Top 10 reasons for FR characters to visit Greyhawk

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Havard
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Top 10 reasons for FR characters to visit Greyhawk

Post by Havard »

So, Im thinking about world hopping adventure campaigns again. It can be Spelljammer, Planescape, or just gates like in the 5E adventure Tales from the Yawning Portal etc.

One problem I see is that many of the D&D worlds are at least on the surface level very similar. So players who are fans of one setting might not really see any reason to visit another world where they can just do and see the same things they can also do in their favorite campaign setting. Of course Greyhawk suffers because many things designed for Greyhawk have become core to D&D and even other elements have been moved from GH to the FR, like Drow, Kara-Tur etc.

However, here are a few things that I think I could use to sell a group of players who are used to playing in the FR for why they would want to make a brief visit to Greyhawk:

1) Ancient Magic Lore: Greyhawk is where all(?) Wizards who have spells named after them is from. It stands to reason that these spells were developed here and then spread to other settings. It makes sense that anyone trying to gain the ultimate mastery of magic or unlock specific arcane secrets etc.

2) Ancient Evils: Whether we are talking about Vecna, Acerack (see Tomb of Annhilation) or various demons etc, Greyhawk is home to many powerful evil creatures. Many of these could have spread their evils beyond Greyhawk. This could also lead adventurers from other worlds to travelt to Greyhawk, or at least find a way to stop those evils from spreading their influencence on their own worlds.

3) Recruiting allies: Sort of the oppositve of 2), heroes can also seek out organizations, races or NPCs to help them out.

4) The Underdark. Are there any connections between the Drow of Greyhawk and the Drow of the Forgotten Realms? Could exploring the Underdark of the GH lead to ways to fight the Drow or other Underdark threats in the Forgotten Realms?

My limited knowledge of Greyhawk is probably showing here. Can you help me expand this list to a top 10 or at least flesh out the points I have already made?

Of course these concepts could also be made in reverse, ie starting the campaign in Greyhawk, but making shorter visits to the Forgotten Realms, Eberron etc...

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Re: Top 10 reasons for FR characters to visit Greyhawk

Post by Khedrac »

1. Artifact destruction.
Since a lot of the standard artifacts are also tematically linked to Greyhawk and presumably originated there, it is quite likely that they can only be destroyed there too.

2. Carving out a realm of their own - Oerth has far fewer epic and near-epic charactes than Toril so it shoud be much eaiser to set up shop.

3. Which lead to shopping - it is probably also similarly easier to go and obtain the really special research components as anyone else trying for them will also be much lower level.

4. The Godtrap - Zagyg achieved feats no-one else has come close to, and the quasi-deities are also fairly unique, so Greyhawk might be a place where some really useful knowledge can be found.
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Re: Top 10 reasons for FR characters to visit Greyhawk

Post by ripvanwormer »

Havard wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:02 pm
1) Ancient Magic Lore: Greyhawk is where all(?) Wizards who have spells named after them is from. It stands to reason that these spells were developed here and then spread to other settings. It makes sense that anyone trying to gain the ultimate mastery of magic or unlock specific arcane secrets etc.
There are a lot of named spells unique to the Realms: Manshoon's Xorn Talons, Nahal's Reckless Dweomer, Simbul’s Synostodweomer, etc. Plus, Ed Greenwood says that many of the spells named after Oerth's mages have variant names in the Realms.
4) The Underdark. Are there any connections between the Drow of Greyhawk and the Drow of the Forgotten Realms? Could exploring the Underdark of the GH lead to ways to fight the Drow or other Underdark threats in the Forgotten Realms?
Sschindylryn's Gate was meant to be a portal from Menzoberranzan to Erelhei-Cinlu, though the published source is vague about where it goes.

Really, Oerth has as many unique attractions as the DM gives it.

One standby is plot coupons; i.e. there's a unique item that Realms PCs need that happens to be located on another world. An obvious example: they're collecting the pieces of the Rod of Seven Parts and one or more of the parts is located on Oerth.

But sure, let me try to think of a list:

- They need to find a portal to part of the multiverse that's hard to get to, so they seek out Tovag Baragu or the Null or another one of Oerth's portals.

- They need a rare ingredient only found on Oerth, like ice from the Land of Black Ice or the leaves of a deklo tree.

- They need knowledge from a particular sage, like Mordenkainen or Tenser, or Gwydiesin of the Cranes

- Acererak's (or Kyuss's, Iggwilv's, Kargoth's, etc.) weaknesses are inscribed in some ancient ruin on Oerth, so they need to go to Oerth to find a way to defeat him

- high technology from the City of the Gods in Blackmoor or the Barrier Peaks crash or the Belching Vortex of Leuk-o

- being tested by the elven gods in the Moonarch of Sehanine

- Get a technomagical steampunk invention/magical gun from Murlynd

- Heward's Magnificent Organ

- Say that they're gathering ancient Netherese artifacts, and maybe millennia ago the Netherese visited/invaded the Suel Imperium and left something important there

- The PCs need to track down Khelben Arunsun the Younger, who has said to have settled on Oerth.

