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Greyhawk – Episode 9

Welcome to another episode of Gamerstable. This week we delve into our most played and loved (in the case of Mike, Eric and Jayson) campaign world… Dungeons & Dragons’ World of Greyhawk. The question is posed to Mike, why do we keep beating this dead horse?

Cast – Eric, Mike, Dan, Mark & Jayson

Games Discussed:

Dungeons & Dragons, Shadowrun


  1. Q-man
    Q-man June 14, 2011

    For the longest time I had run my games entirely in Forgotten Realms for the simple reason that its all I knew existed. The DM I originally played under used it, and for whatever reasons I never saw anything but Forgotten Realms books at the local game shop. At this point I’ll admit, I’m kinda bored with it.

    Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time looking up other campaign settings, but I keep running into the problem that the books are out of print and unavailable. There are some decent wikis and forums for them, but to use them it seems like you should have some prior knowledge before going there.

    I think a huge help to people getting started would be to have some “signature adventure” that shows the workings of the world. Which I think WotC tried to do with the Seekers of the Ashen Crown and Marauders of the Dune Sea, it didn’t help that the modules did a horrible job, but still some points for at least trying.

    That said is there a module available for Greyhawk, or any other setting for that matter, that really demonstrates what that setting is like? Sort of like how Expedition to Castle Raventloft gives you that feel of oppressive evil that covers that setting.

    Assuming that doesn’t exist, what hope is there for those of us that would like to learn about those settings that are entirely fan driven at this point? Short of reading the entire contents of forums and wikis, is there any useful way of learning about the setting?

    • Jayson
      Jayson January 27, 2012

      Just visiting the wiki page for Greyhawk I came up with this list for you Q-man. What follows is alot of cutting and pasting. Enjoy!

      Lost Caverns of Tsojconth (1976), republished in 1982 as S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth
      S1 Tomb of Horrors (1978)
      G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief (1978)[77]
      G2 Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl (1978)[77]
      G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King (1978)[77]
      D1 Descent into the Depths of the Earth (1978)[77]
      D2 Shrine of the Kuo-Toa (1978)[77]
      D3 Vault of the Drow (1978)[77]
      T1 The Village of Hommlet (1978)

      S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks (Gary Gygax, 1980)
      A1 Slave Pits of the Undercity (David Cook, 1980)
      A2 Secret of the Slavers Stockade ( Harold Johnson & Tom Moldvay, 1981)
      A3 Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords (Allen Hammack, 1981 )
      A4 In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords (Lawrence Schick, 1981)
      Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits (David C. Sutherland III & Gary Gygax, 1980)[77]
      C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan (Harold Johnson & Jeff R. Leason, 1980)
      C2 The Ghost Tower of Inverness (Allen Hammack, 1980)
      I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City (David Cook, 1981)
      L1 The Secret of Bone Hill (Lenard Lakofka, 1981)
      U1 Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh (Dave Browne & Don Turnbull, 1981)]
      U2 Danger at Dunwater (Dave Browne & Don Turnbull, 1982)
      N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God (Douglas Niles, 1982)
      WG4 The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun (Gary Gygax, 1982)
      S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (Gary Gygax, 1982) Originally published as Lost Caverns of Tsojconth in 1976
      U3 The Final Enemy (Dave Browne & Don Turnbull, 1983)
      L2 The Assassin’s Knot (Lenard Lakofka, 1983)

      EX1 Dungeonland (Gary Gygax, 1983)
      EX2 Land Beyond the Magic Mirror (Gary Gygax, 1983)

      Both of the EX adventures, although nominally set in Greyhawk, transported characters through a planar gate into an alternate reality.

