going back to the basics of classic adventures set in out of the way places, which really might not be all that far away from the path outside your character's front door. There are no big nations to involve, so the adventures can be set wherever without unduly influencing the local political geography. Such adventures are like a skeleton key that will fit any lock. If somebody asked "Where should I set this adventure in my world?", the answer would be "Wherever the hell you want to, as it won't affect anything in your campaign world unless *you* specifically make that connection."

    I am willing to bet that further explanation will bear this out.
    _________________
    - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 01, 2004
    Posts: 74


    Send private message
    Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:25 am  

    Vormaerin wrote:

    Craftsmen would be pretty constrained also. Most villages aren't generally self sufficient in all crafts and certainly don't have the demand that will support full fledged elite craftsmen. Without significant trade and communal accumulation of resources, most parts of the world will have a hard time supporting a substantial standing military or specialists. Even the "kingdoms" they mention probably wouldn't have everything. Its hard to see a lot of plate armor and the like being developed in such a world.


    I have to disagree on two points.

    First Wizard's is basically keeping the premise that 90% of the populace live in thorps, hamlets and villages and fluffling out out what lays between them.

    Second unless Wizard's is making drastic changes to the Commoner NPC who make up 91% of the game demographically and who has craft and profession as class skills crafting items shouldn't be a problem. Just giving DMs a reason for no more Walmart and general one stop supermarket magic stores in their campaigns if they find it detracts from their fantasy world campaign.

    Except for rare and unusual items in game there should be sufficient crafters. The normal problem isn't making the armor it is finding someone willing to pay to have that armor made for them and wait for the time to make it because crafting expensive items and master work items also takes a lot of time in game.

    Regarding Masterwork items the crafter can take 4 ranks in a skill at level 1. Throw in Skill Focus for a +3 to the skill. Presuming a craftsneb if a few years or more to have Master work Artisan tools +2 to the craft check along with a bonus for the primary ability based on an ability of 12 or greater is not unreasonable.

    Basic supply and demand economics for that armor in a game world.

    The local armorer who probably works for the local lord who employs the men at arms who need armor normally will make you a set when he has the time, or when he finally gets to you or the lord makes you the number one priority say by doing him a little favor about those bandits or marauding monsters.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Tue Sep 04, 2007 1:55 pm  

    I am aware that the game mechanics support characters having those skills. But the broader article talks about having little in the way of trade or higher authority capable of interfering with the placement of adventures...

    You can, under the D&D rules, create commoners capable of such things whereever, though the GP limit rules could be an issue. The problem is one of verissimilitude and any semblance of 'realism' in the world's economics. I am not advocating that everything has to work exactly like the real world, so please don't dredge up that strawman.

    But small isolated communities of the sort that are being described don't support specialists very well. What do they do to keep themselves employed between the passing adventurers (who are "abberant" according to the article)? A demesne of a couple villages and their surrounding hamlets isn't going to support more than a handful of full time soldiers, if that. So advanced armor and weaponsmithing skills aren't going to be in much demand.

    Not to mention the trade problems they outlined would make it difficult to get a steady supply of high quality iron or other more exotic ingredients to places that don't have nearby supplies. In the real world, Swiss pewterers got their tin from Cornwall. Can you really see that happening in the world described in this article? You'd probably have to have the land equivalent of the annual Spanish Gold Convoys from the New World back to Spain.

    Most folks are rural and communications suck is pretty standard fare. No real kingdoms, rare and difficult trade, etc is rather a lot farther out. I don't expect WotC's products to think along these lines... after all, the certainly didn't do so in 3e. But if you are going to make a point of all these assumptions, shouldn't you at least use them?

    And yes, I do realize the entire function of that design concept is to make sure the adventurers are the best option for dealing with whatever adventures they publish.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 01, 2004
    Posts: 74


    Send private message
    Tue Sep 04, 2007 4:29 pm  

    Most of what the typical NPC thorp, hamlet or village needs and can afford is covered by the DM enforcing the existing rules.

    Most of those NPC commoners are making around a silver piece a day. What they need and can afford is generally produced locally. They don't need and most can't afford to purchase an expensive suit of armor. If they need it and can afford to purchase it they can make a day trip to the crafter. Just because an adventurer wants something doesn't mean it should be there.

    I read the Points of Light article and it sounded a lot like the material in the DMG or excerpts from the FRCS pages 5 and 6 things like The Land of Faerun paragraph or skipping forward to pages 81 - 84 Government, City and Countryside, Class and Station but darker.

    Reading the points of light article it sounds like all the NPCs are living behind walled thorps, hamlets and villages at night in fear and it isn't safe more than a mile outside of the village, or using the roads (Sounds like travel in the ECS).

    Simple bandit adventures are problably easier to produce.

    In the FRCS source book the local lord is a minor noble (a baronet or lordling (low nobility)) who rules over a few hundred folk and whose lands span a few miles who lives in a fortified manor or keep. He watches over his home village and guards the common farmer from bandits, brigands and monsters. He appoints a constable and has a few of the King's guards or his own to defend against unexpected attack. Maybe every few years or decade a problem or two that crops up requiring the need of adventures otherwise it is generally handled locally. I don't agree that the lord FREQUENTLY deals with companies of adventurers, retaining their services to clear out trouble some monsters and hunt down desparate outlaws.

    I wouldn't expect to find an armorer in a thorp, hamlet or village based on the DMG, FRCS demographics or the points of light article. There is no local demand to support one you would have to go to the small town of the feudal lord located within a day. I fail to see why that would be perceived as a hardship in a campaign.

    According to FRCS within a day's ride, a more powerful noble whose lands include one or two dozen villages like the typical commoner's and has a castle manned by several dozen soldiers. In dangerous areas, defenses are much sturdier and trained warriors more numerous.

    Generally the default gaming is some kind of feudalism.

    Limited areas of control are fine it's game but NPCs only being safe within a mile or so of the village and continued failure of the road system and inability of a ruler to police their domains from common threats like bandits are rather lame.

    Just have the PCs hired to fill in to deal with the bandits who cropped up after the king or local feudal lord called up most of the local lord's men at arms or it's harvest season.

    No countries, no borders, travel and trade as unsafe as the article portrayed is pretty weak. In that kind of anarchy strong rulers should emerge and feudalism expands their power and span of control generally establishing boundaries which might be contested mirroring natural landmarks (rivers, streams, mountains).
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Tue Sep 04, 2007 8:44 pm  

    Yes, that is an entirely more plausible approach. Its not the one described in the article, however. And the article is what my comments were directed towards. The article says things like this:

    "Most of the world is monster-haunted wilderness. The centers of civilization are few and far between, and the world isn’t carved up between nation-states that jealously enforce their borders. A few difficult and dangerous roads tenuously link neighboring cities together, but if you stray from them you quickly find yourself immersed in goblin-infested forests, haunted barrowfields, desolate hills and marshes, and monster-hunted badlands."

    And later quotes support that. No nations that control the roads. Few large towns or cities. Difficult and dangerous travel for trade. In that environment, you'd have the kinds of issues I raised. In a more traditional medieval environment, you wouldn't.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 01, 2004
    Posts: 74


    Send private message
    Tue Sep 04, 2007 9:03 pm  

    I agree most of the points of light are just fluffling out the descriptions in the FRCS source book and expounding on the dark unknown wilderness aspect.

    Wizard's probably referred to the FRCS source book when crafting the points of light fluff painting the darker aspects. The FRCS fluff hasn't been what they have been marketing for 3.5 which is why I posted that those points from points of light were lame. 4.0 will probably be more of the same.

    Time will tell and we always get to vote with our wallets.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 30, 2007
    Posts: 161
    From: Yorkshire, Britain

    Send private message
    Wed Sep 05, 2007 2:40 am  

    And besides, if you don't like what they're offering, don't use it and come up with something better. Happy It's not like WotC are going to force us at crossbow point to play exactly as they have laid it out.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 218


    Send private message
    Wed Sep 05, 2007 8:32 am  

    I really don't see the problem with the "points of light" concept. One of the reasons GH isn't as settled/populated as (say) Europe in the late Middle Ages is that there are a lot of nasty critters out there that Europeans didn't have to contend with. Wink

    Heck, even large and powerful modern countries have problems controlling their borders, amigo. Wink Just because you can draw a line around it, and the local rulers swore fealty to you, doesn't mean you can control it. Sad

    Telas
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 30, 2007
    Posts: 161
    From: Yorkshire, Britain

    Send private message
    Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:35 am  

    True that Telas.

    I myself like aspects of the Points of Light doctrine. I don't believe that it can be applied uniformaly all over the Flanaess. Areas such as around Greyhawk would be pretty safe, but I think it could be applied to areas of Sterich or the Bone March.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 16, 2007
    Posts: 56


    Send private message
    Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:12 am  

    DavidBedlam wrote:
    True that Telas.

    I myself like aspects of the Points of Light doctrine. I don't believe that it can be applied uniformaly all over the Flanaess. Areas such as around Greyhawk would be pretty safe, but I think it could be applied to areas of Sterich or the Bone March.


    Actually, if I wanted a decent sort of background material for Greyhawk, I'd look more towards the later books in the 'Song of Ice and Fire' series by George R.R. Martin. A landscape torn apart by war while the nobles bicker and backstab over who gets the throne, assasins, cults and people just stuck in the middle....great material to get one in the mood to write an adventure or three about the aftermath of the Greyhawk wars.

    For my part, I'm not entirely sure I understand just why WoTC is taking this particular direction. Eberron and FR won't really fit with the whole 'points of light' idea. Barring major world wide disasters, neither setting lends itself well to the idea of isolated pockets of civilization idea.