- The PCs need to track down Elminster, who is on Oerth visiting Mordenkainen

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Re: Top 10 reasons for FR characters to visit Greyhawk

Post by Cthulhudrew »

Diversion: While using a gate or some other form of extradimensional transit, the characters are shunted off-course and emerge through the portals at Tovag Baragu or some other location. This could be entirely accidental or by design; perhaps NPCs of Greyhawk diverted their path because they are in need of heroes/pawns in some plot.

Wrong Door: Similar to "diversion," while visiting an extradimensional location such as Sigil, the World Serpent Inn, or the marketplaces of Weird Way, the heroes take the wrong doorway back to the Realms and end up in Greyhawk- with no easy way to return! They must wander Greyhawk for a bit in order to find someone who can give them directions or guidance to return home.
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Re: Top 10 reasons for FR characters to visit Greyhawk

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Havard wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:02 pm
One problem I see is that many of the D&D worlds are at least on the surface level very similar. So players who are fans of one setting might not really see any reason to visit another world where they can just do and see the same things they can also do in their favorite campaign setting. Of course Greyhawk suffers because many things designed for Greyhawk have become core to D&D and even other elements have been moved from GH to the FR, like Drow, Kara-Tur etc.
Actually, those elements that Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms share (and these are not generic things, because they don't feature in all settings) are good hooks for making cross-over plotlines.

The human pantheons of Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms are totally different. But if the same elven deities, dwarven deities, gnomish deities and halfling deities are found on both Oerth and Toril, you have a level of shared cultural heriatage for every core player race...except humans.

Now, if you are not into crossover gaming, you can write this off as "Forgotten Realms copying Greyhawk", because technically that is right. That's the out-of-character reason for the similarities.

But, if you are open to running a crossover game, you can turn that around and say that the same pantheons that are interested in Oerth are also interested in Toril.

If you look at the shared mythology, like Gruumsh and Corelleon fighting, the Descent of the Drow and the Crown Wars, you have mythological and legendary events that elves in both worlds know about. Logically, that means those events happened, to one extent or another, on both worlds, at the same time.

If the Crown Wars were fought on different worlds, including Oerth and Toril, that means that there must have been some sort of communication between worlds, at least with the factions that started those wars.

Other demi-human races must have other things going on, that are similar.

The Sundered Empire (the GH subsetting from the 3rd Edition Chainmail) has high elves living in mountains migrating down to the plains to rescue wood elves who are being attacked by demons. So why would there not be other elves going off to rescue elves in trouble in different places.

Slap in a portal, and elves going to rescue elves on the other side of the portal, can be going to a different world.

Alternatively, elves who are under attack, could retreat to a different world. (This is actually something in Forgotten Realms canon. Elaine Cunninngham's novel shows elves on a world about to be destroyed using High Magic and their own life force to teleport a gigantic circle of elves to Toril.)

And, if you have a group in the Underdark, and they control a portal, it doesn't really matter if that portal connects to a different part of the same world, another celestial body in the same crystal sphere or a totally different world. So long as the portal remains, it connects two different parts of the Underdark of the multiverse.

One thing that is interesting, is the small differences between how Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms do the culture of the various demi-human races. You could play on that, if you do run a crossover game.

For instance, Forgotten Realms has a good drow deity, called Eilistraee, who is daughter of Araushnee (later Lolth) and Corellon Larethian. She was born before the Descent of the Drow and was tricked by Araushnee into betraying Corellon, so she took the same punishment handed to the drow. Anyhoo, the clerics of Eilistraee like to do good things that might heal the rift between the drow and their elf cousins. You could actually have some Eilistraee travel from Toril to Oerth to try to help some drow that are trying to turn away from evil. You could even use the "year and a day" rule, from CGR1 The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook and have some Eilistraee worshippers try to establish a cult of Eilistraee in the Underoerth and attempt to carry out the ritual that will allow her worshippers to have full contact with her there. That would be a bit of an Oerth-changing event, but other drow could easily travel to Oerth to warn the local drow about the daughter of Lolth that is trying to change things.

