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    Canonfire :: View topic - Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk
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    Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed Nov 22, 2006 12:39 pm  
    Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk

    Note: this is not to override the 'Expedition to' posts...

    Just curious... what do you want out of the Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk book? Do you want...
    Massive dungeon crawl content?
    An in-depth and updated look at the "Free City"?
    Some of the craziness normally allotted to Zagyg?
    Formal lists of the Demi-gods once imprisoned?
    History, history, history?

    Maybe this should be made into a poll, but I thought we could get more ideas out in forum.

    Myself... I want dungeon crawl goodness steeped in history with LOTS OF HOOKS. Happy
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    Michael Erin Sandar Bard of Midwood
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    Wed Nov 22, 2006 12:40 pm  

    By the way, I also want a better title... it makes Greyhawk sound bad... at least clarify the Ruins of CASTLE Greyhawk....
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    Michael Erin Sandar Bard of Midwood
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    Thu Nov 23, 2006 12:27 am  
    Re: Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk

    MichaelSandar wrote:
    Note: this is not to override the 'Expedition to' posts...

    Just curious... what do you want out of the Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk book? Do you want...
    Massive dungeon crawl content?

    yes
    MichaelSandar wrote:
    An in-depth and updated look at the "Free City"?

    yes
    MichaelSandar wrote:
    Some of the craziness normally allotted to Zagyg?

    yes
    MichaelSandar wrote:
    Formal lists of the Demi-gods once imprisoned?

    yes
    MichaelSandar wrote:
    History, history, history?

    yes

    MichaelSandar wrote:
    Maybe this should be made into a poll, but I thought we could get more ideas out in forum.

    Myself... I want dungeon crawl goodness steeped in history with LOTS OF HOOKS. Happy
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Sat Nov 25, 2006 1:47 am  
    Re: Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk

    MichaelSandar wrote:

    An in-depth and updated look at the "Free City"?


    No. It's an adventure, not a city supplement. Stick to the ruins and if anything, only mention elements of the city relevant to the adventure, if at all.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Nov 27, 2006 4:29 am  

    Quote:
    (By Erik Mona) The extremely generic product description leaves me little room to discuss details without violating my NDA, but I think I can safely confirm that a significant section of the adventure takes place in the City of Greyhawk


    This was the part that had me worried...[/quote]
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    Michael Erin Sandar Bard of Midwood
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    Mon Nov 27, 2006 5:11 pm  

    I don't have a problem with more detail on the CoG: hopefully Erik was able to leverage the info and details that he and Denis had been working up for the LGJ series on each city district.
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    Tue Nov 28, 2006 6:47 am  

    History, History, History ----> Hell, yes, one of the things missing with many Greyhawk products is History. I would want a complete book that stretches from Olven pre-time up to the time that Zygig decided there should be a Castle on this Ancient spot. As one decends down one also goes back in time and encounters the Lost Empires of Oerth.

    Not really interested in seeing Greyhawk (city) done again but if a treatment akin to what TSR did with Lankmar along with a detailed description of the who's who (with pictures, please). It might be worth it.
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    Tue Nov 28, 2006 7:29 am  

    Call me a . . . Well, use your imagination. Wink But with the title - GREYHAWK Ruins - not CASTLE Greyhawk Ruins - it could be interesting to see the CoG as a giant ruin after some catastrophe/devastation. Big fire? Plague? War? Monster incursion? Something extra-planar? Players have to clear out the Big Bad so that CoG can recover. Eh. ::shrug:: Probably a title misprint.
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    Tue Nov 28, 2006 7:38 am  

    Quote:
    GREYHAWK Ruins - not CASTLE Greyhawk Ruins - it could be interesting to see the CoG as a giant ruin after some catastrophe/devastation


    this is what interests me. I hear expedition to Castle Ravenloft was kept fairly accurate in respects to I1, but Wolfgang Baur has made little secret that Expedition to the Demonweb Pits is NOT a rehash of Q1. I've got this weird feeling that we will see very little of Castle Greyhawk in this, and quite a bit of the City. Not bad mind you... but not, perhaps, what we expected.
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    Michael Erin Sandar Bard of Midwood
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    Tue Nov 28, 2006 12:10 pm  
    Reminds me of...

    Hi again,

    What I'm reminded of is Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, where the original dungeon is only touched on and then flies off in a completely different direction. Hopefully these worst fears will not come to pass.

    ~Scott "-enkainen" Casper

    Yak-Men come to pass after taking laxatives...
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    Wed Nov 29, 2006 12:18 pm  

    I don't think I'm in danger of violating my NDA to say that there is a good deal more of the Castle than the City in the book (perhaps 2/3 vs. 1/3). It was originally going to be called "Expedition to Castle Greyhawk," but they changed the name for some reason unrelated to the content. I'd urge people not to read too much into the title insofar as the city is concerned.

    --Erik
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    Wed Nov 29, 2006 12:24 pm  

    Erik,

    good to see you on the boards, and thanks for the information... I'm glad to see that this is getting some tlc. Cool There are a lot of people who are very excited to see this coming up, and I'm one of them, so... thanks!
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    Michael Erin Sandar Bard of Midwood
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    Wed Nov 29, 2006 3:29 pm  

    iquander wrote:
    I'd urge people not to read too much into the title insofar as the city is concerned.


    Well, of course, we wouldn't want to expect that a product with the word Greyhawk in the title actually have any greyhawk content...
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Nov 29, 2006 3:31 pm  

    MichaelSandar wrote:
    I'm glad to see that this is getting some tlc.


    TLC?
    What on earth are you talking about?

    I realize that's it's currently in fashion to shower praise on Erik and all, but how is "dont worry, there's not much on GH city in there" tlc?