    I dunno...the more I read about 4th edition, the more I see the spectre of collapse. For those of you who might remember - White Wolf did a similiar reboot of their world setting. Complete rules revamp (sorry), completely rewrote the concepts of their main product lines and ended their 'world of darkness'. But when they do so, they buggered up the ending of their vampire, mage and werewolf settings. In the end they tried to satisfy everyone and in the end they managed to piss off all their players. Now look at the company - lost market share, they don't have near the level of readership they used to have and thier fan base has largely forsaken them for other games and different distractions.

    Granted, I could be completely wrong. I might entirely misunderstand the gamer market. People might see 4th edition and run out and buy every book on the shelf and never look back. They could sign in to the digital initiative virtual tabletop application and think it's the best thing since the invention of sliced bread. But for my part, I'm reading everything I can on the D&D insider articles and forums and what I see isn't very interesting to me. I see more problems than I do advantages, and I think what's coming down the road is going to clash with our established 'gamer culture'. I guess I'll have to wait and see what happens...but I don't get a good vibe from any of it.

    Just my opinion. take it for what you will.
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3095
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Thu Sep 06, 2007 1:56 pm  

    DavidBedlam wrote:
    Areas such as around Greyhawk would be pretty safe, but I think it could be applied to areas of Sterich or the Bone March.


    Well, that depends. The farms and fields immediately around Greyhawk are pretty safe, but they count as part of the "point of light." Castle Greyhawk, a few miles away, is full of deadly monsters. The Cairn Hills are infested with deadly monsters. The Mistmarsh? Deadly monsters. Stonebridge has problems with bandits. The Gnarley Forest? Very deadly. The Wild Coast? It lives up to its name. The Nyr Dyv? Sea monsters and pirates.

    So I'd say no, the areas around Greyhawk aren't safe. There are other "points of light" in the same area - Elmshire, and Magepoint, and Grossettgrottell, for example. But they're separate points, and in between you'll have to fight monsters and brigands.

    It's a basic trope in D&D that low-level adventurers can explore nearby ruins, or the woods near the local town, and fight goblins and ghouls and rust monsters and Bargle. That's what I think they're picking up on, and I think it's important. If the various nations of the Flanaess were stronger and better at policing themselves, you wouldn't get that. The Greyhawk Watch would've cleaned out the Cairn Hills long ago. Most of the map would be off-limits to anything but political intrigue and urban adventuring, and I don't think anyone here plays Greyhawk that way. I don't think anyone really forces their 1st level PCs to go all the way to the Barrier Peaks or the Vast Swamp before they can find a monster or a dungeon.

    I think, in short, the "Points of Light" essay describes the Flanaess very well. It doesn't represent a "dark" version of the setting, or the setting after an ice age, or a version of the setting without any nations, or anything like that. It describes D&D in all its incarnations.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Thu Sep 06, 2007 7:14 pm  

    Well, medieval type nations certainly don't have total control of all the land within their borders. I don't think that the basic concept of the article is anything other than the norm. But I do think that the emphasis they place on the total lack of effective authority to do the adventurer's work for them is very overstated. Trade in the Flanaess is dangerous, but its quite obvious that a lot of it goes on. And there are major roads and paths that are used regularly and kept pretty safe.

    The article gives the impression there isn't going to be a Nyrond or Keoland or Great Kingdom in its vision. Rather, that the entire landscape is the Wild Coast. I think that would be rather implausible, though not undoable. It would certainly have a lot of strange knock on effects on the campaign as a whole.

    Anyway, as mentioned before, its a blueprint for the adventure designers (ie don't worry about why this stuff can happen, just do and say "because"). Its not a stab at a new campaign setting, so they aren't going to think it through or really try to apply the concept beyond that.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 16, 2007
    Posts: 56


    Send private message
    Thu Sep 06, 2007 9:46 pm  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    The article gives the impression there isn't going to be a Nyrond or Keoland or Great Kingdom in its vision. Rather, that the entire landscape is the Wild Coast. I think that would be rather implausible, though not undoable. It would certainly have a lot of strange knock on effects on the campaign as a whole.


    I don't think you can think of 4th edition in GH terms. I mean, WoTC seems almost hostlile to the setting. What I wonder about is how the editors plan on rewriting Eberron and Forgotten Realms. As it stands right now, neither setting fits the concept/paradigm shift as outlined in this 'points of light' article. The Zentarim (FR) and the Dragonmarked houses (eberron) won't work in a 'purely' medieval economics setting. So either WoTC invalidates the last 10 years of FR history, scraps the last year and a half of eberron books and starts over or the inflict some massive, world wide cataclysm on both settings which reduces everyone in both words to a more 'survival/subsistance' level existence. Either way, I doubt any of the player base from both world settings will be happy about the changes.

    Of course, WoTC could always just ignore the statement of intent of this article and not change a damn thing. It wouldn't be the first time that we've seen WoTC be inconsistant when it comes to backstory continunity.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Fri Sep 07, 2007 2:26 am  

    Well, I think their intent is not to develop much in the way of direct "campaign specific" source material, but rather set the adventures in this generic colorless realm that has no distinguishing features to prevent the DM from easily inserting it wherever suits him best.

    At the moment, the plan seems to be to do Campaign Sourcebooks at a slow rate for the existing campaigns, but that's about it. THey don't seem to be envisioning any new world building projects.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 30, 2007
    Posts: 161
    From: Yorkshire, Britain

    Send private message
    Fri Sep 07, 2007 5:33 am  

    Well, if it has no distingishing features, then that means that will a little imagination and work, anything can be make Greyhawky. Cool And again, if you don't like what Wizards are doing, come up with something better. That's the best part of being a DM.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 18, 2006
    Posts: 101


    Send private message
    Fri Sep 07, 2007 5:54 am  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    You can, under the D&D rules, create commoners capable of such things whereever, though the GP limit rules could be an issue. The problem is one of verissimilitude and any semblance of 'realism' in the world's economics. I am not advocating that everything has to work exactly like the real world, so please don't dredge up that strawman.


    Actually one of the greatest things that I have read about 4th edition and why I will probably pick it up when it comes out is my gripe about 3rd edition. They are severing the tie between equipment value and player power.

    Characters are no longer expected to have certain magic items or expensive suits of armor in order to be a certain power level. It's not the +3 longsword that make the fighter a bada$$ its the 6 talent tree abilities that he took for his notched and rusty common longsword.

    This also means as a DM I can make my adventurers dirt poor and they can shout with glee when they find a +2 shortsword at 6th level.

    Makes me weep with joy thinking about it.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2003
    Posts: 138
    From: Midwood in Geoff

    Send private message
    Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:19 am  

    Lassiviren wrote:
    Actually one of the greatest things that I have read about 4th edition and why I will probably pick it up when it comes out is my gripe about 3rd edition. They are severing the tie between equipment value and player power.

    Characters are no longer expected to have certain magic items or expensive suits of armor in order to be a certain power level. It's not the +3 longsword that make the fighter a bada$$ its the 6 talent tree abilities that he took for his notched and rusty common longsword.

    This also means as a DM I can make my adventurers dirt poor and they can shout with glee when they find a +2 shortsword at 6th level.

    Makes me weep with joy thinking about it.


    I'm right there with you on this. I hate the idea that you 'must' have a certain ammount of magical gear at level x, and a certain ammount at level y to be considered a true character of that power level.
    _________________
    Michael Erin Sandar Bard of Midwood
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 30, 2007
    Posts: 161
    From: Yorkshire, Britain

    Send private message
    Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:27 am  

    I must admit I wasn't a fan of that either.

    The way I see it, every magic item is created in a very elaborate fashion, and the fact that at high levels, mooks would always have magic items, and that they would all be the same, despite mass production not having been invented yet.

    So the fact that the rules appear to be able to make mooks powerful without giving them +2 longswords is okay by me.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 16, 2007
    Posts: 56


    Send private message
    Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:54 am  

    Lassiviren wrote:
    Actually one of the greatest things that I have read about 4th edition and why I will probably pick it up when it comes out is my gripe about 3rd edition. They are severing the tie between equipment value and player power.


    Just so long as they don't turn the game into a pen and paper version of World of Warcraft.

    "yeah, we need someone to tank Tharizdun for us, so could one of you guys level up your alts by next week?"
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 30, 2007
    Posts: 161
    From: Yorkshire, Britain

    Send private message
    Fri Sep 07, 2007 7:01 am  

    A game can only get like that if you let it.

    Greyhawk is more of a state of mind and style of play rather than a rule set.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: May 14, 2003
    Posts: 349
    From: the Free City of Dyvers (Kansas City, MO)

    Send private message
    Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:48 am  

    Weaver95 said:
    Quote:
    Just so long as they don't turn the game into a pen and paper version of World of Warcraft.


    It pretty much sounds like they are. Many of the things WotC has discussed about 4E point to it being much like a pen and paper WoW. The PoL concept even strikes me as very WoW like; as long as you're in a town/city, or on the road, beasties don't attack you.

    Back to the original thread, there seems to be a lot of dissention between folks on the PoL concept, and whether Greyhawk needs a reset or not. I say the campaign wouldn't need any reset at all, though various locations are more like PoL than others. Of course, its always up to the DM, and some campaigns might need revision if the DM warrants it. I guess Saracenus wanted to see what various DMs would do if they felt a reset were necessary. In my original response, I'd simply take it back in time to the post-Cataclysm/Great Migrations. In fact, that could make for a great campaign!
    _________________
    Greyhawk is dead; long live Greyahwk! It is not heresy; I will not recant!
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3769
    From: So. Cal

    Send private message
    Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:15 pm  

    PoL has plenty of room for nations, and in fact doesn’t say there are not any. What it makes a point of is that the nations do not "jealously guard their borders", and by that it means that there are not standing armies of scouts and guards patrolling the borders, let alone every road in the land. They simply do not have the resources and manpower to do so.

    Jeez. Look at the modern US for example. We have all the resources of modern times, and the best one is modern communications for our army and law enforcement. Is there no crime? Are our borders 100% secure? Hardly. Now let's look at an example.

