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    Canonfire :: View topic - Would you help resurect Living Greyhawk?
    Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion
    Would you help resurect Living Greyhawk?
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 27, 2007
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    From: London UK

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    Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:09 pm  
    Would you help resurect Living Greyhawk?

    Here is something I started over at
    The Piazza's Greyhawk forum:

    Big Mac wrote:
    I've talked about getting old Living Greyhawk content (specifically the adventures) into an archive before and I think I may have been misread as asking for people to steal the adventures that belong to ex-LG authors. But today (in what Icarus called "holy wall of text") I finally got my thoughts organised.

    The situation, as I see it is:
    • Wizards of the Coast decided to use Greyhawk as their core setting for 3e,
    • The RPGA decided to use Greyhawk as the basis of a regionalised organised play campaign,
    • The Living Greyhawk regions attracted triad staff and individual authors who put in some outstanding work and then
    • WotC decided not to reuse Greyhawk as the core setting for 4e and so got the RPGA to wind up Living Greyhawk instead of migrate it to the next rules.


    The formation of Living Forgotten Realms proves that people still want to play in and write for organised play campaigns, but it has meant that Greyhawk has been left behind.

    The interest in Casey's LG: Bandit Kingdoms book proves that Living Greyhawk is still of interest to people. The fact that some regions still have documentation online proves that some people are proud enough of their work to want other Greyhawk fans to see it. (And I've always been doubly impressed with the people from non-English speaking regions that have put in extra work to enable English fans to see what they have done. As someone who has struggled with both French and Spanish that accessibility is something I really appreciate.)

    But I'm told that Living Greyhawk is just a thing of the past. WotC don't want to continue it and nobody (even Wizards of the Coast) can put the adventures up online because they belong to a bunch of various fan-authors and the rights no longer apply. The intention was that everyone would move onto 4e and LFR (and good luck to those that did) but I think it is sad that LG has not been replaced with something for Greyhawk fans.

    So I ask: does it have to be this way? Could we not have some sort of "Son of Living Greyhawk" game (which I jokingly called "Undying Greyhawk")?

    If the adventures belong to the original authors, could we not put out a "call to arms" to see if any of them would want to use their ex-LG stuff to help relaunch the idea of organised play in Greyhawk.

    If the people that enjoyed running things at the triads are not allowed to keep them going as "Living Greyhawk", could we not just put out a "call to arms" to see if any of them would be interested in helping to run a new organised play campaign?

    If the Living Greyhawk "regions of the world" structure is far too complex to exist without WotC support, could a new campaign not be run on a world-wide basis, so that it would only take the organisation of a single triad to be able to get it off the ground?

    If WotC's IP means that you can't do this on a commercial basis, couldn't you just run it as a non-profit fan project?

    If you didn't have enough authors onboard at the start, couldn't you just run less adventures and use them as specials for table play at events like GaryCon?

    Obviously, there would need to be thought put into how to create a new organised play game for Greyhawk, but assuming that better people that me worked out the logistics...

    ...would you be willing to help resurrect Living Greyhawk as something new - as something that did not end while players continued to play?


    I thought I'd better come over to Canonfire! and see what the Living Greyhawk experts over here think.

    Would anyone be intereseted in attempting this sort of thing?
    _________________
    David 'Big Mac' Shepheard<br />My Greyhawk links: http://www.thepiazza.org.uk/bb/viewtopic.php?f=11&amp;t=9355<br />(If I am not here, you can find me at the Greyhawk or Chainmail forums at The Piazza.)<br />
    Paladin

    Joined: Sep 07, 2011
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    Tue Jun 12, 2012 8:03 am  

