Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

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Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by Icarus » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:13 pm

I recently decided to indulge my geek a little, and add to my collection.
These are Greyhawk Adventures Trading Cards from the '91, '92, and '93 sets. I got 140 card that I didn't already have.
I'm thinking about getting the Greyhawk cards from the Spellfire CCG, as well.
ImageImage

So, I'm planning on making some posts discussing some of the interesting points about the canon found on the cards, and the interesting NPCs and magic items they describe, and whatnot.
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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by grodog » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:22 pm

That sounds like fun, WK!

My impression from the few GH trading cards that I have is that they showed NPCs drawn from already-published sources (mostly 2e sources that I was less familiar with), but from your description it sounds more like most of them are new/unique vs. reprints from published products. Is that right?

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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by Icarus » Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:33 pm

grodog wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:22 pm
... it sounds more like most of them are new/unique vs. reprints from published products. Is that right?
That is exactly right.
There's some that are known NPCs, like Mordenkainen, the Circle of Eight, Turin Deathstalker, etc.
But, most are new.
Some are like Tyrinion the paladin, who is the gryphon rider with the glowing Holy Avenger on the cover of Greyhawk Adventures.
Others are completely new - in fact, the vast majority are completely new.
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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by Dread Delgath » Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:25 am

I have the 91 & 92 boxed sets, but I got cheap in 93, and never got the box, but I did get a few 'boosters'.

I believe some of the entries were based on the art featured on the card, where some art was specifically of famous characters from the game, and other cards were commissioned by hitherto unknown artists for contributor entries.
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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by Big Mac » Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:02 am

Icarus wrote:
Sat Aug 18, 2018 7:33 pm
Some are like Tyrinion the paladin, who is the gryphon rider with the glowing Holy Avenger on the cover of Greyhawk Adventures.
Is he named that in Greyhawk Adventures or is that a new backstory for the old art?
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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by Icarus » Sun Aug 19, 2018 4:42 pm

Dread Delgath wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:25 am
I believe some of the entries were based on the art featured on the card, where some art was specifically of famous characters from the game, and other cards were commissioned by hitherto unknown artists for contributor entries.
That is definitely correct.
Some of the art is definitely based on art that existed, and they just associated names and stories for them.
But, some, as you say, is completely new artwork.
Especially for the characters who are very specific and are in a mini series or are otherwise very individual.
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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by Icarus » Sun Aug 19, 2018 4:44 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:02 am
Is he named that in Greyhawk Adventures or is that a new backstory for the old art?
to the best of my knowledge, Tyrinion wasn’t given the name in the original book… They created a name and a story for him
Which, personally, I think it is absolutely fantastic, and I absolutely love the character.
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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by Dread Delgath » Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:16 am

Icarus wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 4:44 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:02 am
Is he named that in Greyhawk Adventures or is that a new backstory for the old art?
to the best of my knowledge, Tyrinion wasn’t given the name in the original book… They created a name and a story for him
Which, personally, I think it is absolutely fantastic, and I absolutely love the character.
I remember this guy too, and it was a good card/character. :mrgreen:

I recall that TSR published a 2e "Rogues Gallery" and some of the characters were from these collector cards, but at the mo, I can only remember one that I actually used in a game - Harlo Everwinter, Bard. :cool:
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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by Havard » Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:57 pm

Congrats on the catch!

I've been collecting information on diffferent D&D related cards in this thread (and the ones it links to). I haven't looked at the Greyhawk cards specifically, but from what I have found out so far several of these cards contain information that is not covered in any books. I will be looking forward to reading more of your findings! :)

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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by Big Mac » Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:25 pm

It does sound like these cards are going to be interesting.

Have you discovered anyone new, other than Tyrinion yet, Icarus?
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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by vestcoat » Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:44 pm

Icarus, the Greyhawk Spellfire cards are basically useless when it comes to D&D canon and cards from the later expansions run $20-70. Save you money and get the first Spellfire Reference Guide. It contains pictures of all the early cards and, of greater interest, new flavor text with GH tidbits that we've never seen before or since.

Big Mac, the trading cards have tons of new stuff. Get em.

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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by Icarus » Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:33 am

Actually, I have the complete set of the Greyhawk Trading Cards, now.
(Well, barring precisely two rare GenCon promotional cards, or whatever. :| )
I have some of the Spellfire cards, but, they don't really have as much lore on them as the Trading Cards do.
Big Mac wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:25 pm
Have you discovered anyone new, other than Tyrinion yet, Icarus?
There's SO much lore in them, man.
It'd be difficult to even begin.

