I am a veteran 1st Edition player (the players/DMs I played with never got into 2nd Edition) and due to many changes that came into our lives in the mid-80s and all the way through the 90s we rarely played.
But 3 years ago I hooked up with a DM I hadn't seen in years over a Christmas vacation. To make a long story short we "returned" to D&D and Greyhawk via Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. We're having a blast -- though we still only get to play occassionally in a years time. It took some real getting use to with the system changes but I find we are all playing our PCs with a lot more roleplaying due to skills and feats.
And here is the really neat thing: Not only are we "old timers" playing, but we have my niece, three nephews, and my son and daughter playing as well. They have become very good at RPing and enjoy the game immensly and they are all in their teens.
So, what has been your experience with Greyhawk 3.5?
My experience has been good overall. Each edition I've basically reset my Greyhawk so I'm left with these:
Golden Age: (1E/Basic Greyhawk) Greyhawk of my youth, mythical super hero PCs and epic world conquering campaigns, plus classic dungeon crawls (Tomb of Horrors, WPM, Keep on Borderlands). Coincidentally these were the games of my innocent youth so everything is with a wink.
Silver Age: (2E) More mature Greyhawk with an ever evolving scope of storylines, political intrigues and moral situations (Marklands, Iuz the Evil, From the Ashes). Player Option made for some memorable characters/battles.
Current Age: (3/3.5E) The transition to 3E from 2.0 was shaky at first and a few groups were tried before some legendary characters and adventures were had (Living Greyhawk Journal and Dungeon are the only reliable sources for 3E GH, no sourcebooks or mods). Epic characters were returned to in my GH campaign but now with some structure and sanity. The advent of feats has made virtually every character, villain or monster unique from what they were in the previous editions. Nothing seems typical. The same advances have also been a headache as there seem to be a zillion more rules and options to consider and track. Revisions are too common within this edition leading to conflicting knowledge.
Will I start over in the event of 4E? Don't know. My own campaign is running 20 years ahead of Living Greyhawk's pace, so personally if GH relaunched I'd be in for a time jump ;)
[Mr.Horse]Hmmm....huuuuh...mmmm.... No sir. I don't like it![/Mr.Horse]
I don't want to get all ranty, so lets just leave it at this: "I don't like the way the rules are and I don't like much of how GH as 'advanced' since (and including) From the Ashes. 'Nuff said.
I can respect your point of view. Personally I don't like the direction Wizards took the Greyhawk world before and after From the Ashes. The good thing is as a DM you can either skip this "history" or modify it as you need/like.
The DM I am playing with has modified considerably the time line/events from Out of Ashes.
I skipped 2nd ed too. Rules wise anyway. I kept up on most of the history and got modules and supplements for the maps (I love maps). I still played 1st ed rules till I got into 3ED. Greyhawk is still Greyhawk. No megga-NPC Realms foolishness, nothing Eberon (thank god). An with a near total lack of offical support more and more of it becomes what we the GMs make it. I love it there.
First off, you need a setting of some kind, unless you just want some episodic dungeon crawling.... I picked Greyhawk.
Everyone knows where Nyrond is, who Iuz is, and such. But none of this is laid out as MANDATORY. Don't want to fight Iuz? Cool, there are the dungeons in the Cairn Hills, the nazi monks of the Scarlet Brotherhood, and endless victims in the Free City. Not only is there nothing Oerthshaking going on right now, there hasn't been for a while (depending on your take on the GH Wars). In other words, no Time of Troubles (so named by the first DM who had to deal with it). This is liberating to a DM.
The basic stuff is published, without too much detail. Want to make a fairly significant change in a few places? No problem; you don't have to go to a half-dozen books and figure out the ramifications of your changes. "Hand-waving" is almost encouraged, and the DM is nearly required to make it his (or hers). This alone is great, in that none of your players will ever know more about your world than you. (Try that with any other commercial setting.)
"Core" D&D is laid out to a large degree on the foundations of Greyhawk's cultures, races, and classes. Sure, Dwarves can cast spells and Elves can become Monks, but that's an easy fix if you want to make it. The game is very loosely tied to the setting, and you don't have to publish a long list of what's different from the SRD, and what that means, and why, etc.
Frankly, I like D&D 3.5. I have some issues with it, but they're manageable, and many of them are frankly residual, such as the culture shock at 6th level characters who can take out a 1st edition Ancient Red Dragon. I really like the versatility of the system, but like Greyhawk, you really have to "make it yours". In the beginning, don't allow everything. Don't use the supplemental rulebooks. Don't allow nonhuman Monks, or Dwarven Wizards if you think it's too game-breaking. But don't try to force v3.5 to fit your perceptions of D&D by limiting everything to what you grew up with.