    We have two cops on patrol in some gangland territory, smack dab in the middle of a massive urban center of a few hundred thousand people. What a nice point of light that is. Now let’s get a bit medieval on their asses by taking away their patrol car, and more importantly, their communications. Sure, they have guns and batons, but any hard core criminals around have the same or worse. An altercation breaks out. What do the cops do? Can they hope that the sound of gunfire will draw aid to them? I doubt it. They better hope there are other cops nearby who hear the commotion. Let’s give them back their communications now. Sure, they can call for back-up and solve the problem before it gets way out of hand, as it is easy to consolidate resources and manpower to handle things when one actually has the power of modern communications. But when all is said and done, will their still be crime? Sure there will, as even in a modern state there is not enough resources and manpower to stop crime to the degree that anywhere you go will assuredly be safe.

    Do your really expect medieval rulers, who are lacking in any sort of modern law enforcement aids, particularly communications(let alone the manpower and resources), to do an equivalent job? You are kidding yourself.

    That is why the World Greyhawk is a very dangerous place, even within cities or close to them, and even within the most peaceful and good of lands. You tread into a more lawless and evil land and you are just asking for even more potential trouble. Main roads might be patrolled, but not that frequently, and merchants travel with guards and in caravans for a reason. They seldom get attacked because they take precautions, but it still happens. Woe is be to the those who do not travel in such a show of force.

    PoL fits Greyhawk perfectly, though people have a habit of thinking that it doesn’t fit *every single place in Greyhawk exactly*, it is therefore not suitable. Since when did any concept cover *everything absolutely*? If there happen to be exceptions that are not covered by the generalities of a concept, it is therefore worthless? Talk about a lack of “grey” to your thinking.
    _________________
    - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:48 pm  

    Well, if by jealously guard you mean have active patrols, border checkpoints, and the like, then sure. I've said before that no one controls all the territory even in their nominal "country".

    But the idea that only "a few tenuous roads" link the cities is way beyond that. Travel wasn't "safe". Heck, travel isn't /that/ safe today. But goods did move all over Europe in the middle ages.

    Its not that the concept is completely bogus, but they are taking it too far with paragraphs like this:

    "Another implication of this basic conceit of the world is that there is very little in the way of authority to deal with raiders and marauders, outbreaks of demon worship, rampaging monsters, deadly hauntings, or similar local problems. Settlements afflicted by troubles can only hope for a band of heroes to arrive and set things right. If there is a kingdom beyond the town’s walls, it’s still largely covered by unexplored forest and desolate hills where evil folk gather. The king’s soldiers might do a passable job of keeping the lands within a few miles of his castle free of monsters and bandits, but most of the realm’s outlying towns and villages are on their own."

    Even medieval Europe wasn't quite that benighted in general, though there were plenty of times and places when regions were. Civil wars, feeble kings, and so on. The King of Furyondy or Keoland or Nyrond or most other places may not have soldiers patrolling his whole country. But most of the villages do have a bit more hope of aid than "maybe some adventurers will wander by." People don't tolerate those sorts of environments for long. Either things stabilize in some way or they fail completely.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: May 14, 2003
    Posts: 349
    From: the Free City of Dyvers (Kansas City, MO)

    Send private message
    Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:12 pm  

    Cebrion, the example of the modern US you give us is nothing like PoL in that the cities are much more dangerous than the country (I lived in both). In PoL, its the reverse; although cities aren't perfectly safe, they are far safer than the countyside.
    _________________
    Greyhawk is dead; long live Greyahwk! It is not heresy; I will not recant!
    Forum Moderator

    Joined: Feb 26, 2004
    Posts: 2568
    From: Ullinois

    Send private message
    Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:18 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:
    PoL has plenty of room for nations, and in fact doesn’t say there are not any. What it makes a point of is that the nations do not "jealously guard their borders", and by that it means that there are not standing armies of scouts and guards patrolling the borders, let alone every road in the land. They simply do not have the resources and manpower to do so.

    No my friend, it quite explicitly says so in the full quote: "The centers of civilization are few and far between, and the world isn’t carved up between nation-states that jealously enforce their borders."
    To me this is a direct attempt to steer the theme of D&D away from the theme of Greyhawk which had been their Core world for so long, in order to re-establish the mindset for 4th edition. Why else put this article in a design and development column? They don't want nation-states duking it out in great wars against demigod tyrants, they want localized problems and that is fine.

    Quote:
    PoL fits Greyhawk perfectly, though people have a habit of thinking that it doesn’t fit *every single place in Greyhawk exactly*, it is therefore not suitable. Since when did any concept cover *everything absolutely*? If there happen to be exceptions that are not covered by the generalities of a concept, it is therefore worthless? Talk about a lack of “grey” to your thinking.
    Like I said the concept works for GH on a local scale. I'm warming up to it actually. Rasgon's post about the Greyhawk City domain works for me, but before this article came out when you asked someone to generalize the theme of Greyhawk overall I bet they wouldn't have given you the PoL theme.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2002
    Posts: 717
    From: Sky Island, So Cal

    Send private message
    Fri Sep 07, 2007 10:54 pm  

    weaver95 wrote:

    Just so long as they don't turn the game into a pen and paper version of World of Warcraft.


    gargoyle wrote:

    It pretty much sounds like they are. Many of the things WotC has discussed about 4E point to it being much like a pen and paper WoW.



    weaver95 wrote:

    For my part, I'm not entirely sure I understand just why WoTC is taking this particular direction. Eberron and FR won't really fit with the whole 'points of light' idea. Barring major world wide disasters, neither setting lends itself well to the idea of isolated pockets of civilization idea.



    From the perspective of someone who never transitioned to 3rd edition, 3E always looked to me to be combat-heavy. That may seem strange, since the D&D game is based around combat, but there ARE other things...my players certainly crave combat, but the part they like most is the politics...making alliences, having followers, intrigue and tension between states, developing the economy of their lands, etc. For me, the transition to 3E seemed to take the game a bit away from role play and a bit closer to combat simulation. Certainly it was designed to encourage min/maxers.

    So 4E goes a step further and merges the concept with videogames. The reason the PoL is adopted is because combat now becomes almost exclusively the focus of the game. What more is there to do than fight? Role play can be dispensed with, because classes now have a PRE-DEFINED role, based on the dynamics of group fighting and little else. The PoL world is there to support that. Who needs politics when there are no nation states? Who needs economy when there are no merchants? Since the only thing the PC's will do in 4E is monster-bash, you give them a world with plenty of monsters and little else.
    _________________
    My campaigns are multilayered tapestries upon which I texture themes and subject matter which, quite frankly, would simply be too strong for your hobbyist gamer.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Mp7Ikko8SI
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3769
    From: So. Cal

    Send private message
    Sat Sep 08, 2007 12:56 am  

    mortellan wrote:
    No my friend, it quite explicitly says so in the full quote: "The centers of civilization are few and far between, and the world isn’t carved up between nation-states that jealously enforce their borders."


    You are explicitly reading the quote all wrong. You are reading it as if there are NO nation states whatsoever rather than reading it as that there ARE nation states, just not ones that have carved up the world into neat little sections that have borders guarded like the Berlin Wall wall in the early 60's. See the distinction? Granted, it is badly worded, but I think it is a misunderstanding to take it as meaning there are no nations whatsoever.

    The point is that the nations states are there, just that the border regions are much more lawless, and not well patrolled. The border regions are not under complete control.

    *EDIT*

    Gargoyle: I chose a city based PoL for a reason. I know the country is different(both sides of my family are country folk, and two very different types at that, but I was raised in the city). Take those cops and put them out in the type of country where The Hills Have Eyes. Vanished without a trace! Time for some adventurers to pay a visit to the work shed, arm up, and go take it to the freaks in the caves. Happy

    Vormaerin: While it is true that Medieval Europe what not that benighted a place, it is also a place where all of the fairy tales about trolls and hobgoblins and evil faeries and witches, and a whole horde of other mythological creatures whose goal was to either dominate, enslave, or eat people didn’t exist. Throw all that into the mix along with all of the basic struggles of the times. One might think that the nations might not quite have the amount of control of their territories that they historically did, eh? It almost sounds like it could be Greyhawk to me. Granted, most areas will be relatively safe, but if you leave the light you very well could be entering the darkness. “Settlements afflicted by troubles can only hope for a band of heroes to arrive and set things right.” That quote is just a maguffin for adventure writing, but don’t we really all know that? The damsel/village is in distress, and suddenly the hero(s) show up to solve the problem. It doesn’t mean that it is the only way that problems can hope to be solved, unless of course the dm decides that it is. Adventurers often make of point of looking for trouble, but very often it is trouble that finds them first. It is just one of many means of getting the adventurers involved in the story, but don’t we all know that too? No! It’s the *only * option! ;)

    Many people are being a bit too literal in their reading of this article. They seem to have the odd concept rigidly planted in their minds that what the article states is the *only* way things can be, or that it’s the *only* solution. The points brought up will always apply differently depending on situation and location, and more importantly how the dm want to employ them. “But of course things will differ depending on those factors!” you might say, and yet the article is not comprehensive enough to go into that, and so due to these “deficiencies” it is lambasted. I don’t get that. The article is full of generalizations. It is not an all inclusive doctoral thesis on the topic, and should not be taken as such.
    _________________
    - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -


    Last edited by Cebrion on Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:42 am; edited 2 times in total
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:36 am  

    By itself, I agree with you about that quote. Its the other quotes, such as the one that I used above, that combine with it make it a problematic concept. Sure, the King of England didn't control all the territory in his country... which was not an especially big one... But he did try and there was *some* authority and attempt to govern. If villagers are really praying for adventurers to save them from calamities, then there isn't a government there. Whether there is a King or not elsewhere.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3769
    From: So. Cal

    Send private message
    Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:48 am  

    You are of course correct, but that is not the point of the problem that is posed when writing an adventure. When an author writes an adventure with a problem, it is written such that *this* particualr problem, at this particuclary time and in this particular place can only be solved by the pc's.