There's a lot of people because the art direction for them was seriously flubbed. For example, there's a card which is a random new Rogue who's named, but, it re-uses artwork of Gord. And the warrior on horseback from the cover of the D&D Rules Cyclopedia is used as a named paladin with the GH logo.
They even got the illustrations of Bigby and Ottiluke switched with each other. And later, labeled art that was clearly Bigby as Nystul :roll: Apparently, in both the Trading Cards and in Spellfire the Art Director couldn't figure out what Bigby was s'posed to look like. :roll:

The thing of it is that, yes, there's confusing stuff from the artwork in some cases, artwork doesn't invalidate the text or the lore.
There's all manner of cases throughout D&D where an artist or Art Director got something wrong, but, it doesn't mean the adventure or splatbook or whatever it's in is wrong.

Any way ... yeah, there's lots of stuff ... I did that other thread, which you took part in, about Seragrim the Just (the good-aligned Archlich).
But, I'll see if I can find a couple of the interesting tidbits.
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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by Icarus » Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:58 am

So, there's two cards; Zander of the Iron Hills, and Kelth of the Iron Hills.
They're both dwarven psions!
Zander of the Iron Hills, 3rd level Psychometabolist wrote:Zander is part of a special sect of psionic hill dwarves and is tattoed with symbols of his order. He helps his home community with powers which otherwise be unavailable and enjoys entering melee while using adrenallin control. He and his brother Kelth wish to find their father, Dural.
Kelth of the Iron Hills, 3rd level Telepath wrote:Like his brother Zanderm Kelth belongs to an elite sect of psionic dwarves. He helps guard his home by scanning the minds of enemies, and he prefers attacking from a distance. Kelth is trying to find a few people to help him search for his father, Dural, who disappeared a few years ago.
So, the interesting bit, is that his father is also another card … but, the reason that they're having trouble finding him is that the father is pursuing another named card, who's kind of a villain. He followed him, in fact, through the mists to Ravenloft!!! The father's card is marked with the Ravenloft logo even, rather than branded GH, since he's in the new world.
I made a point of getting him, though, and the villain's card, too, just to complete the story.
Dural of the Iron Hills, 9th level Telepath wrote:Before he entered the Dmiplane of Dread, Dural led a sect of psionic dwarves identified by special tattoos. He pursued the evil psionicist Vadarin through thick mists, arriving in Borca. Dural has pursued the evil elf ever since and warns travelers about him.
Vadarin, 10th level Telepath wrote:Vadarin lives in Borca and refuses to tell anyone where he originally came from. His suave and seemingly sympathetic exterior hides his cold and malicious ways until far too late. He has empowered several items, such as his amulet of Vadarin, which he uses carefully.
Amulet of Vadarin wrote:This amulet has been specially created by Vadarin, psionically enhanced by him to provide the following powers: Five times per day, the amulet issues a spionic blast as if the user's Power Score were rolled and without consumption of the user's Psionic Stregnth Points. As well, the amulet generates an Intellect Fortress at all times to a radius of 5 yards from the user. This defense is made as if the user's Power Score were rolled.
So, all around, an interesting litte tale.
I like the fact that Vadarin doesn't tell anyone that he's from the Iron Hills in Greyhawk! ;)
And I like how it's a story that you kind of have to chase to get all of the details. :)
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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by Icarus » Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:09 am

So, there's another one, that has an interesting thing:
A woman who rides a sabertooth tiger!!
The question, obviously becomes "Where'd she find it?"
There's certainly dinosaurs and such that are found in different areas of GH, and certainly other animals that IRL would be from the Pleistocene era. There could be lots of places. I guess we could look back and find encounter tables with a sabertooth on it.

But, it's interesting to me, wondering where I would place her story, if I used the NPC!
Raz, 9th level Beast-rider wrote:Raz began her adventuring life as a barbarian warrior, but hunted diligently for a large saber-toothed tiger that would be able to serve as her mount. Finding a creature strong enough to bear her in her splint armor was difficult, but that was nothing in comparison to trapping and training that tiger, once she found it!
Certainly, that is a monumental task, indeed! It would take quite some time, and quite some skill to accomplish!
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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by Icarus » Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:31 am