    Let's keep in mind that the authors of this book are the same ones who promised heavy GH content in the Savage Tide adventure path. What'd that get us? Sasserine. Thanks! Sad
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Wed Nov 29, 2006 6:21 pm  
    Tsk...

    Hi again,

    Are you having trouble making nice-nice again, Rich?

    I'm at least pleased to learn that the adventure is largely castle-oriented. Mr. Mona has not said so, but I would guess that the decision to not mention the castle specifically in the title had to do with Troll Lord Games' ongoing efforts to get their version of the castle published.

    ~Scott "-enkainen" Casper

    Yak-Men have already taken all the good magic items from Castle Greyhawk anyway...
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    Wed Nov 29, 2006 11:21 pm  

    Hey hey folks,

    Hardcore GH fans expecting heavily detailed Greyhawk canon from WoTC are bound for disappointment. But it seems likely that those same details that are lacking will be easy enough to insert by those who buy the product and know the background from which the material is based. Use your best judgement on how to make this new offering useful in your Greyhawk games.
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    Thu Nov 30, 2006 4:24 am  

    chatdemon wrote:
    MichaelSandar wrote:
    I'm glad to see that this is getting some tlc.


    TLC?
    What on earth are you talking about?

    I realize that's it's currently in fashion to shower praise on Erik and all, but how is "dont worry, there's not much on GH city in there" tlc?

    Let's keep in mind that the authors of this book are the same ones who promised heavy GH content in the Savage Tide adventure path. What'd that get us? Sasserine. Thanks! Sad


    Well... (IMO) I give Erik, Jason, and James credit for getting WotC to put this out there... and having the nerve to do it. Even if it is part of the "Expedition" series and not a revival. As far as content - what I meant was that I would rather see a Castle oriented adventure full of dungeon-crawling goodness... which is what I like to DM! Cool I have books, books, books, and more books detailing the CoG - and very little other than my own version of said castle.
    As far as Sasserine goes... well... I attribute that to a 3rd edition mentality, which while not bad, fits very differently from past D&D editions into Greyhawk. ymmv
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    Michael Erin Sandar Bard of Midwood
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    Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:47 am  

    iquander wrote:
    I don't think I'm in danger of violating my NDA to say that there is a good deal more of the Castle than the City in the book (perhaps 2/3 vs. 1/3). It was originally going to be called "Expedition to Castle Greyhawk," but they changed the name for some reason unrelated to the content. I'd urge people not to read too much into the title insofar as the city is concerned.

    --Erik


    Very Cool. I am surprised even 1/3 is the Free City. If I had to guess it would have been 90% mega dungeon, 10% surroundings. After all those classic Greyhawk adventures which had "tons" of information on the surrounding geography I am sure Erik wouldn't want to stray from the classics, eh? Cool
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:08 am  

    I remain wary of any attempt to publish this iconic dungeon that doesn't involve either Gygax or Kuntz and fear that it must become a work of compromise. Hopefully it will at least have some decent maps of above-average quality.
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    Wed Dec 06, 2006 7:46 am  

    Gilban wrote:
    I remain wary of any attempt to publish this iconic dungeon that doesn't involve either Gygax or Kuntz and fear that it must become a work of compromise. Hopefully it will at least have some decent maps of above-average quality.


    You mean the way Castle Zagyg is a work of compromise?
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    Wed Dec 06, 2006 3:15 pm  

    chatdemon wrote:

    Well, of course, we wouldn't want to expect that a product with the word Greyhawk in the title actually have any greyhawk content...


    The book is full of "Greyhawk content." I am confident that it will be the "most Greyhawky" book WotC has published since the LGG, including "Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil." I was given absolutely no restrictions in terms of setting. Greyhawk is not called the "Free City" here and Tenser is Tenser.

    The product contains numerous dungeon levels as well as some scenes that take place in the Free City.

    --Erik
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    Wed Dec 06, 2006 6:43 pm  

    iquander wrote:

    The book is full of "Greyhawk content." I


    Yeah, so is Savage Tide...
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed Dec 06, 2006 7:25 pm  

    Savage Tide is nominally a Greyhawk adventure, whereas this is explicitly a Greyhawk adventure. Savage Tide is set on the periphery of the Flanaess map and largely takes place in the ocean south of the Amedio Jungle and in the Abyss. "Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk," on the other hand, is set in the Free City of Greyhawk and in Castle Greyhawk.

    Sorry that you feel betrayed or whatever caused all the animosity, but the new adventure is very much a Greyhawk adventure.

    --Erik
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    Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:30 pm  

    One small step for Hawk kind, one Giant step for WotC. I'm game for it. Any publicity has got to be good and anything published has got to be better. I have great faith in the integrity and heart of those that have penned this mighty Tome. Vive La Hawk.


    JKO
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    Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:34 pm  

    Samwise wrote:
    You mean the way Castle Zagyg is a work of compromise?


    With all the different versions of Castle Greyhawk that have been built over the years, I think compromise is a good thing. If I were designing it, I'd want to include the best parts of every incarnation of the castle and its dungeons.

    Which can be done in an individual campaign by adding new levels to the castle - levels from Castle Zagyg too, why not?
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    Tue Dec 19, 2006 10:20 pm  

    Dethand wrote:
    Hey hey folks,

    Hardcore GH fans expecting heavily detailed Greyhawk canon from WoTC are bound for disappointment. But it seems likely that those same details that are lacking will be easy enough to insert by those who buy the product and know the background from which the material is based. Use your best judgement on how to make this new offering useful in your Greyhawk games.


    I really, REALLY doubt WotC is afraid of stepping on the toes of the Castle Zagyg project. They don't seem reverent enough.

    Heh, I can just imagine someone bringing it up at a WotC brainstorm session.

