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    Canonfire :: View topic - New Greyhawk Map
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    New Greyhawk Map
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:59 am  
    New Greyhawk Map

    Obviously I don't know what the new GH map will look like (with the exception of the teaser shots from the past few Dungeon issues), but I have to say that I'm excited about it.

    Taking a look at the small maps in the same issues of Dungeon magazine, especially the lastest issue (#117 - Istivin), I am even more excited about the new GH maps. If the detail found in the new GH maps are as good as the small inset maps of Sterich (issue #117), then I think that this map will be the absolute difinitive GH map. Quite possible, this map could be the best RPG map on the market IMO. The work on the small inset maps is gorgeous, and all done by the same cartographer (I don't wan't to attemp his name without it in front of me!)

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    Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:16 am  

    I'll be buying the 4 issues, but I have split feelings about it.

    I was very happy we are going to be getting a new, quality (and huge) campaign map until I found it it will be listing locations that, for me, are to be "secretive" and that I don't want my PC's knowing the exact location of, such as the Tomb of Horrors and "tower" from Expedition to the Barrier Peaks etc etc...

    In essence, the map has became a DM's only map, for me. Sad
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    Wed Nov 03, 2004 5:58 am  

    I too am excited about the new maps, as my group has just started a new post war campaign in an area of the continent we have yet to use.

    I am sure that a scanner or a bit of white-out could help with those areas of the maps that you wish not to reveal. Unless of course your players grab the Dungeon issues as well.
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    Wed Nov 03, 2004 7:08 am  

    Abysslin, I really see your point. There's part of me that that would like to see those area's not included as well. However I will look at it this way: the Flanaess is become more and more "explored." Tales from adventurers have spilled many of the secrets of dark places around the continent.

    That will make me just have to come up with other, unique areas that are not included on the map! Which is what I mostly do anyways.

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    Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:57 am  

    I'm reminded of Robin's Laws of Gamemastering. Robin Law wrote that it's better if players know more, not less, of your gaming world, if only to help the campaign world (Greyhawk here, obviously) become so familiar to the players and DM alike that it takes the game to another level of believability. While it is hard to separate player and character knowledge, I would agree with Robin here and say that I have found it more enjoyable as a DM when I don't have to break into a narrative every time a region of Greyhawk needs to be described. I have encouraged my players to read all of the 1983 boxed set, the CoG boxed set, The Adventure Begins, and the 3e LGG in order to have a shared knowledge of our world. It makes their reactions more honest to the "feel" of Greyhawk.

    Just my $.02,
    Zudrak
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    Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:24 am  

    Zudrak wrote:
    I'm reminded of Robin's Laws of Gamemastering. Robin Law wrote that it's better if players know more, not less, of your gaming world, if only to help the campaign world (Greyhawk here, obviously) become so familiar to the players and DM alike that it takes the game to another level of believability. While it is hard to separate player and character knowledge, I would agree with Robin here and say that I have found it more enjoyable as a DM when I don't have to break into a narrative every time a region of Greyhawk needs to be described. I have encouraged my players to read all of the 1983 boxed set, the CoG boxed set, The Adventure Begins, and the 3e LGG in order to have a shared knowledge of our world. It makes their reactions more honest to the "feel" of Greyhawk.

    Just my $.02,
    Zudrak


    I agree with this. My concern is that the map will appear so "crowded" that the Flanaess will look too "civilized." And too "defined."

    The impulse to graphically memorialize almost every canon town strikes me as an interesting but "green-eye shade" way in which to proceed. By emphasizing canon sources, every town will be able to be "looked up" somewhere. That's lovely if you are planning on driving from Greyhawk City to Rel Astra and need to know where to sleep, eat and find an ATM but it can hardly be called creative or imaginative.

    I am excited about the maps but I keep thinking we are seeing the Volo's Guiding of the Flanaess. I fear Mr. Mona is not developing the Flanaess but documenting it.

    The LGG was a fine product but it memorialized more than it expanded. Now, the Great Map will memorialize every canon city and town. Interesting, yes. But troubling in the way Mr. Mona is trending.

    We appear to be being bound and gagged by canon. But as the masses of Greyhawkers eat it up, apparently, one cannot fault Mr. Mona for giving the fans what they seem to want.

    Canon = Stagantion. When it is all most are concerned with or want to talk about. Grey Sages? Grey Accountants. If Carl Sargent had had the obession now displayed for canon, Greyhawk would be a much simplier and poorer place.

