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    Rebooting GH to 576 CY
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    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Sat Sep 22, 2007 8:04 am  
    Rebooting GH to 576 CY

    Thinking this topic need not be relegated to the growing proliferation of sub-threads that draw increasingly less activity and readership the farther down the thread list in the Forums they appear,

    I had stated my thought that GH might be rebooted rather than "frozen in time" or "have the timeline advanced,"

    in another thread, Eileen then asked, -

    EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
    GVD what sort of ideas do you have for a roboot? I'm interested in hearing what you have in mind (curious).


    My preference would be to go back to 576 CY, the original Folio/83 Boxed set start date, and say "Considering everything that has been written about GH to 2007 etc., what changes would we choose to incorporate into a restarted or rebooted WoG with 20/20 hindsight and what would we choose to avoid? As well, what new ideas or developments might we choose to include?"

    So, for example, Vecna started out as just a legend with his Hand and Eye his only real presence in the setting per the 1e DMG. Then, Vecna was reborn in "Vecna Lives." After his defeat there, he was trapped for a time in Ravenloft in "Vecna Reborn." Next, he escaped from Ravenloft and attempted to achieve universal godhood in "Die, Vecna, Die!" Finally, while failing to achieve universal godhood, Vecna did manage to become divine in the 4e PH. WHEW! If we could go back and reboot or restart the setting, would we choose to follow this same story arch? Some of it? None of it? Something entirely different?

    Another example, the Scarlet Brotherhood was this cool, secret organization of monks, assassins and thieves. From the Ashes turned the Scarlet Brotherhood in an army and navy of conquerors, taking away their secrecy and making the three tiered organization secondary to their military forces. Would we do the same thing if we could reboot/restart the setting in 576CY? Would we choose to go another way?

    Saracenus wrote:
    I think that a re-imagining al la Battlestar Galactica . . . is more in order. Figure out what is the essence of Greyhawk and distill it into something familiar and different.


    This is another way of putting it - reimagining the setting, knowing everything we know but having the opportunity to restart the setting from scratch. Maybe we would do everything the same, but I doubt it. Maybe we would keep some ideas or developments but ignore others, likely IMO. Probably, we'd add some completely new material. It would be GH Mark II - similar to the GH that has developed to this point but not a continuation of it - a fresh start.
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    GVD
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    Sat Sep 22, 2007 10:58 am  

    I like it, but it would play havoc with a lot of campaigns currently running. Any solution to not starting campaigns all over again? I would propose having Vecna exist but back him up to being an ancient ruler and now the sort of mystery legend. It keeps him real, plus details out an ancient kingdom and makes the artifacts relevant.

    I'd keep the Scarlet Brotherhood secret but write in ambitions or reasons why they wish to remain secluded.

    Iuz I'd like to see have acquired more territory as in FTA.

    I'd also like to see the Great Kingdom or Keoland returning to its former glory (but only one of these nations).

    I can think of a lot of new changes as well I'd like to have seen
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    Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
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    Sat Sep 22, 2007 11:46 am  

    I don't think that simply redefining canon is the way to go - just look at all the griping about 4e's various minor changes. Do you really think the GH community - which tends to be extremely conservative when it comes to changing the setting - will go for it? I don't. Can you imagine the threads that would be started on these boards? People would be griping that Vecna is no longer a god, that Iuz is just a demon lord gone wild, that the Scarlet Brotherhood is just one more anachronistic group of monks, etc. Anytime you start messing with established canon you start having problems.

    Of course, rebooting in any other way has its problems, too, but I don't think the other options that have been mentioned in these forums would provoke quite as much controversy as this option.

    I think the only viable option is to reboot, as has been suggested, to some point in the future. In terms of current GH lore, I think there should be some sort of effort to establish what truly is and isn't canon. For example, IMO, the Ravenloft treatment of Vecna shouldn't be canon. Once canon is established and the important details are ironed out, then a rebooted setting can be built from that foundation.
    GreySage

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    Sat Sep 22, 2007 12:40 pm  

    bubbagump wrote:
    Do you really think the GH community - which tends to be extremely conservative when it comes to changing the setting - will go for it?


    Yes, actually. Most of us are extremely fond of the 576-era Greyhawk. If we were presented with a nice-looking hardcover detailing that setting (probably with additional historical, divine, and regional detail from subsequent products, appropriate to that era) I think all of us would jump for joy. Even if it were just a reprint of the 1983 boxed set, updated to 4e or made edition-neutral, reformatted with attractive full-color illustrations, I would buy it in a second.

    That's not really what we're talking about, though. We seem to be talking about something like an alternate 591 CY, where the Greyhawk Wars happened in a different way. Even then, I think most of us wouldn't have a problem starting a new campaign in the new version of the setting. It would still feel like Greyhawk - possibly more like Greyhawk than the current version. The very same "conservative" impulse that causes most of us to shirk at the idea of removing succubi from the Abyss also caused many of us to frown at how Tenh and Geoff were devastated during the Greyhawk Wars, or how the Scarlet Brotherhood was outed or Vecna revealed. Maybe Rary never betrayed the Circle; maybe the Wild Coast was never conquered by Turrosh Mak. Would you complain too loudly if that happened? Obviously, you wouldn't make those changes in the middle of a campaign, but you could still make good use of a sourcebook that explored the culture of Tenh or the Wild Coast in detail instead of going on about how broken they were, and you might decide to adopt the new version in the next campaign you start.

    Of course, if there were no changes of substance from the way things were in 576, why advance the timeline at all? Better to just produce a new 576 CY sourcebook and let individual groups take the setting in whatever direction they prefer.

    Would Greyhawk feel like Greyhawk a hundred years from now? Somewhat, probably, but there'd be a lot of differences. Would a less "damaged" Greyhawk of 591 or 596 ot 600 still feel like Greyhawk? I think it definitely would.

    I don't mind several of the changes that others complain about - I really don't understand what's wrong with Vecna as a demigod, and I like the Scarlet Sign as a Pan Tang-ish naval power - but I wouldn't be upset to see a new sourcebook that changed those things. The sight of a pretty new Greyhawk sourcebook would be worth quite a lot of retconning.
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Sep 22, 2007 1:05 pm  

    So essentially you want to undo FtA; not likely.

    Beyond scaping all the wealth found in the regional source books and the LGG, there is another problem if you want to undo the era you don't like is alright, despite the upset of the pro-greyhawk wars people, why not allow the gyrax faction to "reboot" to that era. Some have been complaining GH lost its way when he left.

    Who gets to decide which era is worthy of canon or are you just suggesting everybody "cherry pick" which would make it almost impossible to have a coherent history for the setting once we start undoing eras wholesale.

    Which is why GH has turned rationalisation the general community can live with into an art form. Your concerns can be handled going forward without a reboot.

    If Vecna godhood bothers you find a reason for its loss.

    The SB is outed but how much does anyone truly know of the inner workings, even canon doesn't place the military in control. The tSB source book explains why the attack and even hints that it is part of an elaborate deeper covert plan, think of a way to flesh out this aspect so the SB becomes more secretive and covert once again.

    I am sure that with the number of grey sages on this board a solution can be found that solves some of your concerns without invalidating an entire era of development.
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    Sat Sep 22, 2007 2:37 pm  

    Woah woah woah. Re-write GH history... ahhh.... NO! Shocked

    That's my two pence worth. The material out there is what makes GH what it is, and as long as its kept true to its medieval Europe/low magic nature, then it'll always attract my coin.

    If WotC ever decided to take up the torch for Greyhawk again... with the way changes have been made with the game over all, to date.... expect the change to be massive and in someone elses perception that will most likely be very destructive to what "fans sites" have established.... can't make profit or gain intellectual rights to related material already out there.

    I hope I'm proven wrong by actual, official, published material... if and/or when the World of Greyhawk is "officially" re-produced by the then owners of D&D.

    Later,

    Ancient Gamer Cool ...a Greyhawkian in London.

    PS... Eileen, should I ever end up in your neck of the woods, most definitely we'll do some game time... I'll bring the munchies.
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    Sat Sep 22, 2007 3:23 pm  

    Crag wrote:
    So essentially you want to undo FtA; not likely.


    No. That is not my suggestion at all. EVERYTHING. Let me say that again to be perfectly clear - EVERYTHING - goes into the intellectual hopper. The year is set to 576 CY, 100 CY, 1200 CY - it does not matter. Whatever year is picked for the reboot - EVERYTHING GH GOES INTO THE INTELLECTUAL AND DESIGN HOPPER. From this sum total of all GH, plus any new ideas, a new or rebooted or restarted GH is developed and drawn forth. There would be no scared cows that were guaranteed of inclusion or exclusion, save for the intent that the end product feel and be recognizable, however different in some particulars, as WoG.

    So, you are concerned about details that only emerged via FtA? They are in the hopper. Others like EGG era GH? Its in the hopper too. So is LGG era GH and GH98. EVERYTHING GH IS IN THE HOPPER.

    The real question is which parts are drawn out of the hopper and how are they put together and with what new ideas - which ideas and concepts make it into the final version of the rebooted GH.

    Who gets to decide this? That's easy. Whomever would be on the design team!

    Of course not everyone will be happy with the result - nothing is ever perfect. But if the alternatives are "freezing" the setting or "advancing" the timeline, I think a "reboot" is at least as viable an option.

    GH canon is a mess. We try to harmonize it, rationalize it etc. but it remains a patchwork quilt. I say start over with the best ideas and concepts, plus some new things, and design it as a coherent whole, not a Frankenstein of a setting.
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    GVD
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    Sat Sep 22, 2007 3:43 pm  

    I still like this idea. Recognizing that it may not be popular though, I'm ok with that.

    First off, it's something interesting to think about, consider, and discuss.

    Secondly, since WOTC are the ones who can do anything about it from an official standpoint, there are no real concerns for anyone reading or partaking in the topic of conversation. I doubt that WOTC would take this idea and run with it, they I'm sure have their own ideas about what is best.

    Placing everything in the hopper could be messy in the beginning but very interesting. In the long run I think what we would have would very much be Greyhawk, especially if the timepline was backed up.

    One needs to remember that with a backed up timeline, many things we are currently familiar with have yet to happen.

    For example, the Scarlet Brotherhood is still secretive.....someday they may make their presence known.

    The Greyhawk Wars may still happen.

    Vecna could still become a god.

    All of these events could be the future of what is to come. If an active campaign was developed, it might be possible to write the Gazetteer in a manner which would allow the DM to select the appropriate drop in timeline they want to run.

    The design team would be taking the best of the best (all of which is Greyhawk) and tying things together so that it is more cohesive rather than a bit here and a bit there. Sure new details will arise to make things flow better, but I expect they would be the lesser of details. All of the core events which make up Greyhawk would be present.

    So what would you want to put in the hopper and take out to include?

    Again, this is a topic of conversation, not a reality that WOTC is likely to approach.
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    Eileen of Greyhawk, Prophet of Istus, Messenger of the Gods
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    Sun Sep 23, 2007 12:27 am  

    I'd be very OK with a reboot to 576 CY while still incorporating some of the development that has gone on that doesn't have to do with the events past 576 CY, which would include things like the world changing events of the Greyhawk Wars. Those things would just remain as possibilities for everyone to make use of as they wish. It is simply one of many possible futures that a GH campaigns can follow, if the DM chooses.

    New material that was developed post 83' boxed set would go in as it applies to that time, such as the detailing of much of the area of the lands of Iuz in Iuz the Evil, and some of the material that further fleshes out slightly the regions of Furyondy in The Marklands. I’m not sure if this is what you mean about all material going into the hopper though.

