[13th Age] Mike Mearls' description of Greyhawk sounds like the Dragon Empire

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[13th Age] Mike Mearls' description of Greyhawk sounds like the Dragon Empire

Post by Tim Baker » Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:03 am

In this week's episode of Dragon Talk, the official D&D podcast, Mike Mearls talks about how he views Greyhawk as a skeleton of a campaign setting, intended for DMs to flesh out themselves. He doesn't have a high view of Greyhawk canon, especially anything that was published after Gary Gygax left TSR. I'd never heard anyone talk about Greyhawk this way. It really reminded me of 13th Age's default setting, the Dragon Empire!

Are there other ways that the Dragon Empire is similar to Greyhawk, other than being a fantasy setting with "standard" D&D-type elements? You can listen to this portion of the podcast beginning at 9:20. http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/feature ... k_devenrue

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Re: [13th Age] Mike Mearls' description of Greyhawk sounds like the Dragon Empire

Post by Tim Baker » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:40 pm

On Google+, a user mentioned that the Lich King of 13th Age's Dragon Empire is quite clearly Vecna. Considering he's an iconic lich missing an eye and a hand, I have to agree with that assessment.

What else has the Dragon Empire borrowed from Greyhawk?

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Re: [13th Age] Mike Mearls' description of Greyhawk sounds like the Dragon Empire

Post by Big Mac » Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:41 pm

Tim Baker wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:40 pm
On Google+, a user mentioned that the Lich King of 13th Age's Dragon Empire is quite clearly Vecna. Considering he's an iconic lich missing an eye and a hand, I have to agree with that assessment.
Ah, but have the 13th Age designers based the lich on Vecna, or is it just very easy to project that Icon onto Vecna.

Vecna, in Greyhawk, became a deity, so this Icon would kind of be like a previous (non-divine) version of Vecna.

How much do we have to wind back the timeline of Greyhawk to get to the stage where Vecna is not yet a deity?

Was Kas (owner of the Sword of Kas) still around back then? Is there a Dragon Empire Icon that could stand in for Kas? Or are we only looking at resemblance with the central character of the Vecna story?
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Re: [13th Age] Mike Mearls' description of Greyhawk sounds like the Dragon Empire

Post by Tim Baker » Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:50 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:41 pm
Ah, but have the 13th Age designers based the lich on Vecna, or is it just very easy to project that Icon onto Vecna.

Was Kas (owner of the Sword of Kas) still around back then? Is there a Dragon Empire Icon that could stand in for Kas? Or are we only looking at resemblance with the central character of the Vecna story?
You're right – this would be the pre-deity version of Vecna. I don't know of any other liches that are missing an eye and a hand, so I think the connection to Vecna is intended to be obvious.

I don't know much about Kas, but there's no icon who represents a lieutenant of the Lich King in the Dragon Empire – at least not in the 13th Age. Perhaps in the 1st Age....

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Re: [13th Age] Mike Mearls' description of Greyhawk sounds like the Dragon Empire

Post by Big Mac » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:05 pm

Tim Baker wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:03 am
In this week's episode of Dragon Talk, the official D&D podcast, Mike Mearls talks about how he views Greyhawk as a skeleton of a campaign setting, intended for DMs to flesh out themselves. He doesn't have a high view of Greyhawk canon, especially anything that was published after Gary Gygax left TSR. I'd never heard anyone talk about Greyhawk this way. It really reminded me of 13th Age's default setting, the Dragon Empire!
I'll have to listen to this. (I'm in the middle of a post-Spelljammer game discussion at the moment.)

This is possibly an indication of how Wizards of the Coast will treat a hypothetical 5th Edition Greyhawk product, so it's probably pretty important to listen to.
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Re: [13th Age] Mike Mearls' description of Greyhawk sounds like the Dragon Empire

Post by Big Mac » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:30 pm

Tim Baker wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:50 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:41 pm
Ah, but have the 13th Age designers based the lich on Vecna, or is it just very easy to project that Icon onto Vecna.