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    Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:58 am  

    I must strenuously disagree that Canon=Stagnation.
    That is only true for people who refuse to acknowledge any development in the Canon available for a setting. You can define every conceivable inch of the history of Greyhawk, and still not have touched what happens tomorrow, next week, next year, next century. Just because you know where every city is right now does not mean you know where every city will be forever. I am reminded of the map for Imperium Romanum II, which had all the cities marked, but they could appear and disappear depending on the era. The same can easily apply to Greyhawk.
    Further, being able to so thoroughly describe and define a world in a coherent manner requires a great deal of imagination and creativity, particularly in a world like Greyhawk where the urge to simply repeat the design of one place in another can be overwhelming.
    No, on both accounts the issue is only with those who refuse to recognize that design is not closed ended, and that no matter how much detail you have today, there can always be something that changes it completely in the future.

    Finally I would like to add a note concerning canon and issue 117 of Dungeon. Those who attend the chat know how exceptionally critical I've been of the various statements made in regards to Dungeon GH Canon vs. LG GH Canon. Reading the background on Istivin and Sterich, I commend Erik Mona for saying pretty much absolutely nothing that could prove an issue in that regard. Said history consists of a rephrasing of the material from the published sourcebooks, a name for the ruling Family of Sterich, and a minor comment on the sale of noble titles there. All of the development is forward oriented, avoiding any conflict with LG regional, meta-regional, or core story development, although obviously likely to influence such future development.
    If this is to be the trend, then I approve of it.
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    Wed Nov 03, 2004 1:17 pm  

    Samwise wrote:
    No, on both accounts the issue is only with those who refuse to recognize that design is not closed ended, and that no matter how much detail you have today, there can always be something that changes it completely in the future.

    Finally I would like to add a note concerning canon and issue 117 of Dungeon. Those who attend the chat know how exceptionally critical I've been of the various statements made in regards to Dungeon GH Canon vs. LG GH Canon. Reading the background on Istivin and Sterich, I commend Erik Mona for saying pretty much absolutely nothing that could prove an issue in that regard. Said history consists of a rephrasing of the material from the published sourcebooks, a name for the ruling Family of Sterich, and a minor comment on the sale of noble titles there. All of the development is forward oriented, avoiding any conflict with LG regional, meta-regional, or core story development, although obviously likely to influence such future development.
    If this is to be the trend, then I approve of it.


    Hi Samwise,

    I completely agree with the first paragraph quoted above. Unfortunately, I see many, many people falling into that classification. One need only read the multitiude of "canon question" posts to see how canon is considered sacrosanct. Too many seem to feel you must know what it is, not just on big issues but small ones too, and varying canon is either ignorant, ill advised or simply wrong. Look for the "canon doesn't say that or says something else" replies. Canon dominates discussions. Too much IMO.

    With respect to Istivin, I entirely agree with your analysis and entirely disagree with your conclusion. I agree Mona did a fine job of saying nothing that could raise any issue. I found his treatment dull, lifeless and unimaginative. I do not find this a positive thing. It is more memorialization. It is not creative. I would contrast it with the backstory for Maure Castle, that I found far better put together.

    Erik Mona has yet to make me feel that he has more than the most superficial, i-dotting and t-crossing, understanding of Greyhawk. I do not question his encyclopedic knowledge of who did what, when and where. I question his ability to do other than polly-parrot or regurgitate what others have written. Is he a designer or a copyist? This isn't Jeopardy and he gets no points for his mastery of Greyhawk triva.

    I have nothing personal against Mr. Mona. What I would ask him to do is to follow in the footsteps of Gygax, Sargent and even Moore and Reynolds - lead, don't just follow. That means going beyond the strict confines of canon and by more than just a few hairsbreadths.

    Presently, IMO, Mona has done a terrific job of keeping Greyhawk in the public eye and memorializing eveyone's work which came before him. He has yet to put his own unique stamp on Greyhawk and I am frankly waiting for him to do so. More and more impatiently.

    However well illuminated the manuscript, if the text breaks no new ground, it is just a pretty copy of someone else's creativity. Mona is a wonderful illuminator of the Greyhawk text. He has yet to add a new chapter to that text.

