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    Canonfire :: View topic - Dragon No. 46 - The World of Greyhawk Officially Begins
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    Dragon No. 46 - The World of Greyhawk Officially Begins
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    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Mon Mar 28, 2005 8:26 pm  
    Dragon No. 46 - The World of Greyhawk Officially Begins

    The year is 1981. I am a private in the United States Army, Field Artillery stationed in Augsburg, 30 miles north of Munich, in what was then West Germany. While there are smaller cities, like Rothenberg, that are preserved virtually intact from the Middle Ages, Augsburg was and is the largest city in Germany to have its city center preserved nearly intact from medieval times (no bombing during WWII). In the Middle Ages, Augsburg was home to the Fugger family of bankers, rivals of the more famous Medeci of Italy and like the Medeci, the Fuggers were civic minded patrons of the arts. If you ever get the chance, Augsburg is something to see.

    Sight seeing was was about all I could afford to do on a private's salary. Augsburg offered plenty, from the Roman walls and surviving gate of Augustinium to the two medieval cathedrals that bookend the city center to the museums (Augsburg was a major metal working center - gold, silver and armor, lots of medieval armor) and the monuments of the Fuggers. But in mid-winter? Back in the 1980's, southern Germany had some amazing winters, lots of snow that I would brave to go to the Kriskindermarkt around Christmas to drink warm Glubwein but otherwise I was not making the five mile walk from my base (called a Kaserne and formeraly SS headquarters for Bavaria during WWII) to the city center and back in knee high drifts.

    So, I would go to the PX (Post Exchange) which was kind of like a department store, with a number of "extras," and Augsburg's was the second largest in Germany at the time, 7 stories. Part of the PX was the Stars and Stripes bookstore, my favorite part. I could brouse the magazine, comic and book racks, buying something when I could afford it (beer money came first back then). In the winter of 1981, I happened upon Dragon Magazine No. 46 on the magazine rack and, for some reason, decided to buy it.

    I was already familiar with D&D from highschool, which I quit to join the Army (You could do that back then, no degree needed) but I was not yet a dedicated gamer. It was a game I played in highschool. It was fun but not my "hobby." I'd played a little in Basic Training but again, not a hobby. Of course, wargaming was big in the military and roleplaying was gaining ground at the time. I was mainly a wargamer. I'd arrange my CQ (Charge of Quarters) duty (privates assisted the CQ, who was an NCO, and the Officer of the Day) to coincide with that of NCOs and Officers who wargamed and we'd game almost the entire time we were on duty, after retreat and before rollcall in the morning (CQ duty was a 24 hour shift where you were on call after retreat at 4pm). Dragon Magazine No. 46 made me a roleplayer.

    In Dragon Magazine No. 46, there were three reviews of something called "The World of Greyhawk." I read the reviews and ordered the Folio from a mail order hobby shop in Chicago that I had previously used to order wargames (I'd save up to get the big "detergent box" games from SPI). In a little under a month, in the last vestiges of winter in southern Bavaria, I became a Greyhawker and a roleplayer. I'd never seen anything like the World of Greyhawk and I was hooked.

    I have that very same issue on the desk in front of me this moment as I type. I am in the middle of doing some research for some Greyhawk projects I'm working on and busted out the Dragon collection to reread some stuff. I got distracted, whisked away to a time 24 years ago, half a world away, when winter was also winding down.

    Rereading those reviews of The World of Greyhawk, it is amazing how much remains the same. The first review - That Wait Was Worth It - chronicles the 18 month wait for WoG, presaging the wait for TOEE and now Castle Zagyg. All by same author, btw. Wink The second review - A Universal Constant - says it all with the title but also raises the issue of racism in Greyhawk, a issue that continues to flair with respect to the Suel and the Olman, turns out that issue is as old as the very first set of reviews. Shocked The third review - Grey Areas Were Made That Way - is the first discussion of "greyness."

    At the same time, much of what is described in those reviews, particularly as virtues of Greyhawk, has gone the way of the dodo. Lack of detail about specific leaders? About the gods? Etc. Some of that remains, of course.

    Is Greyhawk better or worse since Dragon 46? I can't answer that. It is not the same but that doesn't mean better or worse. I, Greyhawk and my PX Dragon No. 46 have all grown up together. Until I purposefully look back, it is all of a piece.

    While Greyhawk had, of course, appeared in bits and pieces in various products and Dragons before No. 46, that issue was Greyhawk's coming out party with the then brand new Folio putting all those pieces in the grand context of Darlene's maps. Of all the Dragon's I've collected, No. 46 remains my favorite because it made me a roleplayer and a Greyhawker.

    If you have not read those three initial reviews, I heartily recommend it. Old Dragons are cheaply come by now after the CD-Rom collection and available on the latter, as well. Dragon No. 46 is not a great issue but it is a historic one for Greyhawk and for me.

