Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:00 am Post subject: Map of Verbobonc
I am sure this has been beaten to death. I have been a fan of Greyhawk since before it was published, but I am new to these forums. I was never involved in Living Greyhawk either. I missed a lot. Anyway, I found a map of Verbobonc in "Fate of Istus". I also see others on the web. What is the origin of those others? What is considered "THE TRUE VERBOBONC"? Has anyone plugged other cities in there, like Bard's Gate? Any ideas?
Joined: Aug 03, 2001 Posts: 2754 Location: Michigan
Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:02 am Post subject:
The version of Verbobonc detailed in Vecna Lives! is not exactly the same as the Fate of Istus version (David "Zeb" Cook forgot the city had been detailed in the earlier product), so newer versions of the map attempt to reconcile the two versions of the city.
I don't think anyone thinks that Fate of Istus offers a "truer" Verbobonc than the Vecna Lives! version (Fate of Istus wasn't that great of a book, so why be dogmatically loyal to it?) but both sources are "canon" to some degree and some discretion is required to make them fit together.
There's an isometric illustration of Verbobonc floating around that's actually taken from a non-RPG book on medieval cities and not originally intended to be Verbobonc at all.
Hey, thanks for the reply. So I suppose there is no map included in "Vecna Lives"? I wish there was a better map of Verbobonc but you take what you can get right? I think I can meld what is found in "Vecna Lives" and "Fate of Istus" as far as descriptions and location go. I saw a color version of the map on the interwebs I like.
I'll argue that WG8 is a much truer and more sensible version of Verbobonc than WGA4. And to answer one of your questions, there IS an entire faction of Greyhawkers over on dragonsfoot.org that consider WG8's version the true one.
WG8 is a mixed bag, but portions of it are excellent (particularly the Kuntz chapters). Both fans and TSR/LG writers have happily taken a selective approach to the work. Some chapters, like the world hoppers from Kara-Tur, have been officially stricken from canon. Unlikely facts like the Temple of Hextor operating openly in Rel Mord were largely ignored by later authors. But even the Dragonsfoot purists who discount everything post-Gygax TSR accept the Verbobonc and Rauxes chapters.
Kuntz is the original Greyhawk co-DM and played in Gary's unpublished ToEE. He and Sargent are the only second-wave authors to build on the Flanaess news articles in Dragon Magazine. His chapter on Verbobonc contains subtle connections between the ToEE and the Slavelord series that make a lot more sense than the shoehorned plot developed for the super modules. His chapter on Rauxes canonized the Zayene modules that were never realized by TSR. Overall, his work on WG8 offers a lot of campaign potential and the scenarios are decent.
David Cook hit some high notes with his early GH work on the Slavelord module and the Forgotten City, but he lost credibility later on. Vecna Lives has some very compelling ideas and I like it, but the adventure as-written is a railroady, unplayable mess. Cook didn't do his research on Verbobonc and he messed up again in the 1991 Wars box when he invaded the Shield Lands for the second time. All told, he contradicted GH canon in Dragon Magazine, Fate of Istus, the CoG box, and the novel line; basically every important source since the '83 box. Those are pretty unforgivable oversights for someone charged with a setting reboot.
Kuntz version is also better written and more at home in Greyhawk. Elves strolling across high, flying arches hundreds of feet over the city are better left to the Forgotten Realms. A snooty upper class obsessed with honorifics is unlikely in a hub of inter-racial cooperation that recently banded together to defeat the ToEE and remembers well the humility and mortality of war.
Joined: Aug 03, 2001 Posts: 2754 Location: Michigan
Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:22 pm Post subject:
There are some aspects of the Vecna Lives! version of Verbobonc that I prefer, personally, to the version in Fate of Istus. I like that the VL! version is built on the actual shores of the river, for example, while the FoL Verbobonc is located on the plain overlooking the Velverdyva River.
This map by Russell Akred reconciles the two sources by adding a river quarter to the north side of the Fate of Istus map, opening up the wall to give the town river access and repositioning the three towers there to defend the expanded city. This river quarter gives the Rhennee a place to dock and trade as well as other river-traveling merchants and travelers, making Verbobonc a proper port city instead of a place that's merely river-adjacent. Akred's map also incorporates Gnomeburg, a section of town mentioned in Vecna Lives!, giving it an appropriate place on the Fate of Istus map while also identifying the extent of the sylvan elf neighborhood mentioned in Fate of Istus. I also like that that Russell Akred's map adds some buildings outside the city walls.
From Dungeon #30, I adopted the university quarter described there, associating it with the Silver Consortium and its surrounding buildings.
I tend to agree that a city whose chief god is St. Cuthbert—a deity with a habit of testing his followers in the guise of a manure-covered yokel—is unlikely to be be infected with the level of classism that Vecna Lives! credits Verbobonc with.
Good point about the river placement. And that's a great map! It looks like Russel has some more Verbobonc area maps if you change the .jpg url to a_89 and a_90. To bad any accompanying text doesn't seem to be available.
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