Signup
Welcome to... Canonfire! World of GreyhawK
Features
Postcards from the Flanaess
Adventures
in Greyhawk
Cities of
Oerth
Deadly
Denizens
Jason Zavoda Presents
The Gord Novels
Greyhawk Wiki
#greytalk
JOIN THE CHAT
ON DISCORD
    Canonfire :: View topic - Next Gen GH Begins to Take Shape
    Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion
    Next Gen GH Begins to Take Shape [ 1, 2  Next]
    Author Message
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:39 am  
    Next Gen GH Begins to Take Shape

    In a good review - http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=28418#28418 - a point is made about how common references to and plots involving Tharizdun have become. I agree.

    In a word, Big T is - overexposed. In this he is in good company - Iuz is almost as overexposed.

    Overexposure is not good under any circumstances. This suggests how a Next GH might begin to take shape. YMMV.

    In the political sphere, Iuz would disappear in some manner so that he did not play a role in the campaign. In the religious sphere, Tharizdun would similarly disappear - taking all his minions and worshippers with him.

    Given their ubiquity and omnipresence in GH to this point, just these two changes would work to distinguish any Next Gen GH. Of course, more would likely be involved - say on a magical level.

    YMMV.
    _________________
    GVD
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2007
    Posts: 210
    From: Vancouver

    Send private message
    Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:19 am  

    Hi GVD, thanks for taking the time to read my review.

    You're absolutely right about the overexposure these two have had in recent years, which is too bad because they are classic, iconic GH villains. Iuz has always been one of my favorites but he's become somewhat "mortalized" lately, too commonplace. Tharizdun has all but lost the mystique he once had, IMO. There is one other I'd add to this list: Vecna. Another cool bad guy who has been put on display too long. I'm all for fleshing out these personalities, cults, etc., its the "flavor of the month" club I dislike.

    I think Iuz could be knocked down a peg or two. Rick Miller wrote an excellent article in OJ22 about the Twin Cataclysms that mentions where the Soul Husks came from. I think this is a good basis for an article or adventure to destroy some or all of the Soul Husks, which would weaken Iuz considerably without completely eradicating him. Just enough to have him take a back seat for a while. Big T's followers need to be put to the sword once and for all, at least so they are not such prominent instigators in GH.

    There are many overlooked evil beings, old and new, that deserve some attention. Incabulos is the first that comes to my mind. Many from the Great Kingdom are also relatively untouched, where are they now?

    Forgive my internet ignorance, but what does YMMV stand for?

    Trevor Watson
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 17, 2004
    Posts: 923
    From: Computer Desk

    Send private message
    Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:07 pm  

    What is your beef with Iuz; I rather enjoy the egomanical demi-god.

    If I understand you, it is not so much the NPC but how he has been used.

    Personally I would hate to see GH without such iconic villians as Iuz and Tharizdun after all it is the villian that makes the story.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 12, 2008
    Posts: 143


    Send private message
    Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:37 pm  

    I like Iuz and the big T as well, but those two (and to a lesser extent Vecna) have been developed to the total exclusion of other evil deities in Greyhawk. Where has Wastri, demigod of bigotry and amphibians been? Since the wars, the Scarlet Brotherhood has been little more than background. What about the priests of Hextor, still going strong in the shattered remains of the Great Kingdom. What has been happening in the fiend-infested city of Rauxes - will the Overkings ever rise again? And what about the machinations of Lolth in the west. It's been a while since she's been a threat in Greyhawk too.

    While I don't want to see Iuz, Tharizdun, and Vecna disappear from the scene, there are are a multitude of other foes that deserve to be developed as well.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 22, 2001
    Posts: 103
    From: Montevideo (Uruguay)

    Send private message
    Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:53 pm  

    Luz wrote:
    Forgive my internet ignorance, but what does YMMV stand for?


    Your Mileage May Vary ;)

    Saludos!
    _________________
    Discord: @GrillWizard
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:12 pm  

    Right Carlanco is correct - YMMV - You Mileage May Vary ie folks may see things differently without issue.

    I know that for many Iuz, Big T and Vecna are iconic to GH. That is really how they have come to be overexposed - they were easy antagonists. While some are willing to put up with their continued overexposure because they are so iconic, that really doesn't address their overexposure - it excuses it. To address the overexposure, IMO, requires Iuz, Big T and Vecna be given a "vacation" from the spotlight, a "time out" a "pause that refreshes" etc. In other words they need to go off stage for awhile and let others take the spotlight. Iuz could be imprisoned again, for example. Big T could be further shut away/off and his worshippers dispersed during a time. Vecna could go arm wrestle Acererak on the planes etc. The point is, however it is done, for the next gen Greyhawk, Iuz, Big T, Vecna etc. need to make themselves more scarce. They are overexposed and that condition will not be cured by continuing to focus on them - it will only make matters worse.

    YMMV
    _________________
    GVD
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Dec 30, 2002
    Posts: 147
    From: 1313 StoneCastle Way, Free City of Dyvers, W0G 13F

    Send private message
    Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:10 pm  

    Smile Hi guys & gals, somewhat of a response, more of a statement....

    One word....
    ....crusade.
    ok... maybe two,
    ....jihad.

    I do not look to disturb anyone with this, being words can be taken out of context sometimes. Just two ways societies via religious direction/leadership purged their habitat of what they construed to be evil, have been, referred to, historically as either a crusade or jihad. Taking this approach and its history and applying it in principle to Greyhawk...aka “kicking some Iuz butt!” Happy


    This brings me to Iuz or Tharizdun or Vecna, our Axis of Evil. Maybe not so much with the later, but kingdom wars against Iuz (i.e.: Greyhawk Wars) can arise to vanquish/defeat the threat of Iuz’s evil practices. So why has it taken so long... hmmm. Too many reasons, so... let have a historical account of say oh, 100 years or battle/war against these evil oppressors. Call it the Age of Faith, where the deities of GH, step back abit and let the Oerth develop as it should on the capabilities/will of its inhabitants. Lets develop some pre-war, war, and post-war historical accounts, throw in some natural disasters and the magic wild card, and see what becomes of this... two many cooks can spoil the soup, but can make a fantastic dinner table if each creates his own dish.... lets eat. Happy

    Personally a lot more geo-political evolvement should be established over the lands of Oerth. The rise and fall of Empires, Kingdom alliances, trade disputes, famine, technology advancements (in a medieval {and possibly magical} perspective), natural disasters, population explosions or a complete race/species dying out, help shape a world.

    I like the concept WotC has used to jump ahead a 100 yrs and re-establish the Forgotten Realms campaign for the 4th Ed game, yet still utilizing previous material as historical reference. Cool Nice idea... Greyhawk could so develop from this as well. Wink

    To release my games from Living Greyhawk material, yet still use it in a historical or mythical context, I’ve jumped my Greyhawk campaign in the late 700 early 800 centuries, have taken a low magic approach and adapted a more medieval styled campaign. Slowly, ever so slowly (and with what time I decide to give on the given month), I look at previously released canon, both from Canonfire/OJ material, past publications (i.e.: LGGaz and the RPGA LG releases I have/could acquire), and lots of game reference material (mods). One could spend a career developing this to fit together, so I opted to string along some material together to form a “flexible” history, mainly because there is so much out there, and provide some different perspectives (victors write glorified history, the defeated harbour it as vengeance). One kingdoms version of a battle or war or local history would most definitely vary from other kingdoms accounts. Thus “Kingdom” gazettes, made from/cannibalized materials, expand on how history “may” have taken its course (great spot alternate time line scenarios) with some self tweeking and viola... AncientGamer’s Greyhawk, after all, we all personalize our own game campaigns.

    I believe that CanonFire has such a large and varied group of “cooks” that we could produce, for our own non-profit, personal use, something great on where GreyHawk could be in say 150 – 200 yrs from the current time line. Historical accounts of battles, missions, developments (great cities/structures, medicine, war machines, etc...), alliances, great famines that destroy kingdoms, horrible plagues or devastating storm, volcanic activity, magical paradoxes, etc...

    I am willing to commit to providing “some” articles/materials on this... any other takers? Wink

    Just a thought... status quo is fine by me as well Happy .

    AncientGamer Cool aka BusterBudd
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Sat Jul 19, 2008 5:53 pm  

    Tharizdun is definitely overused, considering he's supposed to be a secretive and mind boggling whacko god that hardly anyone remembers. Not to mention all this bs about him also being the Elder Elemental God. Bleh.

    Iuz does not have this problem. He's supposed to be the hulking presence in the room. The problem with Iuz is not that he's overused, its that he's misused. The whole Wars scenario and subsequent flipflop by the next generation of writers has left him looking like a putz. Other than the Wars fiasco, he's just the looming threat that never does anything. He's kind of like Sauron if you only read LotRO and not the appendices where he actually does nasty stuff that works. You can say "oh, Iuz is a putz and should be retired. But I much prefer to actually develop him as a credible threat.

    Vecna is both overexposed and completely lame in canon. Turning him into a god was a complete waste of a great villian concept. The Vecna series wasn't even a good set of adventures.. just a train wreck all around.
    Forum Moderator

    Joined: Feb 26, 2004
    Posts: 2586
    From: Ullinois

    Send private message
    Sat Jul 19, 2008 5:57 pm  

    Iuz has been captured before, maybe even twice depending on which adventures you've ran. Vecna relatively just got back from imprisonment in Ravenloft. And Big T has always been imprisoned! Locking them away at this point would be cliche. Either they need to be defeated soundly or....they need to WIN. Now Iuz had been poised to do just that in Sargent's run but many if not all his gains have shriveled up. I'd say his chance has passed. Vecna apparently has no Oerthly dominion needs like in his old days. All he ever wanted was to be a full fledged god, well now that he is will he return to Oerthly dominion? And Big T, well saying he is overexposed is true from a publishing standpoint, but at the same time he has to be. He is the bogey man, the Dark vs Light. You could say St Cuthbert or Pholtus is just as overexposed and they aren't even imprisoned!

    Good topic.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2007
    Posts: 210
    From: Vancouver

    Send private message
    Sat Jul 19, 2008 8:57 pm  

    I like the idea of kickstarting a next-gen GH and would be inclined to submit some articles for it. To this end, I welcome any feedback/suggestions/criticism.

    I agree with Mort on Iuz. Imprisoning him again would be monotonous. Rather, he should be dealt such a blow as to nearly cripple him such as the destruction of his Soul Husks that I mentioned above. Something of an Osama Bin Laden scenario that sends him into hiding. This could be done a number of ways: an alliance of good that spearheads this attack, an alliance of good and evil with a common foe, or maybe he is toppled from within. Given the chaotic evil nature of his empire, the latter seems like the most likely candidate. An article or a high level adventure are two good methods to execute this.

    Not sure about the other two, the topic of Vecna has been bungled since he became a god so I don't even know where to start with him. I see the cult of Tharizdun like the the Mud Sorcerer cults, where most of them are rooted out and destroyed and Tharizdun remains where he is.

    Unless there is some serious protest to all this, which new evil power(s) should come to the fore while the Big Three are on vacation? Was putting Iuz, Tharizdun and/or Vecna away all part of a bigger plan in the sheme of things?

    Just some food for thought...

    Trevor Watson
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:19 pm  

    Well, Mort, I agree with some of your post. Iuz really needs to get out of stasis.. either he needs to be shown to be effective or he needs to get clobbered. I'd rather he was made effective, since I don't really see a reason to introduce another pointless villian to stand around holding up the status quo. And if you introduce a new villian who is effective, there's not really any reason why said effectiveness couldn't be given to Iuz.

    But I completely disagree that Tharizdun needs to be omnipresent the way he has been in recent years. I really dislike how they merged him with the Elder Elemental God and despise the "Tharizdun is behind the Scarlet Brotherhood and the ToEE" concepts. Whoever is handling Tharizdun's branding clearly has no idea how to properly use Cthulhoid type monstrosities. The more you use them, the less effective they are.

    Vecna.. just ugh.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Feb 20, 2008
    Posts: 594


    Send private message
    Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:14 pm  

    I have always considered Iuz to be the evil that the Circle of Eight allow to be around simply to provide balance to the Flanaess. As we all know (mostly from watching Saturday morning cartoons) is that goodness cannot exist without wickedness, and that the Circle of Eight are neutral.

    Rary: "Otiluke, do you have any last words?"

    Otiluke: "Tell my wife I said...hello."
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3818
    From: So. Cal

    Send private message
    Sun Jul 20, 2008 6:09 am  

    I don't think the Circle of Eight simply let Iuz roam free to tweak the balance anymore than they allow Solars to go cruising about on the Prime. They just don't have any choice in the matter, as Iuz is simply too powerful. And besides, even with Iuz gone, the evil of mortals will more than tweak the balance on its own.

    I do think it is rather funny that there is call for Tharizdun to go when he isn't even there in the first place. It will be time for him to go when his cult is everywhere and fills the spot of "Villain X" every third adventure or so(yeah, it's that tripartite thing again. Happy). Up until now Iuz has received the most press of all of the villainous factions. I think a Tharizdun themed adventure could be very interesting, but I really haven't seen one yet. Though the Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun is at its outset a dungeon crawl, once you get into the place it takes on more of a Tomb Raider aspect to it. The hack-n'-slash is mostly done with, and almost archeological investigation begins to take place, with PCs having to find and figure out all manner of things about not only the place but the long lost arcana within(and that is a lot of fun in itself).

    Luz's review of the Shothragot bit is pretty spot on in that department. I like the idea of the minion, but I think it goes a bit far for something that likely has its power tied to Tharizdun himself, for when the Big T was chained, I doubt the gods would have just left something like Shothragot free ranging on the prime, and if Shothragot was so well hidden, then why is there a Seal of Binding when supposedly there is nothing to have been found and bound in the first place??? :? This may well be the most glaring flaw in the adventure, as it is simply there to finagle the PCs into place and limit them(no conjuration spells). One other major flaw in my mind is this bit from the intro:

    "Few names strike as much fear as the dreaded Tharizdun. The Dark God has many names, looming large in the minds of every sentient race to walk the Material Plane."

    Ok, this is where a "wtf?' gif would come in very handy. Laughing

    I don't know about the rest of you, but in my version of things, very few sages even know of Tharizdun- even less than that know, or rather, knew of Vecna. It was merely mortals who tried to erase all references to Vecna, but it was the gods themselves who erased Tharizdun so long ago that even elves don’t remember it. I'm pretty sure that the gods could do a damn fine job of this, so Tharizdun is little known. That’s not to say nobody knows of him, and yes, there are certainly cultists, but they are very secretive; even more so that those of Incabulos, for they know that they are not the enemy of any one group of deities’ followers, but of ALL of them. It is literally them against the world. I’d also say that this group goes out of its way to hunt down and kill off those who do know of Tharizdun, and that aren’t a part of his cult for two reasons: one- they may know information useful to the cult; two- if they do know about him and aren’t in the cult, then they are enemies that must be destroyed. I can’t imagine any group of people more likely to put the secrecy and paranoia of Vecna and Incabulos cults to shame more so than that of Tharizdun cults.

    Material on Vecna, Tharizdun, and Iuz could certainly be cut back on, or altered to make it more insidious. Tharizdun should practically be a non-entity. I'm not particularly fond of the treatment Vecna has had in the first place, and he isn't even a god in my campaign at all. Iuz makes a good ever-present threat but, for me, that is all he is- a threat. He had his big day in the ToEE adventure, and in the Greyhawk Wars, but he's pretty much put it all out there, over-extended himself, and is failing on all fronts but the home front. All that has served to do is create a few more locations to visit for those folks who get their kick out of killing bad guys(i.e adventurers). That serves a purpose at least, and for an actual divinity, Iuz is pretty weak so he is relative easy to work around.

