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    Canonfire :: View topic - Greyhawk - still relevant?
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    Greyhawk - still relevant?
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    CF Admin

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    Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:45 am  
    Greyhawk - still relevant?

    I'm going to reply to this ENWorld thread in a bit, but I thought folks might also want to participate in the conversation: not to gang-bang the thread by any means, but to offer some thoughts and insight as to why GH still retains the magic that draws us back to year after year.

    http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rpg-discussion/286440-greyhawk-relevant.html
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    Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:33 am  

    JHSII wrote:
    That's exactly why I love Greyhawk and hated the Realms so much. In Greyhawk what the characters do matters. What the characters have done matters.
    I also note that Greyhawk is built around your characters. It isn't "You get to adventure as Dri'zzt" rather "You get to adventure as 'Joe the Fighter" if that's your characters name.

    And no, I've never had a character named "Joe the Fighter!"

    Same here. When I've adventured in the Realms, I've always felt like my party would have to be ridiculously overpowered to be even remotely relevant. Greyhawk has a lot of magic compared to what I do in my own setting, but it has a much grittier and more realistic feel to it than the Realms.

    Additionally, the worldbuilding in the Realms has always felt off, to me. If there's that much magic around and the gods are meddling so much in mortal affairs, I think the world would've evolved in such a way as to be almost unplayable.
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    Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:07 pm  

    I put a reply up on my blog; for some reason I have trouble connecting to EnWorld. I read the thread, and then my browser hangs when I try to reply.

    http://greyhawkgrognard.blogspot.com/2010/08/is-greyhawk-relevant.html

    Joe
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    Mon Aug 02, 2010 5:55 pm  

    Relevant? That seems like an awfully subjective statement. No matter how many times I start a campaign in GH, it is like the party is the first group of adventurers ever to step onto a winding path into the unknown.

    I tried running in FR once, and the PC's basically could not stop reminding me of what has happened where and why they should not go towards it. It was pretty funny when they got to Waterdeep and it was simply gone! One player got up and left, saying that me removing Waterdeep was the gayest thing he had ever heard of. *shrug*
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Tue Aug 03, 2010 4:53 am  

    chaoticprime wrote:
    Relevant? That seems like an awfully subjective statement. No matter how many times I start a campaign in GH, it is like the party is the first group of adventurers ever to step onto a winding path into the unknown.

    This.

    Not in response to the above, to a great extent, the sentiment that "Greyhawk is teh awesomest, and teh Realms is teh suck!" is elitism pure and simple. The Realms started out just like Greyhawk- as somebody's personal campaign, and some the of the characters in it were once PCs or NPCs, just like in Greyhawk. If anybody played in the Realms and found it to be confining, then it wasn't the campaign setting's fault- *it was the fault of their DM*. I played in the Realms for a short while under a novice DM, and it was quite fine. Perhaps our novice DM just wasn't an idiot. Laughing

    chaoticprime wrote:
    I tried running in FR once, and the PC's basically could not stop reminding me of what has happened where and why they should not go towards it. It was pretty funny when they got to Waterdeep and it was simply gone! One player got up and left, saying that me removing Waterdeep was the gayest thing he had ever heard of. *shrug*


    Sound like your players were either just being annoying, you didn't know the campaign setting yourself and so made it your own, or you just wanted to make it your own and to hell with them. Laughing As to the Waterdeep bit, you really expected something different? How about you set your next campaign in the World of Greyhawk, and when the players go to Greyhawk City, you tell them that "There is no Greyhawk City!" I would probably throw a handful of batteries in a sock and beat you unconscious, and then flip your car over and light it on fire. Better hope they aren't stupid crazy hard-core fans like me.Razz

    [EDIT: Thulcondar has an excellent blog!]Cool
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    Last edited by Cebrion on Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Tue Aug 03, 2010 3:11 pm  

    I love Greyhawk and I love the Realms and I confess to having ran games in the Realms for years over just a handful in Greyhawk. Like any campaign world, the Realms are what YOU make it. I have never bought into the canon of all of the mega-characters being the movers and shakers of the world. In MY version of the Realms, the PC's are the most important characters...at least to the players and to the campaign. Without them...the servants of Auril will cover the North in eternal winter. Without them...the little town of Port Llast would have been overran by wererats. Without them...the Wyvernmaster of the Host Tower of the Arcane would have completed his maniacal plans for the conquest of Neverwinter. And I could go on...

    But Greyhawk being relevant? Hell yes! As much as I love the Realms, I keep coming back to the setting that I first read about and rolled dice in and made some long-lasting friends while trying to keep one step ahead of the Scarlet Brotherhood. In Greyhawk I met one of the finest DM's I've ever known who ran a campaign with over 20 players! In Greyhawk, I lost more than one character in the Tomb of Horrors, and several in the Hellfurnaces fighting Drow! And the setting keeps bringing me back even in pbp's - where our merry band of adventurers is getting cut up by the brigands in the Moathouse! Yes, THAT moathouse!