    Now, what I ask entails considerable risk of people not liking what he produces from his own mind and pen, but that is the risk every designer takes. Sargent took huge risks and was hugely criticized. It goes with the territory. Mona seems too content to be the Greyhawk answer man - it says in text X that Y is the case and we can infer Z. That was fine when he was fanboy Erik living down on the farm. He is now the principle Greyhawk "professional" and he is not acting like it. He is still behaving like a fanboy, whose merit comes from having memorized all of the Greyhawk products ever published. Look at the Topics entry for White Plume Mountain. Fanboys to the rescue! Who did what, where, when and what can be extrapolated. Problem is he still thinks that counts for something. Wrong. HE is now the designer, who should be more concerned with a creative creation than with an accounting of facts and surmises from those facts.

    By analogy - I'd hire Mona to count my golf clubs, carry my bag and cady. I would never let him actually play in a tournament. He doesn't think like a player. He thinks like a cady. Cady's are valuable but they are not players. Mona needs to start thinking like a player and acting like one.

    And he has EVERY opportunity in his present position. His only excuse is a failure of will, imagination or vision. I'll let him pick which it is or prove his detractors wrong by stepping up.

    Where is MonaHawk? What is there of Mona in Greyhawk? Greyhawk has lots of fanboys. What it needs is a designer, a leader to take Greyhawk someplace new and unique. Is that Mona?

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    Wed Nov 03, 2004 3:12 pm  

    Hello GVD,

    I'm not really sure how to disagree with you on this.

    I do agree that people obsess about canon too much.
    I think this is the fault of the people rather than of the canon, and that most of those obsessing on such things need to get a serious clue. Canon rants are greats for developers working to keep things consistent. For players, particularly those who obviously don't use everything as written, they are utterly irrelevant.

    As for Erik Mona, and the LGG design and development, I have said all of what you said regarding development to him (and to Gary Holian and Fred Weining, and to the LG people) many times. More, I've repeatedly raised the issue as to whether they were designing and developing for a theory or for an actual campaign that any of them were actually running for real players. And given that I said it during the chats, I wasn't particularly politic about it.
    So while I do find a great deal of their work wanting in that regards, I think your assessment is quite unfair, particularly with your citing of the works of Moore and Reynolds. The works of both of those are exceptionally poor in quality, and show a distressing lack of knowledge for canon. Further, the ideas and concepts developed in the LGG, as limited as they are, praricularly in regards to how much of those limits are due to the influence of Moore as editor, vastly overshadow the contributions of both Moore and Reynolds in the GH 98 line.
    For examples of the development, one only has to look at the Istivin article and how it is presented. As I said, it focuses on development forward. It takes a plot hook presented in the LGG, and presents an adventure based it. And it looks like it intends to take the results of that adventure and use them to project the timeline and world development forward.
    Now granted, I do have a bit of a bias in regards to that, as I focus a lot on backwards and detail development, so I am quite well served by the (lack of) history in the Istivin article. And of course that is an issue in that no such development appears to be forthcoming. What remains is that until such a product appears, or if Erik decides to publish my timeline in Dragon for some reason Wink , it is probably the best way for the setting to be developed in the magazines as it helps avoid conflict with the LG campaign.

    As it happens, I think the time of MonaHawk has passed. We had it briefly in the LGG, but the setting has moved on from there, and it can not be supported solely with the pages of the magazines. But it was a critical step in the evolution of the setting, and minimizing does it a great disservice. Whatever disagreements I've had with Erik (and Gary and Fred) regarding what they did in the LGG and afterwards, even I recognize it for what it meant at that point in time for the setting.
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    Wed Nov 03, 2004 3:28 pm  

    Well, in a non-official stance, Erik has come up with quite a few pioneering ideas pertaining to Greyhawk. Not least of all who exactly the 9 (demi) gods were that Zagyg imprisoned in his castle.
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    Wed Nov 03, 2004 7:32 pm  

    Canon, everybody has their own version of Canon for GH it seems (which is fine). However, I would say that since it' is published in a WOTC periodicle (which I believe automatically makes it canon), that GH as presented in Dungeon IS current canon. The history of GH moves on, and as EM really hasn't spent that much time on "new" GH in the pages of Dungeon *yet), I would say that more canon, evolved and otherwise it on it's way.

    I think EM has put his stamp on GH, and there is more to come. Personally I look forward to every bit of it.

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    Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:16 pm  

    Well back to the topic of the maps....I think they will be a triumph in that I was disappointed by the LGG map and other post-Darlene maps. Some of the regional maps however were quite good...like all the CoG/Domain maps, the Iuz the Evil maps and even the Marklands maps. So hopefully this will tie them all together so I only need one set of maps! huzzah.
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    Thu Nov 04, 2004 1:41 am  

    The old adventure locales are, well, old. Most people have explored them, and those who have not will likely have heard of them but will not be going through the original adventures. The "Return to...Ē series of modules is perfect for these somewhat better known locales. I view most of the more obscure locations as being information that your not completely inept adventurers could find out about from the local sage or from doing some research of their own. These are legendary or rumored locations. And of course nobody said they had to be exactly accurate...

