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Updating GH for 4e - The FR Template
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GVDammerung
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 7:18 pm    Post subject: Updating GH for 4e - The FR Template Reply with quote

The first real solid details of how the Forgotten Realms will be updated to mesh with 4e are now appearing. In a nutshell, popular areas (Sword Coast, Dalelands, Cormyr) get a minor makeover where things have changed but are otherwise almost exactly the same, while less popular areas (Anauroch, Sembia, Old Empires) get entirely paved over to make way for the new hotness. Perhaps the biggest paving over is that necessary to bring in the new 4e race of the Dragonborn. Seems a planar rift opened up because of the Spellplague and sucked in part of another reality that overwote what existed there beforehand. Deus ex machina! Oh, and the timeline has been advanced 94 years.

For the Realms, the above is "doable" to the extent that the Realms are a) huge and b) have always been a collection of subsettings with reasonable seperate existences/histories. Now, suppose GH got similar treatment.

Unlike the Realms, GH is not so huge and is not so neatly subdivided into subsettings that have narrow interactions between the subsettings (with maybe the exception of the Sheldomar Valley which has been fairly well kept "isolated.")

If 1) the GH timeline is advanced 100 years or so, 2) only the popular areas (really only the Domain of GH in WoG has seen such development)
remain largely untouched while 3) other areas are given a major redefination (see the Netheril Empire) and 4) still other areas are "overwritten" to accomodate 4e conventions, I submit that what you would have would be GH in name only.

I am all for "updating" WoG by advancing the timeline and developing a "new" future that is consistent with what has come before. However, IMO, the 4e treatment of FR is much more than this and if applied to GH would create a new future but one necessarily inconsistent with what has come before except by lip service. Or - DEUS EX MACHINA! This I would not care to see. While GH might be updated to 4e more thoughtfully, if FR (Wotcs big setting) doesn't rate any better (and lets not forget the whole Spellplague change to the basic FR cosmology) I don't see how GH would rate better.

I am left to say, again, I hope 4e never touches GH.
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mortellan
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a posting of the article:

http://www.enworld.org/showpost.php?p=3988931&postcount=3

I totally agree with you GVD. Every paragraph I read of this made me think "If they are willing to tear up their favorite setting like this for 4E, then Greyhawk would get mauled." It is a bad precedent but we all knew FR was going to get shafted (pun in the Shaar's case) just not this hard. The 4gotten Realm fan reaction on the WotC boards is overwhelmingly negative so far even with Greenwood's involvement in this edition. If the designers are this callous to a friendly cohesive fanbase, then given our already fractured fanbase, 4e Greyhawk will certainly be something on par with Rose Estes or the D&D Movie.

Yup, here's to hoping we miss out on 4E.

p.s. I fear for Ull's existence.
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EileenProphetofIstus
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mortellan wrote:


Yup, here's to hoping we miss out on 4E.

p.s. I fear for Ull's existence.


I agree as well. Fear not Mort. I shall protect you and your beloved land of Ull. Happy
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Considering the vast changes to 4e I would have to just reboot the setting, al la Battlestar Galatica 2.0.

I have already started putting contingencies in my current 3.5 GH Campaign to do just such a thing.

I really don't see wasting time trying to bend 4e to Greyhawk and vice versa. I just don't have the time.

Besides there are tons of things I would love to re-jigger and re-tool without the burden of all the inertia built up in the GH community at large.

So, I will continue to judge and play in 3.5e for now. If I like 4e I will consider rebooting, or I will move on to a different setting.

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Cebrion
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I take it Mortellen hasn't read the article that mentions the "Sea of Ull" yet then. Shocked
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mortellan
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sea of Ull? What's a sea?

Thank goodness I have Istus on my side.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I happened to be flicking through my old Dragon magazines today and came across an article by EGG in Dragon Annual 4, regarding the 25th anniversary of D&D. As a sidebar Gary laid out how he saw the future year by year, and I quote "2019; plans for the much needed 4th edition D&D game bear fruit". The article was light hearted but it would be interesting to hear Mr Gygax's thoughts on how the game, and indeed his setting, is evolving.
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Vormaerin
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He's pretty much given those thoughts... at least up to 3rd edition. Dunno if he's bothered to comment on 4e or not. His preference these days is for stat block lite, skill oriented game systems. Which is not any edition of D&D. He finds 3e to be too superheroish and high powered; 4e is only accelerating that trend.