    Where I think we have become sick to death of some of these villains is that relatively recent material has focused heavily(and sometimes repeatedly) on these villains rather than strike out into new territory. How many Iuz links can we have outside of ToEE and the Greyhawk Wars? How many things can we link Iggwilv to? Really, it’s been like somebody has been playing The 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon with some of these Greyhawk personalities in the last few years. Lareth yet again? This is his third appearance worshipping yet another deity(other than Lolth) I think. Well, at least it wasn’t Iggwilv(I’ll give thanks for small mercies). :D

    This thread has really blown up in a short amount of time. Nice to see so many people active. Cool Oh, and sorry for spewing out such a lengthy post. Wink


    Last edited by Cebrion on Mon Jul 21, 2008 3:26 am; edited 1 time in total
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Sun Jul 20, 2008 9:05 am  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    Tharizdun is definitely overused, considering he's supposed to be a secretive and mind boggling whacko god that hardly anyone remembers. Not to mention all this bs about him also being the Elder Elemental God. Bleh.

    Iuz does not have this problem. . . . The problem with Iuz is not that he's overused, its that he's misused. The whole Wars scenario and subsequent flipflop by the next generation of writers has left him looking like a putz. Other than the Wars fiasco, he's just the looming threat that never does anything. . . . You can say "oh, Iuz is a putz and should be retired. But I much prefer to actually develop him as a credible threat.

    Vecna is both overexposed and completely lame in canon. Turning him into a god was a complete waste of a great villian concept.


    I agree with respect to Big T. I agree with respect to Vecna. And I mostly agree with respect to Iuz, except at the very last.

    To redevelop Iuz now - at this late date, after all the poor use he has been put to - would IMO stretch credibility within the setting and, if Iuz was not not overexposed before (for sake of discussion) would then overexpose him. Good, bad or indifferent, I think Iuz has just made the papers too many times to expect that a headline reading - Iuz is back and for real _THIS_ time - to really get any traction. I think Iuz must be somehow retired, at least for one go-round of GH development before he can get his mojo back.

    Maybe a new villain is introduced by dealing Iuz a dolorous blow? Maybe Daddy Grazzt thinks junior could do with some readucation in the Abyss? Maybe one of Grazzt' Abyssal enemies strikes at Grazzt through Iuz (however imperfect an agent of Grazzt Iuz is)? There are many ways to get Iuz offstage that could be 1) not lame, as in just imprisoning him once again, and 2) might be cool or suggest cool possibilities in and of themselves.
    _________________
    GVD
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Sun Jul 20, 2008 9:08 am  

    chaoticprime wrote:
    I have always considered Iuz to be the evil that the Circle of Eight allow to be around simply to provide balance to the Flanaess. As we all know (mostly from watching Saturday morning cartoons) is that goodness cannot exist without wickedness, and that the Circle of Eight are neutral.

    Rary: "Otiluke, do you have any last words?"

    Otiluke: "Tell my wife I said...hello."


    This raises an issue beyond villains (religious and political) in a next gen GH - what to do about the magical status quo?

    To date, the Circle of Eight has pretty much hogged the magical spotlight. Oh, sure. There are The Silent Ones etc. but none of these other groups has reached Circle of Eight stardom. To this extent, it is not much of a stretch to say that the Circle of Eight has largely defined magic organizations, and by turns practice, in GH. But like old Iuz, the Circle of Eight doesn't actually _DO_ much. They get themselves killed by Vecna. They get themselves killed by Rary. They shuffle the roster as a substitute for doing anything but at the end of the day they really are just a magical weight GH must carry.

    IMO, the Circle of Eight needs, more than anything else, and ACTIVE AGENDA. They have a philosophy - preserve the Balance - but no agenda as to how that really works. Maybe that is why Mordy has been able to keep them more or less together? Because he has never really asked much of them? If he did, maybe he'd have more Tensers striking off on their own? And what about Tenser? Off he goes to do . . . nothing! Same for Rary - he rules an "empire" of sand, dirt, flies and fleas. Way to use Rary! Not!

    I think there are many, many different and effective ways one might go in deciding how to depict a next gen Circle of Eight. My personal favorite would be three active and rival Circles lead by Mordy, Tenser and Rary. Given the strong leadership and alignment rivalry, there would be little chance that three activist Circles would push PCs or the setting around, ala Elminster and the Harpers. Rather, I think you'd get a lot of mileage out of a magical triangle - maybe a quadrangle if the Silent Ones were to get added to the mix - working at cross purposes.

    YMMV
    _________________
    GVD
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 24, 2005
    Posts: 46
    From: Toronto

    Send private message
    Sun Jul 20, 2008 9:25 am  

    I can see what you guys are saying, and this opinion obviously isn't popular... but to me, a world without these villains is not Greyhawk. Tharizdun, Iuz, and Vecna are used so much because they are such great villains and great villains are really what make people want to play in a setting. At least, it is these three specific villains, along with the Vault of the Drow that made me want to DM in the Greyhawk Campaign setting. I too would like to see more material on some of the other Greyhawk baddies (Wastri and Hextor in particular) but taking the 'axis of evil' out of Greyhawk would be like taking Darth Vader, Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett out of Star Wars. For me they are one of the things that sets Greyhawk apart from other settings. Happy
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2007
    Posts: 210
    From: Vancouver

    Send private message
    Sun Jul 20, 2008 11:22 am  

    I hear ya, Viktor Von Dave, these bad guys are GH icons and belong there. Iuz especially has been a terrific villain for my GH campaigns over the years. I think the idea here is to give them a rest, because they have hogged the limelight for so long. I certainly don't want to get rid of any of them entirely, but I'd like to see some new threats enter the arena.

    Personally, I really liked the Sargent GH years. Iuz was now a major world heavyweight and a real menace. This should have been followed up with him throwing his political weight around and flexing his military muscle a lot more, while he was in his prime. Instead, he went back to where he was before the wars. WTF? As much as it pains me, I have to agree that Iuz has become a tired old warhorse that no one takes seriously. These are not good credentials for the single biggest evil power in the world.

    Trevor Watson
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Dec 30, 2002
    Posts: 147
    From: 1313 StoneCastle Way, Free City of Dyvers, W0G 13F

    Send private message
    Sun Jul 20, 2008 1:48 pm  

    Wow, hot topic... Shocked

    Aside from an immortal approach, how about off-spring, childern of anyone of these nasties? that can evolve into a fresher approach, a new bad guy with old bad guy ties.

    Yes, Vecna or Iuz is much a part of GH, but one should stop beating a “dead horse”... because Vecna might make it undead and it’ll start beating back. Laughing

    Hitler, Ghangis Khan, Caligula, even Napoleon or Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great, ended up becoming effectual historical figures, which some of them even envied or adapted traits of such historical figures (I put in the last few because I’m sure the Gauls didn’t revere old JC as a hero, etc...). We don’t have to lose the GH baddies, just place them historically (they’ve had the spot light) and develop some new baddies.

    Kali, Anubis, Orcus, Hades, etc... Gods... Big Baddies! Iuz is semi-there, to some a Lesser-there, ok, let’s immortalize him... he does have the “fan” base for it. Vecna, Tharizdunm they are already there. Nothing is saying one can’t slap a few high priests and a bunch of fanatical followers together to continue their song and dance.

    Cool I think it would be creepier if they were given a more ancient/lost(defeated)evil status, that in the many many years later Greyhawk, secret secs thrive, maybe ancient rituals to try and bring back the evil age of their prime time... maybe a re-birth or raising the “Son of...”. Placing these iconic figures into GH history could make them larger than their current standing. Smile

    It’s just a suggestion, but times change and history lays the foundation for the future. I did a piece on the Three banners of Nerull, based off of the three sons of Nerull... something I created for my GH campaigns, way long ago... definitely could have done a better job on presenting them...

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf//modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=467

    ...now artifacts, which in my campaign, one was successfully destroyed by a PC group who accidentally came across one during a search of an underground ruins for a weapon used by one of Vecna’s lieutenants... but that is a whole other story.... Stones and Scrolls was its title, it lasted over two years and had over 12 different players in it , with two groups of 6 (7), playing the same campaign on alternating weekends, one group seeking a series of Scrolls and the other group seeking a weapon... but I digress, let the dice fall where they may... Alea iacta est,.... the die is cast, a new age can be upon us... hammy or what Happy

    Cheers

    AncientGamer Cool aka BusterBudd
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Dec 30, 2002
    Posts: 147
    From: 1313 StoneCastle Way, Free City of Dyvers, W0G 13F

    Send private message
    Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:00 pm  

    Hey Luz, I heard Incabulos has been summering down in the Sunndi, checking out Acererak's old pad Wink

    Laughing

    Later...

    AncientGamer Cool aka BusterBudd
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:04 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:


    To redevelop Iuz now - at this late date, after all the poor use he has been put to - would IMO stretch credibility within the setting and, if Iuz was not not overexposed before (for sake of discussion) would then overexpose him.


    Just admit you, you hate Iuz and have been trying for years to get him booted :P

    To some extent you are right, simply because its demonstrably not possible for WotC to actually write good sinister setting villians. Can you name one example of them doing so? So if they tried to use Iuz effectively, the way many DMs have, it would fail. They are too enamored of the direct confrontation and the wizbang gimmick. (To be fair, sinister ENBG types also require a lot of DM massaging to really work; WotC just needs to stop using him as a hamfisted loser like the evil god in the Belgariad was..).

    Oh,and seriously? Graz'zt? Criminy, you claim Iuz is overexposed and then you suggest Graz'zt? Riiiight. :P
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Sun Jul 20, 2008 5:14 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:


    I do think it is rather funny that there is call for Tharizdun to go when he isn't even there in the first place.


    Maybe you missed how they turned every reference to the Elder Elemental God into a Tharizdun cult? Oh, and he was the real villain in Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. I stopped buying published adventures a decade or so ago, so I can't say if there are others. He's also getting featured as a big shot in the new 4e pantheon, isn't he?
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 29, 2006
    Posts: 490
    From: Dantredun, MN

    Send private message
    Sun Jul 20, 2008 6:23 pm  

    I agree that Iuz, Tharizdun, and Vecna crop up way too much, particularely the last two.

    PCs have run-ins with cults devoted to Nerull and Incabulos much more often then the followers of imprisoned and secret gods like Tharizdun and Vecna.

    The Suloise pantheon contains some excellent gods from whose followers little has been heard. IMO, Sean Reynolds linked them all too closely with The Scarlet Brotherhood. It would be nice to see some unrelated temples of Beltar, Syrul and Pyremius.

    Wastri should certainly be take a more active role (in my campaign, he was behind the events described in Tomb of the Lizard King, which I set in the Vast Swamp). A wererat cult of Raxivort could be fun.

    All that aside, rather than simply swapping-out overused gods and enemies with a new bunch, tricky role-playing opportunities can be created by pitting PCs against new adversaries of neutral alignment. I've always appreciated Greyhawk's 'shades of grey' and the unclear line between enemies and allies. Followers of Wee Jas, Telchur or Ralishaz could do something downright evil for once. If Iuz and TSB are getting old, set your party against Ket, Perrenland, or the Theocracy of the Pale. Threats to the central Flanaess from chaotic, uncivilized nations have always been downplayed. No one knew the Tiger Nomads even existed until a couple hundred years ago. One of Kord's children (a quasi-deity?) could rouse the Thillonrian barbarians and make them a major threat on the eastern shores.

    BusterBudd wrote:
    Wow, hot topic... Shocked
    Aside from an immortal approach, how about off-spring, childern of anyone of these nasties? that can evolve into a fresher approach, a new bad guy with old bad guy ties.

    This is a good idea. Wasn't Kyuss sponsored by Nerull? Russ Taylor's treatment of Erishkigal with support from Nerull is also interesting.

    Quote:

    Cool I think it would be creepier if they were given a more ancient/lost(defeated)evil status, that in the many many years later Greyhawk, secret secs thrive, maybe ancient rituals to try and bring back the evil age of their prime time... maybe a re-birth or raising the “Son of...”. Placing these iconic figures into GH history could make them larger than their current standing. Smile

    It would also be interesting if some of these "evil ages" took place outside the Flanaess. What if the crumbling temples of (insert evil god here) were founded by sects that were merely marginal offshoots of a major center of worship to the east or west? Taking evil, forgotten powers and adding a elements of a lost, exotic culture foreign to the Flanaess would add a new historical element to the average dungeon crawl.

    GVDammerung wrote:

    To date, the Circle of Eight has pretty much hogged the magical spotlight. Oh, sure. There are The Silent Ones etc. but none of these other groups has reached Circle of Eight stardom.

    Yep. I'd go so far as to say they're just as overused as Vecna and big T. Heck, Mordenkainen appears on the covers of Expedition..., the Gazetteer, and TSR Jam. He's gotten as bland as Elminster. IMO, the Circle needs to become much more of a shadow organization functioning through intermediaries. PC's shouldn't have regular contact with them and shouldn't necessarily think them allies. They're also aiding the forces of good way too much. They need to assassinate a LG priest or something. Gygax's portrayal in the Gord books and early Dragon article made Mordy much more of an untrustworthy character. Tenser's refusal to rejoin the Circle may be due to future plans that would be very much against his LG nature.
    Quote:

    My personal favorite would be three active and rival Circles lead by Mordy, Tenser and Rary.

    Graf Reydrich might make a good ally for Rary. According to Sargent's description in Ivid, he was dealt of pretty big insult by Mordenkainen (now their mutual enemy) because his reliance on fiends (also used by Rary).
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 24, 2006
    Posts: 255


    Send private message
    Sun Jul 20, 2008 7:08 pm  

    It's a bit hokey , but....


    One could also say that the Wars were merely the first stage in Iuz's great plan to ascend to the next stage of godhood, and his plan now requires him to leave the Oerth for some time.

    Removing Iuz from the picture would make for an awesome war. The Boneheart will probably be unable to present a united front. They'll betray one another in the scramble to sieze power. Furyondy is certain to launch the second round of the Great Northern Crusade. I'd imagine that other realms will join in. There will be rebellions in the occupied Shield Lands, Bandit Kingdoms, and Horned Society lands.

    Iuz might still grant spells, but not directly communicate with his followers. He may be back some day, but not anytime soon....
    Forum Moderator

    Joined: Feb 26, 2004
    Posts: 2586
    From: Ullinois

    Send private message
    Sun Jul 20, 2008 9:53 pm  

    http://greyhawkonline.com/wogcomic/canonfire/cfthread1.jpg

    Damn this thread is good, its even got these guys working on a solution.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Sun Jul 20, 2008 9:58 pm  

    There are certainly plenty of other evil gods and an functionally unlimited number of demon lords and the like to use if you are interested in setting up bad guy groups for your campaign.

    There is a strong tendency in RPG publishing to dog pile on the "cool" things rather than try to show how there are more cool things than thought. Which is why you tend to get the problems GVD is talking about. IMC, I don't use any of the non human gods. I just use the original list in the boxed set and the demonlords. So Beltar, as a Kali like goddess of mayhem, is a major figure amongst the humanoid tribes and a threat to mankind (especially in the Sheldomar, where my game is set). The really foul cults are followers of various demonlords rather than Tharizdun or Vecna.

    There is a lot of stuff in the setting that can be used, just almost never is.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 24, 2006
    Posts: 255


    Send private message
    Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:12 pm  

    mortellan wrote:
    http://greyhawkonline.com/wogcomic/canonfire/cfthread1.jpg

    Damn this thread is good, its even got these guys working on a solution.


    Very funny! Did you just whip that up now? Nice work.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 24, 2006
    Posts: 255


    Send private message
    Sun Jul 20, 2008 10:14 pm  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    There are certainly plenty of other evil gods and an functionally unlimited number of demon lords and the like to use if you are interested in setting up bad guy groups for your campaign.

    There is a strong tendency in RPG publishing to dog pile on the "cool" things rather than try to show how there are more cool things than thought. Which is why you tend to get the problems GVD is talking about. IMC, I don't use any of the non human gods. I just use the original list in the boxed set and the demonlords. So Beltar, as a Kali like goddess of mayhem, is a major figure amongst the humanoid tribes and a threat to mankind (especially in the Sheldomar, where my game is set). The really foul cults are followers of various demonlords rather than Tharizdun or Vecna.

    There is a lot of stuff in the setting that can be used, just almost never is.


