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Faerun has superheroes and Flananess has heroes

 
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mindseye
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Joined: Oct 09, 2014
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2019 10:44 pm    Post subject: Faerun has superheroes and Flananess has heroes Reply with quote

And that's okay.

Looking at the hardcovers for Fifth edition (Ghosts of Saltmarsh and Yawning Portal (mostly) excepted, of course) I'm struck by how world shaking all of the events are. Shocked Dragon Goddesses being brought physically into the plain, Whatever the Elemental princes were doing, Multiple Demon Lords mucking about at once, Cities being pulled into Hell, and whatnot. This is all big league stuff that needs the top guys of the Realms to take care of it. And the heroes definitely rise to the challenge.

And in FR with the likes of Elminster and Drizzt (and superfriends) taking the passage of 100 years in stride due to the profitability of their novel series, these seem like appropriate challenges. However, these seem a little overblown for Greyhawk.

Not that heroes of Greyhawk are inferior in any way, it's just the villains are more circumspect, less grandiose in their plans. Iuz is planning on taking over the whole planet, to be sure, but he's able to be thwarted by things like international politics, even with a demon army to back him up. Lolth may be pushing Giants to cause trouble in the Yeomanry, but it's only part of the Flananess that deals with it, not the giants everywhere rising up because their gods are upset. rolleyes

And I like that about Greyhawk. Compare the scale of GoS with HotDQ and RoT. If the heroes screw up in GoS there might be a Saguhain army to deal with or Undead pirates attacking the coast, but it's not an existential threat--yet. It could be, but the next party of adventurers should be able to head it off. In RoT, if the players have a royally bad day at the dice, Tiamat moves next door to Cormyr?

I prefer the smaller scale, where my character doesn't have to have an earth shattering effect on the world to have accomplished important feats in his own life or area.

Any of the Sages here have any thoughts to share about the scale of adventures in Greyhawk?
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Denakhan
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Joined: Mar 03, 2002
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2019 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hiya!

I agree 100%.

To us, Forgotten Realms always...and I mean ALWAYS ...made us fell like we were playing"fanboi wannabe's with no skill, potential, or worth". Don't get me wrong, we still had fun ('ish...) times, and this was even back with 1e/2e "Time of Troubles" (I think?...the whole 'gods go missing' thing). IIRC, it was right when the Realms started to transform primarily from "Here's a world, enjoy" to "Here's OUR world, deal with it".

One of the biggest things that pretty much broke the camels back was discovering some adventure (published) where you are 1st level and trying to help a town fight off an uptick in bandit and goblin activity somewhere in the Dalelands. You talk to some guy, he says "I'll pay you" or something, and your task is to discover who/what is going on and then take out the bandits/goblins. ... ...And then we flip to a page in the hardback "Forgotten Realms Adventures" book (may have been the first hardback Realms book ever)...and discover that the town hiring us 5 nobodies? Yeah, they have an army of several hundred 3rd to 5th level fighters armed in plate mail, shield and sword, led by 7th level captains, all under command of some stupid high level NPC (can't even remember his//her class, but it was high-teens iirc).

"...you...absolute...sadistic...d!*ks..." was all we could think. It's like the US Military hiring 5 local 'freedom fighters' to go take out a couple of terrorist-d-bags from a heavily armed Taliban fortification/compound, that just so happens to be about two hours drive away.

Anyway, that was the general 'vibe' we got fed to us over and over; "You are the heroes!*"
... ... (*well, not REALLY the heroes...you're important, sorta, I guess... I mean if you do it folks will clap, so there's that, right? If you die, uh, sorry? Sure, we could just cast a spell or three, find out who the bad guy is and where he is, then summon an invisible stalker to kill him, or maybe teleport there ourselves and clean up in twenty or thirty minutes, but, uh...we're just SOOO busy with all the, um...you know...'leadership' stuff and whatnot...so...yeah....kaythnxby!).

;)

With Greyhawk, even looking at the majority of rulers, we're talking 8th to 14th level on average. With 1e, a 10th level Fighter going with a handful of men at arms to take out a hundred goblins in their lair is likely to result in the death of all men at arms and possibly even the Fighter if the goblins get lucky or have traps the fighter falls to. In Greyhawk there aren't "armies of 3rd level fighters in plate, shield and sword", and the high-level magic-users of the world? Yeah, they're pretty self serving and have better things to do than save a town from goblins.
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Icarus
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Joined: Nov 01, 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:23 am    Post subject: Re: Faerun has superheroes and Flananess has heroes Reply with quote

mindseye wrote:
And that's okay.
I prefer the smaller scale, where my character doesn't have to have an earth shattering effect on the world to have accomplished important feats in his own life or area.
Not to just say, "Yep", but, this, right here, is SO much it.

