Exactly how well known are the wizards of WoG? Who has heard of Otiluke, Bigby, etc? Does the average peasant know of them? Do all the nobles know of them? I ask b/c I had one player who was playing a fighter throw some papers into a fire, signed by somebody named Bigby. The player who was playing the mage about freaked and was totally upset at the player (not the character) for adding fuel for the fire. The PC fighter said, "My character would have no idea who Bigby is." The pc mage exclaimed, "Everyone knows Bigby. It's in the players handbook." The pc fighter explained, "I'm playing a fighter, not a mage." The pc mage became very upset, "It's WoG, everyone has heard of or knows the movers and shakers of the world. There has to be a tale in every town about the power of these guys. You did that on purpose!"
So, in your opinion, how well known are the "Movers and Shakers" of the world? Does everyone know Bahamut and Tiamat? Does everyone know about Drow? Are the names of arch-mages and magic-users that well known?
The average peasant doesn't know much of anything beyond their own village/town/city. They might know rumors regarding areas as far out as the next nearest village/town/city. As to wizards, peasants may have heard something of them, but that depends on where the wizard and peasants are from. Those peasants from the Diamond Lake area surely know of Tenser. Those peasants living within the confines of the City of Greyhawk itself probably know some passing history of Zagig(the mortal version), and may even know a bit about some of the powerful mages that reside in the city. There was that whole signing of the treaty in the City of Greyhawk so some peasants may have heard the names of some of the wizards who were there, but as like as not, the names of those individuals would escape them. Most City of Greyhawk peasants probably know of Rary and that he is a traitor(if you use that in your campaign). Juicy stories of treachery usually hang around for a good amount of time among the commoners, and the details have probably grown wilder in the retelling.
Nobles will be more likely to know of the powerful wizards, but once again it will depend on geography. These wizards don't go around like a Broadway star singing and kicking up their heels while sparks shoot out of their hands. Nobles who may be affected by the actions of any notable wizard will be very likely to know of them, but otherwise probably not. For instance, the leader of the Yeomanry is not likely to know anything particular about the Fiend Sage, Mordenkainen, or any other wizard who has a spell that bears their name(unless that leader is a wizard). The leader of the Yeomanry is however more likely to know something about a member or two of the Silent Ones.
Last edited by Cebrion on Sun Dec 21, 2008 1:10 am; edited 2 times in total
Exactly how well known are the wizards of WoG? Who has heard of Otiluke, Bigby, etc? . . . I ask b/c I had one player who was playing a fighter throw some papers into a fire, signed by somebody named Bigby. The player who was playing the mage about freaked and was totally upset at the player (not the character) for adding fuel for the fire. The PC fighter said, "My character would have no idea who Bigby is." The pc mage exclaimed, "Everyone knows Bigby. It's in the players handbook." The pc fighter explained, "I'm playing a fighter, not a mage." The pc mage became very upset, "It's WoG, everyone has heard of or knows the movers and shakers of the world. There has to be a tale in every town about the power of these guys. You did that on purpose!"
I'm coming to this one late. But give me time, I'll get to all of them!
I think your fighter acted "in character," if a bit rudely. What I mean . . .
Very few people "know Bigby," but many more people have heard the name "Bigby."
Your fighter knows "Conan," unfortunately, your mage may only have heard the name, "Conan." The mage has no real idea of who "Conan" is.
It's the same for your fighter. Sure, he's heard the name "Bigby," somewhere. But, he can't remember where, or in what context, he does not know who Bigby is. Your fighter might think he's heard the name "Bigby," because "Bigby" is the "king of someplace."
The problem here, which your players need to work, out is rudeness and lack of fore-thought, i.e.;
Your fighter is looking at the papers (we will assume he can read); "Hmmm, Bigby, . . . Bigby?" He turns his head. "Say! Any of you guys know a 'Bigby'?" Your mage shatches the papers from his hand!
Because of inexperience, your fighter was too quick to throw the papers into the fire. But, he was right, he had no reason to "know" Bigby.
There are many "world leaders" that have power and fame, within their circle. I mean, they even get to visit President Bush.
But the truth is that, I've never heard of half of them. And I feel confidant in saying that most of you probably haven't either.
Greyhawk does not have Google!
Everyone "knew" Ivid, and NOT because of his magical abilities. They knew him because he was King of the Great Kingdom, i.e.; he was President of the United States.
I know some of you probably hate to hear this, but, the United States is the world's Super Power. Everyone knows who the President of the U.S. is! People that don't like him speak badly of him, even in Ethiopia!
Some of you are probably driving Toyotas. Know who the President of Toyota is? Neither do I.
Bigby, Otto, et al, are not as famous as the King of the Great Kingdom. Sorry, but it just works that way.
Bigby, Otto, et al, are not as famous as the King of the Great Kingdom. Sorry, but it just works that way.
are you sure... ther are people in the world who are more famous then the president of the United States, and most of them are not heads of state, but are people who are very good at certain professions (such as various sports or entertainment industries)... if one where to compare Bigby's fame to Michael Jordan's, John Wayne's or Elvis' then your analogy and assertion falls somewhat short.
