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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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    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 30, 2007
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    Tue Jul 24, 2007 8:30 am  
    Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk

    This is coming out next month. Anyone planning on getting it?

    Erik Mona was interviewed in the first issue of Kolbold Quarterly and a fair bit of the talking was about his work on Expedition.

    What got me interested was that they were going to be doing stuff with Rary the Traitor and Lord Rolibar, and explaining just why Rolibar really went and betrayed all his pals in the Circle of Eight. I wasn't arround then this stuff was going down, but I gather that this is something that may be called a 'Big Deal'.

    He also goes on about Greyhawk in general and the ups and downs of publishing.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Tue Jul 24, 2007 9:53 am  

    plan on getting it, whether I plan on running it anytime soon is another question. I hear that it might try to fix some of the Robilar stuff (it was an assassin in disguise? Mind control? one can only hope). Let's face it they aren't putting out that much official Greyhawk stuff and if we show it some support maybe they will start publishing it again rather than it being generic D&D.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Tue Jul 24, 2007 10:59 am  

    Have had this pre-ordered on Amazon for 3-4 months and can't wait. Have to say that Iquander's involvement alone would make me buy it. No one does Grehawk better IMHO.
    Forum Moderator

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    Tue Jul 24, 2007 11:24 am  

    I am eager to find all the easter eggs and set off all the GH bombs in that book. August can't come soon enough.
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Jul 24, 2007 12:14 pm  

    Got the autographed copy preordered from Paizo. Can't wait to set this one off.

    To any of my players reading this: You know my rule - no fudging, no giveaways, no pulled punches. Your doom awaits. Wink
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Tue Jul 24, 2007 4:15 pm  

    Still buying Castle Zagyg instead.
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    Julian<div><br /></div><div><br /></div>
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    Tue Jul 24, 2007 7:40 pm  

    Living Greyhawk is adapting it for their use as well, including a series of adventures to take characters from 1st to 5th to prepare them for it (it starts with 8th level I believe.

    Here is the Rules LG is planning on using


    .
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Jul 24, 2007 11:34 pm  
    Re: Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk

    DavidBedlam wrote:
    What got me interested was that they were going to be doing stuff with Rary the Traitor and Lord Rolibar, and explaining just why Rolibar really went and betrayed all his pals in the Circle of Eight. I wasn't arround then this stuff was going down, but I gather that this is something that may be called a 'Big Deal'.


    Indeed. I' m looking forward what they will do with that. I think Mona will stick to Rob Kuntz's own retcon concerning Robilar, i.e. the evil clone story. The question is how does he justify Rary's behaviour...
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    Wed Jul 25, 2007 3:24 am  

    It's probably just coincidence, but I always found it interesting that when Rary turned traitor, Mordenkainen condemned his with a speech that was almost a word-for word duplicate of Hanse Davion's condemnation of Justin Allard in Mike Stackpole's Warrior Trilogy novels for Battletech.
    "He shall no longer be known as Rary the Archmage. He shall be known as Rary the Traitor."
    "He will no longer be known as Justin Allard. He will be known as Justin Xiang."

    In the case of the Warrior trilogy, the entire treason was an elaborate multi-year espionage mission so Allard could infiltrate a powerful enemy nation and then sabotage their war efforts from the inside.

    So when Rary first turned traitor, I expected him to soon be forging an alliance with Iuz or the Scarlet Brotherhood.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 25, 2007 4:24 am  

    Say, just what was the given reason as to why Rary went and burnt (or meteor swarmed) his bridges with the Circle of Eight?
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 25, 2007 8:16 am  

    Oh, yea, I've been playing in and out of Greyhawk for about 25 years now and as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't get any bigger than this. I'm not comfortable with the size of Castle Greyhawk versus one 224 page book, I think that one book should cover about 3-4 levels with a overall plot mixed in with as much original Gygax material as possible. Then the following year, publish a second volume for the next few levels with a new plot line, but still retaining a thread from the 1st book. This should be repeated until we have the entire castle available. Regretfully, anything like this is pretty much impossible until Wizards of the Coast is out of the picture.

    My players (wife and daughter) can't wait. We just started the Expidition to Ravenloft, Expidition to the Ruins of Greyhawk is next.

    Recommend every Greyhawker get one, the greater the sales, the more likely Wizards will remember us.

    EileenProophetofIstus
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    Wed Jul 25, 2007 1:48 pm  
    Re: Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk

    Thanael wrote:
    The question is how does he justify Rary's behaviour...


    If I'm reading the following quote from Kobold Quarterly right, Mona, through Expedition to the Ruins is going to give us a twofer -- a justification of both Robilar AND Rary's behaviors:

    Mona Interview wrote:
    If you're looking at the neutrality of the Circle of Eight, then can you wonder why Rary would betray them? Is it just because there's some magical crown buried in the sand, the pat answer given in the product? Or might there be more to it? Might he be rebelling against some evil that Mordenkainen is doing?


    I wonder if this means, perhaps, that the usual stereotype of Greyhawk good v. evil post-FTA is going to be turned on its head, with Rary and Robilar as the good guys fighting against Mordenkainen and at least some of the Circle who may end up being the villains of the piece...

    Now, I can't wait for this mod to arrive in the mail at all. This promises to be good. My one hope, though, after seeing Undermountain, Demonweb Pits and Shadowdale is that they jettison the format of linked Minis scenarios glued together with RP encounters.
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    Wed Jul 25, 2007 2:01 pm  

    EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
    I'm not comfortable with the size of Castle Greyhawk versus one 224 page book

    From "First Watch in the penultimate issue of Dragon:
    Dragon #358 wrote:
    Since detailing the entire dungeon was unrealistic, the authors treated it like wilderness terrain, with several random monster charts each themed to a level of the dungeon.

    But note:
    Dragon #358 wrote:
    Of top importance was preserving continuity with previous editions, especially maps, encounters and themes from earlier versions of Castle Greyhawk.

    So I guess owning Greyhawk Ruins will be a bonus.

    And:
    Dragon #358 wrote:
    ...we brought in other adventures...using two in particular-Isle of the Ape and Dungeonland.

    Dragon #358 wrote:
    ...one-third of the story is in the Free City itself.
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    Wed Jul 25, 2007 4:26 pm  

    chatdemon wrote:
    Julian_Grimm wrote:
    Still buying Castle Zagyg instead.


    Yes, of course, wouldn't want to get kicked out of the Gygax fanclub now, would we?



    Uhh no. I just don't play 3e and see no need getting it.
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    Julian<div><br /></div><div><br /></div>
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    Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:08 pm  
    Re: Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk

    Ever so positive chatdemon, huh? Call me childish but I like the idea. With all the canon clones from Vecna Lives! around why is one more clone so bad? And there had to be a story of a clone-gone-bad somewhere. I find it somehow classical and very old school D&D.
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    Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:49 pm  

    I am very excited for this product. Having never had the chance to play or DM in the great dungeon in previous editions (just never happened for some reason) I am looking forward for my chance. I particularily like the idea that it can be dropped into an existing campaign as a series of linked side-trek type adventures with a big conculsion. For me that makes it a valuable resource.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Thu Jul 26, 2007 5:55 am  

    Ah. I remember your version, and in fact I quite like it. And I agree with you on the Tasha arguments. (Who is Erik's Tasha again, and from what source?)

    I'll have to reread the WoTC thread...
    Adept Greytalker

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    Thu Jul 26, 2007 7:20 am  
    Re: Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk

    chatdemon wrote:
    Thanael wrote:

    Indeed. I' m looking forward what they will do with that. I think Mona will stick to Rob Kuntz's own retcon concerning Robilar, i.e. the evil clone story. T


    For the record, in Greytalk chat, Erik stated at the time Rob suggested that crap that it would never see print as canon. If, as stated, continuity is a goal, expect the story to expand on Rary the Traitor, not Rob's exercises in grade school creative writing.