    Also, I think it is OK to retconn quite a few things that were poorly written, were bad ideas, or both. It is OK to rewrite shite! Happy

    And I agree with some of your allusions to changing certain events in how they unfolded. The SB should remain the secret organization. If they were to invade the Hold of the Sea Princes, I would have had them invade using a mercenary force and a bunch of Amedio/Hepmonaland savages led by agents of the SB(which means they may not even specifically be direct agents of the SB, but well guided pawns instead). This will be my take on them when they finally take to the filed in my campaign, which is in the midst of the Greyhawk Wars. I’ll probably still have the Lordship of the Isles fall to them and also the Sear Barons, who will say they are now becoming an annexed state of Shar “for protection” from the wars of the mainland(even though the death of the first sons and continuing threats are the real reason). The SB is one sore spot for me obviously. Wink

    I agree that Greyhawk “canon” is a grand mess, and I really see the main reason for that being the fault of the piecemeal fashion in which it has been developed. The grand plan left with Gygax, and it seems nobody thought to create a grand plan themselves afterward. For a reboot to take root and work, everything needs to be thought out, at least in a cursory fashion before any writing occurs. Establish what there is, and what framework is evoked by the beginning Greyhawk material. Then it is time to see what subsequent material fits the model established in the 83’ boxed set(which much of the latter material does not quite follow very well) and fit it to that. Once all of the material that has been published is included or excluded(which is really what happens when “canon” is decided), this will be the “Greyhawk Bible”. Everything that is left out will be considered part of the “Greyhawk Apocrypha”. The “Greyhawk Bible” will form the basis of what is to be done, and the undeveloped parts of the setting will be expounded upon from there.
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    Master Greytalker

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    Sun Sep 23, 2007 1:56 pm  

    I still do not see the need to reboot and tamper with all the material; published or fan based. (including some pieces of yours)

    In every change someone ox is gored and there never will be consenus, so why alter the material people already have, look forward and not back I say - no need to open a huge can of worms.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sun Sep 23, 2007 3:34 pm  

    As might be expected coming from me, I think this would be the greatest thing to happen to Greyhawk since the 1983 boxed set. Given that so many of us are hyper-conservative about change in the setting, as bubbagump pointed out, and most people love the 576 CY era, as rasgon noted, I think a reset would be a grand idea.

    However, this still leaves a lot of room for post FtA development and canon to be incorporated. Include the history of the various countries, the maps of cities, dungeons and castles, the lore of various dungeons-all those things can stay.

    I really, really like this idea, and I'd love to be part of a design team like that, if something similar were ever done. A lot of the things we disagree with might be legends or innuendo-the starship in the Barrier Peaks or Murlynd, for instance, are mentioned in passing, although whether they're true is up to individual DMs and players.

    Greater detail could flesh different groups out-in my take on things, many people "know" about the Scarlet Sign, but they are unsure as to what exactly it is and what its goals are. Innuendo, rumor, and out-and-out falsehoods, some of which are spread or at least exploited by the Brotherhood itself, all serve to muddle the waters and leave the Brotherhood's exact plans and natures somewhat vague, with the DM having leeway on determining what exactly is true or not. Sort of like Communism in the 1950s-everyone "knows" about the Reds, but what their goals are, what they're planning, who's working for them, and everything else is vague, undetermined, dangerous, and ripe for DM development.
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    Sun Sep 23, 2007 9:26 pm  

    I would be all for going back to 576CY as the time frame. Though, I do not have many issues with the way the setting has developed, and so, do not have much that I would want changed. The most notable would be getting rid of Jaran Krimeeah and replacing him with the Demiurge. I'd like more lands raised to kingdom status instead of a hodgepodge of noble titles. All of the seven families of Furyondy need to be at least counts. Lower ship technology such that there are not galleons and frigates, and approach it such that different regions have different styles of ships. Flavor the Sheldomar Valley such that its culture feels like it had a different historical path than the successor states of the Great Kingdom.
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    Mon Sep 24, 2007 5:05 am  

    And can we please NOT have all those animii generals running around in the Great Kingdom? That just grates on me every time I read it. I am also all for making the SB much more mysterious and secretive... in fact, I've been thinking of redoing the history of Greyhawk a little, and the SB play a big role in that, so secretive would be good....
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    Mon Sep 24, 2007 9:34 am  

    Maybe its because i entered into Grehawk whith the post-FTA "The Adventure Begins" book, soo i am against it. Soo far, i am enjoying the current development of Grehawk timeline, and i would like to see more of what was developed by the various RPGA Triads.
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    Mon Sep 24, 2007 11:46 am  

    I totally favor a reboot to 576CY. While I think plenty of good work came out of the post FTA, it can be reintroduced as needed.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Mon Sep 24, 2007 12:20 pm  

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    . . . this still leaves a lot of room for post FtA development and canon to be incorporated. Include the history of the various countries, the maps of cities, dungeons and castles, the lore of various dungeons-all those things can stay.

    . . . A lot of the things we disagree with might be legends or innuendo-the starship in the Barrier Peaks or Murlynd, for instance, are mentioned in passing, although whether they're true is up to individual DMs and players. . . .


    You have it exactly. Smile It could be, if done well, having our cake and eating it too.

    The one big, honking bump in the road is the Greyhawk Wars - not FtA - the Wars themselves. The question would be whether to present WoG pre-BIG WAR or post-BIG WAR. I think it possible to do both. Please hear me out.

    In a 160 page sourcebook (I'm purposefully erring on the side of a slim volume; more pages would always be preferred), the Table of Contents might look something like this -

    Intro etc., Pages 1-4 (4 pages, 2,500 words approx.)

    Chap. 1 Geography and Cosmology of Oerth and the Flanaess, Pages 5-10 (6 pages, 5,000 words approx.)
    Outline Map of Oerth (small) included
    Resource Map of Flanaess (small) included
    Abbreviated list of gods, their alignment and portfolios included
    List of seasons, months and constellations included

    Chap. 2 Ancient History of the Flanaess, Pages 11-30 (20 pages, 35,000 words approx.)
    Timeline included
    Map of Ancient Flanaess (small) included
    Map of Pre-Migration Flanaess (small) included
    Map of Suel and Baklunish Empires (small) included
    Map of Migration Era Flanaess (small) included

    Chap. 3 Gazetteer of the Flanaess in 576 CY, Pages 31-110 (80 pages, 100,000 words approx.)
    Predominant Alignments Map of Flanaess by country included

    Chap. 4 War in Greyhawk, Pages 111-125 (15 pages, 20,000 words approx)
    Map (small) of major campaigns/troop movements -opening phase
    Map (small) of major campaigns/troop movements - mid-War
    Map (small) of major campaigns/troop movements - closing phase
    List of major battles with dates, forces and outcomes

    Chap 5 From the Ashes, Pages 126-135 (10 pages, 13,000 words approx.)
    Map (small) of post-War Flanaess showing borders
    Map (small) showing contested areas/"hotspots" or dangerzones

    Chap 6 Greyhawk Reborn, Pages 136-145 (10 pages, 15,000 words approx.)
    Map (small) showing new Flanaess boundaries after "Next Development"

    Chap 7 Beyond the Flanaess, Pages 146-156 (10 pages, 15,000 words approx.)
    Map (small) of Amedio and Hepmonaland region
    Map (Small) of Eastern Regions adjacent to Flanaess
    Map (Small) of Far Eastern Oerik

    Conclusion etc., Pages 157-160

    Note the above considered included art.

    Adventure hooks would be scattered throughout along with brief notes on adventure sites.

    In this way, Greyhawk would be presented in 576 CY with the possibility of playing out the war (in whatever details) that FtA presented and/or which EGG was clearly headed for in his From the Sorceror's Scroll columns in Dragon.

    The"Next Development" mentioned in Chap 6 would be something to be determined that would add new, post-War adventure generating material to WoG. Sort of an "advancing the timeline" but less absolute.

    Both the war and the "next development" would be presented with sidebars as to how to play them in the alternative. For example, if one wanted to short circuit or avoid the war etc.

    Please recall, as well, nothing here suggested would be a simple rehash. Rather, it would be a reimagining/restart/reboot that would consider EVERYTHING published to date and then combine the best bits with new material as well.

    In 160 pages as outlined above, I think we could have a good, broad overview of the reimagined/restarted/rebooted setting in fair detail. Assuming it sold well, followup products would go into greater individual detail. With 320 pages, like the FR campaign setting or Eberron, obviously much more detail could be provided.

    I would see future products set in any of the three timeframes presented - 576 CY, Wars or Next Development or Beyond the Flanaess. And with careful writing, assuming that neither the presentation of the War nor the Next Development completely overturns the basic nature of the reimagined/restarted/rebooted Flanaess, I think the passage of time, whatever it might be, could be dealt with in sidebars etc.

    Obviously this is just a sketch, with details that would have to be worked out, but I think this could be a way to go. The one big thing to bear in mind, however, IMO, is that not everything can necessarily go in the first book of a new GH campaign set and that the new GH campaign set must be broad enough in scope to fully present the reimagined/restarted/rebooted WoG in at least its broad contours. I think this outline does justice to as many competing thoughts as possible. At least that I can think of at the moment. Wink
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    Mon Sep 24, 2007 3:33 pm  

    Interesting piece GVD

    Perhaps their is a middle ground; some way to revitalize the setting without undoing the past.

    Curious to see Mekorig a new greyhawk fan is against it because he knows the post war GH. Well I originally disliked the FtA I learned to accept it especially when the LGG curbed the more glaring abuses. Truth be told well SB should be secret, I rather like the naval threat of the SB since naval conflict as a reason for adventure has been sorely underused IMO.

    Perhaps the community can discover another catalyst reason to promote change...

    IE; SB has lost its overseas conquests rather easily; with some covert urging the major powers become convinced the SB were a "paper tiger" and assured of there own military might other concerns become more urgent allowing the SB to slowly fade into the background once again.
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    Mon Sep 24, 2007 5:40 pm  

    GVD:

    I like the outline overall. What I liked the most, and it is something I referred to either here or on the WOTC/Greyhawk site was the idea that you could pick which time period you wanted to play in. It seems that this is what you have in mind as well but when writing, here's how I would write up the text. Rather than breaking it down into chapters for different time periods I would break entries down into different time frames.

    When you do the Introduction and Gazetteer chapter I would write the text something like this:

    Pre Migration History: Brief section includes a few paragraphs of what took place here prior to migrations.

    Migration Years History: Also brief as above covering who settled and why, what they developed.

    Keoland and Great Kingdom Era: What this area was like during this time period.

    History of CY 475-576: What happened during these times.

    The War: Generalizations of what the nation did during the war.

    Post War: How the nation looked after the war.

    Future: Where things are headed for the region and what possibilities DMs may want to develop (this should be very open ended or possibly not included at all). If included, I wouldn't go far with it at all.

    Each of these time frames appear within each nation description. How long or brief they would be is up for discussion. It gives an opportunity to fill in missing details and bring things together better. I also think that when a DM wants to read about what Furyondy was doing during a certain time period it would be easier rather than reading through considerable text to find what you want. I think having an "overview" in one location is required as well but this wouldn't have the detail. One could reference other pages for more specific details which are given in a national description.

    One of the things I frequently read about what non-Greyhawkers don't like about Greyhawk is that finding information is so spread out because of 30+ years of bits and pieces. Greyhawk has one thing going for it which other worlds do not (except maybe Dragonlance) and that is the thoroughness of history in the last 30+ years or so. If the DM and players can pick which time period they play in, such as 576, Pre Greyhawk Wars, Greyhawk Wars, Post War, etc. then we offer them something the other game worlds do not. Choices of when to play. Breaking the history down as above organizes things better when playing this way.

    For example, if I want to play 576, I can read each entry for that kingdom and get a good idea of it's current situation. Then as my campaign develops I can either go "my own way and develop unique campaign history" or I can eventually lead the campaign up to the next time frame and I already have the ground work covered for me in world development. Knowing where things head from a canon point of view allows me to create plots which eventually lead to these things. If I don't care about canon, I can pick my favorite time period and go with the flow after that, no commitment to advancing the world according to canon.

    Each historical section needs to be presented like "This is what the world is like when you play here and now" mode. Not written like a typical history which doesn't encourage playing until you reach the current date. With several current date choices to play we offer what other worlds do not. More Play Choices.

    I would like to see more attention towards the religions as well. The other things that felt like they were missing was a large map, although good full page color maps may work as well for each nation and I'd actually prefer them to a wall map. Though this would be better for a sourcebook so maybe stick with a poster map. Also iconic characters and what they were like during different time periods would be valuable as well. Full stats could be presented in a sourcebook as well. I would also make sure I include some basic Greyhawk organizations such as the knighthoods, Circle of Eight, etc.

