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    Canonfire :: View topic - Most Unloved GH Canon
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    Most Unloved GH Canon
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    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 09, 2003
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    From: Tennessee, between Ft. Campbell & APSU

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    Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:44 pm  
    Most Unloved GH Canon

    It's interesting that some people are willing to completely ignore the Sehenine takeover of Lendore Isle:

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=63235#63235

    ...which I find tempting--it being only late 577 CY IMC--I have plenty of time to decide, or perhaps the PCs themselves can change "history."

    What over parts of canon do some of you loathe enough to ignore or at least drastically modify?
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 12, 2001
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    Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:54 pm  
    I'd have to say...

    The lack of gunpowder. But, really, that was mainly because I couldn't wrap my head around a nautical adventure without canons employed in ship-to-ship combat.

    Scott "-enkainen" Casper

    Yak-Men put gunpowder on their breakfast!
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:45 am  

    I ignored the Black Bubble of Istivin because I never liked it. If it ever came to it I would also ignore Iuz's Vatun gambit.

    EDIT: I would also ignore the Elves taking over Lendore.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:21 am  

    I'm inclined to ignore the Greyhawk Wars as one big conflict and have the individual conflicts play out, preferably with the Great Kingdom surviving in some form.

    The evil decaying empire of Aerdy was just disposed of too quickly for my liking. Still in 579 so no need to decide just yet.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 11, 2014 12:34 pm  

    Scottenkainen wrote:
    The lack of gunpowder...


    -I figure that gunpowder "works," just not as well. Firearms or explosives form other worlds have 1/3rd range increments round down, -2 hit die category, i.e., 60' increment and 1d6 hit die of damage becomes 20' increment with 1d3 damage, unless some mild deity level intercession occurs (1/2 range and -1 hit die category) or strong intercession (as is).

    The relative lack of power is the reason that alchemists really haven't exploited it.

    There is also this:

    http://greyhawkery.blogspot.com/2012/01/blackpowder-weapons-in-greyhawk.html

    BTW, didn't you moderate over at Dragonsfoot, among other things?


    smillan_31 wrote:
    I ignored the Black Bubble of Istivin because I never liked it...


    -I accept it, even if my first notice of it was in one of Rose Estes' Mika novels...Laughing

    Yeah, I see your point, but if it happened in 574 CY or so (when did it happen? I think it was also mentioned in the Dungeon three-parter), then it's water under the bridge for me.

    Flint wrote:
    The evil decaying empire of Aerdy was just disposed of too quickly for my liking. Still in 579 so no need to decide just yet.


    -That's what PCs are for! Wink

    smillan_31 wrote:
    ...I would also ignore the Elves taking over Lendore.


    -Ouch. Still waiting for someone to defend it!

    I could see a Suel resistance setting up an unusual LN vs. CG scenario instead of the usual Good vs. Evil.

    Flint wrote:
    I'm inclined to ignore the Greyhawk Wars as one big conflict and have the individual conflicts play out, preferably with the Great Kingdom surviving in some form...


    -Mystic Scholar hasn't chimed in, but I'm sure that would be his pick (his mentioned it several times). The GH Wars (or, at least, certain parts of it) might be the single most unpopular bit of canon.

    smillan_31 wrote:
    ...If it ever came to it I would also ignore Iuz's Vatun gambit...


    -Almost the same thing as ignoring the GH Wars. The PCs could fix that in Howl from the North. Maybe they can outsmart Iuz? Or more likely, they just screw up and can't find the stupid swords to begin with! Laughing
    GreySage

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    Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:09 pm  

    I wasn't very impressed with the way that Vecna became a god. It was poorly explained, in my opinion. I also didn't like that the way the modules were written, the PCs were doomed to failure. Their entire purpose was to prevent Vecna from becoming a god, but no matter what they did, they failed in that.

    Now, I could accept (grudgingly) Vecna becoming a demi-god, but why did they have him go from hero-deity status directly to Intermediate god power? They had him completely skip over demi-god and lesser god. That just grinds my gears. Razz

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    GreySage

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    Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:21 pm  

    I think I mentioned this before in another, earlier post but I never appreciated how easily Iuz crushed the Hierarchs. I expected them to put up a greater resistance, and perhaps even thwart the Old One's coup. Part of me wanted a force of Evil, instead of Good, to stymie Iuz or even defeat him. Now, wouldn't that be different. All too much it always boils down to Good vs. Evil. I like twists from time to time, and having Iuz bested by a rival force of Evil would be just that.

    -Lanthorn


    Last edited by Lanthorn on Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:18 am; edited 1 time in total
    GreySage

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    Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:34 am  

    SirXaris wrote:
    I wasn't very impressed with the way that Vecna became a god. It was poorly explained, in my opinion. I also didn't like that the way the modules were written, the PCs were doomed to failure. Their entire purpose was to prevent Vecna from becoming a god, but no matter what they did, they failed in that.

    Now, I could accept (grudgingly) Vecna becoming a demi-god, but why did they have him go from hero-deity status directly to Intermediate god power? They had him completely skip over demi-god and lesser god. That just grinds my gears. Razz

    SirXaris


    This is my recollection of the Vecna trilogy, which seems very different from yours:

    Vecna started out in the module Vecna Lives! as a demigod, having climbed to that status over the centuries due to the veneration of his cult. The purpose of the module is to prevent Vecna's scheme to use Tovag Baragu to become Oerth's sole deity. The PCs are assumed to succeed in banishing Vecna to another plane.

    In Vecna Reborn, Vecna is still a demigod and imprisoned in Ravenloft. The purpose of the module is to prevent Vecna's scheme to escape the demiplane. They're assumed to succeed.

    In Die Vecna Die!, Vecna tricks Iuz into entering Ravenloft and completing a ritual the cambion believes will allow him to absorb the lich's power. Instead, it allows Vecna to absorb Iuz, who becomes a greater god and rides the mists of Ravenloft into Sigil, where he attempts to reshape the planes in his image. The purpose of the module is to get Vecna out of Sigil before he does too much damage. The PCs are assumed to succeed in banishing the lich from the city. Iuz is freed and returns to his kingdom to recover. Vecna drops down to lesser god status, where he remains. The PCs succeed in saving the multiverse from being destroyed, although some damage may have been done.

    I thought the first module was good, and the second two not very good.

    My own pet peeve is the Flight of Fiends, which seems too easy a way of neutering Iuz as a villain. Besides which, if the PCs recover a legendary artifact used to defeat the villain, you owe them the right to wield it themselves, not delegate it to NPCs. Obviously I don't like how Iuz was treated in Die Vecna Die! either. That ties into my feelings on the Hierarchss; it's the job of the PCs to best Iuz, not Canon Hazen, not the Hierarchs, and not Vecna. Anyone else doing is makes him less scary as a villain and therefore makes the PCs' deeds less impressive. At least Die Vecna Die lets the PCs banish Vecna themselves. Having villains defeat villains is a decent twist if it's Lex Luthor defeating Darkseid, but in an RPG the player characters get center stage. The only role other villains should play is to be separately defeated by another group of PCs, to roll over to make the main villain look more badass in comparison, or to act as morally ambiguous allies against a common adversary while still giving the protagonists the lion's share of the work.
    GreySage

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    Sat Jul 12, 2014 7:53 am  

    Thanks for the clarification, Rasgon. I apparently missed the point of that series. Smile

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    Adept Greytalker

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    Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:54 am  

    I loved the series against the Giants, except for the black bubble. Is think that just pushed the idea a little too far in my mind.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:19 am  

    Here are some of my pet peeves.

    *The alternate-universe justification for Robilar's actions. Reads like a DC comic book. Coming soon in 5E: Crisis on Infinite Oerths!
    *Leomund's retraction from the Circle of Eight. Another imposter! Please, retcon everything that disagrees with the original authors. Because Hasbro fanboys playing in 596CY really care about continuity with the Lake Geneva campaign.
    *The Sakhut - take the most epic module series of all time and lop off the second half!
    *Heironeous losing his axe because it wasn't paladiny enough for the 3E munchkins.
    *RttToEE's bungling of the EGG and Tharizdun.
    *The '98 reversal of half the Greyhawk Wars and all of Sargent's atmosphere.
    *Tenser being cloned twice and the placement of another hidden specimen for Otiluke. Epic NPC's don't have to live forever. This isn't the Forgotten Realms. Just let them die already.
    *Mordenkainen being depicted as Anton Lavey in all later art.
    *SKR's perfunctory treatment of the Scarlet Brotherhood.
    *SKR's abolition of Tharizdun in the SB. Those hacks Gygax and Sargent had it all wrong!
    *Andy Miller's Oeridian gods.
    *The Company of Seven - the best and the rest of the core rules proper nouns! Because every Greyhawk spellcaster needs to join an organization named after the number of members.
    *The Seekers - another meddling, high-magic, world-spanning organization. Let's just import the Harpers and Zhentarim while we're at it.
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Jul 12, 2014 4:27 pm  

    Lendore Islands: I like it, creates a showcase for elven mysticism and a forum for humanity as second class citizens. Racism and religious themes can be explored via this context.

    Flight of the Fiends: I think the community realized Iuzian forces were overpowered and needed to be reduced for historical credibility. Unfortunately, they chose a magical solution using an unknown artifact, creating continuity issues - Abyssal Sage.

    AH: Fiends become increasingly frustrated by the continued resistance, no more easy victories as promised. Growing numbers abandon Iuz as better offers present themselves on the abyssal planes.

    Overwhelming numbers are reduced, perhaps with the heroic actions of the players, convincing others that softer targets exist. After all, most fiends serving Iuz are Chaotic Evil, thus loyalty and sacrifice are not priorities.

    I think the itch that can't be scratched is the need to connect the conflict threads. Too many plots, not everything needs to have a conspiracy behind it. Where is the opportunism, instead convenient alliances between Good vs Evil, a little too tidy for GH.

    However; SB leaving the shadows in such a blatant moustache twirling manner remains a thorn.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sun Jul 13, 2014 4:28 pm  

    Acererak as a cambion in RttToH always rubbed me the wrong way and even moreso with Tsojcanth. GH already has a badass cambion villain with Iuz, so this just came across as uninspired and unoriginal.
    GreySage

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    Sun Jul 13, 2014 7:14 pm  

    I think that the only thing really wrong with the changes of the From the Ashes era is that there was no proper follow-up to most of the plot threads, with Roger Moore and company electing to have everything move closer to the status quo without the players' intervention instead of taking advantage of the plot elements provided to do something interesting with them. Each of the setting's perceived overreaches - the Scarlet Brotherhood empire, the elven conquest of Lendore, Iuz's demon armies, etc. - could have been a campaign in itself rather than being squandered. I would have rather they had simply reset the setting to 576 CY, with the Wars as a possible future, than wasted the Wars like they did.

    Similarly, the only problem with the Vatun storyline is that nothing came of it. If a third module had appeared in which the PCs had to get information on Iuz's deception to the barbarians rather than them figuring it out on their own off screen, it'd have been more meaningful. As it was, the canon events of the Wars rendered the previous two modules pointless.

    I think that, from a permanent world-building perspective and for the sake of variety, it's better to have a human-ruled realm in the Spindrifts than to simply give it all to the elves. But for a temporary storyline, it'd be fine to have the elves take over a neighboring human realm in preparation for something big if only we were ever told what that was. But we never found out where Sargent was going with it, so it comes across as random and destructive.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Mon Jul 14, 2014 6:35 am  
    Re: Black Bubble

    smillan_31 wrote:
    I ignored the Black Bubble of Istivin because I never liked it.


    I always wanted to do more with that Black Bubble. But then, I wanted to base it on this Fantastic Four story - http://www.comics.org/issue/41736/

    ~Scott "-enkainen" Casper

    Yak-Men put black bubbles around all their cities...
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Mon Jul 14, 2014 6:40 am  
    Re: Dragonsfoot?

    Hi again!

    jamesdglick wrote:

    BTW, didn't you moderate over at Dragonsfoot, among other things?


    There are many things you could have pointed to and asked "Did you do that?" and been right, but Dragonsfoot moderator isn't one of them. I do have an account, but I've posted there maybe five times over the years. The forums are too busy for my liking and I spend most of my time on the OD&D Discussion boards now.

    ~Scott "-enkainen" Casper

    Yak-Men don't hide on the Interwebs -- they tell you where to come find them!
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Mon Jul 14, 2014 6:51 am  
    Re: Black Bubble

    Hi yet again!

    jamesdglick wrote:
    smillan_31 wrote:
    I ignored the Black Bubble of Istivin because I never liked it...


    -I accept it, even if my first notice of it was in one of Rose Estes' Mika novels...Laughing

    Yeah, I see your point, but if it happened in 574 CY or so (when did it happen? I think it was also mentioned in the Dungeon three-parter), then it's water under the bridge for me.


    The Black Bubble was not a feature of the original Against the Giants trilogy, but added in later by the Queen of Spiders reprint supermodule. The original modules never mentioned a campaign year when they were supposed to occur, nor did the supermodule add one, as I recall. Some fans may have creatively added the events from G1-3 to their timelines, but I think they'd be hard-pressed to present canon support for this.

    ~Scott "-enkainen" Casper

    When a Yak-Man does something, you never know when he did it...
    GreySage

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    Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:37 am  

    Greg A. Vaughan's Istivin trilogy in Dungeon Magazine #117, #118, and #119, which examined some of the repercussions of the Black Bubble, made it clear that the Black Bubble appeared in CY 576.

    Fred Weining's "Vault of the Drow" article in Dragon #298 also pointed toward a CY 576 date for the GDQ series.

    That dating isn't without problems, since the Slave Lords trilogy was set in CY 580 (according to Slavers) and the Queen of the Spiders supermodule, which introduced the Black Bubble, is explicitly set after the fall of the Slave Lords.

    Plus Against the Giants: The Liberation of Geoff was set in CY 591 and had G1-G3 as part of it.

    Obviously you can set the GDQ series in whatever date makes sense for your campaign. I would lean toward 576 as the "official" date of the events of that series, though, and just disentangle it from other module series that make the dating difficult.


    Last edited by rasgon on Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:43 am; edited 1 time in total
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:42 am  
    Ah, Rasgon!

    Haha! I was this close to using the tag line: "Rasgon will correct me in ...3...2...1..."

    ~Scott "Laughing" Casper
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Jul 15, 2014 12:08 am  

    Simply put too many deus ex machina revisions.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Tue Jul 15, 2014 1:29 pm  

    Wow. This is long... Embarassed

    Lanthorn wrote:
    I think I mentioned this before in another, earlier post but I never appreciated how easily Iuz crushed the Hierarchs. I expected them to put up a greater resistance, and perhaps even thwart the Old One's coup...


    -Well, they'd been fighting Iuz off and on ever since he came back in 570 CY.

    Lanthorn wrote:
    ...Part of me wanted a force of Evil, instead of Good, to stymie Iuz or even defeat him...


    -Well, instead, you had a force of Evil (Iuz) defeat the Heirarchs... Laughing

    Lanthorn wrote:
    ... All to much it always boils down to Good vs. Evil...


    -That is one of the reasons I don't want to completely give up on the canonical fate of Lendore Island.

    vestcoat wrote:
    *The Sakhut - take the most epic module series of all time and lop off the second half!.


    -My understanding is that there are meant to be two separate campaigns: The first is pre-Greyhawk Wars (masterminded by the Drow) and the second after the Wars (masterminded by Cloud Giants). At least, that's how I intend to do it. And using the same encounters for different scenarios, decades apart, is cheesy.

    vestcoat wrote:
    *Heironeous losing his axe because it wasn't paladiny enough for the 3E munchkins...


    -From what I've seen, sometimes he has the battleaxe, sometimes the sword. Meh.

    vestcoat wrote:
    *Tenser being cloned twice and the placement of another hidden specimen for Otiluke. Epic NPC's don't have to live forever. This isn't the Forgotten Realms. Just let them die already...


    -Well, Tenser strikes me as the sort who would have clones.

    vestcoat wrote:
    *Mordenkainen being depicted as Anton Lavey in all later art...


    - Laughing

    Yeah, we've discussed that before. But it's not the end of the world...

    vestcoat wrote:


    *SKR's perfunctory treatment of the Scarlet Brotherhood.
    *SKR's abolition of Tharizdun in the SB. Those hacks Gygax and Sargent had it all wrong!...


    -Meh for the first, and (IIRC) SKR doesn't abolish Tharizdun from the SB, he 1) makes it uncommon and 2) leaves it as a disturbing rumour, which for an organization advocating Suel supremacy (rather than the destruction of everything, including the Suel) generally makes sense.

    vestcoat wrote:
    *Andy Miller's Oeridian gods...


    -I use them. I don't see anything bad about them.

    vestcoat wrote:
    *The Seekers - another meddling, high-magic, world-spanning organization. Let's just import the Harpers and Zhentarim while we're at it...


    -Why not? They don't exactly have the power that the Harpers seem to have.

    [Note: Over the 4th of July weekend, I played my first game ever in the FR. Our characters started out as the victims of slavers and then rescued by... the Harpers... Confused Laughing ]

    vestcoat wrote:


    *The alternate-universe justification for Robilar's actions. Reads like a DC comic book. Coming soon in 5E: Crisis on Infinite Oerths!
    *Leomund's retraction from the Circle of Eight. Another imposter! Please, retcon everything that disagrees with the original authors. Because Hasbro fanboys playing in 596CY really care about continuity with the Lake Geneva campaign.
    *RttToEE's bungling of the EGG and Tharizdun.
    *The Company of Seven - the best and the rest of the core rules proper nouns! Because every Greyhawk spellcaster needs to join an organization named after the number of members...