    Yes, that's what i gathered from the KQ interview too. I should have written I wonder wether Mona will stick to Rob Kuntz's retcon.
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    Fri Jul 27, 2007 8:20 am  

    Henraldo wrote:
    plan on getting it, whether I plan on running it anytime soon is another question. I hear that it might try to fix some of the Robilar stuff (it was an assassin in disguise? Mind control? one can only hope). Let's face it they aren't putting out that much official Greyhawk stuff and if we show it some support maybe they will start publishing it again rather than it being generic D&D.


    That's true enough - I don't think Greyhawk has been near and dear to the hearts of WoTC for quite some time now. Which is odd, since the Living Greyhawk folks have really done a great job of keeping the product line alive. Give the existence of a nation wide fan organization that not only plays the game but produces it's own material - well, you'd figure that WoTC would find that sort of thing worth investigating and maybe exploiting. I guess that 'gleemax' crap is the future of gaming tho.

    That aside, paizo did a fairly good job of producing material for those of us who aren't fortunate enough to be on the living greyhawk mailing list.
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    Fri Jul 27, 2007 11:12 am  

    Julian_Grimm wrote:
    Still buying Castle Zagyg instead.


    Well, let's see. In order of appearance:

    Castle Greyhawk the First - Greyhawk Ruins WGR1 (TSR).
    Castle Greyhawk the Second - Castle Zagig (Troll Lords w/ EGG)
    Castle Greyhawk the Third - Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk (Wotc)
    Castle Greyhawk the Fourth - The Lake Geneva Castle & Campaign
    (Pied Piper Publishing w/ RJK)

    I don't feel a need to choose up sides; I want them all. Happy

    Note - I intentionally left out "Funny Castle Greyhawk" but its a fifth iteration if you want to count it.
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    GVD
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    Fri Jul 27, 2007 11:15 am  

    GVDammerung wrote:

    Note - I intentionally left out "Funny Castle Greyhawk" but its a fifth iteration if you want to count it.


    Good thinking! That book is practically a cursed item. The Castle Greyhawk of Silliness and Rubbish -1

    Wink
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    Fri Jul 27, 2007 11:23 am  

    weaver95 wrote:

    That aside, paizo did a fairly good job of producing material for those of us who aren't fortunate enough to be on the living greyhawk mailing list.


    The LG mailing list has no content, it's a discussion list for play related issues, rules questions/arguments and player correspondence.

    If you want to visit the LG regional websites to see what content they do have, check out the WotC LG page for a directory:

    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=lg/region/regionsystem

    Oh, and if you really want to join:

    http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/Living_Greyhawk/

    That's the LG mailing list, anyone can join for free. No luck required.
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    Fri Jul 27, 2007 12:08 pm  
    Re: Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk

    chatdemon wrote:
    If there turns out to be anything the least bit creative or original in this book, let me know. Given the track record of the authors, I'm not expecting such.


    Heaven knows I think Erik Mona has let slip as many opportunities to enrich GH as he has grasped such opportunities. Part of that, I think, is directly attributable to the terms and conditions Wotc imposed upon Paizo, and will have likely imposed upon Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, and such would thus be beyond Erik's control. I also think there is another factor working here which may be identified in the above quote albeit in sidelong, perjorative terms.

    To first state the obvious, Erik Mona has been the custodian of Greyhawk since the advent of 3rd Edition D&D. I feel comfortable saying Erik chose to assume this mantle and I feel as comfortable saying that any number of fans thrust that mantle ever more upon him. Allowing then that Erik has been the custodian of Greyhawk, as a GH fan I have watched his work and that done under his aegis with interest. In that process, I have formed a theory as to why he has sometimes proceedes in ways that I would not have chosen to proceed, leaving to one side the aforementioned demands of Wotc.

    Erik enjoys a different sort of game than I do. Erik is not everyman's Greyhawk DM, and while not put to the question to my knowledge, I doubt he would claim to be or claim to be trying to be everyman's DM. I rather suspect he would assert just the opposite - that he is following his best judgment which reflects his thoughts on what makes for good Greyhawk material and good gaming materialmore generally. And the unstated premise or coda, your choice, is that Erik has achieved a position where he can do this. He can do as he pleases within Wotc's demands. He can indulge himself and his conception of what makes good Greyhawk material. While in my book what he has done or overseen is 60/40 positive/negative, that reflects my view of Greyhawk as opposed to his. Which is neither here nor there, neither right nor wrong. It is instead a difference between DMs one of which, Erik, has achieved a position where the IP holder lets him publish as canon that which appeals to him.

    I don't believe in gimmes and I don't think anyone gave Erik his present position. I think he worked for it and was recognized for his good work. As such, there is more than a little justice in Erik being able to indulge himself with Greyhawk to the extent Wotc will allow. He has earned that perogative. To the extent I disagree with things Erik has done or overseen, I see it as simply a legitimate difference of opinion and approach. I do not see it as indicative of any failing on Erik's part, as I did at one time.

    All this said, I think there is an overlay to everything we have seen from Erik's workship. This overlay is his maturation as a gaming professional. I feel comfortable saying I think that when Erik started working in game publishing he was as much GH fan as game publishing professional. I think that has now reversed and that he is as much if not more game publishing professional as Greyhawk fan. This is not to denigrate Erik's Greyhawk chops but to acknowledge that success in game publishing demands much, much more than just Greyhawk chops. To succeed as Erik has succeeded, I believe he had to broaden himself beyond Greyhawk.

    Ultimately, rather than castigate, I think it is better to see things more as legitimate differences in taste. Noting the divergence is always appropriate but allowing that to become something sore is IMO not.
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    Fri Jul 27, 2007 5:41 pm  

    MichaelSandar wrote:
    GVDammerung wrote:

    Note - I intentionally left out "Funny Castle Greyhawk" but its a fifth iteration if you want to count it.


    Good thinking! That book is practically a cursed item. The Castle Greyhawk of Silliness and Rubbish -1

    Wink


    I never understood why or how that one got printed.
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    Fri Jul 27, 2007 6:09 pm  

    chatdemon wrote:
    weaver95 wrote:

    That aside, paizo did a fairly good job of producing material for those of us who aren't fortunate enough to be on the living greyhawk mailing list.


    The LG mailing list has no content, it's a discussion list for play related issues, rules questions/arguments and player correspondence.

    If you want to visit the LG regional websites to see what content they do have, check out the WotC LG page for a directory:

    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=lg/region/regionsystem

    Oh, and if you really want to join:

    http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/Living_Greyhawk/

    That's the LG mailing list, anyone can join for free. No luck required.


    While I appreciate the thought, LG ain't the organization for me. Their view of Greyhawk isn't a gritty as mine. I can't sign on board with any campaign (no matter how well organized) that won't allow me to at least run a neutral character. I can see why you'd ban evil alignments, but c'mon! Neutral alignments aren't a problem.

    Anyways, it's their show and they run it well. I certainly don't expect them to change just to suit MY opinion(s).
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Fri Aug 03, 2007 9:13 am  
    Re: Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk

    GVDammerung wrote:
    All this said, I think there is an overlay to everything we have seen from Erik's workship. This overlay is his maturation as a gaming professional. I feel comfortable saying I think that when Erik started working in game publishing he was as much GH fan as game publishing professional. I think that has now reversed and that he is as much if not more game publishing professional as Greyhawk fan. This is not to denigrate Erik's Greyhawk chops but to acknowledge that success in game publishing demands much, much more than just Greyhawk chops. To succeed as Erik has succeeded, I believe he had to broaden himself beyond Greyhawk.