    I came very close to using Beltar in my adaptation of Keep on the Borderlands, but went with Erythnul instead. I will definitely be using Beltar at a later date, though. I totally love her.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3818
    From: So. Cal

    Send private message
    Mon Jul 21, 2008 3:53 am  

    The problem is that, instead of tapping into the huge wealth of evil deities Greyhawk has to offer, it's been pretty much a return to the same ol' same ol' time and time again, and not in very interesting ways. It's been more in the way of merely linking the same ol' same ol' to something known, or only sometimes new. RttToEE is a perfect example of this, though I think most of the "Return to" series has suffered from this to one degree or another, and overall has been kinda lackluster, with little new to offer. I would have preferred more new materail on uncovered things rather than what has been mostly a rehashing of things over the last six years or so, but you take what you can get I guess. The material hasn't been totally worthless, but it could have been a lot better campaign world development-wise overall. Lots of missed opportunities to be sure.

    Vormaerin: I didn't miss how everything Elder Elemental Eye was turned into Tharizdun; I just chose to class that sutff as garbage written by people who either didn't know any better or who were just blatantly ignoring what has come before. It's Ok to ignore drivel you know. :P Sometimes authors just do annoying things. Lareth is a servant of Lolth and *not* the EEE. The Elder Elemental Eye is *not* representative of Tharizdun, though it is a ancient force(that equivocates to FR's Ghaunadaur, which I do like the treament of). So much of this smacks of just using a characer name as buzz-word to get attention, and in the end, it's not such a good thing to do.

    "So, I hear there is new Lord Mayor in Greyhawk."
    "Oh? Who is it?"
    "They say he goes by the name Lareth the Beautiful..."

    You just know it's gonna happen! Laughing Well, maybe not. I still need to read those final few Living Greyhawk scnenarios to see the outcome of things.

    But yes, lots of missed opportunities and too many things overused in recent years; evil cults and their deities specifically.

    The text-altering Mortellan is a bad man. Laughing
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:41 am  

    Part the First - Religion

    I think moving Tharizdun, Iuz and Vecna off center stage in a Next Gen GH is a good idea. Obviously. I don't think their replacements as villains, however, should be drawn from the ranks of GH's gods.

    GH gods as villains suffer a disability the deities of no other setting suffer - the GH divine non-interference pact. Unless one wants a God War - FR went THATAWAY! - gods as active antagonists has to be done VERY sparingly, if at all. At the same time, gods as active agents more generally in rpgs tends to be overdone.

    Part of the Next Gen GH could certainly see new evil gods become more prominent but I'd stop short of having them be active antagonists. People have mentioned Incabulos. He is a perfect example of how an evil god can play a larger role but without playing a personally active one. Incabulous' rise can involve evil sendings, plagues and nightmares but no direct godly action. In this example, Incabulous effects the atmosphere or the scenery in a noticeable way but neither he nor a surrogate actually appear on stage. An example.

    Part the Second - Magic

    If dealing with Big T, Iuz and Vecna is IMO Part I of how a Next Gen GH could take shape, Part II, as I mentioned upthread, is dealing with GH's magical status quo which is dominated if not defined by the Circle of Eight. Tenser and Rary have split from the Circle and IMO should head their own groups. So. We would have a) Mordy and the amoral Neutrals, b) Tenser and the militant DoGooders and c) Rary and the grasping Evildoers. All would work at cross purposes, directly and through catspaws - a stalemate just aching for PCs to help tip the balance, pardon the pun.

    Part the Third - Politics

    After religion and magic get facelifts, as above, the political order would need to be modified. Iuz moving off stage goes a long way to accomplishing this in the west. But there is a festering sore almost as large in the east - undead Aerdi.

    Ivid the Undying was a great piece of work but it left GH's east in an untenable position. Societies (plural) run by undead are untenable in the long run. In part, its cliche as undead masters is not a novel concept. In part its practical, such a "society" would be very vulnerable to opposition inside and from outside the "society." Long term, a bunch of undead rulers just doesn't work IMO.

    In short, the Aerdi undead need to go. To be replaced by? Politics! Simple human politics. I think GH has somewhat gotten away from what really set it apart at its inception - human on human conflicts defining and animating the setting.

    The Nyrond/Aerdi conflict. The South Province/Iron League conflict. The Furyondy/Keoland Short War and its aftermath. The conflict between the Wild Coast and the Pomarj. The on-again, off-again union of the Urnst States. The on-again, off-again union of Furyondy and Veluna. The tripartite rivalry between Greyhawk City, Hardby and Dyvers. The internecine struggles in the Bandit Kingdoms and the Hold of the Sea Princes.

    All of the above were non-magical, non-religious POLITICAL conflicts that generated adventure possibilities. From the Ashes largely did away with all of these and substituted magical/religious/monstrous replacements. The Living Greyhawk Gazateer did not go far enough in returning GH to a human-centeric adventure model. I'm not advocating a full scale retrn to the Good Old Days - but I do think there is a place for human on human/humanoid politics that eschews monsters, religion or magic as the centeral driver. GH has IMO become too dependent of flashy adventure generators. There is absolutely a place for these but the balance has tipped too far in this direction IMO.

    YMMV

    Vormaerin - I wasn't suggesting Grazzt replace Iuz but that Grazzt might be a means to get Iuz off of center stage - either personally or through the action of one of his rivals.

    Mortellan - ROFL! You have too much time on your hands! ;-)
    _________________
    GVD
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 05, 2003
    Posts: 64


    Send private message
    Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:26 am  

    Howdy all, infrequent poster here, but often-times lurker...

    I am really enjoying this thread and since I myself shared some issues with it I thought I would offer up how I handled the situation.

    For me, the problems begain a decade or so back. When my campaign began back in the 80s we chose Greyhawk and started running games that took place in the 570s. For about five or six years we didn't place too much importance on the timeline but eventually someone wanted to play an old characters son or somesuch so we started watching our calendar. By the time the Greyhawk WARs boxed set came out our campaign was set in the 590s. It was convenient that the wars stuff fit fairly well with the game I was running so a couple of "superboy ret-con punches" fixed the dates and we trucked on. Then the RPGA go ahold of Greyhawk. At that point my campaign was taking place in the early 800s CY. So since then, just about everything published is 'ancient history'.

    Obviously, various resolutions concerning big bad-guy types had already taken place in my game and the big three of T/V/I were getting stale. So I tried a grand experiment. We made out own epic bad-guys. I sat down with my players, explained to them what I wanted, and for all sakes and purposes we ran an 'evil' campaign - a campaign that went epic (well Skills and Powers version anyway) and after two or three years we ended up with a phenomenal pantheon of uber-baddies that continue to plague my campaign to this day (incidentally, we are now in the late 15th century).

    One thing that has spawned from this is that all of my players (none of whom were actually around when the evil campaign first took place) have become so accustomed to my bad-guys that I have recently been look at ways to spice them up. So...guess who I turned to? Thats right...the old crew. Instead of running another bad-guy campaign the current campaign is now facing off against a insiduous plot that - if successful - will reinstate some of the 'forgotten' evils as MAJOR players. Namely: Vecna and Orcus.

    Obviously running a campaign that celebrates all things naughty isn't easy or for everyone, but if you can pull it off it is well worth it.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 05, 2003
    Posts: 64


    Send private message
    Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:39 am  

    Hi...me again...

    As a second approach you might want to try something like this:

    Iuz has tremendous power. Get hold of Iuz the Evil and start playing up the roles and 'facetime' of some of the more prominent 'seconds' and governors in that product. Push Iuz further back stage and use his name less - sure Darth Slapptyback the Bedraggled may WORK for Iuz, but if it is by his command that orphanages and puppy-farms keep getting burned the players will eventually come to associate his name as a big baddy (though I would caution against using the name Darth Slapptyback the Bedraggled).

    This same approach would work for the others as well.

    Tharizdun specifically is easilly done up by his own followers. What I mean is this: imagine that Tharizdun has grown to such great notoriety that there are NUMEROUS cults scattered across Oerth dedicated to him but they do not all agree! For instance the Elder Elemental Eye folks secretly hate the Sleeping Dread Lord folks and the Inverted Ziggurat clan hates both of them...etc. Let their various cult leaders rise and perhaps there is a splintering...or something.

    As for Vecna...what ever happened in your game to the Hand and Eye from the old Vecna Lives module? Not the artifacts, the individuals. Remember them? Again, this is a 'Risen Lieutenant' approach. But hey...what works, works.

    Then of course, if you really wanted to, just start focusing more on the good old Demon lords.

    For example, in my current game there is a new chapter brewing in the Blood War. Grazz't is pretty much allying with factions in hell against the other abyssal lords and as such is creating a huge enemy base there. The end result is that Baphomet, Demogorgon, Kostchtchie, Malcanthet, Fraz'Urb-luu, Zuggtmoy, Pazuzu, and Dagon have joined forces (sort of) and may just end up creating a new plane of evil wherein THEY are the ruling lords more similar in structure to hell (I play pretty fast and loose with Alignment). Meanwhile...Orcus is making a huge bid with Vecna as his 'face' to basically set himself up as the God of Death and Undeath (Vecna isn't a god in my game anymore - he was cast down; long story).

    Anywho...just some ideas. Discuss amongst yourselves...
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:43 am  

    Well... the whole idea of gods as an active villain the PCs are directly confronting is very bad. I don't think anyone was actually suggesting that. The fact that the PCs do that with regards to Iuz in several modules is, in fact, part of the problem with Iuz at all.

    Iuz is already set up for the proper use... He's got an army, he's got a priesthood, and most importantly he's got the Boneheart's three sections. Iuz is the threat, but he's not sitting there going "hmm, I wonder what those darned PCs are up to". The ultimate goal could be to bring down Kermin Mindbender or something.. The fact that Iuz squats in Dorakaa means you can actually run adventures where the goal is to sneak around under his nose and NOT meet him, without having to get into plane travel (IMHO, a good thing, YMMV). Frankly, I think you would be hard pressed to create a better "setting level" villain than Iuz, despite the travesty that is how he's been used.

    If you are going to replace Iuz with a different "setting level" villain, you really ought to go a completely different way. Replacing Iuz with a different malign supernatural ruler/conqueror is pointless. Might as well claim you have a whole new doll because you bought your barbie a different outfit...

    If you are going to create a villain that the PCs are ultimately supposed to go toe to toe with, then you certainly don't want to use another god. The gods tangent was mainly an example of things you could do with the existing material without further overusing the "big three".

    Regarding the Circle of Eight, I loathe how they have been changed from a collection of powerful friends who use their personal influence and occassional bouts of adventuring to advance their agenda into some kind of Greyhawk equivalent of the Harpers.... *shudder*


    Cebrion,

    Yeah, you can ignore drivel. Vecna's not a god in my campaign and Tharizdun doesn't lurk under every rock. But that doesn't really change the fact that the drivel was published and WotC and legions of forum goers think that's the way it is...
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:36 pm  

    I haven't actually sat down to draft up a way to move to a next gen GH but just noodling the thought occurred:

    Vecna is a pest, who never stops looking out for Vecna. Suppose he decides to try to steal some of Tharizdun's power for himself. Big T is trapped and thus an easy target by some measure. Vecna tries and screws it up. He ends up releasing Big T, who immediately drains Vecna of his godhood and casts him down (fate left purposefully vague). Check one Vecna.

    Big T then immediately sets about attempting to destroy Oerth - real wrath of god type stuff. The gods of Oerth must once again unite - including Iuz. Iuz, however, is little better than Vecna and attempts to succeed where Vecna failed. St Cuthbert, fearing treachery from Iuz, is ready for his power play but Iuz also anticipates St. Cuthbert.

    What Iuz does not anticipate is that St. Cuthbert is willing to sacrifice himself to stop Iuz (Iuz just doesn't get the whole "self-sacrifice" thing- he's not supposed to sacrifice, people are supposed to sacrifice to him!). The end result is that Iuz and St. Cuthbert are both lost (fates left purposefully vague) in the fight against Big T. However, Iuz' attempt to drain Big T and St. Cuthbert's sacrifice distract/weaken Big T just enough for the other gods to re-imprison him. Check Iuz. Check Big T. Check St. Cuthbert for good measure.

    Meanwhile back on Oerth, Big T's brief rampage has been sufficient to reshuffle the deck. Que Next Gen Greyhawk!!!

    Just noodling here.
    _________________
    GVD
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3283
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Mon Jul 21, 2008 5:25 pm  

    In 579 CY Iuz was still consolidating his territories after his lengthy absence. His minions and followers were the proper targets of the PCs' ire, as they had been during the Old One's imprisonment. During the Greyhawk Wars he became unique among Greyhawk's evil gods in that he was actively conquering swathes of territory. A demonic demigod who is intent on conquering the world and dragging it into the Abyss is an inherently unstable character. Either he succeeds, changing Greyhawk utterly, or he does not, showing him to be a paper tiger. His minions are still valid targets for the PCs, but what happens to them becomes less important with Iuz actively scheming to turn the world into a layer of the Abyss.

    One obvious solution is to allow the PCs to defeat him, banishing his spirit to the Abyss for at least a century. Carl Sargent presented a complex, multi-part route by which this could be accomplished, including destroying the Soul Husks to reduce his power, bargaining with/manipulating rival demon lords in order to cut off his supply of demonic minions, gathering the Swords of Corusk, and going to prominent NPCs like Philidor and Zagig's adventuring party to gain secrets on how to do this. For maximum drama, Iuz should seem on the cusp of victory just before the PCs complete the path. If the PCs fail, let Oerth die or at least be damaged enough so that it doesn't seem like the PCs were busy doing something an NPC ends up doing instead.

    A more temporary solution is to show him still making gains, keeping him still frightening, but slowing down the rate of his expansion dramatically. Roger E. Moore attempted to do that by removing his demonic minions. This allowed Furyondy and the Shield Lands to regain lost territory, restoring balance to the Flanaess, without impugning Iuz's power directly. Even so, this route is unsatisfying if Iuz does not begin doing terrifying, godlike things in due time. The storyline in Living Greyhawk that involved a flaw being discovered in the Flight of Fiends that the PCs need to correct was a good use of this story hook, and possibly justified this rather strange deus ex machina.

    Ignoring the Living Greyhawk plot, I think the ideal time for Iuz to be defeated would have been prior to the Age of Worms campaign, with Kyuss succeeding Iuz as the next demigod-level big bad.

    Another possible solution is simply to distract him. Perhaps Iuz's allies turn on him or he otherwise enraged enough by Abyssal politics that he concentrates all his efforts in the Abyss, leaving his Material Planar territories as they are. This could buy up to centuries of time, as Iuz becomes a whispered legend and other demon cults become more prominent as other lords seek alliances from the souls of Oerth. As long as the demon kings keep him busy, this would, I think, be satisfactory.

    Conceivably, Iuz could simply shift tactics from blunt military conquest to the subtle growth of his mortal cult. I think this may have been part of Roger E. Moore's plan, but again he eventually needs to either continually grow or be defeated utterly. Every time his schemes fail he becomes more of a bungler and less of a credible threat.

    GVDammerung has suggested several other possibilities, including imprisoning Iuz or making him rise to the status of a lesser god (and conveniently beyond seeking mere mortal territories). It'd be better to involve the PCs in some way, however, than to allow this kind of setting-changing event to happen entirely off-screen.

    The worst solutions, in my mind, would be keeping him in the north but never succeeding at anything, or having him attempt to launch an invasion of Greyhawk through a subterranean route only to be imprisoned a second time beneath Castle Greyhawk. Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk would work much better without Iuz being involved at all, I think; he ought to be replaced with some other, nonevil demigod so that the PCs aren't forced to choose between releasing the obviously incompetent Lord of Pain and unleashing a second Iggwilv.

    Oh well.

    Gary Gygax is to blame for Tharizdun being overexposed. Apart from the Temple adventure, he was hopelessly obscure until the Gord books made him the setting's ultimate villain. Carl Sargent used him in his works because he was building off of the first two Gord the Rogue books, and that's how he became the patron of the Scarlet Brotherhood. Sean K. Reynolds reduced that to a rumor in order to make the Brotherhood less insanely evil, and to follow Len Lakofka's earlier statement that the Brotherhood worshipped Pyremius and Beltar primarily. Apart from Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, Tharizdun really hasn't been used directly since then. Robert Schwalb's very recent Shothrogut series uses a relatively minor creation/aspect of Tharizdun and possibly leads toward a plot revolving around the Dark God's release, but that's it. Ignoring Shothrogut, I don't think Tharizdun has been overused of late. I don't think a plot involving Tharizdun's release and re-imprisonment is a solution to his overexposure, however. Rather, I'd simply concentrate on another theme instead, letting Tharizdun sleep.