    Random Suit 1: Hey, I have this great idea. Let's call it Expedition to Castle Greyhawk!
    Random Suit 2: I like it.
    Random Suit 3: Me too.
    Random Suit 4: Hmm. Hold on a second everyone. Isn't Troll Lord Games releasing a product called "Castle Zagyg" in the future that is supposed to be a recreation of the REAL Castle Greyhawk. They might be upset if we try to undermine them with something like this...
    *brief silence*
    *cricket chirps*
    Random Suits 1, 2, and 3: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Good one, #4!


    Last edited by airwalkrr on Tue Dec 19, 2006 10:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Tue Dec 19, 2006 10:25 pm  

    iquander wrote:
    Savage Tide is nominally a Greyhawk adventure, whereas this is explicitly a Greyhawk adventure.


    Funny, I don't see a Greyhawk logo on the cover. Will this be the same style of explicit greyhawk found in DMG2's Saltmarsh?
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Dec 20, 2006 9:41 am  

    airwalkrr wrote:
    I really, REALLY doubt WotC is afraid of stepping on the toes of the Castle Zagyg project. They don't seem reverent enough.!


    Reverent enough?
    The dungeon under Greyhawk is some sort of divine location that should be literally worshiped?
    It has been 30 years, and Castle Zagyg is not going to be the original. There is nothing to be "reverent" of.
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    Wed Dec 20, 2006 11:13 am  

    (ahem, now that I'm logged into my account...oops...)

    So I'm not just constantly hating on Erik Laughing

    I think that if Gygax was seriously interested in collaborating on CGH for WotC, Erik and the crew would have openly welcomed him. IIRC, as well, various folks at WotC offered Gygax, formally or informally, the opportunity to do GH related work for 3e/3.5e, but for whatever reasons such projects didn't materialize. I distinctly recall Erik lamenting such a failed project a few years back on the greytalk chat, though what details I vaguely recall would look like I'm needlessly trashing Erik or Gygax, so I won't try and relate them. Gygax chooses to work with TLG, he hasn't been exiled there by WotC. WotC owns Greyhawk and most of the material associated with it (aside from the Gord stuff and a handful of characters and concepts retained by Kuntz and Gygax), they have every right to produce it.
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    Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:30 pm  

    chatdemon wrote:

    I think that if Gygax was seriously interested in collaborating on CGH for WotC, Erik and the crew would have openly welcomed him. IIRC, as well, various folks at WotC offered Gygax, formally or informally, the opportunity to do GH related work for 3e/3.5e, but for whatever reasons such projects didn't materialize. I distinctly recall Erik lamenting such a failed project a few years back on the greytalk chat, though what details I vaguely recall would look like I'm needlessly trashing Erik or Gygax, so I won't try and relate them.


    IIRC Gygax did get a credit in Dungeon 112, not sure if he helped out on that or not. But I do remember Erik making posts to the effect that he was trying to colaborate with Gary and Rob on some things and Gary simply wasn't interested. I also don't believe they require a lot of 3rd edition knowledge for Rob's Maure levels and do the mechanics editing for him, so it really comes down to hubris.
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    Wed Dec 20, 2006 6:28 pm  

    Lassiviren wrote:
    I also don't believe they require a lot of 3rd edition knowledge for Rob's Maure levels and do the mechanics editing for him, so it really comes down to hubris.


    Hubris?
    Someone in any of this is acting as though they are of equal stature to a divine being?
    First reverence, now hubris. Geeze, whatever happened to plain old annoying gits in Greyhawk?
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    Thu Dec 21, 2006 1:27 am  

    I'm not sure what the big deal is. While Gary doesn't like 3rd edition and makes no bones about it, I really don't see why its any sort of "problem" that he doesn't choose to publish through Wizards. It rather seems to me like he's best served writing for the game system he likes and under the conditions that best suit him. Rob, Gary, etc are obliged to do what is fun and worthwhile for them. That's about it. The fact that we think it would be cool to have an official EGG product under the Greyhawk logo is really pretty irrelevant.
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    Thu Dec 21, 2006 2:21 am  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    I'm not sure what the big deal is. While Gary doesn't like 3rd edition and makes no bones about it, I really don't see why its any sort of "problem" that he doesn't choose to publish through Wizards.


    That's not the problem, as I see the "problem" being addressed here. The problem is the overzealous fans who claim any greyhawk product by WotC will be substandard because they are supposedly snubbing Gary to promote their own authors. The point being made is that if Gygax wanted to publish Castle GH through WotC, it would probably happen.
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    Thu Dec 21, 2006 2:25 am  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    It rather seems to me like he's best served writing for the game system he likes and under the conditions that best suit him.


    First of all, Gary is publishing Castle Zagyg for 3rd ed/d20. Castles and Crusades is a streamlined version of the system, with a couple unique twists, but promotional hype from TLG aside, it's still D20.

    Second, it's pretty well know that:
    a: Gygax (and Kuntz) don't write most of the mechanics for their D&D and C&C material. The publishers (Paizo and TLG) have ghost writers for the crunchy parts.
    b: Gygax is writing little if any of the CZ material himself. His own postings regarding the project explain that he's created an outline and style guide that the actual adventure writers will use.
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    Thu Dec 21, 2006 9:18 am  

    If we can get past the blind frickin' reverence for the Great Old Ones and get thinky about this:

    1: WotC are money-grubbers? Woo! Someone make that a crime, why doncha? They're a corporation - of course they'll put profit before content, or sentiment for that matter. They're legally liable if they don't (and Renton sounds like a cold place to beg for quarters at this time of year).