Was Kas (owner of the Sword of Kas) still around back then? Is there a Dragon Empire Icon that could stand in for Kas? Or are we only looking at resemblance with the central character of the Vecna story?
You're right – this would be the pre-deity version of Vecna. I don't know of any other liches that are missing an eye and a hand, so I think the connection to Vecna is intended to be obvious.

I don't know much about Kas, but there's no icon who represents a lieutenant of the Lich King in the Dragon Empire – at least not in the 13th Age. Perhaps in the 1st Age....
Here is a random WotC PDF, called opengrave_exc1.pdf that contains details of the Sword of Kas. That's from a book called DMs Guild to Undead which I don't recall seeing, so I'm not sure if it is a 4e book or 5e book that this is extracted from.
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Re: [13th Age] Mike Mearls' description of Greyhawk sounds like the Dragon Empire

Post by Dread Delgath » Sun Feb 10, 2019 12:16 am

Big Mac: opengrave_exc1.pdf is for 4e. :cool:

Tim: You've never heard anyone speak of post-Gygax Greyhawk that way before? We don't hang out at the same forums then. ;)

I speak with tongue firmly planted in cheek, since I am taking your word for it, as I have not listened to any links yet, and may not get the chance to for quite awhile. (workworkworkworkworkyeeesh) Many of us oldheads didn't like the fullblown campaign liberties that TSR's new management took with Gygax's baby after Gygax was ousted from TSR, but that's another kettle of fish, best left alone.

We always preferred that the campaign remained open-ended and skeletal so we DMs at home could build our own versions of Greyhawk with minimal interference from whatever TSR was pumping out on a world-wide scale (to wit: nothing). The placement of modules in hex locations W5-97 meant that that hex location was a possible destination to aim for in future sandbox campaigns, but it in no way changed the entire face of the continent permanently.

And it never f***ed up Mordenkainen's 70's hairdo, either. :lol:
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Re: [13th Age] Mike Mearls' description of Greyhawk sounds like the Dragon Empire

Post by Tim Baker » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:17 am

Dread Delgath wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 12:16 am
Tim: You've never heard anyone speak of post-Gygax Greyhawk that way before? We don't hang out at the same forums then. ;)
I'm afraid I don't know much about Greyhawk. That means most of the conversations are over my head, and without an easy way to get the context of a thread, I tend to scan them, then my eyes glaze over, and I move along.

What would you consider the best product to familiarize myself with Greyhawk?

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Re: [13th Age] Mike Mearls' description of Greyhawk sounds like the Dragon Empire

Post by Dread Delgath » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:59 am

Tim Baker wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:17 am
What would you consider the best product to familiarize myself with Greyhawk?
There are many eras to choose from, and bias that goes along with it, I guess. I, for instance would tell you that the best product is the 1981 Greyhawk Folio (1981) because it is the 'bare bones' edition. It gives you the framework, you fill in the details as you want.

Others might tell you that later edition (2e) products like "From the Ashes" is the best product, because it is robust and full of rpg & campaign ideas (it really is!) in a post-war setting. I cannot find fault with either one, actually, as I have both.

Unfortunately, both are hard to find, unless you want to invest a small fortune on eBay, or either becomes available on Drivethru in pdf, which I hope they do, eventually.
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Re: [13th Age] Mike Mearls' description of Greyhawk sounds like the Dragon Empire

Post by Tim Baker » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:37 pm

Dread Delgath wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:59 am
Unfortunately, both are hard to find, unless you want to invest a small fortune on eBay, or either becomes available on Drivethru in pdf, which I hope they do, eventually.
Thanks for the tips! I'm disappointed that with such a large back catalog available on the DM's Guild, they haven't put these products out as PDFs, yet. Seems like a lost opportunity. Or maybe they're waiting for the setting to make a comeback....

