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    Canonfire :: View topic - Restatement of Canon Article
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    Restatement of Canon Article
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    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 23, 2004
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    Tue Aug 01, 2006 7:56 am  
    Restatement of Canon Article

    After the last forum was locked, Dethand gave me permission to re-open a forum for discussing an article on redefining canon. I said I would provide a warning that there be NO FLAMES!!!

    However, after working on it for a while, I am just burned out on it. Mostly I am burned out on writing the justifications, particularly as I know going in that very few will agree, so here I will just get to the core and let it simmer. Maybe I will come back to it later after working on something less meta-.




    “Broadside!: A Restatement for Canon in Greyhawk” is an excerpt from The Ivory Tower E-pistol by Goliard Skeeter, Heretic of Murlynd.

    Canons should be judged by their salvos.

    For Greyhawk, unless otherwise agreed, “canon” means any role play gaming material published in an open forum by a holder of the intellectual property rights for the Greyhawk setting or its constituent parts. “Apocrypha” means non-canon that is consistent with canon. “Heresy” means non-canon that is inconsistent with canon. Each should be judged by rationalized systems of evaluation that describe why they are to be valued for Greyhawk

    The term “salvo” means a "simultaneous discharge of guns," and ultimately derives from the earthly language Latin meaning "be in good health!," as a salutation. The connotation of salvo relates to “important visitors greeted with a volley of gunfire into the air.” It is an appropriate metaphor for rationalized systems of evaluation. A multi-faceted approach to subjective determinations of value for Greyhawk (rationalized systems of evaluation or “salvos”) lends itself to being non-arbitrary as the component parts can be seen, and thus the judgment itself can be judged.

    Examples of salvos include, but cannot be limited to:

    1. It helps or is canon for my campaign.

    2. I has the right “feel” for Greyhawk as systematically presented in NiteScreed’s “The Grey in the Hawk,” http://hem.passagen.se/hoglins/greyhawk/greyinfo.htm; GVDamerung’s “Greyhawk Style Guide,” http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=1087&highlight=greyhawk+style+guide; or other system for analyzing “feel.”

    3. If is favored by a quantifiable majority, even while statistical accuracy is likely an impossibility. See polls: for “favorite Greyhawk designer,” http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Surveys&op=results&pollID=8; “favorite Greyhawk era,” http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Surveys&op=results&pollID=45;
    “favorite Grehyhawk elements,” http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Surveys&op=results&pollID=43.

    4. If is favored by those with some authority such as the agent of the IP holder (such as Eric Mona); those recognized as experts in Greyhawk, such as Team Greyhawk and the Council of Greyhawk; or those with a through published review.

    5. It is consistent internally, or externally within the works of an author, era, edition. publication forum or all products and conclusions that logically, necessarily, or naturally follow.

    6. It is easily reconcilable by use of the Monatic approach, which asserts the primacy of canon by seeking the most consistent and ingenious method of satisfying all reasonable sources.

    7. Its primary intent is to develop the Greyhawk setting, as opposed to the default or generic, notwithstanding a Greyhawk a label or incidental Greyhawk references.

    8. It utilizes Greyhawk meta-text onomastics (anagrams, etc.), see http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=372, or fictionalized authorship for flavor or harmonization.

    9. It is well edited, organized and written with verbal skill.

    10. Is both relies upon older sources and is in turn relied upon by newer sources.

    11. It corrects a typographic error; creatively utilizes a typographical error; is funny; is plausible; incorporates well into a particular location; is from a favored author; readily implements the vision of an author; is not obscene; suggests solutions to continuity problems in canon; it conserves cherished elements; has not been superseded; is from an earlier/later sources.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 29, 2001
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    Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:09 pm  

    You don't have my rebuttal to NiteScreed's bit of irrelevance, originally posted here:
    http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=134915

    For those who don't want to find it there, I repost it below. (Note the first one!)

    About that essay and those criteria;

    Criteria No. 1 Applied Internal Historic Consistency

    So you mean there is a canon that Greyhawk follows?
    Well, of course there is. There is a canon to all campaigns.
    Or do you mean it is followed more closely in Greyhawk than other campaigns?
    Well the description given actually says the opposite, that many products released with the Greyhawk banner DON'T follow canon.

    So this seems to be either irrelevant in comparison, or self-contradictory.