    Last time I checked, there weren't a lot of adventures written for adventuring parties made up of night watchmen, the local militia, or the local lord's soldiers. Wink
    _________________
    - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 25, 2007
    Posts: 951
    From: Neck Deep in the Viscounty of Verbobonc

    Send private message
    Sat Sep 08, 2007 8:38 am  

    So much arguing over one little article! Consider this: even if PoL is not true in a literal sense - that is, even if there are relatively safe regions between metropolitan areas - it need not follow that PoL cannot work in GH however you imagine it.

    I think the major problem with the article in question is that it failed to mention the reasons for the PoL concept: PoL provides an excuse for adventurers to get involved. Thus, PoL could (and perhaps should) be thought of as a literary device rather than as a description of a given setting.

    Consider, for example, the d20 Modern game. Set in the contemporary world, it clearly does not support PoL in a literal sense. But how do people play this game? Do they not set adventures in isolated rural settings, urban sprawls where the police dare not go, or under the very noses of authorities who don't or can't see what's going on? In order for any traditionally written adventure to work, the light of conventional authority must be removed before the adventurers have anything to do. Thus, nothing need be changed in the average campaign setting for PoL to work - in effect, it's already there.

    How does this work in GH? In a way, PoL is already a part of the World of Greyhawk and always has been. Consider: how many DM's have run adventures in which a monster has moved into the area and must be hunted down? It happens all the time. How many scenarios have you seen that mention bandit raids? How many times has a village been threatened from a monster/villain/humanoid horde/evil cult from outside the immediate area? In all these instances, a "point of light" is under attack from the outer darkness and other "points of light" are unable to help. The point is not how safely one can travel the regions between points of light; the point is that other points of light don't know about or can't help with the situation at hand. This can happen even in the most thickly populated urban area. Ever hear a story about a serial killer in a major city who murdered dozens and none of his neighbors even knew?

    Even though I'd much prefer to lambast WotC (spit!) with another rant, I can't in this case. PoL doesn't change anything. And you need not change anything to accommodate it. PoL is already at work in your campaign whether you realize it or not.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 25, 2007
    Posts: 951
    From: Neck Deep in the Viscounty of Verbobonc

    Send private message
    Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:06 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    Last time I checked, there weren't a lot of adventures written for adventuring parties made up of night watchmen, the local militia, or the local lord's soldiers. Wink


    Perhaps there should be.

    You raise an interesting point here, Ceb. Perhaps we old-schoolers are guilty of some of the same things that we accuse WotC's new target audience of doing. I've read about a million posts on these boards (and written a few myself) complaining that the latest crop of roleplayers are more interested in weird character builds and min-maxing combat stats that in more "realistic" (or perhaps you prefer "rational") roleplaying.

    But then, wasn't it us old-schoolers who first suggested the idea that one could play a CE assassin who could explore the world killing and looting pretty much as he pleased? Wasn't it us who started the whole tradition of wandering heroes who walk into random isolated villages and right wrongs that the local sheriff can't or won't right himself? Weren't we the ones who created massive world-changing wars when the local dungeon wasn't big enough for us anymore?

    I remember introducing a new player to the game back in the mid-80's. The first thing his character did upon entering town was start looking for a job and a place to live. Predictably, I and the other players immediately began to chide him for not having a better understanding of the term "adventurer." But perhaps we shouldn't have. Perhaps we'd already gone too far down the path that leads to World of Warcraft.

    So why not design adventurers for the local lord's knights? Why can't your party be members of local law enforcement? We criticize new gamers for their excessively far-fetched characters and blame WotC for encouraging them, but we started it. I don't like many of WotC's recent changes any more than you do, but I have to consider the possibility that 4e and it's blasphemous alterations are merely the next link in a chain we forged ourselves.

    With that thought in mind, as much as I hate to say it the Points of Light idea might just be a step back in the right direction.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: May 14, 2003
    Posts: 349
    From: the Free City of Dyvers (Kansas City, MO)

    Send private message
    Sat Sep 08, 2007 10:43 am  

    Our group currently is playing a group of city watch in the capital of a nation, and its... kind of dull. None of us are really of the "city watch mindset" either; we want to go slay beasts and reap fabulous treasure. In this campaign, all treasure we find has to be turned over as evidence. The group is about to quit the watch and form a new criminal gang!

    We now return you to your original thread, already in progress...
    _________________
    Greyhawk is dead; long live Greyahwk! It is not heresy; I will not recant!
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 28, 2007
    Posts: 725
    From: Montevideo, Minnesota, US

    Send private message
    Sat Sep 08, 2007 11:21 am  

    Or maybe we are over evaluating the article. If you look at the other articles WOTC has put out in this same section (such as the elves and the combat against the dragon) clearly a lack of detail is involved in the writing. It appears as if they are generalizations.....possibly not as much to persuade people to switch games but to remind us and get use to the fact that 4th edition is coming and by the time it does we will be ok with buying it.

    The articles are so general that reading into the content is easy to do. I did the same thing with the dragon article and in looking back I think it was simply a poorly written example, existing merely for others to get use to it.

    It's also being marketed towards a younger crowd.
    _________________
    Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:55 pm  

    Well, clearly I'm looking at the article from a broader perspective than the authors likely are. They are just saying "hey, we are going to write all of our adventures as if they were set in a region like the Wild Coast". If this was a blueprint for a new campaign world, it would be far more troublesome. But its just a default background for generic adventures.

    However, the original poster was asking how things would be adapted if this article were generally true of a campaign world.. and GH in particular. An entire world that is the Wild Coast would have a lot of interesting effects, which I'm inclined to think the authors of adventures are going to completely ignore. That's pretty much what my issue with the article is. They are going to want their cake and be able to eat it, too. All the vast resources of "civilization" without any of the encumbrances of government and the like. That'll be kind of blah.

    Published adventures for city watch, militia and so on are pretty rare, but not because they aren't a viable strategy. Rather, they impose a lot of overhead on the DM that makes it less likely that he could drop it into his campaign seamlessly. Thus hurting sales. A campaign like that would require a certain amount of work over and above what is necessary to run a more standard "wander around and kill things" campaign. But it can be a lot of fun. You just need to be careful about choosing a setting and organization that are conducive to the sorts of adventures you and your players want to run.
    Forum Moderator

    Joined: Feb 26, 2004
    Posts: 2568
    From: Ullinois

    Send private message
    Sat Sep 08, 2007 2:01 pm  

    *rants a bit more for fun*

    Why am I the only one who doesn't want Greyhawk to fit into their genercized medieval fantasy vision? Don't we always rail here against Greyhawk being watered down or being seen as identical to other settings like Faerun? (calls out GVD) I don't think its reading too much into it when this generalized article eschews one important thing that sets Greyhawk and other settings apart. I don't think it's an accident either. I'll give PoL can work in GH, I'll even give nation-states are possible in the PoL theme, but I am firmly conspiratorial when I say this article, when taken in the context for which it was written (4th edition and LFR), is slanted to a new audience (as Eileen says, younger); one that won't have to worry about the 'Greyhawk Wars factor'. That's all. Everything else is fine. But that one factor is what can distinguish GH from other settings not make them like all the others.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 28, 2007
    Posts: 725
    From: Montevideo, Minnesota, US

    Send private message
    Sat Sep 08, 2007 3:31 pm  

    My initial reaction to the POL article was a 1st edition feel, which I like. However, if one delves deeper into it, it does seem to imply that there are a reduced number of highly establshed and well run kingdoms.

    I think the intended audience is for the younger as I already mentioned.

    I like the idea of a 1st edition feel (though I don't know if that was their intent), I'm guessing they are reducing the game further to become more and more of a power play and this type of setting assists that type of play.

    When I was quite a bit younger and DMing Greyhawk in the early 80's, I recall being intimidated by all the kingdoms, wishing at the time that there was more wilderness in between. Looking back on things years now I appreciate the world design as it is. I was intimidated because I was younger, less mature. Now I'm older and ready to handle a more complex campaign, and thus appreciate Greyhawk all the more and am now able to deal with the large scale mid-evil type societies it holds.

    Younger audience, simplier ideas.

    To get back to the origianl purpose of the post, here's what I plan on doing to incorporate the POL concept:

    Well established regions like Greyhawk, Furyondy, (essentially kingdoms with more financial backing or those with a greater civilized feel to them) will remain a collection of fiefs and lesser territories which are pretty well populated. I'll post more patrols, watch towers, etc. on my maps in order to protect the roads for merchants and my random encounter tables will reflect this as well with a higher degree of patrol encounters, less bandits, less powerful monsters, and those that appear will be in smaller numbers.

    In the less civilized regions, such as the Wild Coast, shield lands, pomarj, near borders of places like the barrier peaks, near the swamps, forests, etc. the random encounter tables become less friendly. Bigger monsters, more of them within an encounter, less patrols, that sort of thing.

    Anything I can do to give Greyhawk more of a 1st edition feel, I will do. I see the POL as a reminder of what I can do, not what I should or have to do. For me, Greyhawk already has much of this basic concept placed into areas....I'll just enhance them a bit in order to give each area a more personal feel.
    _________________
    Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3769
    From: So. Cal

    Send private message
    Sat Sep 08, 2007 5:31 pm  

    Gargoyle: Now that really cracks me up! Happy Not only are you running around within the point of light, you are repesenting the light. And now, not only do you want to leave the light and venture out into some more interesting darkneess, you want to become an element of the darkness yourselves! Laughing That is too good, and once again, its all PoL, but taken in a totally different way not described within the whole PoL article. This serves to illustrate to some extent the point I am making. PoL is just a guide, to be deviated from as one wills. As stated, it will fit some areas of any campaign world exactingly, but perhaps not all of them, and that is when you make the usually miniscule changes needed to suit the situation.