    I think that's accurate and fair.

    The adventure, incidentally, involves Robilar fairly heavily but does not tie up all (or perhaps even any) of the Rary issue. I think Rich's idea of the whole thing being ginned up by Mordenkainen is a good one, and would be ok with something like that being codified in "canon" (which, alas, is no longer my responsibility). In my own games Rary is very much a peripheral character, but I've toyed with the idea that he and Robilar are really the good guys and Mordenkainen is really the villain.

    Too much ink has probably been spilled trying to explain what is essentially a pretty bad module (Rary the Traitor).

    I hear tell that I'm going to get my copy of Expedition today. I'll check back this weekend to see if I can answer any specific questions.

    --Erik
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    Sat Aug 04, 2007 11:52 pm  

    FYI, WotC has posted an extensive preview on Ruins of Greyhawk.

    CLICKY

    Surely looks interesting enough to be a worthy pick. Smile
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    Mon Aug 06, 2007 4:13 am  

    Ivid wrote:
    FYI, WotC has posted an extensive preview on Ruins of Greyhawk.

    CLICKY

    Surely looks interesting enough to be a worthy pick. Smile


    Hmm... interesting. Is it just I, or does the math not work right with regard to Ricard Damaris' age and history? Confused
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    Sat Aug 11, 2007 7:48 am  

    weaver95 wrote:
    I can't sign on board with any campaign (no matter how well organized) that won't allow me to at least run a neutral character. I can see why you'd ban evil alignments, but c'mon! Neutral alignments aren't a problem.


    That is absolutely untrue.

    From the Living Greyhawk Campaign Sourcebook, page 6, character creation section:

    Quote:
    5. Alignment
    You must choose a non-evil alignment that meets all requirements for your PC’s class. Divine casters that do not require the worship of a specific deity, but that choose to worship a deity, must be within one step of their deity’s alignment.


    Since there may be potential LG players reading this who don't know better and assume statements presented as fact, like yours, are true, please check your facts before making them.
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    Sun Aug 12, 2007 6:47 pm  

    DMPrata wrote:
    Hmm... interesting. Is it just I, or does the math not work right with regard to Ricard Damaris' age and history? Confused


    I don't have CoG or tAB in front of me, but it sounds about right--unless you didn't read further & assume that Ricard is presently 25--which is the age he was during Emridy Meadows.

    As for Chat's idea--I do like the idea of Mordy & Rary playing good cop/bad cop, but a magical trap set off by simply thinking about the SB? Rary's certainly smart enough not to design a trap with such a hair trigger.

    As for Tasha, the new (& last Dragon) finally reveals who she really is.

    Spoiler:

    And she's still very much alive. It seems she "appeared" in Roger Moore's adventure "The Dancing Hut" as an apprentice/adopted daughter of Baba Yaga named Natasha. Tasha went on to join the Company of Seven & apprenticed herself to Zagyg. And I guess we all know which GH character is both Baba Yaga's daughter & Zagyg's former apprentice. . . .
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    Sun Aug 12, 2007 8:40 pm  

    Quote:
    In my own games Rary is very much a peripheral character, but I've toyed with the idea that he and Robilar are really the good guys and Mordenkainen is really the villain.
    -Erik

    O0o, that's a really good idea.
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    Mon Aug 13, 2007 2:12 am  

    Robbastard wrote:
    DMPrata wrote:
    Hmm... interesting. Is it just I, or does the math not work right with regard to Ricard Damaris' age and history? Confused


    I don't have CoG or tAB in front of me, but it sounds about right--unless you didn't read further & assume that Ricard is presently 25--which is the age he was during Emridy Meadows.


    Emridy Meadows was in 569 CY. EttRoG states that Ricard was 25 then and is 61 now. That would make the present campaign year 605 CY. Did I miss a few years in there somewhere?
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    Mon Aug 13, 2007 7:07 am  

    Quote:
    Chatdemon Wrote: Now, since I offered a more creative and canon compatible alternative to RJK's cliched quick fix, I think I'm entitled to a bit of "negativity" here.


    Well, you have already used all your negativity allowance, and have overdrawn the account.

    I am looking forward to the Module. I never did have the comedy version, so I am looking forward to whatever they have produced. Though I know this is a standalone, is there anything in the original (however small) that makes it useful for this return?
    GreySage

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    Mon Aug 13, 2007 7:51 am  

    chatdemon wrote:
    Dancing Hut of Baba Yaga isn't GH canon.


    Evidently it is.
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    Mon Aug 13, 2007 8:18 am  

    chatdemon wrote:
    I guess if Erik says so, right? Can't let anyone have an original thought here!


    Original thoughts are welcome and encouraged, but yes. "Published in Dragon" does rank higher on the "Is it canon?" scale than "Chatdemon's personal preferences." If a Greyhawk article published in Dragon references "Dancing Hut," it's safe to say that "Dancing Hut" is Greyhawk canon.

    If it were something Erik had just suggested on a message board, then yes, your opinion would absolutely be as valid as his.
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    Mon Aug 13, 2007 8:32 am  

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=1162&highlight=grazzt&sid=b58d27eb5ceaad1e8d6826f40005c163 Speaking of posting to this site and paizo canon. I am sure i am responsible (proudly?)for the Dancing Hut and Baba Yaga getting into the mix as it has. This has been a central theme in my ongoing epic campaign for a longtime. With that said I'm not sure Tasha replicating what Iggwilv did was smart, because it just perpetuates the 'Zagyg did everything' belief plus it deviates from my theory that BY drops off one daughter per plane.
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    Mon Aug 13, 2007 8:38 am  

    chatdemon wrote:
    So what exactly is the point of this site, and anyone here writing anything for the setting, when our hard work will instantly be negated whenever Erik decides to print some unimaginative bullshit in dragon?


    The point of the site is what the point of the site has always been - to develop Greyhawk in a way that isn't necessarily bound by canon. Many of the articles here are proudly heretical, and there's nothing wrong with that.

    Your work hasn't been negated by any means. It remains what it was when you wrote it - a fan-created, extra-canonical work. I don't imagine you ever labored under the impression that "Mystaroerth" meshed perfectly with canon, either. "Not canonized" isn't the same as "negated." People can use it or not in their own campaigns, according to their preferences. My only major quibble with what you said (I have other quibbles, but they mostly come down to personal preference) was the line "Baba Yaga's Hut isn't GH canon." Evidently it is now.
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    Mon Aug 13, 2007 2:31 pm  
    Your Mileage May Vary (canon rant)

    Maybe it would help to explore the origin of the term "canon." It doesn't quite mean "the one true continuity as laid out by the creators/rightsholders -- all else is unauthorized and not to be used at all" as with Star Trek, and certainly, with a collaborative game like D&D, that accepted meaning has nothing whatsoever to do with Greyhawk IMHO. The term actually stems from codification of religious works, mostly in the Jewish and Christian religions.

    There are different Biblical canons (from the Greek Kanon or "rule") for the different denominations -- the Catholics use one, and the Protestants use another, as do the Greek and Russian Orthodox. If you look in a Protestant Bible, you'll see that they're "missing" some books (most notably Maccabees 1 and 2 [which contain the story of the Hanukkah miracle of the oil in the temple] and some of the Pauline Letters) that are in the Catholic Canon. They all stem from an attempt to codify the various books of the Old and New Testaments into a corpus that would be an "official" and manageable library for the Christian Church. The excluded books were not all deemed heretical or banned (as the Gnostic writings or the teachings of Arius and Pelagius were) but just weren't given the complete endorsement and imprimatur of the Church leadership as having been divinely inspired. Later, after the reformation, other books were shaved out of the Bible for different reasons. Some Baptists declared the King James Bible (the worst, in my opinion, translation ever) as the only true "inspired by God" version above all others.

