One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
While development of the lands beyond the Flanaess would be a nice thing, I feel that the Flanaess, itself, hasn't been explored to the fullest.
The advent of the Greyhawk Wars may make that seem untrue, but I, personally, have never gamed in every nation of the Flanaess, or every forest, swamp and stretch of mountains, or hills. Has anyone?
For me, it is the same feeling that I have regarding published materials, such as the Monster Manual. As I've stated before, no one has used every creature in the Monster Manuals in their games. Still, WotC would rather produce a new Monster Manual, with "new" monsters, than another adventure module, or any other type of "story" material for that matter.
Of course, their preference is to produce new "Rules." They haven't even competed their development of 4e and -- behold! -- 5e is coming!
For me, I have all the monsters I need, why would I want another Monster Manual? I don't. And while I am currently DMing a game using 3.5, I am a fan of 2e. So why would I care about all of these "new rules?" I don't.
For me, I'd prefer that the occasional character from "outside" the Flanaess to show up in my game. I've never been interested in India's "medieval" history, nor China's or Japan's, so I don't really need fully "fleshed out" nations to explore in my Greyhawk. I want to find ways to expand upon the material I already have.
I would say that no, it does not detract from the Flanaess. Developing beyond the Flanaess does not keep a DM from focusing on that region for his individual campaign and ignoring the rest if he chooses to.
I have little interest in expanding my own campaign beyond the Flanaess, but I do enjoy reading fan material on the area. Nothing anyone can produce can detract from my devotion to campaigning in the Flanaess. After all, if FR, DL, DS, et. al. couldn't seduce me away from Greyhawk and the Flanaess, why would I fear an expansion of Oerth?
Hmm. That makes three of you now and yet -- re-reading my post -- I do not see where I imply that the furtherance of this project detracts from the existing Flanaess.
I even stated that I enjoy reading what others here write about these "exotic" locations. I simply said that it does nothing for my campaign, or "world view" of Greyhawk, to develop these locals for addition to my game.
By all means "knock yourselves out" and have a good time. My post was merely to express the opinion that I do not share the view of the "all importance" of developing these areas, or of the "great need" to augment them.
By no means does their further development threaten my Greyhawk, or its Flanaess. I choose to further the story line and develop the "unknown" areas of the Flanaess, itself.
It's your Greyhawk so, by all means . . . "Have it your way."
Not outside of canon, no. If WotC published a fabulous new addition to the WoG that everyone loved, then maybe. Or if Gygax had published a Lands of the Utmost West expansion, then maybe. But I don't think anything fan-based is going to overtake the core of GH.
Certainly nothing fan-produced is going to take the place of something that is official, at least on any kind of scale. But given the current vacuum vis-a-vis canonical information on the lands of Oerth beyond the Flanaess (not counting the Sundered Empire, which is certainly official, even if it's sketchy in its details and not all that widely known to be on Oerik), I'm not surprised that folks such as bluebomber4ever and myself (and several others) are looking to fill the void. I'm fully convinced that if WotC ever produces a canon map of Oerik, my own humble maps will quickly (and rightly) be set aside in favor of them.
The other issue is whether or not the lands beyond the Flanaess are suitable as the basis of a campaign. While that's probably not universally the case, I happen to think that certain regions would make splendid campaigns. If you were looking to do an Oriental Adventures game, Nippon (what I call Woguo) and the Celestial Imperium would be perfect. More standard campaigns could be set in the Sundered Empire; it's actually a great setting; the more I study it the more I like it. And although there's precious little detail currently available in English, Lynn (Lhynn in the original) has a lot of potential as well.
I think, though, that rather being the basis for a campaign, they're much more suitable as a location for a Flanaess-based campaign to visit as a change of pace. A group of adventurers from Keoland could, after years of play in the Sheldomar Valley, find a jaunt to Suhfang or Thalos (perhaps to swoop in and snatch a piece of Stratis' panoply for their own) a fine palate-cleanser to shake things up and add freshness to the campaign.
Yeah I'm overly concerned with officialdom vs fan work. What is going on in the BtF subculture is amazingly cool in fact. My own rambling thoughts are on how it all ties together in the larger Oerth tapestry, if at all.
For example, we know the Suel Empire was once so great and has an at least 5000 year history before being blown up. How much of West Oerik owes their culture to Suel Imperialism? The Oerid diaspora. How far west did they originate? How much does the Baklunish cultures know of the west that they aren't telling? How much do the elves of the Spindrifts know? We know Aerdy and Thillonrians explore the seas, so should the western cultures across the Solnor. Who will 'discover' who first? Then there is religious similarities. I know vaguely of the deity Stratis from Chainmail is 'another' relative of Hextor and Heironeous. Is this a lost relationship or do the Oerid gods exist in the west? Or are we looking at variant names of the same deities like we have had before.
There's alot going on, plenty to keep our fanbase busy for years to come!!
For what it's worth, I once ran a PBP based on Chainmail's Ravilla domain.
It was set as a part of Blackmoor's Great Kingdom, though, and drew A LOT upon the descriptions from the Adri Forest. Another source I used to map the "uncharted land" was Judge Guild's "Broken Tree Inn" module.
If I had to do the same game on Oerth, though, I'd probably use pretty much the same approach.
(Elves in hiding, Elven cities placed on a mirror plane, etc.)
All the notes for the game are available at the Comeback Inn, but you'll have to register to access them:
That's pretty much how I fleshed out the area, for my own game, with the basic concept going around "The Empire of the Owls" from another Atlas/Penumbra release.
On Oerth, what I would likely insert would be that I'd make it the Elves' ancient homeland, similar to the "Garden" from Tad Williams' Osten Ard, series. - So the Flanaess Elves would really be exiled from there.
...Sorry if my ramblings are specifically incoherent this time. _________________ "Rise, O artist, from thy slumbers - hasten from thy couch unworthy;
Forge from gold the Moon for Northland - forge anew the Sun from silver..."
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