Once upon a time, there was a setting called Greyhawk. It was created by a guy named Gary Gygax, who owned/controlled/influenced the company which published Greyhawk. Gygax not only created Greyhawk, he owned/controlled/influenced the Intellectual Property. Gygax was Greyhawk. Past tense.
Then things happened. Gygax no longer owned/controlled/influenced the company that published Greyhawk. Gygax no longer owned/controlled/influenced the IP.
And something more happened, others wrote major treatments/revisions of Greyhawk. Gygax’ vision and intent were no longer the sole definition or expression of Greyhawk. There was Carl Sargent, Roger Moore, Sean Reynolds, Eric Mona etc.
Gygax is no longer Greyhawk. Greyhawk has moved on.
As it stands today, meaning the assembly of all products bearing the GH imprint by the IP holder, there is an argument to be made that Greyhawk is now more Sargent than Gygax. Looking at the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, the most recent expression of Greyhawk, it is, I believe, far more influenced by Carl Sargent than Gary Gygax in its spirit, tone and presentation.
Legally, Gary Gygax has no control or influence over Greyhawk. Creatively, while Gygax laid the foundations for Greyhawk, Greyhawk has moved on from those foundations. Gygax is no longer Greyhawk. Legally or creatively.
Saying this is not to dismiss the spirit and origin of the setting but to acknowledge that that spirit no longer solely animates the setting and that we have come far from the origin. To speak of Greyhawk as it is now presented, one must speak of more than its origin and initial spirit. One can be a fan of Gygax and one can be a fan of Greyhawk. They are not mutually exclusive but neither are they the same.
Any consideration of Greyhawk that is thoughtful will consider Gygax’ work but will also full equally consider Sargent, Moore, Mona etc. Greyhawk did not end when Gygax parted ways with the IP holder. Neither is the story over.
Greyhawk is not a museum piece to be reverently regarded under glass. Neither is it a nostalgic reverie for gamers half way or better to Social Security. Greyhawk is a living organism and it adapts. If it will not or cannot adapt, it dies and is then placed in the aforementioned categories. Some may find that a comforting thought but I think any such grave offers but cold comfort.
IMO Greyhawk has a future. That future includes Gary Gygax’ past contributions but is neither defined by nor limited to those contributions. The future is not Gygax. He has, however, helped lay the foundation upon which the future will be built. If that is not enough, then I think it is putting a love of Gygax ahead of a love of Greyhawk.
Anticipating a likely response, I’ll Bush (or would that be Putin) it and move to preempt.
I am more than a little put off by Greyhawk “fans” whose love of Greyhawk is defined _solely_ by Gygax. Get a life. That’s not Greyhawk as it has existed in almost 20 years. You are then a Gygax fan, not a Greyhawker. That’s fine. Just don’t confuse the two.
Equally off putting are the Greyhawk nihilists who would mummify Greyhawk – no future development – ever. Leave it alone. Leave it to me. I don’t know what you are fans of but its not Greyhawk. You are not Greyhawkers. I suspect you are either bitter or jealous that your long devotion to the setting was not sufficient to get you a seat at the table with Mona, Holian and Weining. Or you are so self-centered that your good is the good. You’ve got everything you say you want, you hate Greyhawk development or the thought of it but you just can’t tear yourself away from it all the same (and would deny it in any other wise to others). Maybe its your altruism. Nasty failing that. Heh.
I think I have to reluctantly reject the idea that Greyhawk fans should or can “all just get along.” Pardon my brass but if it walks like a duck, quacks like duck, has its head stuffed up its **** like a duck, it may or may not be a duck, but its no Greyhawker. It’s a pseudo-fan.
I'll skip past the form of your message and just get down to the content of your message.
Since this site trys to accomidate everyone interested in Greyhawk, it does so by appealing to everyone. And as far as Mr. Gygax is concerned, I doubt if there are any deranged bomb throwers pining away in basements waiting to attack anyone who talks about any canon other than Gary's.
You may not have to "get along" with those who insist Gary's word is law, but all anyone asks I think it don't go around sticking your finger in someone's eye who doesn't have your viewpoint. so please don't start throwing labels on people you don't know. I could easily state that your a "Fanboy" who accepts everything as good that has the Greyhawk name on it, but I doubt that is the case. More than likely your a very reasonable fellow.
And since I have pardoned your brass, please pardon mine.
And on a side note. (This is not directed to anyone in particular) Could we just get beyond the whole "I know the names of all the Greyhawk developers , so I have a superior view point on what and how you talk or deal with the Greyhawk setting" gabfest. It doesn't prove anything and it most certainly will not impress anyone. (Well maybe it will, but I have my doubts.)
Everyone who runs games, (and I take it that most people here are gamemasters) will run the game the way they want and generally ignore what ever someone says when there "preached" down to. We can decide what to think.