    Itís also a time for creating new locales and new adventures for them. While I love the old adventures, not much comes from dwelling on the past. It is time to create the present and future of Greyhawk. Some of these locations will fuel articles and/or adventures in Dragon or Dungeon magazine. So overall I think it is a good thing.

    I did have a funny thought though. The first map section will have a decent number of locations on it, but these could be limited by the printing deadline. By the fourth installment that final quarter of the map might be littered with locations compared to the rest, just because they could!. I realistically donít see that happening of course, but the excitement of working on the project could very well lead to an ever increasing overpopulation of sites on the maps as they are finished(or at least more time spent agonizing over what will and won't be included on the later map sections). I think of this as being funny rather than being a problem, though I don't expect to see this happen. Happy

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    Thu Nov 04, 2004 7:01 am  

    Quote:
    The old adventure locales are, well, old. Most people have explored them


    Other than the 1000s of new Greyhawkers, like CP.

    Quote:
    I view most of the more obscure locations as being information that your not completely inept adventurers could find out about from the local sage or from doing some research of their own.


    I agree, but not by simply looking at a MAP.

    Quote:
    Itís also a time for creating new locales and new adventures for them. While I love the old adventures, not much comes from dwelling on the past. It is time to create the present and future of Greyhawk. Some of these locations will fuel articles and/or adventures in Dragon or Dungeon magazine.


    You are 100% right, but are missing a crucial piece of thought.

    Let's take Ogremeet for example. Deffinately should be a secret locale for further adventuring and has never before been detailed, but it appears on an inside cover of a previously published product, so it will be on DUNGEON's new map.

    Furthermore, I'm not "dwelling on the past," as you so eloquently put it. There are hundreds of locales that have been named in the past, but not detailed which I have used or intend to, but the new map will give those locations away. That's why, for me, it will be a DMs only map.



    Thanks for being so open to somebody elses way of gaming. You deffinately have given me the impression that your views are superior as well as your livelyhood and attitude. Idea
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    Thu Nov 04, 2004 7:21 am  

    Samwise,

    I hope I did not come off as knocking the LGG in toto. I have repeatedly expressed my opinion that it is a fine work, very worthy of being considered canon by any measure. I don't retreat from that assessment. I'll go farther and say that it did what needed to be done at the time. It was not, however, an expansive work; it did not stray far from the straight and narrow of canon. That is my criticism of the LGG.

    You are correct to say I was unfair to Erik Mona. I over-dramatized and exaggerated to make the point that Mona is too much reliant on his knowledge of canon and insufficiently willing to spread his own, unique creative wings. I would see Erik Mona use his position to do more than document canon; I would see him create canon.

    The notation was made by Abysslin that Erik has shown his creativity outside of any official or professional capacity with specific reference to the nine imprisoned demi-gods. The more germane response is to note that I am criticizing his failure precisely in his official or professional capacity. The more specific response is to note that the nine demi-gods did not stray beyond canon; rather, it attempted to reconcile various intimations or suggestions from canon. I still wait to see Mr. Mona demonstrate that he has a personal conception of Greyhawk that is not almost entirely derivative of others work. Is he HPL or August Deleth? The tally to this point says Derleth. Is he Howard or DeCamp? Survey says, DeCamp.

    Your point, Samwise, that Erik's time may have passed to place his mark on Greyhawk may be correct. But I think it is still up to Mr. Mona.

    If I can play "fantasy uber-editor of Dragon and Dungeon" for just a moment, here's how I think Erik Mona could show he has some serious creative Greyhawk chops of his own:

    (1) Determine the zeitgeist for a new Greyhawk, what motivates or informs it?

    (2) Pick a date sufficiently advanced to not interfere with Living Greyhawk, yet close enough to the present to remain immediately recognizable and relevant. Say CY 616?

    (3) Develop a 6 Dungeon Magazine arc (one every other month for a year) of 3-4 page "background" pieces, written by Mr. Mona, that flesh out MonaHawk, and an accompanying adventure, not written by Mr. Mona necessarily, that plays off the development piece in that issue.

    (4) Develop two (one every six months) Dragon Magazine "cross-over" with the Greyhawk development pieces in the Dungeon. Maybe one at the end to conclude the arc.