    To tell the truth, no one even bothered to write down what really was "canon" in the Bible until at least 1546 with the Council of Trent. Or 1563 and 1647 for Protestants, and the Greek Orthodox Church didn't have a clearly articulated canon until 1672. Before then, canon was what was commonly agreed upon, and could vary somewhat between church and church, even in the same denomination.

    In the same way, Greyhawk canon is subjective to different groups. You seem to have an antipathy towards the material in Dragon, mostly, it seems because it's "killing your own babies," so to speak, by seemingly contradicting material you posted on this site. Then, by all means, man, throw out the offending material if it conflicts with how your personal Oerth works. Personally, I enjoy using the great majority of the Dragon material. Others don't. "Men's minds are as variant as their faces," as George Washington said. Personally, Castle Greyhawk never happened in my Oerth. Others might reset to before the Greyhawk Wars and not see that conflict ever happen. Some buy the Robilar story in Rary while others (like me) prefer the character that Robert Kuntz has asserted Robilar really is and are enthused about his return in "Expedition." Some might even want to gut the ToEE to fit Vilp-Afq C'ho Rentaq rather than Tharizdun. Hell, I've toyed with the idea of making Lord Holmer Walworth become a Death Knight! In each case those are canon for the particular person.

    Given that events will unfold for every gaming table differently and the game is designed to be tinkered with to within an inch of its life, canon is, IMHO, almost useless and irrelevant as a concept for D&D.

    "Your mileage may vary." It's not just good automotive advice. it's good life advice.

    (As an aside, "Spock's Brain" never happened in my own personal Trek universe... Laughing )
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    Mon Aug 13, 2007 2:47 pm  

    DMPrata wrote:
    Robbastard wrote:
    DMPrata wrote:
    Hmm... interesting. Is it just I, or does the math not work right with regard to Ricard Damaris' age and history? Confused


    I don't have CoG or tAB in front of me, but it sounds about right--unless you didn't read further & assume that Ricard is presently 25--which is the age he was during Emridy Meadows.


    Emridy Meadows was in 569 CY. EttRoG states that Ricard was 25 then and is 61 now. That would make the present campaign year 605 CY. Did I miss a few years in there somewhere?


    Ah--I see what you mean now. Likely an editorial oversight. It appears the current timeline now stands at 597 CY, which means Damaris is either 53 now & fought at EM at 25; or he's 61 & fought at EM at 33.

    Anyone have CoG or tAB handy so they can tell us which it is?
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    Tue Aug 14, 2007 2:52 am  

    Robbastard wrote:
    Ah--I see what you mean now. Likely an editorial oversight. It appears the current timeline now stands at 597 CY, which means Damaris is either 53 now & fought at EM at 25; or he's 61 & fought at EM at 33.

    Anyone have CoG or tAB handy so they can tell us which it is?


    He's 36 in CoG; his age in TAB is unspecified. I believe CoG is dated to 582 CY, meaning we have yet another canon conflict. Either Damaris was born in 536 CY, 544 CY, or 546 CY, depending upon the source. Of course, there's no way to account for the line, "Thirty-six years ago, when Robilar asked him to give up the adventuring life and run the Green Dragon Inn, Damaris jumped at the chance," since the text states that Damaris met Robilar "[y]ears later" than Emridy Meadows.
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    Tue Aug 14, 2007 5:45 am  
    Re: Your Mileage May Vary (canon rant)

    Pat_Payne wrote:
    Maybe it would help to explore the origin of the term "canon."


    Ah! I see you are new here. This topic is like the horse that has been beaten to death, resurrected, beaten to death again, resurrected(again), beaten to death(yet again), resurrected(yet again), etc., ad infinitum. The title of the website refers to the issue of what is and is not considered "canon". This website is surely not considered canon, though some of its content probably would be considered so(as some bits are "official"). The site FAQ has an explanation as to the intent of this. Welcome to the menagerie by the way. Happy

    As to the age difference thing regarding Damaris, go with the original writing if it is accurate, as contradictions in newer material are usually caused by either not catching the mistake in editing or not knowing or remembering the original material. Just chalk it up as a booboo and go with the most logical explanation/answer based on all of the information that has been presented.
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    Tue Aug 14, 2007 6:40 am  

    Welcome Pat_Payne! And Cebrion is right, Canon, and who gets to write it is the bad penny of the site sometimes. Some of us make biblical scholars look like apathetic slackers.

    Anyway... back to the topic of the thread. When I finally get my copy of the ETCGH, what original works (Ruins, CG) should I consider?

    In another thread Eilieen suggests Isle of the Ape. I have none of these later modules (ie. i have S1-4, G1-3, etc., but not WG anything).

    Suggestions?
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    Tue Aug 14, 2007 10:36 am  

    Anced_Math wrote:
    Welcome Pat_Payne! And Cebrion is right, Canon, and who gets to write it is the bad penny of the site sometimes. Some of us make biblical scholars look like apathetic slackers.


    Thanks for the friendly welcome, Anced and Cebrion. And, yeah, I wasn't intending to tread on a long-buried land mine... It just got my hackles up when I was reading the posts and one of the posters just kept implying that everyone else was wrong and he was right. That always rubs me the wrong way. Cool

    Quote:
    Anyway... back to the topic of the thread. When I finally get my copy of the ETCGH, what original works (Ruins, CG) should I consider?

    In another thread Eilieen suggests Isle of the Ape. I have none of these later modules (ie. i have S1-4, G1-3, etc., but not WG anything).

    Suggestions?


    Definelty Greyhawk Ruins. Many of the maps in Expedition came directly from Ruins, and it's pretty much tailor-made for using WGR1 for expanding the dungeons.

    After reading Castle Greyhawk, there are very few salvagable ideas in there (mostly in dungeon maps) but the great majority of the module is unsalvagably stupid in my opinion -- just a collection of by now extremely dated (like references to "Captain Eo"-- so 1988, and the attraction no longer exists at D-Land anyway) or outright cliche jokes.

    Isle of the Ape can be cheaply had on Paizo or Drive-Thru RPG. But that one is built for 18th-level characters, so IMHO, it's better to "drink from the firehose" as it were than port the whole thing lock-stock-and barrel into the module. Unless you like TPKs... <evil grin>

    Also, Greyhawk: The Adventure Begins might not be a bad idea for fleshing out more of the city (the River Quarter is heavily detailed, as that's where the action is centered when the PCs are in the Free City, but the rest of the city is restricted to one or two locations due to space and just plain non-necessity)

    Also, if your PCs want to finally track down and (try, anyway) to put an end to Iuz, "Iuz the Evil" and "City of Skulls" give a good overview of his little patch of Abyss-on-Oerth.

    I've been thinking of also adding some of the Dragon material in, particularly putting in the "Golem Foundry" area a magical trash recpticle that leads into a large magical garbage dump (called an "Artificer's Dump" in the Dragon article in issue #350) that the PCs might bluinder (or get thrown) into.
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    Tue Aug 14, 2007 1:17 pm  

    DMPrata wrote:
    Robbastard wrote:
    Ah--I see what you mean now. Likely an editorial oversight. It appears the current timeline now stands at 597 CY, which means Damaris is either 53 now & fought at EM at 25; or he's 61 & fought at EM at 33.

    Anyone have CoG or tAB handy so they can tell us which it is?


