One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
It's that time of year again. The Greyhawk Year in Review is my attempt to capture all of the new material, rediscovered old lore, and industry news that pertains to our favorite setting over the last twelve months. Greyhawk still sees a lot of development, but the days of annual TSR product catalogs are long gone and the new stuff is hard to find. If I missed anything--print references, fanon, blogs, articles, or new PDF material--please let me know so I can include it and extend credit.
Hasbro's new Dungeon Masters Guild causes a stir by allowing fans to create sanctioned 5e content with Forgotten Realms IP. Fans launch a website called Classic Modules Today to release conversion guides for, you guessed it, classic modules. Because Greyhawk isn't supported under the DM's Guild guidelines and since new material must be written for the Forgotten Realms, each conversion contains a section of new text for adapting the setting. So, like 4E's Elder Elemental Eye and 5E's Princes of the Apocalypse, the gradual march of GH holdings into FR continues. Conversions for numerous modules are now available.
13 January 2016
Troll Lord Games releases The Long Valley pdf for Castles and Crusades, an expansion module for Gaxmoor. (Gaxmoor's ties to Greyhawk are enumerated in the 2015 Year in Review.)
21 January 2016
Despite an earlier compromise and the withdrawal of Gygax's sons, Gygax Magazine is shut down after more legal problems with Gail Gygax, prompting the new TSR to focus on other publications. Trouble At IronGarde Watch, a new module from Frank Mentzer, is announced and Frank says that Aquaria links are possible. Unfortunately, the TSR store/website hasn't been updated in months.
5 March 2016
The pre-publication edition of Frank Mentzer's Death in Wretched Swamp sells out in one day at Gary Con. An lone unclaimed copy is auctioned off at the Acaeum. The final release was expected in June, but didn't materialize. Considering all of Frank's other Eldritch Ent publications are set in Aquaria, let's hope this follows suit.
21 March 2016
Trent Foster releases the AD&D Companion, a collection of "house rules" for 1e campaigns. More than just house rules, this document exhaustively compiles articles, new classes, errata, and notes from Dragon Magazine and elsewhere, including rarities like the Hunter class from Realms of Adventure #2. This 1e rules revision almost gives Joe Bloch's Adventures Dark and Deep a run for its money. For Greyhawk fans, the chapter on patron deities includes all of the granted powers and crunchy bits from the old Gygax and Lakofka articles in Dragon Magazine. Recommended!
Print versions of the two new Gaxmoor adventures, Chaos Touched by Jim Ward and The Long Valley by Stephen Chenault, appear publicly for the first time to non-Kickstarter supporters on Nobleknight.com.
2 June 2016
Pacesetter Games releases a new series for North Texas RPG Con, including three Greyhawk sequels: A2 Sanctuary of the Slave Lords, B2.5 Blizzard on the Borderland, and TM7 Dread. In the ever-expanding realm of Greyhawk apropcrypha, it should be noted that A2 is loosely linked to the Misty Isles campaign setting, the City of Spire module series, and several other Pacesetter materials. Those looking for concrete Greyhawk references will be pleased to see the Cult of the Earth Dragon appear in both A2 and TM7.
26 October 2016
Three Line Studio releases the El Raja Key Archive DVD and the Sunken City mini module, marking Rob Kuntz' first publications since moving to France. I suspect the DVD is the biggest collection of maps and notes on the original Castle Greyhawk that the public will ever see. A slate of upcoming products is listed on the back cover: The Ice Grave, Journey to the City of Brass, Into the City of Brass, Lair of the Spider Queen, and Citadel of the Fire Lord (future modules will require the use of the Archive DVD for maps).
Benoist Poire published a number of Greyhawk/Duinnsmere mashup articles in the updates for the Marmoreal Tomb Kickstarter and on Facebook. Poire has stated that the GH material will be removed from the final product to avoid legal ramifications, so make your personal backups now. Of particular interest is the redrafting of Avalon Hill's map from Outdoor Adventures. Advised for use with D&D in the original white box and used by Gary and company for their first outdoor adventures, this map is a fascinating look at the earliest cartography of Greyhawk.
There's a lot of Greyhawk information scattered between kickstarter and facebook, but the updates from 11/8, 11/6, 9/30, 5/13 are a good place to start.
