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    Canonfire :: View topic - Required Reading
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    Required Reading
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:24 pm  
    Required Reading

    I have read the Gygax novels and found them mildly entertaining. What other books would others reccomend for a good Greyhawk campaign. Note: I assume most novels will NOT be set in Oerth. What contemporary fantasy literature and is sufficiently high fantasy enough but not horribly written (eg. I do have substantial problems with RA Salvatore's prose, despite the fact I admire what he has done for the hobby).

    What suggestion can the board make...
    CF Admin

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    Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:31 pm  

    "Quag Keep" has Greyhawk correlations. It's Ok...
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    Mon Jan 30, 2006 2:38 pm  

    If we're talking fantasy novels that aren't tied specifically to Greyhawk or even D&D (most D&D based novels are unreadable dross in any case), then I heartily recommend:

    George RR Martin: The Song of Ice and Fire series
    These massive books are suffused with superbly drawn characters, epic struggles, complex intrigues and breathtaking betrayals - in other words everything that I think the best of Greyhawk has (or should have) - esp. the post-From the Ashes era*. The best sword and sorcery fantasy this side of LotR.

    Ursula Le Guin - The Earthsea Quartet
    The setting might not be GH exactly, but the gritty day-to-day detail is. And Le Guin does dragons the way they're meant be - huge, ancient, unfathomablly alien and bone-chillingly terrifying (not your standard cardboard scaly XP banks).

    Robert Westall - The Cats of the Seroster
    Now this is a bit of a weird one. It's supposedly a kid's book set in medieval France in a city protected by magical cats. But despite that - it's one of the best fantasy stories I've ever read. Good characters, gritty, blood-and-muck-under-the-fingernails medieval detail, and just enough magic to make it wonderful (in the dictionary sense). Again - what GH should be.

    * As a point of reference - I like to think of Ahlissa as a nation full of Littlefingers and Grenell as an older, more grizzled Tywin Lannister. If you don't know what that means - read the books!
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    Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:25 pm  

    I always liked Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson, although it might seem cliched now, back when it was written in 1953 it was pretty much a brand new genre.

    If you do read it, you might recognize the D&D version of trolls, I think Gary pretty much lifted them directly from this book, although I don't know that for a fact.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Mon Jan 30, 2006 5:16 pm  

    Here are a few of my favorite fantasy books…

    Weis and Hickman's Dragonlance and War of the Twins Trilogies are very good and pretty easy to read – and based on their d&d campaign.

    Salvatore’s Dark Elf Trilogy is likewise a good and easy read and d&d based (forgotten realms though)

    I really liked Joel Rosenberg’s Guardians of the Flame series (group of gamers get sent physically into their game by their evil dm/wizard)

    Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (of course)

    Philip ****’s Man in a High Castle

    Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series (although you may want to wait to start reading these until Jordan is dead so you don’t have to endure the agony of waiting for a couple of years between books… there are 12 in the series now and still going)

    Terry Goodkin’s Sword of Truth series

    Raymond Feist’s Riftwar books (mixed reviews on these. The first book Magician:Apprentice, is really good but then the characters start getting really really powerful which always puts me off. Feist’s solution is to keep doing later and later generations.)

    Terry Brooks Shannara series

    Fritz Leiber’s Tales of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser books

    David Edding’s Bellgariad books (I love the rogue named Silk, who’s nose starts twitching at the thought of larceny and profit)

    Stephen R. Donaldson’s The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant (like the guardians of the flame another real world person finds himself in a fantasy world storyline)

    Mary Stewart’s Merlin Trilogy (the best King Arthur books I’ve ever found)

    Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series (especially if you like British humor – the Discworld books started out as a parody of 80s mainstream fantasy literature and now days pokes fun at just about everything). When I want to put a really strange character into one of my campaigns I usually base them off of a character in a Discworld book.

    Roger Zelanzy’s Amber series

    I think my all time favorite fantasy book is Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart… its harder to find, being out of print now, but it’s a beautiful Chinese high fantasy story. Maybe not very Greyhawk applicable but I’m putting a plug in here for it.

    I’d also recommend a trick I use when looking for a new good book. Go to amazon.com and look up a book that you have read that you like and see what other books people who have bought it tend to buy. (amazon does a ‘people who have bought this book have also bought…’ thing that I use to find new authors and series I hadn’t known about that are similar to books I’ve already read and like).