    He's 36 in CoG; his age in TAB is unspecified. I believe CoG is dated to 582 CY, meaning we have yet another canon conflict. Either Damaris was born in 536 CY, 544 CY, or 546 CY, depending upon the source. Of course, there's no way to account for the line, "Thirty-six years ago, when Robilar asked him to give up the adventuring life and run the Green Dragon Inn, Damaris jumped at the chance," since the text states that Damaris met Robilar "[y]ears later" than Emridy Meadows.


    I'll have to go with Cebrion on this--stick w/ the earlier age--which means he fought at Emridy at age 23 & is now 51. Also, given that "Expedition" has him at 25/61, it's quite possible someone's eyes got crossed & misread 23 as 25 & 51 as 61.
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    Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:16 am  

    I haven't got Expedition yet, but the Internet didn't get where it is today by letting ignorance of the facts get in the way of a good post. :)

    The Robilar evil twin Skippy theory (in the last form I saw it on the web) sucks. There's really no two ways about it. It's childish black and white nonsense.

    Greyhawk's about shades of grey.
    In the grown up world, powerful people tend to have very complex motives for doing things. They also tend to lie a lot.

    Bigby said he was wounded trying to help Tenser and Otiluke fight Rary and Robilar? Sure, that must be the truth. Bigby said so, and Bigby's an honourable man.

    But - if, as Bigby said - and we only have his testimony as to what happened on the Day of the Great Signing - Tenser and Otiluke just happened onto Rary and Rob's fiendish plan, how was it that Rary and Robilar's men were poised to simultaneously kick in doors and kill all of Tenser and Otiluke's clones?

    Tenser and Otiluke were meant to die that day - it was no accident.

    Of course, the question then becomes why?
    Why would Rary and Robilar want them dead?
    Why would Bigby lie about it?

    This is a far more interesting line of thinking than "it was an evil twin wot did it because Robilar would never betray Mordenkainen".

    The evil twin theory presupposes that killing Tenser and Otiluke was a betrayal of Mordenkainen. Says who?

    Isn't it more interesting to speculate that if it's true that Robilar would never betray Mordenkainen, then might it not be the case that Mordenkainen wanted Tenser and Otiluke dead?

    Which again raises the question - why?

    You can write a whole campaign of adventures trying to answer that.
    The evil twin skippy story? Not so much.

    IMO/YMMV,

    P.
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    Wed Aug 15, 2007 9:21 am  

    It happens ever time someone mentions the origins of the name CanonFire! …

    I get the music in me …

    To my surprise, yeah!
    One hundred stories hiiiiiiiiigh
    People getting loose now
    Getting down on the roof, (let me hear ya!)
    The folks were SCREAMING!
    Out of controlllllll
    It was so entertaining
    when the boogie started to explode
    I heard somebody say
    Burn baby burn….


    Now I am possessed for the rest of the day, maybe week!
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    Wed Aug 15, 2007 9:42 am  

    Hmmm...

    Wolfsire, has anyone ever told you that you are just a bit off dead center? Wink
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    Wed Aug 15, 2007 12:40 pm  

    Woesinger wrote:
    Isn't it more interesting to speculate that if it's true that Robilar would never betray Mordenkainen, then might it not be the case that Mordenkainen wanted Tenser and Otiluke dead?


    I completely agree Woesinger. Even Mona says as much (in depth in his Kobold quarterly interview) that Mordenkainen was up to something that led to Tenser and Rary to start pulling away. Everything we've seen of Mordy and Rob up to GH Wars would lead you to believe Robilar will fight anything Mordy asks, without hesitation, even a god. So why not a couple allies? But no...recent developments are now meant to absolve Mordenkainen and Robilar but then it makes Rary's motivations one dimensional and petty (unless i'm missing something, I need more time to read it over).
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    Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:04 pm  

    I think the deal was that Rob Kuntz hated having Robilar kill Tenser and Otiluke, and Erik Mona wanted to let the character's creator have the final say. I agree that emphasizing Mordenkainen's "dark neutrality" is more interesting.

    On the other hand, the solution used in Expedition (evil parallel universe) is much more interesting than the clone theory from Oerth Journal, since there are any number of adventures that can be had exploring the other universe and its repercussions. If you like the idea of a bizarro alternate Oerth, that is.
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    Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:00 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    On the other hand, the solution used in Expedition (evil parallel universe) is much more interesting than the clone theory from Oerth Journal, since there are any number of adventures that can be had exploring the other universe and its repercussions. If you like the idea of a bizarro alternate Oerth, that is.


    I work hell desk for a world wide electronics firm. There are days when being invaded by a bizarro alternate Oerth is the only POSSIBLE explanation for what I see going on.
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    Fri Aug 17, 2007 7:27 pm  

    It's kinda buried, so it's not surprising if it's gone un-noticed, but there is a web enhancement posted on the WotC website here.

    Greg
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    Sat Aug 18, 2007 3:42 am  

    If anyone is interested in Isle of the Ape, Dungeonland or Beyond the Magic Mirror, I have copies. They are not available for distribution but I could offer an overview which you could develop to attach to Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk.

    The overview would allow you to match up the levels of these adventures with Expedition in order to make a better trip to these lands. (Isle of the Ape is slanted towards 18th, so my overview could allow you to develop a 12th level version). This would allow a longer Castle Greyhawk Dungeon crawl for you. Of coarse all of the specific stats would have to be developed by yourself (I just don't have the time) but getting a solid idea of what the entire adventure consists of could fill out the Expedition module.

    If anyone is interested, please send me a personal message.
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    Sat Aug 18, 2007 5:16 pm  

    I was aware that some people wouldn't care for what I did with Robilar, and I'm ok with that. Honestly, I was and am more concerned about what Rob Kuntz thought about the character than what Anthony Pryor or even Carl Sargent did. So I fixed it.

    What I did, basically, was introduce a subplot that made Robilar's betrayal of his best friend a little more understandable while leaving issues of whether Mordenkainen should or shouldn't have been betrayed unresolved.

    You don't need to dig very deep to tun up evidence--in print and online--that I think Mordenkainen is very much NOT a good guy. I strongly prefer a "real" story that involves Rary betraying Mordenkainen for a reason, even if the specifics of that reason are left for others to develop. Rary was, after all, the Circle of Eight member with the highest intelligence, and yet we're to believe that he was impressed with stories about the rise of Iuz and Ivid V? Two serial losers? I mean, those guys had their victories, certainly, but they're hardly role-models for the smartest (and perhaps least violent) member of the Circle.

    The only thing that made sense about making Rary a traitor is that the original Rary was played by Brian Blume, who participated in **** Gary Gygax out of his interest in TSR and thus out of a development role in Greyhawk.

    So I guess it makes sense that Rary is a traitor, but I don't buy that be betrayed the Circle of Eight to dig around in the sand for a crown that turns you into a giant scorpion.

    --Erik
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    Mon Aug 20, 2007 3:08 pm  

    I picked this up but have not had a chance to do more than skim through it. Overall, I like it so far.

    I think the description someone coined as it being more of a "sketchbook" than a full fledged adventure the likes of the previous GH Ruins holds some truth, as does the comment that ERCGH would work really well with the prior treatments.

    The removal of CGH from GH proper actually doesn't bother me a bit. I'd have preferred it stay put but cutting it loose just means it can pop up all over the multiverse to include Oerth itself! So a GH campaign in Zief can now feature CGH. I see nothing but cool in that.

    On first blush, I give ERCGH a solid 8 out of 10 stars. It has a great beat and I can dance to it. Happy
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    Mon Aug 20, 2007 3:10 pm  

    GVD can't dance, we all know that.

