An Opinion about GazFs

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An Opinion about GazFs

Postby julius_cleaver » Sat Jul 20, 2013 2:29 am

I think the time period for "current" Gazetteers should still be AC 1000. Just to be consistent with the other Gazetteers. It is certainly easy to add a "recent events" section for those wanting to bring Gazetteers up to the Wrath of the Immortals and Almanac timelines. I just wasn't enthralled with all the changes the WOTI brought to the known world.

It was like....hey we just created this amazing series detailing all the countries of the known world...now we're going to destroy all that. I also found the timeline in the Almanacs and WOTI a little to intense(?) silly(?) "unbelievable" that all these events were going down at once. The Seer of Yhog once made a good point about the difficulty of narrowing down a tech level for Mystara that matched our own. But the whole post 1005AC stuff just seemed like the world of Mystara was trying to achieve some kind of WWII like epic proportions of events that effected the entire world. And in a world that is technologically isolated this just seemed...well a bit warped.

My own campaign, which started on my birthday in '81, and had been running for thirteen years before WOTI, was headed toward the Great War scenario of 1200. I am just suggesting for those players who want to use all the Gazetteers in their own campaign, but have broken from the "cannon" timeline at AC1000, it makes much more sense to create all Gazetteers at 1000AC.

I have noticed on Vaults of Pandius and The Piazza that many people have their own ideas about what happened after 1005/1010/1015 etc. But i think there is a pretty good concensus of the events leading up to 1000AC. Thoughts, questions, comments.
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Re: An Opinion about GazFs

Postby Havard » Sat Jul 20, 2013 10:52 am

AFAIK all of the GazF series are set in AC1000.

WotI is controversial (the mega-adventure, less so book 1) among fans. I don't think the level of technology has much to do with it, as there is plenty enough magic to warrant a mass scale war. But I agree about destroying what you already had being a bad idea. Even Bruce Heard has later expressed unhappiness about these decisions.

One way to deal with that is to ignore those events. Another is to assume that over the course of the next decades things will revert to normal. Alfheim may be restored and even Alphatia could be brought back. OTOH, other changes, such as Karameikos becoming more independent and considered a proper Kingdom is probably something that will remain, at least IMC.

My biggest disappointment with WotI though, wasn't WotI itself, but the failure to follow up on those changes in the AD&D Mystara line. Especially the Glantri: Kingdom of Magic boxet set ought to have dealt with the changes brought by the alteration of the Nucleus of the Spheres. A boxed set for Aengmoor would also have been cool to see.

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Re: An Opinion about GazFs

Postby OldDawg » Sat Jul 20, 2013 5:50 pm

Havard is correct: everything released under the actual GazF imprimatur is set at AC 1000, for all of the reasons you cite above. [Mystara 2300 BC is a separate project with different people in charge.]

I do include mention of possible WOTI/Almanac events for completeness and to offer a possible "best" solution to integrating distinct canons, whether official or fan-made. In the "mythical" Leeha gaz, there is even a section on how to incorporate Karawenn from the technically generic D&D novels. All presented as optional.

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Re: An Opinion about GazFs

Postby hihama » Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:22 pm

OldDawg, can we consider the "mythical" Leeha gaz nowadays as a vaporware?
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Re: An Opinion about GazFs

Postby OldDawg » Sun Jul 21, 2013 7:03 am

I prefer the term glacierware.

The DM book is finished expect for the adventure paths and art filler. The PC book is 1/2 done.
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Re: An Opinion about GazFs

Postby Justinov » Mon Aug 12, 2013 3:59 pm

Havard wrote: WotI is controversial (the mega-adventure, less so book 1) among fans. I don't think the level of technology has much to do with it, as there is plenty enough magic to warrant a mass scale war. But I agree about destroying what you already had being a bad idea. Even Bruce Heard has later expressed unhappiness about these decisions.

One way to deal with that is to ignore those events. Another is to assume that over the course of the next decades things will revert to normal. Alfheim may be restored and even Alphatia could be brought back. OTOH, other changes, such as Karameikos becoming more independent and considered a proper Kingdom is probably something that will remain, at least IMC.