    This would let Eric create MonaHawk under the present circumstances. The key to pulling this off would be three fold -

    (1) To be allowed to do this, Mona needs a really good zeitgeist or hook so that his bosses will let him do it. He also has to grab readers imaginations.

    (2) He may need a frame for the arc, an intital "time travel" angle (forward or backward), or what have you, to tie-in the CY 616 date. Compromises are sometimes necessary.

    (3) He needs guts, creative vision and a will to be more than the Greyhawk archivist.

    I think this or something similar would be possible, even easy once underway, but I will not hang by my neck waiting.

    I don't think Mr. Mona recognizes himself as a canonbound wonk. He probably thinks he is highly creative and has demonstrated this and is continuing to do so. He, thus, would see no need to proceed other than he is proceeding or even to consider other possibilities. He certainly will have a group of people telling him this, I'm sure.

    Eh. I'm a back-seat driver. I'm in good hands for all that because Mr. Mona knows his canon and even if all he ever does is rearrange the seating in the car, he will not run off the road. Erik is safe. I just think its a waste of opportunity and talent.

    My point, however, is not to give Erik Mona advice but to note an over-reliance on canon by individuals, a point upon which I think we agree to a fair degree. Mona just appears as a victim of the disease and a carrier of canon-fever: Typhoid-Erik.

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    Thu Nov 04, 2004 10:34 am  

    GVD:

    Of your first four points, the second has been suggested repeatedly, while the third and fourth were expressed to him by myself, albeit with an extra link to the RPGA and LG, two weeks ago during the chat.
    So in fact it would appear he is actively considering just what you'd like to see. Indeed if you looked at the Istivin article you will see that it promises to have additional adventures coming in future issues.

    Will it be what you want? Who knows.
    Will it be what I want? Maybe. The Istivin article looked promising, which is why I praised it, noting particularly how it addressed concerns and complaints I had raised in the past.
    But either way, I think you will soon be getting just what you are asking for.
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    Sat Nov 06, 2004 5:17 am  

    Back to the map topic, does anybody know if it will includes hexes?
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    Sun Nov 07, 2004 6:54 pm  

    Erik let us know that the map will have hexes on it.

    Abysslin: the map will function better as a DM's map, but even though there are thousands of new GH players out there, there are not thousands of shops that each have copies of the old adventures. While most of those can be found through svgames.com and the WOTC site, there are many people out there who are just not aware of all of the old material and where they can get most of it. Plus, the old adventures have little or no nostalgic value to such players either. Some new adventures would be very good for all of these new players, and they have been starting to appear in Dungeon more an more frequently.
    And besides, these maps will be appearing in Dungeon magazine, which puts them in the hands of dm's more likely than players in the first place. Was this done by design? I'd say yes. There should be some good stuff for campaign ideas though, and the map locales should create a lot of questions, questions which will most likely spawn further articles in Dungeon magazine(hint hint).

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    Mon Nov 08, 2004 6:23 am  

    WoW! I totally forgot about the hexes. That would be very helpful. However, I have a feeling that there will be no hexes on this one. The reason is that if as many locales and roads are on the map as say for example the new maps of Sterich in Dungeon #117, then the map would be crowded with too may lines. Too much to look at. Unless, the hex lines were an overlay and extremely faint... that would be cool.

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    Mon Nov 08, 2004 3:53 pm  

    A few things.

    The map will have hexes, faded back somewhat so that they don't interfere (much) with the overall map. Unfortunately, due to the way it's built, you won't really be able to work up specific hex locations until you have all four quadrants, but that's only a problem for this year.

    Also, all four quadrants were turned in at once, so the final quadrant will not benefit from more production time than the first quadrant received.

    The map is not exhaustive, though I have made every effort to ensure that it complies with published material to date. I was also mindful that the map would look like **** if it had nothing but writing on it, so a lot of minor locations have been left out, particularly from the "zoom in" maps a la "City of Greyhawk" or "From the Ashes." Ogremeet, you may rest assured, does not appear on the map. Understandably, the Domain of Greyhawk region is the most overmapped in the Flanaess, and the cartographer must proceed with caution.

    GVDammerung, who reminds me so much of my old friend MB Drapier from the AOL days, has listed some fairly cogent criticisms of my work for the setting. They are not, of course, unique to him, but have been voiced by others as well, notably our own Samwise (glad you liked Sterich, Sam!).