    -I don't know about the above.

    Crag wrote:
    Lendore Islands: I like it, creates a showcase for elven mysticism and a forum for humanity as second class citizens. Racism and religious themes can be explored via this context...


    -That's part of why I'm not ready to give up on it yet. But it seems like an odd way for CG Elves to behave. And why not some other place that didn't have history?

    rasgon wrote:
    ... I think that, from a permanent world-building perspective and for the sake of variety, it's better to have a human-ruled realm in the Spindrifts than to simply give it all to the elves. But for a temporary storyline, it'd be fine to have the elves take over a neighboring human realm in preparation for something big if only we were ever told what that was. But we never found out where Sargent was going with it, so it comes across as random and destructive.


    -Temporary? That might work, although the temporary has continued on for over a decade. Of course, "temporary" has a different meaning to elves...

    Crag wrote:
    ...Flight of the Fiends: I think the community realized Iuzian forces were overpowered and needed to be reduced for historical credibility. Unfortunately, they chose a magical solution using an unknown artifact, creating continuity issues - Abyssal Sage.

    AH: Fiends become increasingly frustrated by the continued resistance, no more easy victories as promised. Growing numbers abandon Iuz as better offers present themselves on the abyssal planes.

    Overwhelming numbers are reduced, perhaps with the heroic actions of the players, convincing others that softer targets exist. After all, most fiends serving Iuz are Chaotic Evil, thus loyalty and sacrifice are not priorities..


    -I thought the arrival of the fiends was a bit deus ex machina to let Iuz win in the first place, and then they had to clean it up. I like your more subtle rationale. However, the Crook of Rao was not an unknown artifact. IIRC, it was the final goodie in Isle of the Ape (pure EGG).

    rasgon wrote:
    ...My own pet peeve is the Flight of Fiends, which seems too easy a way of neutering Iuz as a villain. Besides which, if the PCs recover a legendary artifact used to defeat the villain, you owe them the right to wield it themselves, not delegate it to NPCs...


    1) It wasn't necessarily the NPCs who retrieved the Crook of Rao (Isle of the Ape is a pretty high level module).

    2) I think it would be silly to have the NPCs to everything (which seems to be the hit on FR), but its silly to have the NPCs do nothing, as well, particularly if they are more suited to do it (does your party happen to have a 20th level Cleric?).

    Crag wrote:
    ...Too many plots, not everything needs to have a conspiracy behind it. Where is the opportunism, instead convenient alliances between Good vs Evil, a little too tidy for GH...


    -Yeah. I've mentioned before that a cow can't die without it eventually tracing back to Iuz, Igwilv, Lolth, or the Scarlet Brotherhood.

    Crag wrote:
    ...However; SB leaving the shadows in such a blatant moustache twirling manner remains a thorn.


    -Meh. If you accept the Greyhawk Wars, then I guess that would've been their time to move.

    Luz wrote:
    Acererak as a cambion in RttToH always rubbed me the wrong way and even moreso with Tsojcanth. GH already has a badass cambion villain with Iuz, so this just came across as uninspired and unoriginal.


    -Meh. Maybe they could have come up with something else, but I can live with it.

    [quote="rasgon"]... I would have rather they had simply reset the setting to 576 CY, with the Wars as a possible future, than wasted the Wars like they did.

    -Which you can do, if you start from there, or even later...

    rasgon wrote:
    ... Similarly, the only problem with the Vatun storyline is that nothing came of it. If a third module had appeared in which the PCs had to get information on Iuz's deception to the barbarians rather than them figuring it out on their own off screen, it'd have been more meaningful. As it was, the canon events of the Wars rendered the previous two modules pointless...


    -A ha! If I actually play that out, the players will certainly have a chance to catch on to "Vatun." IIRC, even the scenario hints that the players might be able to realize what's going on, although Iuz had some pretty nifty explanations to explain the apparent anomalies.

    Of course, if the players "know" what really happened (as everyone here does), that would give them a leg up...

    rasgon wrote:
    Greg A. Vaughan's Istivin trilogy in Dungeon Magazine #117, #118, and #119, which examined some of the repercussions of the Black Bubble, made it clear that the Black Bubble appeared in CY 576.

    Fred Weining's "Vault of the Drow" article in Dragon #298 also pointed toward a CY 576 date for the GDQ series...


    -Yeah, that's right. And I keep forgetting that it's origin was in Q, but I haven't read it in about three decades. I play the Javan Valley, but on the Keoish side...

    Scottenkainen wrote:
    ...There are many things you could have pointed to and asked "Did you do that?" and been right, but Dragonsfoot moderator isn't one of them. I do have an account, but I've posted there maybe five times over the years...


    -I'm thinking of the EGG threads. You seemed to be the one hosting...
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 07, 2004
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    From: Mt. Smolderac

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    Tue Jul 15, 2014 6:55 pm  
    Re: Black Bubble

    Scottenkainen wrote:
    Hi yet again!

    jamesdglick wrote:
    smillan_31 wrote:
    I ignored the Black Bubble of Istivin because I never liked it...


    -I accept it, even if my first notice of it was in one of Rose Estes' Mika novels...Laughing

    Yeah, I see your point, but if it happened in 574 CY or so (when did it happen? I think it was also mentioned in the Dungeon three-parter), then it's water under the bridge for me.


    The Black Bubble was not a feature of the original Against the Giants trilogy, but added in later by the Queen of Spiders reprint supermodule. The original modules never mentioned a campaign year when they were supposed to occur, nor did the supermodule add one, as I recall. Some fans may have creatively added the events from G1-3 to their timelines, but I think they'd be hard-pressed to present canon support for this.

    ~Scott "-enkainen" Casper

    When a Yak-Man does something, you never know when he did it...


    Yeah, that's kind of the way I ran it, ignoring the Black Bubble. I say "kind of" because I started my Sterich campaign in 580, with the powers that be opting for a military option. Chief Nosnra was killed by an NPC who was one of the main villains in the campaign, and a banner-man of Querchard. After taking care of the hill giants, a year later, the forces of Sterich went against the frost giants in a battle at the headwaters of the Davish, which ended in a draw, but with Querchard either captured or dead. His body wasn't recovered. Eventually, and years later, the party was going to be led to venture into the Glacial Rift, chasing rumors that Querchard was still alive, a prisoner of the frost giant Jarl. There they would find out the truth; that Querchard had been killed and his crowned head taken as a trophy. The point of the adventure would then be to get back with the crown to Querchard's wife, to use it as a rallying point in her war against the faction that had displaced her as ruler of Sterich. Gran heretical plans, brought to naught ... Cry
    GreySage

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    Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:30 pm  

    jamesdglick wrote:
    -That's part of why I'm not ready to give up on it yet. But it seems like an odd way for CG Elves to behave. And why not some other place that didn't have history?


    I decided to move my comments on Lendore to your earlier thread.

    Quote:
    1) It wasn't necessarily the NPCs who retrieved the Crook of Rao (Isle of the Ape is a pretty high level module).


    From a storytelling perspective, the timing is all wrong. The PCs recover the Crook from the Isle of the Ape circa 576 CY, it sits in Rel Astra for a decade, and then some NPCs use it to save the world. The decade of lull time creates too much removal from the PCs' actions for it to be emotionally impactful.

    Besides which, it means the whole storyline of the rise of the empire of Iuz and his demon armies comes and goes without the PCs doing anything else to affect it. Literally it just happens in the background and goes away on its own. Even if the method by which it is dealt with is tied to something the PCs did long ago, that's terrible storytelling. It'd be like if Frodo gave the Ring to Gandalf a decade before the events of The Fellowship of the Ring and the trilogy was about Frodo and Sam going fishing while Gandalf destroyed the Ring offscreen.

    A better way to handle it would be if the Flight of Fiends in 586 was only one side of a two-pronged assault on Iuz. Hazen and Bigby distract Iuz, sacrificing their lives to activate the Crook and banish his demon armies, while the PCs assault Iuz himself and banish him to the Abyss. That would be a better story.

    Quote:
    2) I think it would be silly to have the NPCs to everything (which seems to be the hit on FR), but its silly to have the NPCs do nothing, as well, particularly if they are more suited to do it (does your party happen to have a 20th level Cleric?).


    Roleplaying games don't exist to have NPCs "realistically" get all the glory. If that's a realistic result from the scenario, the scenario should be rewritten. NPCs exist as advisers, mentors, patrons, dispensers of rumors, adversaries, and people who have the basic courtesy to get out of the way when there's hero work to be done. If the resolution of the plot requires a 20th level cleric and there isn't one in the party, try a different plot or change the way it's resolved. I think it'd be okay of Hazen and the Crook had some lesser role in the story's resolution, but by having them do the entire thing on their own they left the existence of the storyline pointless. That's a waste.

    And that's my basic problem with many aspects of From the Ashes. The boxed set sets up all these potentially epic quests for the PCs to handle which were great on their own, but then the 1998 reboot came around and said "Don't bother, things worked themselves out."
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    Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:32 pm  

    I mean, yes, technically Iuz is still a threat after 586, but after being made out to be a very cool, very terrifying villain in Iuz the Evil his career following that is a string of one humiliation after another. The Flight of Fiends in 586, Vecna eating him in 591, and then the embarrassment of being imprisoned by Iggwilv's similacrum in 597 in Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk. At that point he becomes less Sauron and more Gargamel. That's what happens when you keep extending the timeline but refuse to definitively resolve any plots; the plots become less and less convincing as imminent threats.

    Imagine if Tolkien had kept writing sequels to The Lord of the Rings in which Sauron kept returning in every book, each time with lower stakes. Like in volume 6 he's reduced to robbing banks.

    I feel like this needs a little more detail. Let's examine how Greyhawk Wars and From the Ashes built up Iuz:

    Iuz managed to gather the Northmen into his armies by posing as their god. That took cunning. The only thing wrong with this plot is that it's rendered pointless by going away on its own without the PCs doing anything about it (except possibly being responsible for it, if they're the ones who gathered the Swords of Corusk).

    The Horned Society had conquered the Shield Lands as of the City of Greyhawk boxed set and been built up to be this terrifying threat, with refugees streaming into Greyhawk City pleading for help. Suddenly Iuz wipes out their leaders in a single night. Whoa, Iuz is a badass now, and that's a pretty effective way of demonstrating it. It doesn't really matter if there was a prolonged battle involving thousands of summoned fiends on both sides, as Gary Gygax depicted it in Artifact of Evil, or if it was the one-sided massacre that was reported in Greyhawk Wars. The players won't really care either way. The point is that the Horned Society was a scary villain and Iuz is established as worse.

    This was one of the best things they could have done with the Horned Society. And afterward there are still other interesting things that can be done: they can act as morally ambiguous patrons, whispering Iuz's weaknesses to the PCs. They can infiltrate the other lands of the Flanaess in secret, replacing the Scarlet Brotherhood as the most insidious threat.

    Meanwhile, Iuz swallows the North: the Shield Lands, a good chunk of Furyondy, the Bandit Kingdoms, the Horned Society, the Barrens, Tenh. He's scary. He has demons. The stakes are high.

    The one thing you don't do when you've got a decently scary villain like that is spend the next decade lowering the stakes and establishing that the villain isn't actually much of a threat after all. I understand they were nostalgic for the days when the World of Greyhawk was more of a platform for an infinite variety of adventures than an apocalyptic grimdark world, but restoring the balance should be the PCs' job, and shouldn't turn one of the setting's better villains into a joke.

    It's the same with the Scarlet Brotherhood. I know people liked when they were a hidden menace that everyone underestimated when they'd heard of them at all, and that people like the greater variety of powers in the southern Flanaess rather than having one set of bad guys controlling everything, but once they'd conquered the South and proven themselves to be an effective imperial power the worst thing to do would be to have their empire immediately start to disintegrate due to their infighting. If they're going to be defeated, let the PCs be the ones to do it.

    And for what it's worth, I prefer Len Lakofka's formulation that their primary patrons were Syrul and Pyremius; they're more sensical as racial supremists with dreams of establishing a new Suloise Empire than as one-dimensional minions of the god of madness and entropy. Tharizdun worked well enough as the big bad in the Gord books, but I think there's a real danger in overusing him. The Living Greyhawk Gazetteer let DMs have the best of both worlds, though, using the Black Brotherhood originally mentioned in Dwellers of the Forbidden City as a powerful Tharizdun-worshiping faction within the Scarlet Brotherhood.
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    Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:58 am  

    jamesdglick wrote:

    Luz wrote:
    Acererak as a cambion in RttToH always rubbed me the wrong way and even moreso with Tsojcanth. GH already has a badass cambion villain with Iuz, so this just came across as uninspired and unoriginal.


    -Meh. Maybe they could have come up with something else, but I can live with it.

    Why come up with something else? IMO Acererak was the exemplary boogeyman for Greyhawk, the less you knew about him the more terrifying he was. Whether you loved or loathed the ToH, his mystique resonated just as much as the reputation of his tomb or, by extension, the dread demilich in general. Calling him a cambion added nothing relevant to his lore, just made it arbitrary.

    Also, on the topic of Iuz, when you pair RttToH with the release of Return of the Eight (both were published in 1998), it felt like one undermined the other. They declawed Iuz (a cambion) and brought Acererak (also a cambion) to the forefront as a major GH villain. I don't think TSR did this by design, but it rings of "sameness" and timed terribly.
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    Wed Jul 16, 2014 9:44 pm  

    jamesdglick wrote:
    And using the same encounters for different scenarios, decades apart, is cheesy.


    "Those who ignore the lessons of history, are doomed to repeat it." ? ;)
    (By this, I mean the giants, not learning from what happened to those tribes 20+ years earlier, in game time.)
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    Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:57 pm  

    BlueWitch wrote:
    jamesdglick wrote:
    And using the same encounters for different scenarios, decades apart, is cheesy.


    "Those who ignore the lessons of history, are doomed to repeat it." ? ;)
    (By this, I mean the giants, not learning from what happened to those tribes 20+ years earlier, in game time.)


    Who knew, the shortest thing about giants is their memory. Razz
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    Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:52 pm  

    jamesdglick wrote:
    What over parts of canon do some of you loathe enough to ignore or at least drastically modify?


    Several things, perhaps unsurprisingly :D The ones that stick out in my head include:

    - I ignore the transformation of most Great Kingdom noble families into animuses; doing so with one or two as an example is fine, but hundreds of animuses in the GK is just not my cup of tea
    - I tone down the uber-Olven background for the Flanaess from Sargent
    - I'm not too keen on the impersonation of Vatun by Iuz---he's not a trickster god (although Deceit is certainly there...), and he's already duped folks with the ToEE, so it seems a bit too much to me
    - I've reviled WG7 muchly over the years, but I do have some sense that it can be useful---in a horror-parody manner---after reading Russell Bird's insightful Greyhawk Castle fictions over the years
    - I prefer a grittier version of Greyhawk City than the boxed set, so I use Maldin's maps and much of Gygax's city from his novels and short stories, with a good deal of Sanctuary and Lankhmar thrown in for good measure
    - I don't use WGR1 for Castle Greyhawk, I use my own version with levels from many other folks (including Ed Greenwood!) liberally strewn throughout it
    - I don't like Vecna or the Scarlett Brotherhood as being out in the open/well known in general: if the god of secrets is popular, there's something wrong with that ;) and while I definitely would want the SB to become a known force in the world I don't know that I would want to do it via military conquest---sticking to assassinations, powers behind the thrones, and the secret society angle is more my view of them
    - not all drow worship Lolth!

    I"m sure there's more, but that's what oozed into my keyboard for the moment :D
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    Wed Jul 23, 2014 7:52 pm  

    What a phenomenal thread; so much great stuff here.

    As for my humble 2¢:


    1} I'm with Flint in having the Greyhawk Wars play out in more of a "cascade effect" [if at all], since I prefer the pre-Wars status a much better foundation for my tastes.

    2} I'm also with Lanthorn in the belief that the Hierarchs fell too quickly. I've always disliked the de facto practice that all villains work together or, at the very least, rarely get in one another's way. Thus, having they and Iuz battle it out makes it more engaging. Plus it opens the chance for an Evil character campaign that can make heroes of blackguards.

    3} I don't care for Vecna being a god at all. While seemingly illogical, he's actually less frightening that way. See, if he's a god, one simply says "He's a god. What can I do about it? Oh, well." Or "He's a god, so the other god's should handle him now." Whereas, if he's this whispered name that attracts ill omens and a part of history best left forgotten, the players are more engaged and confident.

    4} Never liked the Drow being behind the AtG series. I swapped them out for Illithids and never looked back. I'll post about it in much greater detail soon.


    Those are the things I "most unlove" [not hate].

    While there are many refutations, clarifications and elucidations - outstandingly well written, I might add, it really comes down to what one feels is best suited to one's gaming style. What I find so valuable in this thread are points made that cause me to rethink or reconsider my choices after being viewed through "new eyes".
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    Wed Jul 23, 2014 8:58 pm  

    This has been a rather enjoyable read. There's a lot of that I agree with, even though I haven't felt as compelled to change many of these things.

    The destruction of the GK is one of the most annoying bits for me, but I've thought about "fixing" that in-campaign.