      UK1 Beyond the Crystal Cave (Dave Brown, Tom Kirby & Graeme Morris, 1983)
      UK2 The Sentinel (Graeme Morris, 1983)
      UK3 The Gauntlet (Graeme Morris, 1984)
      WG5 Mordenkainen’s Fantastic Adventure (Robert Kuntz & Gary Gygax, 1984)
      WG6 Isle of the Ape (Gary Gygax, 1985)
      T1–4 The Temple of Elemental Evil (Gary Gygax & Frank Mentzer, 1985)

      WG8 Fate of Istus (Various authors, 1989)
      WG9 Gargoyle (Dave Collins & Skip Williams, 1989)
      WG10 Child’s Play (Jean Rabe & Skip Williams, 1989)
      WG11 Puppets (Vince Garcia & Bruce Rabe, 1989)
      WG12 Vale of the Mage (Jean Rabe, 1989)

      WGQ1 Patriots of Ulek was the first module published after From the Ashes, and advanced the storyline in Ulek, threatened by invasion from Turrosh Mak of the Pomarj.
      WGR2 Treasures of Greyhawk, by Jack Barker, Roy Rowe, Louis Prosperi, and Tom Prusa, was a loosely connected series of mini-adventures—for instance, exploring Bigby’s home, travelling to the demiplane called The Great Maze of Zagyg, and trading riddles with a sphinx. Each mini-adventure focussed on a unique treasure in the Flanaess.
      WGR3 Rary the Traitor by Anthony Pryor was both an adventure module as well as a source book about the Bright Lands, the new home of Rary and Robilar following their murder of Tenser and Otiluke.
      WGR6 The City of Skulls, by Carl Sargent, and WGM1 Border Watch, by Paul T. Riegel, were modules highlighting the struggle between Furyondy and the lands of Iuz.

      As Gygax had done ten years before, Sargent also used the pages of Dragon to promote his new world. He was working on a new source book, Ivid the Undying, and excerpted parts of it in the April, June and August 1994 issues.

      Return to the Tomb of Horrors, by Bruce R. Cordell, reprinted Gary Gygax’s S1 Tomb of Horrors, and added a substantial expansion.
      Return to the Keep on the Borderlands, by John D. Rateliff, took Gary Gygax’s 1979 module, B2 Keep on the Borderlands and restocked it with fresh monsters, as if the twenty years that had passed since the original module’s publication also equaled twenty years of game time. Although the original had been in a generic setting, the new adventure set the Keep in Greyhawk.
      Return to White Plume Mountain, by Bruce R. Cordell, likewise updated Lawrence Schick’s twenty year old adventure, White Plume Mountain, by advancing the storyline twenty years.
      Against the Giants: The Liberation of Geoff, by Sean K. Reynolds, included the full text of Gygax’s three original 1979 Giant modules and details of eighteen new adventure sites in Geoff, linked together as an integrated campaign.
      Slavers by Sean K. Reynolds and Chris Pramas, was a sequel to the original A1-4 Scourge of the Slavelords series, set ten years after the original adventures.
      Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, by Monte Cook, returned the players to Gygax’s infamous temple, which Rob Kuntz (as Robilar) had originally trashed. It was published in 2001, using the 3rd edition rules.

      In conjunction with the publication of the Return to adventures, WotC also produced a series of companion novels known as the Greyhawk Classics series: Against the Giants,[143] White Plume Mountain,[144] Descent into the Depths of the Earth,[145] Expedition to the Barrier Peaks,[146] The Temple of Elemental Evil,[147] Queen of the Demonweb Pits,[148] Keep on the Borderlands,[149] and The Tomb of Horrors.[150]

      In an attempt to attract players of other D&D settings, WotC released “Die, Vecna, Die!”, by Bruce R. Cordell and Steve Miller, a three part adventure tying Greyhawk to the Ravenloft and Planescape campaign settings. Published in 2000, it was the last adventure to be written for D&D’s 2nd edition rules.

  2. Paul
    Paul June 14, 2011

    Kind of noticed you made some plugs to EN World and Canonfire while leaving Pen & Paper Games out. Kind of unfair if you ask me how about showing some love to a great forum and give it the respect it’s due.

  3. ericausley
    ericausley June 14, 2011

    Pen & Pager Games is a great site and forum, no doubt.

    As for the plugs, we will link to sites that we reference on the show. The only reason we have used the sites we have is that members of the show are active on those sites. So far we haven’t referenced P&PG but that doesn’t mean that we won’t.