    Some of the animus lords may inevitably fall due to their over-the-top vileness, but at least one, Drax, is an interesting character that deserves to stay. I don't think his status as an animus is commonly known, but even if it is, he's a relatively benign figure as far as undead lords go. Ordinary human politics ensure that even undead abominations with demonic advisors may be seen as useful, or the power vacuum that results from their departure seen as the greater of two possible ills. Drax would like to expand the influence of the Solnor Compact, but he does so using politics, not military conquest. And anyway, many consider him a hero by virtue of giving the Crook of Rao to Canon Hazen and thereby effecting the Flight of Fiends. Even if his face fell off in front of a crowd of Pelor's paladins, I think this great act of (albeit self-interested) good would be enough to keep them in check.

    I like Vecna as the whispered god of secrets, but after the trilogy of adventures surrounding him he doesn't need to be the center of any plots for a while. We don't need to get rid of him, either; he has a whole multiverse full of schemes to be involved with without bothering the Flanaess right now.

    Other villains are pretty easy to come up with. Perhaps a night hag servitor of Incabulos seeks to pull the remnants of Rauxes into the Plane of Dreams to fuel endless nightmares. Perhaps the mortal servant of Nerull whose chance at divinity was stolen by Mellifleur is trying to get his divine spark back. Mind flayers, sahuagin, beholders, and of course humans all make fine antagonists, and of course gods and demons don't have to be involved with everything.

    GVD, I'm not sure if by "que" you mean "cue," as in "new improved Greyhawk, this is your cue" or "queue," as in "the new Greyhawk is waiting in line for its turn to come up." Or possibly the Spanish word for "what," as in "Que es el nuevo Greyhawk?"
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2007
    Posts: 210
    From: Vancouver

    Send private message
    Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:23 pm  

    GVD, I like your ideas, especially Vecna being stripped of his divinity but, like Rasgon, I'm going to take a less "divine-upheaval" approach.

    With Tharizdun, I say let sleeping dogs lie. Following up published stuff like RttToEE and Essence of Evil, Tharizdun had his shot and it was thwarted (presumably, like the Age of Worms). It isn't a stretch to say his cult has diminished to the point that it withdraws from the spotlight.

    Iuz is in a similar position, he also had his shot. Because he is still an immediate threat, however, he has to be dealt with differently. I'll give you my sample scenario. Building from Sargent's material, Iuz could be preparing a ritual sacrifice of one of St. Cuthbert's planetars (see From the Ashes Atlas, pg.78 "Prisoner of the Iron Castle"), which will make him more powerful or perhaps propel him to lesser godhood. A direct assault on him at this point would be suicide, so instead the PCs (or NPCs) go after the Soul Husks while Iuz's attention is on the sacrifice. Still a terribly dangerous plan, but feasible while the demigod is distracted. Of course, other personalities such as Mordenkainen would have a part in all this (behind the scenes). If the husks are destroyed, Iuz is seriously weakened. If not, he completes the sacrifice and becomes a more powerful and viable threat.

    Vecna is a different story. IMO, he has undergone far too many changes in too short of a time. He was a lich who ascended to demigod status, then blasted off the Prime with Iuz, then imprisoned in Ravenloft until finally escaping that plane and emerging as a lesser god. I think Rasgon is right, he just needs to be ignored.

    If Iuz were sent away, the remnants of the Horned Society are a plausible option. I'm sure they are keeping tabs on the Old One and still have some clout. I think Warduke works for them, too. He'd be an intersting villain to bring to the fore.

    YMMV, eh GVD? Wink

    Mortellen, your hooded cultists are,as always,a friggin riot!

    Trevor watson
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2007
    Posts: 210
    From: Vancouver

    Send private message
    Mon Jul 21, 2008 7:33 pm  

    BusterBudd wrote:
    Hey Luz, I heard Incabulos has been summering down in the Sunndi, checking out Acererak's old pad Wink

    Laughing

    Bite your tongue, Buster! If that's the case, I guess Incabulos has himself a new summer resort.

    Acererak is preoccupied at the moment...

    Trevor Watson
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:04 pm  

    I'd personally have Iuz regrouping after the Flight of Fiends, concentrating his personal attention on Abyssal matters as he restores the web of alliances and servants that he had prior to that. Meanwhile, the Boneheart is up to all manner of nefarious schemes. Perhaps its just that I prefer Tolkeinesque villains who have physical power, but do their worst evils with subterfuge, treachery, and underhanded scheming.

    Plagues, "unrelated" invasions, schisms, and so on to weaken or destroy his neighbors while he's settling his other affairs. He's immortal. Winning next week isn't exactly urgent. Help strengthen the pacifist wing of the Raoan church, stir up a La Fronde style unrest in Furyondy, keep up the fighting in the Vesve and the Shield Lands, rebuild what was the lands of the Horned Society, see if you can turn Bissel into another Short War, etc. There's plenty of room to give Iuz success in the course of a typical campaign without reaching cataclysm (unless that's what you want, in which case Rasgon's storyline makes good sense).
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 24, 2005
    Posts: 46
    From: Toronto

    Send private message
    Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:11 pm  

    mortellan wrote:
    http://greyhawkonline.com/wogcomic/canonfire/cfthread1.jpg

    Damn this thread is good, its even got these guys working on a solution.


    Dude, this is awesome. I love how each of the cultists is dressed in a different era's interpretation of the cult - nice touch! Mordy does seem to get more sinister with each edition... Laughing

    Sorry to interrupt, there are a lot of interesting ideas being thrown around in here.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Dec 30, 2002
    Posts: 147
    From: 1313 StoneCastle Way, Free City of Dyvers, W0G 13F

    Send private message
    Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:34 pm  

    Just a question guys... Wink and a statement of concern. Further, it’s an expressed opinion here.

    BUT... don't you think we are getting a little carried away here. No matter what...Big T, The V, and Iuz are a part of the GH culture and to any degree will remain a part of it, have to, Be it as gods or dust on the winds of memories... but demand placement and continuity.

    This "new" Next Gen GH approach is fine, but I really believe, collectively, we should gauge this appropriately. GH is EGGs, if there was no EGG there would be no GH! Period! Let’s try and respect the idea of EGG's GH and use it as the principle for a "next Gen" GH and not try to write in so much “new” material, bury/loose the old, as to only have Greyhawk in name as the link.... sounds kind of similar to 4th Ed D&D compared to the mechanics/aura of previous D&D(AD&D) editions...next thing we’ll start slaying and invading gnomes in their lair. Wink

    Sad I for one do not wish to see this. Build upon his idea, not eradicate it slowly. A lot of good people have “added” fantastic work to EGG’s Greyhawk, especially you GVD, but I’m surprised at some of your suggestions. Maybe I am misinterpreting the discussion/direction here.

    I am standing on the Shoulders of a Giant and humbly add appreciation to his idea, hoping not to change it but carry it forward.

    It would be a sad day to see Greyhawk turned into something for the sake of meeting criteria for 4th Ed or anyone with ambitious revelations who “think” they can do so much better... step back and consider who inspired us and look at what “Gary Gygax” gave us, how his GH has grown from his inspiration. It’s huge. Authors who have “professionally” added to the GH experience over the years, I feel, maintained the “soul” of Greyhawk as it is today. Cool

    I don’t look to insult anyone here, lots of good opinions/ideas, but I see a seed of change here which causes me some concern. Change is good, is healthy, depending upon the nature/intent of the change. Whose next? St Cuthbert, wait a moment, he's been mentioned too... Wink

    So, do we really have to wipe these three out, or can we just evolve their process, and keep them around if not in nature than by name and historical action. Question

    Just an observation and opinion on the subject at hand. I apologise if I've offended anyone. Smile

    Cheers

    AncientGamer Cool aka BusterBudd
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:18 pm  

    At what point does your position differ from "thou shalt not change at all"?
    The published world of Greyhawk....and in particular the bits we are arguing about... are not EGG's vision anymore. Vecna was not even part of GH as far as EGG was concerned. Brian Blume invented him and just stuck him in the DMG. Someone else wrote those awful Vecna modules to make him into a god. So how is discussing punting the useless bugger a violation of EGG's legacy? I wouldn't say that Tharizdun as currently interpreted is very EGG either, but its at least derivative.

    Iuz, of course, is very EGG. :D
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Dec 30, 2002
    Posts: 147
    From: 1313 StoneCastle Way, Free City of Dyvers, W0G 13F

    Send private message
    Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:51 pm  

    Quote:
    Authors who have “professionally” added to the GH experience over the years, I feel, maintained the “soul” of Greyhawk as it is today.


    Your 100% Vormaerin..... BB, RM, SKR, Monty, EM, plus a half dozen others that come to mind, all added fantastic to great to good materials/personages, and helped make GH what it is today, and in my opinion, stayed relative to EGG's principle GH.

    "thou shalt not change at all"? Not saying this.

    I always look forward to "positive" change that maintains core principles, for the lack of argument, that is core GH derived from "offical" resources (published material).

    I just do not feel its appropiate to wipe these three out for the Next Gen GH, which is to some extent being suggested.

    There is lots of great ideas here on this, I just hope we don't go too extreme in trying to establish a new NG GH at the cost of founding/core established material.

    If not, then whats the sense of maintaining any level of continuity.

    Lastly, I don't want this to get taken out of context and to remain focused on the issue. I initially suggested that a cool approach to remove these guys from the over-exposure list would maybe have a crusade/jihad against them (collectively or seperately) and have their Heirs or high priests become the new baddies, fast forward a few hundred years and work in a history, similar to the concept adapted with the NG FR, which makes previous published materials historical references.

    Cheers

    AG Cool
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Tue Jul 22, 2008 4:40 pm  

    BusterBudd wrote:

    If not, then whats the sense of maintaining any level of continuity.



    Continuity is not stasis. Vecna being a god and half the Great Kingdom being trashed or ruled by undead is no more "continuity" than Iuz getting ganked and Warduke taking over. In both cases, it builds on existing material.

    It would not "non continuity" if we just said "bah, there never was an Iuz. What a lame idea."
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2007
    Posts: 210
    From: Vancouver

    Send private message
    Tue Jul 22, 2008 5:36 pm  

    BusterBudd wrote:
    I always look forward to "positive" change that maintains core principles, for the lack of argument, that is core GH derived from "offical" resources (published material).
    Fret not, Buster Budd, I feel that's exactly what is being accomplished here.

    All of the posts I've read here are deriving from core GH principals. No one has ignored what has transpired in GH over the years and are simply buliding off of the official resources. Keep in mind when determining what direction to take a Next Gen GH, all ideas should be considered (extreme or otherwise). Sure there's been lots of bitching about Vecna being a god or Iuz being incompetent, they're just opinions expressed about some of the core principals.

    From what I've gathered, most of these ideas are coming from diehard GH fans like you and me, and I doubt they want to see it completely upended either. I'd say GH is in good hands.

    Now back to the thread...

    Trevor Watson
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 22, 2008
    Posts: 16


    Send private message
    Tue Jul 22, 2008 6:28 pm  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    Tharizdun is definitely overused, considering he's supposed to be a secretive and mind boggling whacko god that hardly anyone remembers. Not to mention all this bs about him also being the Elder Elemental God. Bleh.

    Iuz does not have this problem. He's supposed to be the hulking presence in the room. The problem with Iuz is not that he's overused, its that he's misused. The whole Wars scenario and subsequent flipflop by the next generation of writers has left him looking like a putz. Other than the Wars fiasco, he's just the looming threat that never does anything. He's kind of like Sauron if you only read LotRO and not the appendices where he actually does nasty stuff that works. You can say "oh, Iuz is a putz and should be retired. But I much prefer to actually develop him as a credible threat.

    Vecna is both overexposed and completely lame in canon. Turning him into a god was a complete waste of a great villian concept. The Vecna series wasn't even a good set of adventures.. just a train wreck all around.


    I could not agree more. Vecna and Tharizdun have been wasted a great deal of the time and Iuz is the guy that is always threatening but never attempts let alone succeeds in doing anything. He is often times "plotting" and then "foiled" by mere mortals before he ever gets started. The thing about Iuz is that he is supposed to be the chaotic evil prime material plane demi-god of Oerth. He is supposed to be a major mover and shaker in the World of Greyhawk but not following through with any well developed plans by campaign and mod designers have rendered him a "boogy-man" not a true threat. There are a lot of ways to develop Iuz. His history is deep, the allies and enemies he has are wide and varied and the potential agendas he could come up with are as expansive as our imaginations. Don't retire him, but repurpose him. Could you imgaine the retribution a demi-god of a plane could do? Can you imagine what kind of plots and schemes he could surmise? I mean seriously, let's give Iuz his just dues and stop making him the GH yutz, who gets shoved in lockers, wedgies, swirlies and has a pocket protector.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 24, 2006
    Posts: 255


    Send private message
    Tue Jul 22, 2008 7:38 pm  

    Don't Fharlangn and Ehlonna both dwell upon the Oerth? I wouldn't think they'd be keen on letting Iuz conquer the Flanaess.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:10 pm  

    Well, that assumes that they care... But assume they do. What do you propose that they do? Stride into battle and smite the legions of Iuz? Iuz isn't on the front lines slinging divine power against his foes, so presumably there is a reason for that. And the reason is likely that his attention is on upper echelon matters.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3818
    From: So. Cal

    Send private message
    Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:13 pm  

    Lots of good ideas. I agree that less stagnation on already well defined Greyhawk archetypes would be good thing. There are so many other things of interest that can be delved into.

    For instance, Kyuss used to just be a name and not much more. Age of Worms changed all of that, and rally mace good use of an opportunity to develop an interesting character which was really based off of only a kernel of information. Even still, Kyuss would have stood up well just on his own merits due to the work that was put into him and his minions. The whole Triumvirate of Evil bit could have been tossed out completely. So, Kyuss was a good thing to cover, but then again I have pretty much liked all of the newly written material that appeared in Dragon/Dungeon over the past few years( the city articles, etc.).

    As to core principles, when the core is wrong to begin with, I see no problem in tossing it out(like the whole EEG is actually Tharizdun flub). That sort of thing is ripe for the ret-con, or to simply just be left to dwindle away into obscurity. The latter is of course a little bit tougher to do when there isn't really all that much other material to wallow in to begin with.

    I think the Gord model is good one. What does it take to actually get aspects/avatars of the gods involved on the Prime? It takes something like the potential release of Tharizdun to get them to show up and take a more direct hand, and even then it is just one or a few of them(avatar of Nerull for example), not ALL of them. The whole aspects of the gods shtick needs to be dialed back big time, and let it be the minions of those gods that take the center stage a' la Gravestone. Gravestone was surely an interesting character, and EGG didn't even really delve too deeply into his history; just enough to hook the reader. Adventures and campaign material should feature many more of these types of villainous characters. Many baddies have been covered course, but nowhere near the level of coverage that they should have received. So many evil gods have nothing done for them, or only have a simple passing mention of something. So many untapped resources to draw on.

    But overall, the presence of the gods in Greyhawk needs to be drawn back. Mayaheine shouldn't have been running amok in the Greyhawk Wars, unless it was as a soon-to-be elevated servant; a sort of champion of light bound for greatness, rather than a full-on god made manifest in the flesh. That is just a little bit too direct. But, I can live with it so long as it is pretty much otherwise a non-occurrence. Greyhawk adventures should be about heroes vs. anti-heroes/monsters anyways in my opinion, and not about heroes vs. gods. That is more suitable for a Greek milieu anyways; not a world where magic is supposedly on the decline. I do think you can get away with that a bit more in higher level adventures; particularly those that feature some sort of forgotten god whose presence is not so great.

    Another point is that, if one does choose to reel the gods back in, there is no reason to explain the why of it, just that it is. There really is too much of that already with the whole non-interference treaty line of reasoning. I really loathe that bit anyways. Why don't the gods just pop in and interfere whenever they want to? We don't know. And we don't *need* to know. We don't need to know that the gods all got together around a conference table and hashed something out(like they would do that anyways).

