Roll for Initiative Podcast lists core Greyhawk themes

Gary Gygax's original D&D world, where Dungeons & Dragons came to life in the greatest show on Oerth!
The Book-House: Find Greyhawk products.

Moderators: Cthulhudrew, OldDawg

Post Reply
User avatar
Tim Baker
Axe Beak
Posts: 2115
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:51 am
Gender: male
Location: United States
Contact:

Roll for Initiative Podcast lists core Greyhawk themes

Post by Tim Baker » Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:24 pm

I was listening to the Roll for Initiative Podcast Episode 217, and the hosts listed the themes that Roger Moore (Dragon Magazine editor) felt were core to the Greyhawk setting. I'd heard some of these before, but had never come across this particular list all in one place.

Do you think this is a solid list? What would you add, change, or remove from it, if anything?
  1. It's about dungeons, taking stuff, and killing monsters.
  2. Nothing is as it seems. Everything is a mystery if you look a little deeper.
  3. There's a preoccupation with pocket universes.
  4. There are a lot of devious traps.
  5. Secrets are paramount. It's all about misdirection. You don't know who the big bag is, initially.
  6. Things are clearly in black and white. It's good vs. evil. There are no shades of gray.
  7. Magical devices don't have backstories unless they're artifacts.
  8. Evil is on the rise.
  9. The world feels real, but not so bogged down in continuity that it's not fun to play.

grodog
Hobgoblin
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:18 pm

Re: Roll for Initiative Podcast lists core Greyhawk themes

Post by grodog » Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:52 am

Tim Baker wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:24 pm
Do you think this is a solid list?
It's a pretty good list, all-in-all, but I disagree with a couple of the points:
Tim Baker wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:24 pm
  1. Things are clearly in black and white. It's good vs. evil. There are no shades of gray.
  2. Magical devices don't have backstories unless they're artifacts.
The B&W/no shades of grey goes against the core values of the setting as a whole, I think. Greyhawk defines grey vs. the more four-color good vs. evil of the FR. Aggressive neutrals, nuanced-evils, and "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" are what drive the setting, at least to me.

The magical items without backstories is more of a quibble---I agree in principle, but I also think that there are a lot more (to use a 3.x term for a moment) "minor artifacts" that have backstories in Greyhawk than in other settings.
Tim Baker wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:24 pm
What would you add, change, or remove from it, if anything?
The old list from Nightscreed* elaborates upon some of the core concepts that drive Greyhawk, but it's not definitive either*:

Criteria No. 1 Applied Internal Historic Consistency
Criteria No. 2 Player Resolution of Critical Events
Criteria No. 3 NPCs Reward More Often Than They Advise or Direct
Criteria No. 4 Persistent Personified Evil
Criteria No. 5 Villainous Variety
Criteria No. 6 Heroism With a Price
Criteria No. 7 Militant Neutrality
Criteria No. 8 Personal Magics

Allan.

* for more detail, see http://www.geocities.ws/jsage_1974/Greathawk.htm

** for some other good discussion along these lines, see http://www.canonfire.com/cf//modules.ph ... pic&t=1087 and https://paizo.com/threads/rzs2o84p?What ... n-Greyhawk and https://forum.rpg.net/index.php?threads ... wk.462557/

Allan.
grodog
---
Allan Grohe
grodog@gmail.com
http://www.greyhawkonline.com/grodog/greyhawk.html

Editor and Project Manager, Black Blade Publishing
https://www.facebook.com/BlackBladePublishing/

Post Reply

Return to “Greyhawk”