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[5E-ish] Your assignment: compare and contrast Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk

MacBalance

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Forgotten Realms is more out there and fantastic, I guess, but they never seem to quite follow through far enough on the premise for me. For example, I have been long irritated that the horse nomad hordes from Not-Mongolia that invaded Cormyr back in 2E weren't centaurs.
I've noticed similar issues with a lot of the Oriental Adventures material when I did a survey of it: Kara-Tur broke from the "Elves are from Elfland" trope which is probably overall a good thing, but is also humanocentric to a high degree such that the 'fantastic' elements often seemed pushed to the edges.
 

Silvercat Moonpaw

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....but is also humanocentric to a high degree such that the 'fantastic' elements often seemed pushed to the edges.
Someone on these boards once opined that while writers (Western ones, anyway) seem fine making Western fantasy fantastic, they have a habit of treating non-Western sources close to historical.
 

GibNawe

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Kara Tur is so earth-like that the Korea and Tibet analogues use real-world alternate/old-fashioned spellings for their names, Koryo and Tabot.
The Hordelands was also very earth-like.

Toril (by which I mean FR plus the other Torilian settings) seems actually more like an alternate Earth than Oerth does.


I'm not saying that this is bad.
 

The Radioactivist

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Greyhawk: the struggle between Good and Evil is accepted - it's part of the fabric, and Good does not get to win. Otherwise, what would define it? I think it is more Traveller than Star Wars, to use a sci-fi analogy. It is, in a sense, more mature. Racism exists, it makes sense in the minds of its followers, and it is for sure a threat. But consider the Great Kingdom regularly uses freakin' demons to head military forces, and Orc have nations, etc. and it has both a dark maturity and an opportunity for heroes. Good churches have conflicts, and there are a ridiculous number of demi- and minor gods - oddly enough there are gods for each of the Human cultures. And it's got some interesting access to tech (namely Barrier Peaks 30th-Century, Old Earth 18th-Century cowboys, and London in the 1970s (Mace of St. Cuthbert, an artifact, is secreted away there). So perhaps mature is not the perfect word, but a blend of mature and high adventure?
 

Kevin Mowery

WAUGH!
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Regarding Greyhawk:

And it's got some interesting access to tech (namely Barrier Peaks 30th-Century, Old Earth 18th-Century cowboys, and London in the 1970s (Mace of St. Cuthbert, an artifact, is secreted away there). So perhaps mature is not the perfect word, but a blend of mature and high adventure?
My impression is that Greyhawk comes from a different design than Forgotten Realms--and it's weird because I can see how it could/should work the other way. I think Greyhawk takes more directly from a lot of varied fantasy, including a lot of stuff where characters visited other worlds. Heck, the old 1e DMG has rules for converting Gamma World and Boot Hill to AD&D because, you know, you might need to run an adventure where your D&D characters visit the radioactive ruins of Cleveland or your band of gunslingers from Tombstone end up in Greyhawk.

By contrast, despite being explicitly a portal fantasy setting with links to our world, the Forgotten Realms, as far as I've seen, don't play up the idea of time/space/dimension travel very much (yes, I know about Spelljammer and Planescape, but those came later). I think maybe that's because anything with "Forgotten Realms" on it sold very well, but the end result is that the Forgotten Realms already contain everything.
 

Stoat

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Forgotten Realms = Fzoul Chembryl
Greyhawk = Fonkin Hoddypeak
 

Sshawler

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I could never figure out how to get a campaign going in greyhawk. I ran homebrew in the early 1980s until forgotten realms came out. I ran 2nd and 3rd edition forgotten realms. 3.5 burnt me out. 5e forgotten realms storm giant's thunder has been my best experience ever!,!
 

David Howery

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I could never figure out how to get a campaign going in greyhawk.
if you're running 5E, it might be harder... not a lot available for it AIUI. It was a lot easier back in 1E/2E days, a big chunk of the available modules were set there. If you set your campaign in Greyhawk City itself, you were within striking range of a lot of module adventures...
 

Daily Alice

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FR is more like the Belgariad, Lord of the Isles and the Wheel of Time (all together).

GH is more like an anthology of short stories by Lord Dunsany, Clark Ashton Smith, Fritz Leiber, Roger Zelazny, Michael Morcock, Lin Carter and L. Sprague DeCamp with sites slotted into Fletcher Pratt's world of the Well of the Unicorn.

Broadly, FR is more cosmopolitan and GH more dark age (usually a little elegiac but more ripe for adventurers, like the Arthurian cycle at the height of knight-errantry).
 
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