    Just some thoughts, I don't expect everyone to see things the same as I do.
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    Last edited by EileenProphetofIstus on Mon Sep 24, 2007 5:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Mon Sep 24, 2007 5:48 pm  

    EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
    GVD:

    Just some thoughts, I don't expect everyone to see things the same as I do.


    Why not? I do - that's what makes it fun. Wink
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    Mon Sep 24, 2007 5:56 pm  

    I updated my post, please read again...
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    Mon Sep 24, 2007 7:19 pm  

    I love the idea of presenting the setting around the basis of its changing history, especially having each nation's entry in the glossography section detailing what it was like in each time period. However, what is the new player to do with this? Without preconceptions, the new DM will most likely decide to use the latest date, and then wonder why the book devotes so much time to the history instead of delivering the whats and whys of the most current time.
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    Mon Sep 24, 2007 7:40 pm  

    I expect that the introduction would cover a full explanation of why the book was presented in a timeline breakdown format. For example:

    The world of Greyhawk has been the D&D game world of choice for thousands of D&D players worldwide. It's conception began with author Gary Gygax in the early 1970's and has since spurned three decades worth of background and historical events. You as the Dungeon Master of this unique and ever changing world are left with one task.....

    Deciding which era of Greyhawk you desire to run your campaign in. Because of the rich history of the game world, national entries are broken down into time frames for two reasons.

    The first allows you, the reader to understand the events and happenings of that particular locale at any specific moment in Greyhawk history, whether it be the pre migrational years, migrational years, those of the rising of Keoland and the Great Kingdom, more recent such as the year 576, when the world of Greyhawk was first introduced to the many players worldwide, or the more recent moments which include the Greyhawk Wars and their aftermath.

    The second reason for the format provided allows you the opportunity to select the moment in history in which you'd like to begin your campaign. With literally thousands of players throughout the world, choices can now be offered for the first time in Greyhawk History. Which moment in time interests you the most?

    As your campaign moves on throughout the years of gameplay, you as the DM will have the option of moving your campaign history to include events forthcoming in the next time frame shold you choose to do so. The ongoing format provided is the assumed official history of the World of Greyhawk.

    This is your world reader, to do what you will. You may select a moment in history to begin your campaign, be it 576, the Greyhawk Wars, their aftermath, or even CY 600. History as it will become from that moment on is dependent upon your campaign. It may become something completely original as a result of game play in your campaign; it may include bits and pieces of the forthcoming events detailed herein. Choose where you begin, choose the direction your campaign will henceforth become.

    The campaign is yours, the World of Greyhawk is yours, do as you will. May your adventures always be blessed by Istus, may your spells always ring true, and may your sword never fail.

    Are you ready for the challenge......of Greyhawk!
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    Mon Sep 24, 2007 10:16 pm  

    GVD: I think you have hit upon a great middle ground. Greyhawk is displayed in all of its old skool glory, but with added material developed since to fill in some of the blanks left in the 83' boxed set, while also adding in sections for From the Ashes and Greyhawk beyond that.

    I think it very unlikely that any other format could go so far to keeping everyone about as happy as they could be. Information is provided on all eras of Greyhawk, while nothing is there to tell you which era you MUST play in. I think this could very well be THE best way to revitalize Greyhawk, for not only does it provide basic Greyhawk info to any new players who are picking up a book like this for the fist time, it also (potentially) provides new information for anyone who has already been playing in Greyhawk, regardless of what era, or with what outcome. Keeping the era information separate, but included, is the key to this. Sourcebooks, and even adventures(denoting plot/event alterations in “era sidebars” so that they can be played in any era), that expand on the setting could be laid out in exactly the same way with regard to the era specific information. It is almost too easy.

    I think this idea is brilliant and is by far the best of the options that have been proposed (here and elsewhere) so far.
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    Tue Sep 25, 2007 5:20 am  

    I think these ideas have matured nicely, and as Cebrion has noted one of the excellent things about having information on different eras is that you can highlight which eras might be more suitable for certain styles of play without having to tell people which era they must play in. Some people like the gritty guerilla options of FtA, while others will like something more political set before any major wars.

    Definitely need the S. Brotherhood to be working in the shadows as éminences grises. I've always thought they should be the basis of a campaign full of deviousness in the style of Warhammer's Enemy Within.

    There will need to be some kind of high-level overview provided for the benefit of newcomers to Greyhawk, but that should be easy enough.

    And though I don't think it's right for this kind of book, there's always the question of providing 'alternate timelines' (which could be decided by PC actions) - Look how GURPS Traveller completely ignored the history supplied with MegaTraveller. In that case, we can include all those events from 576-8 detailed in early Dragon articles by Gygax and Kuntz that were never mentioned again...

    Wink and of course the timeline where Waldorf nuked the Oerth ...(ducks)
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    Tue Sep 25, 2007 5:33 am  

    At the risk of repeating what others have said, what you have presented, GVD, sounds like just the kind of thing that will satisfy most Greyhawkers, most of the time. And that was always going to be the most difficult bit given the age of the setting and the myriad ways in which it is played.

    Just one question; I paid no attention whatsoever to what the RPGA did with the setting as Living Greyhawk, I wasn't a member and have no idea whether they were responsible custodians or not. Would you feature any of the changes or events that they used? How is it generally viewed by folks here?
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    Tue Sep 25, 2007 6:49 am  

    From the little i know:

    Nyrond is the middle of a civil war betewn the two brothers.
    Narwell was razed by the Pomarj´s orcs and resettle by Greyhawk.
    Harby is each day more independant.
    Rary is some weird schemes in the Bright Desert involving the Scorpion Crown, not knowing if for good or evil.
    Tenh was turned into a dust wasteland by a horde of "ghosts", and now is still disputed by the Tenh, Palish, Iuz and Barbarian forces. The Duke have died, and a new Tenh leader (Duke Labalah IIRC) has arisen. Aparently he has the key for the restoration of the land.
    The Hold of the Sea Princes is still a warzone.
    The Serpent, that weird power behind Vecna rising soo long ago is onto a new scheme involving a Kobold Paladin and a sorcerer girl.


    Tha is the little i know.
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    Tue Sep 25, 2007 7:10 am  

    Ragr wrote:
    Would you feature any of the changes or events that they used? How is it generally viewed by folks here?


    The RPGA material is, as far as I know, a mixed bag - some good stuff and some very much not good stuff. The difficulty with all of it is that the intellectual property rights are very tangled. Some material is owned solely by the individual authors while other material is owned solely by Wotc. As far as I know, no one owns all of it. This would make using this material difficult. I think that if the IP rights could be worked out the RPGA material would go into the intellectual hopper along with all of the other GH material. It might ultimately be included in the restarted/rebooted/reimagined GH, or not, just depending. But the IP rights would need to be able to be ironed out first.

    EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
    . . . Rather than breaking it down into chapters for different time periods I would break entries down into different time frames.


    While nothing says that each Gaz entry could not be subdivided into time periods, I see some difficulties therein.

    First, I'd be concerned with clarity of the text. Obviously, differing time periods could not be just run together. Clearly seperating each era within a single Gaz entry, however, seems klunky to me at first blush because the reader is asked to jump through time in each Gaz entry. This would make playing/reading about a single era, across multiple Gaz entries, more difficult to keep straight.

    Second, any war has a sweep to its events greater than any one area or country. Things are interconnected. Telling the war's story in seperate chunks in each Gaz entry, which would then need to be all read together to get the overall sense of the war, would I think loose this sweep, as well as being less clear to those just interested in the war era, or having no interest in the war era etc.

    Third, the "Next Development," whatever it would be decided to be, would be in my thought more general in its nature, again with a sweep that would transcend any one country. I'd see the "Next Development" being more general to the setting as a whole, rather than highly specific so that it could be spelled out in detail as to each country.

    Cebrion wrote:
    . . . Keeping the era information separate, but included, is the key to this. Sourcebooks, and even adventures(denoting plot/event alterations in “era sidebars” so that they can be played in any era), that expand on the setting could be laid out in exactly the same way with regard to the era specific information. It is almost too easy.


    This is more what I'm thinking. I think an organization that seperates eras is clearer and cleaner in its presentation and more useful to those interested in a particular era.

    With all due respect to the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, it reads like a run on. Stuff just melds into stuff until you have to put it down and return to it later. The LGG is highly inclusive but its presentation suffers for this. I'd think a new GH book would look to be sleeker with better organization to make it easier for a reader to get into the text and out more simply, having found what they wanted, while still overall telling the story. Particularly as multiple eras would be discussed.

    Total page count would be the largest single factor. At 160 pages, I don't think there is room for everything. Some things will get less mention or almost no mention. In the outline above, the gods get summary mention - just the basics. Classic NPCs would get scant mention, save in passing. Organizations would get similar quick treatment. The City of Greyhawk gets only general description in the Gaz. Etc. This is all a function of page count - if more pages were available, more could be included or expanded upon. Again, returning to the LGG, I think it tried to include everything - essentially being a blowup of the orginal Folio presentation - and I think it suffered for that. Again, it seemed to just go on and on. A more punchy, more tightly organized presentation, would I think serve better. The Folio presentation, IMO, does not work well when expanded to hundred plus pages; it is no longer a Folio and is better not to try to be designed as one.

    Obviously, the hope would be for an initial book would capture audience interest and thus sales to warrant further GH books that could then devote more page count to matters less touched upon in the original book. So, if the initial book took off, there would likely be regional sourcebooks, a book on cosmology/religions/gods, a book on organizations to include notable NPCs associated with them etc.

    Wanting too much at first, however, would be deadly to future releases IMO, or at least less calculated to ensure that there would be future releases. In an intial book, I think compromise and hsard choices about what to include or how much to include would be vital to producing a good book that would be sufficiently popular that its sales would guarantee other, future books. Of course, people's opinion about those choices, inclsions etc. will vary. The designers, whomever them would be, would have the ultimate call.

    I'm glad people are liking this idea! Its fun to imagine how such a book might come together or look! Smile
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    Tue Sep 25, 2007 8:27 am  

    GVD:

    Please consider the possibility of entering different time periods within the various national entries. Naturally, the beginning of the book will provide an overview of the big picture. Anyone reading this section will learn the basics of time periods of importance.

    Now if each national entry received a history section which was headed by boldface type, such as The Migration Years or The Greyhawk Wars, one would be able to read about the specifics that kingdom had to deal with during that time frame. It would allow mention of ancient kingdoms which once dwelled there, that sort of thing. Each of these boldface time frames (of which there would maybe be four or so), would run in order and separted by boldface, therefore finding the text and reading the entire national history would be simple. Side bars are a possibility but I do think they eat up a lot of space.

    I don't see how one would be skipping all over the book to read the history. National entries are I assume in alphabetical order from A-Z anyway, as they are now. If I want to read about a how a different country faired or their current state in that time period I turn the page to that kingdom. Easy enough. The sections are shorter than trying to run the text all together and talk about multiple countries as once, thus easier for the reader to follow and know where to look for information next time. It's all under the one kingdom entry.

    I'm not suggesting these be lengthy entries but in order to know what was happening in the Shield Lands or Furyondy, or Iuz, etc. one cannot include enough detail in a simple overview. The only other option I see is entering a lengthy chapter for each time frame, which I think is far worse. One would have a very difficult time trying to figure out what happened where and there is no need to repeat national details.

    The boldface separates the text minimally and goes from one time to another without major skips so your not jumping from time to time. Was not the idea to have the DM select their favorite time period and play or did I miss something when I introduced the idea in a very early post. Maybe this wasn't a for sure idea.....

    Without including some specific details for the various nations DMs are going to have a very difficult time selecting a time period in which to set their campaign in.
    The war I agree needs an overview in order to follow it well. In an overview one cannot include that many details for actually playing during the war. Another reason to have an overview and the specific details placed in the kingdom. The players play in the kingdom, the DM reads the kingdom. If someone isn't interested in the war they will skip the overview and the national history section as well.

