What do you love about Greyhawk?

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What do you love about Greyhawk?

Postby Dragonhelm » Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:15 am

It occurs to me that now would be a really good time to talk about those things that we absolutely love about Greyhawk. What makes Greyhawk special and fun for you?

Here are a few of mine:

1. NPCs. I love hearing about those old characters in Gary's old games, and how a lot of those names are tied to spells to this day. The Circle of Eight and the Citadel of Eight before them are awesome.
2. The fact that the Flanaess is on the eastern side of the continent of Oerik. That's a little different.
3. The city of Greyhawk and the Castle of Greyhawk.
4. For many, it is the birthplace of adventure.
5. The Tiger and Wolf Nomads.
6. Two 2e modules: Treasures of Greyhawk and Rary the Traitor.

So what do you love about Greyhawk?
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Re: What do you love about Greyhawk?

Postby Boddynock » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:32 am

I've played a few campaigns, namely 3e era Greyhawk and campaigns where we played it using Savage Worlds. Here is my love letter to the setting:

-First, I loved the map that came with the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer. My gaming group has a copy that we laminated and still hangs on our bulletin board. I, like a lot of people I'm sure, love maps a plenty and that one was the first ever rpg-world map that wasn't hand drawn. Still very neat to look at.

-I liked how the setting had a lot of parts moving and a lot of things you could get involved in. Campaigns I've been involved in included fighting giants in Geoff, fighting the civil war in the Hold of the Sea Princes, dealing with the Temple of Elemental Evil (in 3rd era of course it was the Return version- not that you couldn't just run Temple). You could fight Iuz or look into what Rary was doing in the Bright Lands. Just so many neat things to be involved with.

-Favorite area was "Ratik" because that was the first campaign I ran as a GM. The situation in Ratik opens several storylines as, by the time we get to it in the Gazetteer, the country has lost its rightful and beloved ruler who was slain by Gnolls in nearby Spinecastle. The Countess is the daughter of the Count of Knurl, so in a way, she could be viewed as sort of a foreign ruler who has inherited a mess. There are nearby barbarians who are mulling an alliance or war with Ratik and complicating that is the insidious Scarlet Brotherhood.

All of a sudden, you have several adventuring avenues that include mercenaries launching raids against the goblinoids and gnolls. You could be diplomats and agents seeking alliance with the Suel barbarian tribes and trying to remove the Brotherhood threat. You could be rebels or loyalists, either working to serve the Countess or remove her and place another on the throne.
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Re: What do you love about Greyhawk?

Postby Big Mac » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:53 am

Great topic Trampas. :cool:

In no particular order, here are some of the things I love about Greyhawk:

  • One of the "three pillars that supports Spelljammer" - Along with Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk was incorporated into the setting within the AD&D Adventures in Space boxed set. So without Greyhawk, I might not have had Spelljammer.
  • Support for fans of multiple editions of D&D - Original Dungeons & Dragons, 1st Edition AD&D, 2nd Edition D&D, 3rd Edition D&D and 3.5 D&D have all had Greyhawk products. As a firm believer that settings are more important than rulesets, I love the fact that this gives more fans access to the campaign setting. And with the 1980 World of Greyhawk folio, the 1983 World of Greyhawk boxed set, Greyhawk Adventures and the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer I think that a GM has the choice between different eras of the setting as well as the different rulesets (so someone could run a pre-Greyhawk Wars game with 3.5 rules).
  • Gary Gygax - Gary was one of the creators of D&D (along with Dave Arneson). I think it's interesting to learn about the non-crunchy details that both of the "fathers of D&D" brought to their own gameworlds.
  • Darlene's map - If Gary Gygax is the "father" of Greyhawk, it could be argued that Darlene is the "mother" of Greyhawk. The map is a major milestone in the history of Dungeons & Dragons. We are used to seeing maps that look that awesome now, but Darlene really stepped up the game.
  • Subsettings - I'm a big fan of D&D subsettings. Greyhawk was going to have Kara-Tur, but that moved over to Forgotten Realms. It was also going to have Aquaria (which luckily Frank Mentzer is still working on as a standalone thing). There is also the Lendore Isles (which I need to learn more about) and Chainmail: The Sundered Empire (which I learned about at The Piazza and which I am very interested in).
  • Crossover support - As a Spelljammer fan, I love crossover support and WGR2 Treasures of Greyhawk has a great SJ/GH crossover adventure in it. WGR1 Greyhawk Ruins also has a useful GH/SJ tie-in. But Greyhawk is also great for fans of Planescape. The Great Wheel Cosmology is Greyhawk's cosmology and while Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms have "tweaked" the Great Wheel a bit, Greyhawk has kept to the Great Wheel. (If you want to run Planescape and use the Material Plane as "background" you could easily use a small amount of Greyhawk material and save yourself the trouble of learning about lots of other D&D worlds.
  • Living Greyhawk - This is another major milestone in Dungeons & Dragons history. It's the most complicated organised play campaigns ever created and there are a ton of creative people who helped move various parts of it forward.
  • "Crazy Cartography Lady" - There are a ton of awesome Greyhawk fans out there and quite a few great fan cartographer's too, but I've always been a sucker for someone who takes on a project that seems impossible to me. I remember bumping into Anna Meyer when she was five years into a project to chop up Darlene's map into tiny squares, make 3D models of each square and then add in all the nerd-level details that had been created after Darlene's map was published. She must have had less than a third of her squares done when I bumped into her. It looked like the sort of abandoned D&D project I've seen all across the Internet, but it wasn't actually abandoned and she was plugging away. People were telling her about mistakes on old maps and she was fixing those mistakes. And every so often she would crank out a new map. I missed the early years of D&D so missed seeing Gary Gygax crank out Greyhawk. But this was actually something I could watch. And it was awesome to watch.

