It is very apparent that D&D is not your father's and certainly not your grandfather's game anymore.
The advent of new base classes - like the Hexblade and Warlock - prestige classes - like the Green Star Adept and the Void Disciple - races -like the Illumin (Illuminati, as we call them) - all signal a very different game.
Sure. You can "fit" these into existing Greyhawk and say that no one ever noticed them before but I think that argument gets progressively harder to make with more and more changes of significance.
You could also "ignore" the changes, just not use what is being produced that doesn't fit "Greyhawk Classic." Personally, I think every one of the above races, prestige classes and races are pretty cool. I don't like ignoring cool stuff.
Maybe the easiest way to work in these new elements is in new, non-Flanaess locations. Or have some event in the Flanaess that would introduce them in an organic way.
I think I'm going to go the last route in the main. Anybody have other thoughts or have gotten farther with actual implementation?
Never could quite get myself to like Spelljammer. Sounds like the D&D equivalent of the Shogun of Harlem's instrumental sidekick from Break'n 2: Electric Boogaloo.
I never liked the crystal spheres, and the delineation made between them and the different planes of existence. I have used the spelljammer ships (though they were not called "spelljammer ships") solely for the Githyanki and the Illithids on the Astral Plane, as an invention of the Illithids which also became known to their one-time slaves. I have defined them as being primarily gigantic psychically imbued constructs that allow a pilot with psionic ability or arcane spellcasting ability, to pilot them, though a psionicist has a greater ability to do so. The ships did have the ability to travel the planes through larger color pools, but they were not showing up everywhere. None have been sighted yet on the prime in my campaign, though legends tell of a flying ship that came to ground in the Barrier Peaks long ago. Hmmm. Characters in my campaign have been to the Astral Plane once, and did see two such ships there.
As to the point of this thread, all of the new material that opens up the range of possibilities for characters in D&D goes against a lot of what was written for the game, including Greyhawk. By this I mean that a DM could now allow dwarven mages to populate the land for instance(though a DM could have decided to do this before too). There are many new class and race options that to me cross the line with regard to my campaign. I for one do not want dwarven mages suddenly appearing where before there were none.
With all of these changes, particularly with regards to having all classes open to all races, I had to go through them and decide what I would and would not allow for my campaign. I didn't want dwarven mages suddenly pouring forth from strongholds. I didn't want dwarven mages at all. The bard was a class that I wanted to make available to all races, with a few changes. Dwarven bards would have a special spell list made up of mostly divine magic, as would halflings and 1/2 orcs. These three races were to have bards that were different than the others, their bards being more empowered as protectors of their races' heritage.
Any humanoid race that had witch doctors previously, or now adepts, I would allow to have levels in sorcerer or wizard. I would allow most races to have paladins of some kind. The various articles on paladins of various alignments helped sway my decision in this. The various options would be slightly tailored along racial lines and to suit the deity in question. Anyone could be a barbarian under the proper circumstances. All races would be allowed to have clerics, fighters, and rogues as before.
Those were the major issues that I immediately decided upon.
With regard to completely new races and classes, GVD has a good idea of introducing them in non-Flanaess locales. They could originate from other planes, not very well explored areas of Oerth, such as Blackmoor, the western lands beyond the Baklunish states, or within exotic locales such as the Fading lands. Fading lands demi-planes could be the last refuge of an ancient cabal of hexblades, or the last refuge of Ilumin who fled their home plane just before its destruction. The race of Stonechildren could be found deep in the underdark. Green star adepts (feel free to changes the class to ebon star adepts, blue star adepts, red star adepts, etc. and give them varying powers if you want to) could originate from anywhere. They need not also be changed by drinking the concoction of meteorite dust. An amethyst star adept might have imbibed an infusion made of scrapings form The Purple Stone found in Maure Castle! You'd just have to decide what class abilities that would give the individual. This is one class I see lots of potential for.
I am ignoring much of the lifting of race/class restrictions in the new edition. I like there being some major differences between the races. The completely brand new stuff I can usually find a use for. Even Ebberon stuff. The artificer makes a great gnome class; with a bit of modification I allow it for dwarves also. The warforged fit perfectly as the native inhabitants of Acheron, with the outsider template added to them and an alignment of lawful neutral. Changelings make great Scarlet Brotherhood agents, who are known for their monster breeding programs. Who else but the Scarlet Brotherhood is more suited to have successfully crossed a doppleganger with some other human or demi-human race? I like that one in particular.
The description of anything can be changed to better suit Greyhawk, sometimes without altering the actual game mechanics of the thing in question.