    So, I agree with the general sentiment that the focus should not be on the gods, but more on what is taking a direct hand in causing problems in the campaign world; that being the leadership of those lands where evil and oppression hold sway. And, it would be best to take a look at the lands that have not been looked at all that closely yet. That is a long list of untapped resources just waiting to be...er...tapped. The Greyhawk Wars themselves were a huge missed opportunity for a bunch of adventure tied into the general storyline. Hw about an adventure that actually helps the Hierarchs stave off Iuz, which of course would keep two evil factions at each other's throats, hopefully diverting enough attention way from them attacking the lands to the south? Or, an adventure that has to do with the events that occur in the Bone March. The fall of Elred, and the cause of the weird magical zone there? The rise of the both Kastryne and the lawful evil lord(whose name eludes me just now) along the Wild Coast? Lots could have been done here that would have enriched the background of Greyhawk to no end, but a simple writing of events swept this all away(or into place as the case may be) without any really interesting, hands-on adventure development whatsoever. The one good thing out of all of this is that we have this material now, but it is up to us to actually do something interesting with it because its been proven time and again that TSR/WotC doesn’t have any intention of doing so. So, everyone get to writing! :D
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 24, 2006
    Posts: 255


    Send private message
    Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:12 pm  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    Well, that assumes that they care... But assume they do. What do you propose that they do? Stride into battle and smite the legions of Iuz? Iuz isn't on the front lines slinging divine power against his foes, so presumably there is a reason for that. And the reason is likely that his attention is on upper echelon matters.



    Ehlonna and Fharlanghn don't have to do anything. Their mere presence on Oerth ought to be enough to instill a little caution in Iuz. To avoid a direct confrontation, he can work through proxies and pawns- just as he does in the published materials.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:39 pm  

    Umm, if that is your point I have absolutely no idea what you are responding to. There's not one suggestion anywhere in this thread that Iuz ought to be walking around laying smack down personally.

    If anything, its the published materials that have him doing too much personal intervention (appear in ToEE, appear in Vecna barf-age, etc).

    Iuz is conquering the world fair and square (or not)....with a legit army the same as Ivid and everyone else with the same plan. Jack all that Ehlonna can do about that. Iuz became a god after he became Overlord of where ever, for that matter.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 22, 2008
    Posts: 16


    Send private message
    Tue Jul 22, 2008 10:56 pm  

    I guess the jist of what I am saying is that we don't have to allow all that happened on The Flanaess, prior to, during and after the Greyhawk War needs be lost just because Iuz has become some kind of iconic evil but that we can tie all of the sub-plots that weren't directly and obviously documented in up to date publications.

    There are plenty of options for power struggle but many of them are in thanks to Iuz. I was wondering how about The Gran March, being a very potent and effective military force, feel the need to amass and deploy a "Unified Army" that they feel can not only push back invading armies, take back lands but then enforce a soft martial law under their rule in the wake of the liberating reclaimed lands? Sometimes good intentions can be subjective to the individual. Refugees and conscripts from lost lands can then be faced with a new kind of subjugation at the hands of people that they trusted to help them get their lands back. It was not unusual from a historical stand point for this kind of thing to happen. But the more obvious threat of Iuz blinds the people of Geoff and other lost lands to not see this coming. I think that sometimes people look to closely for "evil or dark" to be the antagonist and the "good or light" to be the good guy when sometimes it's the grey areas in life that pose the greatest threats.
    And of course Iuz could play off of that etc etc. Let's not limit the options.

    P.S. - I have read a good deal of the posts in the forums but not all. And if this is a repost of someone else's idea I apologize.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 24, 2006
    Posts: 255


    Send private message
    Tue Jul 22, 2008 11:07 pm  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    Umm, if that is your point I have absolutely no idea what you are responding to. There's not one suggestion anywhere in this thread that Iuz ought to be walking around laying smack down personally.

    If anything, its the published materials that have him doing too much personal intervention (appear in ToEE, appear in Vecna barf-age, etc).

    Iuz is conquering the world fair and square (or not)....with a legit army the same as Ivid and everyone else with the same plan. Jack all that Ehlonna can do about that. Iuz became a god after he became Overlord of where ever, for that matter.

    It wasn't a direct response, but just me interjecting some of my own ideas about Iuz.Sorry if I have been misunderstood.
    I'm just describing how I interpret Iuz's actions. I'm providing an explanation for why he doesn't act more personally and directly.
    Forum Moderator

    Joined: Feb 26, 2004
    Posts: 2586
    From: Ullinois

    Send private message
    Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:35 am  

    A couple things to bear in mind. One, people must like deific villains in D&D. From Iuz to Tahkisis to the Time of Troubles to battling quasi-godlike demon lords, they are hard to beat for fan reaction. Two, evil Sauron-esque gods and Lovecraftian cults are stark B&W evils. A villain like the king of a nation or a potent court wizard are harder to judge. Downplaying the fiendish-cultist emphasis, GH can easily lend itself to being a 'Song of Ice and Fire' type setting where there is no clear cut good or bad guys. For example, in a post-Iuz Furyondy and Shield Lands there wouldn't be an era of peace, in all likelihood they turn on each other with infighting and intrigues. Imagine the possibilities of 'Good' villains. We already have that in the Theocracy of the Pale to a degree.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3818
    From: So. Cal

    Send private message
    Wed Jul 23, 2008 5:06 am  

    Faldongron wrote:
    P.S. - I have read a good deal of the posts in the forums but not all. And if this is a repost of someone else's idea I apologize.


    Even if this topic has been brought up before, the amount of discussion already makes it worthy of coming up again. Things change, even if only slighty for Greyhawk, over time so new information and perspectives develop. That is worth talking about. Besides, I find that good discussion often forces me to examine my own perspective on things, and often results in me nailing that perspective down a bit more. Sometimes it is even altered by interesting points that others bring up. These are all good things. Cool

    Welcome to Canonfire! by the way.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 28, 2006
    Posts: 336
    From: Barony of Trellwood, The Great Kingdom

    Send private message
    Wed Jul 23, 2008 5:25 am  

    Hey All,

    I am not a huge fan of Iuz on Oerth personally. I bugs me that a demi-god couldn't just take over if he or she bent their will to the task. It emasculates him as a villain.

    If I were going to use him in my campaign I would have him pre-occupied with trying to make the entire Oerth a new layer in the Abyss while his armies distract the forces of "Good" and that pesky Circle from his true purpose.

    The reason he doesn't venture forth from his capital is simple, as a being of Oerth and the Abyss his power is tied to both. If he strays from his connection to the Abyss (centered in his capital) he loses power (something he fears and will not abide). Hence the world ending ritual he tirelessly works to bring about.

    Since Gods in my campaign (IMC) cannot be killed. The only thing my PCs would be able to do is either: A) Distract him from his purpose and piss him off or B) Use the disruption of his own ritual to banish him to the Abyss.

    PCs could start by preventing Iuz's various minions from recovering components needed for his "big bad ritual." Eventually they would start going up the food chain of his minions and discover that in fact the various wars involving Iuz were a distraction and he will truly conquer Oerth when it is sucked in the Abyss.

    There could be some fun cross-plots with various Demon Lords and Arch Devils helping the heroic PCs to frustrate Iuz's plans. That would certainly give the player of the holy warrior (I use the Green Ronin class in place of Paladins IMC) some "interesting" moments. I am also sure Lolth has a few things to say about this.

    This would be a complete adventure path or home campaign with the PCs not fighting Iuz directly but blunting his efforts and eventually (if they have been proven worthy enough) they can trap the demi-god in the Abyss without his link to Oerth where he is just another Demon Lord caught up in the machinations of that turbulent place.

    My two coppers,

    Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus


    Last edited by Saracenus on Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:23 am; edited 1 time in total
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Wed Jul 23, 2008 8:13 am  

    With respect to the "What Would Gary Gygax Do? Wink line of thinking, I agree more than I disagree. EGG GH was not dominated by any one figure. The original Folio and 83 Box were marvels of balance, particularly as compared to later work. Tharizdun has been over-exposed by other authors. Same for Vecna. Same for Iuz. Reigning these guys in in no way undoes something Gary did, in fact, one could argue it gets closer to the original EGG GH published in the Folio and 83 Box.

    At the same time, the idea is not to do away with these guys but rather to remove them from center stage. They have had center stage for a long time, IMO, its time to let others have the spotlight.

    Making this even less drastic a change is the history of GH that teaches one lesson if nothing else - GH as a setting gets redone every so often. GH is not a one and forever done and etched in stone setting. The Folio/83 Box gives way to FtA. FtA gets modified by GH98. GH98 gives way to LLG. So whatever a Next Gen GH looks like one thing is for sure - it will not be the final word on GH.

    After some period of time, any Next Gen GH will be duly modified or replaced with a Next Next Gen GH. So, if Iuz, Big T and Vecna move out of the spotlight in Next Gen GH, one or may make a big return in the Next Next Gen GH. GH is not static over time so the removal of these characters from the spotlight does not mean they are being removed from the setting.

    Now, Mort raises a VERY good point - seems many fans like gods as villains or at least that designers like gods as villains and publish setting in that line. I can see why - gods are big, bright, colorful and bold - easy to implement and to use. FtA gave us the four color Iuz. The Vecna trilogy gave us the four color Vecna. Tharizdun (or his minions) appearing throughout 3rd Ed gave us Big T, Bigger Than Life. There comes a point, however, of too much of a "good" thing - a point where too much is always linked to Iuz, Big T or Vecna.

    Its like having meals where you always have to drink regular Dr. Pepper, eat Sara Lee carrot cakes and polish the meal off with jelly beans. No matter how much you may like any or all three, there comes a point where you have had them so often that you would like something else. That point will come differently for different people but it will come for most at some time. I think that time as come for GH as a setting.

    A setting beholden to a handful of "usual suspects" is necessarily limited. If the only BIG PLOTS can involve Iuz, Big T or Vecna, GH starts to become not a one trick but a three trick pony. In such case, if one does not care for any of those three tricks, GH is not going to be very entertaining. So, no matter how much gods may be easy to use or how much some may like them, unless GH is to be limited trick pony, GH needs other _EQUALLY VIABLE_ options for BIG PLOTS. To get to this point, Iuz, Big T and Vecna have to move over enough so that other characters can have a chance to shine without Iuz, Big T or Vecna stealing the spotlight.

    GH has thrived, even through attempts to kill the setting, because IMO it can be many things to many people without the need to ignore any elephants in the living room. However, if GH keeps going the way it has - resorting to Iuz, Big T, and Vecna over and over and over again, GH will loose its ability to be many things. It will loose its ability to be many things to the extent it becomes satisfied to be beholden to just three things - Iuz, Big T and Vecna. For the halth of the setting, IMO, GH can't go on by continuing to narrow its focus to a handful of recurring villains to stir the pot.

    Sure. Other baddies can be and have been involved in minor or localized plots, but everytime something big is brewing it seems one or more of the Big Three is involved. That is a limited focus.

    And like drama queens, the Big Three cannot simply be kept silent if they are not affirmatively reigned in in a Next Gen GH. Some lazy designer, if they are available, will tie some major plot to one or more of them. Guaranteed. Then, we are right back where we started from. No. The Big Three need to be affirmatively moved out of the spotlight in a Next Gen GH IMO if other threats are to be introduced and to have have any hope of gaining traction.

    The Big Three are the Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton of GH - if they are in the room, all the lights, cameras and attention will be focused on them. Did Britney (Iuz) remember to wear panties? Did Lindsey (Tharizdun) wash out of rehab again? Has Paris (Vecna) been "caught on tape" again? ENOUGH!!! I don't want to hear about these characters any more.

    But I know. I know. Some of you out there are reading this and humming "Hit me baby one more time." Iuz dressed as a school girl? You people are sick! Wink

    YMMV Wink Smile
    _________________
    GVD
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Dec 30, 2002
    Posts: 147
    From: 1313 StoneCastle Way, Free City of Dyvers, W0G 13F

    Send private message
    Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:45 am  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    Iuz dressed as a school girl?


    Oh man! Shocked That is so! wrong on so many levels! Confused
    Laughing



    AG Cool
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:00 pm  

    The incompetent game designer will use them if they can argument is rather flawed. The incompetent game designer will do poor quality, incompetent work whether or not its with Iuz or Wastri or someone entirely new. This whole line of argument that Greyhawk is "beholden" to the Big Three is utterly false. Its not. There are plenty of other options that already exist and already provide the variety you desire.

    Age of Worms.... don't see much about Iuz there. Savage Tide... didn't see the Big three there, either. Shackled City mentioned Vecna, IIRC, but he wasn't important to the story.

    Now, I'm not saying that the AP style of "world shattering villain of the year" is optimal, but its quite clear that the Greyhawk setting isn't beholden to any of the Big Three just because WotC....notoriously poor adventure developers in the first place.... can't help but default to them.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:52 pm  

    By beholden, I mean the setting sees over much of the Big Three, that is that they are overexposed.

    While the incompetent game designer is a worry, the competent are not excluded.

    So long as the Big Three are percieved to be the Big Three - that perception fostered by their overexposure - they will tend to continue to appear and only increase their overexposure thereby. Its like a self-fulfilling prophecy or a vicious circle:

    The more overexposed the Big Three become, the more likely they are to be used or referenced in the future because they appear so prominent, which will only further overexpose them.

    At the rate things are going, in a few iterations GH will consist of Iuz, Big T and Vecna and little else. I only joke slightly. Vecna and Iuz already have a kind of fatal attraction going in Vecna Lives and Die Vecna Die. And Big T, as you have noted, is breeding references like rabbits. Or tribbles!

    Someone stole the burgher's purse! Hmmm. There can be only three possibilities. Somehow Iuz, Vecna or Tharizdun must be involved! Its not that bad, again I joke, but you can take the more general point. The Big Three are too much with us. They are overexposed and the cure is less exposure, IMO.

    YMMV
    _________________
    GVD
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 22, 2008
    Posts: 16


    Send private message
    Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:23 pm  

    Welcome to Canonfire! by the way.[/quote]

    Thanks Cebrion and the rest of you for being involved and promoting a site for true fans of Greyhawk. I have been looking for a site like this for a long time.


    Maybe I am a bit biased as I have recently started to give 4E a shot and I personaly have gone with Iuz as a major mover and player in my campaign. Keep in mind this is just the primary basis for what I am doing, I don't want to monoploize the thread. I know some people are tired of him and want to write him off but he is uniquely qualified for the story I want to tell. I am using a cleric of Beory as one of the major components of my campaig as Beory is no longer going to allow Iuz to continue to run amuck. She is going to groom what I call "The Heart" a man believed, by the chruch, is going to unite mankind so that they could make a united front against Iuz and his armies. I have devised some sub-plots to keep people guessing.

    1) Of course Iuz is not happy about this. So he is going to do all in his power to thwart Beory's "pet". Iuz has solicited the Tanar'ri to help stop The Heart though he has not told them the truth behind why. They are Chaotic Evil in nature and they need food and resources for The Blood War so they don't care too much about the particulars. Iuz is throwing all he has at the front in order to keep all able bodied persons slowing his assault, thusly preventing full time investigation into his hidden plans.

    2) Incabulos, who lives in The Grey Waste and is envious of Iuz's alliance with the Tanar'ri, makes a pact with the Baatezu. He tells the Baatezu of Iuz allowing the Tanar'ri onto Oerth and tells Bel, Lord of Avernus and the only Lord of Hell actively involved in The Blood War, of Iuz's alliance and Bel becomes envious, as he wants his share of the reaping of souls but he refuses to help Incabulos at first. Incabulos offers, the Incarnation of The Heart to Bel. Bel agrees to the pact and will take the child. Bel then goes to Asmodeus, in an attempt to cur favor from the Undisputed Prince of Hell and offers The Heart to Asmodeus. Asmodeus in a surprise event will, once he gets the child, go to the Celestials and ransom him off for powers to try to get leverage over Tanar'ri. He will want troops, artficats and the like to be discussed at a later point. Of course I have not decided exactly how this will all play out as of yet, because as many of you have discovered, players rarely do precisely what you expect them to do and based off of how they respond to the various plots and back stories will affect who ends up with the most leverage and who's agendas will be met more efficiently.