There must be lots of other angles. You might want to look at both Forgotten Realms Wiki and The Great Library of Greyhawk to see if anything interesting comes up, when you look at the same thing on both encyclopedias.
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Re: Top 10 reasons for FR characters to visit Greyhawk

Post by Big Mac »

Big Mac wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 12:09 pm
There must be lots of other angles. You might want to look at both Forgotten Realms Wiki and The Great Library of Greyhawk to see if anything interesting comes up, when you look at the same thing on both encyclopedias.
Take a look at the Hammmers of Moradin. This is an order of dwarves dedicated to Moradin.

The Hammers of Moradin on Toril are the defenders of Citadel Adbar.

The Hammers of Moradin on Oerth have a number of local chapters, which come together, in times of great need, under the control of a Grand Council.

So imagine if something threatened to destroy several dwarven nations on Oerth and the Grand Council reformed to deal with it, and sent a message to Citadel Adbar on Toril, asking for help.

I think that something, like that, would be an excellent reason for a one-shot adventure in Oerth.
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Re: Top 10 reasons for FR characters to visit Greyhawk

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Khedrac wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:25 pm
1. Artifact destruction.
Since a lot of the standard artifacts are also tematically linked to Greyhawk and presumably originated there, it is quite likely that they can only be destroyed there too.

2. Carving out a realm of their own - Oerth has far fewer epic and near-epic charactes than Toril so it shoud be much eaiser to set up shop.

3. Which lead to shopping - it is probably also similarly easier to go and obtain the really special research components as anyone else trying for them will also be much lower level.

4. The Godtrap - Zagyg achieved feats no-one else has come close to, and the quasi-deities are also fairly unique, so Greyhawk might be a place where some really useful knowledge can be found.
These are great!

For your second point, maybe there are other reasons why the characters would want to establish themselves on GH other than meeting less resistance? Having a base on a different world can be useful in any case if you have world travelling capabilities. :)

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Re: Top 10 reasons for FR characters to visit Greyhawk

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Havard wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 2:33 pm
Khedrac wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:25 pm
2. Carving out a realm of their own - Oerth has far fewer epic and near-epic charactes than Toril so it shoud be much eaiser to set up shop.
These are great!

For your second point, maybe there are other reasons why the characters would want to establish themselves on GH other than meeting less resistance? Having a base on a different world can be useful in any case if you have world travelling capabilities. :)

-Havard
Absolutely, and a world with fewer super-powerful meddlers wandering around is probably a much safer place to put such a back-up base.

(What's more, many of the super-powerful individuals follow Mordenkainen's lead and go for a minimal interference approach.)

As for why Oerth, rather than a minor planet in a Crystal sphere? Should one need it, Oerth, like Toril, does have a lot of resources available that would not be present on less populated worlds. (This suggests that such a base should be within easy travel range of Greyhawk city.)
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Re: Top 10 reasons for FR characters to visit Greyhawk

Post by GMWestermeyer »

Well, I can only speak for why my PCs might return to Greyhawk. Greyhawk was my second world (the first was the 'Known World' in X2) and that was where all of the adventures of our high school campaign took place. My favorite PC, an elven thief named Elrohir Amroth and his henchmen were inadvertently (but not unwillingly) gated from the Suss Forest on Greyhawk to Undermountain in the Forgotten Realms. In the Forgotten Realms, he and his partners adventured for several months until they discovered spelljamming and a way back to Greyspace. He and his two henchmen returned to Greyhawk to let their families know where they were. Ever since they have primarily traveled in wildspace, he hasn't returned to Oerth since 579 CY.

edit: To be clear, you might have the PCs hired to accompany a Greyhawk native returning home, or taking a message back to Greyhawk for a native.

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Re: Top 10 reasons for FR characters to visit Greyhawk

Post by lookatroopa »

ripvanwormer wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 8:13 pm
4) The Underdark. Are there any connections between the Drow of Greyhawk and the Drow of the Forgotten Realms? Could exploring the Underdark of the GH lead to ways to fight the Drow or other Underdark threats in the Forgotten Realms?
Sschindylryn's Gate was meant to be a portal from Menzoberranzan to Erelhei-Cinlu, though the published source is vague about where it goes.
Hadn't come across this before, that's interesting. Do you have a quote from Eric L. Boyd corroborating this? All I'm able to find on the matter are posts on Candlekeep reaching as far back as 2003 by George Krashos and The Sage saying that he said this at some point, which isn't exactly citable for the wiki.

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Re: Top 10 reasons for FR characters to visit Greyhawk

Post by ripvanwormer »

lookatroopa wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 4:33 am
Hadn't come across this before, that's interesting. Do you have a quote from Eric L. Boyd corroborating this? All I'm able to find on the matter are posts on Candlekeep reaching as far back as 2003 by George Krashos and The Sage saying that he said this at some point, which isn't exactly citable for the wiki.
That's where I read it, too. I took their word for it.

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