Greyhawk's "Joe the Plumber" has a pretty high likelihood of being an illiterate farmer destined to become a statistic in some DM's flavor text. He might not be completely sure who his own head of state is, though he knows the names of the local landed gentry and all the rumors of their bedroom antics.
"I've seen half-ogres and half-orcs, and I've even seen a few half-elves from time to time. Until Lord Futgoacker came along, I'd never seen a half-sheep and now the whole area is full of'em! That man is insatiable!"
I have been interrupted from time to time over the years by players who wanted to let me know that their characters want to make clear to a speaker that they don't know who or what the heck he's talking about. I'd usually end up staring at them blankly for an extended period of time, blinking more than normal, because they were right and I wasn't prepared for that.
I've never heard that one before. Didja just make that one up? It's too good not to steal - I'm using it. _________________ The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd; indeed, in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a wide-spread belief is more likely to be foolish than sensible. - Bertrand Russell
Oh, for the love of the gods! Just have the fighter bash the bookworm over the head with his trusty axe and be done with it! There’s ale that needs drinking, which is more important than some silly papers!
Cwslyclgh, I appreciate your comparison, but is it reasonable?
In WoG, the average "Joe" is supposed to fear and hate magic. They don't read or subscribe to "Lifestyles of Oerth's Powerful Wizards" magazine. I don't think that Bigby -- a magician -- is going to be as well known as a beloved and worshipped Rock/Sports Star of our world.
Bigby famous in Greyhawk? Yes. Famous in his "home town"? Yes. Famous among nobles and men of power who hire such people? Yes. Famous in Horstede? Unlikely.
Do you know how many people in the US don't know who the VICE-president is today?
I'd say a good number of uneducated peasants inhabiting a continent the size of Greyhawk had/have no idea who the King of the Aerdy is/was.
I've made that same argument elsewhere.
I'm simply pointing out -- as in my other post -- that the "King of Aerdy" has a better chance of being well known than does a wizard, given that the average person in WoG fears and shuns magicians.
When they see a person "dressed" in wizardly garb, they do not run up to him and ask for his autograph.
Everyone throngs the street when the king's carriage passes by -- he might throw money!
But those same people cross to the other side when they see a wizard.
And you're right, those people hiding in caves in Pakistan did not call Obama a "traitor to Islam," nor did they call him America's "house nigger." The press merely fabricated all that. After all, they don't even know who Obama is, hiding in caves like that, without television or radio . . . Right?
Level 11+ is Legendary so those would be the people talked about IMO besides the local heroes. Bread and butter of the itinerent bards and other travellers. No television or radio so stories and news regarding the highlights of legendary figures particularly those who have interacted locally or with local heroes could be pretty well known. Antics of pretenders could fuel stories.
I would suggest several factors might affect how often and how thoroughly any given character's actions are described in public. For example, while it is considered a common practice for adventurers to brag of their feats while recuperating at the local tavern and thereby grow their fame, such is not necessarily the case. Many adventurers prefer to play their cards pretty close to the chest, especially if they've made enemies. Such characters might not attract any fame at all, though their reputations could be well known in certain circles.
Similarly, some characters - especially those of very high level involved in world-changing events - might even go to some effort to remove themselves from the public spotlight. Tenser, for example, has numerous agents and may have instructed them to ensorcel any bard they meet who dares to tell tales of his exploits. Conversely, some characters may even pay bards to sing of their deeds as was sometimes done in the medieval world.
It was also common practice for some tale-tellers to embellish (if not outright falsify) the details of their stories. Even the names of those involved may be changed if doing so could earn an extra copper or two. Thus, though commoners might know the names of certain characters they might not know anything about their true accomplishments and vice versa. Worse, characters' names might become associated with deeds they wouldn't want to be known for. It's certainly happened before.
And while some rulebooks may suggest that 11th+ level is "legendary," such may not be the case in every campaign. Especially in campaigns using the newest 2 editions, 11th level may only inspire yawns from the numerous epic-level PCs and NPCs lounging around the taverns waiting for the next massive extraplanar fiendish dragon attack to come calling. Additionally, the term "legendary" might not apply to the tales told in taverns. It could easily mean that those of the requisite level are seen with a certain degree of awe by those few who know their true deeds. Alternately, it may mean they have done deeds worthy of being recorded in the history books and only a few who were involved know about it.
In my campaigns I prefer to hold NPCs like Mordenkainen and Robilar as legendary figures. Everyone recognizes the names, but no one knows any real details. Those of middle levels (say, 9th-15th or so) probably have a degree of local fame unles they've taken steps to prevent their deeds from becoming common knowledge. Basically, unless they tell somebody what they did deep in that dungeon, nobody ever finds out. And just as in the real world, any character who manages to steal the limelight this week might not be recognized the next.
There's every chance that an inexperienced player, or someone playing an inexperienced character, wouldn't know who Bigby is. Given that Bigby was something of a recluse, it's not a stretch of the imagination at all to say that many people wouldn't have heard of him.
I'd expect locals/peasants to know their local lords and their gods, but little more. I would expect adventurers to know a lot more than that.[/i]
Actually, medieval-style peasants likely knew far more and were far more educated than we generally give them credit for. Check out the "Medieval Lives" video series by Terry Jones of Monty Python fame. It's quite interesting.
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