    I was amused as heck to see Grodog's comment that not all drow worship Lolth.... That's one of my biggest pet peeves! I dislike how much of the FR drow-isms have spilled into GH. As far as I'm concerned, the drow are mainly demon-worshippers (and Lolth is only one of many demon-cults that is revered), with some going for other evils like the EEG and Tharizun as well. Lolth was never an elven goddess that Corellon got sick of, she was always a demon and..... bleh! Happy

    Yeah, so I've fixed that for my GH.
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    Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:25 am  

    I'd have to go with Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. There was no Elder Elemental God? It was really Tharizdun all the time? Bah. It got so many things wrong, both gross and small (the "Eye" was the symbol of the EEG, not the name!), it's almost unusable. Not to mention the part in the Temple itself is almost perfunctory, to get the PCs to that volcano.

    Joe / GG
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    Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:27 am  

    GreyhawkGrognard wrote:
    I'd have to go with Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. There was no Elder Elemental God? It was really Tharizdun all the time? Bah. It got so many things wrong, both gross and small (the "Eye" was the symbol of the EEG, not the name!), it's almost unusable. Not to mention the part in the Temple itself is almost perfunctory, to get the PCs to that volcano.

    Joe / GG


    Overly complex and convoluted plots became sort of a hallmark that continues well into modern adventure writing, and I just don't care for it. To paraphrase something Freud probably never said, sometimes a murderous evil cult is just a murderous evil cult.
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    Thu Jul 24, 2014 8:43 am  

    Joe/GG,

    Quote:
    I'd have to go with Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. There was no Elder Elemental God? It was really Tharizdun all the time? Bah. It got so many things wrong, both gross and small (the "Eye" was the symbol of the EEG, not the name!), it's almost unusable. Not to mention the part in the Temple itself is almost perfunctory, to get the PCs to that volcano.





    Wow, I'd forgotten all about that.

    RttToEE was so bad I'd even blocked its memory.



    Definitely agree on all points.



    - D
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    Sun Jul 27, 2014 2:50 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    Greg A. Vaughan's Istivin trilogy in Dungeon Magazine #117, #118, and #119, which examined some of the repercussions of the Black Bubble, made it clear that the Black Bubble appeared in CY 576.

    Fred Weining's "Vault of the Drow" article in Dragon #298 also pointed toward a CY 576 date for the GDQ series.

    That dating isn't without problems, since the Slave Lords trilogy was set in CY 580 (according to Slavers) and the Queen of the Spiders supermodule, which introduced the Black Bubble, is explicitly set after the fall of the Slave Lords.

    Plus Against the Giants: The Liberation of Geoff was set in CY 591 and had G1-G3 as part of it.

    Obviously you can set the GDQ series in whatever date makes sense for your campaign. I would lean toward 576 as the "official" date of the events of that series, though, and just disentangle it from other module series that make the dating difficult.


    Also note that Slavers uses many of the elements in the framing story in the A1-4 supermodule (the Edralve vs Klim plot, Black Kerr, Joseph of the Light, etc), and mentions Klim's alliance with "the drow of Underoerth" so one can assume that WotC, at least at that time, assumed that the fall of the Slave Lords predated the events of GDQ1-7.

    It gets more confusing: Dungeon #119 also states that Eclavdra aided Klim in the creation of the Slave Lords, & sent Edralve to serve on the Inner Council, and implies that this event preceded Lolth's Black bubble over Istivin. And the LGG states that the Slave Lords rose to power in the 560s, & were defeated in 579.

    Given the fact that T1-4 takes place in 579, I personally like to keep to the timeline in Slavers for the rise & fall of the Slave Lords. A1-4 states that the "winter snows are finally receding" in the intro, so one can assume it's spring of 580 when A1-4 takes place, and as GDQ17 suggests setting it "several weeks or months" after A1-4, I'd place that module in either autumn of 580 or spring of 581.
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    Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:57 pm  

    As much as I love Greyhawk, there are several aspects of canon that I don't like:

    -Anything and everything to do with Murlynd, Expedition To The Barrier Peaks, and all the other high-tech garbage. I consider Expedition to have never actually happened, and just been the hallucination of a bard with a particularly vivid imagination who had ingested some particularly potent mushrooms. As for Murlynd, he fell victim to a scarab of insanity whose effects never wore off, which caused much of his magic to manifest in the form of bizarre devices that even most gnomes would consider impractical.

    I consider Oerth to have largely reached its technological peak milennia ago, where it has remained ever since. Steam engines do not function, nor do gunpowder or electricity, and while oil and gasoline work very nicely to burn trolls, they do not combust the way they do in the real world. Man will never learn to fly without magic, he will never develop transportation that doesn't rely on outside animals for help, he will never develop firearms. This doesn't mean that Oerth is stagnant-social change will certainly continue, and knowledge of the magical and natural worlds will certainly continue to increase, but technology simply cannot function here. Any modern military invading Oerth would find that its airplanes immediately crash and burn when they fly into Oerth's airspace; soldiers would find that their guns would not fire; bombs would simply cause a crater wherever they land without exploding.

    -Related to that, Oerth's magic will not fade away. It is eternal, intertwined with the Oerth itself-if magic were to die, so too would the world and the very essence of life itself. The only entity that would ever want this to happen would be Dread Tharizdun.

    -Finally, as I've alluded to many times I am not very fond of the Greyhawk Wars as they are written. This is for several reasons, such as because I thought that so many great adventuring areas were utterly destroyed; I dislike the depiction of the Flan as generally backwards, lazy and arrogant (since the Flan are based on American Indians/First Nations peoples, the unfortunate implications put a sour taste in my mouth); it's difficult for me to see how most adventures could take place in areas totally dominated by entities like Iuz or the Scarlet Brotherhood (in the case of the Scarlet Brotherhood, the fact that they choose who breeds with who always gave me the impression that everyone who was not a Suel was enslaved and their movements tightly controlled, which makes me wonder how a dwarf or elf PC could come into these lands without being immediately thrown in chains.); and, as previously alluded, almost every single plot seemed to go back to the same old villains (Iuz, the Scarlet Brotherhood, Iggwilv or Turrosh Mak).

    Hence why I like my depiction of the Wars much better-the Horned Society and Iuz essentially switch roles, with the Horned Society dominating the north as the Horned Empire, while Iuz's clerics spread across the Flanaess, each causing misery and suffering in an attempt to carve out a new realm for their master as part of the perverted "competition" he started among them; many lands survived battered but intact, which allows for just as many adventuring plotlines given that there are still so many disputed areas, such as the Aerdy heartlands between Ahlissa and Northern Aerdy, between the Pale and its neighbors in the areas the Pale has tried to annex and in the shattered remains of Bissel, where most of the population has converted en masse to the Baklunish gods but the surrounding lands will not give up their influence so easily; the Scarlet Brotherhood is much more subtle, using frontal attacks from seemingly unrelated armies of savages as a means to distract the countries they invade from the agents that take over the country from within, making the country seem as normal as before while they subtly change it from the inside, bringing it in line with the Scarlet Sign's agenda while putting on a welcoming face to outsiders, which allows for more straightforward adventures to take place in these societies.
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    Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:04 am  

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    -Related to that, Oerth's magic will not fade away. It is eternal, intertwined with the Oerth itself-if magic were to die, so too would the world and the very essence of life itself. The only entity that would ever want this to happen would be Dread Tharizdun.


    I had forgotten about that.

    I, too, dislike that bit of canon. I consider Oerth's magic to be eternal, though I do allow for a bit of technology (gunpowder works in primitive firearms, but not in more advanced pieces, for example). In my mind, writing that magic disappears from Oerth in 900 CY (or thereabouts) did nothing but crush the hope we have in our favorite fantasy world. Sad

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    Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:21 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    ...From a storytelling perspective, the timing is all wrong. The PCs recover the Crook from the Isle of the Ape circa 576 CY, it sits in Rel Astra for a decade, and then some NPCs use it to save the world. The decade of lull time creates too much removal from the PCs' actions for it to be emotionally impactful...


    -I don't have IotA anymore (ridiculously high level, IIRC), so this is off of my memory.

    For the timing, I think Warnes Starcoat's involvement would make it later than 576 CY (580?).

    The reason it sat in Rel Astra is because Drax, being evil, really didn't know what to do with it.

    rasgon wrote:
    ...Besides which, it means the whole storyline of the rise of the empire of Iuz and his demon armies comes and goes without the PCs doing anything else to affect it. Literally it just happens in the background and goes away on its own. Even if the method by which it is dealt with is tied to something the PCs did long ago, that's terrible storytelling. It'd be like if Frodo gave the Ring to Gandalf a decade before the events of The Fellowship of the Ring and the trilogy was about Frodo and Sam going fishing while Gandalf destroyed the Ring offscreen...?).


    1) Meh...

    2) Well, Bilbo got the ring, and then the Feloowship of the Nine took care of it decades later "off screen" (as far as Bilbo was concerned).

    rasgon wrote:
    ...NPCs exist as advisers, mentors, patrons, dispensers of rumors, adversaries, and people who have the basic courtesy to get out of the way when there's hero work to be done. If the resolution of the plot requires a 20th level cleric and there isn't one in the party, try a different plot or change the way it's resolved...


    -I'm fond of a "lived in" world where stuff goes on, even if the PCs are sleeping. Or busy being 1st level. Laughing

    rasgon wrote:
    I mean, yes, technically Iuz is still a threat after 586, but after being made out to be a very cool, very terrifying villain in Iuz the Evil his career following that is a string of one humiliation after another. The Flight of Fiends in 586, Vecna eating him in 591, and then the embarrassment of being imprisoned by Iggwilv's similacrum in 597 in Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk. At that point he becomes less Sauron and more Gargamel. That's what happens when you keep extending the timeline but refuse to definitively resolve any plots; the plots become less and less convincing as imminent threats...


    -True. But I can live with it.

    rasgon wrote:
    ...but after being made out to be a very cool, very terrifying villain in Iuz the Evil his career following that is a string of one humiliation after another... At that point he becomes less Sauron and more Gargamel. Imagine if Tolkien had kept writing sequels to The Lord of the Rings in which Sauron kept returning in every book, each time with lower stakes. Like in volume 6 he's reduced to robbing banks...


    - Laughing

    Actually, Sauron did keep coming back. He got drowned on Numenor, for one. Before that, he was on the losing side when Morgoth was the real baddie- Sauron was just a side-kick. Of course, it didn't all happen in a twelve year stretch. OTOH, can't think of a better guy to have it happen to. Laughing

    rasgon wrote:
    ...Iuz managed to gather the Northmen into his armies by posing as their god. That took cunning. The only thing wrong with this plot is that it's rendered pointless by going away on its own without the PCs doing anything about it (except possibly being responsible for it, if they're the ones who gathered the Swords of Corusk)...


    -I figure that if the PCs are the ones who gathered the swords, they should have a chance to "change history" by outwitting Iuz, although that would be hard to do. It's far more likely that they just wouldn't be able to find the swords. Then, no Greyhawk wars?

    rasgon wrote:
    ...The one thing you don't do when you've got a decently scary villain like that is spend the next decade lowering the stakes and establishing that the villain isn't actually much of a threat after all. I understand they were nostalgic for the days when the World of Greyhawk was more of a platform for an infinite variety of adventures than an apocalyptic grimdark world, but restoring the balance should be the PCs' job...


    ...City of Skulls...? Which is another ridiculously high level scenario.

    Maybe the reason it doesn't bother me that everything doesn't revolve around the PCs is because I don't expect the PCs to be that powerful.



    rasgon wrote:
    ...It's the same with the Scarlet Brotherhood. I know people liked when they were a hidden menace that everyone underestimated when they'd heard of them at all, and that people like the greater variety of powers in the southern Flanaess rather than having one set of bad guys controlling everything, but once they'd conquered the South and proven themselves to be an effective imperial power the worst thing to do would be to have their empire immediately start to disintegrate due to their infighting. If they're going to be defeated, let the PCs be the ones to do it....


    -Another case of trying to fix the Greyhawk Wars. Meh.

    rasgon wrote:
    ...And for what it's worth, I prefer Len Lakofka's formulation that their primary patrons were Syrul and Pyremius; they're more sensical as racial supremists with dreams of establishing a new Suloise Empire than as one-dimensional minions of the god of madness and entropy...The Living Greyhawk Gazetteer let DMs have the best of both worlds, though, using the Black Brotherhood originally mentioned in Dwellers of the Forbidden City as a powerful Tharizdun-worshiping faction within the Scarlet Brotherhood.


    -No argument.

    Luz wrote:
    ...Why come up with something else? ...Calling him a cambion added nothing relevant to his lore, just made it arbitrary... Also, on the topic of Iuz, when you pair RttToH with the release of Return of the Eight (both were published in 1998), it felt like one undermined the other. They declawed Iuz (a cambion) and brought Acererak (also a cambion) to the forefront as a major GH villain. I don't think TSR did this by design, but it rings of "sameness" and timed terribly.


    -You have a point, but when I say "meh," I just mean that it's not the sort of thing that bugs me enough to arbitrarily change now that it's canon. Same thing with a lot of the other stuff. It's not how I'd have done it, but I can live with it. Besides, dealing with stuff I don't prefer is an interesting exercise.

    grodog wrote:


    - I ignore the transformation of most Great Kingdom noble families into animuses; doing so with one or two as an example is fine, but hundreds of animuses in the GK is just not my cup of tea...



    -Ah! Maybe no need to change canon:

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=posting&mode=quote&p=57555

    Lanthorn wrote:
    ...I found the following information on page 32 [ItU]:
    "There are no more than 40 or so animus creatures in
    Aerdy, and Ivid has been told by Baalzephon that he can
    spare few wishes from his pit fiends to create more."


    grodog wrote:
    ...I'm not too keen on the impersonation of Vatun by Iuz---he's not a trickster god (although Deceit is certainly there...), and he's already duped folks with the ToEE, so it seems a bit too much to me...


    -You have a point, but I can live with it.

    DrassustheGaunt wrote:
    What a phenomenal thread; so much great stuff here...


    -Based on the response, I guess it must be. Laughing

    I'm a little surprised, though.

    I'll answer the posts from you onward when I get a chance... Wink
    GreySage

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    Sat Aug 02, 2014 1:52 pm  

    jamesdglick wrote:
    The reason it sat in Rel Astra is because Drax, being evil, really didn't know what to do with it.


    Sure, there's an explanation, but explanations are cheap and no amount of lawyering can make terrible storytelling good. Maybe the Crook was lost on another plane, or on the bottom of the sea, or swapped with a counterfeit, or carried away by a deva, or maybe it spoke with a resonant voice and forbade anyone to wield it until the predestined time arrived. I can come up with explanations all day, but however you dress it up, a turd is a turd.

    The point of the Crook in Isle of the Ape was to stop Iggwilv's army. It accomplished this. If player characters retrieved it, that was their goal and they succeeded in reaching it. Their reputation as heroes is rightfully earned.

    Iuz's demonic armies were the cumulation of years of plotting and dangerous negotiations between Iuz and the lords of the Abyss. They resulted in untold devastation and a major shift in the setting's status quo. If you want to undo that, there has to be a significant risk proportionate to the gains. You don't get to just piggyback on an earlier, unrelated adventure. You need a new quest with different stakes. Even if your group's PCs will never be high enough level to accomplish such a quest, somebody's PCs should have the opportunity to do it.

    Hate the overbearing darkness and monolithic evils of the From the Ashes era and long for the Gygaxian era with its greater flexibility? Fine, relaunch the setting in 576 CY. Or push back the tide of darkness in a way that gives PC groups something fun to do. But introducing plot elements and then having them go away on their own is terrible storytelling and worse game design.

    There's always lots of things for NPCs to do off stage, but if they solve the setting's major conflicts by themselves, there was no point in introducing those conflicts in the first place.

    Quote:
    2) Well, Bilbo got the ring, and then the Feloowship of the Nine took care of it decades later "off screen" (as far as Bilbo was concerned).


    The point is that the series' protagonists were the ones who took care of it. If Tolkien had made Bilbo the protagonist of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, eagerly reading reports of the heroic escapades of the Fellowship of the Ring from his chair in Rivendell, readers would be correct in questioning this decision from a dramatic standpoint. Instead, we see the events unfold from the point of view of the Fellowship, who are now the PCs. Bilbo is a retired NPC adventurer at this point, so the story is no longer told from his point of view.

    In the case of the Crook of Rao, the Isle of the Ape PCs are Bilbo. If they came out of retirement to be the Frodo and Sam and Aragorn of a new quest, that'd be one thing, but if they're just going to keep on being Bilbo and the actual protagonists of the new story are off screen, something is very wrong.

    You're the best judge of what's appropriate for your own game, but from the point of view of a game designer it's important to at least write in the possibility of a group of PCs accomplishing the most interesting and campaign-shaking heroic tasks, and to write in interesting ways that they could make this happen. The Flight of Fiends involved a negotiation with an animus lord and then a ritual; I'm sure the banishment ceremony involved pretty celestial light or something, but if the PCs never take part in it the whole thing feels like a dreadful anticlimax. What was needed was something worthy of a D&D campaign, something that'd be fun to play out and worthy of the set-up and the stakes. I understand that WotC at the time had no interest in selling such an adventure, but something halfway interesting and new should have at least been included in the background lore so that ambitious DMs would have something to build off of. We can always change it, but that doesn't alter the fact that what was actually published was actively detrimental to anything resembling good gaming.