    I agree that if a "Next Development" section was included to make it an overall and basic idea at best. Having it tied down to individual nations could make things difficult in the long run and present more problems than it is worth. I'd even throw the idea out actually.
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    Tue Sep 25, 2007 11:02 am  

    Greyhawk can no longer be produced as a viable setting that would even come close to being recognizable as what it has been. Reimagined? Restarted? Rebooted? It would have to be REINVENTED! And would it then be sufficiently Greyhawk? I don't think so.

    Link - http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/drdd/20070924&authentic=true

    Link - http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=2785

    I'm sorry to say I see no future for GH at this point. The conditions under which it would have to be published suggest it would be something totally different just using the GH name, which seems to be what Wotc is aiming for with GH.
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    Tue Sep 25, 2007 11:38 am  

    Well, really, they've been using in unofficial, nontraditional, very ungreyhawky ways for years now. Why would the release of 4e - especially since they've stated GH is NOT core- be any different? Did you expect such?
    I'm not trying to be rude, by any means GVD (I happen to respect a lot of what you write here) but, I just don't see why this is any different from the discussions we were having 5 months ago about WotC messing up the Hawk? Of COURSE they're going to change it. I've come to the conclusion that this is like Battlestar Galactica (yea, yeah, another not-so-profound analogy by MichaelSandar) Embarassed
    The old battlestar, while good, was grounded in many, many beliefs. Things were always this way, and they stayed that way. Now, 20 some odd years later, here comes the Sci-Fi channel producing a new bsg and everything is different! Starbuck is a chick, cylons are people, Gaius Baltar is no longer a Duke (or whatever he was).
    Is it the same? No. Are some parts completely re-written? Yes. Is it good? Well, ymmv, but I think it is heads and tails above better than the original. And don't get me wrong, I absolutley, positivly, love the old GH!!! But I wouldn't mind seeing a new GH, even if it differed from the old. If I want an old-style campaign, I'll play my choice of 10 different official TSR/WotC verisons of D&D, and if I want that different feel, there's where the new material will come in.

    I don't know, it is a big change I'll give you that, but . . . it's fantasy and we make the best of it we can.
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    Tue Sep 25, 2007 12:39 pm  

    I think the various eras can be used to "undo" for some while still validate the published and fan based material many of us have and use within games.

    I think the differing timelines idea has merit, I am concerned about further division within the GH community - first versions now timeline - the added complexity could make it even harder to attract new gamers.

    GVD; noticed in the post above how irate and defensive you become over changes you disagree with which can be easily smoothed over if not ignored within most games - how many heroic PCs become scholars of the Abyss and Nine Hells.

    Yet you seem to gloss over the problen some of us have with "throwing out" a large amount of pulished and fan based material - seems it does matter whose particular Ox is gored after all.
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    Tue Sep 25, 2007 1:14 pm  

    On another thread GH poster Samwise gave his opinion on "rebooting GH to 576 CY" since I lack the technical skill to link to another board but felt it was of value, I have reposted it here:

    Samwise
    Actually that excludes everybody, and is probably the worst idea I have heard yet.
    It will not please those who want nothing but what Gygax wrote because
    it will not be what Gygax wrote.
    It will not please those who like the follow up material because it will not include that follow up material. (It is rather impossible to include the Greyhawk War before it happened.)
    It will not please those who want LG material included for the same reason.
    It will not please those who want the setting advanced because it will move the setting backward.
    It will not please those who want to see more development as it will remove all development to date.
    It will not please those who do not want what they have done contradicted as it will completely do away with everything they based their development on.
    As for people new to the setting, they want a complete setting book. When it is set and what it is based on will mean nothing to them at first, but when they realize all of the above are telling them they are not really playing Greyhawk they will not be pleased either.

    This would be a great way to destroy Greyhawk forever, and I hope WotC does not use it as a base for the next setting book.

    Seems Samwise is a Nay

    PS: I have also been against the "reboot" mainly as samwise says " it removes all development to date and contradicts development many games are based on. - Can't believe samwise and I agree on something -

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    Tue Sep 25, 2007 4:29 pm  

    Crag wrote:
    Yet you seem to gloss over the problen some of us have with "throwing out" a large amount of pulished and fan based material - seems it does matter whose particular Ox is gored after all.


    Well, if I'm seeming to gloss over things, then I'm not communicating well enough. It was my thought that there would be shared sacrifice - everybody getting less than what they would ideally want - but everyone getting some things they do want. Whether anyone would come out better or worse in the deal would be in the eye of the beholder.

    Crag wrote:
    On another thread GH poster Samwise gave his opinion on "rebooting GH to 576 CY" . . . Seems Samwise is a Nay


    Interesting but IMO irrelevant. If Samwise wants to discuss rather than summarily dismiss the idea, he knows how to post to this site. If not, he is just spouting off on some other board, which is certainly his right.

    For what its worth, while I favor a reboot, I could get behind an advancing of the timeline (which I recall Sam supports) just as well.

    In both cases, but for the 4e disaster that is brewing. Given such, this is academic all the way around unless fans were to try their hand.
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    Tue Sep 25, 2007 4:37 pm  

    Eberron I read is advancing their timeline 2 years and FR I am pretty sure is doing more than 2. The funny thing is both are being done to accomodate 4E changes. I cannot see wotc changing this policy for a relaunch of GH. I'd also be interested to know whether any RPGA campaign development for any system, much less D&D, has ever made it into mainstream publication. I'm curious.
    I may sound cynically defeatest (today, maybe i'll be optimistic tomorrow) but I think 4E GH will fall into the hands of a new Wizards team of writers. One an actual fan with little pull (the community liason spot), the other two or three will be aspiring employees looking to move up the ladder to D&D rules R&D and will take a shortcut by wholesale copying parts of the LGG then throwing in what they will see as the missing 'Crunch' that 3e should have included (i.e. feats and magic).
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    Tue Sep 25, 2007 4:55 pm  

    I'm starting to like that GVD guy more all the time...

    Just to stir the pot a bit, here's another suggestion:

    How 'bout a comprehensive sourcebook on Greyhawk - sort of like an encyclopedia crossed with a "grand history" - and then supplemented with various other volumes keyed to different eras. Possibilities include the prehistoric age, pre-Twin Cataclysms, age of Vecna, 576 CY, post-GH Wars, current age (597 CY), Greyhawk circa 800 CY, Greyhawk 2000 (from the Dragon article), and Greyhawk 40,000 (kinda like Warhammer 40K).

    Thus, nothing need be left out, no one need be without material, and new material can be incorporated at will.
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    Tue Sep 25, 2007 7:53 pm  

    The only RPGA material that is likely to make it into any future products is the Core material, which I believe WotC controls the IP of. I could be wrong on that though. Easy enough to find that out.

    As to other material, I don't see a need to modify anything under this format. Even though I don't like certain key aspects of Greyhawk development doesn't mean it should be tossed out. I would hope that future new developmental material would stick more closely to the Greyhawk model and also to the modus operandi of the various factions in Greyhawk. Enough about that though.

    I see Eileen's point of the eras. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you propose something like this.

    Greyhawk City & Environs (classic era)

    History of the City

    The Classic Era

    stat block with pop. stats, etc.

    description

    The Wars era
    (updates the previous material)

    From the Ashes Era
    (updates the previous material)

    Present Era
    (updates the previous material)

    or…

    An Overview of the History of the Flanaess

    Introduction

    The Ancient Era to The Classic Era (est. -2,000 CY – 576 CY)

    Classic Era to The Wars Era (est. 576 CY – 583 CY)

    The Wars Era to From the Ashes Era (est. 583 CY – 586 CY)

    From the Ashes Era to The present (est. 586 CY - Present)

    Imagine that spread throughout multiple chapters in a book. It would not be very good to break this type of thing up throughout multiple chapters of a book. It jumps around too much. Not so good.

    For an adventure, the eras might fall out as follows:

    Against the Giants( i.e. the “G” series, or “Against the Giants: The Liberation of Geoff”)

    Introduction

    Various intro info.

    Playing “Against the Giants” in “The Classic Era”

    News has been brought to the court of the Duke of Geoff confirming that the giants of the western mountains are coming together in an alliance to destroy the lands of the Sheldomar Valley. A call has gone out for heroes to put an end to the threat.

    Playing “Against the Giants” in “The Wars Era”

    Giants have come swarming out of the western mountains to invade the nations of the Sheldomar Valley. While the armies of Geoff, Sterich, and the Yeomanry fight a desperate holding action, an elite group of heroes have been sent into the very heart of the giant lands to take out their leaders.

    Playing “Against the Giants” in the “From the Ashes Era”

    While the lands of Sterich have mostly been recovered from the invading giants, the Duchy of Geoff remains in the hands of the giant invaders and their allies. Heroes are needed to break the power of the giants in Geoff, and bring the fight to the strongholds of the giants themselves.

    Playing “Against the Giants” in “The Present Era”

    Geoff has been retaken and the giants have been driven back into the mountains, but their power is once again on the rise. Heroes are needed to scout out the strongholds of the giants and destroy them in their lairs to end their threat forever.

    The format works well for anything. In this case it is very simple to give reasons for the adventure being played in any era. I think this works well, and more importantly it requires very little effort to implement.

    This format is opposed to doing a completely separate section for each era. I kind of like this format actually, as it reads onwards from one section into the next. You want info on the City of Greyhawk? No problem- there is only one section to look for in the book. I think this format would be better for the above reasons. The more I think about it, the less inclined I am to there being separate chapters for each era. Separating the eras would work better by turning them into subsections instead. You can read the classic entry, and get a taste or what happens later on in that area by reading what happens in proceeding era sections. Much of the relations between the nations can be put under the history section instead, with only key bits specific to each nation being in their own entries.
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    Tue Sep 25, 2007 8:16 pm  

    Cebrion

    Can you give another example (a bit longer) and re-explain your position of format....I wasn't able to follow it as well as I would like.
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    Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:38 pm  

    Using GVD’s outline, the book might be presented as follows:

    Intro etc., Pages 1-4 (4 pages, 2,500 words approx.)

    Chap. 1 Geography and Cosmology of Oerth and the Flanaess, Pages 5-10 (6 pages, 5,000 words approx.)
    Outline Map of Oerth (small) included
    Resource Map of Flanaess (small) included
    Abbreviated list of gods, their alignment and portfolios included
    List of seasons, months and constellations included

    Chap. 2 History of the Flanaess, Pages 11-20 (10 pages, 7,000 words approx.)
    Introduction
    Timeline
    Map of Ancient Flanaess (small) included
    Map of Pre-Migration Flanaess (small) included
    Map of Suel and Baklunish Empires (small) included
    Map of Migration Era Flanaess (small) included

    Subsection 1: The Golden Age of Greyhawk, Pages 21-30 (15 pages, 10,000 words approx.)

    Subsection 2: War in Greyhawk, Pages 31-45 (15 pages, 20,000 words approx)
    Map (small) of major campaigns/troop movements -opening phase
    Map (small) of major campaigns/troop movements - mid-War
    Map (small) of major campaigns/troop movements - closing phase
    List of major battles with dates, forces and outcomes

    Subsection 3: From the Ashes, Pages 46-55 (10 pages, 13,000 words approx.)
    Map (small) of post-War Flanaess showing borders
    Map (small) showing contested areas/"hotspots" or danger zones

    Subsection 4: Greyhawk Reborn, Pages 56-65 (10 pages, 15,000 words approx.)
    Map (small) showing new Flanaess boundaries after "Next Development"

    Chap. 3: Gazetteer of the Flanaess, Pages 66-145 (80 pages, 100,000 words approx.)
    Predominant Alignments Map of Flanaess by country included. Each entry features a basic entry up to 576, followed by subsections for each ear immediately thereafter.

