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[Lore] Greyhawk

David Howery

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it's a pity you can't buy the full sized Darlene poster maps of GH (I managed to lose all three versions I had over the years). AIUI, you can get them in a 'broken up' version from DTRPG, but I'd rather have the original poster sized ones...
 

randlathor66

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Not really: I'm mainly enjoying the discussion.
I get it, me too. It is my favorite 'standard' fantasy setting (above The Forgotten Realms, Eberron, The Kingdoms of Kalamar, etc...).
AFAIK, Greyhawk's Blackmoor is alternate version of the original, isn't it?
I'm not sure you can say that. It is nothing but an ice-covered region with next-to-nothing there. They might have thought to do that, but I don't think it worked out that way (I don't now why, not able to get the rights from Arneson or whatever). Of course, I am not an expert on this...
it's a pity you can't buy the full sized Darlene poster maps of GH (I managed to lose all three versions I had over the years). AIUI, you can get them in a 'broken up' version from DTRPG, but I'd rather have the original poster sized ones...
I might have 3 copies of these right now (if you are meaning the ones that came with the folio and the orange-boxed set of The World of Greyhawk), I know I have two. If I have extra, you wanna set?
 

timbannock

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I don't know anything about Greyhawk.

Ghosts of Saltmarsh is set in Greyhawk yes?

Tell me about Greyhawk.

Lore, opinions, and commentary are welcome.
I love it: the militant neutrality of the big movers & shakers, and the more mercenary ideals of the general populace lend to a 'easier' time of me setting the stage of adventures. I don't have to worry about big wars, or huge moral issues: it's just "hey, there's treasure there, and money talks in this world. Better beat up some goblins and take their stuff if you wanna get ahead in life!"

As with all settings, there are purists and grognards that'll tell you whatever you do in the setting is wrong, but I find GH much more open to interpretation. If you dig in with the early 1980s folio version and just a supplement or two to your liking, there's surprisingly little dense history. Because of that, it's easy to write in your own ancient threats and ruins, avoid stepping on the toes of important named NPCs, and generally just focus on the lives and adventures of the player characters. There's enough stuff to roleplay fun things, and the physical descriptions of the human ethnicities are super-diverse, which is (1) surprising, and (2) excellent for inclusivity.

Best of all, the default details of the setting are super-easy to grasp. There are kingdoms, castles, and lots of pageantry. But there's TONS of open wilderness between most of these places, so they can't really just be bashing on each other all the time: too many monsters in-between to deal with. That leaves LOADS of open space for the players to go on whatever adventures you want. Need urban? City of Greyhawk. Need high seas? There's like 10-12 excellent places to start from there. Need remote wilderness? ALL OVER THE PLACE.

If you like poring over huge histories and throwing in little details and connections to everything, Forgotten Realms is your jam. If you like just having a sense of "this feels like D&D" with a lot open to interpretation, Greyhawk's the bees knees. That's arguable if you pick up from the Living Greyhawk Gazeteer book or From the Ashes boxed set, but even then, every square inch of the place isn't detailed to the same degree as FR.
 

GibNawe

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AFAIK, Greyhawk's Blackmoor is alternate version of the original, isn't it?
Yes, sort of. Some material for it shows up here and there, but like most of the map (not near the CoG) it isn't heavily detailed in TSR or Wizards publications.
 

randlathor66

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As with all settings, there are purists and grognards that'll tell you whatever you do in the setting is wrong, but I find GH much more open to interpretation.
Totally agree, plenty of room to maneuver various different styles of campaigns. It is excellent for that.
If you like poring over huge histories and throwing in little details and connections to everything, Forgotten Realms is your jam.
I actually think that Grewyhawk is good for this too. Other than the Twin Cataclysms (Rain of Colorless Fire and Invoked Devastation) that destroyed the two big empires of the time (Suloise and Baklunish), there are all these hints in the modules and supplements of various, powerful ancient Flan individuals who ruled over areas across the Flanaess at different times - some of which were strangely far more recent than I would imagine them to be. Also there are tons of current factions, some which are relatively newly formed, others far older. All of these things combine to make connecting a campaign to them (one or multiple) pretty easy. Plus, with the history as short as it is (only around 1,000-years) there is plenty of room to add one's own.

Now, I will give this caveat: all of this is human-centric information, there is very little in the form of non-human history in there. Hell, as it has been mentioned a couple times above, Greyhawk is a very human-centric setting. I don't find this a problem, but a feature as I am not a fan of ALL RACES ALL THE TIME. I believe that by not making all these different races just humans that look differently and have a few "special abilities" not possessed by humans, keeps them special (as someone mentioned above, also). Of course, YMMV so adding more could be easy. But I digress.

Non-human history, particularly elven, is very likely to stretch much further back than human, as just about all of them have lifespans much longer than humans. In the case of elves, much longer; I those days the average lifespan of a high elf was about 2,000-years. So, it is entirely possible for an elf to have been born around the time the Suloise and Backlunish empires were just forming, witness the Twin Cataclysms and still be alive in 570 CY, the height of the Time of Adventurers. Of course, they may know next to nothing about it because they never ventured out into human lands and only got the random and rare rumor. So, plenty of room to maneuver there too. But, also a bit of work for the prospective Greyhawk GM.
 

Diomedene

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I haven't seen any mentions of moons in the thread. I do remember that Spelljammer specified that Greyspace was the only Crystal Sphere of the big three with a really non-standard layout: Oerth is the primary, with the sun and other planets revolving around it. And, presumably, the moon.
I can't speak for Spelljammer but Oerth has two moons: Luna is the larger of the two and is similar to our moon while Celene is a smaller blue-green moon. Luna goes through its phases in 28 days while Celene has a much longer period of either 90 days (folio) or 91 days (boxed set). In the boxed set the year is 364 days so both moons are full once a year on Mid-Summer's night. In the folio a year is 360 days so both are full once every 3 1/2 years alternating between Mid-Summer's and Mid-Winter's night.
 
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Akrasia

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... really didn't like Iuz's 'space filling empire', or the break up of the Great Kingdom...
Yeah, I don't care for these changes either -- especially the Great Kingdom one. I love having an evil, decadent, [fantasy-version-of] Byzantium Empire in the setting.

I also preferred having the Bandit Kingdoms and the Wild Coast as anarchic places.
 

GibNawe

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I imagine the GK as a bit more of a dark fantasy HRE than something inspired by the Eastern/Byzantine Empire.

But this difference illustrates something I like about GH: it has just enough parallels to the real world that we can all draw historical analogies for many of the realms, but those won't all be the same analogies.
 

JohnBiles

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I imagine the GK as a bit more of a dark fantasy HRE than something inspired by the Eastern/Byzantine Empire.
Given the Great Kingdom has long been unravelling, the Holy Roman Empire does seem like a good parallel; it is falling to rot from within, not invasion from without.
 
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