    *****SOAP BOX REBUTTAL********
    While I would love a RE-BIRTH of LG, I think the logistics would be daunting to say the least, and what ever call to arms that was answered by the faithful would be met with opposition by WOC if tried in any formalized setting.
    Even though WOC has shown they have no support for the origins of the game as it relates to the future (cannot say none at all with the re-release of the original manuals in honor of EGG) but they are certainly content with leaving Greyhawk to its space on the shelf (or dumpster in some cases).
    WOC only have interest when "others" that wish to further the coexistence of The Realm encroach on their IP rights which they enforce with a sustained lack of logic. (but that's another story)
    Simply put, they don't want Greyhawk but they don't want anyone else to have it either. Sadly, with that "reality" I don't see any hope of LG being brought forth from the ashes.
    What would be truly monumental would be a similar business model to the NFL Greenbay Packers, who are "owned" by the city. Would it not be grand if the Greyhawk Community "owned" Greyhawk? I would be supportive of such an endearing mission. And it would be even more daunting than LG alone to undertake.
    It however is unlikely. EVEN IF the community were to answer such a call, WOC would undoubtedly over value the buy out for something they have no use for...
    Though in the "fantasy world" it would serve to correct alot of ills and open up new opportunism for the future of the World of Oerth. Wouldn't that be a monument and a legacy for EGG!
    Humbly IMO
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 03, 2011
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    Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:48 am  

    I have to agree with Dark Lord. Hasbro, like many other entertainment companies, ruthlessly protect their IP even if in the long run it would likely benefit them. They likely aren't going to bring back Living Greyhawk nor do they want anyone else to do it in any formalized way.

    I have seen suggestions however that perhaps with D&Dnext (5e), that since it's in a sense going back to its roots that perhaps this could mean the rebirth of Greyhawk.
    Paladin

    Joined: Sep 07, 2011
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    Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:32 am  

    Elliva wrote:
    perhaps with D&Dnext (5e), that since it's in a sense going back to its roots that perhaps this could mean the rebirth of Greyhawk.

    Not Holding my breath for that to Arise. Especially since WOC has trended toward their separation of nearly every person involved with the origins of the source material.They choose,instead, to embrace dismissing those that had "a pound of flesh" invested or seeking litigation for those that support it independently?

    If Re-Birth was truly the case and their intent was to bring a worthy product back to the company profile and the end user, then why not seek out those that would support it? Are there any "Shadowy Representative" of WOC here? Hello?? Speak up when summoned? ... Hello There???... hummm
    This (and a few other) places, IMO, would be where they could certainly gain such support, if they chose to do so. Perhaps they have? Doubt it... but only the likes of Eric Mona, Gary Holian, Sean Reynolds, and others know if WOC has sought them out as advisers on the "rebirth" of the first and BEST world.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
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    Tue Jun 12, 2012 1:02 pm  

    A group of people could resurrect Living Greyhawk if they wanted to, without WotC's consent. They would just have to do it a certain way.

    First, they likely couldn't call it Living Greyhawk, nor claim any link to the RPGA. Give it a new name, such as "Greyhawk Lives!"

    Second, they probably couldn't overtly base anything upon any 1st Year/2nd Year/Core adventures, occurrences, or outcomes. They might have to start whole cloth.

    The rest goes down to fan organization, getting events on convention schedules, and most importantly, somebody setting up some form of website hub for announcements and the tracking of things.

    As it is all basically free advertising for their company, and promotes their game system, WotC might even give it an official nod of approval, and even allow people to build upon all of their owned 1st Year/2nd Year/Core material. Then again, maybe not.

    There is one final thing though: you need people to write the adventures. This bit is requires the most dedication, the most time, and is the most important aspect of restarting LG that there is. Without adventures you have nothing. I would hazard to guess that one driving factor for many of the former adventure authors was to use writing LG adventures as a means of potentially getting their foot in the door with WotC or somebody else (Necromancer Games, Goodman Games, Paizo, etc.). Without such direct company involvement, there would be less reason for such people to put in all of the time and effort to write adventures with that sort of motivation removed. And DM Rewards would also be gone, unless some companies were sought out to donate swag to the cause, if only in some small way (anything would be better than nothing).

    Then there are the logistics. A forum might be able to handle things rather easily though. People register either as DMs or as Players. DMs can see Players forums and the DM forums, and Players can only see Players forums. DMs forums include things like links to downloadable adventures, and other pertinent info. That's a lot less hoops for people to jump through than the former LG site. Eventually, all material could even be released to the public. That would probably work very well, and would be easy to oversee with 3 Triad Overseers per per regional forum. Such a forum really should be a completely separate from any other forum, meaning I wouldn't want such a potentially huge forum be a sub-section of any established forum on the internet; particularly ENWorld due to its lack of feature usage for free users.