Well I will start by saying that I have enjoyed by posts by both of the previous posters. In regards to this thread, and some others like them, every one needs to take a deep breath and go a little slower.
Greyhawk is my favorite setting for my favorite game. Obviously, it holds a similar place in many other peoples hearts. But if tempers are flairing, we have wandered afield. It is a game, and except for a few lucky people (you named many of them in this post) that is all it will ever be.
For myself, I respect them all, but worship is not the idea that comes to mind. Horrible, green, mindwrenching jealousy comes to mind, but not worship. Making a living as a game/setting designer would be wonderful, at least until you get to the work part.
For my part, Gygax's spirit, and the modules he authored are among my favorite. I love the newest Castle Maure, and hope to see future installments.
My belief is that Greyhawk is ours, the people on this site, and others like us. The IP owner is a business, and they would kill all the Flan and name it after me, if it would sell enough copies. They do not love Greyhawk, as we do; they respect it because we love it.
Your post has some merit GV, but the topic ain't worth arguing over.
Anced, please let me return the compliment (and I'm not just blowing smoke), I very much enjoy your posts, as well. You are one of the best. And I'll even go you one better - its not just a matter of something not being worth arguing about but something being futile to argue about. What follows is not directed at you but is more general.
Its interesting. If you stand for everything, by some measure, you stand for nothing.
I can appreciate the “lets all get along” thought but unless I’m missing something, there is no real getting along. Rather, everyone is entitled to equal time to expound upon their particular take on things. There’s a difference. To use an old debating term, there is no “clash.” In the interests of civility, people talk at each other or around each other. This is not universally so but enough that it is noticeable to me.
At the same time, such tolerance for positions antithetical to the very subject under consideration is like someone considering suicide. Hmmm. Should I jump off a cliff? Greyhawk must never be developed again. Hmmm. Should I jump off a bridge? Greyhawk is tied to a man who neither legally or creatively is likely to play any role in the future development of the setting. What is gained by being indulgent of this? A lack of discord. Okay. But, at the same time, isn’t such also corrosive of meaningful discussion? Particularly, when we maneuver around the disagreement without “clash?”
I see a corrosiveness in two phenomenon. One I call, “The Dead Thread.” As a relative newcomer, I figured I should read everything that was written here before me to avoid too obvious foot-in-mouth syndrome. Do you know how many threads just die off to nothing? Usually after a certain level of participants talking past one another. Second, and related, is the incidence of what I call “Drive-By Posts.” The authors have something to say but say it in a maximumly benign manner, usually with only minimal connection to what has come before or might come after. The result is that the post is not picked up on by others, either because it is unconnected or because it seems to go nowhere. It just is there. Are they just dull? I don’t think so to judge by content. Timid? No, the timid don’t post at all. Or are they picking up on the “let’s all get along vibe?” I know I’ve consciously done this and, after awhile, it gets irritating, at least to me.
I picked my topic because I legitimately disagree with both the “Greyhawk should be left alone” and the “only Gary can do it” crowd, that I believe are in the minority but who are surely not timid and who, because of the narrow rules of harmonious engagement, often go un-engaged/refuted. Instead, the thread dies or we get blurb-like posts that might have come anywhere.
I’m rapidly moving beyond the stated topic but I find myself frustrated with this forum. You have amazingly creative people who are putting themselves out there in the topics area. But in the forums, you get much less of this. A meeting of the minds is the exception. Too often there is no meaningful engagement or clash. Its like we are posing for the camera. Post. Smile for the birdy! Post. Double bicep shot! This is ever so apparent in the topics where great stuff gets a few comments and no discussion that I can detect at all. Here or there. And we are all spending our time doing this why? It can’t be for the intellectual exchange because that is far and few between. So. We pose. Post (topic or forum). Smile for the birdy! Post (topic or forum). Double bicep shot!
Is “getting along” so important that we will settle for a vapid exchange of stray observations, polite praise for others that we may be politely praised in return, and a self-satisfaction out of all proportion to what is demonstrably going on beyond our own efforts unveiling?
If anyone is getting anything out of all this, I wish they’d share because I feel like more eludes me than is grasped.
It may not be a perfect solution but SAYing something, even if it is likely to ruffle feathers, is to me better than a polite ladies Sunday tea. The fire may burn but you are not just going to be sitting there.
I really apologize if I am just way out of step here and people are just jonesing on this website. I think there are a lot of talented people here abouts but I also think that its very difficult to get to that beyond the surface or superficial. Its too much like a library in here.
I’m not saying people should rip each others throats out but I would like to see some smashmouth discussion. Hopefully, people would not allow a limited disagreement to be the start of a war at every turn no matter the topic but I’ll grant you it is possible.