    Everything mentioned so far by the others are good too. Quag Keep is the very first D&D novel, and Three Hearts and Three Lions is also a ‘real world person transplanted into a fantasy world’ book and had a huge impact on a lot of the fantasy fiction to come (it was also published a year before LotR for those out there that think Tolkien started the genre)
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Mon Jan 30, 2006 5:33 pm  

    I would have to recommend the entire Fafhrd and Grey Mouser series by Fritz Leiber. There is so much sword and sorcery content in this series of books, including many descriptions of sorcery, interesting locales, and most importantly, interesting characters. The descriptions of the atmosphere and everyday life of the city of Lankmar itself(along with Saga of Old City, the first Gord the Rogue book) serves as the basis for my personal interpretation of the City of Greyhawk. While my personal Greyhawk is slightly more civilized than Lankhmar, it isn't by much, and there is always the hint of the city's dark underbelly present at all times. The individual books (which often are a collection of short novellas/short stories) in the Fafhrd and Grey Mouser series are as follows:

    Swords and Deviltry
    Swords Against Death
    Swords in the Mist
    Swords Agaisnt Wizardry
    The Swords of Lankhmar
    Swords and Ice Magic
    The Knight and Knave of Swords

    These book have also been republished by White Wolf, collected in 4 paperbacks entitled:

    Ill Met in Lankhmar
    Lean Times in lankhmar
    Return to Lankhmar
    Farewell to Lankhmar

    I'd also recommend almost anything by Michael Moorcock- the diversity of the worlds his Eternal Champions inhabit and they adventures they have are worth the price of admission alone.

    And then there are Robert E. Howard's Conan Stories. The Conan stories may come off as being a bit simple when looked at individually, but viewed as a whole they paint the tapestry of a very intersting Hyperborea.
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    Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:11 pm  

    I have to second Hughart's Bridge of Birds, which, even if it's not in print you still can't swing a dead cat in a used bookstore without hitting a copy. The succeeding novels "Story of the Stone" and "Eight Skilled Gentlemen" are VERY hard to find, at least for under $15 or so. I think it's applicable to any fantasy RPG.

    CJ Cherryh's Tree of Swords and Jewels and Poul Anderson's The Broken Sword will give you some good material on portraying Elves in a more traditional manner.

    Despite not being able to get into his Memory, Sorrow and Thorn books I LOVE Tad William's novella The Burning Man, which takes place in the same setting. You can find it in the Robert Silverburg edited Legends 3. It totally revolutionized the way I treat religion in IMC.

    The best inspiration I've found lately has been the Hellboy comics from Mike Mignola. Even though it's a contemporary setting I think the ideas can easily be translated to a Greyhawk campaign.

    Finally, the Thieves' World anthologies. I'm pretty sure they're out of print but I know someone did a bound edition of the first 3 books - Thieves' World; Tales From the Vulgar Unicorn; and Shadows of Sanctuary - that is pretty common in used bookstores and public libraries. After the first 3 the quality started to go down some. It's edited by Robert Lynn Asprin.
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    Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:52 pm  

    smillan_31 wrote:

    Finally, the Thieves' World anthologies. I'm pretty sure they're out of print but I know someone did a bound edition of the first 3 books - Thieves' World; Tales From the Vulgar Unicorn; and Shadows of Sanctuary - that is pretty common in used bookstores and public libraries. After the first 3 the quality started to go down some. It's edited by Robert Lynn Asprin.

    I'm gonna have to disagree, with the series goin' down after the first three that is...The whole series was pretty excellent, it was a world that evolved...There's the Twelve Original Anthologies, Individual Novels and Other Stories Focusing on One or More Major Characters, (of these, I highly recommend the Beyond Series, which include "Beyond Sanctuary", "Beyond the Veil" and "Beyond Wizardwall" and focus on war and all its aspects from a mercenary unit's p.o.v.) and Thieves' World 40 years later...Check 'em out...

    The majority of the other suggestions are top notch fantasy (of course I haven't read them all), although I'm not sure that they are all relevant to GH (Moorcock's work comes to mind; although they're great reading, I wouldn't say they're very 'hawkish)...

    Kwint
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    Wed Feb 01, 2006 10:45 am  

    kwint wrote:
    although I'm not sure that they are all relevant to GH (Moorcock's work comes to mind; although they're great reading, I wouldn't say they're very 'hawkish)...