    One last bit: The rules for what adventures can be played by whom could be loosened up a bit. That would allow for fewer adventures to be written, but for those fewer adventures to be played by more people across regions. That would help lighten the work load a bit, so far as the adventure writers are concerned.
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:20 am  

    The game is by design meant to be discussed, analyzed and "fiddled with" in a group setting...the internet is an electronic group setting. It's perfectly reasonable folks could post any and all campaign ideas using (gasp, WOC's) published materials. It's not like folks will 're-sell' these things as their own intellectual property. The company got their money when we bought their crap, now they need to need to pipe down and perhaps focus on improving their product. I feel the same way about conversions.

    It's no different than saying "when we play Monopoly, we put all tax money in the middle and whoever lands on free parking gets it." Resurrecting any setting, or any bit of game material, is simply saying how we perceive and play the game. Not a thing wrong with that.
    Paladin

    Joined: Sep 07, 2011
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    Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:31 am  

    @Jtylerk,
    While in "premise" that is true, However, when you begin to interweave IP in a formal setting (ie Tournaments, Conventions, or an Independent Site, etc) you run the risk of stepping on those "owners" toes.
    It would be akin (to spin from your analogy) to discussing the "creation" of a World of Greyhawk" Monopoly game. While we can debate who should be "park place", if we were to generate anything formalized I'm certain Hazbro would have something to say about it.
    Purchasing an item as an end user does not give you IP rights to "mod" the product. Free speech certainly gives us the "right" to discuss the idea though. As to "piping down".. not likely that I am certain is why they retain a legal staff. Wink
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:31 pm  

    Dark_Lord_Galen wrote:
    @Jtylerk,
    While in "premise" that is true, However, when you begin to interweave IP in a formal setting (ie Tournaments, Conventions, or an Independent Site, etc) you run the risk of stepping on those "owners" toes.
    It would be akin (to spin from your analogy) to discussing the "creation" of a World of Greyhawk" Monopoly game. While we can debate who should be "park place", if we were to generate anything formalized I'm certain Hazbro would have something to say about it.
    Purchasing an item as an end user does not give you IP rights to "mod" the product. Free speech certainly gives us the "right" to discuss the idea though. As to "piping down".. not likely that I am certain is why they retain a legal staff. Wink


    Ah, on the pipe down part, sometimes my hostility field gets the better of me...in fact, I'll even back off the "improve their product" blast I spewed out, after all, I have played the game for over 30 years. That's a good product. But I stand by my "we're free to discuss and post" approach. I really like the game, I like the setting. Nothing wrong in pimping it. Some weiner playing legal semantics really gives me the butt though. I'm all good though, I re-found my center, maybe even go fishing tonight...
    Paladin

    Joined: Sep 07, 2011
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    Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:38 pm  

    @ Jtylerk,
    LOL don't misread me, it was not my intent to chastise, (I in fact agree with most of your perspectives)
    And it is not my intent to be defender of WOC (never been on that side of the fence! hehe)
    And I have on occasion have summoned forth the "purple ligtning" hehe (though admittedly it is usually for posting in the incorrect forum thread Smile )
    Lastly, like you and others that have 30years invested, we just don't understand why WOC can't see the big picture.
    I'm certainly one to enjoy a good debate within the frame work of things doable, So keep them comin!
    So I hope the fish are biting Happy
    Black Hand of Oblivion

    Joined: Feb 16, 2003
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    Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:07 pm  

    Best drop this aspect of the discussion altogether.
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    Paladin

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    Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:58 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    Best drop this aspect of the discussion altogether.