    The point of an RPG supplement is to give the DM adventure ideas, so I think it's a significant flaw to throw away a storyline without presenting one. And The Adventure Begins did that not just once, but multiple times, giving us the destruction of Rauxes, the fragmentation of the Scarlet Brotherhood, and the nerfing of Iuz without a single indication of how a PC party might become part of these events.

    Quote:
    -I'm fond of a "lived in" world where stuff goes on, even if the PCs are sleeping. Or busy being 1st level.


    Stuff can go on without a major setting conflict vanishing on its own with a soft whimpering sound. Kings and lords should be sending out armies, borders should shift, heroes and kings should be born and die, but when all is said and done the players are the reason the game exists, and some things can wait until they level up.

    Quote:
    -I figure that if the PCs are the ones who gathered the swords, they should have a chance to "change history" by outwitting Iuz


    I agree.
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    Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:47 pm  

    jamesdglick wrote:


    DrassustheGaunt wrote:
    What a phenomenal thread; so much great stuff here...


    -Based on the response, I guess it must be. Laughing

    I'm a little surprised, though.

    I'll answer the posts from you onward when I get a chance... Wink


    Uh oh!

    I'm next on the chopping-block! Laughing

    But seriously, I look forward to your thoughts, jamesdglick.



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    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:48 pm  
    Fate of Istus

    I was reminded of my least favorite bit of canon - the plotline of Fate of Istus.

    It was an attempt to bridge the 1st edition with the 2nd, but the plot was just too forced. Istus was testing humanity, you see, so she had your heroes running all over Oerth trying to halt the spread of a plague. Failure meant that some aspect of a particular class would be affected (all rangers would lose a point of constitution if you failed in your mission, etc).

    FoI is worth owning for the descriptions of the various cities involved, and that was what I used from the module. Use the gazetteers and some of the adventures, but ignore the thread that weakly holds them together. So for my bit, the FoI test and plague is the most unloved canon for me. I have modified a lot of purchased products in my time, but I never had a Greyhawk product that I just so blatantly ignored than this one.

    O-D
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:49 pm  
    Fate of Istus

    I was reminded of my least favorite bit of canon - the plotline of Fate of Istus.

    It was an attempt to bridge the 1st edition with the 2nd, but the plot was just too forced. Istus was testing humanity, you see, so she had your heroes running all over Oerth trying to halt the spread of a plague. Failure meant that some aspect of a particular class would be affected (all rangers would lose a point of constitution if you failed in your mission, etc).

    FoI is worth owning for the descriptions of the various cities involved, and that was what I used from the module. Use the gazetteers and some of the adventures, but ignore the thread that weakly holds them together. So for my bit, the FoI test and plague is the most unloved canon for me. I have modified a lot of purchased products in my time, but I never had a Greyhawk product that I just so blatantly ignored than this one.

    O-D
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    Sun Sep 07, 2014 5:59 pm  
    Re: Fate of Istus

    Osmund-Davizid wrote:
    FoI is worth owning for the descriptions of the various cities involved, and that was what I used from the module. Use the gazetteers and some of the adventures, but ignore the thread that weakly holds them together. So for my bit, the FoI test and plague is the most unloved canon for me. I have modified a lot of purchased products in my time, but I never had a Greyhawk product that I just so blatantly ignored than this one.

    O-D


    That's exactly what I use it for. It's got a lot of great detail about a bunch of cities in the Flanaess. Just ignore the plot, and treat it like an urban gazetteer.

    Joe / GG
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    Tue Sep 09, 2014 1:15 pm  
    Re: Fate of Istus

    Osmund-Davizid wrote:
    So for my bit, the FoI test and plague is the most unloved canon for me.

    The Istus plotline and "test" is crap, but the Red Death is a juicy nugget. Good old fashioned plagues are a fascinating part of medieval life criminally overlooked in D&D settings. When plagues do occur in modules, they're usually magical or divine in nature with overblown plot baggage. IMC, the Red Death is an all-natural, but much-dreaded plague that swept through the Flanaess in the mid third century CY and again in 577-581. It's provides great atmosphere and can cause all kinds of logistical problems for PC's as they attempt to travel and procure supplies (and animals!).
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    Tue Sep 09, 2014 4:17 pm  

    Both Fate of Istus and the emergence of the Scarlet Brotherhood from the shadows were among my least favorites, although at least Fate provides some great locations and a few good adventures.

    My absolute least favorite, though, was the impersonation of Vatun by Iuz. That gambit seemed much more appropriate for some agent of the Great Kingdom than Iuz. Beyond the strange fit with Iuz' character, the raising of a barbarian army benefited the GK much more than the empire of Iuz - it left the ground open for a reconquest of Ratik and freed the Sea Barons to harass Nyrond and the Iron League. The Suel barbarians are just too far from Iuz for the impersonation to make much sense from his perspective.
    Paladin

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    Tue Sep 09, 2014 4:50 pm  

    therabyd wrote:
    Both Fate of Istus and the emergence of the Scarlet Brotherhood from the shadows were among my least favorites, although at least Fate provides some great locations and a few good adventures.

    My absolute least favorite, though, was the impersonation of Vatun by Iuz. That gambit seemed much more appropriate for some agent of the Great Kingdom than Iuz. Beyond the strange fit with Iuz' character, the raising of a barbarian army benefited the GK much more than the empire of Iuz - it left the ground open for a reconquest of Ratik and freed the Sea Barons to harass Nyrond and the Iron League. The Suel barbarians are just too far from Iuz for the impersonation to make much sense from his perspective.

    I twisted that one .... an impersonation of an impersonation..... The Great Kingdom was behind it all along.... Mwahahaaahhh..... They just blamed it on Iuz should the gambit go sour....
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    Tue Sep 09, 2014 5:59 pm  

    Now that's getting devious enough for a real scheme ... Evil Grin
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    Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:35 pm  

    Turrosh Mak actually being Theg Narlot, the overthrown Slavelord. I actually went through a lot IMCs to make Turrosh Mak something more. He was a Spartacus who actually takes over, with a page from the Spartans, Hitler Youth and the Mamluks to create a totally loyal and badass slave army devoted to him, and yet somewhere has a more Drizzt-like bit of character, though perhaps more Zaknafein-ish in nature.

    Yes, that is a very bizarre combination. I know. However, it's much more interesting that just reusing an old villain that was probably killed by PCs earlier, and a rather unintersting one at that. Come on, everyone knows it was Markessa who was the cool Slaver! Theg Narlot was weak. What they did was to put lipstick on a pig.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:20 am  
    Re: Fate of Istus

    vestcoat wrote:


    The Istus plotline and "test" is crap, but the Red Death is a juicy nugget. Good old fashioned plagues are a fascinating part of medieval life criminally overlooked in D&D settings. When plagues do occur in modules, they're usually magical or divine in nature with overblown plot baggage. IMC, the Red Death is an all-natural, but much-dreaded plague that swept through the Flanaess in the mid third century CY and again in 577-581. It's provides great atmosphere and can cause all kinds of logistical problems for PC's as they attempt to travel and procure supplies (and animals!).




    Really like that. Makes for a lot a great campaign possibilities and puts Incabulos in a spotlight he's normally denied.




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    Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:22 am  

    ragnar wrote:


    Turrosh Mak actually being Theg Narlot, the overthrown Slavelord. I actually went through a lot IMCs to make Turrosh Mak something more. He was a Spartacus who actually takes over, with a page from the Spartans, Hitler Youth and the Mamluks to create a totally loyal and badass slave army devoted to him...

    Yes, that is a very bizarre combination. I know... What they did was to put lipstick on a pig.



    Well done. I'm a huge proponent of using actual history to craft gaming plots/events/characters.

    Lends a logical consistency and level of believability to things which, in turn, lessen the need for suspension of disbelief.
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    Wed Sep 10, 2014 11:01 am  

    DrassustheGaunt wrote:


    Uh oh!

    I'm next on the chopping-block! Laughing


    -Let the heinous assault begin!

    DrassustheGaunt wrote:

    1} I'm with Flint in having the Greyhawk Wars play out in more of a "cascade effect" [if at all], since I prefer the pre-Wars status a much better foundation for my tastes...


    -Another less-than-fan of the Greyhawk Wars, eh? I sympathize, but IMC, I'll grin and bear it, unless the players do something to change it. Sscrewing up Howl from the North would be one possibility! Here's a more arbitrary option:

    http://forum.rpg.net/archive/index.php/t-547362.html

    "I did a version where the gods released the winter god [Vatun] that Iuz was impersonating, resulting in a divine duel in which Iuz died and winter storms ravaged the region..."

    Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Iuz!

    DrassustheGaunt wrote:


    2} I'm also with Lanthorn in the belief that the Hierarchs fell too quickly. I've always disliked the de facto practice that all villains work together or, at the very least, rarely get in one another's way. Thus, having they and Iuz battle it out makes it more engaging. Plus it opens the chance for an Evil character campaign that can make heroes of blackguards...


    -The Hierarchs didn't completely disappear. They just went underground. IIRC, there's a sceanrio involving a surving heirarch on Scragholme planning his comeback, and I think there's an old Horned Society cleric of Nerull running around the the Fellrev.

    Other post-Greyhawk baddie vs. baddie faultlines:

    Large chunks of the Bandit Kingdoms vs. Iuz;

    Scarlet Brotherhood vs. Kingdom of Ahlissa;

    Scarlet Brotherhood vs. Olman rebels in the Sea Princes (many of whom are pretty nasty);

    Any number of ex-Great Kingdom factions vs. other factions;

    Wild Coast factions vs. Pomarj;

    Thillonrian raiders vs. the Bone March, North Province, or the Sea Barons;

    Humanoids generally fight other humanoids (if not in the Bone March or Pomarj);

    The Temple of Elemental Evil fights itself.

    As a slight variation, some day (when I get to the summer of 582), I'm planning a sceanrio where Perrenlander mercenaries are conned/highjacked into fighting for the Horned Society vs. Iuz. This would be more of a "decent guys fighting in a bad cause vs. another bad cause" sceanrio than a strict "baddie vs. baddie" scenario, although bad players could be a part of it, too.

    OTOH, there's the far more rarely seen "good guys vs. good guys" scenario. Ket (most Ketites aren't evil, and some are good) vs. Bissel/Knights of the Watch/Veluna/Gran March/Keoland/etc. is the most promising.

    Sehanine Elves and Lendorans, though?

    DrassustheGaunt wrote:


    3} I don't care for Vecna being a god at all. While seemingly illogical, he's actually less frightening that way...


    ...a valid point, but not enough for me to get worked up over.

    DrassustheGaunt wrote:


    4} Never liked the Drow being behind the AtG series. I swapped them out for Illithids and never looked back...


    -I don't have a problem with the Drow running the show, but Illithids could work, too. But I'll stick with the canon.

    Azzy1974 wrote:
    ...The destruction of the GK is one of the most annoying bits for me, but I've thought about "fixing" that in-campaign...


    -Since all my scenarios are currently between Patchwall 577 and Sunsebb 578, I've got time, and the players could conceivably change "history" on their own "in game."

    Azzy1974 wrote:
    ...I was amused as heck to see Grodog's comment that not all drow worship Lolth.... That's one of my biggest pet peeves!


    -I don't think that's "canon" anyway. I thought that different Drow Houses emphasize different deities (e.g., Gra'azt). Maybe it was Vault of the Drow, or maybe EGG's Gord novels?

    Azzy1974 wrote:
    ...Lolth was never an elven goddess that Corellon got sick of, she was always a demon and.....


    -I seem to remember hearing that Lolth was a "fallen" deity long before FR; I think that goes back to AD&D1 days. But maybe that was just MY take at the time.

    Being a demon and being a deity aren't neccessarily mutually exclusive. In the original AD&D1 Deities and Demigods, the demon lords (and devil princes) were also lesser deities. I use that. I assume that Lolth was originally an Elven deity who re-aligned as a demon.

    Azzy1974 wrote:
    This has been a rather enjoyable read. There's a lot of that I agree with, even though I haven't felt as compelled to change many of these things...


    -Yeah. So far, I'm loathe (lolth?) to change any serious canon arbitrarily, even the Elven takeover of Lendore Isle. What I'd be more than happy to see is PCs changing canon through their actions (essentially, changing "history"), including a lot of the Greyhawk Wars. But that's not likley.

    DrassustheGaunt wrote:
    ...While there are many refutations, clarifications and elucidations - outstandingly well written, I might add, it really comes down to what one feels is best suited to one's gaming style. What I find so valuable in this thread are points made that cause me to rethink or reconsider my choices after being viewed through "new eyes".


    -I don't know if it's just "gaming style." It's really just a preference, and it would probbaly take a team of pscholanalysts coming through everyone's life to figure out why one person likes a certain piece of canon, another simply accepts it, and another one has cast it down to the nether regions.

    No one's mentioned them yet, but I accept the three most despised GH modules ever made (at least in part). I intend to use the background for Child's Play for my "Perrenlander mercs in the Horned Society" scenario (the corrupt burgomeister is in on it). I intend to use Puppets (only turning the halfling party met along the way into gnomes, who are more common in those parts). In canon, Larissa Hunter becomes Magister of Dyvers. This would allow the PCs to have known her "back in the day." I'll also use Gargoyle, down to the ice cream parlor... Wink

    But Elves conquering Lendore? Too much! Laughing

    I still have catching up to do... Shocked
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    Wed Sep 10, 2014 3:47 pm  

    Jamesdglick,


    I'll respond in greater detail later, but for now I just want to throw you my take on the Against The Giants topic:

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=5947


    (Directing you to the link to both save typing and to keep this thread from getting derailed.

    I'm considerate like that. Wink )




    Unrelated:

    Ragnar,

    This is for you -





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    Sun Sep 14, 2014 7:53 pm  

    Quote:
    No one's mentioned them yet, but I accept the three most despised GH modules ever made (at least in part). I intend to use the background for Child's Play for my "Perrenlander mercs in the Horned Society" scenario (the corrupt burgomeister is in on it). I intend to use Puppets (only turning the halfling party met along the way into gnomes, who are more common in those parts). In canon, Larissa Hunter becomes Magister of Dyvers. This would allow the PCs to have known her "back in the day." I'll also use Gargoyle, down to the ice cream parlor... Wink

    But Elves conquering Lendore? Too much! Laughing

    I still have catching up to do... Shocked


    You took the words out of my mouth. I was going to list CHild's Play and Puppets as the most often ignored canon, along with WG7 Castle Greyhawk (I have Gargoyle, but other than a cursory examination, haven't paid much attention to it). Child's Play is especially horrific.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Thu Oct 16, 2014 2:41 pm  

    Whoops! Missed one:

    rasgon wrote:
    jamesdglick wrote:
    The reason it sat in Rel Astra is because Drax, being evil, really didn't know what to do with it.


    Sure, there's an explanation, but explanations are cheap and no amount of lawyering can make terrible storytelling good. Maybe the Crook was lost on another plane, or on the bottom of the sea, or swapped with a counterfeit, or carried away by a deva, or maybe it spoke with a resonant voice and forbade anyone to wield it until the predestined time arrived. I can come up with explanations all day, but however you dress it up, a turd is a turd...


    ...I just don't get that excited about it. I save my fury for genocidal Lendoran elves... ;)

    rasgon wrote:
    ...Hate the overbearing darkness and monolithic evils of the From the Ashes era and long for the Gygaxian era with its greater flexibility? Fine, relaunch the setting in 576 CY. Or push back the tide of darkness in a way that gives PC groups something fun to do....


    -I don't have to relaunch. I'm just been plodding along... ;)

    rasgon wrote:
    ...You're the best judge of what's appropriate for your own game, but from the point of view of a game designer it's important to at least write in the possibility of a group of PCs accomplishing the most interesting and campaign-shaking heroic tasks, and to write in interesting ways that they could make this happen...


    -I doubt that I'd ever have a 20th level PC, but there are ways that lower-level types to contribute. Something to consider if I ever get to CY 586!
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    Tue Nov 04, 2014 11:05 am  

    OK....I have to throw in my thoughts, especially as someone coming in late to Greyhawk and trying to figure out all the little details. I've played Greyhawk as a player through a number of campaigns. I've got a good idea of the overall game world (for the most part), but there is a lot of lore I don't know about.

    I'm sick of things getting reboots and changing it! I'm tired of trying to figure out what happened. I never went through Temple of Elemental Evil. Do I look at that one? Or the Return to? How do I know which? What about all the others? Which is the best option? Against the Giants? Or Return to AGainst the Giants? Or any of the other ones? AAAaaaagggghhhhh!!!!!

    Also, if I want to figure out some of the main plots, where do I go to find out what is what? There seems to be so many different versions of the same story that it's hard to figure out what the overall plot arcs of some things are. What are Iuz's major plots since 570 onwards? Where can I go to find out?

    I don't understand what the Scarlet Brotherhood does before the Greyhawk Wars. What do they do? Anything? They live in shadows....doing what? I know they take over in the east, but I'm more a west coast guy. Do they do much there? I'm not really sure. Do they do things before the Greyhawk Wars? Are they even a known thing?

    EDIT: As someone who has come late and not read the actual Vaten modules, I would say that him pretending to be Vaten totally makes sense. The guy was a cambian born in a minor hold. He's been utterly ambitious and created an empire in the north and is even a demi-god. He's clawed his way to power trying to suck off everyone else's power as he goes. It totally fits into what I've come to expect from him.
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    Tue Nov 04, 2014 12:35 pm  
    Re: Fate of Istus

    GreyhawkGrognard wrote:
    I'd have to go with Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. There was no Elder Elemental God? It was really Tharizdun all the time? Bah....