    3) Maybe the rumor begins to spread and various religous, political and magical orders could all claim that they have the "Heart" in their fold or maybe even various leaders could make claim they are the Incarnation of hope. There could be tests and challenges made to verify who the "Heart" truly is. I have left this open ended enough to go with the flow and allow the story to unfold, at least that is how I have always run my campaigns most due to the "surprise" the players always throw at me. Besides allowing them a part in the storytelling and development makes them feel more a part of the story then a victim of happenstance.

    4) Beory knowing that The Blood War is seeping into her beloved Oerth can petition the Celestials to help. Istus seeing that the balance in The Flanaess is swinging to the evil side agrees to divine the future and lets Beory know who the Heart is, but is it too late to save him? Beory, armed with knowledge of the Heart, by way of Istus, knows that the Baatezu are going to try and negotiate his well being for arms and troops in the Blood War and they are not going to allow that to happenn lightly. So there s some support for the players in my campaign and the protagonist.

    Also bear in mind these are not slap you in the face happenings. Each of the parties here are trying to maintain low key approach towards their agendas. A hidden cause is far more difficult to under mine. Also due to the pact the gods of Oerth have made amongst themselves that they will not directly involve themselves on Oerth, they have utilized The Blood War and gently nudged the powers of the appropriate leaders and upper crust of the the opposed sides of Infernals to do their bidding.


    Last edited by Faldongron on Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:38 pm; edited 2 times in total
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 14, 2008
    Posts: 5


    Send private message
    Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:31 pm  

    I'm with GVD here. To me, the charm of the original, pre-Wars Greyhawk is that it's very much a world on a human scale. Sure, Lolth's got her plans and Zagyg is running around doing crazy stuff, etc. but even those designs are often accomplished/thwarted through human agency. Unlike certain other settings, the acts of mere humans make a difference. But, as noted above, gods sell. Not only that, but they're pretty damn easy to write plots around, since their tremendous powers let them circumvent a lot of continuity/plausibility issues. Hence, the FtA world. However, that comes at the cost of monotony in the plotlines and a disenfranchising of the PC's, and I think that loses a lot of what makes Greyhawk great.

    I doubt I'll ever have a campaign that needs to go beyond what's in FtA myself. But if I did, I think I'd let Iuz win. Wipe out the kingdoms of goodness. Possibly kill all the elves and/or relegate them to the snack bowl. Perhaps a bunch of high-level PC's could be instrumental in saving some small of chunk of civilization from the apocalypse. Then have Iuz get offed by one of his own, a la Vecna and Kas. A bit trite, but it seems like the most organic way out of the current situation. Further campaigning could then involve isolated pockets of decent humanity picking up the pieces and rebuilding their societies - with their being much more of a frontier now than in pre-Wars days. But again, I doubt I'll ever get there.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Dec 30, 2002
    Posts: 147
    From: 1313 StoneCastle Way, Free City of Dyvers, W0G 13F

    Send private message
    Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:36 pm  

    Here's a thought... Shocked we leave these three alone.

    They have the coverage they have to date, we can not undo this and as eluded to already, let the writers burn the midnight candles and develop some good material, good fan based-core related material on these "other" gods and goddesses. Cool

    "Let loose the dogs of war and spread the carnage of words across the pages of Oerth's religious histories, but know this it will be the kingdoms of men that will shape the lands of the future and not gods"
    - from the Chronicles of Ocaric.


    AG Cool
    Forum Moderator

    Joined: Feb 26, 2004
    Posts: 2586
    From: Ullinois

    Send private message
    Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:01 pm  

    Astounding replies everybody.

    I just had a new thought on Vecna. Why is he even bothering with Oerth anymore? He achieved his goal set from before Vecna Lives! and that was godhood. None of his later mods aimed for Oerthly dominion and were more Planescapey-Ravenloftish adventures. Most of his current dirty work is done thru his artifacts. If any of the big three has a logical out its Vecna. He won!
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2007
    Posts: 210
    From: Vancouver

    Send private message
    Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:05 pm  

    I'm going to veer to the other side of the spectrum with Iuz. Instead of his one last hurrah or some type of world-altering calamity, suppose he just disappeared? By disappear, I mean he has left GH for an undetermined amount of time and left his empire in the capable hands of the Boneheart, particularly Kermin and/or Halga. Here are some example scenarios:

    Iuz travels to the abyss to personally oversee an operation that will greatly strengthen him. This operation will take years to accomplish and demands most of his attention, but if successful will make him far more formidable. This could be the basis for many adventures, including weakening his empire further while he is away.

    Somehow, Iuz's soul gem is jeopardized. Maybe Zuggtmoy barters it to another demon lord for favors or it is stolen from its current location (which I think is Zuggtmoy's plane). Either way, Iuz must personally handle the problem which, again, could take years. We're talking major abyss politics here.

    Or maybe something else altogether. The point is Iuz would be effectively out of the picture for an unknown period of time without upsetting the balance. His empire is still intact and a threat, but has a new face. This is a chaotic evil empire, which opens the door for all sorts of politcal scheming and backstabbing while the master is away. This is a variation of the situation when Iuz was imprisoned below Castle GH, but more voluntary and no one is sure when Iuz will be back. Could be decades or centuries...or could be tomorrow. This leaves a pretty open playing field to develop, a lot can happen to Iuz and GH during his absence.

    Just some more ideas to throw into the pot.

    Trevor Watson
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 22, 2008
    Posts: 16


    Send private message
    Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:32 pm  

    I think the fact that he is a demi-god of the prime material plane of Oerth is being forgotten here. The ONLY way I can see someone justifying his going away is if he had to. I could see his phylactery being threatened in immediate danger getting his attention but it would take some real issues to take his eye off of revenge. I mean there is no way a demi-god of his plane is going to be run off by a few (poorly devised and implemented) plans (at the hands of inept story developers) unless something really pressing came up. IMHO he isn't going to go to the Abyss for rest and recreation in order to leave The Boneheart to manage his lemonade stand. If you were god, a chaotic evil god at that, and some mortals came and pissed in your most recent batch of lemonade, you would not just pack up with your tail between your legs and go to Cancuun for a holiday. You would come out swinging and with the biggest stick you could muster. I think the best course of action is to not say, "Iuz was poorly used so let's just cut our loses while we can." but to redeem him at the very least, give him his dues and then he could feel safe about taking a break. But this is all my stand on it. Okay I am done beating my dead horse. Just my two cents and I thank you all for entertaining my thoughts. It is truly a great honor to hash out some very thought driven stances in here. Great post all around.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:07 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:


    So long as the Big Three are percieved to be the Big Three - that perception fostered by their overexposure - they will tend to continue to appear and only increase their overexposure thereby. Its like a self-fulfilling prophecy or a vicious circle:



    You can't fix that, GVD. If the game designer is obsessed with how cool Vecna is, even if you stick him in the broom closet he'll just write an adventure about how the PCs let him out of it.

    Because the problem is not with those entities or with the campaign world. It is entirely with the designers. Even if you somehow put the three of them so far out of the way that they are never recovered, if the designers have the same mindset you will quickly find yourself sick of Kyuss, Iggwilv, and Lolth. And so on. You can't protect the setting from incompetence.

    And, as I've pointed out and you've agreed, the competent are not limiting themselves to these figures.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3818
    From: So. Cal

    Send private message
    Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:52 pm  

    I don't find Iuz's inability to simply own Oerth as a liability whatsoever. What I think it does show is that, unlike other gods who have great influence on their "home" planes, Iuz is *tied* to Oerth, which is his home plane. Unlike any true god, Iuz's home plane is a double-edged sword for him. Iuz holds great power in the Abyss, as he has one thing which no Demonlord has- access to the prime for his demonic minions. That’s like holding a free pass to Disneyworld over the head of a little kid. "Sure. You can go to Oerth anytime you want to, but you gotta be goo-ood." Happy

    Iuz is quite a bit more than any Demonlord can hope to be; despite his humble origin as a half-demon. Still, dependent upon the method of his rise to divine status, he is not as powerful as a true god. His Achilles Heel is his Oerthly origin. Where do the souls of servants of Iuz go to when they die? Oerth? Yeah that sucks, because they don't re-manifest there as any afterlife sprit/demon. Perhaps they go to the Abyss via some exchange program with Zuggtmoy though. Regardless, it presents a unique problem for Iuz. These oddball things(of which I’m sure there are many more of) leave Iuz in a semi-divine position. Bigger than a Demonlord, but not quite a true god. He cannot manifest an avatar; his physical form is vulnerable to mortals. He's like a kid that is big enough to do most things, but his parents just won't let him, so he just has to settle for getting away with what he can. He has a frustrating half-existence as a “god”. So, he fits into Oerth just fine, but only because of the severe limitations he has upon him. Yes, he is impotent to a great degree, but that is exactly what is important about him. He has something to work for. :D He is very powerful, but is not stupid enough to take direct action in any and all things that could put him at personal risk. These limitations are the only thing that makes him a viable inhabitant of Oerth. He could be made a true god without his limiting ties to Oerth, but then he probably should be removed from Oerth. Either option works for me.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:20 am  

    Actually, IMC he's a demonlord rather than a demi god. But I use a variant cosmology where the gods are one team and the demons are the other.

    Wastri is more of the semi-half-sort-demi-god of the sort you were just describing.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Dec 07, 2003
    Posts: 636


    Send private message
    Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:48 am  

    The problem with overuse of Iuz, Vecna, and Tharizdun stems partly from a lack of imagination on behalf of writers and partly because of epic levels, something that wasn't really catered for in the early, far more political GH boxed set.

    The murky world of human politics is great fun but quite hard to sell in a game that revolves around killing things. If you go wading in and execute the local baron who has been overtaxing the peasants, or the minor noble who was staging a coup d'etat, it can lead to all sorts of consequences that many players would find a turn off. As Caramon said in Dragonlance, 'Goblins don't count.' Killing monsters, evil priests, and foul demi-gods is a socially acceptable hobby.

    I also partly blame the homogenisation of D&D so that drow, wood elves, and various other fantastical races have lost their mystique because they are freely available to players and appear regularly in civilised lands. Why travel into the Hool Marshes to consult an oracle when you've got a wizards acadamy in every town; just pop down the road and hand over the cash. I rue the day that the Internet reaches Eastern Oerik.

    There are are hundreds of plot threads lurking around, most of which can be adapted for most levels that do not involve the big three. The Slavers plots and Rary plots have quite a bit of mileage, and Great Kingdom has tons of plot threads. The Baklunish lands and Suel barbarian lands are woefully underdeveloped too.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 14, 2005
    Posts: 221


    Send private message
    Thu Jul 24, 2008 7:17 am  

    Just a few thoughts here...

    First, on the Big Three debate - in the end, let sleeping dogs lie. Vecna has pretty much moved on, while cults of Tharzidun are randomly active, in the end, Tharzidun is still locked up. As for Iuz, well I think we are missing one major component of running a chaotic evil empire. You have to use both carrot and stick a LOT. His minions aren't loyal to him directly (sure some are, but overall, not so much), they are loyal to the rewards he gives them. Land, magic, prestige, demonic power, etc are all the things they are after, and what he would be loathe to give up unless it were to his advantage. Look at the history of any major medieval nation in our own world, and look at the constant political wrangling that is required to maintain that empire. Once an empire based on conquest is no longering conquering, it tends to fall in on itself (Re: Rome). So why is Iuz been quiet? He's consolidating his hold, oh and he has this complex ritual he's overseeing at the same time, plus whatever other side projects he finds in the meantime. And then lets not even touch on the abyssal politics he is dealing with at the same time. If Iuz's empire starts making major moves, it will be because one of his Lieutenants stepped up and got permission to do so. And that could possibly stall if Iuz thinks said Lieutenant is getting too big for his breeches.

    As for how to advance the timeline, I would say one or two of these Lieutenants WOULD step up and WOULD make significant gains. Pick a kingdom, have it fall. Maybe two, but no more than that. Have a few others fracture under internal pressures resulting from the fall of some peacemaker.

    At the same time you also have the Brotherhood, and they need to be either dealt a blow and sent into hiding, or actually make major gains and take control of some major players. Maybe they kill enough folks in Keoland to make sure a weak king is on the throne, who is more interested in his own needs than those of his nobles, and the kingdom falls apart in all but name, setting off a chain reaction in the rest of the Sheldomar. Take proactive Keoland out and you'd be surprised how much of the Sheldomar retreats into itself. Gran March would isolate itself, except for from Geoff, where it would continue to war against the gaints and their allies until they could cleanse it, and make a move to actually control the country, either as a vassal or as a member state - or at least the Knights of the Watch in any case.

    But then you've got the Brotherhood powerful, and virtually unopposed, but operating in the shadows because it fears treachery from within as much as opposition from without. And you've got a moderately powerful and slowly growing Iuz, a threat that refuses to die, but doesn't make huge waves, and conquers the old fashioned way, with armies and politics, not major magical events.

    So what about the Baklunish? Are they quiet or active? And the drow, Celene, and anyone else you can think of? Or maybe the Celestial Empire takes the instability of the Flanaess as a good time to invade and grab as much land and power as possible. Or maybe the various barbarian tribes unite under the guidance of the Brotherhood and attack from the north, targetting any installation that would weaken everyone, both Iuz and the "good" kingdoms. After all the brotherhood wants weak kingdoms so it can eventually take over, right (in name or in practice, either is good)?

    Just throwing out some random thoughts, peace out.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Thu Jul 24, 2008 7:48 am  

    BusterBudd wrote:
    Here's a thought... Shocked we leave these three alone.


    I suppose this is possible but by degrees.

    Big T is, technically, still imprisoned and cut off from the multiverse. If this were emphasized in strong enough terms - ie "Tharizdun's prison is so all encompasing as to make any thought of his acting upon Oerth, directly or through agents, impossible. Reports otherwise are simply misattributing to other agencies the fell potency of Tharizdun" or words to that effect - it might be possible to let Big T alone in a Next Gen Greyhawk.

    Vecna presents a different issue that Mort has presented nicely:

    mortellan wrote:
    I just had a new thought on Vecna. Why is he even bothering with Oerth anymore? He achieved his goal set from before Vecna Lives! and that was godhood. . . .Most of his current dirty work is done thru his artifacts. If any of the big three has a logical out its Vecna. He won!


    If Vecna were simply a god, I think Mort's initial thought would work without more - Vecna simply has other plans now that don't involve Oerth. The catch is Vecna's artifacts. They create mini-Vecnas. In Vecna Lives, they were a precursor to the appearence of the genuine article - Vecna himself! Now, maybe that was a one time sort of thing as Vecna was not yet a god. Maybe now that he is a god, his artifacts are less likely to bring him onstage in person.

    Perhaps, if it were made explicit that Vecna's artifacts no longer are directly tied to the god - being mortal remains and the god being deified specifically as "maimed" ie specifically a deity missing hand and eye - that Vecna could be with that caveat left pretty much alone.

    Iuz is the toughest nut to crack along this line. Luz notes:

    Luz wrote:
    I'm going to veer to the other side of the spectrum with Iuz. Instead of his one last hurrah or some type of world-altering calamity, suppose he just disappeared? By disappear, I mean he has left GH for an undetermined amount of time and left his empire in the capable hands of the Boneheart . . .


    Iuz' issue is that he is a cambion and his "home plane" is Oerth. He can't be banished to the Abyss - like say Grazzt has been - because Iuz is not from the Abyss.

    At the same time, Iuz is both a deity AND a major political figure in the Flanaess. His quiet retirement in Dorakaa is unlikely, given what is known of Iuz.

    Thus, of the Big Three, Iuz demands the most direct action to remove him from the spotlight in a Next Gen GH. His interest is Oerth. He is from Oerth.

    Luz may have the best answer, above, that would be most acceptable to most people - Iuz is discovered to have disappeared and to no longer be in contact with any of his minions with no explaination given. This way, it is left a mystery. Iuz is not altered as a character and his mystery (always a good thing for any villain) is heightened.

    I think all of the above could work, provided the explanatory language in any Next Gen GH text was explicit enough so that the message is clear -

    IN THIS VERSION OF GH THESE GUYS ARE NOT AVAILABLE AND LEFT NO FORWARDING ADDRESS OR MEANS TO CONTACT THEM. THEY WILL NOT BE APPEARING. PERIOD. PLEASE CALL AGAIN IN THE NEXT NEXT GEN GH.

