What makes Greyhawk so cool?

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Storm Queen
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What makes Greyhawk so cool?

Post by Storm Queen »

I'm just curious. I never really got into the setting (a bit before my time) but it has a lot of fans out there. What makes Greyhawk the king of campaign settings for you?
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Post by cleaverthepit »

I think there are two primary reasons;

1. This is the setting in which many gamers 'cut their teeth.' That alone brings back memories and emotions which no new setting can generate. One can never re-cut teeth.

2. The setting, all things considered, is still one of the best 'fantasy gaming' settings around. By this I mean it embraces the game (and all its weirdnesses) as one of its core design elements.

Will Eberon produce the same fan base some 20 years hence (assuming of course any of this is still around)? I don't think so as it is too topical, too tied too 3e and its fan base is not expected to stay in the game more than 3-5 years (except in small to tiny %s) and does not use fantasy as its core (its pseudo-steampunk).

Will FR? I don't know. It has a big fan base, but not as fanatical. It is ideally suited to 2e and not 1e and we know where that ended up. Don't get me wrong, I really like FR and when it came out I was stoked - but gave up after a bit as the detail was too much and some other things did not work for me.

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Post by DangerDwarf »

For me, there are a multitude of things that make Greyhawk stick out as a favorite:

1. The gods. The gods of Greyhawk really stuck out to me. I liked 'em and they are the gods I compare every other setting's pantheons too.

2. The Maps. A superficial reason but true. Best maps ever. Period.

3. The Orcish Empire. Yeah, I'm one of those guys who like FtA. And the Orcish Empire of the Pomarj struck a chord in me and led me into writing an extraordinary amount of information on the are and the orcs for my campaigns.

4. The history of the setting. It's great, and I love the countries and their interactions and all of it.

There's just way to much to get into to. It is a setting that will forever remain at the top of my list as a world of kickass gaming.

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Post by Jynx »

I like Greyhawk but I never really got into it to much during youth, so I can't say I cut my theeth on it. I totaly missed the FR era (being away from gaming for 15 years did that). In any case, I usually played/DMed without any setting of choice, preferring to 'wing it' when ever I got together with friends.

The one thing I really love about Greyhawk (and wihsh I still had!) is the maps... the best ever! I Still remember spending hours looking at those huge coloruful maps. I had them put up on posterboard and plastic. After I got married, I lost them.
Also, the original boxed set was just gorgeous! I don't know why, but I know it was one of my prized possesions given to me by a player as a thank you for DMing. I also lost that.
However... I think it's a little unfiar to say that Eberron won't be around 20 years form now. There is a whole new generation out there who are 'cutting their theeth' using that setting. Who's to say they won't have fond memories when they turn 35 or 40? I'm an admitted Eberron fanatic, 37 years old, who's played Greyhawk, FR and Ravenloft, but Eberron evokes the most interest in me. I see my kids getting into it with me in the near future. You can't stop the future. People will flock to the newst best thing. Some will look back and realize what came before them was good, but not always their cup of tea.

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Post by Geleg »

for me Greyhawk is a Proustian thing (like Proust and his madeleine, which served to call up memories of his youth). It will always be a favorite because of when I acquired it; I was at an age (13? 14?) where I could devote oodles of time to reading the folio edition, drawing up fiendish plans with which to torment my friends, siting my own adventures, etc.

From the perspective of today, I realize that there are other good settings out there - but I KNOW Greyhawk best, and I played it at a formative time for me, and hence it will always have pride of place.

Were I starting a campaign today, however, it would be in the WIlderlands (or Tekumel!)

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Post by Omote »

GH is just one of those worlds that seems somewhat plauisble. For me, Greyhawk is the most viceral of campaign worlds. There is lots of swords and sorcery to it, but the setting is grounded in realistic concepts of nations, peoples and deep, deep histories.

I love GH.

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Post by serleran »

For some, perhaps, the pure medievalism and the fact that it was, or is perceived to be, the setting. Nearly every classic adventure took place there, and there are millions of gamers who have that collected experience; they can recount tales of dealing with Burne, or sneaking past some sleeping giants, or fighting 30 trolls in the underdark. Wilderlands has a different sort of gsamer collective consciousness - they talk about "how did you change Hex 34D?" or "is your World Emperor Lawful Evil or Neutral Evil?" And still yet, Forgotten Realms has a totally different grouping, caused by the way it was published -- the adherence to the canon; its now, more of a "did you run Time of Troubles or stop?" Other modern settings don't have this, yet... they aren't "old enough" to have it.