    -I don't have that module, but I noticed the EEG thing on the Living Greyhawk list of deities. I'm leaving that one aside, along with Shikenester, the triple personality Naga deity...

    GreyhawkGrognard wrote:
    ...It got so many things wrong, both gross and small (the "Eye" was the symbol of the EEG, not the name!)...


    -Now there, the two are not mutually exclusive. "The Eye" would be a good nickname for the organization.

    vestcoat wrote:
    Osmund-Davizid wrote:
    So for my bit, the FoI test and plague is the most unloved canon for me.

    The Istus plotline and "test" is crap, but the Red Death is a juicy nugget...


    -I use the scenarios individually, and FOI as a sourcebook. The Red Plague is one of the explanations of how Prince Zeech's father died in the Age of Wyrms adventure path, IIRC.

    CruelSummerLord wrote:


    -Anything and everything to do with Murlynd, Expedition To The Barrier Peaks, and all the other high-tech garbage...


    -I have no beef with Expedition. The tech (brought in by beings who apparently flew in threw some sort of dimensional gate) doesn't bother me. In flavor, the goodies are just weird magic items, so no game balance issue.

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    ...I consider Oerth to have largely reached its technological peak milennia ago, where it has remained ever since...


    -I work on the CY 576 = AD 1444 theory, with every two years of Oerth time equating to one year of Earth technology, roughly.

    Two big exceptions:

    1) No gunpowder (outside of that brought in by gated outsiders of one sort or another);

    2) The Four Humors Theory is replaced by a somewhat better underatnding of pathology and medicine. The is partly to avoid having the PCs being the smartest people on Oerth, and partly because I think that the people of Oerth could find out the facts:

    Cleric of Delleb, using a Commune spell: "Hey, that Four Humors things, what do you think of it?"

    Delleb: "It's a crock. You'll be better off with basicv sanitation."

    Cleric of Delleb: "Good to know."

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    ...Steam engines do not function, nor do gunpowder or electricity, and while oil and gasoline work very nicely to burn trolls, they do not combust the way they do in the real world. Man will never learn to fly without magic, he will never develop transportation that doesn't rely on outside animals for help, he will never develop firearms...


    -I figure they will, it'll just take a lot longer.

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    ...Related to that, Oerth's magic will not fade away...


    -I don't see any need for magic to fade either, but if it did, even the elf PCs will be dead by then!

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    ...Finally, as I've alluded to many times I am not very fond of the Greyhawk Wars as they are written...


    -Join the club! Laughing

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    ... I thought that so many great adventuring areas were utterly destroyed...


    -I don't know about "adventuring areas" being destroyed, but potential bases like the Sea Princes, Sterich, Geoff, the Shield Lands, Tenh, Almor, Onwall, Idee, and the Lordship of the Isles got whacked; you could argue that they became new adventuring areas, but I didn't really like it. Most of them are back and running by CY 598, but I'm still not fond of it. But I'll accept it, if the players fail to stop it.

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    ... it's difficult for me to see how most adventures could take place in areas totally dominated by entities like Iuz or the Scarlet Brotherhood (in the case of the Scarlet Brotherhood, the fact that they choose who breeds with who always gave me the impression that everyone who was not a Suel was enslaved and their movements tightly controlled, which makes me wonder how a dwarf or elf PC could come into these lands without being immediately thrown in chains.)...


    -Fair point. There are some places where Iuz's or the SB's hold is sort of weak, but it does make it harder to use some of the old places as a base, particularly for low-level types.

    Then there's Lendore Isle. Restenford and Lake Farmin, shot to Hades. By elves... Confused

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    ... I dislike the depiction of the Flan as generally backwards, lazy and arrogant (since the Flan are based on American Indians/First Nations peoples, the unfortunate implications put a sour taste in my mouth)...


    -Meh.

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    ...as previously alluded, almost every single plot seemed to go back to the same old villains (Iuz, the Scarlet Brotherhood, Iggwilv or Turrosh Mak)...


    -You forgot Vecna and Tharizdun!

    ragnar wrote:
    Turrosh Mak actually being Theg Narlot, the overthrown Slavelord. I actually went through a lot IMCs to make Turrosh Mak something more... Come on, everyone knows it was Markessa who was the cool Slaver! Theg Narlot was weak. What they did was to put lipstick on a pig.


    -Meh. In retrospect, you have a point, but I'll accept it. It would be easier for a half-orc to lead the humanoids of the Pomarj than Markessa. No magic or make-up needed!

    DrassustheGaunt wrote:


    vestcoat wrote:
    ...IMC, the Red Death is an all-natural, but much-dreaded plague that swept through the Flanaess in the mid third century CY and again in 577-581...

    Really like that. Makes for a lot a great campaign possibilities and puts Incabulos in a spotlight he's normally denied...


    -Vestcoat did write "all-natural," but Incabulous is actually reasonable. In fact, if you're going to pin it on a deity, Incabulous makes the most sense. I might use that, except I think that the Red Death scenario in Rookroost is meant to be set in the Fall of CY 576. That's when I'll have it. I figure that by the time it's finished, the PCs will have just enough time to make it to Alhaster in plenty of time for slight change in regime...

    I'm still not caught up! Laughing
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    Tue Nov 04, 2014 2:15 pm  

    heychadwick wrote:
    I never went through Temple of Elemental Evil. Do I look at that one? Or the Return to? How do I know which? What about all the others? Which is the best option? Against the Giants? Or Return to AGainst the Giants? Or any of the other ones?


    Start with the original modules; they're still canon. The "Return to" modules are sequels, not reboots.

    Quote:
    What are Iuz's major plots since 570 onwards? Where can I go to find out?


    The Living Greyhawk Gazetteer has a good summary. Or the wiki.

    Quote:
    I don't understand what the Scarlet Brotherhood does before the Greyhawk Wars. What do they do? Anything? They live in shadows....doing what?


    Ruling their own little corner of the Flanaess and sending out agents to work their way into the confidence of other governments.

    Quote:
    I know they take over in the east, but I'm more a west coast guy. Do they do much there?


    During the Wars they take over the Hold of the Sea Princes.

    Quote:
    Do they do things before the Greyhawk Wars? Are they even a known thing?


    If you're looking for pre-Wars information, the original World of Greyhawk Folio or World of Greyhawk boxed set are the best. Here's what the boxed set said about what was known about the Scarlet Brotherhood prior to the Wars:

    "It is said that an order of monastic religious militarists was founded long ago on the remote plateau south of the closed city of Kro Terlep. This order is purported to espouse the cause of the Suloise as the rightful rulers of all the Flanaess, claiming superiority of that race above all others, and embracing evil as the only hope of achieving its ends. Supposedly the Scarlet Brotherhood is the fruition of these aims, and it now controls the whole of the land from the Vast Swamp to the tip of the peninsula. Brothers of the Scarlet Sign are reportedly hiding as trusted advisors or henchmen in many courts and castles in the north, spying for their master and ready to strike."

    If the bloat of Greyhawk canon in the last few decades seems overwhelming to you, starting with the World of Greyhawk boxed set set in 576 CY and using the original 1st edition modules might be your best bet. Introduce only the elements you like and feel confident you understand. Advance the timeline in a way that makes sense in your campaign without worrying about what TSR or Wizards of the Coast did. Build your world around your players' interests and actions, not the strategies of game designers and corporate bureaucrats who don't game with you.
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    Tue Nov 04, 2014 8:44 pm  
    Re: Fate of Istus

    jamesdglick wrote:

    ragnar wrote:
    Turrosh Mak actually being Theg Narlot, the overthrown Slavelord. I actually went through a lot IMCs to make Turrosh Mak something more... Come on, everyone knows it was Markessa who was the cool Slaver! Theg Narlot was weak. What they did was to put lipstick on a pig.


    -Meh. In retrospect, you have a point, but I'll accept it. It would be easier for a half-orc to lead the humanoids of the Pomarj than Markessa. No magic or make-up needed!


    Here's my thought: Markessa as the brains behind the operation. She would be quite aware that being an elf, she'd never be able to lead the humanoids of the Pomarj. So, she finds Theg, and sets him up as figurehead. As for Ragnar (rather than James, as this post said before I made the correction) calling Theg weak, perhaps she found some spell that was able to compensate for these weaknesses.

    Considering her ability to make all those duplicates of herself, "putting lipstick on a pig" should be child's play for her. I would also think she has contingency plans already in the works. She will live a lot longer than any half orc, and would be thinking about potential replacements all the time. Even if Theg/Turrosh doesn't get himself killed, eventually, old age will take care of that, and Markessa will need to find someone else to "fit the suit". She'd be smart enough to be out there "taking measurements" to that end.


    Last edited by BlueWitch on Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Wed Nov 05, 2014 5:51 am  

    rasgon wrote:

    The Living Greyhawk Gazetteer has a good summary. Or the wiki.



    This helps a lot, actually. It still seems that there is more missing. Maybe it's all the movements of the Circle of Eight and the rest. Thanks!

    rasgon wrote:

    If the bloat of Greyhawk canon in the last few decades seems overwhelming to you, starting with the World of Greyhawk boxed set set in 576 CY and using the original 1st edition modules might be your best bet. Introduce only the elements you like and feel confident you understand. Advance the timeline in a way that makes sense in your campaign without worrying about what TSR or Wizards of the Coast did. Build your world around your players' interests and actions, not the strategies of game designers and corporate bureaucrats who don't game with you.


    Yeah, that's what I was going for. I've got the boxed set somewhere and should really dig it out for review, but that's basically my understanding of Greyhawk (with some LG stuff thrown in). I guess I need to go and review the products that came out in chronological order to really get a grip.
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    Wed Nov 05, 2014 3:14 pm  
    Re: Fate of Istus

    BlueWitch wrote:
    jamesdglick wrote:

    ragnar wrote:
    Turrosh Mak actually being Theg Narlot, the overthrown Slavelord. I actually went through a lot IMCs to make Turrosh Mak something more... Come on, everyone knows it was Markessa who was the cool Slaver! Theg Narlot was weak. What they did was to put lipstick on a pig.


    -Meh. In retrospect, you have a point, but I'll accept it. It would be easier for a half-orc to lead the humanoids of the Pomarj than Markessa. No magic or make-up needed!


    Here's my thought: Markessa as the brains behind the operation. She would be quite aware that being an elf, she'd never be able to lead the humanoids of the Pomarj. So, she finds Theg, and sets him up as figurehead. As for James calling Theg weak, perhaps she found some spell that was able to compensate for these weaknesses.

    Considering her ability to make all those duplicates of herself, "putting lipstick on a pig" should be child's play for her. I would also think she has contingency plans already in the works. She will live a lot longer than any half orc, and would be thinking about potential replacements all the time. Even if Theg/Turrosh doesn't get himself killed, eventually, old age will take care of that, and Markessa will need to find someone else to "fit the suit". She'd be smart enough to be out there "taking measurements" to that end.


    wow, just saw all this. That's a very cool way to put Markessa into the mix. Funny, but IMC she became the big villain for a few years.
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    Wed Dec 10, 2014 12:13 pm  

    DrassustheGaunt wrote:
    ...for now I just want to throw you my take on the Against The Giants topic:

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=5947

    (Directing you to the link to both save typing and to keep this thread from getting derailed.

    I'm considerate like that. Wink )...


    -From what i can tell, you don't dislike having the Drow as the masterminds, you just prefer Mind Flayers. I'll stick with the original (as I do, all other things being equal), but your alternative is reasonable. Of course, after the original Drow plot was defeated ca. 576 CY, the Ulitharid may have decided to do a copycat!

    BlueWitch wrote:
    ...As for James calling Theg weak...


    -Actually, that was Ragnar responding to my post...

    BlueWitch wrote:
    ...Here's my thought: Markessa as the brains behind the operation. She would be quite aware that being an elf, she'd never be able to lead the humanoids of the Pomarj. So, she finds Theg, and sets him up as figurehead...


    -Again, I have no problem with Theg being Turosh Mak, but I'd say that's actually a fairly small modification to canon, at least from a meddling adventurer's point-of-view. And since Slaver's is still far in the future in my campaign, it could actually turn out that way IMC, epending on who survives the original defeat of the Slaver organization (asuming that they are defeated).

    As an alternative, I was looking through my old stuff and found Citadel by the Sea (Dragon #78). Maybe Serga Ulmus/Sethus Maximus' mission to find Alkarg was successful! FWIW.
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    Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:56 pm  

    jamesdglick wrote:


    BlueWitch wrote:
    ...As for James calling Theg weak...


    -Actually, that was Ragnar responding to my post...


    OK, my error. Looking back to my post, I see where I make the mistake. I've gone back and fixed that as best as I could.


    jamesdglick wrote:

    BlueWitch wrote:
    ...Here's my thought: Markessa as the brains behind the operation. She would be quite aware that being an elf, she'd never be able to lead the humanoids of the Pomarj. So, she finds Theg, and sets him up as figurehead...


    -Again, I have no problem with Theg being Turosh Mak, but I'd say that's actually a fairly small modification to canon, at least from a meddling adventurer's point-of-view. And since Slaver's is still far in the future in my campaign, it could actually turn out that way IMC, depending on who survives the original defeat of the Slaver organization (assuming that they are defeated).

    As an alternative, I was looking through my old stuff and found Citadel by the Sea (Dragon #78). Maybe Serga Ulmus/Sethus Maximus' mission to find Alkarg was successful! FWIW.


    Ah, Citadel by the Sea. Been some time since I've looked through that one, but as I recall, it would fit wonderfully into the Pomarj.
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    Thu Dec 11, 2014 7:49 am  

    I wanted to use Citadel by the Sea as well. It fit perfectly! However, the way things ended up working was just as good. In my recent campaign, after the PCs freed Turrosh Mak from the dungeons of the Slavers, they did check on him once. They scried him and saw him standing atop a bloody ridge, surveying a great battle between various humanoids. So, they were aware of his success in battle, but not what would be the result.

    I think they have since read some GH history and learned of the Orcish Empire, because they've thrown some comments around here and there about going down there to kill him. I keep reminding them that they have no reason to think to do that, at least their characters don't. Perhaps they will someday, but that day is not today.... :)
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    Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:00 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    My own pet peeve is the Flight of Fiends, which seems too easy a way of neutering Iuz as a villain... Obviously I don't like how Iuz was treated in Die Vecna Die! either...Anyone else doing is makes him less scary as a villain and therefore makes the PCs' deeds less impressive.


    This. Whether you love, hate or are indifferent to the GH Wars, it established Iuz as the major villain in GH. Since then he has been the go-to whipping boy - from the Flight of Fiends to Vecna to a similacrum of Iggwilv, no less. Instead of capitalizing on his potential as a truly formidable bad guy, he is portrayed as a bungling idiot. What a waste.

    Expedition to Castle Greyhawk can be added to my list of most unloved canon.
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    Mon Feb 02, 2015 7:29 am  
    Re: Most Unloved GH Canon

    jamesdglick wrote:
    It's interesting that some people are willing to completely ignore the Sehenine takeover of Lendore Isle:

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=63235#63235

    ...which I find tempting--it being only late 577 CY IMC--I have plenty of time to decide, or perhaps the PCs themselves can change "history."

    What over parts of canon do some of you loathe enough to ignore or at least drastically modify?

    I very much disliked the Moon-loving elves taking over the Spindrifts.

    At first.

    Now, looking back on it years later, I see great opportunities for a campaign in which the heroes battle the elf invaders.
    And that doesn't just have to be humans versus elves. It can be more complex. Who says all the native elves in the Lendore Isles agreed to the invasion?
    And what about half-elves?


    I was on Greytawk a while back, chatting with Gary Holian and some of the other guys. I pointed out that reading the takeover straight makes the Sehanine worshippers sound distinctly not Chaotic Good.
    These religious fanatics invaded the country of a distant and unoffending people and gave the native (human) population just three days to clear out! Except the ones who were allowed to remain as servants.
    Now, this invasion and conquest were not carried out the way a truly evil power like Iuz or the Horned Society would have done things, but three days for men, women, and children to gather their belongings and depart the only home they've ever known?
    Or maybe bend the knee, beg to remain as servants and hope the new masters will allow that much?
    Surely people fought back. And the invaders must have killed some of them to take over the islands. They must have herded refugees onto overcrowded ships and sent them off under threat of attack.

    I like the idea that the default/overall alignment of the invading faction/sect is CN, not CG.
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    Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:47 pm  

    RE Four Humours Theory:

    What if it is essentially correct (on Oerth), though incomplete?
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    Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:18 am  

    CombatMedic wrote:
    ...I very much disliked the Moon-loving elves taking over the Spindrifts.

    At first...

    I like the idea that the default/overall alignment of the invading faction/sect is CN, not CG.


    -But one of the more interesting facets of the invasion is that it allows the possibility of a Good vs. Good battle (or at least Non-Evil vs. Non-Evil), of which there are all too few:

    jamesdglick wrote:
    ...

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=5938&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=25

    Other post-Greyhawk baddie vs. baddie faultlines...
    OTOH, there's the far more rarely seen "good guys vs. good guys" scenario...


    ...calling Lanthorn! Wink

    Hmmm ...maybe the CN followers instigated it, but the CG elves back them up to try to make the best of it?