    What year is it set in? I hate not being able to get a copy.
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    Tue Aug 21, 2007 5:22 am  

    I'd be surprised if the ending the to ending to this Expedition wasn't involved in the "story" explaining the switch to 4e.
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    Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:41 pm  

    It's set in 597 CY, following the same dating conventions used in Living Greyhawk and Dungeon magazine since the launch of 3e.

    --Erik
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    Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:53 pm  

    mightytev wrote:
    I'd be surprised if the ending the to ending to this Expedition wasn't involved in the "story" explaining the switch to 4e.
    I highly doubt it although maybe in a few years this could be true. The new edition will certainly remake campaigns along the lines Fate of Istus did.
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    Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:29 pm  

    iquander wrote:

    What I did, basically, was introduce a subplot that made Robilar's betrayal of his best friend a little more understandable while leaving issues of whether Mordenkainen should or shouldn't have been betrayed unresolved.
    --Erik


    woesinger wrote:

    Tenser and Otiluke just happened onto Rary and Rob's fiendish plan, how was it that Rary and Robilar's men were poised to simultaneously kick in doors and kill all of Tenser and Otiluke's clones?

    Tenser and Otiluke were meant to die that day - it was no accident.


    I know I am way late on the thread but Rary the Traitor always sat wrong with me as well. Rary is just too interesting of a character to dumb down like that.

    My thoughts jive along with Woesinger and Erik and how I envisioned things to have gone down in my campaign is that Mordy had a bone to pick with Otiluke and Tenser was simply trying to tip things too much towards the "good". Mordy simply put a bug in Robilars ear and then orchestrated things to generate a certain outcome. I see Robilar as more of a dupe in the scheme but I never quite came up with a satisfactory motivation for Rary to go bat-sh!t crazy like that. I thought it should have more to do with his Kettish heritage and family attachments than simply wanting to search for the cursed crown of an ancient nation.
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    Thu Aug 30, 2007 1:44 am  

    I've finally started a cover to cover read through of the book, and so far so good. I haven't got into the dungeon propper yet, but the stuff of the city of Greyhawk was very good.

    Oh, as for the vanishing castle ending? I'ld just throw in a couple of old timers who would approach the party as they exit, and inquire "Has the castle up an' vanished again?" and when pressed for details repley that the castle "goes fer a wander every now and again. Always comes back."
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    Thu Aug 30, 2007 2:09 am  

    Lassiviren wrote:
    My thoughts jive along with Woesinger and Erik and how I envisioned things to have gone down in my campaign is that Mordy had a bone to pick with Otiluke and Tenser was simply trying to tip things too much towards the "good". Mordy simply put a bug in Robilars ear and then orchestrated things to generate a certain outcome. I see Robilar as more of a dupe in the scheme but I never quite came up with a satisfactory motivation for Rary to go bat-sh!t crazy like that. I thought it should have more to do with his Kettish heritage and family attachments than simply wanting to search for the cursed crown of an ancient nation.


    Who said Rary went insane? It may have been convenient for him to be portrayed to the public as an insane traitor, but it's likely he did what he did while fully rational and in full knowledge of what they were doing (ditto Robilar). If Otiluke and Tenser were a threat to the cause that Rary, Robilar, Bigby and Mordenkainen had sworn their lives to, then it's completely reasonable for R&R to take Tenser and Otiluke out with extreme prejudice.

    The killing was the easy bit. Trying to cover up why they killed Tenser and Otiluke without revealing what they were really up to was the hard bit.

    Nailing my colours firmly to the mast:

    I believe that Tenser discovered that Mordenkainen wilfully and knowingly caused the release of Iuz from Castle Greyhawk (using Robilar as his instrument). Tenser discovered this near the end of the Greyhawk Wars and was, perhaps understandably, appalled. He confided what he learned to Otiluke, who was similarly outraged. They resolved to reveal what they'd discovered, with incontrovertible proof of their claims before the crowned heads of the Flanaess, who, conveniently enough, were gathering in Greyhawk City for the Great Signing.

    Unfortunately for them, Mordenkainen found out that they knew what he did. Obviously, if his role in basically kicking off the Greyhawk Wars were known, his ability to intervene subtly to maintain the Balance would be seriously compromised. It's even possible that Furyondy, Veluna and Highfolk would have attacked the Obsidian Citadel in retaliation.

    Tenser and Otiluke knew too much and therefore had to die. But how to do this without giving the game away?

    Enter Rary and Robilar. Robilar had clear cause to shut T&O up, since he was a direct accomplice to the release of Iuz. Rary, being the smart fellow he is, realised that if T&O made their revelations, all the Circle's careful work on maintaining the Balance would be for nothing. How could the Circle work to keep the Balance and prevent the return of Tharizdun (Mordenkainen's worst nightmare) if the Circle were hated and reviled throughout the Flanaess? Rary is a true believer in Mordenkainen's cause. It wasn't hard for him to sacrifice his own good name for the sake of that cause.

    So, the assassination plot was put in place. T&O's clones were discovered and forces put in place ready to destroy them. *

    In Greyhawk City, on the Day of the Great Signing, Tenser and Otiluke probably knew the game was up when they saw Robilar and Bigby - two of Mordenkainen's closest associates - appearing. They could probably have held their own against R&B. What the whistle-blowers weren't expecting - what no one was expecting - was Rary to turn on them too. Bigby was wounded in the initial exchanges, but it was Rary's sudden intervention that turned the tide against the whistle-blowers. Tenser and Otiluke fell and while the fires still blazed around them, the three assassins set the cover-up in motion.

    Based solely on Bigby's testimony and the mute evidence provided by the bodies of the two dead archmages, Robilar and Rary became heinous traitors, who "fled" to the Bright Desert to escape the vengeance of the Circle. Tenser and Otiluke became posthumous, but silent heroes. And the story that they could have told was forgotten in the ensuing drama and outrage.

    The Balance, or at least the crusade to maintain the Balance, was preserved.


    *: Since Mordy cloned the entire Circle after the Vecna debacle just before the Greyhawk Wars, the Tenser clone that fetched up on Luna was planted there by Mordenkainen after having any damaging knowledge and memories removed from it beforehand. Why Mordy might have wanted Tenser back in play is another question. Presumably Tenser is essential to Mordy's long-term Masterplan (Otiluke seems to have been surplus to requirements).
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    Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:21 am  

    Woesinger wrote:
    . . . . . . Since Mordy cloned the entire Circle after the Vecna debacle just before the Greyhawk Wars, the Tenser clone that fetched up on Luna was planted there by Mordenkainen after having any damaging knowledge and memories removed from it beforehand. Why Mordy might have wanted Tenser back in play is another question. Presumably Tenser is essential to Mordy's long-term Masterplan (Otiluke seems to have been surplus to requirements).


    You realize you just created Mordy in the best tradition of Elminster except he doesn't sleep around? The "Mordy's Masterplan" thing can be overdone and your hypothesis, IMO, overdoes it to a fairthewell. Mordy manipulating everyone, on top of everything, planning for every contingency and counterplanning in case his first plans need adjusting and quietly running the show as the Flanaess' ultimate puppetmaster is, well, Elminsterish!

    Beyond being silly and quickly overdone, this notion runs afoul of the heavy need to rationalize everything after the fact. No GH writer has had the balls to have Mordy act as the master puppeteer up front. Broad hints are dropped but no one will have Mordy actually take responsibility for evil actions in the name of Balance in a product, even if just in notes for the DM (meaning it would not be common knowledge within the setting but the DM would know as the person running the game). Mordy is always backed away from the edge and given plausable deniability for evil actions in the name of Balance. No writer has had the stones to straight out say -Mordy caused the deaths of thousands/millions to keep his precious Balance. I'm not sure if this gutlessness is solely because the publisher can't wrap its brain around a non-evil signature NPC acting amorally or evilly, or if the various GH writers who have had the chance can't get beyond textual foreplay.