    The Flanaess doesn't feel like a place Moorcock would have written about (although some of its outlying areas and ancient empires do), but where Moorcock's influence is most apparent is in Oerth's cosmology, its gods and planes of existence. The elemental planes are straight from his Elric books, as is the multiversal clash between Law and Chaos (though this is also a big part of Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions, which heavily influenced Moorcock as well as Gygax).

    Trithereon, Kelanen, Heward, and Keoghtom feel like they could have been Moorcock protagonists (or, in the case of the latter two, sidekicks) in a novel he might have written but didn't. Gods like Celestian and Fharlanghn feel like they could have had minor cameos in Moorcock fantasies, too.
    GreySage

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    Wed Feb 01, 2006 10:46 am  

    The Pastel City by M. John Harrison. Post-apocalyptic sword and sorcery, with lightsabres and robots. Moody and atmospheric. May not resemble your vision of Greyhawk.

    The Birthgrave by Tanith Lee. A Suel Mage of Power awakens from her tomb in the Sulhauts and wanders around aimlessly in the Paynim lands until she remembers who she was.

    The Dragon Waiting by John M. Ford. Europe and the Byzantine Empire, as it might have been if magic, vampires, and polytheism had guided its development.

    Nightwatch by Robin Bailey (reviewed here)

    The Darkness That Comes Before by R. Scott Bakker. The Crusades in a baroque dark fantasy world.

    The Scar by China Miéville. The inhabitants of a city made of stolen ships summon a water elemental and travel to a flaw in reality at the north pole.

    The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman. A young girl befriends some river-going gypsies and travels to a flaw in reality at the north pole. Great for Rhennee culture.

    Clark Ashton Smith. Poke around at http://www.eldritchdark.com/.


    Last edited by rasgon on Wed Feb 01, 2006 11:50 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Wed Feb 01, 2006 10:59 am  

    Woesinger wrote:
    * As a point of reference - I like to think of Ahlissa as a nation full of Littlefingers and Grenell as an older, more grizzled Tywin Lannister. If you don't know what that means - read the books!


    But is it full of Cersei's and Jaime's and their spawn?
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Wed Feb 01, 2006 11:37 am  

    rasgon wrote:
    The Flanaess doesn't feel like a place Moorcock would have written about (although some of its outlying areas and ancient empires do), but where Moorcock's influence is most apparent is in Oerth's cosmology, its gods and planes of existence. The elemental planes are straight from his Elric books, as is the multiversal clash between Law and Chaos.

    I would say that this applies more to Planescape than it does to Greyhawk...Greyhawk strikes me as a more Good vs. Evil with Neutrality attempting to, well, keep the balance between the two...I do remember reading somewhere that Gary Gygax was influenced by Moorcock when designing the alignment system and thus, by extension, the Outer Planes...

    rasgon wrote:
    Trithereon, Kelanen, Heward, and Keoghtom feel like they could have been Moorcock protagonists (or, in the case of the latter two, sidekicks) in a novel he might have written but didn't. Gods like Celestian and Fharlanghn feel like they could have had minor cameos in Moorcock fantasies, too.

    Although true, I think the majority of gods throughout D&D could be said to do the same...It seems to me that most setting specific deities may seem capable of being Moorcock-esque because they don't carry any real world baggage (i.e. that we don't know them from our own world's various mythologies and that they are pure creations for fulfilling a role in gaming)...Outside of your excellent stories involving Zagyg & co. (which, as I have noted on other boards, you should continue), I haven't really seen much concerning the hero- and quasi-deities as characters...I've generally seen them written up as stat-blocks with short descriptions (as several were in the W.o.G. boxed set or Kelanen and Murlynd in Slavers)...

    I guess the von Bek books might be a little more Greyhawkish, but their "RW" timeframe and its tech level are inappropriate to the Flanaess...Please note, the von Bek series is my favorite Moorcock peices...

    Kwint
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    Wed Feb 01, 2006 12:01 pm  

    kwint wrote:
    I would say that this applies more to Planescape than it does to Greyhawk...


    The Outer Planes were part of Greyhawk before they were part of Planescape. There are certainly examples of Good and Evil warring in Greyhawk, but there are also many examples of Law and Chaos fighting without regard to moral concerns (Iuz and the Horned Society, the Yeomanry rebelling against Keoland, the Paynims fighting Zeif, followers of Trithereon opposing followers of Pholtus, St. Cuthbert opposing everyone who isn't lawful).