    CombatMedic wrote:
    ...Surely people fought back. And the invaders must have killed some of them to take over the islands. They must have herded refugees onto overcrowded ships and sent them off under threat of attack...


    -Somewhere, I think I linked to an interview with someone that hinted at that, but the search function is on the fritz... :(

    EDIT: Here's one of them: http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=64702#64702

    The interview added a lot of detail as to how the takeover in Loreltarma and the escape to the Gate of Glass actually went down.

    I did find this just now (Grodog posts here from time to time):

    http://community.wizards.com/forum/other-published-worlds/threads/880286

    "...Secure for the time being in their aerial refuge, the main occupation of the exiles now dwelling in the City of Glass is their resistance to the elven domination of Lendore Isle. Lendore has revealed several lost secrets to the resistance fighters, one of the most important being the location and operation of strategic teleportals throughout the island. With this knowledge, agents of Lendore are able to travel swiftly between various sites on or near the island surface, though they must take the utmost care not to reveal the locations of these portals to the elves. The resistance has even managed to capture some important elven leaders, but have not yet made any progress in dispelling the mists of Sehanine..."

    ...or maybe this was it, not an interview... I seem to remember seeing Len Lakofka's comments some where (not complimentary, IIRC! Laughing).
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    Tue Feb 24, 2015 12:34 pm  

    CombatMedic wrote:
    ...It's not a matter of technology, but here's a notable canonical retcon:

    The Scarlet Brotherhood in Fate of Istus differs in a number of important respects from the versions presented in the Scarlet Brotherhood sourcebook.


    -I think most people ignore the Orientals Turned The Scarlet Brotherhood On To Kung Fu part, either cutting it out entirely as unneccessary tot he wider scenario, or assuming that the SB was already headed that way, and the visitors merly gave them a boost (my assumption).

    You also notice that half-even fighter-clerics are barely to be seen in the Pale. Or half-elves PERIOD, FWIW.
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    Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:52 pm  

    jamesdglick wrote:
    CombatMedic wrote:
    ...It's not a matter of technology, but here's a notable canonical retcon:

    The Scarlet Brotherhood in Fate of Istus differs in a number of important respects from the versions presented in the Scarlet Brotherhood sourcebook.


    -I think most people ignore the Orientals Turned The Scarlet Brotherhood On To Kung Fu part, either cutting it out entirely as unneccessary tot he wider scenario, or assuming that the SB was already headed that way, and the visitors merly gave them a boost (my assumption).

    You also notice that half-even fighter-clerics are barely to be seen in the Pale. Or half-elves PERIOD, FWIW.



    LLG notes that 1% of the Pale's population are elves, and 1% 'other."
    It says in the text that a few families, mainly in the south, include half-elves.

    The 1983 Guide says demihumans= some.

    'Some', in the Guide, means not more than about 10% of the human population. As 'few' means not more than 5%, I'm reading the suggested (but vague, undefined) demihuman population of the Pale as most likely being between 5% and 10% of human population.

    LGG Pale seems to be more human dominated. 96% humans. 2% halfings, 1% elves, 1% other. That's only 4% demihuman (assuming the others are demihumans).

    Maybe that was a deliberate change from earlier canon, a retcon.
    Or maybe it reflects growth in human population? Human poulations in general went way up in later canon (I'm not arguing against that, as they were very small in the 1983 box-- although I note that lawless men, tribal people, independent villages, wilderness folk, and such weren't counted-- so it may be that Gygax was describing a world with an indeterminate but implied to be large number of people not owing fealty or paying taxes to any of the established states. Indeed, it seems to me he left plenty of room for adding pocket kingdoms, petty baronies, free cities, and so on onto those whopping big maps)

    Elves emigrating?
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    Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:09 pm  

    CombatMedic wrote:
    ...Or maybe it reflects growth in human population? ...Elves emigrating?


    -I Fate of Istus, half-elven fighter/clerics were the mainstay of the Pale's security apparatus. All of a sudden they're leaving?

    I like the idea of faster growth in the human population better; it might have been augmented by immigration from the Tenh.
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    Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:45 pm  

    The editors of the LGG did a lot of rejiggering of demihuman populations to reflect 3rd edition norms. The idea was that, as the core world, Greyhawk should look like the assumptions in the 3e DMG.
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    Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:52 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    The editors of the LGG did a lot of rejiggering of demihuman populations to reflect 3rd edition norms. The idea was that, as the core world, Greyhawk should look like the assumptions in the 3e DMG.


    That makes sense.


    jamesdglick wrote:
    CombatMedic wrote:
    ...Or maybe it reflects growth in human population? ...Elves emigrating?


    -I Fate of Istus, half-elven fighter/clerics were the mainstay of the Pale's security apparatus. All of a sudden they're leaving?

    I like the idea of faster growth in the human population better; it might have been augmented by immigration from the Tenh.



    That also makes sense.


    The oddity of having so many half-elf fighter clerics in state service suggests a breeding program, or a sort of devshirme for half-elf children, or something like that.

    Unless, of course, half-elves are simply common in the Pale (ignoring the later canon and reading the "some" demihumans of earlier canon as being mostly elves and half-breeds.)
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    Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:24 am  

    rasgon wrote:
    The editors of the LGG did a lot of rejiggering of demihuman populations to reflect 3rd edition norms. The idea was that, as the core world, Greyhawk should look like the assumptions in the 3e DMG.


    -Yeah, I faulty premise, I'd argue. I noticed that in Ratik, dwarves and gnomes both used to be well over 5% of the population, with fewer elves, and halflings barely mentioned. In the LGG, guess what? Blah. I assume that a lot of halflings immigrated from Bone March and North Province.

    CombatMedic wrote:

    ...The oddity of having so many half-elf fighter clerics in state service suggests a breeding program, or a sort of devshirme for half-elf children, or something like that...


    -The "in game" reason would probably be that half-elves are naturally attracted to the "adventureous" lifestyle of a templar sort. I suspect that the real reason was that the author wanted to give the Pale the Lawful Neutral equivalent of paladins, but that multi-classing (dual classing) was difficult for humans, but easy for half-elves. Game mechanics!
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    Fri Mar 13, 2015 9:37 am  

    I can't find the thread right now, but there was a discussion regarding the search for the 5 Swords of vatun and the beginning of the Greyhawk Wars, so I reread "Howl From the North" and found some problematic stuff:

    p. 15: I can't imagine an experienced Ratikker scout being such a 5-star wuss!

    I'll dropp him to Rgr1, and made him a provincial scout (probably Devonmeek). Or maybe he's just pretending to be scared? Wink

    p. 15: Ratik has plans to invade the Frost Barbarians, Stonefist, and to outright conquer North Province?!

    Maybe Lexnol's dementia started a few years earlier than anyone realized... Laughing

    Now, you could interpret this as Iuzian disinformation that the barbarians have recieved in order to make them more willing to turn back on their alliance with Ratik...

    p. 16: Kelten has refugees from Stonefist?

    Maybe they mean from the remainder of Stonefist? Or was there a successful rebellion in Kelten that I missed?

    p 31: Theocratic troops attacked a caravan in Stonefist?

    Did I miss a pass going from the Theocracy to Stonefist? Or did the Theocrat's patrol somehow sneak through Thhnnese territory? Or maybe it was an Iuzian hired force (or some other group) posing as Theocratic troops?

    p. 38: Are the converging troops reversed? Of course, you could have guys returning to their own territory intercepting the party.

    37-38: Hundreds of men, non less than 7th level? Really? 3rd level is pushing it.

    I'd assume that the highest level guys are 7th level, going down to a majority of 1st level types.

    One thing about the scenario is that if the PCs fail, they could theoretically prevent the (oft-despised) Greyhawk Wars. But if Iuz's ploy fails, and can't imaginje he'd just go back to Dorakaa and spend the rest of the year learning macrame. Laughing

    What would be his next gambit?
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    Sat Jul 04, 2015 8:55 am  

    I never liked swapping Heironeous' chosen weapon from axe to sword. Our priest still wears chain mail and wields an axe - optimisers be damned.

    I agree that Markessa is the brains behind the slavers. Turrosh Mak need not even be the same person from one encounter to another given her ability to physically alter and brainwash her subjects. Magic won't detect any subterfuge and Mak becomes eternal.

    I felt bad about every Flan nation being overrun. Felt a bit racist! I also get annoyed when ethnic deities are portrayed primarily as Caucasian. The silliest portrayal was Resbin Dren Emondav in Dungeon - a stern, matronly, dark-skinned woman (most likely from Zahindi) portrayed as a 20-something blonde.

    I have generally adopted plot elements to fit our own timeline so my PCs played Isle of the Ape before the Flight of Fiends and the year is currently 588 CY and they are just doing the Frost Giant Jarl. Tweaks are easy.
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    Mon Jul 06, 2015 12:12 pm  

    PaulN6 wrote:
    I never liked swapping Heironeous' chosen weapon from axe to sword...


    -IIRC, Heironeon clerics and paladins use either. I have no problem with it.

    PaulN6 wrote:
    ...I agree that Markessa is the brains behind the slavers...


    -I have no problem with that, but I don't consider it to be a real change from canon, if at all.

    PaulN6 wrote:
    ...I felt bad about every Flan nation being overrun...


    ...that is sort of odd...

    PaulN6 wrote:
    ...I also get annoyed when ethnic deities are portrayed primarily as Caucasian...


    ...or Norebo, a Suel deity, is portrayed with straight, dark hair. He could be an oddity, but still. Most of Suel deities aren't portrayed as having the curly or kinky hair typical of their followers, except for Wee Jas, and you could argue that she's portrayed with wavy hair.

    PaulN6 wrote:
    ...The silliest portrayal was Resbin Dren Emondav in Dungeon - a stern, matronly, dark-skinned woman (most likely from Zahindi) portrayed as a 20-something blonde...


    -That's a good example of the artist not readng the description carefully. I thought that the hair color might be a [dye] job, but she is described as having black hair.

    As for her apparent age, that's alwasy a judgment call, since some people look a lot younger than they really are.

    I will say that if her body is described as "stout" (or something like that), it is not apparent from her head and shoulders image, although I have seen the combination of a pretty face, a swan neck, and a portly body.

    As for Zahind, though, I assume that's just the rumor mill.

    Under "languages", she is not shown knowing Zahindi (or whatever), but she does know Olman (I assume that Olman is not the Zahindi mother tongue). She's probably from Xamaclan, since it's one of the few Olman states that isn't bat$4!^ insane. Perhaps she traveled to Zahind at one point?


    Last edited by jamesdglick on Wed Jul 08, 2015 11:11 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Tue Jul 07, 2015 7:20 pm  

    jamesdglick wrote:
    PaulN6 wrote:
    ...The silliest portrayal was Resbin Dren Emondav in Dungeon - a stern, matronly, dark-skinned woman (most likely from Zahindi) portrayed as a 20-something blonde...


    -That's a good example of the artist not reaidng the description carefully. I thought that the hair color might be a bleach job, but she is described as having black hair.

    As for her apparent age, that's alwasy a judgment call, since some people look a lot younger than they really are.

    I will say that if her body is described as "stout" (or soemthing like that), it is not apparent from her head and shoulders image, although I have seen the combination of a pretty face, a swan neck, and a portly body.

    As for Zahind, though, I assume that's just the rumor mill.

    Under "languages", she is not shown knowing Zahindi (or whatever), but she does know Olman (I assum that Olman is not the Zahindi mother tongue). She's probably from Xamaclan, since it's one of the few Olman states that isn't bat$4!^ insane. Perhaps she traveled to Zahind at one point?


    IMC I went with this and said she was from a noble house in Sasserine, and was a mix of Suloise, Flan, and Olman. The image I used for her was one of Rosario Dawson from Alexander. I figured someone with African, European and Native American ancestry would work pretty well, and the players didn't mind fawning over a patron who looked like Rosario Dawson. Keep in mind though that the campaign was taking place in 580 CY, so Resbin was about 10 years younger than as portrayed in "Shadows Over Istivin."
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    Tue Jul 07, 2015 7:21 pm  

    Double post Sad
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    Wed Jul 08, 2015 11:39 am  

    I completely forgot this longstanding beef I have with with canon:

    Way back when (1986 or so), I didn't get the Merrika thing in Orlane (other than Merrika = America, get it?), but based on her apparent alignment (NG) and her portfolio (agriculture), I decided that Merrika might be the local name for Berei. Of course, "THEY" came along and made Merrika a separate deity, who for some reason was LG, even though all her worshippers in Orlane seem to have been NG. Whatever. I decided that Merrika does exist, but the goddess of Orlane is Berei.

    So there. Laughing

    smillan_31 wrote:
    ...IMC I went with this and said she was from a noble house in Sasserine, and was a mix of Suloise, Flan, and Olman...


    -That could work, too. Being from Sessarine would fulfill her description as being from afar, and would explain her Olman linguisitc abilities.

    smillan_31 wrote:
    ...the players didn't mind fawning over a patron who looked like Rosario Dawson. Keep in mind though that the campaign was taking place in 580 CY, so Resbin was about 10 years younger than as portrayed in "Shadows Over Istivin."


    -Hmmm... as a Marichoness, I'm not sure she needed good looks to have underlings fawn over her, although I guess it wouldn't hurt. Wink

    I assume that your scenario was unrelated to "Shadows over Istivin" and not just a back-dating?
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    Wed Jul 08, 2015 1:41 pm  

    jamesdglick wrote:

    smillan_31 wrote:
    ...the players didn't mind fawning over a patron who looked like Rosario Dawson. Keep in mind though that the campaign was taking place in 580 CY, so Resbin was about 10 years younger than as portrayed in "Shadows Over Istivin."


    -Hmmm... as a Marichoness, I'm not sure she needed good looks to have underlings fawn over her, although I guess it wouldn't hurt. Wink

    I assume that your scenario was unrelated to "Shadows over Istivin" and not just a back-dating?


    No, It did not hurt at all.

    You are correct in that it was unrelated to SoI. The reworking of the Giants series for the GDQ supermodule was something I never cared for, especially the black sphere around Istivin. I still had Querchard disappeared, although it was in battle against the frost giants. In my reboot, in 576 they went for the military option instead of the commando raid, had wiped out the hill giants and were moving on to the frost giants but Querchard's army was ambushed and he was either taken alive or killed. No one knew for sure. The campaign went from local concerns to the party coming into Resbin's service as she tried to hold the country together for her son until he could become marquess. It got seriously political, but petered out before I could take it where I wanted it to go.
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    Wed Oct 28, 2015 9:58 am  

    smillan_31 wrote:
    ...The campaign went from local concerns to the party coming into Resbin's service as she tried to hold the country together for her son until he could become marquess...


    -Anything in canon about a child? It wouldn't be surprising, but I don't ever remember seeing it mentioned.
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    Wed Oct 28, 2015 12:34 pm  

    jamesdglick wrote:
    smillan_31 wrote:
    ...The campaign went from local concerns to the party coming into Resbin's service as she tried to hold the country together for her son until he could become marquess...


    -Anything in canon about a child? It wouldn't be surprising, but I don't ever remember seeing it mentioned.


    I searched the canon sources pretty extensively and didn't find anything, although I can't speak 100% for LG. I am pretty familiar with a lot of LG Keoland sources and didn't find anything. Sterich never got its own triad, so I think any adventures taking place there were part of LG Keoland.

    I just kind of extrapolated it from canon. Officially, Sterich's nobility was chafing under the rule of Resbin, so it makes sense to me the only way they would have tolerated a foreign wife ruling at all was if she was doing so for a minor heir. Otherwise there would be some cousin or uncle in the wings who would be pushing the Lion Throne heavily to appoint them.

    Even in my campaign, that's kind of what happened. A group of recent immigrants from southern Keoland -- ambitious second sons and such, being manipulated into rebellion against Resbin by a Pyremius-worshiping faction of the SB formed a coalition with a traditionalist faction headed by the heir's uncle, and staged a coup to overthrow Resbin.
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    Sat Oct 31, 2015 8:27 am  

    For some reason, I thought I recalled Sterich being dealt with by the Geoff or Yeomanry Triads. Also was a Core area. You might want to check those regions' adventure blurbs. I found a Core mod from year 8 though.

    COR8-04 Bridge over Svartjet by Jeff A. Dobberpuhl
    Deep below the western mountains ancient evils once defeated stir from the pyre of their defeat. A one-round core adventure set in the Kingdom of Sterich for characters level 7-15 (APLs 8-14).
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    Sat Oct 31, 2015 11:28 am  

    aurdraco wrote:
    For some reason, I thought I recalled Sterich being dealt with by the Geoff or Yeomanry Triads. Also was a Core area. You might want to check those regions' adventure blurbs. I found a Core mod from year 8 though.

    COR8-04 Bridge over Svartjet by Jeff A. Dobberpuhl
    Deep below the western mountains ancient evils once defeated stir from the pyre of their defeat. A one-round core adventure set in the Kingdom of Sterich for characters level 7-15 (APLs 8-14).


    Dragon #298 actually talks about that module. Apparently it was part of The Gloom and Disunion Cycle, which began with COR2-04 Birthday Bash and continued with COR2-05 Beyond the Veil. The article describes a rise in vigilantism against people suspected (usually baselessly) of connections to the drow following a discovery of a dark elf enclave beneath Istivin (Marchioness Emondav described the phenomenon as "understandable but unfortunate"); I'm not sure if that's actually part of the plot of the Gloom and Disunion Cycle or just a plot the Living Greyhawk Journal suggested to connect with those modules in home games.
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    Sat Nov 07, 2015 5:20 am  
    My Pet Peeves!