He pretty much refuses to comment on anything about Greyhawk after he ceased to be part of TSR. Its not his world as far as he's concerned and he'd rather talk about game worlds he's actively developing.

He and a few other old timers (like Frank Mentzger) erratically visit the enworld forums or did. I don't go there personally, so I don't know what the current status is (I perused the thread he was answering questions in last year, after I was linked to it for some reason).
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a lot of sympathy with his position.
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EileenProphetofIstus
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know it sounds odd, but I honestly feel like an apology is owed to Mr. Gygax. Not necessarily by us, but an apology in general. My heart has always gone out to him.

I read an interview he did on the internet concerning 3rd edition and he made it known he was really biting his tongue. Heres the link if anyone wants to read it. It's in two parts, both 3-4 pages in length. You can either click on the seperate links or start the first one and follow through to the other parts.

Part 1:
http://pc.gamespy.com/articles/538/538817p1.html

Part 2:
http://pc.gamespy.com/articles/538/538820p1.html

Here's another interview:
http://archives.theonering.net/features/interviews/gary_gygax.html

And another:
http://www.gamebanshee.com/interviews/garygygax1.php


This one is a podcast, scroll down a bit to reach the interview.
http://dvd.ign.com/articles/686/686039p1.html

Another:
http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/columns/lynch01may01.html

One more and I will let you go.
http://www.kittenpants.org/11_Loneliest/pageone.asp

The interviews cover a variety of questions perhaps tidbits will be of interest to you or even a bit of nolstagia kicking in.
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Vasiliy
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

I nothing know about D&D 4.0. Why they need to change setting so catastrophic? Is it necessary for new rules? What the crazy idea? Could they simple to convert adventure from 3.5 format to 4.0 format how they did before from AD&D to 3.5?

Thanks
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vasiliy wrote:
Hi,

I nothing know about D&D 4.0. Why they need to change setting so catastrophic? Is it necessary for new rules? What the crazy idea? Could they simple to convert adventure from 3.5 format to 4.0 format how they did before from AD&D to 3.5?

Thanks


Quick answer: Greyhawk 1e-3e will not work in 4e without serious retcon work. If you are going to do that much work, you might as well reboot and do it with a clean slate. So, no it will not be a simple job of converting between 3.5 and 4.0 D&D like was before.

I would suggest that you hit ENWorld.org and read the extensive 4e spoilers page they have to see just how massive a change 4e is in crunch and fluff.

In (Brief) Service,

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Nellisir
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saracenus wrote:
Vasiliy wrote:
Hi,

I nothing know about D&D 4.0. Why they need to change setting so catastrophic? Is it necessary for new rules? What the crazy idea? Could they simple to convert adventure from 3.5 format to 4.0 format how they did before from AD&D to 3.5?

Thanks


Quick answer: Greyhawk 1e-3e will not work in 4e without serious retcon work. If you are going to do that much work, you might as well reboot and do it with a clean slate. So, no it will not be a simple job of converting between 3.5 and 4.0 D&D like was before.

I disagree. The biggest "mechanical" changes are the addition of the dragonborn and tieflings to the core races. It wouldn't be difficult to kill two birds with one stone, and add these races into Greyhawk by detailing slightly beyond the Flanaess (the tieflings are remants of the Suel, and dragonborn are from the Utter West). Classes (and races) that don't appear in the core rules will show up later, so that's not an insurmountable issue (and if GH were to be "4e-ed", they could show up in that work). The new cosmology can stay or go; there are no details on the cosmology in the earlier sets that I can recall. Alignment has -not- been "removed" from 4e; it looks to me like alignment has actually moved closer to its traditional fantasy origins - one can be Good, Evil, Neutral, or "unaligned". Iuz is Evil, Tenser is Good, Mordenkainen is Neutral, and Rary and Robilar are unaligned. In other words, alignment has become less about how your general actions, and more about commitment and allegiance to a specific concept. I'll lay money Law and Chaos will get the treatment in the future also - you just can't ignore Moorcock and Zelazny.