I have to agree with GVD on this one. The numerous options available IMO only enhance the game. (As always it is up to the DM to decide what he/she wants to include/exclude.)
While, I do not want a bunch of Dwarven Mages pouring forth throughout GH eithee; I do find that most players' preconceived conceptions/stereotypes lend to instances like this being mitigated. In addition, it is amazing what a DM can limit through gameplay. If my players want to follow a certain class/prestige it has to present itself in the game, and boy can some of those be hard to achieve. (I still have a sorcerer running after every clue looking for a Dragon to help him find his true form, much to the chagrin of 4 other now deceased PCs.)
Explanations in the world of GH can abound for anything from anywhere. There is no harm in lack of explanation as well. Sometimes, mystery, especially for the PC involved, can go a long way in advancing storylines, adding new twists, and lending to enviroment. I believe the best part of RPGs has/will always be the imagination of "what is around the next corner".
I would say this however, although I am not one to harp much on the absolute need for cannon releases to update the world. With all of the new class/prestige possibilities, it would be nice to have some small cannon release that would update the major NPCs in 3.xE form. If for nothing else, but continuity.
There is enough completely new material to create a new continent that had nothing Flanish(ie core races and classes). The resulting culrure shock on both sides would be amazing. _________________ I am the thought you are now thinking.
"The trees are our ancestors."----Otto Von Bismark
Might as well transplant Mystara (or whatever) into the west.
It will take a very competent writing team to introduce new material that has a Greyhawk feel to it, and that has little or nothing to do with the Flanaess. The Chainmail game background failed miserably imo, but as I was to find out, there were many reasons for that. I've talked to a few people in the know that said the Chainmail project had too many chiefs and not enough Indians, and all the chiefs (belonging to three separate "political" groups within WOTC) wanted something different while others changed their minds, and the project focus, more than once. The end result was rather shoddy, and from their view it is better forgotten by many people who worked on the project. Many people involved in that project ended up leaving the company right afterwards, or were re-assigned for various reasons. The whole project was described as being "not very pleasant". This sentiment was shared by all three of the people I have spoken with about it.
Having asked some of the team members why they didn't focus Chainmail on the existing continent of the Flanaess, they said they would have liked to, and were working towards that at one point, but the focus was changed. There would have been so many figures that could have been done. I would have probably sculpted a few of them myself.
***Others may have different perspectives on the whole Chainmail project, and even though I do not take what I have heard as being 100% totally correct (as I wasn't there), but I have had most of it verified by two different sources who were with the company or worked on the project at the time. Others who might read this may certainly know more, but I do not intend this as a finger pointing post, hence no names are mentioned(lets keep the business as friendly as possible). I really do not intend for others to expand on this unless they feel a need to. My overall impression was that sometimes too much interest in a project on the part of multiple parties can ruin the whole thing. ***
The main problem is that we are all left with what is accepted as canon material, but that is relatively shoddy material.
That is my harsh opinion. RIP Chainmail.
Writers should tread very carefully if they are considering writing up what would be considered canon material on a whole other continent of Oerik. Somebody is also responsible for approving the final material, so their decisions are very important also. Don't approve poo. If it is poo, use it to fertilize and grow something worth the time, money and effort of those involved. That being said, I think there are a few decent writers on staff at WOTC, and there are a few more right here at Canonfire that I wouldn't mind seeing involved with such a project.
In my game, all the new races, classes, pretige classes don't change much at all. I like to break it down to story vs. mechanics. In my ad&d game, we pretty much lifted most of the race/class restrictions long ago (1988+/-), so it is not such a problem for me.
However, my standing rule is that change is ok, but it must come with story. Good story. My players are allowed extreme flexibility, so long as they provide sufficient story.
Socerers were easy. IMC, they were always there, just not open for PC classes, for those who remember they could not play sorcerers before. There are several old enough, they just don't see it as a list of problems. The Greyhawk wars disturb them more. They liked the '83 folio.
I saw a thread several weeks ago, concerning Derro, (i think derro) and why they could not have clerics. Why not? Cause the story says so man! You want logic, play Top Secret. This is D&D. Where you cast spells, and move in 5 ft. increments.
So, I agree completely, much of the new stuff is cool, and not just from WOTC, but all the other OGL providers. But, I only have 5 players, so there isn't a great deal that will get introduced. They just can't write a believable story for the 50th level, half troll/half celestial paragon/paladin of freedom/ blackguard, who wants to be druid with a psuedo dragon familiar and dire bear companion.