    Well, I thought this thread was going to be rotten, and rife with annoying complaining and whining ... but, it's been *SO* informative about stuff I didn't even know! I've learned a lot from reading tonight!!

    One of my personal pet peeves (in fantasy or literature in general) has always "Places From Which No One Ever Returns". It's a trope, and an old one ... but, it's always difficult for me to stretch my suspension of disbelief for those.
    So, in Rauxes it stands that "... the city itself was ...engulfed in a strange magical field. Few willingly approach Rauxes now, given the bizarre eldritch forces that prevail where the ruined city stands" I was really put off. And that "... The final fate of ... Rauxes’s citizens remains unknown." Don't adventurers make their living by going where, and doing things, others don't? There's no hints about what's there? No one's tried? Not even a clue?

    Also, as an artist, I agree with [I forgot who said it] about the depiction of Mordenkainen looking like Anton LaVey, in later works showing Mordenkainen. I don't mind so much that he shaved his head (because I once went with a shaven pate for quite a few years) ... but, his beard, moustache and whatnot should have a very distinctive style, and I don't think that the founder of the Church of Satan is the look we're going for.
    I like Mordenkainen's squared-off beard and a more full, longer, slightly curved moustache. I'd buy it, if it looked something a little more like this:

    Adapted From Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure, Clyde Caldwell

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    Sun Nov 08, 2015 6:15 am  
    Re: My Pet Peeves!

    Icarus wrote:
    Don't adventurers make their living by going where, and doing things, others don't? There's no hints about what's there? No one's tried? Not even a clue?

    Ah, but your adventurers will be the ones to do it, because the others, you see...

    "They tried and failed, all of them?"

    "Oh, no. They tried and died."

    Somebody has to be the first. Wink
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    Sun Nov 08, 2015 8:50 am  

    That's sort of the thing we were talking about earlier in this thread, and to some extent in this thread: how do you strike a balance between making the PCs the star of the show and still have the world grow and change around them?

    How many people make use of NPC parties as rivals of the PCs? Do they ever have to race an NPC party to their goal, or underbid them with prospective employers?
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    Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:06 am  
    Shining Axes of Heironeous

    An interesting note for those who mentioned upthread that they dislike the fact that the primary weapon of Heironeous was "changed" in 3rd Edition from an Axe to a Longsword:

    The Living Greyhawk Dieties document included the fact that that in Greyhawk specifically (as opposed to D&D, in general) Shining Axes of Heironeous existed, and that the favored weapons of Heironeous was also an Axe.
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    Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:23 am  

    Icarus wrote:
    Well, I thought this thread was going to be rotten, and rife with annoying complaining and whining ... but, it's been *SO* informative about stuff I didn't even know! I've learned a lot from reading tonight!!


    -I guess it all depends on how you complain and whine... Wink Laughing

    Icarus wrote:
    So, in Rauxes it stands that "... the city itself was ...engulfed in a strange magical field. Few willingly approach Rauxes now, given the bizarre eldritch forces that prevail where the ruined city stands" I was really put off. And that "... The final fate of ... Rauxes’s citizens remains unknown." Don't adventurers make their living by going where, and doing things, others don't? There's no hints about what's there? No one's tried? Not even a clue? ...


    -I work under the theory that "with magic, all things are possible," but I suspect it's some kind of cop-out. IIRC, the Living Greyhawk Campaign had the entire County of Urnst surrounded by an impenetrable bubble for a year (to simulate problems with the triad?). I'm sure that someone will have more info' on it.

    Cebrion wrote:
    ...Somebody has to be the first. Wink


    -That too.

    rasgon wrote:
    ...how do you strike a balance between making the PCs the star of the show and still have the world grow and change around them?


    -The PCs have to solve the following adventures, in a satisfactory fashion, before the end of 581 CY. Otherwise the future (according to canon) is changed in some way or fashion.

    FWIW:

    1) Adventures around Saltmarsh;

    2) Gargoyle problem around Rockburgh (yes, I intend to use it);

    3) The pretender Tollenkar in the Stark Mounds (a Steve Jackson game that I've converted);

    4) The Reptile Cult in Orlane and the Rushmoors (they've really screwed this one up, so far);

    5) The drought on the Downs;

    6) The Keep on the Borderlands and the surrounding area, including the Caves of Chaos (which I set at the confluence on the Jewel and Handmaiden rovers);

    7) Hommlet and the Moathouse;

    8) The caravan going from Narwell to Dyvers (yes, I'm going to use Puppets. If nothing else, Larissa Hunter is canonically destined to become Magister of Dyvers. If she doesn't make it, who knows what happens?)

    9) Roghan and Zelligar's Dungeon Lair (which I set in Kalmar Pass).

    There are plenty of other adventures, but most of them don't have the "big picture" consequences that these might have. Example: L1, L2, and the adventure in "Dungeon" magazine (71?), which are completely nullified by the Sehanine conquerst and ethnic cleasing of Lendore Isle.

    I generally assume that most higher-level canonical events occur without the PCs. If the PCs participate somehow, then they could change canon.

    Icarus wrote:
    ...Also, as an artist, I agree with [I forgot who said it] about the depiction of Mordenkainen looking like Anton LaVey, in later works showing Mordenkainen...


    -I think that was just about everybody, including me. Wink Someone else pointed out they both look a little like your icon photo. Hmmm...

    Icarus wrote:
    ...I don't mind so much that he shaved his head (because I once went with a shaven pate for quite a few years) ...


    -Maybe Mordenkainen is going bald? I've always sworn that if I start going bald that I'll just do the Mr. Clean look instead of trying to do a comb over.

    Icarus wrote:
    ...I like Mordenkainen's squared-off beard and a more full, longer, slightly curved moustache. I'd buy it, if it looked something a little more like this:

    Adapted From Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure, Clyde Caldwell


    -Nice.
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    Mon Nov 09, 2015 9:31 pm  
    Mordenkainen and my beard

    jamesdglick wrote:
    ... -I think that was just about everybody, including me. Wink Someone else pointed out they both look a little like your icon photo. Hmmm...
    Icarus wrote:
    ...I don't mind so much that he shaved his head (because I once went with a shaven pate for quite a few years) ...

    Laughing Hahaha! You know ... I think that I remember when someone made that comment way back when. I think that my profile pic may've been a little different back then, actually showing me with a bald head. instead of just a beard and hair like it is now. :)
    I would link a picture of it, but, you know, I don't want to derail the thread any more! LOL!
    Quote:
    -Nice.
    Thank you, sir. I think I may update it a little, and smooth out that line on his forehead above his eyebrow.
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    Tue Nov 10, 2015 12:46 pm  

    I was searching around and blundered into this from DMPrata on Dragonsfoot:

    http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=60939

    "...if you're not too particular about editions, WOTC released a 3E web enhancement called The Hand of the Highwayman in 2001. It's a short adventure set on Lendore Isle, intended to supplement the Song and Silence splatbook..."

    ...also referenced here:

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=3677

    Skech wrote:
    ... An 11 page web enhancement for WoTC's 3.0 "Song and Silence", by David Noonan, John D. Rateliff, and Penny Williams, titled "The Hand of the Highwayman."


    ...which I looked at last night.

    Now, it just so happens that my biggest beef with Greyhawk canon is the Elvish invasion of Lendore Island, even to the point of flat out ignoring it (see the very beginning of this thread, plus link). But in my never-ending mission of turning lemons into lemonade...

    I seem to remember a mention of Restenford in either D&D 3.5 PHB II or DMG II (which I was too lazy to look up). It sounded more like a major town or city rather than "our" Restenford, so I ignored it. But this:

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=3677

    rasgon wrote:
    ...Hypothesis: the town's population grew with human refugees cast out from elsewhere after the elves took over.


    ...could make sense of Restenford's population, except that when I read first read the Living Greyhawk Gazeteer several years ago, I saw that the remaining human population for Lendore was something like "1%" or so, with only farmers, fishermen, and servants being allowed to stay, which to my mind, rules out Restenford, or at least most of it (too many humans in Restenford, particularly since I doubt it's the only remaining human settlement; most not the right type to stay). This pretty well wipes out anything of long-term value occuring in Restenford. Poor L1, L2, and "Priestly Secrets"!

    But there is an out. ALL of the various gazeteers note that they don't detail every single independent community e.g., Dullstrand, Garel Enkdal. So what if Restenford became an independent community after the Elvish invasion? I'm not sure why Restenford would have been excepted, but I'll leave that for later. This allows Restenford to survive as we know it, and even grow a bit, all without contradicting any canon (although why Restenford isn't mentioned at all in relation to Lendore Island is something of a mystery... Wink Cool ).

    A few minor points about "Hand of the Highwayman":

    1) The Sehanine must have really devolved to hire that pair of dirtbags, but could that be explained as the agents "going rogue (so to speak)," using unapproved methods? I imagine the Sehanine might be tough-minded, but murdering innocent people seems a bit over the top. IRL, that would constitute grounds for war. Of course, the elves might assume they'd win, and would consider it a plus, but killing innocent people seems a bit much for predominately CG types. maybe teh elves don't consider the victims "innocent" for some reason?

    2) Restenford never seemed to be the sewer having sort of place. But maybe they did, but they were filled in to eliminate hiding places for the once flourishing Restenford Thieve's Guild? Something like this briefly hinted at in once case in "HH", although by its absence. Maybe the rest of the work was done in previous years? Maybe they unfilled them due to the increase in population? Or constructed more?

    As a side-line, I once started off a pair of PCs with a treasure map of the secret complex under the guardhouse under the theory that it used to belong to a now defunct Thieve's Guild...

    3) Most of the change in places and NPCs could be explained by the march of time. Pelltar could be the "court wizard" mentioned in "HH". There could be more inns, or perhaps some of the old ones are now under new management, with new names? Villie Starsen either died or moved on, replaced by a new Captain? According to "HH", Andrella now has at least 195 guards at her disposal (1 x CPT; 8 x SGTSs, 186 x Gds)! Restenford most have grown? Or is the money to maintain all these guys coming from elsewhere?

    Anyway, if I can make this work, the invasion is back on! Wink
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    Sun Apr 17, 2016 7:49 am  

    Dungeon Magazine # 30 in "Ghazal" has a LE Cleric of Lllerg?! You could make arguments for Wee Jas or Syrul based on alignment, but I think Bralm (N (LN) ) is the best fit considering the environment.

    But Llerg?! And if Llerg, the Ghazal should be predominately CE... Sheesh. Laughing
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    Sun Apr 17, 2016 6:21 pm  

    The elves consider the takeover of the Islands an unfortunate necessity, but only a temporary disruption. They'll give them back in a couple hundred years or so.
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    Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:17 am  

    While i'm at it:

    rasgon wrote:
    ...While it was unintentional on the part of the original author (Douglas Niles), the plot of Against the Cult of the Reptile God works really well with the idea that the local goddess was missing because she spent decades imprisoned beneath Castle Greyhawk...


    -I won't argue that it doesn't fit, but assuming that Merikka was the local name for either Atroa or Berei made a far better fit for the faith described in Orlane, and would have been more consistent than conjuring up a new deity to explain a name that is obviously just a play on 'Merica.

    On top of that, it's odd that "they" made Merikka LG even though the uncorrupted inhabitants of Orlane were described as entirely NG. If they wanted to go the Whole New Deity route, then they should have given Merikka an orientation that was more aggie and made her NG in alignment. It's as if "they" saw the name of a new deity, decided they had to to make it fit in, and then ignored all the other information from the same source that introduced the name in the first place. Not as if not bothering to actually read the source material is uncommon with some Greyhawk canon...
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    Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:46 am  

    The "they" in this case is Erik Mona. The genesis of Merikka's appearance in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer is an ancient post that originally appeared on AOL or Usenet or Greytalk in the mid-1990s, "The Ultimate, Definitive Listing of Iuz's Fellow Prisoners."

    In short, the problem was there were nine demigods imprisoned beneath Castle Greyhawk, but the list of deities in the boxed set only includes five: Iuz, Rudd, Wastri, Zagyg, and Zuoken. Of those, Zagyg obviously wasn't his own prisoner, so that leaves only four canonical demigods out of nine. Where, then, to find the others? Mona's solution was to comb old modules, filling out the list with entities from Tamoachan and Cult of the Reptile God.

    In that post, Mona explained that he changed Merikka's alignment from chaotic to lawful good "to reflect the much more lawful aspect of agriculture."

    (For what it's worth I think filling out the list of demigods with Olman deities is a terrible idea, but Merikka and Alia absolutely belong there)

    (I think the Olman gods are bad candidates because they have too little influence over the Flanaess and most of them are established in Deities & Demigods and Legends & Lore as not being demigods—Tlazolteotl is chaotic evil and Xilonen, as another name for Centeotl, is chaotic neutral; only Chitza-Atlan is a reasonable choice and he's not nearly as interesting or relevant as Vecna, whose history in Die Vecna Die! practically mandates that he escaped with the others in CY 571)

    (And yes, I'm aware that the actual prisoners in Gary Gygax's original Greyhawk campaign were Celestian, Erythnul, Heironeous, Hextor, Iuz, Obad-hai, Olidammara, Ralishaz, and Trithereon, though I think in the published Greyhawk setting the impact of those major deities disappearing for decades would result in a history very different from what we have, so I'd rather keep to demigods)

    (For what it's worth, my list is Merikka, Stillsong, Ye'Cind, Rudd, Iuz, Vecna, Wastri, Alia, and Zuoken)

    (There are lots of examples in Greyhawk of multiple deities sharing the essentially the same portfolio; if Obad-hai and Phyton or Jascar and Ulaa can exist on the same planet, Merikka and Berei can comfortably share the world as well)
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    Wed Apr 20, 2016 8:50 pm  

    The controversy of the Nine and their ongoing canon/fanon treatment is a pet peeve for me. We've had decades of endless theories and lists of potential prisoners only because obstinate Greyhawkers demand a strict interpretation of "Nine Demigods" while holding a double standard and ignoring the fact that Iuz wasn't even divine when Zagyg imprisoned him (WGR5 p3).

    Meanwhile, the gods used by the actual creators are written off on a technicality because publication bumped them to lesser gods (and Sargent bumped the lesser gods he chose to write about to intermediate status due of space constraints). And so, even though Olidammara is plainly listed as a former prisoner of Zagyg in the '83 box, fans discount him and create more needless backstory to justify a separate imprisonment. Eight demigods and a cambion are kosher, but seven demigods, a cambion, and a lesser god? That's crazy.

    Today, the publisher (TSR) is ancient history, Gygax and Kuntz have long since answered the question and even published the original works, but fans continue to hold out because they feel some ridiculous loyalty to a faceless, multinational IP holder that's reduced their official D&D staff to twelve people and hasn't supported the setting in ten years.

    In 2007, fans were given the choice between Kuntz's Bottle City and Ha$bro's disaster that sucked Castle Greyhawk off the face of Oerth and turned Mordenkainen into Anton Lavey... fans chose the latter. Shame.

    /rant

    Solution: use the Nine from the original campaign.

    Their priests struggled along with 2nd-level spells for a few decades (it's amazing how much respect you can get with Cure Light Wounds and Hold Person!). Gods themselves aren't too active on Oerth, so they weren't missed. Priests of Heironeous, Hextor, Erythnul, and Trithereon leaned heavily on their martial training and developed their weapon skills into what they are today. The Shalm's rustics either took up with Beory for a while or lost their place in the druidic hierarchy. Turmoil among the philosophers, drunks, and madmen that follower of Celestian, Olidammara, Ralishaz was beyond the ken of most folk.

    We know the Nine were freed at different times (Iuz was loosed in 570 while Zouken was still imprisoned as of 597CY), so rule that gods with important temporal leaders like Heironeous, Hextor, and Obad-Hai were imprisoned later and got out early, like 540-550CY. If the DM feels the freedom of a couple particular god-lings is absolutely mission critical in the early sixth century CY, substitute them with Merrika and Stern Alia. Maybe Heironeous and Hextor escaped Zagyg's clutches at the last moment by summoning weaker gods in their stead.

    Explain the term "demigods" is an approximation. When it comes to quantifying the divinity of superpowers on the outer planes, mortals suck. To further muddy the water, Castle Greyhawk did strange things to its prisoners: Iuz went from cambion to a demigod and Olidammara from a demi- to a lesser god in a turtle shell!

    (Rasgon - don't take any of the above personally; you're great. I'm venting at no one in particular while we're on the subject of the Nine and unloved canon.)
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3312
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    Thu Apr 21, 2016 4:05 am  

    vestcoat wrote:
    ignoring the fact that Iuz wasn't even divine when Zagyg imprisoned him (WGR5 p3).


    Heh. That's kind of a pet peeve of mine, too. Iuz was absolutely divine when he was imprisoned. It would have been overkill for four quasi-deities, Zagyg, and a lesser deity to join up to imprison an entity that wasn't even divine. Especially considering the idea that the powers of good had to give the powers of evil a free future intervention in the world of mortals in exchange for allowing St. Cuthbert to intervene directly with the matter of Iuz. It wouldn't be worth it.