FR gives the perception of being a much bigger place than GH (I don't know how true this is; I know the GH scale is pretty big), so it's alot harder to work around the edges. FR also has alot more non-game influences (in the form of novels) to incorporate, and a more prominent position in the public eye.

4e is an excuse to revamp FR, not a reason. Note that nothing significant is happening to Eberron. This is another tempest in a teapot.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They could handle the Tieflings one other way, and that would be as a bunch of warlords in Iuz's lands, maybe in an attempt to overthrow him (make a deal with a devil to be able to have your army overpower the big bad guy). And so you get Iuz out of the way (not dead mind, just deposed), and a nation of tieflings fresh from defeating the best they saw, and now hungry for more action. Everyone has to deal with them, and does so either by standing their ground or by retreating. No one makes any real headway against them until an emmissary from across the sea (the dragonborn) makes an offer of military assistance in exchange for some specified price. Dragonborn come in large numbers, destroy the tiefling army and nation, but in doing so nearly wipe themselves out on this continent. It was only a small coalition of clans who came in the first place, so what might have been a major long term issue for the area becomes a footnote. Dragonborn and tieflings integrate, voila: 50 year update and all the necessary changes for Greyhawk to come into 4E, and only at the expense of Iuz's rule (but not his existance.) And you get a new rise of evil to overcome (what you thought Iuz wouldn't try and get it al back?)

But hey, what do I know. Happy
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, I actually like that idea! With a little polishing that could work...

Wait, did I actually say that?
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2008 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My possition on 4.0 has always been "Nice crunch, shame about the fluff."

Mikel has just shown that the changes can be 'absorbed' into the canon as it is now without too much strain. Other changes, such as diabolic succubi or chaotic evil fire archons, can be done be changing the monsters rather than the setting (alignment changes in these cases).

I don't see why 4.0 can't be used in Grayhawk, once we have made the neccessary corrections. Wink
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thus far, I have seen nothing that makes me think it will be difficult in the slightest to run a Greyhawk campaign with the 4e rules straight out of the box.

That said, I am not adverse to a new campaign setting book that drastically shakes up the Flanneass in the manner that the Invoked Devastation and Rain of Colorless Fire did. If such could happen 1,000 years in Greyhawk's past, why not in the present? Worst case scenario is that I would not like the changes and will continue to use the LGG as my primary source of reference as I have done for quite some time now.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As many exposed it here, yes GreyHawk should work with the 4th edition. I think the true problem is in the meaning and goals to make a 4th edition... As far as I know Whinner of the Cost want to attract new players ( mainly those who play on CRPG and/or MMORPG ) and "re-conquer" those who left with the 3rd editions.
But if you keep your old settings but only change the game mechanics, it will hardly work. So you have two options :
1) create a new world setting ( but old players would probably not come again )
2) revamp the setting with a huge ( think "cataclysmic" ) event and then put new rules.

For us, GreyHawkers, revamp GH is not necessary ( updating it yes but not refound it ) and do we REALLY need a new set of rules ? And online modules and game community ? ( I mean more than the fan-website [Canonfire!] more alive than any commercial ones [Whinner of the Cost] )

And I like to quote EGG from an article published recently on wired.com :

"[...] People playing games together in the flesh, with a real, live dungeon master guiding them. That's what he thinks is wrong with the new direction for Dungeons & Dragons with its new 4th Edition. "D&D is not an online game," he says. "There is no role-playing in an online game that can match what happens in person."

For the full article :
http://www.wired.com/gaming/virtualworlds/news/2008/03/ff_gygax?currentPage=all

GreyHawk DOES NOT need the 4th edition. For material, we just have to look at fan-website and fan-made magazine ( OJ ).
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Galencudin wrote:
But if you keep your old settings but only change the game mechanics, it will hardly work.


Could you please explain why it would not work?
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Galencudin,

Your polemic on 4e and the state of Greyhawk misses a couple of important points:

1) If you never intend to open the setting to the next generation of players (and I mean the large numbers that will convert over to or learn the game for the first time) who will grow up on 4e, then no we do not need to convert our setting to 4e. Which leads to point number two.