    2: Now, given 1 - don't you imagine if they made a lot of money on EtGR, they might be more inclined to stump up more development cash for more GH material so that they can make even more money? Eh?
    Crazy idea, I know, but that's the joy of capitalism for you.

    3: And what's with the running down of the only guys producing GH material of any form? OK - Sasserine has some (read: many) flaws, but for the love of the gods, can we be a little more supportive (or at least less scathing)? It's not like Erik's under a fatwa to put GH in Dungeon or Dragon in the first place (though, as incentives go it'd be a pretty good one...).

    4: If anyone imagines that Castle Zagyg is going to be any more consistent with GH canon than Savage Tide, then I hope you've got a prescription for whatever it is you're taking. Old Skool yes, GH no (unless you're a grognard down to the molecular level and nothing's "real GH" except EGG's own notes scrawled on a piece of a pepperoni-stained pizza box).

    P.
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    Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:43 am  

    It is not that I have a problem with Erik doing the job that makes me old school. I have a problem if the hacks over at Hasbro don't know what they are doing and re-edit Erik's work to make it more kiddy-friendly or dumbing it down that it just becomes a walk in the park.

    Folks, this is Castle Greyhawk, whilst T$R did a hack job, when it was in the same vein as Dungeonland. But, they did also come up with tons of other Greyhawk product before that point and for a while after that.

    I think that I express the fear of many fans, that the wiseheads over at Hasbro have come to bury Greyhawk not praise it. True, they may get some more Greyhawkers into the fold but equally many gamers may not understand the history or context, for other than Living Greyhawk, Hasbro has done squat to enhance the property. At least, T$R recognized their folly. I fear that Hasbro has too much money to realize their errors.
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    Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:53 am  

    chatdemon wrote:
    WotC owns Greyhawk and most of the material associated with it (aside from the Gord stuff and a handful of characters and concepts retained by Kuntz and Gygax), they have every right to produce it.


    I never said they don't have a right to produce it. For that matter, I'm looking forward to it. My point was simply that WotC is not a hobby company that does things for fun (the way TSR started out before it transformed). If they see a way to make money on something (like Castle Greyhawk), then they will do it. I don't think it is wrong. But there is certainly no reason in a capitalistic endeavor like this to not use "Castle Greyhawk" just because another company is doing "Castle also-Greyhawk-but-with-a-different-name." I'm sure there is a good reason (and I suspect it is to have continuity with the name of the original "Greyhawk Ruins" adventure).
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    Fri Dec 22, 2006 9:29 am  

    You think TSR didn't want to make money before it was "transformed"?
    You really think they put out products with no thought as to the profit?
    And are you suggesting that WotC did this solely because of Castle Zagyg?
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    Fri Dec 22, 2006 4:59 pm  

    Darva wrote:


    First of all, Gary is publishing Castle Zagyg for 3rd ed/d20. Castles and Crusades is a streamlined version of the system, with a couple unique twists, but promotional hype from TLG aside, it's still D20.

    Second, it's pretty well know that:
    a: Gygax (and Kuntz) don't write most of the mechanics for their D&D and C&C material. The publishers (Paizo and TLG) have ghost writers for the crunchy parts.
    b: Gygax is writing little if any of the CZ material himself. His own postings regarding the project explain that he's created an outline and style guide that the actual adventure writers will use.


    Well, I was under the impression that C&C was more of a 1e rip off using the d20 license as cover, but I don't own the game or really care.

    I'm frankly not sure the relevance of any of the rest of what you said as a response to me. Whether he has statmonkeys or is just being a supervisory figure is really irrelevant. He still is free to publish (or not publish) with whomever best suits him without the disparaging comments. You seem to think that folks are accusing WotC of snubbing Gygax, whereas I thought the hubris comment was the opposite (claiming Gygax was arrogantly refusing to work with WotC). Either way, I don't see that anyone has a right to bitch at them about it. Its their time and money, not ours.
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    Sat Dec 23, 2006 7:14 pm  

    Vormaerin wrote:

    I'm frankly not sure the relevance of any of the rest of what you said as a response to me.


    Since your post, intentionally or not, came off as a "Gygax won't stoop to writing for WotC's crappy system anyway" type comment, I think her clarification was entirely relevant.
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    Sat Dec 23, 2006 8:37 pm  

    Well, perhaps. Though she separated my comments out in a strange way in the quoting if that's what she was objecting to in that post. I should have left that out entirely, since its not really necessary to my point and seems to be causing a distraction. I happened to read a thread once where EGG commented unfavorably on the complexity and power level of 3e and also said C&C was more like 1e to him. Not being familiar with C&C nor a regular on those forums where EGG posts, I really can't comment on whether it is or is not functionally the same game.

    But, as I said, that's a sidetrack from my point, which is that neither WotC nor EGG have any obligation to work together if one or both parties doesn't want to. And casting aspersions on either side because of it is wrong headed, imho.
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    Mon Dec 25, 2006 7:40 pm  

    chatdemon wrote:
    iquander wrote:
    Savage Tide is nominally a Greyhawk adventure, whereas this is explicitly a Greyhawk adventure.


    Funny, I don't see a Greyhawk logo on the cover. Will this be the same style of explicit greyhawk found in DMG2's Saltmarsh?


    Man, are you a grump or what?

    The word "Greyhawk" appears on the cover. A picture of Castle Greyhawk appears on the cover. A picture of friggin' MORDENKAINEN appears on the cover.

    I didn't have anything to do with the Saltmarsh in DMGII (though James did), didn't even look at it before publication, and still haven't read it. What I have seen made me crinkle up my nose a little and think "boy, my version in my campaign was a lot smaller and different," but I haven't formulated a more complex opinion on the matter.