    Chap. 4: Beyond the Flanaess, Pages 146-156 (10 pages, 15,000 words approx.)
    Map (small) of Amedio and Hepmonaland region
    Map (Small) of Eastern Regions adjacent to Flanaess
    Map (Small) of Far Eastern Oerik

    Appendix/Index, etc., Pages 157-160

    The descriptions of the nations would not be broken up into era chapters, but would all be presented in a single chapter, with the era information forming addendums to the basic entry for each nation/area. The entries for each nation/area would be presented in the following format:

    Sample Gazetteer entry:

    The City of Greyhawk & Environs

    *Stat block with pop. stats, etc., with era updates for each stat included, followed by brief intro.*

    Example:

    "Population- CE: 58,000+, WE:62,000+, FtA: 66,500+, PE:69,500+"

    Situated along the banks of the Selintan River, the city of Greyhawk is one of the largest cities in the Flanaess…

    History of the City

    The City of Greyhawk grew out of the holdings of a petty lord who laid claim to an area stretching from the southern shores of the Nyr Dyv to the…

    The Classic Era

    In the year 576 CY, the City of Greyhawk is a teeming metropolis…

    The Wars Era

    While war has begun to ravage the lands around, the City of Greyhawk has undertaken a position of neutrality. Subsequently, the city has become a haven for refuges fleeing the destruction of the war, as well as a bustling center of commerce as the war trade brings mountains of gold into the coffers of the city’s merchants…

    From the Ashes Era

    With the signing of the Treaty of Greyhawk, the city is well on the way to returning to some semblance of normalcy. In way of maintaining its neutral status, the city hosts diplomats from all of the nations who signed the Treaty…

    Present Era

    Presently, the City of Greyhawk continues to prosper, its holdings in the south having expanded over the course of the last few years to include…

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    Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:45 pm  

    Bingo!

    Sold!
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    Wed Sep 26, 2007 6:19 am  

    The "Present Era" allows for further advancing of the timeline of course.
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    Wed Sep 26, 2007 10:09 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    The descriptions of the nations would not be broken up into era chapters, but would all be presented in a single chapter, with the era information forming addendums to the basic entry for each nation/area. The entries for each nation/area would be presented in the following format:

    Sample Gazetteer entry:

    The City of Greyhawk & Environs

    *Stat block with pop. stats, etc., with era updates for each stat included, followed by brief intro.*

    Example:

    "Population- CE: 58,000+, WE:62,000+, FtA: 66,500+, PE:69,500+"

    Situated along the banks of the Selintan River, the city of Greyhawk is one of the largest cities in the Flanaess…

    History of the City

    The City of Greyhawk grew out of the holdings of a petty lord who laid claim to an area stretching from the southern shores of the Nyr Dyv to the…

    The Classic Era

    In the year 576 CY, the City of Greyhawk is a teeming metropolis…

    The Wars Era

    While war has begun to ravage the lands around, the City of Greyhawk has undertaken a position of neutrality. Subsequently, the city has become a haven for refuges fleeing the destruction of the war, as well as a bustling center of commerce as the war trade brings mountains of gold into the coffers of the city’s merchants…

    From the Ashes Era

    With the signing of the Treaty of Greyhawk, the city is well on the way to returning to some semblance of normalcy. In way of maintaining its neutral status, the city hosts diplomats from all of the nations who signed the Treaty…

    Present Era

    Presently, the City of Greyhawk continues to prosper, its holdings in the south having expanded over the course of the last few years to include…


    Okay. I didn't understand what Eileen was saying but the example clarifies the matter. I would have no problem with this type of format. Objections withdrawn. Smile

    I can still see doing it the way I originally proposed, as I think it would save page count, but page count allowing, I do see the advantage here. In particular, I think it addresses Crag's concern that FtA was getting short shrift.

    Crag, does Eileen/Cebrion's format help address your concerns?
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    Wed Sep 26, 2007 4:41 pm  

    To reinvent GH; I would ideally like to simply advance the timeline slightly to clean up post FtA issues which some clearly have concerns regarding.

    However if the option is a variable timeline model the purposed example does allow the retension of material and plenty of room to customize the setting.

    To clarify; my concerns were simply a desire to not remove or seriously alter all development to date, some of which was well done and adds to the setting as a whole.
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    Wed Sep 26, 2007 6:44 pm  

    The idea was not to alter Greyhawk history, I beleive the concept was to clean up the mess, not start everything all over. Preserving the coninuality of the Greyhawk history and campaigns worldwide is still the primary objective.

    Since the Greyhawk community is so divided on what is the best timeframe, what is good in Greyhawk and what isn't, having various time frames of Greyhawk history DMs could choose from is an attempt to please all audiences. Those who are fans of FRA can play during or afterwards. Those who want to play their current campaign unchanged will be able to because history is essentially the same. Those who want to back up to 576 will be able to and from their they can choose which direction they want their campaign to follow...be it canon or their own.

    DVD, Cerbrion, correct me if I'm wrong. Were these not the goals of the format?
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    Wed Sep 26, 2007 10:10 pm  

    I won't speak for GVD, but for me the point is to include all of the material that people make use of, while also incorporating it into older material as far as it can be, and also leave open further timeline development in the "Present Era".

    I see the slight modification I proposed to the format as actually saving more pages, as there would be repetition of area titles, nation stat blocks, etc. in separate sections. I see that saving lots of space.

    The history is not altered, but rather the earlier material would be enhanced by the inclusion of later produced material that fits in with it. For instance, a bunch of new towns and cities in Furyondy are introduced in The Marklands, and were not seen until then, but they are written as having existed in Furyondy prior to 576 CY. Therefore, those towns and cities would be included in the 576 CY era section of the Furyondy gazetteer entry.

    The material being inclusive, yet open, would be the goal for me, and any material considered part of WotC's Greyhawk IP would be included. I wouldn't alter anything that has occurred to date, but I'd be tempted to re-direct some things in the "Present Era" development back to more of what I think they should be, but I feel no need to rewrite what has already taken place. As much as I dislike some of what has been written for Greyhawk I wouldn't change it just because *I* don't like it, as doing that would be utterly selfish. I'll reserve any such drastic and selfish changes for *my own personal campaign*, which is as it should be(in my opinion at least).
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    Wed Sep 26, 2007 11:54 pm  

    I'm certainly in favour of fully inclusive gazeteers with towns and dungeons that have appeared in recent (our time) mods and LG gazeteers. It doesn't really bother me when the actual timeline is set - a list of 'possible' events and the 'official' year in which they occur can always be listed after the main description or in Dragon articles for those DM's who want to advance the timeline.
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    Thu Sep 27, 2007 8:39 am  

    I hate to be voice of discord, but I don't think this is a good idea.

    This idea tries to please everybody and, as such things go, a final product would please no one.

    Moreover, you and I, do not NEED a Greyhawk book. The goal of a Greyhawk book should be to introduce new players to the setting, not for us to drink WotC's Kool-Aid. It should be like bubbagump's idea: a mixture of a Grand History of Greyhawk and LGG.

    As the amount of information is pretty staggering for a newcomer. I do believe the timeline should be advanced. Advancing the timeline has the benefit of NOT invalidating whatever happened in your (or my) game--we can ignore whatever doesn't agree with our respective campaigns--while newcomers will have an official baseline of the past.

    This way, lore is preserved and can still be used by those who know more details, or care to search for it; but newcomers can have new mysteries to explore (some of them maybe linked to old mysteries) without the baggage of recent events and interactions. It would be a rediscovery of Greyhawk; and that can reinvigorate Greyhawk.
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    Thu Sep 27, 2007 5:10 pm  

    Wyvern wrote:
    This way, lore is preserved and can still be used by those who know more details, or care to search for it; but newcomers can have new mysteries to explore (some of them maybe linked to old mysteries) without the baggage of recent events and interactions. It would be a rediscovery of Greyhawk; and that can reinvigorate Greyhawk.


    The proposed plan would do all of this. The only baggage there is with regards to Greyhawk has to do with a small but very vocal part of the community, not the setting itself, and its not really any one person's fault. These folks need to stop dwelling on things that cannot be changed and move on, or at lest allow for others to do so. I will have to say that in the proposed plan further development(i.e. timeline advance) has not been addressed much yet, but it would be the main focus of the "Present Era" sections. I imagine the "Present Era" sections to be as large as, if not larger than, the "576 CY Era" sections. The intention would therefore be to go far beyond merely a simple rehash. This is one of the reasons why I' like to see a rather large book(300+ pages), as it would allow for the inclusion of lots of new developmental material in addition to an expansion of what has come before.
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    Fri Sep 28, 2007 4:46 am  

    This is a minefield. I'm doing my own home made gazeteers for each region to stitch together old, new, LG, and Canonfire material (for personal use) wherever possible, adding stat blocks and key npcs for every settlement. Keoland clocked in at over 200 pages of 9 point Times New Roman text!

    Furyondy is going to be a lot less, only about 70 pages so far (mostly from the Marklands) due largely becuase the LG site hasn't really documented the recent events from the modules. However, that's before I've added full descriptions of the meta-organisations (just names and history - I'm not interested in any formal game effects) and assuming I abbreviate the Castle Hart supplement.

    I want to try and stitch the information together and then try to edit the dodgy LG stuff out. For example, there are far too many wizards and generic wizard schools for my taste.

    The problem with a simple re-boot is that you have to entice fans who already have the old stuff. Advancing the timeline is a way of encouraging those of us who have the original source to material to buy the newer stuff. I think that it is very unlikely that a supplement would be produced without advancing the timeline for this reason. I would generally be happy if WotC used the basics of the LG plots to do this. Separating the different time frames as suggested above would work well.

    Regardless, I'm still of the view that Greyhawk is going to show up in Dungeon and Dragon rather than in any formal re-print.
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    Fri Sep 28, 2007 5:53 am  

    Hello All,

    Here is my feeling on the issue of trying to be all things to all people. Don't.

    Having watched the Traveller universe disintegrate into various timeline and game mechanic camps (classic, mega, new, GDW, Steve Jackson, etc.) I see a game world that will loose its identity if we try to incorporate too much.

    I am going to make a pitch for something different.

    1) I say, choose a point in time (576 CY, 591 CY, or some date further out) and make that the date that background material gets developed for and only up to that date. This is the route that Harn took. It means that we develop enough background to run a campaign but DM's don't have to worry about their campaign being overrun by a later book.

    2) I support the Battlestar Galatica reboot concept (which I heared from Samwise in chat first). Take the essence of what is Greyhawk and make it relevant to today. Use the past for a springboard to the future but don't just repeat it verbatim. Make it Hawk, but make it our own.

    3) Don't over develop. I don't remember where I read it, but Gygax had a concept of developing the center of the map (i.e. the City of Greyhawk) and leave areas progressively farther away less solid. This gives a good baseline for those that don't have time to develop their own stuff, while leaving other areas open for those that do.

    Those of us with large libraries of GH stuff don't need a reboot. We have all the GH stuff we could ever need and we have our pet projects here on CF.

    But, if we truly want the setting to appeal to new gamers, don't bury them under an Encyclopedia Greyhawkina, its just too much. I say give them what we all had in the beginning, a nice outline, some really cool adventures and plenty of wide open spaces to develop our own stuff.

    So, what about those people that have been raised upon the over developed teat of FR and Eberron? If they want hand holding and let them use 4e FR.

    My two coppers,

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    Fri Sep 28, 2007 11:06 am  

    Saracenus wrote:
    Here is my feeling on the issue of trying to be all things to all people. Don't. . . .

    I support the Battlestar Galatica reboot concept (which I heared from Samwise in chat first). Take the essence of what is Greyhawk and make it relevant to today. Use the past for a springboard to the future but don't just repeat it verbatim. Make it Hawk, but make it our own. . . .

    if we truly want the setting to appeal to new gamers, don't bury them under an Encyclopedia Greyhawkina, its just too much.


    I agree with and can support the second and third points.

    With respect to the first point, I can see the logic of it. Isn't the alternative to trying to find some sort of compromise, even if it doesn't satisfy anyone fully, a blood bath that will leave some group with no stake in the going forward version of GH that emerges? Maybe this is inevitable no matter what? Should we then just pick among the one-sided options and get on with the bloodletting, the quicker to have it over with? I'm not just asking rhetorically.