2) If you don't want the setting to continually marginalize itself then you have to put out material that will appeal to the new blood of gamers and give them an entry point into the setting. Which leads to point number three.

3) If we want to capitalize on a 4e Greyhawk revival (I know, there is a slim chance of that), then we need writers that can translate that which we love into 4e. If we don't have people with the skills in 4e and the love for Greyhawk then the job or writing a 4e version of our campaign will likely fall to those that have no vested interest in the setting.

We saw this in the late 2e revival and when 3e Living Greyhawk campaign started. People of this website had a huge hand in guiding both of those events in its early stages and brought a ton of people to the setting that would have never been here otherwise. It trained up a cadre of potential writers that know what Greyhawk is and can be.

So, if you want to proclaim from the mountain top that Greyhawk does not need 4e and that we the players and judges of its incarnations from its roots to 3e are just fine without it, that is only partly true. Unfortunately that will mean that our numbers will stagnate and decline. The opportunity to show people our favorite setting becomes limited.

I for one do not see the win-win in this. I see a lot of shaking a branch at the thunder and not much else.

Its time to wake up people. Unless 4e tanks at the box office it will be the portal of choice for those campaigns that wish to grow within the D&D experience.

So, if you want to keep your campaign in whatever edition you prefer, that is your choice and more power to you. But if you care about the setting beyond your own use of it, then consider encouraging other people to explore the new 4e rules and write for it because it might be the thing that keeps the flame alive just beyond our small little group in the future.

My Two Platinum Pieces,

Bryan Blumklotz
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok I see your point(s). Let me give answers to them :

1) I never meant that new players are not welcome and you are right about this new generation ( Gods ! are we THAT old !? ) growing on the 4th ed. A new set of rules does not mean a new setting. And that's what WotC are doing with the FR.

2) I see GreyHawk as a particular and distinctive setting because it was here in the first place, EGG created it and made it alive, does not have so many non-gaming materials ( novels, CRPG games, etc... ) that pollute it.
But you do not have to make "tabula rasa" in order to attract new players as a pretext to start a new set of rules. It is an open question but for a newbie player, is it better to have a strong background ( and a long history ) on a new game or to start from "scratch" with almost no lead to follow ? I am the kind of DM who love to make stories with a strong historic background behind them.

3) I agree totally with you. If we want GreyHawk to survive this new edition, we need good writers and game designers. Looking to the fan base or even here on Canonfire! or OJ that's not difficult to find... But I do not think that GreyHawk MUST enter into the 4th ed at all costs. It seems that FR setting is already ruined by this.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To answer OleOneEye,

If you already lost AD&D players when you changed the rules to the 3rd ed, why will they come back for a newer ed that will be even more alien ?
And it seems the forthcoming 4th ed rules had less maths than the 3rd eds. This is the mean to catch new players as WotC declared it ( I read this one on ENworld ).

Less maths, less historical background, more munchkin. No GreyHawk. More fun ? I am not that sure... Confused
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Galencudin wrote:
Ok I see your point(s). Let me give answers to them :

1) I never meant that new players are not welcome and you are right about this new generation ( Gods ! are we THAT old !? ) growing on the 4th ed. A new set of rules does not mean a new setting. And that's what WotC are doing with the FR.


Yeah, we are that old. I cut my teeth on D&D in the late 70's and purchased the World of Greyhawk folio edition when it came out in the early 80's. Just a point, they are not making a new FR setting or re-imagining it they are trying to jam it's square body through a circular hole. Yes, the fluff and crunch assumptions of 4e are radical enough that settings created prior to it either have to heavily modify 4e to maintain its previous flavor or the setting has to be radically altered to accommodate the new fluff and rules.

Galencudin wrote:
2) I see GreyHawk as a particular and distinctive setting because it was here in the first place, EGG created it and made it alive, does not have so many non-gaming materials ( novels, CRPG games, etc... ) that pollute it.
But you do not have to make "tabula rasa" in order to attract new players as a pretext to start a new set of rules. It is an open question but for a newbie player, is it better to have a strong background ( and a long history ) on a new game or to start from "scratch" with almost no lead to follow ? I am the kind of DM who love to make stories with a strong historic background behind them.