    The chiefmost criticism seems to be that I have not yet presented a vision of the Greyhawk setting that is uniquely mine, instead spending most of my time "tending the garden," so to speak. That criticism is, I think, both fair and unfair at the same time.

    It's easy to view the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, for example, as an exercise in continuity management and out-of-print book delving, and it was precisely that. When I was brought in by the RPGA to write that volume (later bringing in Gary, Fred, and Sean to assist), I knew that I had one chance to "get it right," it being the history and lore of the setting, which at the time was spread over dyvers nigh-impossible-to-find sources. In order for the organized play campaign to work, I needed to assemble all of that information in one tome and make it a cohesive whole, lest some obscure bit of Greyhawkiana slip through in year five of the campaign, catching everyone off guard. It also became clear to me that most in-house designers were not interested in working within the context of an established world, and would "design around" continuity simply to avoid having to read another book. The LGG, then, would limit the "required" source material to a single volume.

    It worked, to a point. In my opinion, the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer is the definitive Greyhawk History book. Its best quality, frankly, is that it need not be written again. Future treatments of the setting are free to be breezy, future-focused, and probably a lot more like the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting of a couple years ago, which does a much better job of establishing the "mood" of the setting while pretty much ignoring the history and details.

    You can argue whether or not that was the best tact to take at the time. Obviously, I thought it was then, although I confess that I would have preferred to advance the timeline to the year 600 (to pick a round number). That option was not available to us, however, as the campaign was to use the timeline introduced in the Roger Moore era, namely 591 CY. The "MonaHawk" you got via the LGG must be viewed through that filter. We set some balls in motion, but it was really more of a maintenence project than an out-and-out lauch of a complete campaign setting.

    And, obviously, political forces within the company were arrayed against us, which didn't make things any easier.

    As to work beyond the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, I am again in a somewhat delicate position. I find myself in the role of editor, rather than designer (although I have, on occasion, printed my own stuff). Further, Greyhawk is not actively supported by Wizards of the Coast at this time, so virtually everything I do must be under the auspices of contributing to the "core continuity" of the D&D game. As such, we'll be seeing Greyhawk articles as backdrops in Dungeon and Greyhawk locales as the settings for adventures in Dungeon. It is not within my power to publish a full treatment of the setting, least of all one written by me (as much as I'd like to contribute to such a project).

    I have not said my last word on Greyhawk by a long shot. I hope to one day have the chance to do Greyhawk strictly on my own terms, but that time is not today. And in any event, getting a proper map of the Flanaess seems like a decent stage one, doesn't it?

    --Erik Mona
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    Tue Nov 09, 2004 7:31 am  

    Thanks for the reply EM! The map is a great place to start. The Map alone is almost like a fresh start to the setting, and the map is the canvas for that setting. Keep up the good work - there are many of us out there who appreciate the work.

    .........................Omote
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    Tue Nov 09, 2004 2:10 pm  

    Omote wrote:
    Thanks for the reply EM! The map is a great place to start. The Map alone is almost like a fresh start to the setting, and the map is the canvas for that setting. Keep up the good work - there are many of us out there who appreciate the work.

    .........................Omote
    FPQ


    Omote,

    "there are many of us out there who appreciate the work." Suggesting that some of us do not?

    There is an appreciation for the map, sight as yet unseen, that may be distinguished from a critical eye turned toward other matters, which may include the map.

    The map is, no doubt, going to prove a welcome addition to every Greyhawker's working collection of material. It takes nothing away from this point, however, to note that the map also follows in a trend of "Greyhawk accounting" that may be called into question. If you mean to suggest that anything less than full-throated praise negates any "appreciation" of the map or the effort to produce it, you are mistaken. It is not a zero sum proposition. It is not a matter of being either "fer it" or "agin it." One can have an appreciation for the map and the work that goes into producing it and still be critical of a trend to which the map contributes.

    I look forward to the map and "appreciate" that it is being produced. My comments were directed to a "hyper-canonization" to which the map may be seen as contributing.

    Erik,

    I can appreciate your position as you explain it. I do not envy you being so constrained. I hope as well that you are given the opportunity to express your vision of Greyhawk more fully. In the meantime, I hope you will in smaller ways take those opportunities that present themselves for you to leave Greyhawk changed by your having passed by. Istivin was one such opportunity that I do not believe you took full advantage of. I hope you may choose to give yourself just a bit more leeway creatively in the future. Forgive me for encouraging you to be more adventurous, if I give offense. "The quality of mercy is not strained," so to speak.