    Assuming no compromise is possible my personal choices are 1) support a 100 year timeline advance, 2) advocate for a completely new version of GH, reimagined and unbeholden to the past or 3) oppose any 4e GH as fatally compromised by 4e's crunch and fluff changes. I honestly don't know which I'd favor more. I'm torn, which is how I came up with the idea of a compromise.
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    Fri Sep 28, 2007 12:42 pm  

    I think that it is easy to be critical of a product which has yet to see the light of day. As I pointed out earlier of which I don't think anyone has responded to.....

    If you wait and expect WOTC to handle this for you.....you will be in for a long wait. The only thing we will get out of this discussion is agreements and disagrements. None of which will produce a product of any kind other than a wish list.

    If you choose not to wait for WOTC then some decisions need to be finalized, a group of writers selected as well as moderators to review manuscripts. The final product I believe would have to be posted on Canonfire or some similar site as a free offering of home written material in order to avoid legal aspects.

    If the legal consequences are beyond the scope of the homemade project than we are not doing ourselves any favors by a continued debate about what is the best way to go about this project when it will not be up to the fans in the first place.

    So what is this.....A message to WOTC that we hope they will offer us and this is what we would like to see?

    Or is it a viable home project by a cooperation of various Greyhawk fans who wish to continue a line of support for a game world currently not in production?

    I hope it is the latter.

    Should we produce such a "free" product without violation of the legal aspects and it was made available to people all over the world via the Internet.....how many of them do you really think would pass on it. First, it would be a free download....Second, if they don't like it, they can just delete it. Third, if they like parts of it, they can either delete or ignore the sections they do not like.....Either way everybody whose interested gets something for nothing. The writers get the experience and the file to call their own. Each author is credit and retains the specifics of their offering to do as they will with later.

    Response please....
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    Fri Sep 28, 2007 1:26 pm  

    EileenProphetofIstus wrote:

    <SNIP>
    If the legal consequences are beyond the scope of the homemade project than we are not doing ourselves any favors by a continued debate about what is the best way to go about this project when it will not be up to the fans in the first place.

    <SNIP>

    Should we produce such a "free" product without violation of the legal aspects and it was made available to people all over the world via the Internet.....how many of them do you really think would pass on it. First, it would be a free download....Second, if they don't like it, they can just delete it. Third, if they like parts of it, they can either delete or ignore the sections they do not like.....Either way everybody whose interested gets something for nothing. The writers get the experience and the file to call their own. Each author is credit and retains the specifics of their offering to do as they will with later.

    Response please....


    Eileen,

    As I see it, this is a discussion of what we the Greyhawk community could produce for ourselves. It was never my impression that this was a request for WotC to produce something for us.

    As to your main question would a free product be legal. Kinda depends.
    ***Disclaimer*** I am not a lawyer.

    WotC has let us play with their IP, Greyhawk, pretty much unmolested by their large corporate sharks (Hasbro lawyers are a fun bunch). However, WotC actions in the past year, yanking various IP back (DL, Ravensloft, etc.), the voracious EULA from Gleemax.com, and talk about how using their IP by individuals will legal so long as it is posted on Gleemax makes me think our free ride might change.

    I think if we really did organize a project that would compete directly with FR and Eberron in terms of quality and scope (or was better in both regards) we would see a change in behavior by WotC.

    In some ways our fractious, disorganized state is precisely why WotC leaves us be. That, and we have also acted as an author farm team for various publications (Dragon, Dungeon).

    So, truth be told, I don't think that putting it out for free would protect us from legal action by WotC/Hasbro. Even if we had the law on our side (and I don't think we do) we could not withstand a challenge by WotC. The only thing I can think of that would prevent this from happening is if someone didn't want the negative publicity associated with going after your fans (al la the MPAA and the RIAA).

    Anyway, that is my two coppers,

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    Fri Sep 28, 2007 1:51 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:

    <SNIP>

    With respect to the first point [of not being all things to all people and choosing a specific time frame for a GH suplement], I can see the logic of it. Isn't the alternative to trying to find some sort of compromise, even if it doesn't satisfy anyone fully, a blood bath that will leave some group with no stake in the going forward version of GH that emerges? Maybe this is inevitable no matter what? Should we then just pick among the one-sided options and get on with the bloodletting, the quicker to have it over with? I'm not just asking rhetorically.

    Assuming no compromise is possible my personal choices are 1) support a 100 year timeline advance, 2) advocate for a completely new version of GH, reimagined and unbeholden to the past or 3) oppose any 4e GH as fatally compromised by 4e's crunch and fluff changes. I honestly don't know which I'd favor more. I'm torn, which is how I came up with the idea of a compromise.


    GVD,

    I would say, get the blood letting done now. A project like this needs focus and vision. Its going to be driven by a few folks anyway and the rest of us would be nibbling at the edges. If you DO NOT make a strong statement as to your purpose with this project, us fringe folk will nibble you to death. If you alienate them right now, they will move on and just probably boo and hiss from the sidelines.

    The other reason to do this now is simple. A compromise, make everyone happy project would never get done... its just too big. There are too many chiefs and no Indians.

    The timeline that was done for FR was the result of one person compiling "canon" entries from WotC products before WotC asked him to publish, he did not add his own stuff or anyone else's to it. He had vision, focus and a clear goal. The fact that FR fans and WotC liked it was a bonus.

    Right now this topic is basically market research (and not good market research because of its limited reach and the huge non-answer group that we do not address here).

    To make something happen GVD, I would say pick a time, set out a bold vision of what GH 2.0 should accomplish, attract fellow writers interested in that vision and then, and then assign sections for individuals and groups to finish in a certain time frame.

    The ultimate review authority should be a small group with a clear criterion for what it is looking for.

    Otherwise, the project will be nothing more than this discussion with people trying to defend their parts of GH that they are invested in and nothing will get done. Its easier to stand for something than it is to defend something.

    My two coppers,

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    Fri Sep 28, 2007 3:26 pm  

    Given the space constraints and the daunting amount of information perhaps the road to take is a simple concise present setting source book. Whatever the current date is decided that will hopefully appeal to the new player blood and allow easy play via adventure hooks. Hopefully this will spark further interest in the setting.

    Separate supplements can be released detailing the extensive history in each timeline era. This simplifies the setting for new players and saves much desired pages for development. It also allows the detail many of the GH junkies desire to be given to each timeframe.

    Just a thought...
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    Fri Sep 28, 2007 5:05 pm  

    Saracenus wrote:
    WotC has let us play with their IP, Greyhawk, pretty much unmolested by their large corporate sharks (Hasbro lawyers are a fun bunch). However, WotC actions in the past year, yanking various IP back (DL, Ravensloft, etc.), the voracious EULA from Gleemax.com, and talk about how using their IP by individuals will legal so long as it is posted on Gleemax makes me think our free ride might change.


    Few things.

    First, Eileen's question of whether we are asking Wotc for something or looking to reach some agreement among ourselves hinges on the above, I think. Honestly, when I started this thread, I was really thinking of neither; rather, I was just expressing an opinion and seeing how others felt. I think there is mileage in what Eileen is saying about a fan undertaking, however. MerricB has attempted to address the "GH Info Gap" in some of his articles and CSL (Cruel Summer Lord) is marching through the Flanaess very throughly. IMO, there is a GH Info Gap that will only get worse as GH stays out of print longer and longer.

    Second, sticking with the idea of a fan created book for a moment, tonight, just for fun, I pulled together all the data I could immediately find on the kingdoms etc. of the Pre-Migration Flanaess. You will recall in the outline I offered there was a short section on the Ancient Flanaess. To my surprise I came up with over two dozen. I limited myself to direct canon references and oblique references within canon (e.g., the unnamed dwarven realm in the Glorioles Mts). Looking at just this small part of the proposed whole, this is a lot of ground to cover. I'm starting to see larger page count problems all the way around. Is it really feasible to synthesize GH's history, boiling it down to fit something less than an encyclopedic treatment (which would be death on a stick to newbies)?

    Third, coming to the above quote, I have to profess ignorance of the "EULA" of Gleemax? What is this, please? And can you expound a bit more on the idea that IP can only be used by fans on Gleemax? I have not heard of this last before and if literally true, it would spell the end of CF, which would concern me WAY more than putting together a new GH book (which it would also impact).
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    Fri Sep 28, 2007 6:04 pm  

    GVD

    As Crag makes mention of, we could consider reducing the scope of our project a bit and break the concept down into smaller books (via Internet files). This may not be a bad idea...

    My thought here is that we could begin with whichever project idea is considered the best or start at the beginning with the research your starting up. For the sake of discussion lets start with the prehistory of the Flanaess prior to migrations.

    We organize out committee. Writing soon follows after shared ideas and basic decisions are made. A prehistory migrations book would be the only topic. The file would be shorter and less intimidating to new players, as this seems to be a concern of several involved in this discussion, those pro and against the proposal.

    Once completed, we move on to the next book, which covers the migration years. Again, being the only topic it will be shorter, less intimidating than the entire project at once.

    Once completed we move on covering Keoland and the Great Kingdom years (or include them as one with the above book). Again, same deal, it is shorter and less intimidating.

    We then move on to CY 576, etc. etc. etc. Until the overall project is complete.

    Here's the bonuses of doing it this way.

    While each book is shorter and less intimidating to new people it also gives us all the room in the world (literally) to cover every detail we would want to within each time frame.

    By the time we finish one book we are working on the next. By the time the second book is complete and provided we have given new readers and old alike the opportunity to review the first work and begin to digest it, giving them ample time to become comfortable with it's contents and time for them to begin including the different aspects of it they wish within their campaign.

    By the time we finish the second book, again the same, they now have two books (files) which they become familiar with while awaiting the third.

    So here we have successfully approached several goals of the project.

    1. We have included all of the Cannon history regarding the time period.

    2. We have reduced page count which avoids intimidation.

    3. Shorter books require less time to write and therefore we move each one along at a greater speed.

    4. It becomes less research for everyone during the writing process. This allows less effort, less mind boggling, less things to juggle at once.

    5. While the fans are becoming familiar with this book they (hopefully) are eagerly awaiting the next.

    6. Eagerly awaiting fans could mean an increase in writers as more people understand where we are coming from and choose to become involved.

    7. We might even duck under the watchful eyes of Wizards of the Coast because each book is less encompassing.

    8. Each book could add in the missing or inaccurate details in order to fix them.

    9. Previously completed books would also serve as accurate historical documents for future books when research is required on a given topic later on.

    10. Anyone wanting to print these books out will find it much easier on the cost because they are in seveal month intervals. Thus more information and less costly at one time.

    11. If one book interferes with someone's campaign they can merely choose to not include it within their collection of books.

    The books should be written in a manner which when printed allows them to be put together as one cohesive document. One follows the other rather than being written like a completely new book all together. This allows people to slap the whole thing together as one giant book they have had the opportunity to get use to over many months or a year or two (however long it takes).

    The only thing I don't like is going back to the idea of putting the history of a nation and scattering it around in the long run. Perhaps a way can be found to assist in this matter.

    Here's another thought.....

    When put together as a cohesive piecemeal, we could opt to do one country after the other (or a few at a time) as separate shorter books. This allows us to again place more detail into one area and at the same time we could bite off larger chunks of history at a time as well, retaining the idea of a complete kingdom history from year xxx to current date all together in one single place.

    If any of these ideas make sense (or don't) let me know. If my descriptions are difficult to understand please ask questions rather than just passing on them. PLEASE!!!!!!
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    Fri Sep 28, 2007 11:22 pm  

    I've been calling for a quick and merciless(at this point)bloodletting from the very beginning. No more of this humane lethal injection crap anymore. At this point, I’m all for some old skool hanging, drawing, and quartering! Shocked

    There are a lot of unrealistic desires that some people have for any further Greyhawk material:

    1. Gygax must write it ALL.
    2. ALL of the Living Greyhawk material MUST be included.
    3. No material published after the 83' boxed set should be included.
    4. Any combination of the above, or picking and choosing to include only what YOU like.

    I don't think that all of the people who want these different things come anywhere close to being a majority of the fans out there, and it would be erroneous to think that many of them are part of the those who have come recently to the fold of Greyhawk. The fanatics who want any of the above to happen with any new material will bleed the most, but they seem to masochistically feed off of that anyways so I wouldn't feel bad if new material steamrolls them in elephantine juggernaut fashion at all. I have no sympathy for those who ask for the impossible and then scream bloody murder when they don't get what they want.