    O blinding Points of Light,
    O Points of Light that blinds,
    I cannot see,
    Look out for me!

    See how easily Points of Light fits into Greyhawk?

    Mort: You should have overloaded the plasma core on the ship in the Barrier Peaks when you had the chance. Now there is no hope!Shocked

    Resistance is futile! You will be assimilated!
    _________________
    - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Sat Sep 08, 2007 7:12 pm  

    mortellan wrote:
    . . . the full quote: "The centers of civilization are few and far between, and the world isn’t carved up between nation-states that jealously enforce their borders."
    To me this is a direct attempt to steer the theme of D&D away from the theme of Greyhawk which had been their Core world for so long, in order to re-establish the mindset for 4th edition. . . .


    Kirt wrote:
    . . . The reason the PoL is adopted is because combat now becomes almost exclusively the focus of the game. What more is there to do than fight? Role play can be dispensed with, because classes now have a PRE-DEFINED role, based on the dynamics of group fighting and little else. The PoL world is there to support that. Who needs politics when there are no nation states? Who needs economy when there are no merchants? Since the only thing the PC's will do in 4E is monster-bash, you give them a world with plenty of monsters and little else.


    I think these quotes sum it up quite well. Wotc has seen the World of Warcraft's success and then want in. Too bad all they have is paper and pencil. But maybe if they paper and pencil a WoW D&D they can then license that D&D to a video game maker to make a reversed engineered (from the paper and pencil D&D) D&D World of Warcraft like game!

    Now, of course, they are not going to come out and say that they are working to manuver the paper and pencil D&D brand to a point where it will translate into a video game like WoW. That doesn't mean they aren't going to do so. From a purely business standpoint WoW eats D&D's financial lunch and makes D&D cry all the way home to Hasbro. And Hasbro say, "Why can't you be more like that WoW. Stand up for yourself, you little wimp." So, Wotc dries its eyes; fixes its stare and marches off to be like the bully who just kicked its ****. Trouble is, that's not what the fan base is used to and there is no guarantee 1) that the existing fanbase will come around or 2) that a new fan base will develop in greater or equal numbers to the old fan base.

    D&D its taking its life in its hands (and our hobby) with this PoL and 4e. Model railroading anyone?
    _________________
    GVD
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Sat Sep 08, 2007 7:28 pm  

    I think that the PoL thing sets up politics and trade etc. merely as setups to a fight and that it is the fighting that is supposed to be the attractive part of the game. Of course, combat has always ben a critical part of the game, but I think the PoL makes it more exclusively so.

    The problem with this, IMO, is that it makes no practical sense within the context of the game world. If howling wilderness seperates these PoLs, how can the PoL's have developed much in the way of civilization without heretofore having tamed this howling wilderness? You cannot achieve high levels of civilization the like of which appear in the pseudo-medieval fantasy of D&D without trade in knowledge, goods, and raw materials. The howling wilderness that seperates the PoL's makes the necessary trade a near impossibility. Hence the PoL makes no sense given the level of civilization depicted in the game.

    Of course, Greyhawk's ridiculously low population numbers present a similar difficulty and they have been papered over. So, I guess PoL would only require a little more indulgence in the "fantasy." That lack of realism, however, I find undercuts the fantastic, rendering it instead implausible, and depending on the execution, even silly.
    _________________
    GVD
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 25, 2007
    Posts: 951
    From: Neck Deep in the Viscounty of Verbobonc

    Send private message
    Sat Sep 08, 2007 11:43 pm  

    mortellan wrote:
    *rants a bit more for fun*

    Why am I the only one who doesn't want Greyhawk to fit into their genercized medieval fantasy vision? Don't we always rail here against Greyhawk being watered down or being seen as identical to other settings like Faerun? (calls out GVD) I don't think its reading too much into it when this generalized article eschews one important thing that sets Greyhawk and other settings apart. I don't think it's an accident either. I'll give PoL can work in GH, I'll even give nation-states are possible in the PoL theme, but I am firmly conspiratorial when I say this article, when taken in the context for which it was written (4th edition and LFR), is slanted to a new audience (as Eileen says, younger); one that won't have to worry about the 'Greyhawk Wars factor'. That's all. Everything else is fine. But that one factor is what can distinguish GH from other settings not make them like all the others.


    What can I say? I thoroughly agree with the sentiments expressed above. My only contention is that PoL doesn't affect Greyhawk one way or another because, IMV, Greyhawk has always had the PoL concept in place. Even given the Greyhawk Wars and similar events, PoL changes nothing. It's still not a good idea to walk in Greyhawk City alone at night, it's still dangerous to travel from Nyrond to Furyondy, and monsters are still wandering the highways looking for poorly defended parties to eat. I think PoL is a reasonably accurate description of Oerth as it currently is. In other words, I think you're straining at a gnat here.

    Perhaps I misunderstand your position, mort. In your view, how exactly does PoL differ from Greyhawk as it currently exists?
    Forum Moderator

    Joined: Feb 26, 2004
    Posts: 2568
    From: Ullinois

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 09, 2007 12:37 am  

    My position is hard to define right now. When Living FR comes out in 2008, my gut tells me this will be how the PoL theme is put into application. The writer of the article denies this adventure writing theme will affect established worlds but there is already buzz in the FR community to counter that. And when has Wizards ever lied to us, eh?

    Let me put my neck out one more time. Points of Light wants you to focus on the local picture, not the big picture. And as part of this exercise their very first point is to not have nation-states with border issues involved so you can focus on the creepy local problems. That's it. Many people probably don't like the socio-political backdrop anyways and would like to forget such gems as Greyhawk Wars, Border Watch and Patriots of Ulek. These would not be written in the current climate.

    Hey Cebrion, am I still on track?
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3769
    From: So. Cal

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 09, 2007 12:45 am  

    Now you're more on track. As to those titles you are likely correct that such topics will not be handled, and if they are they will not be the usual offering. Still, that doesn't cause a campaign world to suddenly implode.
    _________________
    - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 28, 2006
    Posts: 336
    From: Barony of Trellwood, The Great Kingdom

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:35 am  

    mortellan wrote:
    My position is hard to define right now. When Living FR comes out in 2008, my gut tells me this will be how the PoL theme is put into application. The writer of the article denies this adventure writing theme will affect established worlds but there is already buzz in the FR community to counter that. And when has Wizards ever lied to us, eh?


    Here is the link the the author's statement that PoL will not affect established campaigns:
    http://forums.gleemax.com/showpost.php?p=13619017&postcount=6

    It all depends on what the extent of the FR reset is... we will know when the Grand History of the Realms comes out:
    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=products/fracc/9780786947317

    If they destroy a bunch of nations, the Rich Baker is right, PoL will not affect FR :-/

    I agree that the adventure writing will probably focus on the hinterlands of Faerun and those hoping to adventure in Cormyr (providing they don't nuke it) are probably out of luck.

    My Two Coppers,

    Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Sun Sep 09, 2007 4:50 pm  

    Saracenus wrote:
    mortellan wrote:
    My position is hard to define right now. When Living FR comes out in 2008, my gut tells me this will be how the PoL theme is put into application. The writer of the article denies this adventure writing theme will affect established worlds but there is already buzz in the FR community to counter that. And when has Wizards ever lied to us, eh?


    Here is the link the the author's statement that PoL will not affect established campaigns:
    http://forums.gleemax.com/showpost.php?p=13619017&postcount=6

    It all depends on what the extent of the FR reset is... we will know when the Grand History of the Realms comes out:
    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=products/fracc/9780786947317

    If they destroy a bunch of nations, the Rich Baker is right, PoL will not affect FR :-/

    I agree that the adventure writing will probably focus on the hinterlands of Faerun and those hoping to adventure in Cormyr (providing they don't nuke it) are probably out of luck.

    My Two Coppers,

    Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus


    I was just reading up on the changes that are alleged to be coming to FR. Sounds like FR will get a "From the Ashes" experience. Apparently, 4e magic is so different from 3x that they have decided the Realms needs to be "updated," that and they need to be able to sell more and different regional modules. So,FR gets a facelift to facilitate both. Kinda glad GH is sitting this one out.
    _________________
    GVD
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3095
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 09, 2007 5:53 pm  

    Oh, me too, GVD. The "spell plague" idea seems late enough that I'm very glad it won't be sullying my beloved Oerth. At least, not until 2010 at the earliest. Even if it does get a 4e update, I suspect they won't merely copy the solutions of the FR team (particularly not if they smarten up and put Mona and co. at the helm).
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 25, 2007
    Posts: 951
    From: Neck Deep in the Viscounty of Verbobonc

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 09, 2007 6:18 pm  

    mortellan wrote:
    Points of Light wants you to focus on the local picture, not the big picture.


    Oh, NOW I get it. If this is what you're concerned about, then I'm with you. I still maintain that PoL won't affect most situations, since most adventures deal with local events that occur more-or-less in a vacuum. However, you're right that those "international" type adventures will be screwed over. Given the above comments regarding the possibility of revamping everything to accommodate the 4e magic system, I'm just as concerned as you are.

    I wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea for all us GH enthusiasts to be really, really quiet for a year or three. Maybe if we don't make a fuss they'll assume nobody loves Greyhawk anymore and they'll let it slip into obscurity. Perhaps that way GH will escape being raped by WotC's goon squad of designers. Just a thought.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 28, 2007
    Posts: 725
    From: Montevideo, Minnesota, US

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 09, 2007 6:57 pm  

    A little off the subject but it does pertain to the last couple of posts:

    Maybe Greyhawk can sit this one out (4 edition), and wait until WOTC no longer has the license to D&D. Perhaps when the time comes, someone else will bring back Greyhawk in order for an entire new generation of gamers to enjoy.

