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What Keeps You Coming Back To Greyhawk?

 
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CruelSummerLord
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:07 pm    Post subject: What Keeps You Coming Back To Greyhawk? Reply with quote

What are the elements of Greyhawk that keep you coming back? I'm curious as to why exactly Greyhawk appeals to all of us. For me, it's...

-The shades of grey: The forces of good can be at each other's throats, as can the forces of evil. Keoland has fought wars with both Furyondy and Geoff. Nyrond and the Urnst states are not on the best of terms.

-The realpolitik: As others have alluded to, this was one of the strongest elements of Carl Sargent's work. It was one of my favorite elements of Gary Gygax's work too. This also ties into the first point.

-The power level: Forgotten Realms has too many high-level characters, especially wizards, running around for my tastes. In Greyhawk, being 10th level still means something.

-The cultural parallels with the real world: Even if Gary Gygax and his successors never intended it, there are simply too many parallels between the Flan and real-life Native North Americans for me to ignore. Besides, I find the analogy offers some interesting storytelling/roleplaying possibilities and further mixes up the shades of grey.

-The more 'humanocentric' feel to it: As tieflings, dragonborn and other exotic-looking creatures have become popular as player characters, I find myself preferring the Gygaxian tendency towards humans and human-looking races. Greyhawk hasn't really bought into the tieflings or dragonborn, and I appreciate that.

-The secrecy and intrigue: There are individuals and organizations hatching all kinds of schemes across the Flanaess, using both magical and mundane techniques to do so. Everyone from Mordenkainen to the Silent Ones of Keoland to Tuerny the Merciless to the Scarlet Brotherhood...and those are just the ones we know about!
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Phalastar
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would love to offer some insightful new additions, but you have captured my feelings exactly, even probably in the same order that I might put them down.

In regards to power level, I might go further and say it also relates to the 'amount' of magic, magic items etc. Enough to be interesting, but not so much as to make magic mundane.

Yes keeping the exotic races as a real rarity is also important.

I guess maybe the other 'factor' here might be nostalgia for me. I was introduced to D&D in around 1980 and though the Greyhawk setting didn't feature heavily in the games I played back then, there is certainly the feeling that Greyhawk is the 'original' setting and that has some appeal too. Nice thread.
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tarelton
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greyhawk is closer to a Tolkien or Howard-style setting, which were the stories I grew up on. Other settings seemed to always be having to one-up each other with the latest, most powerful foes, allies, and the like.

In a sense, and this may be heresy, the benign neglect that Greyhawk has suffered has allowed it to remain the nearly blank canvas that I still enjoy. The fundamentally solid foundations of the world are available for us to create great stories, without someone else's canonical stories constraining us.
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Lanthorn
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CruelSummerLord, DITTO!!!

Yeah, pretty much what you said, for the reasons you noted, and nearly in the same order.

-Lanthorn
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Thyrnbryn
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2019 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To me, it has always had the perfect depth of information about the various areas, countries, etc. I know what each area feels like, whether it is the Viking feel of the Thillonrian peninsula, the classic fantasy flavor of the Sheldomar Valley, the middle eastern feel of the far north-west, or the Incan-Mayan-Aztec flavor of the far south.

Yet it is not so deep, as I can fit just about any type of adventure or idea into just about any area with a little creative work.

I can do anything I want, anywhere I want, and have it work, while knowing the flavor of each area.

It's perfect in that way.

Dave Guerrieri,
Greyhawk Reborn
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tarelton
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
To me, it has always had the perfect depth of information about the various areas, countries, etc. I know what each area feels like, whether it is the Viking feel of the Thillonrian peninsula, the classic fantasy flavor of the Sheldomar Valley, the middle eastern feel of the far north-west, or the Incan-Mayan-Aztec flavor of the far south.

Yet it is not so deep, as I can fit just about any type of adventure or idea into just about any area with a little creative work.

I can do anything I want, anywhere I want, and have it work, while knowing the flavor of each area.

It's perfect in that way.


But not monetizable... which is why the best part of Greyhawk is the relative lack of source material. They stopped making material at just about the right time. Sure, I would love a guide to the Sheldomar Valley at the same level of detail as Ivid the Undying, but I'd rather fill in the blank spaces myself than watch endless iterations of super powered characters and organizations...
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NorkerMedic
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2019 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1 Darlene map

2 the City of Greyhawk

3 The Fading Lands and other places of wonder and mystery

4 villains and evil sects: The Scarlet Brotherhood, Horned Society, Iuz, etc.

