Posted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 3:00 pm Post subject: Greyhawk 2017: Year in Review
In the dark mid-Nineties while Greyhawk was first discontinued and I was a teenager, Roger E. Moore published the Greyhawk Campaign Index and opened my content-starved eyes to dozens of unknown articles and novels. I printed off the Index on a dot matrix printer at the library and, over many months, talked my parents into driving out of our small town to numerous game stores in the Minneapolis area. I slowly found the Dragon Magazine back issues and TSR rarities in the Index. Moore revised his Index in 1996. Then Russ Taylor, Jay Hafner, and many others picked up the torch with expanded and more focused lists. Somehow these evolved into Echohawk's awesome Greyhawk Collector Guide.
The Year In Review is an homage to Moore's Index, a DIY substitute for the TSR Product Catalogs, and an annual supplement to Echohawk's Guide. The list for 2017 is longer than last year even though we saw fewer significant releases. This is because there's more to cover: the flood of POD reprints, an abundance of vaporware and upcoming product announcements, additions from 2015-16, and the proliferation of Facebook groups. I've also included a few notable forum threads this year.
6 January 2017
Bards of Greyhawk release BG1, a CD of Greyhawk-inspired adventure music with cover art by Jeff Dee. The first 500 limited edition copies contain a "mini-module cover" (a folding jacket). A followup album is announced for 2018. In this author's opinion, the Bards are best suited to their beautiful instrumentals. The vocals are a bit too close to the style of the animated Hobbit theme (parodied on South Park with the Lemmiwinks song in the episode The Death Camp of Tolerance). Of course, SOMEBODY had to sing songs about our favorite adventures modules and Bards have made a commendable effort. Some of these tracks could even be cued-up by a DM as in-game tavern music to lead players into S2 or B1. Greyhawkers looking for purely instrumental background music should check out Midnight Syndicate's official D&D soundtrack CD from 2003 (with song titles referencing Bone Hill, The City of Sails, the Borderlands, and the Barrier Peaks) or the 1980's First Quest LP of "dungeon synth" (with stats for Kyuss(!), a dungeon map, and micro scenario).
24 January 2017
WotC releases the 1e core rules for POD. The DMG in particular is full of classic GH references, art, and artifacts. (For those unaware, the DMG's sample dungeon is a peek at the original ToEE from Gary's campaign.) Apparently the scanned prints were full of errors, because availability has been hit or miss since the release. The PHB and MM are available at the time of this writing.
15 December 2016
Dragon+ #11 includes the short story "Return to the Steading" by Bart Carrol, featuring some of the pregens from G1 and no FR pronouns! This is as Greyhawk as Hasbro gets these days.
22 Feb 2017
I posted "The Inclusive List of Greyhawk Fiction" on the Canonfire forums. This is the most complete list of Greyhawk storytelling to date and includes products never before acknowledged on GH forums, collector guides, or listserves, like the Ren o' the Star story in the Hillsfar Cluebook, the GH-lite D&D Tactics game for PSP, and complete lists of Marvel/LJN materials and unpublished novels. I still need to update a few of the items in the thread responses.
28 March 2017
Having not heard from the new TSR Games in some time, I stumbled across their Facebook page and asked about the status of Frank Mentzer's module, Trouble at IronGarde Watch. They confirmed it's still in development. I made another inquiry at the end of the year and they stated that it's in the hopper after Top Secret.
31 March 2017
In an update about his Forest of Deceit series, Christopher Clark announces that the main Eldritch Enterprises Facebook page will be removed upon completion of Bastion: The Border Village of Namar. Fans are urged to visit the "alternative" EE page (https://www.facebook.com/Eldritch-Enterprises-148120665255286) that hasn't been updated since 2011. The EE website (www.eldritchent.com last updated 2013) already seems to be down, with the final Google cache taken on April 4th. It seems that EE will soon only exist on the wayback machine and rpgnow.com.
Why do we care? Besides publishing great adventurers by James Ward, Chris Clark, and Tim Kask, Eldritch Ent has been the publisher of many modern Aquaria modules from Frank Mentzer: Lich Dungeon 1 & 2, Quondam Fount, The Case of the Missing Magic, the pre-publication release of Death in Wretched Swamp (sold at GaryCon 2016), and the short story, Lich Pitch, in the Heroes and Magic anthology.
4 April 2017
WotC releases Tales of the Yawning Portal, a compilation of classic adventures updated to 5e, most of which are from Greyhawk: Against the Giants, Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, Tomb of Horrors, and White Plume Mountain, plus the generic, GH-lite modules Forge of Fury and the Sunless Citadel. For a volume loosely branded under the Forgotten Realms, it's ironic that only one FR scenario is included. WotC will forever tout FR as D&D's "best-selling setting", but the timeless scenarios that launched the game and continue to be adapted for every edition are all Greyhawk.
28 April 2017
Dragon+ #13 is released online, containing large amounts of bonus material and behind-the-scenes notes for Tales of the Yawning Portal. Amount other things, Greyhawk gamers can find an revised area map for White Plume Mountain, a new Jason Thompson cartoon map for Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, dungeon dressing for the Tomb of Horrors by Creighton Broadhurst, revised maps for the Tomb of Horrors, and new art and short fiction for all of the adventures.
31 May 2017
Black Blade Publishing releases Tales of Peril: The Complete Boinger and Zereth Stories of John Eric Holmes with art by Ian Baggley (ASSH). No GH here, but these stories are steeped in Appendix N and proto-Hawk. Maze of Peril even features a Green Dragon Inn, through unrelated to the Free City establishment.