    I find it curious that you are "glad" Samwise liked the piece for we both looked at it much the same, coming only to different conclusions from our appraisals. What you are "glad" for is that Samwise determined that your approach, however limited, was in accord with how he believes the matter was best handled. Taking nothing away from Samwise's opinion, I would caution being "glad" when anyone finds what you have written is "saying pretty much absolutely nothing that could prove an issue in that regard (conflicts with canon) (and is more) . . . a rephrasing of the material from the published sourcebooks . . . etc." My own reaction would be more akin to horror but to each their own. You did satisfy Samwise and a happy customer is something to be "glad" for. We may wish Samwise's opinion to be the more widely shared, as no doubt it will be voiced as I read the initial Paizo reaction. I will be content to be in the minority in such case. Just be clear on the terms, as Samwise so well put them - "saying pretty much absolutely nothing . . . a rephrasing of the material from the published sourcebooks. . ." I tip my cap then to Samwise for carrying the day and with such eloquence.

    I will take your reference to "my old friend MB Drapier from the AOL days" as a kindness that you phrase it so and thank you for it. I will address the broader issue of "the old AOL GH folder" in a separate post, not directed specifically to you but more generally, as I have either read or head frequent enough reference to the "legend" of AOL to be moved to comment.

    After our chat of the other Thursday or so, it is a pleasure to renew our acquaintance in these folders.

    GVD
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    Tue Nov 09, 2004 2:30 pm  

    Sam has been, as he points out above, relatively critical of my work of late, especially in the Thursday chat. Perhaps, more to the point, he has grown to expect less of my efforts than I would hope. That he seems to have enjoyed my part in the Istivin article, however small, makes me "glad" in that context.

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    Thu Nov 11, 2004 9:27 pm  

    A few quick notes -

    GVD - MB Drapier was a cool guy. Consider yourself complimented.

    I'll brave the danger of being labelled a yes-man and say I appreciate Erik's handling of GH the past few years. I saw the LGG, and much of the more recent material, as necessary maintenance -- keeping GH in the public eye, and collecting "canon" from, as Erik put it "dyvers" sources. He simply has not had the stage or (professional) support from which to launch an all-out GH recreation (which I'd love to see.)

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    Fri Nov 12, 2004 6:21 pm  

    Well let me chime back in.

    My main complaint in regards to what has been discussed regarding GH development in Dragon and Dungeon magazines has been the possibility of ignoring or miniminizing developments from the LG campaign. Indeed I was the "victim", to be overly dramatic about the whole thing, of what was the first conflict between LG development and an LGJ article. (Written of course by Gary Holian just to add even more to the list of people I've told off for trashing on LG to benefit the magazines and their own development priorities.) I can not stress how much I oppose the attitude, never mind the action, and I've been more than "excessive" in making that known to Erik.
    So while it may seem that "saying much of nothing" is a back handed compliment, it isn't in this case. It reflects achieving a near impossible task - creating new material without contradicting existing, possibly opposing, material being developed with limited control and often less quality control than it should be. Still, I don't believe the developments from LG should be marginalized, as all too many express, nor do I think other developments of past authors should be casually overthrown because another is suddenly returning. (The whole Robilar issue from a few months back.) There is a definite talent to such writing, particularly when dealing with GH fans who hate everything.
    So I very much applaud the work of the Istivin article. I applaud the selection of a location unaffected by LG development. I applaud the presentation of the location in a manner that will not be in conflict with LG development. I applaud the appearance of something that can function with both "core" GH and LG. Whatever Erik wrote for the article, as editor he is responsible for those elements, and that effort I recognize. And I want to be clear that this is what I want to see more of in the future. I may be a pain, but I give credit where it is due, and it is due here.
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    Sat Nov 13, 2004 6:25 pm  

    Nellisir wrote:
    A few quick notes -

    GVD - MB Drapier was a cool guy. Consider yourself complimented.

    I'll brave the danger of being labelled a yes-man and say I appreciate Erik's handling of GH the past few years. I saw the LGG, and much of the more recent material, as necessary maintenance -- keeping GH in the public eye, and collecting "canon" from, as Erik put it "dyvers" sources. He simply has not had the stage or (professional) support from which to launch an all-out GH recreation (which I'd love to see.)

    Cheers
    Nell.