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Post by seskis281 »

Greyhawk also presented a setting without enormous details - it painted a rich broad tapestry that felt complete while leaving the details to the gamers... as a setting I don't think any other really ever achieved the balance between richness and simplicity.

For me, I can still call to memory the major names and events, the legends with ease. Other settings have never "stuck" in my mind like this one did.
And I still have my 1983 box set with those gorgeous maps.
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Post by Jyrdan Fairblade »

Interesting - the first setting I ran was FR from the grey box. And I find myself comparing the deities of any setting to the ones from that one.

That being said, FR borrowed pretty heavily at times from real-world folklore and religion, which was something I missed at the time. Whereas Greyhawk struck out on its own (except for St. Cuthbert). And the demihuman deities of FR were certainly borrowed from Greyhawk.

This thread makes me all the more eager to set my next game in Greyhawk.
DangerDwarf wrote:
For me, there are a multitude of things that make Greyhawk stick out as a favorite:

1. The gods. The gods of Greyhawk really stuck out to me. I liked 'em and they are the gods I compare every other setting's pantheons too.

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Post by Omote »

Jyrdan Fairblade wrote:
This thread makes me all the more eager to set my next game in Greyhawk.

You should. Remember the goodness.

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Post by Ghul »

Gary gave us a big glob of clay. Rich clay. What we did with it -- and what some of us continue to do with it -- is our own prerogative. It's the finest campaign setting ever, IMNSHO. And yes, those Darlene maps were and are a thing of wonder.

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Re: What makes Greyhawk so cool?

Post by Rhuvein »

Storm Queen wrote:
I'm just curious. I never really got into the setting (a bit before my time) but it has a lot of fans out there. What makes Greyhawk the king of campaign settings for you?

Heh, lots to love in Greyhawk!!

Quasi-deities like Murlynd, dressed up as a cowboy complete with "hog leg" strapped on, who hangs out with Mordenkainen, Zagyg or Heironeus.

Crashed space ships, frost giants, demi-humans, Sir Robilar, Castle Maure, The Wild Coast, Gnarley Forest, Blackmoor.

To me, it's a fantastical world, well developed with high tech if you want it. Or make it your own and venture away from the cities into mountains and forests of magic.

Rob, Gary, Chicago, Lake Geneva, Len Lakofka and Lendore Isles and on and on . .

And now Yggsburgh and Castle Zagyg.

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Re: What makes Greyhawk so cool?

Post by Omote »

Rhuvein wrote:
Quasi-deities like Murlynd, dressed up as a cowboy complete with "hog leg" strapped on...

Crashed space ships...

Call me a heathen, but these are some aspects of Greyhawk that I do not care for. With me, I'll stick to what works in Grehawk for me; Folio, WoG box set, and a few choice others.

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Re: What makes Greyhawk so cool?

Post by Jynx »

Rhuvein wrote:
Crashed space ships, frost giants, demi-humans, Sir Robilar, Castle Maure, The Wild Coast, Gnarley Forest, Blackmoor.

Admittedly I'm not a Greyhawk expert. The GH I knew was all medieval and the GH I play with my buddy is the same with slightly more magic than I remember.

BUT SPACE SHIPS!?!?! Seriously?

Not for me!

This is a joke right?

Hmmmm...... Where? What module? Who? When? WHY!?

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Re: What makes Greyhawk so cool?

Post by SoulCatcher78 »

Jynx wrote:
Admittedly I'm not a Greyhawk expert. The GH I knew was all medieval and the GH I play with my buddy is the same with slightly more magic than I remember.

BUT SPACE SHIPS!?!?! Seriously?

Not for me!

This is a joke right?

Hmmmm...... Where? What module? Who? When? WHY!?

S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks

and there was a blackmoor (iirc) module DA3 City of the Gods that was based around a crashed ship.

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Post by Treebore »

Don't nock it until you run/play Expedition to Barrier Peaks.

Hmmm. Maybe I'll make running that the potential prize for the team or teams who "win" Ravenloft.
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Post by Omote »

Don't forget about B52s in Castle Greyhawk...
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Post by Breakdaddy »

I never ran the space ship stuff. If I had, I would have played up the mystery of finding an ancient space vessel buried deep within an aging cairn and omitted the technology aspect. None of the tech would have remained operational, but some of the metals could possibly have been magically manipulated to create more powerful than normal items. Dweomers of great strength crafting meteoric materials into artifacts of astounding power. Or something.
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Post by Aramis »

Treebore wrote:
Don't nock it until you run/play Expedition to Barrier Peaks.