    A permanent link to it is on the website.

    • Argon
      Argon June 17, 2011

      I’m surprised Mort which is Mike but I call him Mort or Mortellan. Did not mention the chainmail wargaming rules along with technically the Blackmoor setting predated the offical release of the Greyhawk setting. Gygax along with friends used some elements from Blackmoor and the chainmail rules to establish the D&D rule set.

      He basically took a macro setting and micro-nized it. As far as the rule set and how the players of the game interacted with the game taking or making them a part of the game itself.

      With that being said some great points where established to the nostalgia of the Greyhawk setting. I have played in the forgotten realms setting and Mort pointed out that FR mimics some real-world examples. This is true however Greyhawk also expands on the human subraces such as Flan, Oeridian, Baklunish, Suel, and Holian favorite Rhenee.

      So the stock of which the various nations draw from is a bit more developed in the GH setting. Now the other major difference although FR does touch on this a bit as well although to a lesser extent is the pantheon of deities. Greyhawk does have deities deemed as Flan, Oeridian or one of the other subraces, However years of migrations have created more geographic central pantheons as opposed to racial pantheons. FR has Mulhorandi and Egpytian pantheons this might be the same forget it’s been a while since I played FR. However besides these examples the pantheons or pantheon is more world based than region based in FR.

      Mort also forgot to mention there is a Canonfire campaign online. It’s the Spine Castle Campaign on Gary Holian is the slothful DM and Myself (Aoric), Mort (Trollmane), Michael (Kerilin),Cebrion (Rognor), Aurdraco (Tiny) play in this post campaign. No arguments save when the DM will post next. Which is more a good reason for me to pester the DM than anything else.

      I for one despise canon arguments. Regardless of what is published or was published. What is fan created or not. The game is yours to mold regardless of game world setting. You decide what you keep and what you don’t wish to use. I for one don’t have a subrace of Drow in my Greyhawk campaign. Drow are simply an Elvin word for evil elf or an elf which behaves contrary to elvin ideals. Like an Elf which believes human deforestation is the right and correct coarse of action. Inherently not evil but would be labeled a Drow for following such beliefs.

      Another point established in someone homebrew mentioned was racism in the game. Not only do I use racism but common tongue is simply a trade language only where certain worlds from other dialects are easily translated like goods for sale. However not peoples names, locations, or specific information. You would probably get just the jist of the conversation not fine details. Like instead of a Ketish speaking person speaking to a trader who speaks Velondi would say my fine Ull breed horses are capable of great endurance and speed and are the envy of all other horse breeds, making them worth 100 Crooks (GP) in your money. The common translation would be strong horse 100 gold coins.

      Just some points I can elaborate more on this later.


  4. MikeB
    MikeB June 24, 2011

    Argon: Trying to explain the history of GH orally is not easy, you’re bound to leave stuff out. One thing I’d like to elaborate on sometime, concerning Blackmoor, is how GH is a patchwork of genres and other sources. It’s a topic within a topic.

    I’m glad you mentioned the Spinecastle game Argon. Running online games is tricky and I wish I had more experience in such games. I also wish ours was more vigorous, but we know how Holian is…maybe if I did a blog series on that like I am doing the Sea Princes, it would push along more. Don’t hold me to that though!

  5. Argon
    Argon June 27, 2011

    I thought you did quite well. I was surprised because you seemed so well prepared for the debate. I think South Park did it best when they created Captain Hindsight. It’s easy to point out things that could of been mentioned. Though I had to mention the Spine Castle Campaign just to show people who have different views of the same or similar thing can accept another persons ideas or perspective.

    Besides with all you have done on ULL it would not contradict what I have done in Veluna or what samwise has done in Keoland. Probably what makes the game for all of us is taking our portion and developing it to our view.

    I also wish I knew more on online gaming however my preference will always be face to face. I had 3 girl gamers as part of my group back in the day not counting those related to me. Now I have to be careful the wife might think I’m cheating.

  6. Fippy Darkpaw
    Fippy Darkpaw January 25, 2012

    An entire podcast on the best D&D setting? Nice. 😉

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