My biggest disappointment with WotI though, wasn't WotI itself, but the failure to follow up on those changes in the AD&D Mystara line. Especially the Glantri: Kingdom of Magic boxet set ought to have dealt with the changes brought by the alteration of the Nucleus of the Spheres. A boxed set for Aengmoor would also have been cool to see.

-Havard


I must say I totally agree. It was cool to run the Wrath of the Immortals as a GM, but then the ball wasn't picked up. The Almanacs was not my cup of tea (that's why I only bought the first one, since I want grand scale plots and not precise local information that is useless when you have players changing things anyways) and the later Glantri box set a huge letdown. Actually that was the reason I changed from Mystara to Birthright back then in 1995.
The Princess Ark was fine for giving more information to areas not yet described in detail, but when you waited for a follow up to all these events you got more and more disappointed.
Box Set of Aengmoor would have been fantastic!
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Re: An Opinion about GazFs

Postby Havard » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:25 pm

Justinov wrote:Box Set of Aengmoor would have been fantastic!


TSR released an RTF document of the Shadowelves Gazetteer. I wonder if the real reason this document was prepared was in order to turn parts of it into an Aengmoor Boxed Set?

Granted it is not mentioned in Bruce Heard's Reference Document, but still...


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Re: An Opinion about GazFs

Postby Hugin » Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:09 pm

Havard wrote:Granted it is not mentioned in Bruce Heard's Reference Document, but still...


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We could always ask him about it since he's active here.
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Re: An Opinion about GazFs

Postby julius_cleaver » Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:38 pm

Havard wrote:]OTOH, other changes, such as Karameikos becoming more independent and considered a proper Kingdom is probably something that will remain, at least IMC.


OTOH? I don't get this abbrev.
On another note I also don't understand IIRC....what does this mean?
Call me old fashioned, but we have way too many abbreviations these days.

But the real reason I made this post is to say I agree with this Havard. But I think their were hints of this happening in Gaz 1, aside from the events in WOTI. Yes I used an abbreviation...please feel free to make fun of me. :mrgreen: I even like the ideas in WOTI, I just though it would have made more sense if these events had taken place in the distant future. Possible even connected to the Great War of 1200 AC.

When I started my campaign in '81, of course there were no Gazatteers. When that series came out I had adjust if I wanted to include them. Of course when you are eleven years old, the finer points of gaming are lost on you. Encumbrance anyone? Did your characters take off their armor every evening if staying in the dungeon, and then fight a "random encounter" that took place during the night with an armor class to reflect this...because we sure didn't. :oops:

But at sixteen/seventeen, we were ready for the detail the Gazatteer series provided. We did keep quite detailed campaign notes. And given the amount of time that had past in our campaign, we decided our Bissel/Karameikos campaign had begun in 990 AC. I say Bissel/Karameikos because on the original map i drew, which i still have, a teleportation gate existed between Karameikos and The Gand Duchy in Oerth. We shamelessly played both advanced and basic modules using the same characters, making different character sheets for basic and advanced of the same characters. I ran the Mystara side of things, and my friend ran the Oerth modules. It was a blast! After most of the Gaz series were published I contemplated a "Known World War." One in which Hule was repelled near the border, or Akorros, in Darokin, yet managed to sieze control of Sind. Which they would then occupy until The Great War in 1200. At which time Hule and the Master would be defeated and Sind "liberated". I say "liberated" because after the Great War it made sense to me that Darokin would have a substantial presence in Sind, and while the country would remain independent, it would be heavily influenced by Darokin, fearing a resurgence of Hulean control in the region. With a more independent Karameikos forming closer ties with The Republic without completely severing its ties with the EImpire. Karameikos wisely seeing its role as a nation poised between two Empires, conducting profitable trade with both.
Last edited by julius_cleaver on Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: An Opinion about GazFs

Postby ghendar » Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:55 pm

OTOH - on the other hand
IIRC - if I remember correctly

I prefer to just type them out, YMMV

YMMV - your mileage may vary

;)
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Re: An Opinion about GazFs

Postby Ashtagon » Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:59 pm

Havard wrote:
Justinov wrote:Box Set of Aengmoor would have been fantastic!