So, another interesting story tidbit is that they actually named the adventurers that took part "...in the vanquishing of Zuggtmoy in the Temple of Elemental Evil". They're not the same ones as from the novel of the same name, published in 2001 by Wizards of the Coast.
It was a mini-series of cards that all formed one sub-collection, of sorts. They were all numbered sequentially, 9 cards, from number 388 through 396.
They were:
  • Sir Duane Govindana, 7th level paladin
  • Ahlaege, 9th level Thief
  • Shadow, 9th level Wizard
  • Sheerah Nissassa, 10th level druid
  • Captain Gahlatine Bascher, 9th level cleric
  • Dorian, 9th level wizrd
  • Draga, 7th level fighter
  • Arant Quovant Garday, 9th level Fighting-Monk
  • Charissa, 9th level Illusionist
There's quite a bit of interesting backgrounds in this set.
When I'm not reading from my notes, I geuss I'll post their stories and such, in another post.
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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by vestcoat » Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:39 pm

Icarus wrote:
Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:31 am
So, another interesting story tidbit is that they actually named the adventurers that took part "...in the vanquishing of Zuggtmoy in the Temple of Elemental Evil".
Yes! The "Alliance of Defiance." Probably the most intriguing GH faction that fans have never discussed on message boards.
Icarus wrote:
Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:33 am
I have some of the Spellfire cards, but, they don't really have as much lore on them as the Trading Cards do.
Again, get the Spellfire Reference Guide. That's where the lore and flavor text are. Spellfire cards themselves have NOTHING, other than a name, icon, and a logo indicating that such-and-such character/spellcaster/artifact/monster exists in GH.

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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by Icarus » Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:11 pm

vestcoat wrote:
Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:39 pm
Yes! The "Alliance of Defiance." Probably the most intriguing GH faction that fans have never discussed on message boards.
That's them!! I didn't realize that people would know who they were!
Again, get the Spellfire Reference Guide. That's where the lore and flavor text are. Spellfire cards themselves have NOTHING, other than a name, icon, and a logo indicating that such-and-such character/spellcaster/artifact/monster exists in GH.
I just looked for it on Amazon. There's apparently at least two volumes of the Spellfire Reference Guide!
I'll look forward to reading even more lore!
The only down-side, I guess, is that it's a lot of lore or whatever, that doesn't really apply to Greyhawk.
I'd been buying the cards specifically for the GH content, but, I guess if I want to read what's there for the GH cards in Spellfire, I'll have to buy 'em.
Interestingly, they're available on Amazon. I think I will strongly consider buying them.
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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by vestcoat » Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:35 am

You only need the first reference guide. The second one also has pictures of the cards from later expansions, but discontinued the creative flavor text.

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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by Maldin » Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:18 am

I have all of the cards from the 3 series. I believe they just wanted to produce a certain number of cards, and recycled as much artwork as they had access to. When they ran out, they commissioned new art, some of which was clearly done quickly, and is of dubious quality. Then basically made up character descriptions to go with them. Most of the new NPCs have no root in any sort of canon.

We can certainly still use them, and even fill out their background. Absolutely, they can be made to be useful with good-old-fashioned fan creativity. However I do not believe anyone can read anything significant in quite a large percentage of them.

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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by Icarus » Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:51 pm

vestcoat wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:35 am
You only need the first reference guide. The second one also has pictures of the cards from later expansions, but discontinued the creative flavor text.
Good to know! That'll be a whole lot easier! Thanks for the tip!
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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by Icarus » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:48 pm

Maldin wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:18 am
... I believe they just wanted to produce a certain number of cards, and recycled as much artwork as they had access to. When they ran out, they commissioned new art, some of which was clearly done quickly, and is of dubious quality. Then basically made up character descriptions to go with them. Most of the new NPCs have no root in any sort of canon.
So, this isn't an uncommon opinion. I fully understand that most people ended up not liking the "reused" art. I think TSR simply guessed wrong in thinking that players would want to see RPG details for characters that existed in their art, and that it was a novel idea. I believe their thinking was that players imagined who those strange people were on cover art and such. I don't think that it's fair to call the artwork "dubious". Totally aside from rudely slandering contributing artists, much of it is better than Clyde Caldwell's Mordenkainen, which is in the set. And I don't think you're likely to call Caldwell's art "dubious". Granted, some of it isn't cover-worthy; but, judging by the standards of gaming artwork of the era, it was well-above average. Take a look at the 2nd Edition Monster Manual, and tell me that the majority of that artwork is as good as the Trading Cards.