    Quote:
    Although true, I think the majority of gods throughout D&D could be said to do the same...


    I don't agree. Characters like Trithereon and Kelanen strike me particularly as incarnations of the Eternal Champion. I don't get the same vibe from Pelor, Mystra, or Paladine.

    Quote:
    It seems to me that most setting specific deities may seem capable of being Moorcock-esque because they don't carry any real world baggage


    No, that's not what I mean at all. There's a particular vibe I get with some of the Greyhawk gods - their strong allegiance to Law or Chaos (which isn't important in the Forgotten Realms or Krynn at all), for example. Trithereon's summoning gimmick reminds me strongly of Elric and Corum. Kelanen's devotion to the Balance and the strange initiation he went through feels Moorcockian as well. Heward, Murlynd, and Keoghtom feature many of the attributes of the Eternal Companion; Keoghtom in particular reminds me of Jhary Carnelian from the Erekrose series.

    Quote:
    I haven't really seen much concerning the hero- and quasi-deities as characters...


    Granted, but they're part of the setting.
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    Wed Feb 01, 2006 12:52 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    The Outer Planes were part of Greyhawk before they were part of Planescape.

    They were part of D&D/AD&D, but not exclusive to Greyhawk...Outside of Demon Lord and Arch-Devil realms in the MMs, Dragon articles concerning the Hells and other planar sites and general descriptions of the planes in the MotP, the outer planes and the interactions of their denizens was up to the DM to develop...What I intended to explain was that the Law vs. Chaos dichotomy was developed in Planescape and that dichotomy comes from Moorcock...

    rasgon wrote:
    There are certainly examples of Good and Evil warring in Greyhawk, but there are also many examples of Law and Chaos fighting without regard to moral concerns (Iuz and the Horned Society, the Yeomanry rebelling against Keoland, the Paynims fighting Zeif, followers of Trithereon opposing followers of Pholtus, St. Cuthbert opposing everyone who isn't lawful).

    Although there are examples of Evil vs. Evil and Good vs. Good and Neutral vs. Neutral, the major conflicts are Good vs. Evil not Law vs. Chaos as they are in Moorcock's works...Also, I don't think St. Cuthbert opposes everyone who isn't lawful as, whether you use the PHB LN Cuthbert or the Living Greyhawk LG Cuthbert or the AD&D Classic Cuthbert, he has followers who are non-Lawful...

    rasgon wrote:
    Kwint wrote:
    Although true, I think the majority of gods throughout D&D could be said to do the same...


    I don't agree. Characters like Trithereon and Kelanen strike me particularly as incarnations of the Eternal Champion. I don't get the same vibe from Pelor, Mystra, or Paladine.

    What I was trying to say was that setting specific gods could be portrayed as Moorcock-esque gods, not Eternal Champions...I suppose I could see Kelanen as an agent of the Grey Lords, but then again I could see FR's Artemis Entreri or Erevis Cale as ones as well...But, since, by agreement, the Gods of Greyhawk don't directly intercede on Greyhawk (despite what may be discussed in other threads on these forums), I don't see Trithereon as an Eternal Champion...I don't remember reading much about his exploits, just his mortal followers...

    rasgon wrote:
    Kwint wrote:
    It seems to me that most setting specific deities may seem capable of being Moorcock-esque because they don't carry any real world baggage


    No, that's not what I mean at all. There's a particular vibe I get with some of the Greyhawk gods - their strong allegiance to Law or Chaos (which isn't important in the Forgotten Realms or Krynn at all), for example.

    Well, I guess we're gonna have to agree to disagree, 'cause I get far more of an allegience to Good, Neutrality or Evil vibe from Greyhawk gods than a Law or Chaos one...Most nations seem to have their pantheons aligned along Good & Neutral or Neutral & Evil lines than Lawful/Good-Neutral-Evil and Chaotic/Good-Neutral-Evil lines...And, ultimately, its the gods function and/or racial origin that determines whether they are worshipped in a particular locale, not necessarily whether they're Lawful or Chaotic...Also, I don't see all the Lawful Nations or all the Lawful Gods banding together to defeat the Chaotic ones...After all, two of the best examples of Deific Animosity is between two Lawful war gods (Heironeous vs. Hextor) and between two Lawful Good gods of the people (Pholtus vs. St. Cuthbert)...

    rasgon wrote:
    Trithereon's summoning gimmick reminds me strongly of Elric and Corum. Kelanen's devotion to the Balance and the strange initiation he went through feels Moorcockian as well. Heward, Murlynd, and Keoghtom feature many of the attributes of the Eternal Companion; Keoghtom in particular reminds me of Jhary Carnelian from the Erekrose series.