TSR released an RTF document of the Shadowelves Gazetteer. I wonder if the real reason this document was prepared was in order to turn parts of it into an Aengmoor Boxed Set?

Granted it is not mentioned in Bruce Heard's Reference Document, but still...


That Shadowelves Gazetteer was actually published. I have a dead-tree copy of it back at my mum's place.
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Re: An Opinion about GazFs

Postby julius_cleaver » Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:07 pm

Making a new post before the other one becomes untenable.

Our campaign, did not really have a time frame other than the time that had passed. Maybe it's better to say it was not connected to the world around it. In '87 after Gaz 1 came out, we decided it was the year 998 AC, which gave us two years of campaign time to adjust to the gazetteer setting.

When the Almanacs came out, the biggest thing I disliked about them is that they repeated a lot of information in each "issue". I felt I was paying for a repeat of the same stuff. Also, in spite of the first version being composed by Aaron Allston, it seemed their were quite a few discrepancies between the gazatteers and the almanacs, changes that were not due to the time difference between the gazatteers and the end of WOTI. I like many of the situations and events that took place in the Almanacs. But they seemed to make more sense spread out over the two hundred year span of time between 1000 AC and 1200 AC.

I especially like the idea of the Kobolds moving into the Great Crater and becoming part of Glantri. With the civilized influence of the Principalities, and Jaeger's charismatic relationship with Kol; the imperialistic minded Kobolds would gradually become more cultured. Alienating themselves from the rest of the humanoid world.

This belongs in another thread so i'll just make this a "teaser" trailer...but "Hey Bruce!" I really like your light-hearted take on the humanoids. I thought it was easy to use the material, turning The Broken lands into a grittier, harsher campaign. One that incorporated the lightheartedness of the original. Moments of ridiculousness interposed with the brutality of life amongst the badlands.

Yet this comes down to my view of the origin of Humanoids, and their relationship to Demi-humans, after the Great Rain of Fire. But i'll make a new thread for this and post the link here later.
Last edited by julius_cleaver on Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: An Opinion about GazFs

Postby julius_cleaver » Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:09 pm

ghendar wrote:OTOH - on the other hand
IIRC - if I remember correctly

I prefer to just type them out, YMMV

YMMV - your mileage may vary

;)


Thanks...and funny Geoff Yhog. My mileage does vary...
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Re: An Opinion about GazFs

Postby LimeOdyssey » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:01 am

I ran what became Mystara for many years and my playing group and I loved it. Alphatia was imo a terrible mistake and it helped ruin the fantasy europe feel and the wilderness adventures by shoehorning in utterly different styles of magic and adventure. It was incompatible, it spoiled the sense that the world was huge and open ended and it began the rot.

That rot blossomed fully with the awful Wrath of the Immortals. I am baffled why anyone would want to take a highly detailed beautifully detailed and mapped world, then basically throw it all away for a level of play that was especially at that time poorly thought out and totally boring. Immortals as presented were just... dull, more than anything.

I think there is an opportunity to split Mystara up into pre WotI types - with and without Alphatia, with and without the later gazetteers.

Just an opinion. I owned every single thing ever put out for "Mystara" and loved most of it, but I saw it as a world that was almost deliberately mistreated by its brand owner. For what reason, I don't know.
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Re: An Opinion about GazFs

Postby Omnibius » Sat Jul 22, 2017 2:24 pm

I stop my work at 1000 AC because the follow event of Wrath of the Immortals not like me.
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Re: An Opinion about GazFs

Postby Ashtagon » Sat Jul 22, 2017 2:43 pm

I loved the gazetteers for the way they went into an incredible amount of detail for each country. In their day, there was nothing like it for any campaign setting in any rules system.