Don't get me wrong … I like big, cosmic stuff as much as The Next Guy™, but I generally find the more down-to-earth, street-level heroes to be a little more satisfying. For the same reason I like Netflix's Daredevil more than Captain Marvel.
I loved seeing Captain Marvel. But, the story doesn't seem as satisfying to me when the heroine is so uber-powerful she can just blast the bad guys into oblivion. I like the struggle. The fight. The striving to do or be something good.
And not just in superhero movies or D&D characters.
In literature, at all.
I find a narrative more compelling when I can more closely identify with the hero - flaws and all - and imagine how difficult the things they must go through must be.
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SirXaris
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Joined: Jul 26, 2010
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Icarus has, again, described my own feelings on the matter eloquently.

One specific example I dislike is a hero(ine) that is chosen by fate/the gods/etc. and imbued with super powers that goes on to win the day. This just seems to shut down my own dreams of being a hero since I am not such a chosen one. Besides, how hard is it to be a good guy when you are practically immune to everything? Superman is great, but Captain America is the same good guy without the invulnerability. That is why Captain America is a much better role model, in my opinion.

In my Greyhawk (and this is generally true of canon Greyhawk as well), most of the heroes - like the PCs - have risen to power by pulling themselves up by the bootstraps. They were not chosen by a god to be the vessel of his or her awesome might. Mordenkainen, Iggwilv, Tenser, Vecna, Belvor IV, Tzunk, et. al., and even most of the Quasi- and Hero-Deities (Zagyg, Myrlund, Heward, etc.) had no supernatural birthright. They gained their superpowers as mortals through their own accomplishments.

This is what I want my player's to see as a possibility for their own characters. I don't want them to begin as the son of a god at with abilities that allow them to defeat Pit Fiends at first level. It may be fun for others, but it is not my vision of what Greyhawk should be.

I do enjoy shows like The Avengers, but it is not the type of fantasy role-playing I enjoy participating in.

SirXaris
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jamesdglick
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Joined: Jul 09, 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm... This topic would work well under general topics...

mindseye wrote:
...Looking at the hardcovers for Fifth edition (Ghosts of Saltmarsh and Yawning Portal (mostly) excepted, of course) I'm struck by how world shaking all of the events are... However, these seem a little overblown for Greyhawk.

...Compare the scale of GoS with HotDQ and RoT. If the heroes screw up in GoS there might be a Saguhain army to deal with or Undead pirates attacking the coast, but it's not an existential threat--yet. It could be, but the next party of adventurersshould be able to head it off. In RoT, if the players have a royally bad day at the dice, Tiamat moves next door to Cormyr?

I prefer the smaller scale, where my character doesn't have to have an earth shattering effect on the world to have accomplished important feats in his own life or area.

Any of the Sages here have any thoughts to share about the scale of adventures in Greyhawk?


-The "if the players fail X, then the army/country/world/universe/whatever will be destroyed" thing irks me, in part, because how often does that happen in real life? Name one instance. Yes, this is fantasy, but even in my fantasy I guess I'm a real worldkind of guy.

Not everyone might agree with this take, but so it goes.

A point that might have more universal appeal is, that if the only way you can make your adventure exciting is to threaten the extinction of the world, then maybe you need a lesson in making more interesting plots and do a better job of getting the playersto empathize with the people of your world. Something like this:

Icarus wrote:
...I find a narrative more compelling when I can more closely identify with the hero - flaws and all - and imagine how difficult the things they must go through must be.


SirXaris wrote:
...One specific example I dislike is a hero(ine) that is chosen by fate/the gods/etc. and imbued with super powers that goes on to win the day. This just seems to shut down my own dreams of being a hero since I am not such a chosen one. Besides, how hard is it to be a good guy when you are practically immune to everything? Superman is great, but Captain America is the same good guy without the invulnerability. That is why Captain America is a much better role model, in my opinion...


-Hmmm... I don't see too many superhero movies (I generally think they're silly, so it goes), but I have seen that scene where Wonder Woman charges across no man's land on youtube a bunch of times (skip the ads):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJCgeOAKXyg

...it looks to me like WW would have been shot full of holes (starting at 2:35) if her mortal companions hadn't helped her out. It's apparently the scene that makes the film. Even goddesses can use a helping hand from time to time... 😉
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