    If Mordy were affirmatively understood within the context of the GH setting, but not within the in game common knowledge of inhabitants of the Flanaess, as willing and having taken evil actions to maintain Balance, GH would take on a character utterly unlike any other setting ever. Here would be the setting's signature NPC ready to cause innocent deaths etc. in the name of a philosophic principle - Balance. Not good. Not evil. Beyond both and willing to use both. Such a NPC would redefine how we think about GH and even gaming. It would put teeth in Balance, a concept now all but toothless beyond the lipservice given to it.

    Presently, we can all mouth talk of Balance but in the published products GH is mostly goodish guys (at least GH avoids totally good guys) vs bad guys, with the occasional nod to law vs chaos. Mordy as manipulating puppetmaster rings utterly hollow in this environment, IMO. Make the man a murderer in pursuit of Balance and I'll believe he has what it takes to be Mr. Master Manipulator. Until then such attempts to paint him so, IMO, make him Elminster with a poeurs "I'm Mr. Bad (but I'm really Mr. Good)" 'tude.

    Sorry, Woesinger. Embarassed Nothing personal. Smile Your idea just touched a personal sore spot. Or maybe its the ghoul that won't stop gnawing on my leg this morning. Cool
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    Thu Aug 30, 2007 7:33 am  

    EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
    If anyone is interested in Isle of the Ape, Dungeonland or Beyond the Magic Mirror, I have copies. They are not available for distribution but I could offer an overview which you could develop to attach to Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk.


    For anyone who missed them, EX1: Dungeonland and EX2 Land Beyond the Magic Mirror are available as free pdf downloads on WotC's site:

    http://www.wizards.com/dnd/article.asp?x=dnd/dx20020121x8

    WG6 Isle of the Ape can be purchased as a pdf download at Paizo's site:

    http://paizo.com/store/downloads/wizardsOfTheCoast/aDAndD1/greyhawk/v5748btpy7mef

    EX1&2 can be purchased as pdfs there too, if for some reason free doesn't appeal to you...
    Laughing
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    Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:07 pm  

    GVD is onto something there. If Mordenkainen is blatantly shown to do anything evil in published material it will forever taint his usefulness to DMs as a patron for adventuring bands (unless you're a DM who can handle complex intrigue). In fact once the idea is broached in print that he is capable of evil some dunderhead Wizards author will write a mod in which you have to kill Mordenkainen. While the Circle can play for the balance, most actual D&D play is Good aligned.
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    Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:28 am  

    Well, I finally finished the book! Yay!

    As for the ending, I have to say that any DM with a bit of imagination should be about edit out the vanishing trick so it's not a big deal to me.

    But one thing I am currious about are certian revelations about the Company of Seven, more precisely about Tasha (of the Hideous Laughter fame). I must say that I was a little bit blindsided by this sudden discovery. Has Tasha always had a question mark over her, or is this something completly out of left field?
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    Mon Sep 03, 2007 2:53 am  

    DavidBedlam wrote:
    Has Tasha always had a question mark over her, or is this something completly out of left field?


    Tasha was not a character in the "original" greyhawk campaign. Aside from being a name in the description of a spell in all 3 editions of (A)D&D, no details on who she was was written until I did so, in this article:

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf//modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=548

    Unfortunately, I'm not one of Mona's buddies, so my material was never welcome in Dungeon or Dragon. So canon is stuck with the garbage EtGHR and Dragon 239 present.
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    Wed Sep 05, 2007 4:17 pm  

    I have a lot of buddies I've never met, apparently.

    --Erik
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    Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:26 am  

    Just how much had been had been writen about The Company of Seven prior to Expedition? I know that characters such as Quaal and Nolzur were already well known, but aside from this book, what other works detail them?
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    Thu Sep 06, 2007 7:09 am  

    DavidBedlam wrote:
    Just how much had been had been writen about The Company of Seven prior to Expedition? I know that characters such as Quaal and Nolzur were already well known, but aside from this book, what other works detail them?


    Quaal and Nolzur were originally just name-drops in the Glossography, and names associated with magic items. Tasha was just a spell name. All of them get brief descriptions in the last issue of Dragon.

    Quaal was mentioned briefly in The Marklands. Nolzur's never been detailed anywhere else. Tasha's never been officially detailed anywhere else, though Natasha the Dark from Roger Moore's "Dancing Hut" adventure has been retconned as Tasha.

    The publishing history of Heward, Keoghtom, Zagig, and Murlynd is pretty well-known. We knew they were friends and allies, but the phrase "Company of Seven" is fairly new.
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    Thu Sep 06, 2007 7:36 am  

    Well, everyone's had a go at what they hate about the book, but how about we all spend a few pages focusing on what you actually liked about the book?

    For me, the best bits were actually the sections set outside the castle. Hobnobing with thieves, infiltrating wizard guilds and getting kidnapped by cultists: It's pretty dynamic stuff. I might have liked a bit more with the Lililu whoes name escapes me right now, but other wise fine.

    Plus I managed to get the impression that the Castle Greyhawk dungeons were massive in scale. Lots of maps and dungeon crawls included, and still only the surface was scratched. Return adventures ahoy!

    Happy
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    Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:34 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    Tasha was just a spell name.


    Tasha is detailed in the following article:

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=548

    That was posted here by me on January 24th, 2005.

    But yeah, I know, it's not canon.

    Why not? There are no canon flaws (with canon at that time) in the article. I went to great lengths to discuss the material with Gary Holian and other canon sages who frequent the Greytalk chat while writing it to ensure that would be the case.

    So why isn't it canon? Quite simply really, it wasn't officially published.

    Which leads to...

    iquander wrote:

    I have a lot of buddies I've never met, apparently.


    Couple quick questions before I get to my point.

    Did I not informally ask you about submitting an article query regarding sterich/istivin for LGJ in year one of 3e and LG?

    Did you not tell me quite explicitly not to bother, because you were saving that region specifically for yourself?

    Did you not then decide to publish Greg's trilogy because he didn't bother asking, and just sent the query to you?

    Is not Greg a rather prolific regular contributor to the magazines during your tenure?

    Can you please explain to us how that would in any way inspire me to submit further article queries to you?

    Despite the effort I undertook to ensure the Tasha article was canon sound, I chose not to bother querying it for Dragon or Dungeon because I have absolutely no reason to expect you'd accept it.

    In that regard, on the other hand, I believe I have every right to complain about material concerning a topic that I was the first author to develop in any way when I believe the later "canon" version is inferior. Since noone has bothered to explain why Tasha was included in the first place, much less why she was made a historical figure when all other PHB mages with spells named after them are modern figures, I haven't seen any reasoning to change my mind on the matter.

    And another thing, it is very sad when products that are published as official greyhawk material get declared non-canon (Castle Greyhawk, Puppets, etc), but generic adventures with far fetched trivial bits are canonized to support otherwise groundless (in canon) material. Since the Dancing Hut itself was present in the 1e DMG, I have no objection to that artifact being considered canon for the setting. What I do object to is the use of a throw away npc name from a plainly generic adventure that is close to the name of an NPC someone is trying to canonize being cited as Greyhawk canon solely for that purpose.
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    Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:50 pm  

    Well, since you asked so nicely...

    chatdemon wrote:

    Did I not informally ask you about submitting an article query regarding sterich/istivin for LGJ in year one of 3e and LG?