Pacesetter Games releases NTX3 Legends of Adventure in limited quantities of hardcover and softcover. No GH content here, but this mighty, limited-edition tome features exclusive modules by Dennis Sustare, David Cook, Merle Rasmussen, Steve Marsh, and Steve Winter with art by Darlene, Jeff Dee, Diesel, and Jeff Easley. The main attraction is a forty-page scenario written and illustrated by Jennell Jaquays. As of this writing, all print copies have sold.
25 July 2016 (old news)
Good Omen Productions lists Luke Gygax and Jim Ward's trilogy of Blighted Lands modules for sale on the Gary Con website: BL1 Search for Darwah’s Temple, BL2 Tower of Akbaba, and BL3 Isle of Ill Omen. These have been available for a couple of years at convention booths, but this is the first time they've been distributed online to my knowledge. An overview of Luke's Blighted Lands setting appeared in Gygax Magazine #2. No GH content, listed here because of the authors' pedigrees.
31 August 2017
Hasbro releases Dragon+ #15 digitally. This issue contains many previews of the upcoming Tomb of Annihilation and supplementary information on Chult.
16 September 2017
The long-awaited second edition of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea by Jeffrey Talanian (Castle Zagyg) is released! Seemingly expensive, remember this is a PHB, DMG, MM, and campaign setting all in one.
17 September 2017
Goodman Games provides an update on their officially licensed reprint/conversion of B1 & B2, Into the Borderlands. Text and editing has been completed. The project has taken longer than expected, but it still scheduled for completion in 2017. One interesting note is that David Trampier's original cover art for B1 ended up Polyhedron #5.
20 September 2017
Anna Meyer launches her Patreon page to generate funding for localized maps with Greyhawk applications. She plans to eventually do Lendor Isle.
25 September 2017
The Teeth of the Barkash Nour (read: The Teeth of the Dalhver-Nar) is announced for play at GaryCon X in 2018. Originally written for C&C with Gary's guidance and input, the "interference of one person" (one might guess Gygax's widow) prevented it from being published for the last ten years. Let's hope this is eventually available to the public.
28 September 2017
The Gary Con Bazaar reopens with a few new products, including a compilation of all three Blighted Lands modules by Luke Gygax & James Ward and another Luke Gygax Okkorim scenario, Plan B.
2 October 2017
Frank Mentzer and Darlene launch the Empryea (read: Aquaria) kickstarter with an impressive line of contributing authors. Arguably the biggest GH news in years, another continent of Oerth was to be revealed in the form of a boxed set! Unfortunately, Mentzer's first Kickstarter may have been too ambitious. At $250k, the goal for Empryea was twice that of the massive Hobby Shop Dungeon and three times higher than the 600-plus-page Hyperborea 2e hardbound. Early funding was strong, but nowhere close to the goal. Plans to scale the project down and relaunch the kickstarter were in the works when a Facebook controversy caused one or more of the team members to back out. The project was closed. A cryptic and pouty post several days later stated that the $250k goal had been fully funded by mysterious benefactors. Little has been heard since.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/extsr/frank-mentzers-empyrea-fantasy-setting-for-10-rpg?ref=nav_search https://www.facebook.com/WorldsOfEmpyrea/ http://worldsofempyrea.com/
12 December 2017
Lots of great content on the Flanaess Geographical Society FB page this year. Among other things, check out the recent maps of Oakhurst, Restenford, Nulb, and Hommlet by Ronald Calbick.
18 December 2017
Dragon+ #17 is released with the typical smattering of lukewarm GH apocrypha and stolen proper nouns. The best features being hi-res maps for G2 and a new cartoon map.
27 December 2017
The City of Greyhawk boxed set is released for POD, bringing the total number of GH-branded reprints to three (tied with the much less popular Hollow World and Spelljammer settings. Thanks Hasbro!).
Greyhawk Reborn continues to both advance the Flanaess' timeline and keep GH convention play alive in the eastern U.S. Happy 618CY!
2017 saw a major uptick of D&D discussion on social media. I have mixed feelings about the impact on the Greyhawk fanbase. The cons are numerous: proliferation of similar groups and pages, spotty moderation, lack of organization (subforums, stickies), short-term memory, lack of search features, replies are overlooked even more often than on forum threads, and the prevalence of "haul" photos, hoarder culture, and profiteering. But there are pros too: native image hosting encourages sharing cartography and maps, social media is easily accessible to casual gamers and new players, and absentee moderators enabled former LG authors to share some of their works in past weeks.
Print magazines are at a low point, with the welcome exception of The Twisting Stair. Gygax Magazine, The Crusader, Knockspell, and Fight On are gone. AFS seems to be on hiatus. Footprints and & Magazine remain excellent digital resources. Dragon+ is heavy on the hype and light on rules content, but has some use. Print on Demand is doing well, but GH is still underrepresented.
Would-be Greyhawk authors face the usual choices: work for free (The River Campaign), scratch off the serial numbers (CotMA, Blue Scales, Red Secrets), stay small and under the radar (C1.5), go do something else (Blighted lands, ASSH), or dump GH into Forgotten Realms (classicmodulestoday.com).
Hasbro continues to focus on nostalgia and even the strongest staff advocate for GH is only interested in a reboot, not adding to the good works of Sargent/Paizo/LG, expanding the world, or thawing the timeline stasis. The rule of improv should be applied to all collaborative storytelling: never say "no." Say, "Yes! And..." Turning back the clock and undoing what's been done only fragments the community further.
Last edited by vestcoat on Sun Jan 21, 2018 10:57 am; edited 2 times in total
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