    Thank you! I consider myself complimented. Happy

    I want to make clear that I am not a "Mona-basher." I appreciate some of the things he has done, most notably the LGG. I also appreciate that we are seeing Greyhawk material in the Dungeon and, maybe now, the Dragon. While I find some of what he has been involved with less than to my taste or different than what I would like to have seen or what I would have done had I been in his position (and knowing precious little of what that might actually mean), I cannot say that Mr. Mona has ever, IMO, "screwed up" or done something "wrong." It is a difference over details and approaches.

    Of course, it is possible in any discussion to see small matters apparently magnified. That does not mean they were large to begin with or have grown large. It is, rather, a function of a focused discussion.

    At the same time, people (I think) tend to remember more what rubbed them the wrong way and tend more to forget matters that were satisfactory or basically pleasing, remembering positives only when they are fairly significant. This tends to color matters, too.

    If I have one thing to say that borders on significant "criticism," it relates not to what has been done but what might be done. It is not true criticism in an absolute sense but more a desire to see Mr. Mona aspire to more than he has achieved thus far. I say its not really criticism because I am encouraging a greater striving toward a vision he, not I or anyone else, will define. That I carp that this hasn't yet happened (IMO) makes it easy enough to say that it is "criticism," and it is a kind of criticism by that measure, but the ultimate impulse and aim is not critical but aspirational. In the final analysis, I am on Mr. Mona's side (I think) for I believe he has more Greyhawk chops than he has yet fully shown. I look forward to seeing him cut loose.

    GVD
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    Sat Nov 13, 2004 6:58 pm  

    Samwise wrote:
    Well let me chime back in.

    My main complaint in regards to what has been discussed regarding GH development in Dragon and Dungeon magazines has been the possibility of ignoring or miniminizing developments from the LG campaign. . . . I can not stress how much I oppose the attitude, never mind the action, and I've been more than "excessive" in making that known to Erik. . . .
    Still, I don't believe the developments from LG should be marginalized, as all too many express, nor do I think other developments of past authors should be casually overthrown because another is suddenly returning. (The whole Robilar issue from a few months back.)


    Hi Samwise,

    I find myself oddly in agreement with respect to how LG developments should or might be regarded or handled. I say "oddly" because I have never found LG to my particular taste and have been less than enthusiastic about some of the storylines I have heard about (e.g. Ether-threat & Isles of Woe).

    What has come to dawn on me is that LG _IS_ Greyhawk to thousands and _WILL BE_ Greyhawk to them after the LG passes away into history some day.

    If one stops to think about that, whatever one may think about individual developments in LG (I personally think killing King Skotti is a fantastic and long overdue development), it is a sobbering thought.

    It is not news that our hobby is graying. I was in one of my local FLGSs, the proprietor of which is a long time friend, and we got to talking about who is buying what. Younger people buy cards and miniatures, particularly Warhammer, it seems. Most rpgs are purchased by older gamers. In this particular store, there was not seen a lot of migration over time from cards and minis to eventual roleplaying. The groups tended to remain distinct.

    Given that our hobby is graying, how much more is Greyhawk graying. Of course, new people will come to play in Greyhawk but their numbers are likely to be proportional.

    LG is something of a unique opportunity for Greyhawk. It has brought thousands of non-Greyhawkers to Greyhawk's table. They should not be allowed to drift away, now or when LG terminates.

    Having some respect for LG and LG players must be part of the equation, I think. Part of having such respect means allowing for LG events to have some meaningful role in the ongoing development of Greyhawk as a setting. Maybe not all LG developments are adopted verbatim as Greyhawk "fact," but some probably should be. It is not a zero sum proposition. It should not be all or nothing, IMO.

    I still have no particular love for LG or those storylines of which I have head tell. Except for the wonderful killing of King Skotti! Die, Skotti, die! Happy But I think I have been wrong to dismiss the LG as generally as I have and for very practical reasons. LG is new and continuing life for Greyhawk, bucking the graying trend with numbers if not years but maybe years too, I do not know. But all that can be lost if "true" Greyhawkers condescend to or dismiss LG events out of hand, or even for very good reason in some cases.

    There needs to be a reproachment and entente entered into immediately between those critical of the LG and those involved with it, if this has not already occurred. This does not mean unthinking acceptance of everything LG but it means respect and a willingness to incorporate some LG developments as ::gulp:: "canon."

    I think a good step might be for some of those people active in the LG to draw up an LG timeline and submit it to the Dungeon for editing and publication. It would fall to Mr. Mona to decide what to print of the timeline ("heavy is the head that wears the crown"). This would "canonize" the events described on the timeline. For some this might be a pill to swallow; Greyhawk (I believe) needs the cure.

    GVD
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