    All I know is that when those next Lotto numbers come out, I better win, or there is gonna be hell to pay!!! Laughing

    I think it is best to ignore any and all people who put stringent and unrealistic exclusionary or inclusionary demands on what information future Greyhawk products must contain.

    For me, the whole point of these threads was to discuss what possible formats might be the most acceptable for any new Greyhawk material. We've had a few ideas put forth in a manner that has been laid out such that we can pretty much fully visualize them. We’ve had plenty of people say this or this plan is not a good idea, but not much expansion on any format ideas of their own. Constructive feedback is good, but if you completely reject an idea then you should be prepared to not only explain why, but to offer a replacement format of your own. I know that is asking something of everyone, but being constructive means offering up something of your own too. The more ideas that there are, the more likely it is that one of them, or a combination of them, will be THE ONE. A project could be done, and even offered on the web, but it could not simply be a cut-n’-paste of exact material from the products what have been produced to date. If this were to be turned into a project, I'd be all for breaking it down into 5 regional booklets rather than doing one large setting book. Note that these would NOT be detailed to the level of being soucrcebooks, just overview Gazetteers, but with some additional material for the "Present Era".
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    Sat Sep 29, 2007 6:55 am  

    EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
    GVD

    As Crag makes mention of, we could consider reducing the scope of our project a bit and break the concept down into smaller books (via Internet files). This may not be a bad idea...

    My thought here is that we could begin with whichever project idea is considered the best or start at the beginning with the research your starting up. For the sake of discussion lets start with the prehistory of the Flanaess prior to migrations.


    Eileen,

    The project you are proposing is NOT Greyhawk 2.0. It is still Encyclopedia Greyhawk. Even though you are breaking up the project into relatively smaller portions, you still will eventually overwhelm your target audience, new players and judges... or, that isn't your target audience and you want something for us, the dwindling old school Greyhawkers. Worse, since you are starting with pre-migration history it really isn't useful for someone that hasn't already been playing in Greyhawk, they have to wait for us to get up to the current year before they can get any value out of it.

    Before we outline a project it should have a target audience and goals.

    Goal 1: Simple starting point for new players and judges. The rebooted setting should be playable out of the box.

    Goal 2: 4e compatibility. Adjust the setting to the new 4e rules as much as possible. Keep Greyhawk house rules to a minimum but use enough to maintain essential Greyhawk flavor. Use sparingly, see goal 1 above.

    Goal 3: Don't overdevelop, let the setting breath. Use Gygax's center out approach and develop the Domain of Greyhawk and its city as a starting point. Give summaries of the rest of the world so judges can develop what they want, but there is still a "here there be dragons" mystery feel for the players. See goal 1 above.

    Goal 3: Battlestar Galatica, not Psycho remake. Pare Greyhawk down to its core essence and rebuild it from there with fresh takes on old ideas, throw out that which doesn't support a leaner setting. Take risks with the setting, do not make a shot for shot remake.
    If someone wants to play classic 'hawk, there is plenty of 1e and 2e material in PDF form for them to track down. Not to mention the CF material we have currently.

    Here is a short list of core 'hawk stuff I would keep in my GH 2.0:

    Over All Theme: A Decaying World

    * Rise and Fall of Empires (i.e. Twin Cataclysms, Great Kingdom)
    * Magic is diminishing (Elves are waning, High Magic is gone)
    * Evil is on the march and comes from without and within (i.e. Iuz personifies the threat from outside forces on Oerth, while Slavers personifies the capacity for human depravity against itself).
    * Chaos is barely contained. This is writ large in the story of Tharizdun.
    * Good is fractured and fragile. Be it politics, between races, or gods.
    * Law extends only has far as borders of the kingdom, if that.

    Big Secret: When the gods imprisoned Tharizdun the stories say they created a prison in the dimension connected to the Astral to contain him. This is a lie.
    The gods in a moment of fear and selfishness bound Tharizdun to the material world and Oerth itself is his prison. The very eldrich magic that contains him has drawn mortals to this world like moths to a flame. No one save Tharizdun is a native of Oerth and his very nature corrupts all that come into contact with him.
    The cycle of civilization, corruption and fall is the re-occuring story of Greyhawk. It is the engine that drives the history of this world. Magic is dying because as it is used by mortals on Oerth and it is slowly is being diminished. The irony is, the gods need to use mortals to help contain the spread of chaos, but cannot come to Oerth directly for fear of being diminished.

    Now I have my hook and when I rewrite the history of Oerth and make the setting new, this will be the underlying concept that drives the narrative.

    Example: Iuz 2.0.
    Iuz is not a god. He claims to be one and demonstrates the power of one but Gods that walk the Oerth risk the corrupting influence of Thruzidun and the very use of their power here weakens the prison. Iuz found a way to shield himself from these effects, sort of.
    Iuz bound his soul into an object of power and hid it away in the Abyss, his father's home. This prevented Tharizdun from corrupting him but it hasn't stopped his body from being ravaged by the very forces he commands. Since a soul is needed to control magic and his is somewhere else, Iuz must sacrifice the souls of others to maintain his power. Because his physical body is dying he cannot conquer the world by himself despite the power he wields so he builds armies, takes land, and sacrifices them to keep his grip on power.
    The gods see him as a true threat but cannot directly oppose him for fear of hastening the end of the universe, so they use their proxies on Oerth to oppose him.

    So we have the iconic Iuz in Greyhawk 2.0 but no longer is he some cartoon villain that is conquering, just because. He needs to conquer to survive. His existence threatens to bring armageddon and the very power that good uses against him threatens the same thing.

    In order to preserve the balance, magic must be used sparingly, thus in a world that has magic, most things are done the hard way.

    My Two Coppers,

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    Sat Sep 29, 2007 9:18 am  

    Sounds like your in favor or rewriting significant portions of the Greyhawk and changing a considerable amount. Do you really feel people are going to feel like it is Greyhawk if you change Tharizdun's story, don't make Iuz a god (which is different than losing godhood).

    I respect that you didn't care for the idea, that's fine. Regrettfully I doubt you understood the many positive reasons for doing this. I never claimed it would be the answer, but merely a different way of consideration while trying to handle some of the issues others have brought up. If it did not achieve that, that's fine.

    Perhaps others will agree, perhaps not.

    Should you complete your alternate World of Greyhawk let me know.
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    Sat Sep 29, 2007 9:45 am  

    EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
    Sounds like your in favor or rewriting significant portions of the Greyhawk and changing a considerable amount. Do you really feel people are going to feel like it is Greyhawk if you change Tharizdun's story, don't make Iuz a god (which is different than losing godhood).


    Yes.

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    Sat Sep 29, 2007 10:13 am  

    Thank you for your opinion.
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    Sat Sep 29, 2007 1:43 pm  

    EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
    Thank you for your opinion.


    Exactly. It is my opinion. Unless others share it, my vision will not be adopted.

    What I am saying is, have a stance on what you believe to be Greyhawk and lead by that stance. The whole, "let us make Greyhawk all things to all people" method will not work.

    I personally don't like having gods walking Oerth. I find Iuz problematic at best. Why is he not leading his armies himself and scattering the forces of good before him? What hope do the people of Greyhawk have in destroying Iuz who's power is beyond mortal ken? Most players just don't care one way or the other. So, If I change something to make it more internally consistent and its fun, they will accept it. I did not always believe this.

    My experience in Living Greyhawk was an eye opener. Very few players (and not a few triad and writers) cared if canon was followed. Players want a good adventure. Most of the deep background was lost upon them. This was both disappointing and liberating.

    My shift from trying to develop only things in LG like a historian to developing stuff for players as an adventure writer meant that if canon got in the way of a good experience for players, I would side with the good experience every time.

    An Example of this was in the Theocracy of the Pale region (my home region was the Duchy of Urnst). In the early years the triad had every player tithe to the church from their loot gained. This meant there was yet another layer of paperwork to keep track of (I think this was the only region to have a tax that players actually played). It was not fun. It meant that players in the Pale were always 10% behind the rest of the regions and treasure was at a premium at this time. It was canonically correct but really was a hassle and unfun to play. Eventually they did away with it and said because of the treasure caps of adventures it was assumed the PCs paid the tax from the unrealized treasure beyond the cap.

    While the problems of running a world wide campaign don't have the same or any impact on a home game it was illuminating that rigid adherence to what was written didn't always translate as a good game experience.

    That realization has stuck with me all the way to today. When I talk about my home game in chat, some people tell me I can't do this or that because of canon and I laugh... Greyhawk is what I make it. It is what my players make it. Greyhawk serves the game, not the other way around.

    So when you ask me, do I think my vision of Greyhawk is still Greyhawk, I say yes. Because in my experience, what you present as Greyhawk, is Greyhawk. And if what you share with your players is fun and internally consistent, it is Greyhawk.

    Thank you,

    Bryan Blumklotz
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    Sat Sep 29, 2007 1:56 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:

    <SNIP>

    Third, coming to the above quote, I have to profess ignorance of the "EULA" of Gleemax? What is this, please? And can you expound a bit more on the idea that IP can only be used by fans on Gleemax? I have not heard of this last before and if literally true, it would spell the end of CF, which would concern me WAY more than putting together a new GH book (which it would also impact).


    Sorry transposed a software licensing term... I meant Terms of Use for Gleemax.

    ***EDIT: Found the reference***
    As for using IP on Geleemax...
    http://www.gleemax.com/articles/announcement010.html

    Here is the relevant section:
    Gleemax Anouncement wrote:
    Note that you are allowed (solely per the terms of the Terms of Use and Terms of Service) to use our IP when generating content that you put on our site, however you are not allowed to then publish that content anywhere else. So, for example, you could create an awesome campaign setting that takes place in some never before seen corner of Forgotten Realms and you could populate it with all the iconic D&D monsters you like. (We very much hope this is the kind of thing that this community and our toolset will inspire folks to do.) However, because the content includes D&D specific stuff that is not covered by the OGL (Open Gaming License), you could not, for example, turn around and publish it for sale in book form. Then again, if you invent and then post to Gleemax an original campaign setting (or rules system or whatever) that does not use any WotC intellectual property, you would still retain ownership and can publish that yourself if you like.


    While this doesn't say you cannot use their IP on your own website (never posting it at Gleemax) but if they want to they could shut down CF and tell us to post it up on their site... If I find something more explicit, I will post the link...

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    Sat Sep 29, 2007 2:23 pm  

    I agree with you that Greyhawk is what you make it. Everyone deviates from cannon the minute they start playing or developing their version of the world, myself included.

    My campaign is currently involved in a globe sweeping effect of judgments being cast down by the deities because they disapprove of how mortals have been worshipping them throughout the centuries. Clearly nothing like this appears in any of the Greyhawk sourcebooks therefore the plot is strictly home brew.

    If I was to make available this material (I'm not proposing that) it would be viewed as non cannon. If WOTC published the exact same plot lines it would be. The point being that Greyhawk is what you make of it. So it would seem we agree on this, correct?

    So far as this website is concerned, I doubt we will achieve anything by going around in circles because there are too many different opinions about what is a good idea and what isn't.

    Personally, I think that if just a few people can agree, then they should climb aboard, form their committee, and begin a writing process. Those who like the finished product will make use of it, whether it be 100 or 300 pages; whether it be a sourcebook picking up where the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer left off or a redesigned new one; whether it includes strictly cannon information; provides limited additions; or drastically changes the face of the current world; whether it backs up the timeline, pushes it ahead, or keeps it current; whether it is made available in small files which once put together form a larger book or just one file of whatever size.

    The point is that people will take out of it what works for them. If WOTC comes along at a later time (which I don't think is likely) they will in all probablility dump all or some of the file(s) they have adopted from Canonnfire and go with the WOTC product regardless of whether it is better or worse in quality. Now not everyone will dump it, but I suspect the majority will in some fashion or another, which is fine.

    Should WOTC not provide us with anything...how long are we willing to disagree with the above issues and not allow ANYTHING to see the light of day?