    I for one would be against a major reconstruction of Greyhawk. I'd rather keep what I have and wait it out.
    _________________
    Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 28, 2006
    Posts: 336
    From: Barony of Trellwood, The Great Kingdom

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:08 pm  

    EileenProphetofIstus wrote:

    <SNIP>
    Maybe Greyhawk can sit this one out (4 edition), and wait until WOTC no longer has the license to D&D. Perhaps when the time comes, someone else will bring back Greyhawk in order for an entire new generation of gamers to enjoy.
    <SNIP>


    Um, Eileen. Unless WotC/Hasbro goes out of business (so remote, that it boggles the mind) or they sell the D&D license to someone else (more likely than the former, but still not very likely) I don't see D&D jumping ship.

    WotC doesn't want the competition for mind share so the idea they would release the Greyhawk property without D&D (Saracenus starts crazy laughter at the thought of this) is vanishingly small.

    So, I wouldn't hold your breath for your scenario to come to pass...

    Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 28, 2007
    Posts: 725
    From: Montevideo, Minnesota, US

    Send private message
    Mon Sep 10, 2007 1:39 am  

    Oh I don't expct this to happen anytime soon. Perhaps I am in the minority but it seems like WOTC is making many of the same mistakes that TSR did towards the end of their run. Maybe I'm wrong (wouldn't be the first time), but my prediction for the game is that eventually this is what will happen, WOTC will over extend themselves. It may take a few years at the very least.

    I don't see any specific game company being the type of business that keeps its doors open for 15-20 years or more. I think that there are a lot of variables which decree whether or not they will succeed. They produce a product that keeps changing, along with their fan base. Keeping up with this change in a manner which suits enough people and continues sales after 10, 15, or 20 years to me seems quite difficult, and as a result eventually, the game eventually changes hands once again.

    Making a lot of changes in D&D could turn out for the better. It could also end up having the opposite effect as well. If they want to delve into the computerized version of D&D it is an awful big bite, one that they may not be able to swallow. At this point there is no way of knowing.

    I know that when TSR suffered their losses all of the sudden my dragon magazine subscription stopped arriving right in the middle of it. I couldn't get a hold of anyone and had no clue what was going on until I made my big trip to the gaming store in the Twin Cities, so it took me several months to find out.

    The point is that it might not happen soon or at all. I just think it is a probablility in the long run. Acutally a greater possibility than the chance of them giving up the license to D&D. That I don't see happening at all.

    Only time will tell.

    In the meantime I hope they improve the game. Although what my idea of improvement is compared to someone elses surely differ. Too many changes to the game I feel are more hurtful than good. Not saying that I'm not up for improvements or new ideas, just saying that they need to be in moderation to work and be accepted.

    The core D&D fans are established, far exceeding the number of new people they will pull in within the next few years. For me the POL idea isn't a big leap of faith, nor is the elves (though I find it irritating). Now totally getting rid of the character class idea, their most popular game worlds that exist such as Forgotten Realms or Ebberon (or making sweeping changes within them) are the type of ideas that are going to truly lose their current fan base. Other losses could result in making the power play simply to heavy so that we feel we are playingsome kind of video game, or making it electronic dependent. The final possibility I see
    (although not likely in the case of 4th edition) is that more people than they expect will stick with 3.5 edition because of the money they spent in the first place.

    It's my understanding that TSR ran into trouble primarly as a result of sudden novel sales loss. Now perhaps that isn't true. I never talked to anyone from TSR about it. Either way, sweeping changes in the game or the products they produce could change things. They could get better or they could get worse.

    So far as Greyhawk is concerned and honestly, if it wasn't for the love of the game world itself I would probably be playing some other game. For me Greyhawk is first, then D&D (if that makes any sense). Oh I agree with you, WOTC won't sell the rights to Greyhawk and keep D&D at the same time. I don't see that happening at all either.

    What I see is a company attempting to make big changes. Maybe they will work, maybe they won't. I think they are taking a bigger gamble then they want to let on.

    I apologize for the misdirection of the post but did want to answer to Saracenus.

    Thanks for commenting on my thoughts. I may be new to Canonfire but it doesn't take a long time to realize that most of the people that post on Canonfire are very respectful of others opinions and that is always appreciated, it is also one of the reasons I hope to be around for a long time. It is ok to disagree, in fact that is what makes others think. Saracenus, your post was very considerate even when you disagree, thanks.
    _________________
    Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 28, 2006
    Posts: 336
    From: Barony of Trellwood, The Great Kingdom

    Send private message
    Mon Sep 10, 2007 5:33 am  

    Eileen,

    You are welcome, welcome to our little corner of the hobby (though I am a relative new comer to the site like you).

    I see no reason for being rude, even when I disagree with a point being made here on the forums... though I am sure I break this unsaid rule occassionally.

    I understand your feelings about the brave new world that WotC has embarked upon and it seems like WotC is headed down the garden path... but there is some info out there that will help illuminate the difference between the end of TSR and where WotC is now...

    For the story on why TSR died (the reasons are many fold) Ryan Dancey can sum it up better than just about anyone... he is the cat that scouted out the husk of that dead company for WotC before they purchased it.

    Quote:
    In the winter of 1997, I traveled to Lake Geneva Wisconsin on a secret mission. In the late fall, rumors of TSR's impending bankruptcy had created an opportunity to made a bold gamble that the business could be saved by an infusion of capital or an acquisition with a larger partner. After a hasty series of phone calls and late night strategy sessions, I found myself standing in the snow outside of 201 Sheridan Springs Road staring at a building bearing a sign that said "TSR, Incorporated".

    Inside the building, I found a dead company.

    In the halls that had produced the stuff of my childhood fantasies, and had fired my imagination and become unalterably intertwined with my own sense of self, I found echoes, empty desks, and the terrible depression of lost purpose.

    The life story of a tree can be read by a careful examination of its rings. The life story of a corporation can be read by a careful examination of its financial records and corporate minutes.

    I was granted unprecedented access to those records. I read the TSR corporate log book from the first page penned in haste by Gary Gygax to the most recent terse minutes dictated to a lawyer with no connection to hobby gaming. I was able to trace the meteoric rise of D&D as a business, the terrible failure to control costs that eventually allowed a total outsider to take control away from the founders, the slow and steady progress to rebuild the financial solvency of the company, and the sudden and dramatic failure of that business model. I read the euphoric copyright filings for the books of my lost summers: "Player's Handbook", "Fiend Folio", "Oriental Adventures". I read the contract between Gary and TSR where Gary was severed from contact with the company he had founded and the business he had nurtured and grown. I saw the clause where Gary, forced to the wall by ruthless legal tactics was reduced to insisting to the right to use his own name in future publishing endeavors, and to take and keep control of his personal D&D characters. I read the smudged photocopies produced by the original Dragonlance Team, a group of people who believed in a new idea for gaming that told a story across many different types of products. I saw concept artwork evolve from lizard men with armor to unmistakable draconians. I read Tracy Hickman's one page synopsis of the Dragonlance Story. I held the contract between Tracy and Margaret for the publication of the three Chronicles novels. I read the contract between Ed Greenwood and TSR to buy his own personal game world and transform it into the most developed game setting in history - the most detailed and explored fantasy world ever created.

    And I read the details of the Random House distribution agreement; an agreement that TSR had used to support a failing business and hide the fact that TSR was rotten at the core. I read the entangling bank agreements that divided the copyright interests of the company as security against default, and realized that the desperate arrangements made to shore up the company's poor financial picture had so contaminated those rights that it might not be possible to extract Dungeons & Dragons from the clutches of lawyers and bankers and courts for years upon end. I read the severance agreements between the company and departed executives which paid them extraordinary sums for their silence. I noted the clauses, provisions, amendments and agreements that were piling up more debt by the hour in the form of interest charges, fees and penalties. I realized that the money paid in good faith by publishers and attendees for GenCon booths and entrance fees had been squandered and that the show itself could not be funded. I discovered that the cost of the products that company was making in many cases exceeded the price the company was receiving for selling those products. I toured a warehouse packed from floor to 50 foot ceiling with products valued as though they would soon be sold to a distributor with production stamps stretching back to the late 1980s. I was 10 pages in to a thick green bar report of inventory, calculating the true value of the material in that warehouse when I realized that my last 100 entries had all been "$0"'s.

    I met staff members who were determined to continue to work, despite the knowledge that they might not get paid, might not even be able to get in to the building each day. I saw people who were working on the same manuscripts they'd been working on six months earlier, never knowing if they'd actually be able to produce the fruits of their labor. In the eyes of those people (many of whom I have come to know as friends and co workers), I saw defeat, desperation, and the certain knowledge that somehow, in some way, they had failed. The force of the human, personal pain in that building was nearly overwhelming - on several occasions I had to retreat to a bathroom to sit and compose myself so that my own tears would not further trouble those already tortured souls.

    I ran hundreds of spreadsheets, determined to figure out what had to be done to save the company. I was convinced that if I could just move enough money from column A to column B, that everything would be ok. Surely, a company with such powerful brands and such a legacy of success could not simply cease to exist due to a few errors of judgment and a poor strategic plan?

    I made several trips to TSR during the frenzied days of negotiation that resulted in the acquisition of the company by Wizards of the Coast. When I returned home from my first trip, I retreated to my home office; a place filled with bookshelves stacked with Dungeons & Dragons products. From the earliest games to the most recent campaign setting supplements - I owned, had read, and loved those products with a passion and intensity that I devoted to little else in my life. And I knew, despite my best efforts to tell myself otherwise, that the disaster I kept going back to in Wisconsin was the result of the products on those shelves.

    When Peter put me in charge of the tabletop RPG business in 1998, he gave me one commission: Find out what went wrong, fix the business, save D&D. Vince also gave me a business condition that was easy to understand and quite direct. "God damnit, Dancey", he thundered at me from across the conference table: "Don't lose any more money!"

    That became my core motivation. Save D&D. Don't lose money. Figure out what went wrong. Fix the problem.