The Princess Ark was cool as a Scheherazade narrative framework to introduce new regions beyond the core Known World region. But the way Alphatia proper was presented in Dawn of the Emperors and later boxed sets, the region felt unlike anything else on the planet, due to an implicit level of government control over the land far beyond anything elsewhere. Having what amounted to a powerful organised military able to operate with modern combined arms tactics didn't help either. It could have been so much better, by leaving skyships as rare strategic assets rather than massed military forces, nixing the 1000 x 36th level mages as "propaganda", having a serious internal war going on, making drug addiction among Alphatian nobles a far bigger problem than it was presented, and so on. In short, it was a modern nation-state rather than a place to have adventures. In such a context, most adventure concepts would revolve around your relationship with the government.
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Re: An Opinion about GazFs

Postby LimeOdyssey » Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:17 pm

I also found that Alphatia really acted as a massive buzzkill because it managed to rob magic and epic events of their specialness, to the point that one player actually asked a few times in different sessions "why isn't Alphatia doing anything" or "what are the Alphatians doing? how can Thyatis even come close to them in power? We better all learn Alphatian!"

It just I don't know it wrecked the setting. It really did. And it was totally unneeded. We go from the occasional extremely cool extremely powerful bad guy against a backdrop of almost Robin Hood level stuff, to this overpowering and utterly incompatible blob of unasked for whatever.

Cool underwater city? Nope! Just another part of Alphatia!

Master of the Desert Nomads? Ha! Forget it! That future will never happen now!

Alphatia to me was the cause of WotI. If you need one of the worst things in a GM arsenal - the table flipping cosmic disaster - to fix a campaign, better to start again or wind back the clock.

anyway don't want to keep on about it but having run it for 7 years straight it really irked me a lot when they started to contaminate the setting. It went from a direct lineal descendant of the earliest OD&D to ... something else.

Ditto the blackflame stuff. Do not want.
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Re: An Opinion about GazFs

Postby ghendar » Sun Jul 23, 2017 2:48 pm

LimeOdyssey wrote:I ran what became Mystara for many years and my playing group and I loved it. Alphatia was imo a terrible mistake and it helped ruin the fantasy europe feel and the wilderness adventures by shoehorning in utterly different styles of magic and adventure. It was incompatible, it spoiled the sense that the world was huge and open ended and it began the rot.

That rot blossomed fully with the awful Wrath of the Immortals. I am baffled why anyone would want to take a highly detailed beautifully detailed and mapped world, then basically throw it all away for a level of play that was especially at that time poorly thought out and totally boring. Immortals as presented were just... dull, more than anything.

I think there is an opportunity to split Mystara up into pre WotI types - with and without Alphatia, with and without the later gazetteers.

Just an opinion. I owned every single thing ever put out for "Mystara" and loved most of it, but I saw it as a world that was almost deliberately mistreated by its brand owner. For what reason, I don't know.


I never cared for the whole play up to level 36 and then have your PCs become immortals. I much prefer lower level play. I think there is still a place for high level play or course but after awhile it gets pretty munchkin for me.

I highly doubt TSR thought they were deliberately mistreating the setting though.
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Re: An Opinion about GazFs

Postby LimeOdyssey » Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:02 pm

ghendar wrote:I never cared for the whole play up to level 36 and then have your PCs become immortals. I much prefer lower level play. I think there is still a place for high level play or course but after awhile it gets pretty munchkin for me.

I highly doubt TSR thought they were deliberately mistreating the setting though.


Turning into an Immortal as presented was more damned odd than anything. Also it subverted the whole setting by making it a masquerade in the sense that the peak experiences and magic moments are part of some deliberately engineered plot rather than a bunch of stuff that happened. Plus Immortals, if you use them, aren't all that powerful.

Only way I made it work was having Immortals more like Thor out of the 1960s Marvel comics. And like that run of comics, it sort of burns itself out.

I agree TSR didn't set out to mistreat it - except maybe by neglect, and to quaratine anything that good be thrown into the ever-yawning maw of the Forgotten Realms, ie FR stuff took precedence for a long time. I think TSR wanted to be profitable as it should, but letting basically designers with their own settings literally staple them to the map of Mystara was never going to work. It killed the organic development of the original world, which was as distinctive in its old school themed play as old school Glorantha.
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