    Criteria No. 2 Player Resolution of Critical Events

    Actually, the Greyhawk Wars were fought completely off-stage. Suggestions were given for what players could do during them, but the course and end result were presented as a fait accompli. This was extended in The Adventure Begins with events like the Flight of the Fiends, and continued in The Living Greyhawk Gazzetteer with other critical events.
    This should not be taken as unusual though. Whenever you deal with a published setting you must accept that the NPCs of the people writing the campaign are going to get in the official histories as completing tasks, and not your PCs. That is how it goes with such.

    Criteria No. 3 NPCs Reward More Often Than They Advise or Direct

    Again, not really. This very much depends on who you consider to be in charge of various things. Is the Circle of 8 everywhere? No. But a simple consideration of early modules shows that important NPCs are assumed to direct many things. T1 Village of Hommlett is chock full of NPCs willing to send the party off on their mission. The G1-3, D1-3, Q1 Giant-Drow-Lolth series assumes you are agents of the nobles of the region threatened by the giants. The A1-4 Slaver series assumes employment by important people of the Wild Coast to investigate the problem. The WG modules are mostly direct employment by the Circle of 8.
    So NPCs do a lot of advising and directing in Greyhawk, even if they aren't the Circle of 8, or other major, named groups or individuals.

    Criteria No. 4 Persistent Personified Evil

    First, it seems the main issue is that Greyhawk has more old time villains than say the Forgotten Realms. I'm not sure how that is much of a big deal.
    Second, it seems a good deal of Greyhawk villainy coming from nowhere is ignored.
    The Slavers of the A series? Out of the blue.
    Tharizdun? Introduced wholesale in a single module.
    Vecna? A throwaway reference for a pair of artifacts turned into a nemesis.
    No, Greyhawk villains appear as needed, just like other villains. And it would be boring if they didn't, and we were stuck with just three or four original villains from the folio. That would be boring indeed.

    Criteria No. 5 Villainous Variety

    Again, not really.
    Turrosh Mak is little more than Aerdi writ small, somewhere else. Less, it is just the Bone March transplanted west. Original?
    Tharizdun, Lolth, Acererak, Keraptis, even Iuz. All of extra-planar origin or with extra-planar ambitions. That seems pretty mundane and typical.
    Aerdy and Ivid or the Scarlet Brotherhood? Well, that covers brute military might and sneaking assassins.
    But where is the massive variety? I don't see it, just constant variations on a theme.

    Criteria No. 6 Heroism With a Price

    Actually, the revised supermodules offer the best examples of this not happening, beyond leading into another module series. Defeat Zuggtmoy and . . . the Scarlet Brotherhood has you kidnapped.
    Defeat the Slavers and . . . Lolth tries to use you to empower her plans for conquest.
    Defeat Lolth and . . . have a few token encounters of revenge.
    Or if not, and considering other modules, you are typically leveling out of the range of active campaigning, so any such retribution is typically meaningless.

    Criteria No. 7 Militant Neutrality

    The main problem with this is how it conflicts with NPCs not doing everything. If the forces of Balance are so critical, then what are players but their tools or clean up squad?
    Istus decrees, and the players observe.
    Mordenkainen chooses a side, and the players are hired to enact his schemes.
    I'm not seeing how this can exist in conjunction with those other points.

    Criteria No. 8 Personal Magics

    So a little bit of background for a few items, which any DM might be expected to provide, and slapping a few names on some spells makes Greyhawk unique?
    What about the ton of FR spells named for Elminster, one of his Seven Girl Fridays, or some Lord of Waterdeep?
    As for items, Ed Greenwood has provided seemingly endless articles with titles like "X Swords/Shields/Staves/Armor/Dire Space Hamster Home Living Habitat Extensions of the Realms".
    So yet again, I'm not seeing anything particularly unique to Greyhawk about this.

    No, overall this list seems to say much of nothing that is unique about Greyhawk in comparison to its main "competitor".

    So what actually makes Greyhawk unique to me if I deny all of the above points?
    When it comes down to it, absolutely nothing. At the end of the day, it is just another setting, no better or worse, no more or less, than any other. The only thing that can make it any better is me. Combined with an almost total absence of anyone else doing anything with it, that gives me nearly total freedom to do as a I please without having to worry that some future product will require massive reworking for me to add to my game. So indeed, absolutely nothing, in terms of no, or at least extremely few, products for the setting is what makes Greyhawk unique.
    I wanted a world, or at least a starting point for a world. I paid for one called Greyhawk, and I've got it. Now I get to do what I want with it.
    That seems unique enough to me.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 23, 2004
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    Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:58 pm  

    Samwise, I think you have illustrated my point about salvos.