I am not sure why you think I am advocating a tabla rasa, a blank slate, for Greyhawk in order to make it fit into 4e. If you look at my posts in previous threads in the 4e section here, you will see that I advocate a reboot of the setting al la Battlestar Galactica 2.0.

In my mind it would be better to re-imagine setting, Greyhawk 2.0 if you will, so that we could take the best elements of our favorite setting without being encumbered by all the history we have built up. Lets face it, with all the cooks that have touched Greyhawk 1.0 there is a bit of a mess and we here at Canonfire.com have made some torturous contortions to make sense of it. I see this as an opportunity to clean up some of the clunky elements of the setting and take it in a fresh direction.

Galencudin wrote:
3) I agree totally with you. If we want GreyHawk to survive this new edition, we need good writers and game designers. Looking to the fan base or even here on Canonfire! or OJ that's not difficult to find... But I do not think that GreyHawk MUST enter into the 4th ed at all costs. It seems that FR setting is already ruined by this.


And here we agree, the setting needs to grow or die. We both don't want our setting to be destroyed like they have done with FR. We only part ways on how that should be done. You do not want to give up the exact history that has come before and I am willing to toss out that which holds the setting back.

In the end there is never going to be agreement here at canonfire.com with my view. This place is basically a shrine to what has come before. And that is great for what it is. I think that it will also become a tomb if we do not breath new life into the setting and give folks a chance to rediscover Greyhawk.

In Service,

Bryan Blumklotz
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Galencudin
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Humm... the Galactica reboot is cryptic to me, but as I understand it it looks like "take the main threads and rebuild around this" kind of stuff.

That said, will WotC give up the GreyHawk license or not ? If not, they surely will let die GreyHawk wihtout any other though. And nobody will be able to take it back and make an upgrade of the setting ; with all the corrections and changes required for the 4th.

If, hopefully, they will do this, who can take up the task without ruining the GreyHawk flavor ?
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Galencudin,

I am sorry that you see the Galatica reboot idea as cryptic. If you don't watch Galatica v.2, then I guess it doesn't resonate as an analogy. What it means to me is:

1) You take the basic essence of Greyhawk (people, places, and history) and use that as a launching pad instead of a straight jacket for and updated setting that works with 4e. We would have to pick a starting point. Do we do pre-GH Wars or Post? Is the Scarlet Brotherhood played out? Can it be made into something creepy and cool again like the cyclons or will we make them minor players and emphasis a different organization? Do we make Iuz a demigod again, or do we make him an infernal leader who is not a god but very powerful (here we could put the new concept of the teiflings as a race from 4e)? Or do we have him killed off in backstory and emphasize something else as the Big Bad in Greyhawk?

2) You go back to what EGG did which was rings of info, concentrating on the center (the city of Greyhawk and its surrounding regions) with less and less info as you go out. This way there is a baseline for the campaign and if someone wants to do something different they can set something outside the first ring.

3) Integrate and Adjust 4e fluff into the Greyhawk dynamic. 4e does away with the Great Wheel as the primary planar model. So how do we use the current model with a Greyhawk feel kind of thing. We now have two types of elf types, Elves (humanoid and woodsy) and Eledrin (fey and planar). Here is a place where we could do some cool things with the Kingdom of Celene. On the otherhand, Dragonborn don't seem to be a fit for Greyhawk, do we make them part of the Jungles in the south (replacing Yan-Ti as the reptaloid culture there or do we ignore them and replace them with a different race that fulfills the same role.

I am not asking people to answer the above questions. They are examples of what possibilities open up when you consider a reboot vs. a retrofit. The former allows your imagination to run wild and look at what you can do. The latter is far more reactionary and closed, its about what you can't do because of what came before.

So, in a nutshell. I see a 4e Greyhawk as a way to blow the dust off of our setting. Remove some of the more pesky elements I have never been in love with to begin with and give everyone a chance at the table again to create stuff without having to hear for the umpteenth time, NO YOU CANNOT DO THAT because supplement X OR module Y already defined that as Z.

Yeah, I know, I am a heretic. I should be flayed, yadda, yadda, yawn.

My Two Coppers, By Your Command,

Bryan Blumklotz
AKA Saracenus
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