    We can't please everyone. Even if yours, GVD's, Ceberion's, someone elses, or my ideas were adopted it would still excercise some form of compromise if we are going to have multiple authors provide this service. In such a compromise no one person will be 100% happy. Another author will still take a different spin on something or have to choose between contradicting facts, and another author will not agree.

    Here is where we need to exercise maturity in realizing that not all ideas can or will be had.

    If something by anyone is published, those who download it and review it can choose to like it, accept parts of it, or delete it. Hopefully regardless of the effort, most will accept it and utilize some of the information within their campaign.

    The time has come I think a while ago, for someone to say....hey I can compromise with that idea for the better of the Greyhawk community in order to get this project started.

    I stand with ideas along the lines of GVD and Cebrion. If anyone else is in reasonable agreement with these ideas proposed please post your interest here in order to start this project.

    We need to provide final arrangements in the format's presented in order to finalize a outline and assign writers to various sections of the book. If your on board pm me or ask GVD or Cebrion if they want to be contacted as well.

    GVD, Cebrion....I realize I am taking liberties here and it is only because I felt that we came to a realistic agreement in order to work together. If I am correct, then great, if not I apoligize for the assumption. I'm trying to get us past all the bickering and into the writing.

    Organization is the key and it is time to organize. If people climb on board now or later, they are welcome. If people do not climb on board but decide to use the finished project, then great. The job was done, and as stated before, you got something for nothing....use it as you will just like a book from WOTC.

    If you the reader do not agree with these ideas that's fine. You can continue to shake your head and not be involved.....perhaps a wise choice; you can loudly disagree and begin work on your own project with those that do agree with you; or you can loudly disagree and attempt to undermine others efforts to do what they think is best overall. The choice is yours!
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    Sat Sep 29, 2007 5:25 pm  

    EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
    Sounds like your in favor or rewriting significant portions of the Greyhawk and changing a considerable amount. Do you really feel people are going to feel like it is Greyhawk if you change Tharizdun's story, don't make Iuz a god (which is different than losing godhood). . . . Should you complete your alternate World of Greyhawk let me know.


    I think I need to clarify some of my earlier posts. I was proposing exactly what Saracenus is advocating - a reimagining of GH that would entail "rewriting significant portions of Greyhawk and changing a considerable amount." I'm fer it, not agin it. Happy

    That said, I was also for placing things within a historic or canon context. Not abandoning everything that has been published to date.

    The two drivers for change for me were/are 1) canon is muddled and there will be choices about which canon versions to go with, which will in turn have new downstream consequences and 2) the "present era" is totally new stuff.

    My thought was a compromise between a rehashing of GH and a reimagining of GH from the get-go.

    An "alternate" GH is exactly what I'm advocating (see two drivers discussion, supra) but an "alternate" GH grounded in the GH we all know and love. Again, a compromise.

    Meaning no disrespect Eileen, but I hear you leaning toward a "new" GH that synthisizes the existing GH but which does not really change GH, more an updated cataloging of the GH information we have. Others want to change from the get go. I was tossing out the idea of splitting the difference - retaining the good stuff but also reimagining the setting.

    IMO, change or reimagining GH is essential to attracting a new GH audience to the setting. Old timers might be discomfited by one change or another but they have experience dealing with this. The objective would be not to please the old guard but new, potential GHers.

    I think a "new" GH that just better organizes and presents existing GH is a non-starter. I think there must be a "significant change" component, whatever that might be. I'd like to think there is a middle ground between the two but if not, then as between just those two options, I'd be for radical change and reimagining.

    I think I may be coming across in confused fashion as I'm drawing from both camps. My apologies.

    EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
    . . . So far as this website is concerned, I doubt we will achieve anything by going around in circles because there are too many different opinions about what is a good idea and what isn't.

    Personally, I think that if just a few people can agree, then they should climb aboard, form their committee, and begin a writing process. . . .
    We need to provide final arrangements in the format's presented in order to finalize a outline and assign writers to various sections of the book. . . . Organization is the key and it is time to organize. If people climb on board now or later, they are welcome.


    Meaning this in the most positive manner, feel free to move ahead. No joke, I think you have a strong vision. For myself, I am not prepared to move ahead. Nor do I think the discussion pointless or going in circles.

    I see a forming community of understanding among various viewpoints. Short of agreement, this is still better than outright disagreement. The more GHers jawbone an issue, I think, the more "sames" tend to come to the fore, even if the "differents" never completely go away. This is, to me, useful.

    The synthesis of existing GH or its distilling is "simple" because the material is more or less available but "hard" because there is so much of it and all that material is internally not always consistent.

    The reimagining of GH is "simple" because it need not be tightly bound to canon but "hard" because there are so many possible directions in which things might proceed.

    If there is a compromise to be had, I think more discussion is called for to better understand the full parameters of the compromise. If no compromise is possible, then for me, just picking between these two stated alternatives, the question becomes 1) which canon bits to keep and 2) how to diverge to reimagine GH.

    Anyway I slice it, I'm no where near ready to try to put pen to paper.

    This said, I don't want to hold anybody or anybodies back who have a clear vision of what they want to do in their own mind. If I helped form that vision, even if I don't feel it as strongly, that's okay by me. I think if there is a sufficiently strong vision that people want to follow, they should follow it.

    Call me a fence-sitter or a chin stroker but that's where I am presently. Don't wait for me. If you feel it, go make your vision real! I'm happy to continue to discuss and kibitz and if the feeling catches me up I won't be bashful about saying so. But don't wait on me -go for it! Happy
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    Sat Sep 29, 2007 7:02 pm  

    Eileen,

    I think its great that you want to do your vision. I wish you good luck and I hope you assemble a good crew. Its just not for me.

    GVD,

    I understand your position and its great that you have started this discussion. My position is clear and now I will wait for 4e to come out. If I like what I see and I have the time I will contribute to Greyhawk 2.0.

    In the mean time...

    I am done.

    Thanks,

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    Sat Sep 29, 2007 7:57 pm  

    I as well shall withdraw from the topic. Everyone's comments positive and negative were appreciated as well. I sincerely hope that such a discussion brings forth no hard feelings, and I want to say thanks for trying. We still have one thing in common....Greyhawk.
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    Mon Oct 01, 2007 3:20 pm  

    So Sad Sad

    The GH community is too small to further divide itself; personally I fail to see how "rewriting GH history" would attract new players.

    The New players start with the most current date and as they continue learn the setting history, most if not all could care less about the history, let alone be attract because of it. If it was for veterans I could see the point, still disagree but it would make sense.
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    Tue Oct 02, 2007 3:07 am  

    I agree with Crag, why must it be reimagined? Where's the appeal in that?

    I think many new players are not getting into Greyhawk because GH is not visible. The LGG and LGH did provide a new point of entry for many new players but even that material is not available anymore now. And if you wanted to go deeper after that you have to dig up 2E pdfs but even with those there is no clear campaign setting book.

    I feel a product such as outlined here would be a great introduction material. There would imho be no need to delve too deeply into ancient era kingdoms beyond the level how they were treated in other GH publications. Such a thing could indeed be an additional publication though i disagree with Eileen on the order. The introductory Gazetteer needs to be the first.

    I feel that with the writers available on CF and the editorial capabilities of the OJ (the new look is great) this could be indeed be an awesome product.
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    Tue Oct 02, 2007 3:35 am  

    The point being made about a complete rewrite o the Greyhawk setting, and how appealing it will be, regard new players. These will mostly be people. Who will say “Greyhawk? Never heard of it.” or “Greyhawk? I think a friend of my Dad’s played that. Is it anything like Eberron?” or “Greyhawk. Yeah it reminds me a lot of the Forgotten Realms.”

    If you rewrite the setting drastically, yet still keep in a few familiar elements(i.e. buzz words like Iuz, etc.), you have something that anybody who has played Greyhawk for 10 years or more would consider a blasphemy, but anybody who does not have any preconceptions about Greyhawk, you have an entirely new setting. Sure, it trashes everything that has come before, but I will not be surprised at this point if this is the tact that is taken by WotC if they decide to work on a new Greyhawk setting book.

    Does it suck? Yes it does, but only for those of us who know the campaign world and what is all about(past and present). The future players however are free of our “skewed” bias. Some folks seem to be jockeying for this position already, accepting it as a forgone conclusion.

    Even if the route that has been proposed were to be taken, I also agree with Saracenus and GVD that in the “Present Era”, there would be some developmental writing regarding some of the more horribly written bits of Greyhawk lore. I myself would be more in favor of making some minor changes through the use of development, rather than retconn any past material though.
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    Tue Oct 02, 2007 4:28 am  

    The Living Greyhawk Gazateer to a very large degree consolidated the known information on each nation etc. of the Flanaess and made that information available to the broad public. It advanced the setting marginally after GH98 (Flight of Fiends, tAB etc.). Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk materially affected the overall story arc of the Flanaess almost not at all. So with this background, how might a GH2010 be presented?

    Option No. 1 (More of the Same Slightly Changed GH)- A gazatteer of the Flanaess presents the Flanaess much like the LGG did back in 2000 with, again, some marginal updating.

    Option No. 2 (Big Timeline Advanced GH)- A gazatteer of the Flanaess advances the timeline 50 to 100 years and presents a much changed/evolved Flanaess with new villains, new adventure hooks, new storylines etc. in the 50+ or 100+ year timeframe. Reimagining occurs only in the presentation of the 50+ or 100+ year "present time." The past remains the known, canon, past. Only the timeline advanced future is new, _but this is time period described_ - the new timeline advanced future.

    Option No. 3 (Reimagined Variant GH) - A gazatteer of the Flanaess restarts the setting by reimagining GH from the ground up. While many familiar elements are retained, most are repositioned or changed in some way. Its GH but a different or variant version of GH. This is the Battlestar Gallactica model. Everything is rearranged or at least any number of familiar GH elements are rearranged to create a familiar but variant GH.

    Option No. 4 (GH Old and New) - A gazatteer of the Flanaess compromises and describes/consolidates canon GH in 576 CY and/or 591 CY but also describes a "future" GH at a CY date 25+ years after 591CY.

    Other options?
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    Wed Jul 08, 2009 3:48 pm  

    Dredged from the depths:

    rasgon wrote:
    ...Of course, if there were no changes of substance from the way things were in 576, why advance the timeline at all? Better to just produce a new 576 CY sourcebook and let individual groups take the setting in whatever direction they prefer...


    -Instead of a "Reboot", do what I did (by happen-stance starting c. AD 1983, with occassional play to the present moment): Start at CY 576, and work your way forward; anything you don't like about the post-576 world is something which you (or your players) can change as time passes (mine do, mostly for ill Razz ).

    What I'd like to see would be sources, modules, etc, produced for ALL periods, sort of like this:

    EileenProphetofIstus wrote:

    [From theoretical Intro':
    This is your world reader, to do what you will. You may select a moment in history to begin your campaign, be it 576, the Greyhawk Wars, their aftermath, or even CY 600...


    e.g., a village and surrounding area could be listed as "Set in southern Keoland in CY577", or a Scarlet Brotherhood cell system could be written for "Northanchor & the northern territories of Irongate in CY 583".

    GVDammerung wrote:
    ...I'm sorry to say I see no future for GH at this point. The conditions under which it would have to be published suggest it would be something totally different just using the GH name, which seems to be what Wotc is aiming for with GH.


    ...One side advantage to this is that it gives a company a reason to stick around GH; with 24 years (576-600) and part of a continent to cover the (money) possibilities are endless.

    As for sourcebooks, I'd like two:

    1) "The World of Greyhawk Gazeteer", in the form that a charachter might buy at a bookstore in Rel Mord (or wherever) for 50gp; it would have the basic info' (some of which might be inaccurate) found in the 1983 WOGG & some of the stuff from LGG (e.g. minus leaders' exact alignment & class levels);

    2) The DMs version, which would be much longer, and would include stuff which PCs wouldn't be privvy to; it would include stuff from the 1983 Glossography and "classified" stuff from the LGG, and maybe some new stuff (e.g. Lord Mayor Cobb Darg is a LG(LN) Human Exp1/Rog2 in CY 578 Razz ).
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