    I should note that the DMG2 did not have the word Greyhawk on the cover, did not feature a picture of a famous Greyhawk location on the cover, and did not feature friggin' MORDENKAINEN on the cover either.

    It didn't have the Greyhawk logo on it either, though, so I guess you've made a great point.

    --Erik
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    Mon Dec 25, 2006 7:47 pm  

    Lassiviren wrote:

    IIRC Gygax did get a credit in Dungeon 112, not sure if he helped out on that or not. But I do remember Erik making posts to the effect that he was trying to colaborate with Gary and Rob on some things and Gary simply wasn't interested. I also don't believe they require a lot of 3rd edition knowledge for Rob's Maure levels and do the mechanics editing for him, so it really comes down to hubris.


    Gary provided a few pages of comments on the final version of "Maure Castle" and made several suggestions that we incorporated into the design. He also approved the republication of the Wargames Digest article that led off the issue, and gave the project his blessing. He was paid for our re-use of the WG5 material (even though it was owned by WotC) because I felt it was the right thing to do. Although he did not contribute new design to the adventure, his input was invaluable, and I wouldn't have done it without his blessing.

    The projects that I lamented in GreyTalk chats ages ago had to do with Castle Greyhawk itself. At the time I was the Global Publications Coordinator for the RPGA Network, and we routinely sent out a free adventure to members as a bonus for signing up and staying an RPGA member (which cost $20 at the time). The first of these adventures was an updated tournament by Keith Polster called "The Fright at Tristor," but it was my goal to make the second and subsequent adventures levels of Castle Greyhawk written by Gary and Rob and edited by me. Gary was very busy with other work at the time and (quite reasonably, in my opinion), wanted royalties on any release. Wizards of the Coast made it clear to me at the time that they were not interested in paying royalties to any game designers (they still don't, and probably never will), so the issue was dropped with no hard feelings on either side.

    Except for some massive fanboy disappointment on my end, of course. :)

    --Erik
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    Mon Dec 25, 2006 7:54 pm  

    kafka wrote:
    It is not that I have a problem with Erik doing the job that makes me old school. I have a problem if the hacks over at Hasbro don't know what they are doing and re-edit Erik's work to make it more kiddy-friendly or dumbing it down that it just becomes a walk in the park.


    I don't expect this to happen. Our design manager recently deemed the product "frolicksome and fun, with plenty of rich easter eggs for long-time fans."

    My perspective is that they knew what they were asking for when they asked me to participate in a Greyhawk product, and I delivered to the best of my ability. I wrote _exactly_ the same product I would have written if the book was but one in a full line of Greyhawk products, and I suspect this was one reason why I was hired to do the book. They wanted a Greyhawk guy, and I've been the bomb-throwing canonista within and around Wizards since 1999.

    If they substantially dumbed down the material or removed a bunch of the Greyhawk references or whatever, I will be very, very unhappy.

    I do not expect this to happen. If it does, my vitriol will make Chatdemon seem agreeable by comparison.

    --Erik
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    Mon Dec 25, 2006 7:58 pm  

    kafka wrote:

    I think that I express the fear of many fans, that the wiseheads over at Hasbro have come to bury Greyhawk not praise it. True, they may get some more Greyhawkers into the fold but equally many gamers may not understand the history or context, for other than Living Greyhawk, Hasbro has done squat to enhance the property. At least, T$R recognized their folly. I fear that Hasbro has too much money to realize their errors.


    I completely understand this sentiment, but I'd urge you not to write off Living Greyhawk so quickly. At last count, the campaign boasted some 15,000 gamers who play at least twice a year. If only a third of them retain some interest in the setting, that's roughly equal to the print run of "From the Ashes."

    In ten years, regardless of the state of the actual RPGA campaign, many of those players will be here on canonfire talking about the setting and adding to the community. That's significant.

    --Erik

    * Obviously, a lot of those 15,000 players enjoyed Greyhawk prior to the launch of LG, but I would guess that a great number of them knew nothing about the setting whatsoever before sitting at their first LG table.
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    Wed Dec 27, 2006 3:09 pm  
    Disagreement

    I have to say that I disagree with most of the vitrol here. I ran the first of the Savage Tide path with a group of friends, and I found that it provided more enjoyment to my players than any adventure I have run in some years. Happy

    My favorite adventure of all the adventures ever printed in Dungeon is Castle Maure and it's new levels. It is lower on my players list becuase they generally died. TPK shy one. Laughing

    I like the Savage Tide more than any of the other adventure paths. I liked the revised Saltmarsh. I am looking forward to Castle Greyhawk. And I am hardly pollyanna.

    I just dont have the energy to be a proffessional pissant.

    Oh, and if you could write some stuff specifically for my home campaign that incorporates my house rules, my player's preferences, and the custom local history that I have cooked up for MY Hawk, Gee that would be just dandy, and I might not complain. Let me know when you need my campaign notes.

    Erik, keep up the good work. If the quality slips, you will hear about it in spades.
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    Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:39 pm  

    Hey folks. Happy New Year.

    I appreciated kafka's concern, "I think that I express the fear of many fans, that the wiseheads over at Hasbro have come to bury Greyhawk not praise it." However, I share that fear. Rather, the "Expedition ..." series seems like an innovative abusiness plan that attempts to profit from under-utilized old campaign settings.

    Perhaps to an industry insider, it's even predictable from WotC's refusal to renew White Wolf's license to the Ravenloft IP?

    Also interesting in this thread was Erik's statement that From the Ashes had a print run of approximately 5,000! I'd never speculated on what it might have been but nevertheless find the number surprising and low.
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    Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:57 am  

    Quote:
    I do not expect this to happen. If it does, my vitriol will make Chatdemon seem agreeable by comparison.