    You have asserted, rather existentially, a Gygaxian idea about canon and GH (it only has meaning in my campaign, no future conflict). That one I made number one the list on purpose. I both dread and desire new material.

    Because Nitescreed’s work was broken down into constituent parts you were able to consider and reject their applicability in such a way that would not have been possible if he had merely said “because I say so.” But at the same time, you formulated you own idea about GH, little, if anything makes GH unique.

    I do have to say that I cannot agree that the work is irrelevant. I won’t argue its accuracy, or quality, because I don’t have an opinion about it yet, but I and others have thought about in relation to what is the best of canon and how to write about GH. That makes it relevant, if nothing else.

    Thanks.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 07, 2004
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    Tue Aug 08, 2006 4:23 pm  

    Samwise wrote:
    The only thing that can make it any better is me. Combined with an almost total absence of anyone else doing anything with it, that gives me nearly total freedom to do as a I please without having to worry that some future product will require massive reworking for me to add to my game. So indeed, absolutely nothing, in terms of no, or at least extremely few, products for the setting is what makes Greyhawk unique.
    I wanted a world, or at least a starting point for a world. I paid for one called Greyhawk, and I've got it. Now I get to do what I want with it.
    That seems unique enough to me.


    Very nice, Sam.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed Aug 09, 2006 9:25 am  
    Re: Restatement of Canon Article

    Wolfsire wrote:
    However, after working on it for a while, I am just burned out on it. Mostly I am burned out on writing the justifications, particularly as I know going in that very few will agree, so here I will just get to the core and let it simmer. Maybe I will come back to it later after working on something less meta-.


    I will imagine that I can then pick this theme up without stepping on your toes.
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    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed Aug 09, 2006 2:54 pm  
    Re: Restatement of Canon Article

    GVDammerung wrote:
    Wolfsire wrote:
    However, after working on it for a while, I am just burned out on it. Mostly I am burned out on writing the justifications, particularly as I know going in that very few will agree, so here I will just get to the core and let it simmer. Maybe I will come back to it later after working on something less meta-.


    I will imagine that I can then pick this theme up without stepping on your toes.


    Then you will be letting your imagination run wild Laughing

    But don't let anything I do or do not write keep you from writing up something. Actually, I was hoping for a colaborate project, but felt the need to get something down to have a common working point. If you want to write an article all by your self, rip apart what I wrote, or write something completely divergent, please do Exclamation

    BTW, I was hoping that my first post here was in satisfaction to your last PM to me on this subject. Your questions are more than valid, but as I said I was burned out on writing the jusfitication. If you want to break it down into numbered elements and justify them, go for it. I think I am not so burned out now that I cannot dialog.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Thu Aug 10, 2006 1:15 pm  
    Re: Restatement of Canon Article

    Wolfsire wrote:
    Actually, I was hoping for a colaborate project, but felt the need to get something down to have a common working point.


    I am cool with that. Smile I've got something cooked up. Wink I'll post it here for everyone's dilection but not to disturb the Admins at Gencon, I'll hold off until Monday. That way they can delete the thread more easily if they think we are getting mired. I dread that . . . getting mired. Wink Shocked

    Cool
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    GVD
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    Joined: Aug 13, 2006
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    Sun Aug 13, 2006 12:28 am  

    Wolfsire wrote:

    Because Nitescreed’s work was broken down into constituent parts you were able to consider and reject their applicability in such a way that would not have been possible if he had merely said “because I say so.” But at the same time, you formulated you own idea about GH, little, if anything makes GH unique.


    To me, what Sam was illustrating (and I've posted my own "rebuttal" to 'Screeds manifesto, though its a lot more heated and "colorful" than Sam's), is that in the end, except for folks like Mona, GH style guides and manifestos are, pretty much, useless. Everyone will have their own idea about what makes GH GH, and what makes it better than the alternatives.

    Despite the intentions of the author (I, for example, grant GVD much more assumed benevolence in the motives behind his style guides and related postings than I grant nitescreeds trollish piece), these sorts of articles and posts almost always lead to debate, then arguing, then flamewars.

    I think, a better approach is to just formulate a solid personal vision of the setting, craft your material and ideas and post them. You can then explain things when asked why or how you did this or that, but avoid the pointless flaming that always seems to come with benchmarking the setting.
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