    So...in my mind, both worlds are relevant because I fell in love with both of them for various reasons and can't part with either.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Wed Aug 04, 2010 2:04 am  

    JHSII wrote:
    Cebrion, I think you're missing something. There's a different feel for the two settings.


    Only as it regards the magic level(well, mainly in that regard).

    JHSII wrote:
    The Forgotten Realms has always come across to me as a place that was created, then you try to shoehorn your players in. Greyhawk was created as the place for the players to be central to what happens. That makes a completely different feel for the place.


    I'm not missing anything. The Forgotten Realms was not written as a place for the NPCs to be highlighted any more than Greyhawk was. The setting was highlighted, in depth, which included the NPCs. The game is all about what players can do and where they can go. People ooo! and aaah! over NPCs in any campaign setting, and Greyhawk is no different. Plenty of adventures/supplements feature notable Greyhawk personages, even if they don't figure prominently into things. Same with the Forgotten Realms. It may just seem like this has been done to a higher level with the Forgotten Realms because so much more material has been published for the setting. Rogues Gallery anyone? Talk about whoring NPCs. And you wonder where the Forgotten Realms authors learned it from... Wink

    Anyone who has ever read anything by Gygax(or anybody else) stating something to the effect that "This is not *THE* campaign setting, but *A VERSION OF* the campaign setting- *make it your own!*" should know nothing is ever shoe-horned into anything without one *choosing* to do so. The Forgottne Realms, or any camapgin setting for that matter, is only yours so much as you make it your own. The only thing that can limit a person in doing so is the prison of their own mind.

    JHSII wrote:
    It also helps that Greyhawk doesn't have someone like the overly annoying Elminster and Drizzt. Razz


    You mean something that annoyingly keeps the campaign setting in the public eye, keeping attention on it and products coming out for it, rather than on Greyhawk? Yeah, I am totally glad that Greyhawk doesn't have the albatross of public identity/popularity about its neck. Razz
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    Wed Aug 04, 2010 4:56 pm  

    I think what Hedgeknight and Cebrion are saying. Is tell me why you like Greyhawk and what makes it relevant to you. Not FR,DS,DL,BR,and SP suck. It may not be your preference but focus on whats relevant or what makes Greyhawk relevant without bashing another campaign setting.

    I for one like the original setting although some parties could argue that Blackmoor was first. Any how while I enjoyed Gygax vision of his campaign world it was Carl Sargent who brought Greyhawk to life for me. This is not a dig on any other authors for the setting. I just prefer Sargent take his writing style peeked my interest even more than it has been before.

    Although Gygax stated in first edition players handbook take what you like and disregard what you don't its your game. Trust me I have. Drow are not a subrace of elves but merely elves who are evil or conduct themselves in a way so completely contrary to elvin belief's that it has become disruptive to the elvin community. I don't have carrot nosed trolls my trolls are more similar in appearance to Norse mythology trolls as well as attitude.

    Relevant simply put it was written in a way that agrees with me personally. Meaning it fits my style of play with less tweaking then most of what is written in other campaign worlds. Now I can tweak any campaign world to make it my own. However Greyhawk fits me a little more conveniently.

    Forgot to mention RL which technically was introduced in GH, but no technicalities here.

    With that said not a fan of Elminster or Drizz't any one who knows me knows why the latter. Though Khelban Blackstaff
    I always saw as a great character and the Bloodstone lands written by R.A. Salvatore 2nd edition and Faiths and avatars, Dwarves deep where all great products for the FR line.
    GH anything Sargent wrote easily, though well written expedition to the Barrier peaks I did not care for.
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    Thu Aug 05, 2010 7:48 am  

    Hi, all. I'm the original poster of the thread on EN World (which I also posted on Fear the Boot's forums).

    I've played D&D since 2nd edition. I have played a few Greyhawk modules, but I started with the Realms and then progressed to Dragonlance, which is my true love.

    Despite my love for Dragonlance, I have a fondness of the various D&D settings (some more than others). I guess you might call me a casual fan of Greyhawk. I know a few names and places, but am by no means an expert.

    In retrospect, I guess the question is more of a matter of how GH could be commercially viable in today's market, considering it covers some of the same territory as other settings.

    Certainly, I can see how it can be relevant to folks who have enjoyed the setting from years of play, or who want an alternative to the Realms minus the overreaching plot of the novels.