    Although this may all be true, I haven't read enough about the Hero- and Quasi-deities to know...I don't see them changing the world the way an Eternal Champion and his Companion does...

    Kwint
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    Wed Feb 01, 2006 3:07 pm  

    kwint wrote:
    They were part of D&D/AD&D, but not exclusive to Greyhawk...


    AD&D was Greyhawk, at least until Dragonlance came out. The outer planes were certainly developed best and most fully in Planescape, but the Law-Chaos dichotomy was part of D&D since its inception.

    Quote:
    Although there are examples of Evil vs. Evil and Good vs. Good and Neutral vs. Neutral, the major conflicts are Good vs. Evil not Law vs. Chaos


    It's all in how you play it, of course. The way I see the Flanaess, Evil with a capital E is primarily represented by Iuz. Tharizdun, the Abyssal princes and dukes of Hell, and the Scarlet Brotherhood, and any other conflict (of which there are many) has more to do with either Law and Chaos or more mundane factors. If you look at the alignment map in the World of Greyhawk boxed set, Law and Chaos are given as much representation on the map as Good and Evil are.

    From the Ashes definitely emphasized the Good and Evil side, but there's a lot more to Greyhawk than that. It's perfectly possible to play a Greyhawk campaign in which good and evil are the only concerns, but it's just as possible to play one in which good and evil are only tangental flavors of the real conflict; for example, a campaign in which Iuz and the Horned Society primarily contend with one another as part of the greater Blood War rather than against Good, a campaign in which the expansionism of the Scarlet Brotherhood is a malady of Law rather than a moral crisis, as many of its victims are little better. I think it was part of the basic design of the campaign that both axes are ripe sources of conflict.

    If Saint Cuthbert has non-lawful followers, they must have constant migraines.

    Quote:
    What I was trying to say was that setting specific gods could be portrayed as Moorcock-esque gods, not Eternal Champions...


    Ah. I meant Eternal Champions specifically, although wandering gods like Celestian, Fharlanghn, and Cyndor remind me of some of the enigmatic figures that populate the background of some of Moorcock's stories.

    Arguably, Graz'zt is very much like Arioch and St. Cuthbert has much in common with Donblas the Justice-Bringer (though he looks nothing like him).

    Greyhawk and Planescape are really the only settings in which the Law-Chaos duality is a big deal. It's irrelevant in Dragonlance and secondary at best in the Forgotten Realms.

    Quote:
    then again I could see FR's Artemis Entreri or Erevis Cale as ones as well


    Artemis Entreri, really? I don't see that at all. He seems more interested in himself than larger cosmic principles. I don't know who Erevis Cale is.

    Kelanen and Keoghtom, Gord the Rogue, the Cat Lord, Heward, Mordenkainen, Bigby, and others are explicitly paralleled with Moorcock's force of cosmic Balance by Gary Gygax; Gord especially, since he appears as an incarnation of the Eternal Champion in Pawn of Chaos, a collection of short stories by various authors inspired by Michael Moorcock, but all of them appear as servants of the Balance in the Gord books proper.
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    Wed Feb 01, 2006 3:39 pm  

    Okay, Rip believes one thing, I believe another...I'd say, figure out what y'all think Greyhawk is, then go and read Elric, Corum, Erekose, Hawkmoon and von Bek (that's only twenty or thirty books) and decide for yourselves whether you think the Moorcock Multiverse, especially the characters therein, is akin to the Greyhawk milieu...

    Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...
    Kwint

    ps-Erevis Cale is the main character in Paul Kemp's Erevis Cale Trilogy whcih begins with "Twilight Falling"...The trilogy is an excellent read...Cale appeared in the Sembia Series as well, and the second book of that series, "Shadow's Witness" has him as the protagonist...Paul Kemp also wrote the finale of the War of the Spider Queen series, "Ressurection," which I haven't read...Definitely check out the Sembia Series and the Erevis Cale Trilogy!...
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    Wed Feb 01, 2006 3:52 pm  

    Okay, Okay, one last reply to Rasgon's last post...

    rasgon wrote:
    kwint wrote:
    They were part of D&D/AD&D, but not exclusive to Greyhawk...