    Back into those financials I went. I walked again the long threads of decisions made by managers long gone; there are few roadmarks to tell us what was done and why in the years TSR did things like buy a needlepoint distributorship, or establish a west coast office at King Vedor's mansion. Why had a moderate success in collectable dice triggered a million unit order? Why did I still have stacks and stacks of 1st edition rulebooks in the warehouse? Why did TSR create not once, not twice, but nearly a dozen times a variation on the same, Tolkien inspired, eurocentric fantasy theme? Why had it constantly tried to create different games, poured money into marketing those games, only to realize that nobody was buying those games? Why, when it was so desperate for cash, had it invested in a million dollar license for content used by less than 10% of the marketplace? Why had a successful game line like Dragonlance been forcibly uprooted from its natural home in the D&D game and transplanted to a foreign and untested new game system? Why had the company funded the development of a science fiction game modeled on D&D - then not used the D&D game rules?

    In all my research into TSR's business, across all the ledgers, notebooks, computer files, and other sources of data, there was one thing I never found - one gaping hole in the mass of data we had available.

    No customer profiling information. No feedback. No surveys. No "voice of the customer". TSR, it seems, knew nothing about the people who kept it alive. The management of the company made decisions based on instinct and gut feelings; not data. They didn't know how to listen - as an institution, listening to customers was considered something that other companies had to do - TSR lead, everyone else followed.

    In today's hypercompetitive market, that's an impossible mentality. At Wizards of the Coast, we pay close attention to the voice of the customer. We ask questions. We listen. We react. So, we spent a whole lot of time and money on a variety of surveys and studies to learn about the people who play role playing games. And, at every turn, we learned things that were not only surprising, they flew in the face of all the conventional wisdom we'd absorbed through years of professional game publishing.

    We heard some things that are very, very hard for a company to hear. We heard that our customers felt like we didn't trust them. We heard that we produced material they felt was substandard, irrelevant, and broken. We heard that our stories were boring or out of date, or simply uninteresting. We heard the people felt that >we< were irrelevant.

    I know now what killed TSR. It wasn't trading card games. It wasn't Dragon Dice. It wasn't the success of other companies. It was a near total inability to listen to its customers, hear what they were saying, and make changes to make those customers happy. TSR died because it was deaf.

    Amazingly, despite all those problems, and despite years of neglect, the D&D game itself remained, at the core, a viable business. Damaged; certainly. Ailing; certainly. But savable? Absolutely.

    Our customers were telling us that 2e was too restrictive, limited their creativity, and wasn't "fun to play'? We can fix that. We can update the core rules to enable the expression of that creativity. We can demonstrate a commitment to supporting >your< stories. >Your< worlds. And we can make the game fun again.

    Our customers were telling us that we produced too many products, and that the stuff we produced was of inferior quality? We can fix that. We can cut back on the number of products we release, and work hard to make sure that each and every book we publish is useful, interesting, and of high quality.

    Our customers were telling us that we spent too much time on our own worlds, and not enough time on theirs? Ok - we can fix that. We can re-orient the business towards tools, towards examples, towards universal systems and rules that aren't dependent on owning a thousand dollars of unnecessary materials first.

    Our customers were telling us that they prefer playing D&D nearly 2:1 over the next most popular game option? That's an important point of distinction. We can leverage that desire to help get them more people to play >with< by reducing the barriers to compatibility between the material we produce, and the material created by other companies.

    Our customers told us they wanted a better support organization? We can pour money and resources into the RPGA and get it growing and supporting players like never before in the club's history. (10,000 paid members and rising, nearly 50,000 unpaid members - numbers currently skyrocketing).

    Our customers were telling us that they want to create and distribute content based on our game? Fine - we can accommodate that interest and desire in a way that keeps both our customers and our lawyers happy.

    Are we still listening? Yes, we absolutely are. If we hear you asking us for something we're not delivering, we'll deliver it. But we're not going to cater to the specific and unique needs of a minority if doing so will cause hardship to the majority. We're going to try and be responsible shepards of the D&D business, and that means saying "no" to things that we have shown to be damaging to the business and that aren't wanted or needed by most of our customers.

    We listened when the customers told us that Alternity wasn't what they wanted in a science fiction game. We listened when customers told us that they didn't want the confusing, jargon filled world of Planescape. We listened when people told us that the Ravenloft concept was overshadowed by the products of a competitor. We listened to customers who told us that they want core materials, not world materials. That they buy DUNGEON magazine every two months at a rate twice that of our best selling stand-alone adventures.

    We're not telling anyone what game to play. We are telling the market that we're going to actively encourage our players to stand up and demand that they be listened to, and that they become the center of the gaming industry - rather than the current publisher-centric model. Through the RPGA, the Open Gaming movement, the pages of Dragon Magazine, and all other venues available, we want to empower our customers to do what >they< want, to force us and our competitors to bend to >their< will, to make the products >they< want made.

    I want to be judged on results, not rhetoric. I want to look back at my time at the helm of this business and feel that things got better, not worse. I want to know that my team made certain that the mistakes of the past wouldn't be the mistakes of the future. I want to know that we figured out what went wrong. That we fixed it. That we saved D&D. And that god damnit, we didn't lose money.

    Thank you for listening,

    Sincerely,

    Ryan S. Dancey
    VP, Wizards of the Coast
    Brand Manager, Dungeons & Dragons


    Now that is a huge meal to digest. But let me put this in context today:

    1) Since this posting by Dancey, Hasbro purchased WotC.
    2) WotC does insane amounts of customer research.
    3) WotC/Hasbro are ruthless in dropping what doesn't work.
    4) A successful product at WotC is measured by its financial return it generates, not buy the more ephemeral subjective quality of its content. What is successful for a tier two or three company (WW, Green Ronin, etc.) gets the ax there.
    5) Hasbro has a rep for recycling stuff over and over again (How many monopolies are there out there?)

    Finally, WotC has a customer service group that deals with customers on a daily basis. They do what TSR couldn't, listen to the customer base. Even better, they now work with a bunch of different departments creating a feedback loop within and without the company.

    Does this mean that WotC can overreach itself and implode... sure. But comparing WotC with TSR is an apples to oranges comparison. WotC is no where near death like TSR.

    As to what threats to WotC and the D&D brand are out there? I would say it is outside forces... Mostly online gaming (WoW and its ilk) and consoles (xbox, PS2 or 3, Wii).
    Also, the newer players that we need to capture are way more computer savvy than our aging hobby, they demand much more from their online experience (web delivery of product, blogs, user participation, etc).

    So, in that context, the DDI and streamlining D&D make business sense. Believe me in order for Hasbro to approve the budget they now have to hire a team to build the online tool set and DDI, someone had to cost justify it based upon solid marketing info. WotC/Hasbro does not do things from their "gut."

    I too am hopeful that WotC won't stumble with their chosen direction, because there just isn't a new WotC out there to pickup the slack if they do. It would be a disaster for the hobby if WotC were to implode.

    My Two Coppers,

    Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 28, 2007
    Posts: 725
    From: Montevideo, Minnesota, US

    Send private message
    Mon Sep 10, 2007 12:13 pm  

    Sracenus:

    Thanks for the posting, it was rather intresting. I knew there was more to the story than the little bit I heard, as I mentioned, I never talked to anyone related to TSR, just people in one of the country's biggest gaming stores, and that doesn't mean that they would know and even if they had a better idea of what happened, that doesn't mean they are going to tell me, I'm just another customer. So thanks for the input.

    I still see WOTC making some of the same mistakes (perhaps disguised a bit better) but time will tell. I hope nothing happens to the game that I would feel is negative. I would just as soon see it thrive to new heights (hopefully in a way that I would like). I said that what I would like to see is not necessarily the same as what others would like.

    I don't expect Greyhawk to come back, never did even with the vague promises at the beginning of 3rd edition, using it for their core world. I don't expect to see support in 4th edition. I'm just saying that the day may come even if it is a ways away.

    I hope WOTC is continuing their research, I'm sure they read their forums quite a bit (though I think they need to crack down on the people being nasty to one another, the rudeness of the forum readers is terrible.)

    I wish D&D well in any edition it turns into. I just hope it remains D&D.
    _________________
    Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 218


    Send private message
    Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:37 am  

    Saracenus: Thanks for posting that. I too had heard rumors and hints about the dissolution of TSR, and filtered them through my own experiences with D&D and business. But now I know for sure.

    I used to resent WotC for buying out TSR; the more I learn about the company and about 3rd edition, the more I respect them. No, it's not the same game we played in jr. high, but that's not all bad. Mr. Dancey's letter cemented my opinion of WotC as a good gaming company.

    TSR's story is an excellent example of why good business management [i]matters[\i]. Regardless of how creative or passionate you are, bad business decisions will sink you. (Of course, all the best practices in the world will not replace having a good product.)
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 15, 2003
    Posts: 100
    From: Orktown, Manitoba, Canada

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 16, 2007 10:25 am  

    Am I the only one who finds these two quotes from Dancey's post unintentionally ironic:

    "Our customers were telling us that we produced too many products, and that the stuff we produced was of inferior quality? We can fix that. We can cut back on the number of products we release, and work hard to make sure that each and every book we publish is useful, interesting, and of high quality."

    "Our customers were telling us that we spent too much time on our own worlds, and not enough time on theirs? Ok - we can fix that. We can re-orient the business towards tools, towards examples, towards universal systems and rules that aren't dependent on owning a thousand dollars of unnecessary materials first. "

    I also found this quote a little telling as well....
    "Our customers were telling us that 2e was too restrictive, limited their creativity, and wasn't "fun to play'? We can fix that. We can update the core rules to enable the expression of that creativity. We can demonstrate a commitment to supporting >your< stories. >Your< worlds. And we can make the game fun again. "
    I don't remember 2ed limiting my creativity.....
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 25, 2007
    Posts: 951
    From: Neck Deep in the Viscounty of Verbobonc

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 16, 2007 11:13 am  

    Yes, super, I noticed that as well. It occurs to me after reading Dancey's words that perhaps a similar blind spot is occurring now.