    Agreed.So let it be written. And Seeing those storm clouds on the horizon.... Smile We did deviate.
    Big C in his earlier post did table some valid points that would have to be resolved even before a parley with WOC.
    Without adventure and writing submissions and without a platform to build it from (ie enworld or other electronic media) the task can not succeed. Unlike the baseball analogy, "building it" wont make them come. They must come for it to be built. The sad reality is many come, but seldom build. They leave the building to a few, who are too few in number to support the many triads it would take for the effort to produce fruit.
    Don't get me wrong, not trying to "wet blanket" the idea, I would actively and happily support the effort but even if I were to critique myself I have to yield to the lords of time and recognize my plate is only so big. Even now I work,have a family, and devote time to my own campaign and have two submissions time dead-lined to get done (6-30), a timeline compile co-operative effort, a magic item for Mort, tracking update for Anna, and two more article submissions for me all in the mix. And I am SURE my list is small compared to theirs. Point is we all do this because we want to and because it is a form of entertainment we are passionate for, but we all can do only so much. It would take many more for it to work.
    So to the community as a whole.... hehe the gauntlet lies there and the first step is the Submit Article tab to your left.
    Novice

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    Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:15 pm  

    Not only do I hope that 5th edition will use Greyhawk, I wish we can get the LG material from the IP scrooges. I loved the material, it really brought the world alive.
    Call to arms answered with a HUZZAH!!!
    Master Greytalker

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    Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:57 am  

    I don't think resurrecting LG is needed but I would like to see all that hard work recognised and documented for future DMs and players.

    I've been going through what information I can find and distilling it into locations, npcs, institutions, and adventure ideas (rather than ripping off modules wholesale). At the moment I've just been sending the bare notes to Anna to help put the locations on her maps but the ultimate goal is to have an edition neutral repository. There is so much info to get through that I think it will probably take about 5 more years on my own so if anybody wants to help out, it would be appreciated!

    On a personal level, there are many aspects of LG that I didn't like. Each country became modular to accommodate players who wanted to play any class. So we have large wizard guilds, sorcerer guilds, theves guilds, bard guilds etc even in small locations. Gone were the unique and rare wizard schools of old, the Zashassar were now no more mysterious than the National Acadamy of Wizardry, and the Silent Ones seemed to be shoe-horned into game mechanics for no good reason.

    I'm actually quite a fan of Greyhawk being a mix of 4e points of light, Middle Earth, and Game of Thrones but I think it would take quite a lot of effort to dial back LG to achieve that.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:57 pm  

    Here is my take. The module ownership issue is too complex to untangle to legally make LG material from the old campaign available to the public. That is a dead horse that has been whipped mightily (It was prone and dead so hitting it was no problem, just don't roll a 1).

    I also don't think you are going to see Living Greyhawk rebooted either. Big campaigns like Living City, Living Greyhawk and Living Forgotten Realms are just too much of a resource sink for WotC to support with their current staff and organized play goals (they are focused on in store content (D&D Encounters, Lair Assault), with a little bit for select big conventions (Dungeon Delve, Learn To Play, Special Events, etc.).

    Where I see a potential opening is a fan run campaign with a very focused scope. The Ashes of Athas campaign is a wonderful model for this.
    Disclaimer, my good friend Teos Abadia (AKA Alphastream) is an admin and author for it.

    David Christ (AKA Baldman) needed content for D&D XP (LFR was going through a rough transition from in house campaign to fan run) and he worked out a deal with WotC to use Dark Sun for a convention centric adventure series that allowed players to go from level 1 to whenever the campaign stops. It became so popular that eventually it was released for home play.

    The cool thing about it was, they kept the content focused on a story line that players could follow and it had a beginning, middle and end. Then they can start a new story and build a whole new series of adventures without all the cruft and pain of wrangling an army of writers (the biggest hurdle to running any campaign).

    If we were to put together a Greyhawk campaign that is the model I would use. It would allow you to keep the size of its admin reasonable (remember WotC was paying the Circle of its work, and it wasn't enough) and keep the quality high.

    My two Greyhawk City copper pieces.

    Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus
    Paladin

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    Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:36 pm  

    Saracenus wrote:
    Here is my take. The module ownership issue is too complex to untangle to legally make LG material from the old campaign available to the public. That is a dead horse that has been whipped mightily (It was prone and dead so hitting it was no problem, just don't roll a 1).

    Agreed Unfortunately, Though do agree with others too.. It would be a shame to let all that hard work of the past slip into internet "404" file not found oblivion.