That's just some of the things I like about Greyhawk.

And I hope to learn more about the campaign setting, so that I discover other things that are equally enjoyable to me.
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Re: What do you love about Greyhawk?

Postby night_druid » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:40 pm

For me personally:

G1-3: My all-time favorite modules, set in Greyhawk. Sure, I've owned them since before I even knew what D&D was (gift from a cousin) but still.

The Domain of Greyhawk: Probably the best campaign area you can imagine. You have virtually every environment at your doorstep: forest, plains, hills, farmland, mountains, coastline, river, lake, ocean, and desert. There are homelands for every player race nearby, be it human, elf, dwarf, gnome, or halfling. Humanoid strongholds infest the forests, tomb are waiting to be plundered in the hills, and dervishes haunt the desert. You can whole campaigns there and never travel further than two week's travel by horseback.
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Re: What do you love about Greyhawk?

Postby willpell » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:44 pm

My version of Greyhawk includes most of the "setting-neutral" detail from 3E, which was nominally GH-based, but with that caveat, it has a lot of story detail I enjoy a great deal. It never seemed to be as much in love with itself as FR.
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Re: What do you love about Greyhawk?

Postby Azaghal » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:08 pm

For me Greyhawk was the 1st campaign world i ran a game in, in fact for the longest time it was the only game world i was aware of. Remember back in the late 70's we didn't have a lot out yet, not having a gaming store in easy reach. I had the Folio set and I wore that out, wish i still had the maps.
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Re: What do you love about Greyhawk?

Postby anna » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:19 pm

Great topic and great replies!

My answer is the setting source books, The Marklands, Ivid the Undying, Iuz the Evil, Adventure Begins, The Scarlet Brotherhood, Living Greyhawk Gazetteer and of course the setting boxes!
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Re: What do you love about Greyhawk?

Postby ghendar » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:07 pm

I have always loved the From The Ashes boxed set. I know that's heresy to the purists but I thought it was a well done product.

More generally I like how open Greyhawk is. I don't think I would ever run it due to time constraints but you can do a lot with it from a design perspective if you're so inclined and it wasn't supplemented to death like the Forgotten Realms was by the time it got into 3rd edition.
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Re: What do you love about Greyhawk?

Postby Zudrak » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:46 pm

There is enough of a skeletal structure for fellow players/DMs to have their PCs all a part of it without upsetting the apple cart too much when you would play in each other's campaigns.

There is enough "free space" to allow for hexcrawls, if desired, or for filling in the details.

The PCs are not errand-runners for the major NPCs.

Neutrality is a force within the Flanaess.

The majority of the world -- as it resides outside the Flanaess -- is all the DM's to flesh out.

The major NPCs were mostly once PCs. So PCs now can shoot for the same fame, fortune, and/or notoriety.

The history is built on many of the most classic modules which can either be played or used as historical basis for more adventures within them.

The political climate of the 570s is such that tensions are high and political campaigns can be as numerous and rewarding as Greyhawk's famed dungeon crawls.

The inability of Greyhawk's holy grail, Castle Greyhawk, to be produced by its creator shows us mere humans here that life is short.

Game on,
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Re: What do you love about Greyhawk?

Postby combatmedicreturns » Sat Jul 29, 2017 5:08 am

Cyclopedia style entries for kingdoms and regions, instead of a plethora of sourcebooks. Easy to collect and utilize.

The City of Greyhawk is described in detail in one product. Nice to have this as an example and a potential starting area.

The Darlene map and its successors have lots of blank hexes and unmarked/disputable /guesswork borders. Easy to fill out through play, drop stuff in, take stuff out.

Wargaming influences in game design and materials improve the backdrop and create material useful for domain level play.

whimsical flights of fancy

a dash of sci fi, Old West, etc

Modules over novels. It's a game setting and even the 90s metaplot was driven by game design considerations and in-world stuff, not by novels and a grand narrative.
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Re: What do you love about Greyhawk?

Postby Blackleaf » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:21 am

The City of Greyhawk. The 2e boxset made it the iconic fantasy city for me.
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