    It also occurs to me that perhaps there's an additional blind spot that I haven't seen mentioned lately. I remember in the old 1e days that Dragon magazine frequently contained articles on the subject of how to play the game. I haven't seen much of that lately. I'm just thinking off the top of my head here, but I wonder if there isn't some correlation between the newfound emphasis on rules and pre-prepared setting supplements, and the downfall of so-called "old school" gaming.

    Perhaps what we really need isn't another edition or another setting (or even more support for Greyhawk). Maybe we need to go back to our gaming roots and remember (or learn for the first time) how to really play D&D. I know everybody has their own way of playing, but there are certain commonalities. I'm not sure I like having a corporation - or any other "authority" - telling me how my game should work.

    Just a thought; probably needs work.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 15, 2003
    Posts: 100
    From: Orktown, Manitoba, Canada

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:51 pm  

    I must admit, I was kind of surprised to see how much DUNGEON outsold DRAGON by. It's too bad it's almost impossible to release a CD/DVD anthology of all the old DUNGEON back issues, and the DRAGON back issues that came after the first anthology. I would pay very good money for those.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 28, 2006
    Posts: 336
    From: Barony of Trellwood, The Great Kingdom

    Send private message
    Sun Sep 16, 2007 9:49 pm  

    Bubbagump,

    Please remember that Ryan Dancey wrote this years ago when he still working for WotC. Many things have changed since then. Tastes have changed. WotC adapts.

    Also remember when Dancey was talking about WotC listening to its customers, he is speaking to a very broad spectrum of gamers (which we Greyhawkers are but a thin slice) and they will go where the numbers and the bucks are.

    As for whether WotC is making a genius move or one that will doom 4e to the dustbin, its too early to tell. We are trying to see the elephant by touching small parts of it, because we are blind. Until we see the rules as a whole and take them out for a spin, its just not realistic to think we can see what is going on.

    My Two Coppers,

    Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Mon Sep 17, 2007 7:58 am  

    Ryan Dancy is entitled to his opinion and I stress OPINION. I personally disagree with this opinion to the degree to which it has seen Wotc willing to support only FR and Eberron. Dancy's little ditty is in large measure why GH, Dark Sun, Planescape etc. all went begging with 3x and will likely continue to go begging with 4e. Dancy's "solution" was to take a blunt instrument to the problem when a scapel would have sufficed and that is my OPINION.
    _________________
    GVD
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 14, 2005
    Posts: 8


    Send private message
    Mon Sep 17, 2007 9:43 am  

    It occurs to me that with the the Moathouse being within walking distance of Homlet and the TOEE within a days ride of Verbobonc, with bandits and monsters encountered all along the journey, a version the "points of light" concept may have been occuring all along in the World of Greyhawk.

    Lizard men and Sauhagin just down the coast from Saltmarsh in the Kingdom of Keoland are another example of the feasability of trying the idea out, anyway.

    Just my 2 CP.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 17, 2004
    Posts: 898
    From: Computer Desk

    Send private message
    Mon Sep 17, 2007 12:13 pm  

    The comment about creativity is truly odd Confused

    Since when does more rules result in an explosion of creativity, if the playing public can't be bothered to create the characters and world around them without crying out for a corporation too spoon feed them...

    Personally I never found the early rules restrictive and as the game evolved so did the rules, we did it ourselves rather then ask for more rules.

    This is becoming something of a pet peeve; on another board a thread about how certain skills and feats need to be taken so characters can behave a certain way. The thread went into shock when I suggested the players just RP his characters' personality rather then a sheet of numbers and stats defining the characters personality. It never occurred to many of them to take creative control of their own characters.

    If that is the new creative gamer, I am proud to be a dinosaur.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 28, 2006
    Posts: 336
    From: Barony of Trellwood, The Great Kingdom

    Send private message
    Mon Sep 17, 2007 1:47 pm  

    GVD,

    I agree with you that Dancey's market research and the business decisions that came of that made all non-FR/Ebberon settings the bastard stepchilden of WotC.

    I would go further that there is institutional hostility to the GH setting at WotC (as I have said, individuals there might like it, but WotC like TSR wishes it would just go away).

    Back to market research. WotC does amazing research on what people want from their games and how people play their games. In a pure numbers game GVD, you and I are in the minority. So while we are vocal, mostly coherent, we are not the norm. If we were 3e would have failed, badly.

    While I think Dancey may make some out there predictions, he is the man who brought us D20. He is the man that did save D&D (though some would say that it wasn't the same) and helped shepard in 3e. For that I am grateful. It is what brought me back into the hobby, because frankly I hated 2e.

    I am not worried that WotC is going to continue to ignore the setting. That means we can play with it as we will. Most of Greyhawk stuff is now available in PDF format making it available on a larger scale. We have CF and other sites to continue holding the torch. Greyhawk has survived every version of D&D and will continue to do so.

    The real question becomes, not what WotcC can do for GH, but what CF and Greytalk can do for GH. We need to figure out how we are going to reach out to the disenfranchised LG players and introduce others to our favorite game setting.

    Otherwise we will become a dying world.

    My Two Coppers,

    Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 25, 2007
    Posts: 951
    From: Neck Deep in the Viscounty of Verbobonc

    Send private message
    Mon Sep 17, 2007 6:06 pm  

    Saracenus wrote:
    Bubbagump,

    Please remember that Ryan Dancey wrote this years ago when he still working for WotC. Many things have changed since then. Tastes have changed. WotC adapts.

    Also remember when Dancey was talking about WotC listening to its customers, he is speaking to a very broad spectrum of gamers (which we Greyhawkers are but a thin slice) and they will go where the numbers and the bucks are.

    As for whether WotC is making a genius move or one that will doom 4e to the dustbin, its too early to tell. We are trying to see the elephant by touching small parts of it, because we are blind. Until we see the rules as a whole and take them out for a spin, its just not realistic to think we can see what is going on.

    My Two Coppers,

    Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus


    Forgive me, I was unclear - by "we" I meant those of us who have been around a while and have a deep appreciation of the game's historical identity. I see lots of grognards like myself complaining that 4e will ruin their games - it won't. I was simply suggesting that the aforementioned "we" should take a step back toward D&D's original philosophy rather than complaining about new editions of the rules or whether or not our favorite settings are going to receive further support.

    Concerning WotC, I've said repeatedly that I believe they're making a brilliant business move here, even if it is at the expense of old-schoolers like myself. As a corporate entity they seem to be adapting beautifully to their current customer base. I'm fully aware that I represent a fraction of that base that lies very far from the norm. They've suggested several changes that I don't particularly like, but my complaints against them are concerned more with their methods and philosophy rather than any particular alterations to the game itself.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Tue Sep 18, 2007 8:37 am  

    bubbagump wrote:
    Concerning WotC, I've said repeatedly that I believe they're making a brilliant business move here, even if it is at the expense of old-schoolers like myself. As a corporate entity they seem to be adapting beautifully to their current customer base. I'm fully aware that I represent a fraction of that base that lies very far from the norm. They've suggested several changes that I don't particularly like, but my complaints against them are concerned more with their methods and philosophy rather than any particular alterations to the game itself.


    I can't know if all the rumored changes - Great Wheel getting dumped, wizards and spellcasting becoming unrecognizable, races being redefined etc. - will come to pass as the snippets of information released to date suggest.

    While I agree Wotc is doing something smart from a business standpoint, in theory, I think the risk is huge if even so much as a quarter of the existing fanbase balks. Even a fifth. I say this as I don't see D&D attracting THAT many new gamers, let alone more on top of the new gamers necessary to make up for the number who balk. I think Wotc could end up with less active fans overall, if things go badly. At best, I see them only holding steady, once they have made up for the fans who balk at 4e.

    Given this thought, I think there could have been a happy medium that would have lessened the risk of a significant percentage of the existing fanbase balking. This thought, apparently, either did not occur to Wotc or was disgarded as 4e went "all in." Time will tell if Wotc crosses "the river" successfully or drowns in it.

    IMO
    _________________
    GVD
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 25, 2007
    Posts: 951
    From: Neck Deep in the Viscounty of Verbobonc

    Send private message
    Tue Sep 18, 2007 7:18 pm  

    Agreed. This is a big risk for them. I'm not sure it's that big, though. I did a little informal research recently, just to get a feel for what other types of gamers are saying, and my findings were both negative and positive.

    On the negative side, plenty of current gamers complained about proposed changes - that much should be obvious to anyone who's seen these boards. Gamers who have been around longer seem to be more negative than those who started playing since 3e. Also, there's been a lot of complaining about the need to buy new books.

    On the positive side, many of those who have complained, whether old or new, have stated in certain terms that they intend to buy 4e anyway - not a bad thing for WotC. Even I, who am virulently opposed to another new edition of D&D, intend to buy at least the first 3 books. I've also seen a lot of enthusiasm from newer gamers, and more than a little excitement from some who left D&D years ago and are now intending to come back.

    I think the key will be whether or not WotC can manage to get the online gaming crowd to come into the fold. I'm pretty sure they're betting that they can, and if they pull it off they're definitely gonna make it.
    Display posts from previous:   
       Canonfire Forum Index -> Greyhawk- D&D 4th Edition All times are GMT - 8 Hours
    Page 1 of 1

    Jump to:  

    You cannot post new topics in this forum
    You cannot reply to topics in this forum
    You cannot edit your posts in this forum
    You cannot delete your posts in this forum
    You cannot vote in polls in this forum


    Forums ©


    Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises

    Contact the Webmaster.  Long Live Spidasa!


    Greyhawk Gothic Font by Darlene Pekul is used under the Creative Commons License.

    PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
    Page Generation: 0.47 Seconds