I'm on rant mode now, so apologies. Basically, I'm saying "try it out first." There are a lot of rules, but a few games settles them pretty quickly. I can run combats in minutes, not hours. I really like the way combat is tied to the battle mat (although AoO complexity is still ridiculous), and I really like the multiclassing and customization you can do to a character. Sure some folks can really work over the rules, but you could do that in all versions (Gauntlets of Ogre Power + darts = 21-27 damage a round).
Anyway, give it a try. Greyhawk 3.5 works, but just like every other version, you need to take charge of it.
Have to concur, 3.5 takes all the fun of flying by the seat of one's pants that made the 1e, so much fun. Greyhawk also has looked better in years past, despite it placed as the Official Gaming verse, I find little that Gygax envisioned. Rather, it has become here is a group of names and places that you can place your characters in.
Greyhawk is still Greyhawk. No megga-NPC Realms foolishness, nothing Eberon (thank god). An with a near total lack of offical support more and more of it becomes what we the GMs make it. I love it there.
Agreed, I love having this kind of diversity!
Keep those dice rolling all.
Similar to someone else, I'm and "old-timer" who started in GH during the 1st edition. Did some stuff with friends during the 2nd edition, but we didn't really get too setting specific, but it was set in Greyhawk.
Before I knew anything about 3rd edition, I start looking at DND again after a long break. I decided that the rules could do with some consolidation and I thought I would change a few classes. I always thought that 'non-weapon' proficiencies was a lame substitute for skills, which most other games had. So I started work on my own version.
Then I looked around on the internet and eventually caught wind of 3rd edition - this was about a year in advance of its first release. I was glued to Eric Noah's website.
I think the 3rd edition was a MASSIVE improvement to the game. Sure it has a few bits that need work but to me it brought a lot more options to the game that if used WISELY could add a lot of flavour to the game. And in this case I made it Greyhawk flavour.
I love things like regional feats for Greyhawk, Greyhawk specific magic items and prestige classes. I loved re-creating all my old Greyhawk stuff using the new rules.
However I find the lack of support of the setting a problem. Sure it does give you complete freedom as a DM to do as you wish - but so does a blank piece of paper. I would like someone to provide a starting point though. I was bitterly disappointed with the Living Greyhawk Gazatteer because I was expecting 3rd edition chunky goodness. What was there was very good, but I wanted some of the things that made 3rd edition special.
It we did get such material, you are still free to ignore anything you dont like. A Greyhawk hard cover that provides a foundation and the basics of 3rd edition Greyhawk would be great (dream on).
Well, 3.5 is a lot better at some things than 1e (I skipped 2e entirely also) such as skills and character differentiation. But its a lot worse at other things.
But I don't see how that really relates to Greyhawk particularly. The campaign world is, imho, systems independent. I don't really see that the game world changes much because of the rules edition. Iuz is still a menace and the Crystalmists are still tall and cold. How you run your game is pretty much up to the DM, not the rules system. I stretch out the xp charts, tone down the expected magic/equipment/gold values, and still play 3.5 and Greyhawk.
I think the only game mechanics issue that is somewhat awkward is sorcerors, since none of the institutions or major players were created with such in mind. Dwarves being wizards or elves being monks is not a big deal, imho, since dwarves already existed and so did wizards. So they are rare and mostly stay in the clanhalls where no one sees them. Ho hum. When they don't, they do what other dwarves or wizards do in their circumstances.
Sorcerors need more work than that, but it works okay. But then my sorcerors still need to study magic theory and generally act like mages (just not like wizards specifically) if they want to be more than hedge mages. Seems to work okay.
I hate the Forgotten Realms and always have. (Which is a very, very unpopular position to be in) I started playing AD&D 1E long ago and migrated to 2E but we never played Greyhawk at all. I ran my own campaign world for many, many years until life events stopped the game and I retired my game world.
I started buying the 3E books but it took until I remarried before I found anyone to play with and by then 3.5 was out which irritated me because my books were new. We play 3.5 but I always try to obtain new books on eBay or Amazon because I still resent having to rebuy all the books. Needless to say this is the last edition of the game I'm ever going to buy.
I think the love has gone from D&D. The people who worked on it were craftsmen...they were making a better game system, and great game worlds...not just trying to sell books. But that's another show...