    Saracenus wrote:

    David Christ (AKA Baldman) needed content for D&D XP (LFR was going through a rough transition from in house campaign to fan run) and he worked out a deal with WotC to use Dark Sun for a convention centric adventure series that allowed players to go from level 1 to whenever the campaign stops. It became so popular that eventually it was released for home play.

    The cool thing about it was, they kept the content focused on a story line that players could follow and it had a beginning, middle and end. Then they can start a new story and build a whole new series of adventures without all the cruft and pain of wrangling an army of writers (the biggest hurdle to running any campaign).

    If we were to put together a Greyhawk campaign that is the model I would use. It would allow you to keep the size of its admin reasonable (remember WotC was paying the Circle of its work, and it wasn't enough) and keep the quality high.

    My two Greyhawk City copper pieces.

    Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus

    Interesting Saracenus... like the concepts but am curious as to how "the WOC deal" played out. Was it as "simple" as providing recognition and credit as the IP owner? or was there more "offerings that need be met"?
    Thanks for adding to the mix too....
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:59 pm  

    Saracenus wrote:
    Where I see a potential opening is a fan run campaign with a very focused scope. The Ashes of Athas campaign is a wonderful model for this.
    Disclaimer, my good friend Teos Abadia (AKA Alphastream) is an admin and author for it.


    Teos is a good guy; I met him when he used to travel to Houston for work. I often got tables together for him so he could play BK mods while he was there. He later co-wrote a cross-regional special mission with me. I'm not surprised that he is effective for Ashes of Athas.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:31 am  

    Saracenus wrote:

    "He said a bunch of stuff about Ashes of Athas"

    Dark_Lord_Galen wrote:

    Interesting Saracenus... like the concepts but am curious as to how "the WOC deal" played out. Was it as "simple" as providing recognition and credit as the IP owner? or was there more "offerings that need be met"?
    Thanks for adding to the mix too....


    Here is my take (as a outsider that may be misremembering what Teos told me), the initial restriction on the campaign was simply that it was for convention play (D&D XP, Origins, and GenCon... all events that Baldman Games, AKA David Christ runs or organizes content for). There was a provision for it to play at smaller conventions but an admin for the campaign had to be at the convention (so, in Portland, OR it was at GameStorm the first year).

    It was a huge hit and there was a lot of pressure to open it up to home play. Eventually WotC agreed to allow it as that would feed convention premiers (there was a delay from the premiers before it was available for home play) Even so there was a window for when you could play a chapter of mods and when it was closed, that was it.

    Here are the things that would help with a successful launch of a campaign using WotC IP.

    1) WotC trusts the campaign staff. This means that all or some of them have to be known entities to them. Since we have a ton of former Triad and I think even a few Circle members here that would not be hard to do. You need to show that you have a pool of writers ready to go.

    2) Have a plan. By that I mean have a solid outline of the story that the adventure cycle will tell. This will keep things focused and provide a metric to measure getting stuff done.

    3) Negotiate tying in WotC product releases into the campaign (if appropriate) so that there is something in it for them. That might mean using the Drow storyline that is going on this year (or whatever equivalent is at the time) and supporting the current edition (4e for now and D&D Next later on).

    4) Be ambitious but realistic. Ashes of Athas releases 3 chapters a year and each chapter is about 3 adventures (LG equivalent in size and play time). It doesn't sound like much but with a tight story, high quality goals, and limited administration size it as about right.

    The main thing is building relationships with WotC and your writing staff. That gets you through the door. Once that hurdle is cleared delivering on time with fantastic content is your ticket to keeping the campaign going.

    One thing that AoA showed WotC and other organized campaigns was the tightly focused story with really innovative adventures makes a campaign stand out. It broke out of the 3 combats interspersed with some role-play grind. And when combat broke out there was usually something really different about it that supported the story.

    Additional note. Your admins should not be authors if at all possible. Your admin staff need to focus on the 10,000 ft. view of the campaign, editing and building the infrastructure to support the campaign (web presence, advertizing, working with conventions to get your event on the schedule, etc.). You are also the drop dead writers if one of your volunteer writers cannot do the engagement (real life happens, writers can't work with the campaign strictures, etc.).

    My two coppers,

    Bryan Blumklotz
    AKA Saracenus
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