    I see the vitriol still persists in the few years I was away... and nice to Samwise is still the voice of reason (without giving an inch).

    Nuts to all this - I will grab a copy as soon as I can get one and I am sure I will enjoy it regardless, even if it is a completely new version. Who is with me?
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    Wed Jan 31, 2007 7:03 am  

    I second that Manicmidwife!
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    Sat Feb 03, 2007 6:46 pm  

    I'm cautiously looking forward to this. Heartened by what Eric has said so far ref. greyhawk content, and I guess a certain buy.
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    Sat Feb 03, 2007 9:15 pm  

    I will buy this one. I have not on the other hand bought Exp to Ravenloft, nor do I think I will get the Demonweb Pit one. Oh yeah there is an Exp to Undermountain slated for the same year as Greyhawk's uber dungeon, competiton maybe?
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    Mon Feb 12, 2007 9:09 am  

    Yeoman wrote:
    I'm cautiously looking forward to this. Heartened by what Eric has said so far ref. greyhawk content, and I guess a certain buy.


    Same here, I like what Erik's done for Greyhawk so far and I'm looking forward to getting a copy at GenCon. Maybe signed by Iquander :)

    If it sells well maybe we can see a Expedition Against the Giants too :)

    Mike
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    Mon Feb 12, 2007 9:17 am  

    Expedition Against the Giants would be great! Maybe a reprise of Liberation of Geoff, but more satisfying.
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    Mon Feb 26, 2007 1:29 am  

    Samwise wrote:
    You think TSR didn't want to make money before it was "transformed"?


    No, I think Gary and crew were hoping it would make some money, but weren't betting the farm on it. They had been playing the game for many years already and wanted to share it with others. I've done things like that before. It becomes a labor of love. For the amount of work that was put into D&D, it was not a very efficient way of making a profit. TSR was founded as a hobbyist company and became an overnight success. The fact that Gary often had others run the financial concerns and ultimately did not shed a tear when he was cut from the staff shows that he really wasn't in it for the money. (Sure, he got royalties afterwards, but he left because he disagreed with the direction of the company, not because the company wasn't making money.) Money never hurts, but not all human beings are motivated solely by greed.

    Samwise wrote:
    You really think they put out products with no thought as to the profit?


    I never said anything of the sort. I said TSR started out as a hobbyist company, which it did. He wasn't always a huge corporation with sole emphasis on the bottom line. There was a time when quality of content was the many concern. Sure, there was the hope to make money doing D&D, but EGG, RJK, DA, and others didn't want to sell people short by cutting corners and such.

    Samwise wrote:
    And are you suggesting that WotC did this solely because of Castle Zagyg?


    No, I was suggesting the opposite. The fact that you infer such a thing demonstrates you either did not understand or simply never finished reading my post. WotC named the adventure without any concern for Castle Zagyg whatsoever. I doubt they even consider a blip on the radar of competition. And when sales numbers come in after both products are out, I'm certain such feelings will be vindicated.
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    Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:40 am  

    *laughs* Sorry, but that was pretty funny. They were definitely trying to make money and money was a big factor in a lot of the early decisions. They were gamers and creative talent, so they certainly had a better idea of what gamers wanted and would pay for than some of the bean counter folks that came to be in charge later (because they had the money...), but that's not exactly the same thing. Its not "these guys wanted to make money and those guys didn't", it was "These guys new the target audience and those guys didn't." A perfect example is the various Tolkein influences on the game (halflings in particular). Gygax doesn't like Tolkein's work, but he wanted to sell the game to all the Tolkein fanciers out there so he added all that stuff. And he's said so on numerous occassions.

    And the idea that Gygax 'just walked away without shedding a tear' certainly doesn't match his own description of events. He most definitely was extremely unhappy about that.

    Anyway, there's nothing wrong with desiring to maximize profits. It doesn't do anyone a bit of good if the company goes out of business. The big difference that I saw was that TSR shifted away from writing scads of adventure modules towards writing scads of rulebooks and location supplements. A trend which is continuing today, because they sell a lot better. Which means, presumably, that people actually want them. (Modules also have the problem that only the DM buys thems, not all the players).

    My experience is that most folks whining about the evil profit motives of a game company are almost always saying "They make stuff other people want instead of stuff I want." Come on, if the game company really wasn't providing value for the money to most people, they'd stop selling stuff. Its not like they have a monopoly on a essential.
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    Mon Feb 26, 2007 6:42 am  

    As Vormaerin said.
    If you think that is the history of TSR you simply don't have a clue. The only reason they didn't "bet the farm" at the beginning is because they didn't have a farm to bet. The moment they did, in the form of the company itself, they did.
    Likewise if you think the bottom line didn't matter. It always did. That is why the company came switched control not once, but twice.
    And Gary was certainly less than thrilled with "walking away" from TSR.

    Quote:
    The fact that you infer such a thing demonstrates you either did not understand or simply never finished reading my post.


    Except you "imagined" a WotC employee being laughed down for suggesting this product might "undermine" Castle Zagyg, while dismissing WotC for not being "reverent" enough about it.
    I understood that quite well.
    It just shows further that you have this idealized image of TSR, and don't want to accept that it was just another complany, just as Troll Lord Games is.
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    Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:25 am  

    *Yawns* And another promissing thread going overboard.

    I for my part am glad that there are new Greyhawk products being produced. - Because, regardless what Mr Gygax and Mr Kuntz do, the license remains with WotC, and whatever thr company decides about the setting will rule.

    Now, about that book: I am looking forward to it and hope that it will sufficiently flesh out the mini-setting of the Free City. In conjunction with the LGG (OOP, but still fairly easy to get), and maybe the AoW adventure path, it may be the base of many nice campaigns evolving around the Gem of the Flanaess.