Hmmm. Maybe I'll make running that the potential prize for the team or teams who "win" Ravenloft.

Or, maybe you should run S3 Barrier Peaks as a preliminary to Ravenloft.

Then you would have this kind of scene at the climax of Ravenloft:

Strahd: Good evening. So glad to have you for din-

Bzzzaaaaaat!

Simara the Paladin: Eat photon, undead fiend!

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Post by slimykuotoan »

It's the perfect generic setting in which you can add anything you want without boxing yourself into a corner.

The 84' boxed set says it all methinks.
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Post by Treebore »

Aramis wrote:
Or, maybe you should run S3 Barrier Peaks as a preliminary to Ravenloft.

Then you would have this kind of scene at the climax of Ravenloft:

Strahd: Good evening. So glad to have you for din-

Bzzzaaaaaat!

Simara the Paladin: Eat photon, undead fiend!

I really like that imagery!
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Re: What makes Greyhawk so cool?

Post by Rhuvein »

Omote wrote:
Call me a heathen, but these are some aspects of Greyhawk that I do not care for. With me, I'll stick to what works in Grehawk for me; Folio, WoG box set, and a few choice others.

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Murlynd is right out of the WoG boxed set ~ Glossography, page 35. So it's "canon"!
Haha, S3 is a hoot. I'm going to try and run it, only because my nephews are huge sci-fi fans and would be blown away at something like this. I mean it's really a "one shot", unless one were to take it to the next level.

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Post by Rhuvein »

Treebore wrote:
I really like that imagery!

Yep. And now add Murlynd with his six shooters and you have hilarity in Greyhawk as never before seen.

Hey a little humor is a good thing!!
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Post by Gleemax Jr »

It was the default setting of every edition of D&D, until the newest one. This made it cool.. Now, it is kewl.

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Post by Treebore »

Rhuvein wrote:
Yep. And now add Murlynd with his six shooters and you have hilarity in Greyhawk as never before seen.

Hey a little humor is a good thing!!

Yep. Thats why I liked miller6's mods, the humor. The vicious Barbarian burning traps are cool too.
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Post by ironbull »

For me it was the maps - the big freakin' maps. As a kid I had those things hanging on the wall of my bedroom for many years. Looking at those maps and reading the descriptions of the nations, geographical features, etc. was what really inspired me to create my own worlds. I think that Greyhawk folio I had then (and still have today) along with the 1st edition DMG are the two published items that had the biggest impact on me and made me want to be a DM. I still get the maps out now and again for inspiration though I never ran a single session in the Greyhawk world.

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Post by stoneshape »

Hi Storm Queen

Late to the post here, most key points have been covered. Geleg's analogy is wonderful, Remembrace Of Things Past...

The folio and box set leave you plenty of room to create your own Greyhawk...

The maps are beautiful and ledgeable...

There are enough extras to play cannon as long as you want...

Having fewer Gods gives them more significance, and again easy to add more as you wish...

WOTC has it's reasons for Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk...

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Post by serleran »

Will there be a Ruins of the Expedition of the Expedition to the Ruins of? I hope so!

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Post by Dristram »

What I like about WoG is that it is the classic 1st Ed. AD&D setting where the creators of the famous named spells are from, like Mordenkainen, Bigby, Tensor, etc. And it's the world where the drow first made their appearance and all the classic modules are based, like Keep on the Borderlands, Tomb of Horrors, Temple of Elemental Evil, Against the Giants, etc.

It's also a world with enough information to run a campaign in, but not too much so it can easily be customized into your kind of setting.

It's a setting where the original feel of D&D is felt the most.

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Post by SirClarence »

What I like most about Greyhawk (and I'm not talking about anything published after the '84 boxed set) is the fact that it gives you only the bare bones of a whole game world, inspiring you to breathe life into it and to develop the details yourself. I remember very well buying the boxed set in 1986. It was so inspiring to read through it and to see all the potential of this setting that was only waiting for me to write more and to develop it further.

Later publications like the stuff done by Carl Sargent or the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer are okay and do have some excellent content, but they lack the simplicity and elegance of the original.

Besides, it's the mother of all campaign settings.

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