That's it. The El Raja Key archive DVD and Oerth Journal #27 are by far the most exciting releases of the year, IMO. I really like the Gaxmoor modules (Chaos Touched, The Long Valley, and Undercaverns of Gaxmoor) because it's new material that has nothing to do with rehashed classics, not that there's anything wrong with that, I've just had enough. Pacesetter continues to churn out interesting spinoffs and comes as close as anyone dares to making official sequels.
As for publishers, it's sad to see Eldritch Ent's future uncertain. For a few years, they gave us regular Aquaria releases for the first time ever. Meanwhile, the fledgling TSR is soundly defeated, Gygax's IP has been strangled for close to ten years, Black Blade Publishing is silent, Die Cast Games' website is down (find your copy of Allan Hammack's C1 Night of the Black Swords fast!), and BRW Games remains on hiatus.
On the plus side, Troll Lord Games and Pacesetter are as prolific as ever, Canonfire will never die, Footprints and & Magazine continue, GP Adventures makes slow but steady progress on the Marmoreal Tomb, Hasbro throws us a bone once in a while, and Three Line Studio is brand new. Raging Swan Press, Goodman Games and Frog God/Necromancer stay far away from any copyright infringement, but occasionally show Greyhawk DNA. North Wind Adventures has no link to Greyhawk other than Talanian's CV, but IMO, ASSH is where the spirit of Greyhawk is best found and their modules are consistently the closest to the quality of the TSR classics.
Last edited by vestcoat on Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:54 pm; edited 4 times in total
Greyhawk Reborn had another terrific year here in the mid-Atlantic region of the USA. We increased the number of tables we ran at every convention, and had another great turnout at Gen Con. At our last con of 2016, we ran 43 tables over 7 slots. We created over 60 rounds of adventures last year! You can check us out at http://greyhawkreborn.net/
This is a great compilation, thank you, Cody! I missed your previous one(s), and will backtrack to see what else I missed. I'll also add a link to these threads on my Greyhawk Links page. Great stuff :D
The El Raja Key archive DVD is by far the most exciting release of the year, IMO.
Agreed! Lots of great stuff in there.
Black Blade Publishing is silent
Silent, for the moment, but definitely not dead (even though the website might look like we are ;) )!
Wow, yet another great compilation for the year. Could you imagine how much you'd have to track if Wizards was putting out official stuff on a regular basis? Great coverage my friend! I'm going to keep my eyes open for that Greyhawk game at Garycon.
Could you imagine how much you'd have to track if Wizards was putting out official stuff on a regular basis?
Since you bring it up, is anyone watching WotC's Dragon+ web publication? I'm the 0.5% with a Windows Phone, so there's no app for me to view it, and the issues aren't compiled into any kind of easy PDF for desktop browsers. It's a real bear clicking on the articles one by one and the few GH references I've seen are just nostalgia, retrospective fluff. Anyone know more?
I am new here so I may ask questions that have been answered long ago. What connection is there between Greyhawk and the City of Gaxmoor other than the name Gygax? I have the old one and the new one published by TLG and I know it is set I Aihrde, but why is it listed above?
Good question. The answer is buried in a link I put in the 2015 thread. To summarize, Ernie Gygax playtested Gaxmoor as an Oeridian migration city in Bissel (link). TLG's published version remains a perfect match for Bissel, both in history and cartography (at least the 2002 edition was, I still haven't looked at my new printing closely). The "Traveling God" is a clear nod to Fharlanghn. After the playtest, one of the other authors placed it in Sunndi in his home campaign.
Basically Gaxmoor falls under the categories of 1) Greyhawk products with the serial numbers scratched off and 2) products written by prominent GH authors.
EGG himself also wrote a short Gaxmoor adventure in the original Codex of Erde. It's pretty cool that Gary, Ernie, Luke, and James Ward have all made contributions to the setting. Furthermore, a stretch goal for the Marmoreal Tomb kickstarter from GP Adventures was reached that will include a Gaxmoor setting conversion, linking Gaxmoor to another GH-related setting.
27 July 2016
The Gygax Estate reaches a deal with Transformers producer Tom DeSanto to oversee Gygax' catalog of published and unpublished works.
I had *NO* idea! That's, at least, a hopeful thing.
I continue to have the pipe dream that if I ever won a ridiculous lottery, I would continue to throw money at buying the Greyhawk IP from both WotC and the Gygax estate 'til they relented. And then, throw money at publishing without regard to whether or not I was making money on it.
1 August 2016
The Official D&D podcast unearths a cassette for the Dungeons and Dragons radio pilot set in Greyhawk:
I'm currently listening, as we speak, to see what it's like!!
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