    That could work. Couldn't it? Happy
    _________________
    GVD
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3283
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:23 am  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    ie "Tharizdun's prison is so all encompasing as to make any thought of his acting upon Oerth, directly or through agents, impossible. Reports otherwise are simply misattributing to other agencies the fell potency of Tharizdun" or words to that effect - it might be possible to let Big T alone in a Next Gen Greyhawk.


    Or perhaps his agents' plots simply don't involve the PCs. Characters don't have to be deleted from the setting to be deemphasized. For the sake of verisimilitude, it's best to assume things are always going on that the PCs aren't involved with directly. It's a big world.

    The goal isn't to trim from the setting everything you don't want to build an adventure around at the moment, but to introduce new hooks and story ideas to bring more options to the fore.

    Quote:
    Now, maybe that was a one time sort of thing as Vecna was not yet a god.


    Note that Vecna is already a demigod before Vecna Lives! begins [page 7]. His goal was to become the sole god of Oerth, which he obviously never achieved. The Hand and Eye were the last pieces of the puzzle needed to accomplish that goal, but with the whole process thwarted just having his lost organs wouldn't accomplish anything in particular now, and wouldn't necessarily bring him to Oerth. He had other schemes in the other two parts of the trilogy, and doubtless has still others today.

    His organ-artifacts are still tied to him, but they don't summon him (and never did, especially considering he can't sense them directly).

    Quote:
    Iuz' issue is that he is a cambion and his "home plane" is Oerth. He can't be banished to the Abyss - like say Grazzt has been - because Iuz is not from the Abyss.


    The amulet that houses Iuz's soul is in the Abyss, and this is indeed where he would be banished to reform if his physical body was slain (Five Shall Be One says Tartarus for some reason, but it's the Abyss - probably Zuggtmoy's layer of Shedalakh, to be specific. See also Iuz the Evil, pages 5 and 7).
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 07, 2004
    Posts: 1844
    From: Mt. Smolderac

    Send private message
    Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:44 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    Perhaps they go to the Abyss via some exchange program with Zuggtmoy though.


    This is an idea worthy of a WOG strip.

    "Class, we have a new student from Oerth. Please welcome Obmi."

    or

    An exchange program victim being cast into a pool of burning fire - "They told me there would be volleyball! VOLLEYBALL!!!"
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Feb 28, 2008
    Posts: 127
    From: Charlotte, North Carolina

    Send private message
    Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:22 am  

    One thing to remember with Iuz is that he is a deity, albeit a "young" one. Mortal timespans are not a contraint to him. He will not mind plans taking decades for fruition, but because of his chaotic nature, he may change his goals and plans with great frequency. This actually is his greatest weakness and the reason why unless he allies with other forces, will never gain total conquest of the Flanaess. This is likewise why any land he gains through conquest he will not hold for long. Iuz is not an idiot, but he is chaotic and any future of the Flanaess must keep this aspect of his personality in mind.
    _________________
    Count Telemachus, Archmage of the Unicorn Conferderation
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:03 pm  

    Hey Rip,

    Distinctions. Details. Laughing Vecna wasn't yet a full fledged god. Iuz cannot be forced back to the Abyss or forced to stay there in the same way say Grazzt can be. As for Big T, while I readily achnowledge Vormaerin's point about a designer being able to do anything and there being no way to prevent that, I'd feel better if the caveats I outlined above were in place in a Next Gen GH to prevent that as much as possible. Sure. There can be Big T cultists running around - off stage - not in published materials. Which is saying much of what you said - they would have no PC impact. Out of sight and out of print and out of mind. Smile

    Switching topics, you remind me of a conversation we had in a Greychat a few weeks back that is relevant to the present discussion.

    A natural question arises - if the Big Three go off stage, who gets center stage? Is it some jack-in-the-box villain no one has ever heard of before? Possibly. Possibly not.

    Living Greyhawk Journal No. 4 at p. 16 mentions the "Lords of the Elder Elements" as distinct from the "followers of the so-called Princes of Elemental Evil." As we along with Gary Holian discussed, the Elder Elementals could be primordial beings older than the existing physical multiverse.

    Where as there are evil elemental lords of Water, Air, Fire and Earth, the elder elemental lords might correspond to Silence, Darkness, Cold and Void. This would explain Cryonax the Prince of evil elementals of cold, recognizing that cold is not normally thought of as an element. His "evil," and that of the elder elemental lords, would be more an amoral alienness or otherness.

    The point is here we have a, IMO, pretty cool idea - elder elementals distinct from the usual 4 - that is grounded in canon and already has a lead-in in Cryonax. What's more there is a false resonance, but a resonance all the same, with the famed Temple of Elemental Evil - giving DMs a red herring to draw in PCs. The elder elementals would then not be jack-in-the-box villains but new villains that, via Cryonax, the Lords of the Elder Elements and TOEE, would seem somewhat familiar, even as they would also seem new.

    I'm not suggesting that the Lords of the Elder Elements replace the Big Three, but I am offering them as an example of how new villains with ties to the setting could be introduced without the jack-in-the-box criticism. As Vormaerin pointed out, GH has more than the Big Three for villains. And if the Big Three would quit hogging the spotlight, there are some potentially cool alternative villains that could be majorly developed.

    YMMV
    _________________
    GVD
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 22, 2008
    Posts: 16


    Send private message
    Thu Jul 24, 2008 2:28 pm  

    I may have misunderstood what Telemachus was saying but chaotic generally means that a persons goals and interests are more important then restraints, laws and institutions placed to keep people from harming each other on some level, whether it be stealing, hurting or killing one another. As a matter of fact him being Chaotic may be the very thing that makes him single minded in his endeavor to make Oerth another level of the Abyss. "I don't care who resists me, what institutions or organizations make attempts to undermine me I am going to take this plane if I have to do it with the whole lot kicking and screaming." His goal is what matters and not to mention as an earlier poster said Iuz is an egomanical megalomanic. More over just because he's on Oerth, doesn't mean we have to have him leading waves of troops on an undead dragon spewing forth bile and leaving death in his wake. He can still be involved and still be pressing his agendas without face time.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
    Posts: 158
    From: Little Rock, Arkansas

    Send private message
    Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:53 pm  

    I would like a relaunch of Greyhawk to begin with an adventure path devoted to the Great Crusade. PCs would lead the battle against Iuz's minions, free the remainder of the Shield Lands, slaughter the Boneheart, destroy the Soul Husks, and culminate in the defeat of Iuz.

    The campaign book would be released subsequent to the adventure path with the blatant assumption that Iuz had been defeated.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:46 am  

    OleOneEye wrote:
    I would like a relaunch of Greyhawk to begin with an adventure path devoted to the Great Crusade. PCs would lead the battle against Iuz's minions, free the remainder of the Shield Lands, slaughter the Boneheart, destroy the Soul Husks, and culminate in the defeat of Iuz.

    The campaign book would be released subsequent to the adventure path with the blatant assumption that Iuz had been defeated.


    This would be ideal!

    Its what Age of Worms might have been but for timidity.

    So saying, it would need to be distinguished from Age of Worms but that should not be overly difficult. Age of Worms was something of a disjointed or patched together series of adventures until well into the Adventure Path.

    As you say, this would be more overtly military and religous than Age of Worms in the way of a crusade. I really like this idea!

    Here's hoping! Happy
    _________________
    GVD
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3818
    From: So. Cal

    Send private message
    Sat Jul 26, 2008 1:19 am  

    It would certainly be much more interesting to fight along in such a public campaign. plenty of room for cloak-and-dagger type adventuring, but also plenty of opportunities for PCs to lead actual raids against enemy positions or even take part in major battles. While I don't think taking part in major battles should be a common thing for the average adventuring party, I have set up a few scenarios like this in my own campaign. They require a lot of preparation and a lot of time to play out, but they are a lot of fun.

    I was talking with Dethand about a project like this a while back. Basically, all of the PCs start out as scouts in the Shield Lands army. As they progress in skill they get sent on more dangerous missions. The number and type of missions can actually be pretty varied, from skulking into enemy territory to get information on troop numbers and resources, to seeking aid from secretive allies or gaining aide from new allies, to going on raids and fighting in full-on battles. The missions can actually take the PCs far away from the Shield Lands in search of aid. They can of course be thrown off course a bit along their way too by either throwing them into a situation they cannot avoid, putting those in their path who need their aid and whom they couldn’t refuse(i.e. The grail-shaped beacon of the Vestal Virgins of the Castle Anthrax has been stolen! Only a base villain would refuse to aid these chaste maidens in their hour of greatest need, and no mission is too perilous for the brave warriors of the Shield Lands to handle! Laughing ), or have potential new allies require a service of them in return for their aiding the Shield Lands. Lots of options there for an entire campaign.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
    Posts: 158
    From: Little Rock, Arkansas

    Send private message
    Sat Jul 26, 2008 5:33 am  

    Future development of Greyhawk should involve the PCs. The biggest problem with From the Ashes and the subsequent Greyhawk 98/Living Greyhawk reset is that so many major events occurred outside the purvue of the PCs.

    How much better would the Wars have been were it a series of Super Adventures? The PCs lead Osson's raid. The PCs were SB agents assigned to assassinate the Sea Prince lords. The PCs lead the defense of Chendl. The PCs lead the Stonefist assault on Calbut.

    How much better would the Greyhawk 98/Living Greyhawk reset be if the PCs were the ones to acquire and use the Crook of Rao? The PCs lead the Great Crusade to free northern Furyondy. The PCs lead Nyrond's annexation of Almor.

    Further, the Super Adventures should not be timid in always assuming the PCs are the good guys. There are multiple areas where the bad guys win. Have adventures where the PCs are minions of Iuz, Turrosh Mak, the Scarlet Brotherhood, or Ivid.

    Any direction that the setting goes without PC involvement is forced. Allow the PCs to be the movers and shakers. If Iuz, Tharizdun, and Vecna are to move out of the limelight, let the PCs be the ones to do so.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 01, 2004
    Posts: 252
    From: Nyrond

    Send private message
    Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:19 pm  

    Hi Everyone! Um, I'm not nearly as...aw screw it, I lack eloquence. How about Greyhawk; the Dark Ages? I mean we know that the Crook of Rao 86'd a lot of demons right? The Horned Society wasn't completely destroyed. Iuz, losing his key officers, now has lost hold of his vast orcish armies. Without officers, the orcs went ape-poo poo and wandered off to do their own thing. The goodly kingdoms have been fighting so hard that they have almost ground themselves out. We can easily have plagues and disease hit Keoland and what was once the Great Kingdom. Nyrond is down, but not out (she needs time to rebuild).

    So now we have an underpopulated landscape. The Elves have been strangely quiet and not necessarily on humanities side. So how about the Flan folks returning to the old gods? The civilized humans have followed suit. Iuz has withdrawn to keep a hold on his own lands (rumor has it that there is descention in the Bone Heart ranks - perish the thought!). So now even though the old borders are recognized, no one is quite strong enough to enforce them and now we have petty bandits, robber barons and all manner of folks creating their own would be kingdoms. The folks over on the eastern side of Greyhawk are in just as much turmoil. Good folks are fighting with good folks in The Pale. Many "outcasts" are returning to Ahlissa and the Northern Province to reclaim rightful family holdings. Perhaps the Horned Society has helped put a smackdown on Rauxes and said agents are helping common people begin to see a possible light of rebuilding (only the Horned Society knows for a nefarious purpose). Strange? Yes. Campy? Possibly. Easily reset the world? Yeppers. Perfect? No way! But Tharizdun has offed his own followers, Iuz is withdrawn for another day, St. Cuthbert can focus on Vecna and we have removed, but noe eradicated, all the old players so there is room to grow others. Greyhawk, if anything, should not be stagnant. But that's my petty opinion. Wink

    Oh and to all you old timers out there debating this stuff, this is a great thread!
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3818
    From: So. Cal

    Send private message
    Sun Jul 27, 2008 4:21 pm  

    My Greyhawk is already verging on a Dark Ages motif, interspersed with more "enlightened" areas. Tech-wise it isn't Dark Ages though; more High Medieval.

    OldOneEye: Even if you do things as you just laid out, everyone's results are going to vary, so any development done off of adventures will be forced for a lot of people anyways. For instance, most of the people I know actually found Thrommel when they went through the ToEE, but the authros chose to advance thecmapagin as if he hadn't been found and recovered. Yeah, the whole Thrommel thing hasn't spawned much disucssion at all. ;) you can de delopmetn in this way, but its best to keep it very generic. Isle of the Ape is a good example of an adventure that anybody could go through, but they wrote Warnes Starcoat right into things rather than leave it be "an unknown group of adventurers" who completed the mission.

    I'm more of the opinion that a *drastically* advancing storyline doesn't need to be forced upon players at all, and that development should focus more on giving attention to the many, many areas of the Flanaess(and beyond) that have yet to receive such. Basically, give the players the tools that they need, and then *let them make their own history* in Greyhawk.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
    Posts: 158
    From: Little Rock, Arkansas

    Send private message
    Sun Jul 27, 2008 5:09 pm  

    [quote="DwarffromNyrond"]How about Greyhawk; the Dark Ages?/quote]

    Isn't this pretty much what Sargeant did with From the Ashes to be reversed by Greyhawk 98 and LGG?
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 01, 2004
    Posts: 252
    From: Nyrond

    Send private message
    Sun Jul 27, 2008 5:18 pm  

    Interesting perspective. I always considered it (From the Ashes) to be an escalation and general Charlie Foxtrot with no real direction. IMO, it was like playing in Greyhawk normal one day and then the next day it was post-apocolyptic nightmare gone horribly wrong. Everyone seemed to be at war and no one was in charge. All I knew is Iuz made significant gains and none of the good ol'boys I thought would stand up to the challenge did. Okay, part of Furyondy did, gods bless'em! Smile
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 13, 2002
    Posts: 1076
    From: Orlane, Gran March

    Send private message
    Sun Jul 27, 2008 5:37 pm  

    I really like the idea of the great crusade idea. I have toyed with the idea for the Gran March/Geoff. I was going to use the Hero's of Battle supplement and would really love to do so one day. For those who don't have it, I think it would be of use even with 1st and 2nd edition games. It has some good sections on how to structure battle adventures; for these, edition is not really relevent.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
    Posts: 158
    From: Little Rock, Arkansas

    Send private message
    Sun Jul 27, 2008 6:05 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:
    OldOneEye: Even if you do things as you just laid out, everyone's results are going to vary, so any development done off of adventures will be forced for a lot of people anyways. For instance, most of the people I know actually found Thrommel when they went through the ToEE, but the authros chose to advance thecmapagin as if he hadn't been found and recovered. Yeah, the whole Thrommel thing hasn't spawned much disucssion at all. ;) you can de delopmetn in this way, but its best to keep it very generic. Isle of the Ape is a good example of an adventure that anybody could go through, but they wrote Warnes Starcoat right into things rather than leave it be "an unknown group of adventurers" who completed the mission.


    Yes, certainly no two campaigns will play out the same even using the same adventures. However, I see absolutely no reason to advance the setting unless it involves the PCs. Advancement without involving the PCs is merely reading a novel.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 01, 2004
    Posts: 252
    From: Nyrond

    Send private message
    Mon Jul 28, 2008 4:58 pm  

    No reason to advance the setting? I must humbly and respectfully disagree. WoG has moved and advanced without many PC's input before. Moving it forward to a more fertile time when they can be more prominent doesn't hurt anything. If the setting gets advanced without the PC's direct input, there won't be any serious issues. There are other adventurers out there (namely those shady, npc's) that are working just as hard as our noble pc's. Cool
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3283
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:32 pm  

    It's always bothered me a little that some of the assumptions behind Greyhawk 576 came into being due to the actions of someone else's PCs - Robilar freeing Iuz, Emridy Meadows, Erac's Cousin freeing Fraz Urb'luu. I always thought it'd be worthwhile to start a campaign a few years earlier and see if a new batch of PCs might make entirely different choices.