So I say to my players, "new stuff... what ever you want. Just write a story that a) I can believe and b) does not reshape the Flaness for your convienance." It's too much work generally, and it becomes a self limiting proposition.
Might as well transplant Mystara (or whatever) into the west.
It will take a very competent writing team to introduce new material that has a Greyhawk feel to it, and that has little or nothing to do with the Flanaess. . . .
Writers should tread very carefully if they are considering writing up what would be considered canon material on a whole other continent of Oerik. Somebody is also responsible for approving the final material, so their decisions are very important also. Don't approve poo. If it is poo, use it to fertilize and grow something worth the time, money and effort of those involved.
This question has pestered me for quite some time. I want to avoid any discussion of "what is Greyhawk" or "what makes Greyhawk, Greyhawk" because I think any answer to such a question is variable, depending on when it is asked, and because I think any answer avoids, rather than engages, the real heart of the matter.
The Flanaess is, for the most part, the World of Greyhawk. I don't think any further definition is really needed or meaningful in the context of considering developing areas outside the Flanaess. When considering developing areas outside the Flanaess, I think the question boils down to - what is the connection between this new area and the Flanaess? We know the Flanaess "feels" right.
I take it as given that the design needs to be well written, inventive and interesting - not "poo" as Cebrion put it. But what beyond that?
If there is no connection to the Flanaess, isn't the material just as easily placed anywhere as on Oerth? I think one can make this argument.
Turning it around, if the new area is heavily dependent on the Flanaess, is it more than warmed over Flanaess? Maybe. I think it would depend on the details.
I have heard Oerik usefully described as consisting of the East, Near West (Baklunish Lands and areas bordering on the Tyurzi Mountain Range) and Far West. Of course, this ignores the Far North and Far South. In each instance, however, the border regions between known and unknown seem most ripe for fruitful development. Call this the borderland approach. Because of the borderlands effect, something of the Flanaess can have leeched over into the new lands. In the western areas, this might be migrating Suel and Baklunish going west instead of east and encountering indigenous inhabitants. This would, then, leave out the Flan and Oeridians for the most part, I would think. Does this "feel" right? Is that enough? Migrating Suel and Baklunish but otherwise details wholly unconnected to the Flanaess?
An alternative approach might be called stylistic. Ignore details at first and focus on style. The Flanaess is a mishmash of Tolkien, Lieber, Vance with a trace of Howard, IMO. So can we say a Hyperborea developed along CASmith lines would "feel" right? IMC, I have done this. The variables here are going to be numerous depending on which style combinations tickle your fancy. If we get a nice fitting style, forget the details for a moment, is that enough?
A third approach might be called the pseudo-historic and is, I think, exemplified in the Dragon Annual map of Oerik. We have a pseudo-China, pseudo-Japan, pseudo-India and pseudo-Egypt. Will recast but easily placeable real world cultures "feel" right?
I have no answers but if anyone has ideas, I'd love to have a discussion.
One of the reasons I "converted" to Greyhawk was because of the setting's ability to be all-encompassing, yet simple (that and the classic sword and sorcery feel that FR seems to have lost in its new incarnation). If I recall, anything that was "new" to D&D/AD&D back in the day found a home in GH. Even the oriental continent of Kara-Tur, which was later moved to FR.
I'm all for making a campaign world your own. One shouldn't worry about whether they'll mess with canon if the changes feel right (and make a little sense). For example: I decided to include the samurai class from Complete Warrior. "Nonsense!", you say. "There are no samurai in the Flanaess! Next you'll tell me that there are crashed alien spaceships in the Barrier Peaks! Ha!" True, there are no "samurai" in the Flanaess. However, in the far West, Baklunish "mamelukes" lay down their lives for their lords. They are known for their large tulwars (bastard swords), which they can wield with one hand. Eastward, in the remnants of the once Great Kingdom, some lords of militaristic noble houses have "retainers" which are trained from a very young age (some say in Hextorian temples) to become the ultimate loyal warriors.
See where I'm going with this?
D&D keeps growing and changing. Perhaps not for the better in some cases, but don't you think GH should grow and change with it? Its position as an unsupported world makes it perfect for inserting your own material...you'll never have to worry about conflicts with new published material. Furthermore, its position as the default world makes sure it will never truly go away. So make up wild tales and have bucketloads of fun. Isn't that what D&D is all about?
(For the record, I would like to see a nicely done, hardcover World of Greyhawk book made for v3.5. And you know, I think it might actually happen someday ) _________________ "Quos deus vult perdere prius dementat (Those whom a god wishes to destroy he first drives mad)"
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