Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:07 am Post subject: Greyhawk's World
I really loved those "Greyhawk's World" articles in the old Dragon magazine, which detailed some of the events happening in the campaign in 577 and 578 CY. I have always wished the series had continued, and took it upon myself to do one of my own, for fun. Enjoy!
Joined: Feb 16, 2003 Posts: 3593 Location: So. Cal
Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:35 am Post subject:
The Scarlet Brotherhood tidbit is a nod to the Siege of Strandkeep in the Gord books, where dwarves tunnel into the dungeons beneath the castle while other forces keep the defenders occupied above. Gord famously fights twin Scarlet Brotherhood monks during the episode - a detail which may serve to jog one's memory.
I like those old regional articles in that they gave an overview of events that just added meat to the bones of the nations covered, and only for a *short* period of time. And it is generally everyday type political stuff nations deal with. The conflicts in these articles are notably a far cry from continent spanning wars where rulers die, nations collapse or outright cease to be, and borders are redrawn. I prefer such catastrophic changes to be left to individual DM's, and so these articles, which focused more on the minor conflicts/machinations that might lead to bigger events, served not only as great background material, but as useful adventure plot strings. Nice article for the Sheldomar Valley. _________________ - Moderator/Admin/Member -
The conflicts in these articles are notably a far cry from continent spanning wars where rulers die, nations collapse or outright cease to be, and borders are redrawn. I prefer such catastrophic changes to be left to individual DM's, and so these articles, which focused more on the minor conflicts/machinations...
I disagree. Major changes are outlined in the Dragon articles. Tens of thousands of soldiers are on the march. A freed demigod has stabilized his homeland and turned eyes outward. The east and west Bandit Kingdoms are invaded. Gygax's updates tie into the complete fall of the Shield Land's in the Gord books. Stonefist gains territory. The Duke of Tenh dies. The GK and Nyrond are heading to a full-scale war. Ivid's life hangs in the balance (Rob's Dragon update ties into both his disease in WG8 and his plight in the Zayene modules). All of that in one year in less than half the Flanaess!
There's a popular opinion among Greyhawkers that the original Gygax works are a placid, if tense, DM sandbox and that it was TSR/Grubb/Cook/Sargent who made sweeping changes and seized the reins from players' hands. The fact is, Gygax and Kuntz gave every indication things were heading in a similar direction to the Wars box.
The Folio's history chapter drips with ominous foreshadowing: it's the Age of Great Sorrow, empires are crumbling, Iuz is free and ascended to godhood, humanoid realms are on the rise.
Dominoes fall quickly as the product line starts: giants invade the land, drow appear for the first time, demon lords move their pawns, temples to dread deities stir, competing forces race to Iggwilv's abode, the mightiest heroes desperately seek the Crook of Rao, a series of articles prepares the eastern Flanaess for war, a novel line starts, Iuz, the Hierarchs, the CoE, and SB fight for the Theorpart, the Shield Lands fall, etc, etc.
What makes the Dragon articles palatable to grognards is 1) the changes came in bite-sized chunks and 2) Cook missed the references and didn't incorporate them into canon. This makes it easy to look back and view the Gygax/Kuntz articles as gentle, optional, DM inspiration and blame Cook for blowing the setting up.
I agree with Vestcoat; the Flanaess are on the verge of war based on the Gygax material. The only difference is that instead of a vast number of local unconnected wars, Greyhawk Wars linked them together. personally, I think it made for a more compelling narrative. The fall of 582 C.Y. is the summer 1914, and after the war, Empires and states really have passed from the continent.
Joined: Feb 16, 2003 Posts: 3593 Location: So. Cal
Posted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:49 am Post subject:
I agree with him to some extent, but you both highlight what I am getting at. Events are taking shape, and even notable events are *on the verge* of happening in these articles. There very well could be a giant turd flying towards the fan in the form of forces engaging in minor clashes, but it hasn't hit the fan just yet. The Greyhawk Wars material didn't merely link the foreshadowing though, but brought it to a particular fruition. Articles mostly filled with juicy plot strings are very different from one that lays out how Almor, Tehn, the Shield Lands, and Geoff are no more, and that the Sprindrift Isles are sort of missing, among other things. In the Dragon articles the big stories have yet to be told, which is something I prefer; preferences of others may vary. _________________ - Moderator/Admin/Member -
First off, thanks for the kind words. I really need to stop over here more, because I completely missed all this discussion in the last month (in my defense, GaryCon was in there, so I was distracted).
Having re-read the old articles to get ready for this one, I wholeheartedly come down on Vestcoat's side. Although I would go further and say that a lot of what's in these articles set the tone, and even the trajectory, for the Sargent changes. We see Iuz taking over the Vesve, the Great Kingdom at war with the Iron League and Nyrond/Almor, and Iuz in conflict with the northern nomads.
I doubt Gygax would have ended up breaking up the Great Kingdom, but I think even if the details might be different, Sargent was definitely on the same wavelength. And I'm hoping to show that the Gygax material wasn't at odds with the later changes, but fully compatible. At least, that's what I'm leaning towards. We'll see if it pans out.
Oh, and I did up another. This one covers Furyondy, Veluna, and so forth. Enjoy!
Thanks for doing another one! At the risk of splitting hairs, let's avoid attributing the Wars to Sargent. The Wars were Zeb Cook acting on Jeff Grubb's direction. Sargent laid some good groundwork in WGS1, then TSR pulled the rug out from under him, turned the series over to the staff writer Slade who came in under word count and whose scenario bears no resemblance to Sargent's blurb in the '91 catalog, and they truncated the third module in the trilogy and replaced it with a board game.
Cook's changes weren't bad, but he missed canon that Sargent was aware of (e.g. invading the Shield Lands twice).
Then Sargent was left picking up the pieces in FtA and apologizing to pissed off fans in Dragon Magazine.
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