    However, while I assume that "demigod" means demigod in all cases, I don't think it's necessary a problem to assume it means "eight demigods and a near-divine cambion who became a demigod by the time he was freed." The choice to use a list of nine demigods rather than a demigod and an assortment of lesser deities isn't just semantic, anyway. It's not just that the lesser gods named by Gygax and Kuntz aren't literal demigods, but that their disappearance should have a significant impact on the setting.

    I tend to agree with what Erik Mona said in the comments to the article I linked to above:

    Erik Mona wrote:
    One thing that bugs me about applying the Gygax campaign list to the published Greyhawk is that it makes Zagyg MUCH, MUCH more powerful. How does a human spellcaster, albeit with the help of Kelanen and Boccob, capture freaking Obad-Hai?

    Gary's Greyhawk is not the published Greyhawk. If it was, we'd have Odin running around, portals to Mars, and the "logo" of the Circle of Eight would be an eightball. Gary was clowning around with his buddies, and even he changed certain details before publishing the setting. Why some people want to slavishly stick to what he did in his "rough draft" campaign puzzles me. Not even he bothered to do that.


    You can quibble with some of that (for example, Gygax said the imprisonment of at least some of those deities was voluntary), but I agree with the essence.

    Vestcoat wrote:
    And so, even though Olidammara is plainly listed as a former prisoner of Zagyg in the '83 box, fans discount him and create more needless backstory to justify a separate imprisonment.


    I think justifying the imprisonment of entities like Hextor and Heironeous for close to seven decades requires more needless backstory than accepting "Olidammara tried to rescue Rudd" does.

    In the original Lake Geneva campaign, none of the players knew who Hextor and company were and they had no established ties to the setting. There's no reason, in that context, not to accept that a mad demigod imprisoned a number of forgotten deities.

    In the published setting, we have things like Hextor being the primary patron of House Naelax and Heironeous being one of the top gods in Nyrond, Furyondy, and the Shield Lands. There's a huge difference in tone between "nine forgotten gods you've never heard of were imprisoned here" and "the patrons of mighty nations were silent for three generations," so much so that I think keeping them as actual demigods is closer to the spirit of the original campaign than the actual original deities would be.

    A big thing with me is that I think that if a god disappears for seven decades, there needs to be consequences to the campaign world. Otherwise, why bother? If the god of stars, space, and wanderers is silent for the better part of a century, how does that change the setting? Was there a period when navigators fear the deep waters and hug the shores because they know they can't count on blessings from the god of stars? One could assume that revels and celebrations invoking the god of wine and revelry are a major part of the lives of the common folk; what happens when the sacred stills run dry? Tim Powers' novel The Drawing of the Dark might inspire some ideas.

    If the turmoil among the priests of the missing gods is simply written off as "beyond the ken of most folk" it seems to me to be a huge waste of storytelling potential.

    To some degree this is subjective; yeah, you could write rationalizations that explain how the Church of Hextor managed to hold itself together during those years, and some of those rationalizations could make for interesting plot hooks (for example, maybe Hextor's clerics turned to archdevils as substitute patrons). But it's a lot of unnecessary backstory that alters the setting as it exists a lot more than accepting the list of lesser demigods does.

    Quote:
    because they feel some ridiculous loyalty to a faceless, multinational IP holder that's reduced their official D&D staff to twelve people and hasn't supported the setting in ten years.


    I don't feel any particular loyalty to Hasbro, but Hasbro didn't make the decision to identify any of the imprisoned demigods; that decision was made by the Greyhawk fans who have been having fun arguing about this for decades for what they, and I, considered to be sensible reasons.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 09, 2003
    Posts: 1361
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    Thu Apr 21, 2016 7:33 am  

    rasgon wrote:
    ...There are lots of examples in Greyhawk of multiple deities sharing the essentially the same portfolio; if Obad-hai and Phyton or Jascar and Ulaa can exist on the same planet, Merikka and Berei can comfortably share the world as well...


    -I never had a problem with that.

    rasgon wrote:
    ...There are lots of examples of gods having worshipers a step or more removed from their own alignments (nearly all gods permit this). Merikka's lawfulness manifests itself as an obsession with timeliness more than ethics. Especially considering that the folk of Orlane haven't benefited from their goddess's direct guidance for generations, I don't consider it to be an issue that their ethical world view doesn't mesh with hers exactly...


    -I didn't say they couldn't. But in those cases, you'd normally see a range of alignments surrounding the deities alignment, not a 100% shift to the side. It's obvious that both the creation of Merikka (Murrica!) was a contrived case shoehorning, as you yourself point out, here:

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=67203#67203

    Bogus!

    rasgon wrote:
    ...I'm aware that the actual prisoners in Gary Gygax's original Greyhawk campaign were Celestian, Erythnul, Heironeous, Hextor, Iuz, Obad-hai, Olidammara, Ralishaz, and Trithereon, though I think in the published Greyhawk setting the impact of those major deities disappearing for decades would result in a history very different from what we have, so I'd rather keep to demigods...


    ...and...

    rasgon wrote:
    ...A big thing with me is that I think that if a god disappears for seven decades, there needs to be consequences to the campaign world...


    -There's nothing that says that their imprisonment couldn't be such that it had a serious impact on their clerics in the same way that specifics of Vatun's imprisonment had on his clerics. And even Vatun's clerics aren't exactly helpless. And then there's the precedent of Tharizdun...

    ...and I like this:

    vestcoat wrote:
    ...We know the Nine were freed at different times (Iuz was loosed in 570 while Zouken was still imprisoned as of 597CY), so rule that gods with important temporal leaders like Heironeous, Hextor, and Obad-Hai were imprisoned later and got out early, like 540-550CY...


    vestcoat wrote:
    ...even though Olidammara is plainly listed as a former prisoner of Zagyg in the '83 box, fans discount him and create more needless backstory to justify a separate imprisonment...


    -Good point. If you accept the Mona's version, then it does become necessary. It would have been easier to just accept the previous canon.

    Or, maybe Olidammara et al were all demigods at the time, eh?

    ...or maybe Hextor and Heironeous et al busted out of jail the same week? Iuz, being a mere hero-deity or demigod without the support of a more powerful deity (as Rudd may have had from Norebo, if you accept Dragon #Twohundredandwhatever), had a rougher time.

    vestcoat wrote:
    ...The controversy of the Nine and their ongoing canon/fanon treatment is a pet peeve for me. We've had decades of endless theories and lists of potential prisoners only because obstinate Greyhawkers demand a strict interpretation of "Nine Demigods" while holding a double standard and ignoring the fact that Iuz wasn't even divine when Zagyg imprisoned him...


    -At the risk of coming off a contradictory, I get the argument that it would have been a little easier for Iuz to imprison nine demigods instead of nine more powerful deities. But I'm not sure that it's enough to overturn established canon.

    rasgon wrote:
    ...Mona's solution was to comb old modules, filling out the list with entities from Tamoachan and Cult of the Reptile God...


    -IOW, Mona was shoveling (and excreting) crap in a bag because he thought it sort of fit. Let's just call it a lame Bridge Too Far.

    vestcoat wrote:
    ...In 2007, fans were given the choice between Kuntz's Bottle City and Ha$bro's disaster that sucked Castle Greyhawk off the face of Oerth...


    -Uh, I have no idea what you're talking about. Clearly I missed something... Laughing

    rasgon wrote:
    ...(Rasgon - don't take any of the above personally; you're great. I'm venting at no one in particular while we're on the subject of the Nine and unloved canon.)


    -Rasgon should take my arguments personally. Duel at 11! Wink Laughing

    And FWIW, I like what Mona has done for GH overall.
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
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    Thu Apr 21, 2016 8:52 am  

    jamesdglick wrote:
    But in those cases, you'd normally see a range of alignments surrounding the deities alignment, not a 100% shift to the side.


    If their only ethical influence was the teachings of their single deity and all other things being equal, then yes, you'd expect to see the variation be pretty random. I'd question those assumptions, though. For one thing, the difference you see is in the original module (which had Merikka as chaotic good and the villagers as "generally neutral good"), so the problem isn't someone not reading the module carefully. So clearly there's something else going on. I don't think you need to look into it very deeply: the community has a set of secular values that average out to neutral good, and their religious faith doesn't have much to do with that. It only sounds weird if you assume that their alignment is a random corruption of their goddess's alignment, which isn't the case. They're neutral good because they're a neutral good people, and they worship their goddess because she's the local goddess of agriculture.

    Also note that "generally neutral good" isn't the same thing as 100% neutral good.

    Quote:
    Merikka (Murrica!)


    This isn't even the worst pun among Greyhawk god names, if it's even intended as one. If I wrote (Armadillo!) every time I referred to Olidammara or (Ouija board!) every time I referred to Wee Jas, it would get old quickly.

    Quote:
    was a contrived case shoehorning, as you yourself point out


    I guess the difference is that I don't see anything wrong with that. I think it's interesting to look at the reasons the goddess was included and why her alignment was changed, but it's less contrived than trying to force the original Lake Geneva Castle Greyhawk prisoners into the modern setting.

    Quote:
    There's nothing that says that their imprisonment couldn't be such that it had a serious impact on their clerics in the same way that specifics of Vatun's imprisonment had on his clerics.


    There's nothing that says that you can't do it that way, but it'd involve a pretty elaborate rewrite of the world's history. I don't want to discourage anyone from doing it that way if that's what they prefer, but I'd encourage people to generate real stakes and consequences from the decades-long disappearance of some of the setting's most iconic deities. I mean, yeah, you can just handwave it as "no one cared that Ralishaz disappeared; there's a reason they call him the Unlooked For" but I think it's more interesting and rewarding to consider some unintended consequences when the god of misfortune and madness disappears. What if they were doing something useful, like keeping an ancient hero or artifact of Law secure, and their absence upset the balance? Why introduce a plot element like the imprisonment of a deity if it's not going to matter? If it matters, how does it matter? Just saying "there's nothing that says it didn't matter" isn't really the same as generating useful ideas.

    I'm not arguing that it's impossible to have a good version of Greyhawk that uses the original Lake Geneva prisoners. I'm just saying it would be very different from the Greyhawk I know.

    Quote:
    And even Vatun's clerics aren't exactly helpless.


    The imprisonment of Vatun resulted in the collapse of the Suel barbarian empire. Whether his few remaining clerics are helpless in a fight isn't really what I'm worried about. Vatun's imprisonment had consequences for the setting.

    Quote:
    And then there's the precedent of Tharizdun...


    Well, exactly. Tharizdun's priesthood died out.

    From WG4:

    The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun wrote:
    In the end only a handful of faithful clerics remained to repeat the daily ritual of attempted awakening. Some of this handful were slain by monsters, others eventually grew old and died. The last High Priest, alone, wandered off into the place reserved for his remains in the dungeon, for alone he was unable to take his proper place in the Undertemple. Thus, a century ago, the last servant of Tharizdun died, and the Temple was without inhabitant of human sort.


    Yes, there were later revivals of the faith, or the faith survived in pockets elsewhere, but Tharizdun's imprisonment matters. Before the Dark God was imprisoned there was a real threat that Tharizdun might destroy the universe. With their patron imprisoned, his powers are limited and his faith largely reduced to a secretive cult. That's the sort of thing I expect when any god is imprisoned.

    So I'm not satisfied with ideas like "the clerics of Heironeous learned to fight better to compensate for only having second level spells." I want to see abandoned temples of Heironeous scattered throughout the lands, desperate clerics of the Invincible One turning to other gods, the rise of the Horned Society a direct result of the loss of clerical support in the Shield Lands, or the Pale managing to gain independence after the clerics of Pholtus triumphed over the demoralized Nyrondel clerics of Heironeous. I expect a rewrite of history.

    It's a lot easier to come up with reasonable consequences for the loss of nine demigods, since with the exception of Iuz their imprisonment is unlikely to affect things on a large scale. But it should still affect things: the dominance of the reptile cult in Orlane, the hollowing out of Alia's church, the disappearance of Vecna's cult, Stillsong's elemental dissolution, Zuoken's faithful migrating to the central Flanaess, Wastri's temple in Blackmoor being taken over by St. Stephen, Olidammara getting caught while searching for Rudd, Ye'Cind not being able to depose the usurper king, etc.

    vestcoat wrote:
    ...We know the Nine were freed at different times (Iuz was loosed in 570 while Zouken was still imprisoned as of 597CY), so rule that gods with important temporal leaders like Heironeous, Hextor, and Obad-Hai were imprisoned later and got out early, like 540-550CY...


    See, I think that's precisely the opposite of what you should be ruling, because it's tantamount to coming up with excuses for why the disappearance of important deities doesn't affect the campaign world much. The disappearance of important deities should affect the campaign world.

    jamesdglick wrote:
    Or, maybe Olidammara et al were all demigods at the time, eh?


    They represent fairly important facets of existence, and I don't think they can be reasonably interpreted as mere demigods (implying much smaller worshiper bases) without leaving pretty important holes in the World of Greyhawk pantheon. I can imagine them having dwindled to demigod status during their long imprisonment, though.

    Quote:
    But I'm not sure that it's enough to overturn established canon.


    The idea that the original Lake Geneva campaign is "established canon" is strange to me. Nobody outside of the original players even knew about it until the late 1990s. If Gygax thought it was important information that Heironeous was imprisoned, he could have said so in the Dragon Magazine article that originally described Heironeous. The fact that he didn't suggests to me that he thought the details of his own campaign weren't necessarily part of the published setting, or weren't the general public's business to know. Regardless of how you feel about the evils of corporate America, canon had become established along very different lines before the internet began giving us hints of how things were in the 1970s.

    Quote:
    -IOW, Mona was shoveling (and excreting) crap in a bag because he thought it sort of fit.


    What a lovely image.

    Quote:
    -Uh, I have no idea what you're talking about. Clearly I missed something... Laughing


    The Original Bottle City was a module by Rob Kuntz detailing part of Castle Greyhawk. The demigod prison is there, so that module offers the more authentic original Greyhawk campaign experience.

    The other reference is to Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, which infamously ended with Castle Greyhawk becoming untethered from the Prime Material Plane. This was at WotC's insistence, who wanted to justify subsequent uses of the dungeon in other campaign settings, I guess. I'm not particularly worried about two easily ignorable sentences, personally, and if for some reason you wanted to have Castle Greyhawk wandering between planes of existence in your campaign, that adventure offers a justification.

    I mean, there's no question which is more in line with the intentions of the setting's creator, and if that's important to you, Bottle City is definitely the way to go. There's a lot in Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk that I'm not fond of, for that matter. But I don't feel like it's necessary to frame the choice as a binary, where one is forced to accept either every part of Bottle City or every part of Expedition, unable to pick and choose from each.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Fri Apr 22, 2016 11:26 am  

    rasgon wrote:
    jamesdglick wrote:
    But in those cases, you'd normally see a range of alignments surrounding the deities alignment, not a 100% shift to the side.
    ... (which had Merikka as chaotic good and the villagers as "generally neutral good")...


    -Huh. I don't remember the part about her being CG. Maybe I didn't read carefully enough! I'll go back and check. But shifting Merikka to LG only makes Mona's little exercise worse, tho'.

    rasgon wrote:
    Quote:
    Merikka (Murrica!)
    ...This isn't even the worst pun among Greyhawk god names, if it's even intended as one. If I wrote (Armadillo!) every time I referred to Olidammara or (Ouija board!) every time I referred to Wee Jas, it would get old quickly...


    -Yeah. When you check the internet, the biggest beef that fans of other campaigns have with Greyhawk is the names. I have to concede their point.

    rasgon wrote:
    Quote:
    there's nothing that says that their imprisonment couldn't be such that it had a serious impact on their clerics in the same way that specifics of Vatun's imprisonment had on his clerics.


    There's nothing that says that you can't do it that way, but it'd involve a pretty elaborate rewrite of the world's history...


    -I meant to add expound on this:

    vestcoat wrote:
    ...We know the Nine were freed at different times (Iuz was loosed in 570 while Zouken was still imprisoned as of 597CY), so rule that gods with important temporal leaders like Heironeous, Hextor, and Obad-Hai were imprisoned later and got out early, like 540-550CY...


    ...with the observation that most of the deities could have made their jail break after a week.

    Quote:
    And even Vatun's clerics aren't exactly helpless.


    The imprisonment of Vatun resulted in the collapse of the Suel barbarian empire...
    Quote:


    -I've always assumed that that referred to the Alledged Suel barbarian empire.

    [quote="rasgon"]
    Quote:
    -IOW, Mona was shoveling (and excreting) crap in a bag because he thought it sort of fit.


    What a lovely image...
    Quote:


    -Good. That means it worked. Wink

    [quote="rasgon"]...The other reference is to Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, which infamously ended with Castle Greyhawk becoming untethered from the Prime Material Plane. This was at WotC's insistence, who wanted to justify subsequent uses of the dungeon in other campaign settings, I guess...


    - Shocked Confused Shocked

    You know... I haven't bought any of the "Return to" modules yet, since we haven't fully completed any of the originals. Every once in a while, I read something about one of those things that makes me question whether I'd be better off just saving my money. This is one of them.

    But I wasn't aware of the RJK effort, either. I might take a peek.

    [quote="rasgon"]...The other reference is to Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, which infamously ended with Castle Greyhawk becoming untethered from the Prime Material Plane. This was at WotC's insistence, who wanted to justify subsequent uses of the dungeon in other campaign settings, I guess...


    -Awesome. Any chance that Waterdeep's Undermountain will be making an appearance in the Cairn Hills any time soon? Laughing
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