5 lots of spells, artifacts, relics, and magic items with links to individual spell-casters, geographic locations, gods, big events of the past

6 the gods

7 moderate level of detail for the campaign continent, with the rest of the world essentially left blank

8 modules
Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, Dungeonland, Land Beyond the Magic Mirror, The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, Against the Cult of the Reptile God, Steading of the Hill-Giant Chieftain, etc.


9 overall high quality of presentation of materials


10 whimsical touches and dark tones that complement rather than clash
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JasonZavoda
Encyclopedia Greyhawkaniac
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I never left.
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vestcoat
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tarelton wrote:

But not monetizable... which is why the best part of Greyhawk is the relative lack of source material. They stopped making material at just about the right time.

+1.

I found GH in 1992. I was twelve, poor, and liked it specifically because there WEREN'T four, new, stupid boxed sets on the shelf at the bookstore every month. I could wrap my head around it. I could afford it, read it, master it, customize it, add to it, and keep up with the product line.

And I despise Greenwood's prose.
And I wanted to know who Mordenkainen and Leomund were.
And I liked the GH MC appendix best.
And I liked Sargent's writing as much as Neil Gaiman.
And I was intrigued by T1-4, G1-3, and all of these old, weird modules in the used bin with cool art written by someone named "Gygax" that used to be on everything TSR did and then disappeared.

Seriously, GH makes FR, RL, SJ, Planescape, Red Steel, Birthright, and Al-Qadim look like a joke. Blackmoor, Dark Sun, Dragonlance, Mystara, and Lankhmar have some merit, but they fall short too. It's really the best campaign setting for classic D&D.
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EltonJ
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of D&D style campaigns could be real. As in, they are so nicely detailed that they could be real. I come back to Greyhawk for this reason. Both Greyhawk Returns and the Greyhawk Player's Guide for D&D 2e were well done. Made it seem like a real world to me.

That's why I come back.
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xo42
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with just about everything said above and so much more. Greyhawk has always been and will always be my favorite setting. My favorite things about the setting are:

1. The City of Greyhawk. Everything is so richly detailed, from the characters, to the city quarters, to the schemes and intrigues, and even the locations themselves. This boxed set is still the #1 favorite D&D item I own. I have treasured it since I got it back in Jr. High.

2. Sargent's work: He is a master story teller and I soak up every word of his I've ever seen. I love how he portrays the struggle against evil and how he adds such power and depth and richness to every location, story, and character. And Iuz the Evil is amazing. Sargent didn't create Iuz, but he added so much to the character and the story and I think he is the ultimate villain.

3. I love the various geographical locations and how they shape and support gameplay and character development.

4. I love all the original 1st edition modules from the setting and most of the 2nd edition modules just as much, if not more. FR is good at best (too wild at worst), but Greyhawk has a flavor and originality that can't be found elsewhere in my opinion.
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Cebrion
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:18 am    Post subject: Re: What Keeps You Coming Back To Greyhawk? Reply with quote

CruelSummerLord wrote:
What Keeps You Coming Back To Greyhawk?

I never left. Wink I do own part of a timeshare in the 'Realms though, and I recently Mistbnb'd Barovia (I don't recommend the meat pies). Razz
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heychadwick
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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2019 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me it was all about cohesion. The world made sense.

I started in the 80's when the boxed set came out and I had a hard time going through a lot of the campaign set as a kid. I didn't have the attention span to really understand all of it.

When Forgotten Realms came out, I had been sucked into the story telling ability of Greenwood. I dug his history and flavor that he put into everything. The Volo's Guide made normal taverns interesting. Then....it all started to fall apart. There were pretty much only city states and the pantheon was a mess. It was constantly changing and getting revamped. It was a big mess.

Old friends started campaigns in Greyhawk and Living Greyhawk got me back. I really enjoyed that it all stands up on it's own:

The pantheons are good and cohesive. They make sense.

The migrations of peoples and reasons why make sense.

The interaction between different countries and groups of people make sense.

Overall, it's a viable game world that really works on it's own. There is about a perfect spot to drop anything you want into the game world. It's solid.
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Maraudar
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2019 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I found Greyhawk in 1981. Ive only played seriously in that setting and the Ravenloft setting. Greyhawk is my home for playing though. Even now there are so many unexplored areas and mysteries for me to look into. Im so old schoool that I dont believe in fire if it happened after Unearthed Arcana. LOL...
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