    Certainly a landmark book, wether successful or not, because it's the first publication from WotC since RttToEE that will be explicitely set in the WoG. (Apart from the short chapter on Saltmarsh in DMG II, IIRC.)

    My personal hope is that this book may cause sort of a small Greyhawk renaissance; I don't expect much, but only, say, an update of the LGG, another Expedition module, or maybe just the permission to Paizo to reprint some of their Greyhawk-related adventures as books would be enough to save the setting from Oblivion a few years more.

    Certainly, I won't judge a book that I haven't read, and less one that is still not even released.

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    Wed Feb 28, 2007 1:07 am  

    Vormaerin and Samwise, both of you are taking my comments out of context and setting up straw men.

    I never said that profit was not a motivation, merely that profit was not the only motivation originally, and whenever it is, the game suffers. What on earth do you think motivated Gary to design the D&D game in the first place? Do you think it was because he wanted to be a millionaire? I have a hard time imagining he thought that was a possibility at the time. Rather, I think it is far more probable that he was playing wargames with his friends and they decided to make some house rules. Eventually, they realized they liked playing out the roles of individual heroes on the battlefield, then adding fantasy elements until it finally morphed into a fantasy roleplaying game as opposed to a tactical wargame. Gary started designing Castle Greyhawk while Dave Arneson designed Castle Blackmoor and more people wanted to play. At some point, Gary et al said to themselves, "Hey, we could probably turn this into a company and make a living doing what we love," so they did.

    WotC bought TSR for a very different reason. While I am thankful that doing so kept the D&D franchise alive, WotC's motivation was anything but noble. WotC simply wanted to "diversify" their portfolio of games, which is a euphemism for expanding their profits. By purchasing a well-known brand and giving it a face-lift, they were gambling that people would continue to pay for D&D stuff. In other words, they bought TSR so they could make money off the venture. The way WotC has managed the brand is therefore enormously different from the hobbyists-turned-entrepeneurs who created it.

    Bear in mind I never said there was anything wrong with making a profit. But it certainly does not make for an ideal game system. D&D peaked in popularity circa 1983 according to Gary on a recent ENWorld post. This was during the 1st edition era when they had been getting much bandied about ideas finally into print. Most of these ideas had been borne of experience and years of laboring tirelessly on little but hopes and dreams. That is what makes a good game great. The same is true of MTG, which actually used to be a great game before its owners began looking at it as little more than a cash cow to be milked for all it was worth with ever-increasingly frequent releases and sets more powerful than the last. Unsurprisingly, they have followed the same formula with D&D and the brand is worse-off for it. Players spend so much time these days building their characters that they hardly ever think of background, personality, or motivations anymore. Playing the game doesn't just require a few books, it requires an entire library of tomes that one can peruse to create the indestructible character (when the DM allows, and most DMs want to give players options in the vain hope it will add spice to the game or at the very least just to please their players).

    And what I meant about Gary leaving TSR is to say that he didn't cry over lost money. I know he was very attached to the game, but I have followed the Gary Gygax Q&A on ENWorld for a long time and watched tons of interviews with him over the years and I never heard him say that he regretted the huge financial opportunities he lost when leaving TSR. He certainly seems to miss the fact that he was not a part of the life of his baby after that, but he moved on and used his creativity in other avenues. Even after retirement, not hurting for money at all, he continues to develop and play games. And based on my talks with him, it seems very much that he does it because he enjoys it, not because he needs or even wants the money that badly. He usually requests compensation for his work, but that is completely reasonable and doesn't mean he does things solely for money. It is perfectly rational to expect a return, even if only a token, for work performed.

    I think Erik's comments are the most telling regarding Gary's help with Maure Castle. Erik paid Gary not because Gary demanded it, but because Erik felt it was the right thing to do. It seems Gary expected little compensation for helping keep the flavor of Maure Castle intact but Erik felt he deserved it. That sounds more like an enthusiastic hobbyist than an enterprising capitalist.

    I'll stop hijacking the thread now.
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    Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:20 am  

    Now you are trying to compare an individual vs a corporation. A corporation is required *by law* to maximize its shareholder return (ie profits). You can compare TSR to WotC or you can compare Gygax to the guy holding the equivalent role in WotC. But Gygax's goals/motivations vs WotC's? Not meaningful.

    And do you have any idea what the CEO of Wizards was thinking when he bought TSR in truth? I don't. He could have been thinking "You know, I love D&D and I don't want TSR to go under. I'll take it over and run it properly" for all we know.

    D&D's popularity may have peaked in 1983, but that's not really germane. Computer gaming wasn't a meaningful competitor yet and most of TSR's rivals weren't that strong.

    I guess I don't understand what your point is. What do you think WotC should be doing that its not?
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    Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:43 am  

    Did D&D's popularity peak in 1983? I dont really know, but it seems that is a little odd. I would think that would be the peak of the "craze," of D&D; when it was getting all the press, "Mazes and Monster's," the D&D Cartoon, and all that. However, I would have assumed that there were more players today due to the much broader acceptance of gaming.
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    Wed Feb 28, 2007 5:04 am  

    [EDITED]Well, apparently Peter Adkison(who had some guy named Garfield create that little known game Magic: The Gathering) suddenly got hold of lots of cash, and when he found out that TSR was on the verge of financial trouble he made them an offer. Adkison was at the time the head of a company called Wizards of the Coast(WotC). And where did that particular company name come from? Apparently "the Wizards of the Coast" is some sort of organization from Adkison's own Dungeons & Dragons campaign. So, you might say that Adkison bought up the company that made the game he so enjoyed as a lad. WotC's acquisition of TSR is grounded in making money certainly, but it probably had a little bit more to do with just diversifying their portfolio. Adkison of course has since sold the company to Hasbro for a good amount of cash, such that he has now the same treasure type as Bahamut. Happy

    I'm very interested to see what sort of treatment is given to the potions of Greyhawk City in this adventure. I'm hoping it is a very seedy and nasty place. The 2e Blue Boxed set seemed kind of "blah" to me in this regard. A big city such as this would be pretty filthy, and a heck of a lot more dreary than how the 2e boxed set art presents it. Some of the black and white interior booklet art was ok, while the color poster was Candyland- like, and had no where near enough homes packed into the space in most areas. Not that this adventure will be detailing the city overly much, but hopefully what is there will have harder, grittier edge to it.