    Glenn Dammerung
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    Tue Mar 29, 2005 7:31 pm  

    Great Article Glenn, It brings back many memories. For me it was the Navy in 82, and also like you I was first a wargammer before a role-player. For us on base or at sea it was Panzerblitz or Panzer Leader and of course Midway and Jutland. I personally liked Avalon Hill more then SPI. I will check my collection to see if I have Dragon #46. The early 80s were a fun time…
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Mar 29, 2005 8:37 pm  

    I was, ah, 9 years old in 1981. I had a birthday party at my grandparents and got a card that I don't remember, except that I really liked it (the irony is killing me). My cousins from Down South were there -- one of them got engaged yesterday (yay Kat!), and her older brother helped introduce me to D&D a few years after 1981.

    None of that is relevant, of course. Just wanted to make y'all feel old.

    Wink
    Nell.
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    Tue Mar 29, 2005 9:25 pm  

    In 1981 I was 10 years old, in 5th grade, and living in Saudia Arabia. My father worked for a telecommunications company that was contracted by the Saudi Arabian military.

    I had seen ads for D&D in Boy's Life magazine (which I got as a Cub Scout) and was interested, but knew of no one to teach me. The first quarter of the school year we were in Riyadh, and a guy by the name of Ben Huff showed me how to play. I still have the map from my first adventure, in which we fought wolves, giant hawks, and kobolds before I moved to Taif and again had no one to play with. I wrote letters with questions to TSR and they were returned, with hand-written answers from Jon Pickens and Penny Petticord.

    For Christmas of 1982 I got Dragon 60-something, the one introducing the Barbarian class. There were notes in the article about locations in Greyhawk for barbarians, but I didn't know what Greyhawk was. I DMed in the Known World (which was what Mystara was called before it was Mystara) with Basic and Expert D&D for 6th through 9th grade. Then in 10th grade (1987) some of my players bought the 1983 WoG Boxed set and the AD&D books for me and said that is what they would like to do...

    That Greyhawk campaign is still ongoing, and I occasionally post stories from it here.

    Surfing the wave of nostalgia,

    Kirt


    Oh, just to bring this around full circle to GVD...
    In 1991 I and one of my players visited another player in Germany. After he graduated from high school he went into the army and was stationed in Mannheim. We toured Rottenburg and Hiedelburg Castle in the day and they killed trolls and drank Jaegermeister at night. These two guys are Carnail and Kristianna from my posts.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Tue Mar 29, 2005 9:42 pm  

    Nell wrote:
    None of that is relevant, of course. Just wanted to make y'all feel old.


    And thank you very much, it worked. Happy

    In 1981 I received the 1e DMG for Christmas...still have it. I was oh, about 12 years old and was already a couple of years into D&D.

    ....grabs cane and heads for the rocker....
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    Wed Mar 30, 2005 10:46 am  

    '81 and '82 seem to be the years, eh?

    I was 10 years old, and got the D&D Basic Set (the red box) for Christmas. I had bought Rose Estes' 'Dungeon of Dread' at a school book fair (and this was Catholic school! In light of everything that happened with D&D and Satanism in the mid-80's, it's pretty funny that this book was available to Catholic youngsters a few years earlier) a few months earlier, just because I was a fan of "The Hobbit" and "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" and it caught my eye. Plus Choose Your Own Adventure books were all the rage back then. So in the back of the book (after I attacked the troll and it killed me) I saw the ad for D&D and asked my parents to get it for me. For my birthday I got DUNGEON! Fun, but not exactly what I wanted. So finally for Christmas I got the red box set. DM'd my first game, Palace of the Silver Princess, with my 8-year old brother, my mom, and my dad as the players. It was a disaster, but here I am, still DM'ing all these years later. And although my mom never gamed after that first session, and my dad won't game cause I can't drag him away from Diablo, my brother is still one of my players.
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    Wed Mar 30, 2005 7:55 pm  

    LOL!
    Thanks for starting this GV. '81 I was 11. I was at a friend's birthday party and he received the PHB (with the gem-eyed statue). We sat down and played that night. I had a dwarf that used a mace. I didn't quite know what a mace was at that time (tear gas?) Ah ignorance.

    After that we all started playing at school during recess in the library (when I wasn't playing football or basketball) at a Catholic school. We were run out b/c of noise. We appealled and were allowed in again but later told we couldn't play DnD (that whole DnD is evil). So we played VnV or Star Frontiers or Marvel Superheroes...Then they deemed RPGs bad. We just played them at home after that.

    We seemed to all have the same campaign running even though no one really sat down to play at once. All the PCs were in the same world and various PCs wanted to kill others (PC Killers). Discussions during football or calls on the phone RE tactics were common. Of course we didn't understand the complete game. I don't think we had but 2 PHBs and 1 DMG between the 10-12 of us.