    So I appreciate all your thoughts. Thanks so much.
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    Thu Aug 05, 2010 10:56 pm  

    JHSII is some truth in those words you spoke above.
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    Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:48 am  

    JHSII wrote:
    The very fact that Hasbro keeps the Greyhawk IP rights, and rips ideas from it to stick in their generic world tells me that it is still very much relevant. If it wasn't they'd flush it down the old memory hole and let someone else have it.


    If the question is not personal to the individual but asked in a grander macrodesign sense, the above settles the matter definitively, IMO. Greyhawk resonates. It always has and continues to do so because Wotc keeps wanting that resonance and so keeps borrowing from Greyhawk. If Wotc could go an edition without mentioning Greyhawk or any of its IP, only then might the setting loose relevance. Until then, Greyhawk is the D&D touchstone, even as a "dead" setting.

    YMMV (but then what are you doing on Canonfire? Laughing )
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    Fri Aug 06, 2010 6:16 pm  

    Dragonhelm wrote:
    Hi, all. I'm the original poster of the thread on EN World (which I also posted on Fear the Boot's forums) . . . In retrospect, I guess the question is more of a matter of how GH could be commercially viable in today's market, considering it covers some of the same territory as other settings.


    Welcome to Canonfire!, Dragonhelm! Happy

    I think you can begin to see, from all that is being said here, the reverse of your above statement is true. Greyhawk does not contain "some of the same territory" of other settings, rather, these other gaming worlds contain pieces of Greyhawk -- pieces of varying size.

    So, as JHSII and GVDammerung pointed out, THAT is the relevance of Greyhawk -- to the entire gaming world. Though most gamers might not know it. Wink

    Greyhawk is the "mother-load" for all the other "golden nuggets" of gaming.
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    Sun Aug 08, 2010 11:33 am  

    The whole question of "relevance" is an interesting one, especially as it relates to GH and Canonfire in particular-how old is the average Greyhawker, anyway?

    I'm only 28 myself-how old is everyone else that comes here?
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    Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:55 pm  

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    I'm only 28 myself-how old is everyone else that comes here?


    I'm 50 and have been "playing" -- off and on -- since the middle '70's.

    And I know that Maldin is my age. Most others I know here are older than you, but younger than Maldin and I. Wink
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    Sun Aug 08, 2010 1:16 pm  

    41 here, which means I've played in Greyhawk for about 32 years.

    And yes, I'd say that most Greyhawkers are relatively old by industry standards. A few "newbies" came on board during the Living Greyhawk days, but other than them I suspect most of us have been around since at least the 2e days.
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    Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:23 pm  

    Mystic-Scholar wrote:
    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    I'm only 28 myself-how old is everyone else that comes here?


    I'm 50 and have been "playing" -- off and on -- since the middle '70's.

    And I know that Maldin is my age. Most others I know here are older than you, but younger than Maldin and I. Wink


    I was just looking through the archives of my contributed articles in my old account, and I found that my first article was submitted back in 2002.

    In other words, I first started contributing when I was 20. I think that says a lot both about me and about Greyhawk...
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    Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:39 pm  

    Yes, Greyhawk endures and continues to attract newer generations of gamers. And that's a nice thought for us older 'hawkers. Cool Happy
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    Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:46 pm  

    I'm 33 and was introduced to Greyhawk when I was 9! I've played in most of the worlds but always come back to Greyhawk. Something has always struck me when talking to players more familiar with other worlds- few of them reminisce about FR or RL dungeons but everyone finds common ground and happy (mostly!) memories regarding the Temple of Elemental Evil or the Tomb of Horrors. That's enough relevance for me...
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    Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:52 pm  

    Happy I could make you "feel better" JHSII. Wink Laughing Laughing Laughing
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    Thu Aug 12, 2010 9:04 am  

    Argon wrote:
    Any how while I enjoyed Gygax vision of his campaign world it was Carl Sargent who brought Greyhawk to life for me. This is not a dig on any other authors for the setting. I just prefer Sargent take his writing style peeked my interest even more than it has been before.


    I'm totally with Argon on this one. I never really got into Greyhawk until the From The Ashes box set came out, and from there I followed the setting through the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer. I knew about GH in the 80s, and knew that it was something special, but then I was still playing Basic D&D with the Known World. Sergent's version of GH felt like a history lesson with a world that could exist. That really made the setting for me. It felt visceral and like what characters did mattered.

    As to being relevant, sure. GH, and I din;t use this word negatively, is a vanilla setting that any DM can devlop on his own as needed. The history to setting is amazing within the hobby and in the written material of the setting. Greyhawk still feels more real than any other campaign setting, and than in itself makes it unique. GH is still relevant and continues to feel like the wonderful setting that it is.

    ~O
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    Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:49 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    If Wotc could go an edition without mentioning Greyhawk or any of its IP, only then might the setting loose relevance. Until then, Greyhawk is the D&D touchstone, even as a "dead" setting.


    I like that thought. Wink
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