    AD&D was Greyhawk, at least until Dragonlance came out.

    I would disagree with this...AD&D was a rules set, Greyhawk was Gary Gygax's in-house world and the first published setting for that rules set...But I'd guess that most AD&D games played were set in Homebrewed settings, not in Greyhawk...
    Kwint
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    Wed Feb 01, 2006 4:29 pm  

    kwint wrote:
    I would disagree with this...AD&D was a rules set, Greyhawk was Gary Gygax's in-house world and the first published setting for that rules set...But I'd guess that most AD&D games played were set in Homebrewed settings, not in Greyhawk...
    Kwint


    Greyhawk provided the flavor text for all the early modules and the DMG. While I'm sure many people took the game in different directions, especially before Greyhawk was properly defined, in some respects the rules and setting were the same entity. The planes of existence are the basis upon which Oerth's reality is built; while later on they became used in other settings, I think it's completely fair to point them out as aspects of the World of Greyhawk campaign.
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    Wed Feb 01, 2006 9:14 pm  

    the best has to be TERRY BROOKS SHANNARA SERIES the first three are the best the rest are so-so/ next try MICHEL MOORECOCK's ELRIC SERIES since non of the above are really greyhawk related you may get a lot of ideas p.s poul anderson's three hearts is a classic but is hard to findas are the elric series, i forget who wrote it by try to find the iron tower they have an omibus edition out with all three novels
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    Wed Feb 01, 2006 10:53 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    Greyhawk provided the flavor text for all the early modules and the DMG. While I'm sure many people took the game in different directions, especially before Greyhawk was properly defined, in some respects the rules and setting were the same entity. The planes of existence are the basis upon which Oerth's reality is built; while later on they became used in other settings, I think it's completely fair to point them out as aspects of the World of Greyhawk campaign.

    The planes of existence were presented in the 1st ed. PHB for use as the DM decided, not exclusively for Greyhawk and over a year before the WoG Folio came out...Perhaps Greyhawk provided flavor text to early modules, but it was very minimal, and, at the time you couldn't identify it as Greyhawk until Village of Hommlet...It could have as easily been retroactively incorporated into Greyhawk as anything else...Nonetheless, AD&D was not Greyhawk, it was the rule-set used to play in Greyhawk...Also, other games worlds used the AD&D rules-set at the time (and prior to the afforementioned Dragonlance), including Judges' Guild's Wilderlands/City-State-of-the-Invincible-Overlord Campaign...Also, I was playing then, you were still in diapers...I lived it, you've read about it...I win, you lose...Neener, Neener, Neener Happy ...
    Kwint
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    Wed Feb 01, 2006 11:33 pm  

    kwint wrote:
    Also, I was playing then, you were still in diapers.


    That's not saying much; I was in diapers till I was 15 or so, when it was discovered that I wasn't actually a chimpanzee like the rest of my foster family. Upon recognition of my human status, I got to wear the handsome loincloth that has become my trademark. Anyway, my point is that the World of Greyhawk had a cosmology where Law and Chaos was every bit as important as Good and Evil. I'm not saying people didn't invent their own campaign worlds, very different from Oerth, adapting the same cosmology and using the same rules. I'm sure they did; that doesn't make the Gygaxian cosmology any less part of the Greyhawk campaign. Nor does it change the fact that both cosmology and rules were created with Greyhawk (or the protean thing that would become Greyhawk) in mind, and no other campaign (not even Blackmoor) can say that. That's what I mean when I say that rules and setting were one.

    I'm sorry; I'm not very good at agreeing to disagree with people. I don't like disagreeing with people. I want to establish common ground.
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    Wed Feb 01, 2006 11:44 pm  

    I'd also recommend "Cyrion" by Tanith Lee for that Baklunish West feel...It's out of print, but maybe you can find it at a used book store, some internet auction site or buy it used through Amazon...
    Kwint
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    Thu Feb 02, 2006 7:39 am  

    The specific GH books have been a poor lot as noted their are several excellent fantasy series out there. However a sad note for George RR Martin: The Song of Ice and Fire series fans (myself included).