    I sold homemade cookies door-to-door in the rain to buy the red basic set. Am I a nerd?


    Last edited by Nolandr on Thu Mar 31, 2005 8:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Thu Mar 31, 2005 12:55 am  

    Nellisir wrote:
    Quote:
    None of that is relevant, of course. Just wanted to make y'all feel old.


    Eh? What? Ifn I was 50 years younger I'd... Laughing

    1981. Heh, I bought this folder-thingy with a really cool map in it. It was for AD&D, and I'd been playing that for about two years, so I figured I'd take a look. It had this little 32-page booklet inside, and all of a sudden there was a location where all of this D&D stuff took place.

    Sure there was the same map in that 1983 Boxed Set (and neater looking booklets). And that smaller map in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer. And Mr. Mona's massive 4-part project... one for use and one in plastic. But oh how that first one sparked the imagination.

    The Folio folder still sits on my bookshelf, heavily taped up to keep it from totally disintegrating. And that first Darlene map, with the pin holes where we marked the module locations over the years, is hanging on my wall. My players today still reference that old map. Just like a bunch of 13-year-olds did in 1981...

    So, I'm not as old as GVD Laughing (I couldn't sign up 'til '86). I'm no spring chicken, either.

    Ya whippersnapper...
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    Thu Mar 31, 2005 7:13 am  

    81 I was almost 14. Like FirePower I went and bought this folder thing with a really cool cover and the village of hommlet at the same time. 24 years later I still have both. Banged up and beat up they still hold a very special place in my collection. We taped the map together so we could see where everything was. Hey, I even have dragon #46.. Of course my favorite issue of all times is #36 cause that had Conan in it Happy .


    Maraudar
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    Thu Mar 31, 2005 2:30 pm  
    My two coppers worth

    Let me throw in my two coppers to this "Old Coots' Club" memorial,

    I first got into D&D through my friends, guess it was about '83 - I was ten. We would check out copies of the DMG and Player's Handbook from the local library and run little adventures on an irregular basis. I remember looking through the Monster Manual and enjoying the great art. That, and collecting the cool lead figures, was about the extent of my interest until I got a module of my own.

    I was wandering through the Base Exchange (BX) of Norton Air Force Base when my brother and I decided on a whim to get a couple of D&D things. He got UK1 Beyond the Crystal Caves and I got N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God. I also picked up my first copy of Dragon Magazine - Issue 126 - because I liked the art on the cover.

    I took it on myself to be the DM. So we borrowed the books from the library and with a lot of guesstimation and rules fudging, managed to DM our way through the adventures. I had no idea what I was doing but loved every minute of it.

    So I was hooked and decided that I had to have all the Greyhawk materials I could get my hands on. I managed to collect a lot of materials bit by bit by going through obscure hobby stores and by ordering through ads in the back of Dragon Mag. Needless to say, my collection has grown quite a bit since that time. But I still hold those first newbie steps as the best moments in my DM career.

    I don't play much anymore. Things have gotten way too busy, but I have been going through all my old notes and have been writing up my old ideas. I get a lot of enjoyment out of that. Many of my articles were based off of ideas that I submitted to Dragon Magazine but never got to publish (granted, my writing skills may have been a little less back when I was still in high school). So through my editing and uopdating, I am now getting the chance to release them on the internet, the thrill of publication is still there.

    Well, enough rambling. Here's to many more years of happy gaming!

    O-D
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    Thu Mar 31, 2005 9:03 pm  

    A nice reminiscence of things GVD. Rothenburg is a sight to behold- I was fortunate enough to see it a few summers back, but missed Augsburg. All I know is that I will be going back some day as it was too much fun in Germany, places and people both. Rothenburg has a medieval/Rennaisance festival in early June called Meistertrunk, which I just happened to arrive in time for. Cool

    The first D&D set i ever had was the expert Set in about 78'. From there we got the basic set, and within a year we moved on to Shocked "Advanced D&D". At 10, we were GENIUSES!!! Uh...yeah, right.

    Great times still. Memories...
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    Sat Apr 02, 2005 6:25 am  

    "Heavens to Murgatroid!" I feel old, now. Confused Where are all the "old timers" Greyhawk is supposedly famous for? Shocked "Graying of the hobby" and all that. All you young pups. Smile I'll forego the obligatory paens to "age." Wink
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    Sun Apr 03, 2005 7:58 am  

    Well, in '81 I was 25 and had been playing D&D for six and a half years or thereabouts. Closer to 7 I think. I was serving in the Marines at that time, somewhere in northern Norway above the Arctic circle.

    It's been a long haul. Still a 'Hawker, still in D&D, no plans to stop.

    Galiana
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