However, we have discovered Greyhawk. I picked up Sunless Citadel one day and decided to just start playing without a game world. I was just going to run a module as a test. It went so well that I went out to eBay and bought the oldest Greyhawk set (with the better, shiney maps) and the boxed set. I also bought the "Adventure Begins" which seems bad since it pairs down the game world to the size of a postage stamp. I'm also not a fan of the Greyhawk Wars era from what I've read so far.
In any case we're now just starting to play in Greyhawk for the first time. I've set the Sunless Citadel in the Duchy of Tenh. The Citadel material ran out a few sessions ago so I also converted Tallow's Deep and attached it to the lower level.
Also, I started running a second campaign using the Shattered Gates of Slaughtergarde (which I dislike for so many reasons...that's another show too). So far I've used the module's setting but have plans to move the campaign to Greyhawk. Luckily, Slaughtergarde involves lots of gates. Hahahah!
I've played in Greyhawk almost exclusively since 1e. In fact, given all the GH material in the 1e DMG I was actually playing in Greyhawk before I realized I was there.
I played 1e pretty much exclusively until 3e came along. I got some of the 2e stuff, but I didn't see that there was much difference between it and 1e rules-wise, so I didn't bother to get the rest. I didn't like the Greyhawk Wars set, nor did I care for the From the Ashes set. I don't know what they were thinking.
But all that aside, I'm loving Greyhawk and 3.5e. I was wishing TSR would come out with a cleaner, more consolidated version of D&D long before 3e was announced - even before WotC took over from TSR - so when it happened I was ready. 3.5e needs a little adjustment, IMO, but it's still better than older editions. And in spite of some complaints I've seen it's not all that hard to convert 1e and 2e to 3.5e. Greyhawk remains as it always has been - the single best campaign setting ever written.
It saddens me a bit that GH won't receive any further support (for the foreseeable future) from WotC, and I'm actually a bit pissed about 4e, but I don't think it's going to affect my game much. I still have 1e GH stuff that I haven't even used yet, not to mentions loads of 2e and 3.5e stuff (plus Canonfire! stuff, 3rd party stuff, etc., etc.), so my game is pretty much set until the day I die.
I can see it now... I'll be found hunched over behind my DM's screen with a d20 in my hand, face-down in a pile of notes, dice, and Dorito's crumbs, with a good adventure laid out on the table along with my 3.5e PHB. With my players looking on in relief, I'll die with a gleam in my eye, still wondering what the hell Rary was thinking and why Mordenkainen caused all that ruckus... What a way to go.
For me (an old 1e GH player) I have found the best GH products during the 3.5 era where the adventure paths from Pazio. My group(s) have loved them and the second one has a great old school feel to it, that my newer players love (most werent even born when Vecna, Kyuss, Dragotha, etc made there first impressions upon us). Anthother fabulous GH 3.5 adventure series is the Istivin Trilogy. I also highly recommend the isle of dread feature (which leads to the AP3). Overall, I feel Pazio did the best with GH during the 3.5 years, while WoC/Hasbro floundered in Eberon.
What 4.0 will bring I dont know, and I dont care as 3.5 is the final version of the game I will bother to spend my money on. Hopefully, GH will get some of the spotlight, some of the time. FR is the way ahead for the hobby to continue to grow. It's what the new generation of gamers familiar with Elminster, Drizzit, etc are as familiar to them as Mordenkanin and Tenser were to my genteration back in the day. Personally, if WoC had made this call with 3.0 we probably wouldn't be seeing the 4e this soon FR is simply what marketable now!
Just my opinion, but seriously check out the all the Adventure Paths, especially Age of Worms it is as throw back as it gets.
What I really liked is how 3.x really integrated greyhawk into the rules set, showing as the default setting rightfully so. I think they had the best intentions at first until Eberron sprang.
Its like let us pay more close attention to the new baby rather than try to pay anymore attention to the first born child.
I liked LGHG. I think 4th is a mistake not mechanically speaking but historically and conceptually.
Greyhawk died with 3.5 and sadly with Gary Gygax, physically speaking. We are the ones that will have to keep the life beating and breathing through it with whatever edition we choose to use. With that said I will continue to enjoy greyhawk with 3.5
I have (and still do on occasion) played Greyhawk with all of the rules sets (save mid 70's OD&D), and can honestly say that I have found it to be a great setting, and to have had fun with each (although I plan on skipping the upcomming 4e as the game doesn't seem to have much that appeals to my gaming style based upon everything I know about it so far).
I ran two 3.5e greyhawk games, one set in Salinmoor, and the other set (mostly) in the Domain of Greyhawk. Both were fun, and I did not find 3.5 to stifle my creativity at all... and ask any of my players I am a very "seat of the pants" type DM.
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