But, that was the 1991 set. According to David Wise, the project director, the 1992and 1993 sets were "almost entirely new." They didn't ""run out" of artwork. They clearly learned which characters from cover artwork players wanted to see, and which ones they didn't.
David Wise, Dragon Magazine #184, p67 wrote: The only unoriginal characters in the ‘ 92 set are those that we wanted to include in the trading-card series (like Strahd Von Zarovich and Mordenkainen).
And he also specifically said the cards were written first, and then the art produced:
David Wise wrote: … starting the [art] order from scratch, rather than having to write the cards to match what’ was already drawn.
Maldin wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:18 am
We can certainly still use them,... However I do not believe anyone can read anything significant in quite a large percentage of them.
I don't think that anyone here is suggesting that we can't use them. But, we can also say the the vast majority of NPCs in the entire World of Greyhawk don't have "anything significant" to them, other than we know what supplement they're published in, and so have a strict set location for them. Which is also true for many of the cards. But, in a set that's intended to be NPCs that are usable anywhere in GH, I don't see that as a detractor for the set. They're meeting their purpose. They're adding lore that can be used anywhere a DM wants. They stopped re-using art, specifically so that they could do what the fans asked - add new stuff to their settings.

Now, all of that having been said, let's try to avoid making this into a "Reasons I don't like the collection" thread. I entirely respect your opinion, and totally understand why many fans feel this way, both at the time and years after the fact.
I'm one player who thinks all of the art is cool. And art doesn't invalidate the lore contained within the text of the cards.
I have collected the entire run of the collection, and I'm enjoying sharing with other players who are also enjoying and are interested in what's on the cards.
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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by Dread Delgath » Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:43 pm

I just noticed that this thread is for the "Greyhawk" Trading Cards. Was this a different collection than the 91, 92 & 93 sets from those years? Did I miss something all those years ago? :?

Or is this thread about the Greyhawk cards within those sets? :oops:
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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by Icarus » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:10 pm

Dread Delgath wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:43 pm
Or is this thread about the Greyhawk cards within those sets? :oops:
Nope, nope ... you're exactly right.
It's the Greyhawk branded cards from the '91-'93 Trading Card sets.
I just really kind of didn't ever bother keeping too many of the non-GH ones ... though I do have a 3-ring binder and a card box full of other setting cards.
It's an odd phrasing; it just kind of "reads" that way on the top of the card, 'cause it's right next to the logo.

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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by Dread Delgath » Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:33 pm

LOL! Yes, it does.

Okay, then I can post what I intended to earlier, but didn't because of my momentary fit of senility...

Art is always... art, and you either like a certain style or you hate it. I was not a fan of the new art introduced specifically for the cards, and, IDR if said artist's work was actually used in any TSR pub before or since, and I don't even know the name of the artist, except that I remember what it looked like - and I could liken it to thick line art probably done with crayons or chalk.

I remember Valerie Valusek & Ken Frank, and I like their work enough not to complain about their work, BTW.

But the write-ups for the cards: I always thought they were submitted to TSR by players - that they'd won some kind of write-in contest to get their homebrew campaign characters published. I would have preferred that TSR stick to official canon characters & NPCs. I would've loved to have seen more of the many pre-gen characters (Dread Delgath!) produced for TSR modules throughout the 80's. Alas, we never saw many of them, unless they were part of the Circle of Eight.

FWIW, I liked Clyde Caldwell's art & the fully quaffed Mordenkainen. :lol:
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Re: Greyhawk Trading Card Collection

Post by Icarus » Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:00 pm

Dread Delgath wrote:
Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:33 pm
... the write-ups for the cards: I always thought they were submitted to TSR by players - that they'd won some kind of write-in contest to get their homebrew campaign characters published.
Well, that's not far from right ...
It wasn't really winning a contest, but rather, like any freelance writer submitting to a publication, they did their best to try and get their character or NPC published. So, some few cards were written by the small number of RPGA members who a.) attended GenCon, b.) went to that booth, and c.) took the time to fill out and submit the form for consideration.
David Wise, Dragon Magazine #176, p. 100, Dec.1991 wrote:Another new feature in the '92 cards is the addition of cards that were designed by members of the RPGA Network. At the 1991 GEN CON game fair, we circulated forms to the attending members and invited them to immortalize their favorite characters by describing them in detail, with all their equipment, physical traits, and personal histories. I've received some pretty interesting submissions, too, and have managed to work almost all of them into the project. (Sorry, the kender cavalier had to go.)
I wish I knew more, but, as far as official statements, the only thing I know for now is how many artists there were, but not their names.
David Wise, Dragon Magazine #184, p.67, August 1992 … wrote:… we contacted a dozen free-lance illustrators and put them to work drawing over 700 separate pieces of art for an all-new collection.
Mind you, I'm certain professional writers/editors wrote the actual cards, but, I'm sure the names and whatnot came from the fan submissions … but, like any gamer talking about their characters, I doubt that they kept them under 70 words. :lol:
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