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Re: [13th Age] Mike Mearls' description of Greyhawk sounds like the Dragon Empire

Post by Tim Baker » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:40 pm

Dread Delgath wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:59 am
There are many eras to choose from, and bias that goes along with it, I guess. I, for instance would tell you that the best product is the 1981 Greyhawk Folio (1981) because it is the 'bare bones' edition. It gives you the framework, you fill in the details as you want.
Since the folio isn't easily available, what do you think of the World of Greyhawk boxed set?

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Re: [13th Age] Mike Mearls' description of Greyhawk sounds like the Dragon Empire

Post by Tim Baker » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:41 pm

Dread Delgath wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:59 am
Others might tell you that later edition (2e) products like "From the Ashes" is the best product, because it is robust and full of rpg & campaign ideas (it really is!) in a post-war setting. I cannot find fault with either one, actually, as I have both.
Is this the 2e book you were referring to? https://www.dmsguild.com/product/17399/ ... 0_0_0&it=1

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Re: [13th Age] Mike Mearls' description of Greyhawk sounds like the Dragon Empire

Post by Dread Delgath » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:53 pm

Yes to both, Tim! :cool:
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Re: [13th Age] Mike Mearls' description of Greyhawk sounds like the Dragon Empire

Post by Tim Baker » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:59 pm

Dread Delgath wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:53 pm
Yes to both, Tim! :cool:
Thanks. I'm adding them to my wishlist. When I get a chance to do some reading, they'll be there for me to take a look.

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Re: [13th Age] Mike Mearls' description of Greyhawk sounds like the Dragon Empire

Post by Tim Baker » Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:48 am

Dread Delgath wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:59 am
There are many eras to choose from, and bias that goes along with it, I guess. I, for instance would tell you that the best product is the 1981 Greyhawk Folio (1981) because it is the 'bare bones' edition. It gives you the framework, you fill in the details as you want.
Looks like the Greyhawk Folio is available on DM's Guild as well (and it's available in POD, even).

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Re: [13th Age] Mike Mearls' description of Greyhawk sounds like the Dragon Empire

Post by Dread Delgath » Sat Feb 16, 2019 2:21 am

Tim Baker wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:48 am
Dread Delgath wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:59 am
There are many eras to choose from, and bias that goes along with it, I guess. I, for instance would tell you that the best product is the 1981 Greyhawk Folio (1981) because it is the 'bare bones' edition. It gives you the framework, you fill in the details as you want.
Looks like the Greyhawk Folio is available on DM's Guild as well (and it's available in POD, even).
IIRC, it was $10.00 in 1981, so the price hasn't gone up, although I've never done a POD product before. I can't attest to the quality of POD products. Will the product be bound and stapled the same as the original? The cover was loose leaf semi-gloss, with half tabs that folded out revealing all the coat of arms for all the nations of the eastern portion of the continent, and the inside was paper grade cardstock large-scale maps of some sort (IDR - as I lost those a few years back) -- and the two poster sized full color maps by Darlene! Are those included???

If they are, GET THIS!

BTW, the same poster sized maps were included in the 1983 boxed sets you linked to above. The boxed set had two books - one for the DM only and the other was more-or-less for the players. :cool:
A big THANKS! to Giant Space Hamster & Chimpman for the cookies! (Dark Side be damned!) :D

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Re: [13th Age] Mike Mearls' description of Greyhawk sounds like the Dragon Empire

Post by Tim Baker » Sat Feb 16, 2019 4:23 am

Dread Delgath wrote:
Sat Feb 16, 2019 2:21 am
IIRC, it was $10.00 in 1981, so the price hasn't gone up, although I've never done a POD product before. I can't attest to the quality of POD products. Will the product be bound and stapled the same as the original? The cover was loose leaf semi-gloss, with half tabs that folded out revealing all the coat of arms for all the nations of the eastern portion of the continent, and the inside was paper grade cardstock large-scale maps of some sort (IDR - as I lost those a few years back) -- and the two poster sized full color maps by Darlene! Are those included???

If they are, GET THIS!
Great questions. I'm planning to get the PDF (99% of my gaming is from digital books these days), but if someone gets the POD product, I'm curious to know how close it is to the original.

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