    I seem to remember that you did.

    chatdemon wrote:
    Did you not tell me quite explicitly not to bother, because you were saving that region specifically for yourself?


    Indeed I did.

    chatdemon wrote:
    Did you not then decide to publish Greg's trilogy because he didn't bother asking, and just sent the query to you?


    Sort of. My predecessor Chris Thomasson accepted a single, massively over-written single adventure by Greg that specifically followed up some of the "hints and intrigues" I'd written in the LGG on his own initiative. Since the article was already accepted and pretty much did what I wanted to do with Sterich in the first place, I asked Greg to expand it into a larger article.

    To my knowledge, this was Greg's first Dungeon sale, even if it appeared a few issues after "Tammeraut's Fate" (which I believe James and I did accept, or at least strongly developed from a previously accepted manuscript). He was not "my buddy" prior to me taking over the magazine, and the fact that his article was submitted and accepted is a coincidence. I did, of course, develop the adventures a bit to get in some of the stuff I'd wanted to do when I "put my marker" on Sterich, to to speak, but the adventure fell into my lap, more or less.

    chatdemon wrote:
    Is not Greg a rather prolific regular contributor to the magazines during your tenure?


    Yes, but as I say almost all of those credits appeared after the Istivin trilogy, after Greg proved himself an able and prolific contributor. That happened with several other folks during my run on the magazine, notably Nick Logue and Richard Pett, but there are about a half-dozen of them all told.

    chatdemon wrote:
    Can you please explain to us how that would in any way inspire me to submit further article queries to you?


    When you put it this way I can understand that, sure. I don't begrudge you not wanting to submit articles to me. It's a free country.

    chatdemon wrote:
    Despite the effort I undertook to ensure the Tasha article was canon sound, I chose not to bother querying it for Dragon or Dungeon because I have absolutely no reason to expect you'd accept it.


    Fair enough. I can see how the Istivin thing would have bummed you out.

    chatdemon wrote:
    In that regard, on the other hand, I believe I have every right to complain about material concerning a topic that I was the first author to develop in any way when I believe the later "canon" version is inferior. Since noone has bothered to explain why Tasha was included in the first place, much less why she was made a historical figure when all other PHB mages with spells named after them are modern figures, I haven't seen any reasoning to change my mind on the matter.


    Your beliefs are your own, and no one is condemning you for them. I have railed obsessively and embarrassingly about various elements of Greyhawk development that I disagreed with, and I certainly wouldn't want to deprive you of the same right. Of course you think your version is better. That's hardly surprising. It's yours, after all.

    Tasha was included because we knew Iggwilv was running around with Zagig in her apprentice days. Because we were fleshing out a group of "known" (which is to say "named in the D&D rules") NPCs to serve as Zagig's buddies we hit upon the idea of making Iggwilv one of them, if not in her fully revealed persona. There are very few female names from the original rules that fit, and Tasha had the added benefit of an extremely tenuous tie to Baba Yaga a la the Dancing Hut module. I happened to know that, officially at least, Tasha was a blank slate, and the deed was done.

    I didn't really take note of the modern names for named spells paradigm (and I think maybe you're confusing coincidence for some sort of rule, but that's hardly unusual in the canon-making game). So I guess I don't see that as a "problem" as much as you do.

    chatdemon wrote:
    And another thing, it is very sad when products that are published as official greyhawk material get declared non-canon (Castle Greyhawk, Puppets, etc), but generic adventures with far fetched trivial bits are canonized to support otherwise groundless (in canon) material. Since the Dancing Hut itself was present in the 1e DMG, I have no objection to that artifact being considered canon for the setting. What I do object to is the use of a throw away npc name from a plainly generic adventure that is close to the name of an NPC someone is trying to canonize being cited as Greyhawk canon solely for that purpose.


    I think that's a fair objection, but the Natasha thing is more of an after-the-fact coincidence. Public opinion will, of course, decide which way to go with this one. If the idea in Expedition really sucks, I trust it will find its way to the Puppets category in due time.

    --Erik
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    Wed Sep 12, 2007 5:09 am  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    You realize you just created Mordy in the best tradition of Elminster except he doesn't sleep around? The "Mordy's Masterplan" thing can be overdone and your hypothesis, IMO, overdoes it to a fairthewell. Mordy manipulating everyone, on top of everything, planning for every contingency and counterplanning in case his first plans need adjusting and quietly running the show as the Flanaess' ultimate puppetmaster is, well, Elminsterish!


    If that's the way it comes across, that's not my intention.

    Obviously, Mordy , no matter what delusions he might have to the contrary, can't control every factor - so characterising him as the Flanaess's ultimate puppetmaster isn't accurate.

    For example, though it's likely he knew Iuz would cause mischief once free, but I think even Mordy was surprised at the degree of the havoc he wreaked. Part of the point of the Wars from Mordy's perspective was to try to get a hook into the Scarlet Brotherhood (or rather the Black Brotherhood) - who scare the bejeesus out of him precisely because he can't pull their strings effectively.

    Mordy has delusions of being a puppetmaster, but even he probably realises that all he's really doing is playing snooker, moving balls around the table indirectly via a cueball, trying to keep all sides in the match snookered.

    GVDammerung wrote:
    Mordy is always backed away from the edge and given plausable deniability for evil actions in the name of Balance. No writer has had the stones to straight out say -Mordy caused the deaths of thousands/millions to keep his precious Balance. I'm not sure if this gutlessness is solely because the publisher can't wrap its brain around a non-evil signature NPC acting amorally or evilly, or if the various GH writers who have had the chance can't get beyond textual foreplay.


    The scenario I set out above does just that - it makes Mordy directly responsible for releasing Iuz, indirectly responsible for the GH Wars that resulted and directly responsible for ordering the murder of Tenser and Otiluke to cover up that truth. I should say that my thinking on this was heavily influenced by Erik Mona's LGJ 0 article which goes beyond a broad hint to imply strongly that Mordy did release Iuz.

    GVDammerung wrote:
    If Mordy were affirmatively understood within the context of the GH setting, but not within the in game common knowledge of inhabitants of the Flanaess, as willing and having taken evil actions to maintain Balance, GH would take on a character utterly unlike any other setting ever.


    Which was precisely the point I was making...

    GVDammerung wrote:
    Make the man a murderer in pursuit of Balance and I'll believe he has what it takes to be Mr. Master Manipulator. Until then such attempts to paint him so, IMO, make him Elminster with a poeurs "I'm Mr. Bad (but I'm really Mr. Good)" 'tude.


    Again, the entire point of my spiel above was that he's not really Good, but Neutral - utterly, ruthlessly Neutral - precisely what you're talking about here.

    To put it even more baldly, in my view, Mordenkainen is a psychopath:

    Quote:
    From Wikipedia:
    In current clinical use, psychopathy is most commonly diagnosed using the checklist devised by Emeritus Professor Robert Hare. He describes psychopaths as "intraspecies predators who use charm, manipulation, intimidation, and violence to control others and to satisfy their own selfish needs. Lacking in conscience and in feelings for others, they take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without guilt or remorse".


    Mordenkainen feels it's his destiny to Keep the Balance and he'll destroy anywhere, sacrifice anyone, do anything to make sure the Balance is kept.

    How well he succeeds in that is another question, but that's his motivation. There's a strong implication in the LGJ 0 and the LGG write-ups of Mordy that his view of Enforced Balance is wrong and even deluded, which actually adds an even more compelling edge to Mord. He may not even be in control of the forces he's manipulating and they may eventually end up destroying him or even the Oerth itself.

    As you say, Elminster he ain't. Happy

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