    Any further advance of the setting isn't really any different. You accept it in your own campaign or you don't. You give your own PCs a chance to change things, maybe, or you begin a new campaign with the past assumptions in place.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 01, 2004
    Posts: 252
    From: Nyrond

    Send private message
    Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:43 pm  

    And I agree, it would be worthwhile. I also think that there is no reason that a series of adventures could be made (in a perfect world), where the PC's get a chance to change things and actually move the setting along. Let's take the Soul Gem from the adventure Tower of Inverness. That was a very powerful item. The adventurers either took control of it otr they didn't, but it didn't change anything. Now if we find that a band of courageous adventurers had gained control of it, gave it to The Seer (sketchy yet he be) and it was used to knock off, some years later, a member of the Bone heart, then sweet.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3818
    From: So. Cal

    Send private message
    Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:34 pm  

    The Ghost Tower of Inverness is a good one to bring up. In my campaign, I set the adventure a little later than it is supposed to originally happen, and had it be the Count of Urnst who sent the PCs on their mission. Unfortunately, those PCs were agents of the Scarlet Brotherhood. In the end, the Count was betrayed and killed and the Seer(who I decided advised both Urnsts) was supposedly killed too(along with the Count's elite guard and many other retainers), and the Scarlet Brotherhood still has the Soul Gem.

    All in all, it just explains away the Count's death, but I wouldn't write in anything specifically about it into any developed Greyhawk material other than to write that the Count had been betrayed and assassinated. That is nice and generic, so it leaves room for all manner of shenanigans that could lead to his death. For big, world shaking events, I think it is best to leave a lot of questions unanswered so that individual DM's can come up with the details on their own. Other than that, I do think that an adventure which results in a big event is a good idea, but those who take part in the adventure should be left as unknowns in later writings.

    "An unknown group of adventurers, thought to be in the employ of Furyondy and Veluna managed to gain entry to Iuz's palace, where they were able to defeat many powerful minions of the demon-god and destroyed his physical form. As a result, Iuz is in the process of manifesting a physical form in the Abyss(where his soul was cast out to), and will thereafter have to seek a means of returning to the material plane of Oerth. Many surmise that, now that he is gone from Oerth, the other gods will not permit Iuz to return."

    That leaves the results open enough, plus an adventure like Glen suggests fives everyone the opportunity to play in it themselves and for DMs to put their own stamp on it to a certain degree. To put it simply, if the PCs actually screw up an fail to complete the adventure, another group of "unknown adventurers" could have been following up on their hills and finished off the weakened Iuz and other of his minions. Still, the outcome is the same and the description above fits the action in its own vague way. This type of thing I don't mind at all.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 28, 2006
    Posts: 336
    From: Barony of Trellwood, The Great Kingdom

    Send private message
    Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:27 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:
    The Ghost Tower of Inverness is a good one to bring up. In my campaign, I set the adventure a little later than it is supposed to originally happen, and had it be the Count of Urnst...


    Count of Urnst? Justinian was a Duke, older brother of the current Duke, Karrl. Did you move the adventure to the County of Urnst?

    Thanks,

    Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:53 am  

    DwarffromNyrond wrote:
    No reason to advance the setting? I must humbly and respectfully disagree. WoG has moved and advanced without many PC's input before. Moving it forward to a more fertile time when they can be more prominent doesn't hurt anything. If the setting gets advanced without the PC's direct input, there won't be any serious issues. There are other adventurers out there (namely those shady, npc's) that are working just as hard as our noble pc's. Cool


    [quote="DwarffromNyrond"] . . .. I also think that there is no reason that a series of adventures could be made (in a perfect world), where the PC's get a chance to change things and actually move the setting along. . . . /quote]

    I agree with this completely. Moving the timeline forward is a useful tool and it has been done before without killing the setting or interest in the setting. At the same time, if an adventure or adventures can give the PCs some involvement in the changes brought about or bringing about the events catalyzing the moving of the timeline forward - that is all to the good and would be ideal. This was sorta done with Howl From the North and The Five Shall Be One and the From the Ashes setting advance (one can add in The Greyhawk Wars Boxed set as well for giving the players, if not the PCs necessarily, a way to participate). Moving the timeline forward has many advantages. So does allowing PCs to have adventures that are involved in the events that are involved in the timeline shift.

    I would say that moving the timeline forward by some significant measure - 25 to 50 years - would absolutely be part of a Next Gen Greyhawk. Why? Because it allows enough time to reasonably explain the way things have changed - so everything does not happen overnight. It also adds time for new things to happen organically - again without seeming rushed, unnatural or happening overnight. It allows time for wheels within wheels, a GH signature.

    Moving the timeline forward 100 years, like 4e FR, goes too far IMO. Everybody not protected from aging or long lived will be dead. Keeping the timeline advance to 25 to 50 years eliminates or limits this problem while still allowing for significant development of the setting.

    YMMV
    _________________
    GVD
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 28, 2006
    Posts: 336
    From: Barony of Trellwood, The Great Kingdom

    Send private message
    Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:49 am  

    I think PC input in a campaign is great but there is a huge difference between a home campaign where (usually) a single hand is guiding the ultimate outcome of said campaign and one that is shared by a lot of people with various levels of investment.

    If you are going to transition Grehawk (GH) with a timeline shift to update the setting and give old and new a chance at the GH table binding yourself to PC adventure outcomes becomes a bit ridiculous.

    1a) If you have to wait for all the stakeholders to finish the adventure and tabulate the results before you can start thinking about what to write. Which will lead to RPGA Living Campaign results where some peoples time in the adventure differs from others (one group has the "offical" result and others have partial or negated results).

    1b) The flip side of this is you create the new campaign bible and you then have to railroad said adventurers in order to get the desired result.

    2) Where do you center the event that changes the world? There is no way to write something that takes place in everyone's part of the sandbox so they have input on how their part of GH turns out.

    I think this thread suffers from a belief that you can write a new campaign guide from one or more DM's home game of GH and that would be just dandy with everyone. Seeing as how we argue all the time on how many cambions can dance on the head of pin here, I say good luck with that.

    To move things forward and give people new opportunities to discover the World of Greyhawk I would say moving the timeline forward with creator input rather than player input would be a better move.

    I believe a reboot is an even better option because you can re-imagine the setting with an updated sensibility. My Battlestar Glactica 2.0 option as I have advocated before.

    My Two Coppers,

    Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:44 pm  

    Saracenus wrote:
    . . . If you are going to transition Grehawk (GH) with a timeline shift to update the setting and give old and new a chance at the GH table binding yourself to PC adventure outcomes becomes a bit ridiculous.
    . . . Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus


    Absolutely. There is no way a Next Gen GH designer(S) would be _bound_ by PC adventure outcomes. You are correct; that would be ridiculous.

    Rather, the Next Gen GH designer(s) will implement the design based solely on their vision of the finished product. However, so saying, there is still room for a adventure or adventures that involve the PCs in the events transpiring that will or have been the catalyst for change in the setting. Howl From the North and The Five Shall Be One were adventures that let PCs in on some of the transformative events of FtA - but FtA went ahead no matter how those adventures played out. No one tabulated results and then designed accordingly - that would be ridiculous and unworkable.

    Change comes from the designers executing THEIR design, but PCs can be given some opportunity to play through SOME parts thereof, as in the examples given above.

    Let's take an example. The timeline is going forward 25 years lets say. One change will be that Iuz vanishes from the setting. So, the sourcebook or boxed set is written just that way. However, an adventure is written to accompany the release of the sourcebook that allows the PCs to counteract some Boneheart plot that is fatally weakened because Iuz is no longer there to backstop the Boneheart. This is all an example of course and off the top of my head, but in this example 1) the PCs get a chance for a meaningful success (defeating a Boneheart plot), and 2) see the impact of Iuz' disappearence rather than just hearing or reading about it. I don't think that's too much of a stretch.

    Now, as another example, lets say the timeline advance is 25 years and one part of this is Iuz' disappearence again. One could do a mega-adventure where a crusade against Iuz is launched and the PCs are in for the kill. Then, the Next Gen setting is released. This would work too but, whether or not the PCs succeed in the mega-adventure - the Next Gen setting is going forward as designed. In other words, the assumption would be that the PCs succeed. This is always the assumption.

    GH was never designed with any assumption other than that Vecna was defeated in Vecna Lives, that Iuz failed in TOEE, that Lolth failed in the Giant series etc. The adventures are there for PCs to go through but the assumption from a design standpoint is always that the PCs succeed.

    This sort of adventuring in the shadow of larger, setting altering events, is no big deal from a design standpoint. If a Next Gen GH was released in a boxed set, you could even put in a few mini-adventures involving the major changes in some peripheral way, along with the new setting.

    Of course, one does not _HAVE_ to give the PCs any involvement, peripheral or otherwise, in the changes that usher in the Next Gen setting. I think its a cool and workable idea in line with the above but one could say - "Its 25 years later, this is the new state of affairs, here's how it came about - START ADVENTURING!" This works and there is nothing inherently wrong with such a design.

    The design can go either way - some sort or kind or type of PC involvement, major or minor - or none. And either way is legitimate, IMO.
    _________________
    GVD
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
    Posts: 158
    From: Little Rock, Arkansas

    Send private message
    Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:53 pm  

    I suppose I have to accept being the odd man out on this one. Taking the giant invasion of Geoff and Sterich as an example. Sterich is liberated, no PC involvement. However, the liberation of Geoff involves a full campaign for the PCs. I cannot help but feel the liberation of Geoff offers much more to the setting than the liberation of Sterich. I suppose other minds may vary.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 29, 2006
    Posts: 490
    From: Dantredun, MN

    Send private message
    Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:27 am  

    OleOneEye wrote:
    Future development of Greyhawk should involve the PCs. The biggest problem with From the Ashes and the subsequent Greyhawk 98/Living Greyhawk reset is that so many major events occurred outside the purvue of the PCs.


    Quote:
    How much better would the Wars have been were it a series of Super Adventures? The PCs lead Osson's raid. The PCs were SB agents assigned to assassinate the Sea Prince lords. The PCs lead the defense of Chendl. The PCs lead the Stonefist assault on Calbut.


    Quote:
    Any direction that the setting goes without PC involvement is forced. Allow the PCs to be the movers and shakers.


    I didn't follow the adventure paths/campaign arcs in 3E Dungeon, but Greyhawk has always done a pretty good job keeping players involved with events, it's just a matter of campaign styles.

    The Super Adventures idea sounds kind of like the Dragonlance Classics series. Player involvement in GH has been there, it's just more indirect. Looking at my shelf, the theme of most modules is "Something big is happening: go explore a dungeon." The bigwigs need the Crook of Roa? The players don't get to use it but they're the ones sent to the demi-plane. City of Skulls and Against the Giants are both reactions to invasions that necessitate dungeon crawls.

    The reason the later materials suffered from lack of player involvement is because of lack of support for the product line more than anything else.

    Overland GH adventures involving armies and the clash of nations have always been a little hit or miss as far as quality and too linear for my tastes. Such scenarios have great potential but the official publications have been below bar; Patriots of Ulek and Howl from the North both spring to mind (note that the dungeon-based WGS1 is excellent). The Liberation of Geoff is decent but the new material is more of a sourcebook than a module and I believe this leads us to an important point. The reason TLoG and Slavers stand out is probably because the more flexible sourcebook format leaves room for a DM to tailor the adventures to the players.

    World spanning adventures interacting with the "movers and shakers" are hard for a mass-produced module/supermodule to pull off without restricting player freedom and reading like a novel. This is why Vecna Lives feels predetermined at points and Fate of Istus is downright contrived. Such scenarios are best left to individual DMs.

    I was looking at the Greyhawk Wars book again last night and it describes some pretty epic stuff. It's amazing how much Zeb packed in those 32 pages. I could almost do without anymore timeline advances and just run campaigns from 576-585 again and again based on events in different parts of the Flanaess. Happy
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3818
    From: So. Cal

    Send private message
    Thu Jul 31, 2008 1:53 am  

    Saracenus wrote:
    Cebrion wrote:
    The Ghost Tower of Inverness is a good one to bring up. In my campaign, I set the adventure a little later than it is supposed to originally happen, and had it be the Count of Urnst...


    Count of Urnst? Justinian was a Duke, older brother of the current Duke, Karrl. Did you move the adventure to the County of Urnst?

    Thanks,

    Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus


    Yes. I moved it to the County of Urnst, as the Duchy was too boring(of course). Laughing

    Just kidding. Wink I moved it there to avoid messing with Justinian, as he was dead by the time I ran the adventure, and I didn't want to use Karrl at that time. Besides, I wanted to run more of a political intrigue angle and the County is more ripe for that, being stuck in a delicate political dance with the Duchy, Tehn, and Nyrond.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Thu Jul 31, 2008 7:37 am  

    Up thread, I noted that new villains would need to be brought on stage in a Next Gen GH as Iuz, Big T and Vecna exited stage left. I suggested one possibility - the Lords of the Elder Elements - Silence, Void, Cold and Darkness. I've been noodling with that a little more.

    The idea appealed to me initially as it explained Cryonax a Prince of Elemental Evil who was the Prince of Cold. Cold is not a traditional element (Earth, Air, Water, Fire). So where did Cryonax come from? That he might be a survivor of an earlier period with different elementals struck me as cool and the Lords of the Elder Elements was there to provide a segue or tie into GH canon. Anyhoo. I've been playing with some names.

    Cryonax as a name seems to derive from "cryogenic" to invoke the idea of cold. Along that line, I thought some possible names for other Elder Elemental rulers might include:

    Laconis for the Princess of Elemental Silence, from "laconic."

    Tenbros for the Prince of Elemental Darkness from "tenebrious."

    Obliviax for the Prince of the Elemental Void from "oblivion."

    The "-ax" suffix, used in Cryonax and Obliviax, is repetitive and, I thought, might signify that Cryonax and Obliviax were brothers. This could be useful as "void" is the most all encompassing of the Elder Elements and by that measure the most puissant. Cryonax who is known to still be active then ties in to perhaps the greatest of the Elder Elementals. This sets up nicely for "putting the band back together" in a Next Gen GH.

    My thought is that the Lords of the Elder Elements could most easily fill the imaginative space presently filled by Big T.

    Just noodling. Smile
    _________________
    GVD
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: May 14, 2003
    Posts: 349
    From: the Free City of Dyvers (Kansas City, MO)

    Send private message
    Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:11 am  

    I have to agree that the "Big Three", Iuz, Vecna and Tharizdun are overused, yet iconic, evils of Greyhawk. I would hate to see them completely disappear, yet would rather see "new" evil manipulators in any sort of "restart" of WoG. As has been mentioned before, there are plenty of arch-devils, demon princes, evil gods (Erythnul, Syrul, Nerull, Raxivort, Beltar, etc.) and even other forces (the orcs of the Pomarj, the SB, Ket, the survivors of the Horned Society, etc.) that can make for some great adventuring opportunities. That was one of the great things about the Age of Worms AP; Kyuss came into the forefront as a great evil to be vanquished. It doesn't even have to be the major known evils. There's a lot of material out there, and any "new" Greyhawkl could and should utilize this. Of course, I don't want to see what atrocity WotC would make of the Flanaess; look what they did to the Forgotten Realms...
    _________________
    Greyhawk is dead; long live Greyahwk! It is not heresy; I will not recant!
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
    Posts: 3818
    From: So. Cal

    Send private message
    Fri Aug 01, 2008 2:12 am  

    "Obliviax" is the name of the AD&D "memory moss" monster. Tough to name those EEGs.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 05, 2004
    Posts: 1446


    Send private message
    Fri Aug 01, 2008 7:30 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    "Obliviax" is the name of the AD&D "memory moss" monster. Tough to name those EEGs.


    Yup. But I figure its too cool a name to let it rest with a kinda boring monster. I tossed around other versions but "Obliviax" is just cool, too cool for an inert plant monster. Wink
    _________________
    GVD
    Display posts from previous:   
       Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion All times are GMT - 8 Hours
    [ 1, 2  Next]
    Page 1 of 2

    Jump to:  

    You cannot post new topics in this forum
    You cannot reply to topics in this forum
    You cannot edit your posts in this forum
    You cannot delete your posts in this forum
    You cannot vote in polls in this forum




    Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises

    Contact the Webmaster.  Long Live Spidasa!


    Greyhawk Gothic Font by Darlene Pekul is used under the Creative Commons License.

    PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
    Page Generation: 0.46 Seconds