    Last edited by Cebrion on Sun Mar 04, 2007 4:35 am; edited 2 times in total
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    Wed Feb 28, 2007 1:06 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:
    Garfield was at the time the head of a company called Wizards of the Coast(WotC).


    This is incorrect. Peter Adkinson was the head of the company, and the Wizards of the Coast were from his campaign. Garfield, who did create Magic: The Gathering, was an employee.

    WotC was originally founded (at least in part) to publish Adkinson's The Primal Order RPG, and it would be very appropriate to compare Adkinson to Gygax.

    Magic: The Gathering was created later, when Adkinson asked Garfield to come up with a game that could be played while waiting around at conventions.
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    Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:50 am  

    Oops, my bad. I know what I meant, I just said it really, really wrong( mostly by using the wrong name). I was so confused that I even mixed up who did what. My thanks for the rip-fu-ing this time. ;)
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    Sat Mar 03, 2007 2:19 am  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    I guess I don't understand what your point is. What do you think WotC should be doing that its not?


    I wasn't making a point about WotC, merely supporting my earlier words on why WotC does things. You hit the hammer right on the nail when you noted WotC is a corporation. A corporation (i.e. publicly traded company) is expected to maximize profit, not make a good game. Sometimes the two go hand-in-hand, but not always. I am simply upset that instead of relying on quality products to sell their brand, WotC relies on "goodies" and collectible frenzy. More splatbooks does not make a game instrinsically better, but when they introduce more powerful options than those that existed previously, it does make characters intrinsically better, which makes old products obsolete.

    Now I should temper my words by saying that over the last year, with only a few exceptions, WotC seems to have gone out of their way to improve the game by having more flavor in their splatbooks. Prestige classes are now well detailed, provide examples, and offer character hooks rather than being short half-page descriptions. And the environment series has been superb for providing welcome rules to handle campaigns that utilize a specific type of environment heavily.

    I don't think WotC is "evil." But making a good game is an art, and art is not concerned with profit. And unfortunately, the D&D brand is owned by an entity whose primary reason for being is profit (at least in the present day). I'm lamenting a tragedy more than I am laying blame though. If anyone is to be blamed it is the capitalist spirit that still plagues America, but I would be getting way off-topic to discuss that, so I'll end on that note.
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    Sat Mar 03, 2007 2:26 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    I'm very interested to see what sort of treatment is given to the potions of Greyhawk City in this adventure. I'm hoping it is a very seedy and nasty place. The 2e Blue Boxed set seemed kind of "blah" to me in this regard. A big city such as this would be pretty filthy, and a heck of a lot more dreary than how the 2e boxed set art presents it. Some of the black and white interior booklet art was ok, while the color poster was Candyland- like, and had no where near enough homes packed into the space in most areas. Not that this adventure will be detailing the city overly much, but hopefully what is there will have harder, grittier edge to it.


    Perhaps you should have looked at the boxed set a little more carefully before pronouncing judgment. Greyhawk is indeed a seedy place full of corruption, strife, and conflict. One of the highest ranking officials is in the pocket of the Bandit Kingdoms for Pelor's sake! A cult of Nerull led by one of the Heirarchs of the Horned Society is located within the town. The mayor was at one time next in line to head up the Thieves' Guild. And gambling establishments, taverns, and bars easily outnumber any other kind of building in the city. Not what I would call a clean city.

    And as for the color-poster, if you read the books that come with it, they note that this handout is an artist's depiction that is not intended to present an accurate portrait of the city, but rather meant to convey the spirit of the city, which I feel it does quite nicely.
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    Sat Mar 03, 2007 7:25 am  

    airwalkrr wrote:
    I don't think WotC is "evil." But making a good game is an art, and art is not concerned with profit. And unfortunately, the D&D brand is owned by an entity whose primary reason for being is profit (at least in the present day). I'm lamenting a tragedy more than I am laying blame though. If anyone is to be blamed it is the capitalist spirit that still plagues America, but I would be getting way off-topic to discuss that, so I'll end on that note.


    If you think artists aren't concerned with profit, you need to some writers and ask if they prefer to eat that week, and pay their rent.
    There is an art to making a good game, but that doesn't place it above the basic need to make money. No matter how good a game product is, if it is not marketed properly, or attract a market, it simply won't sell. Likewise no matter how well packaged and promoted something is, it must still be of quality or it won't sell.

    But indeed, you've it made it clear what your true rant is about, and that has nothing to do with WotC or D&D.

    (Note: Argh! Yes, stopped too soon. Fixed now.)


    Last edited by Samwise on Sat Mar 03, 2007 7:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Sat Mar 03, 2007 10:32 am  

    Heh, you goofed up your quotes there, Samwise.

    Anyway, looks like my earlier comment definitely applies here. When someone says a game company is soullessly seeking profit, they usually mean 'they are making stuff other people want instead of stuff I want'.

    It would be nice if WotC published stuff I could actually use. But I doubt they'd make a profit selling stuff for the stylistic niche I'm in. So it goes.
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