    The fourth book is a real disappointment and I have recently seen a TV interview with the author himself that doesn't foreshadow anything good. To paraphase: George claims to be shooting for a 7 book series now, however he said progressing the plot isn't important to him and he is more interested in exploring the fabric of his world (onion metaphor). Claims he doesn't really care if their is a convential resolution to the story and after the first three books has no clear idea of where the story will go. (explains the 5 year time lag between 3 and 4)

    Publishers will curb the author's enthusiam, forget it, george mentioned the publishers are encouraging him to "explore his vision" and keep trying to increase the books in the series. (translation: publishers are pressing for a milked cash cow aka Jordan's wheel of time series)

    Sadly none of his interview foreshadowed a slash and burn editor to reign in george's excesses or a timely conclusion to the series, rather the publishers seem to be encouraging the author's growing fascination with the minutiae of his creation.
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    Thu Feb 02, 2006 2:52 pm  

    now come on now stop putting down G MARTIN he is simply following suit with T BROOKS his last two shannara series were bad and who can't mention the last half dozen drizzit novels or the many sequls to dragonlance the book pub just want the same cash cow as long as it sales so what if it's bad the mindless sheep will buy it anyway and the writers get a big advance so the only loser here is us the reader
    GreySage

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    Thu Feb 02, 2006 3:48 pm  

    Crag wrote:
    George claims to be shooting for a 7 book series now, however he said progressing the plot isn't important to him and he is more interested in exploring the fabric of his world (onion metaphor). Claims he doesn't really care if their is a convential resolution to the story and after the first three books has no clear idea of where the story will go.


    This is a very proper attitude for a roleplayer. Exploring the fabric of an invented world is the most important thing, certainly the most interesting and rewarding thing. It's an excellent idea in RPGs and novels alike to leave the ultimate resolution of the story open, letting the protagonists decide in their own time.
    CF Admin

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    Posts: 404
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    Fri Feb 03, 2006 2:45 pm  
    Shannara Books?

    Hey, fellas.

    I have one Shannara book on a shelf at home that has been there for years, unread. it is called Sword of Shannara. I don't even remember where I got it.

    Anyway, how many of these Shannara books are there, and what is the proper order. I might as well read the one I have. I'll pick up others, too. Chris Thomasson dedicated a Dragon editorial to the Shannara books a few years ago, extolling their value to the RPG hobby.

    As for me, my first fantasy reads were the classics - Narnia, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. From there I got into early Dragonlance and Dark Elf trilogies. These writings have since colored my view of fantasy gaming.

    Anyway, interesting thread.
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    Don (Greyson)
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    Mon Feb 06, 2006 6:44 am  

    The Shannara series started with The original series:

    The Sword of Shannara (1977)
    The Elfstones of Shannara (1982)
    The Wishshong of Shannara (1985)

    It then moved on with the Heritage series:

    The Scions of Shannara
    The Druid of Shannara
    The Elf Queen of Shannara
    The Talisman of Shannara

    There are also a bunch of other bits and pieces although I'm not sure what order everything came in...

    Four Prequils:
    First King of Shannara
    Born of Wild Magic (forthcoming August 29th, 2006)
    Untitled Book Two (forthcoming August 2007)
    Untitled Book Three (forthcoming August 2008)

    A Shannara Short Story
    Indomitable

    The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara series
    Ilse Witch
    Antrax
    Morgawr

    High Druid of Shannara series
    Jarka Ruus
    Tanequil
    Straken

    I'd have to agree that I loved the first book (sword of shannara) and the rest of that trilogy was alright, but I wouldn't give high marks to any of the others.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Mon Feb 06, 2006 8:56 am  

    Kind of a side topic in this, but I'd be interested to know if any of these books have a particular character class flavor to them as well...

    Mercedes Lackey's "Lark and Wren" and George Luca's and Chris Clairmont's "Chronicals of the Shadow War" got me excited to play a bard after I'd read them. (Chronicals of the Shadow War, for those that haven't read them, is trilogy of books that are sequels to the movie "Willow" with Elora Dannon being a young woman and a bard)

    Poul Anderson's "Three Hearts and Three Lions" is a great knightly inspiration book.

    I love the rogues in Lieber's and Edding's books.
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