I’m not in charge. Don’t pretend to be. Don’t want to be. But I’ve said my piece on Gygax, Greyhawk and now this forum. I feel much better, whether or not anyone agrees with me. God, it felt good to say that. I have my options and I know them.
It is a very nice library. Some libraries let you reserve private rooms. Who knows, gaming might break out. _________________ GVD
I dont know if smashmouth discussion of Greyhawk is needed, but for my 2 cents, I have played through enough editions, authors and editors to make a good enough judgement on what GH is, a world for the DM to play a game of Dungeons and Dragons in. PERIOD. Anything else is window dressing and excess drama.
I feel Greyhawk will always be *incomplete* in the published arena. Why? Because 2 major items of the Greyhawk campaign were never fully detailed by the original creator: The City of Greyhawk and the Ruins of Castle Greyhawk. If these two supplements had been created by EGG shortly after the 1E Campaign Box, then the *base* for the campaign would be complete for *any* author to take up and expound upon.
But alas, these 2 crucial items were never produced by EGG. Instead we got the 2E City of Greyhawk boxed set (by Carl Sargent & Doug Niles) and the 2E Greyhawk Ruins (by Blake Mobley and Timothy Brown). Now, regardless as to whether these products are good or not (and I use both in my game so they're OK!!!), I always kept wondering . . . what would have it been like to have seen these 2 fundemental products produced by EGG?
Anyway, because I keep wondering that question, GH seems strangely incomplete to me.
I'm not a Gygax purist, if I were, I wouldn't own all of the Sargent stuff and the recent LGG and be using them. Nor do I think authors other than Gygax can't produce great GH material, but GH will always have a strange hole in it for me because EGG didn't make supps for Greyhawk city and its ruins. (Sure, he's putting out Castle Zagyg soon, but this seems too late now . . . not to mention the fact that the civilization next to the ruins is only a small town called Iggsburg -- not a major metropolis like Greyhawk.)
But as I said above, I'm actually using the existing -- non-Gygax -- Greyhawk city and ruins and they serve my game well.
Now . . . do I think Greyhawk should be further published? My answer to that is: I'm indifferent. If it is, it is. If it isn't, it isn't. How could a Greyhawk fan say this you say!
Well . . . I have a love/hate thing going on. I've bought all the post-Gygax material released through 2E and 3E, and some of it's great, but there's that always present hole in me . . . a hole that will NEVER be healed! Why can't the hole be healed? Because these products (city and ruins supps) needed to be released by EGG in the context of 1st Ed. AD&D.
I have been playing D&D since 1980, like many of you have, and one thing I have that I have always enjoyed about Gygax's modules and Greyhawk was that they are not complete. It left room for the DM to add his or her creative touches. I enjoyed buying and reading the newer version of Greyhawk to see how others perceive how it has grown and could possibly have developed. Do I assume this is Greyhawk how it must be? No. Do I think that Gygax could have known every twist and turn of Greyhawk? No.
Gary Gygax gave us a gift of the first campaign world for D&D for us to make it our own Living World. It is not Gygax's world not Mona's or others but yours. D&D books and supplements are, as it has been said many times, guidelines nothing more. You the DM and the players are the creators of whatever world you want to play be it old or new or something else. There will always be people who get bend out of shape about rules or "this is the only way it can be". It is just not worth the energy to get all work up about.
This forum is a great place to read up and forward ideas that help you with the creative development of your Greyhawk. So submit ideas if people like it great, if people do not that is great too. Bottom line is that you are thinking about and growing your Greyhawk.
I have played and will play again in FR and I will play in Eberron. Does that mean is not a Hawker? No. Greyhawk is always my home. It just means I will have more ideas to make my Greyhawk live. _________________ "Its a dangerous business going out your front door." JRR Tolkien
Unless you are a Greyhawk Heretic.
Literary fictional settings are generally defined by their original authors. When authors die and their estates get ownership of the property, subsequent licensed writings by other authors are rarely considered equivalent to the original work. Robert Howard's Hyborian Age and the Dune universe are two examples that come to mind.
Media properties, such as TV and comics, are usually owned by publishers and worked on by multiple creative teams. Most readers have preferred creators but don't often reject others outright.
These are both perfectly viable models for the World of Greyhawk. I (and I was one of the people who provoked this post of GVDammerung's on the wizards.com boards) love and am excited by the original vision of the World of Greyhawk, and have little attachment to the versions published by TSR and WotC after Gygax was removed from the company. I don't go out of my way to attack or criticize those versions or those who like them, or feel any impulse to. I can't think what is objectionable about this, or what needs to be refuted. I can't see why someone who wants the world to be expanded by its current legal owner is a Greyhawk fan and someone who prefers it left as a baseline to be expanded by DMs is not. I don't care about silly labels like that anyway; I'm just a person who likes some stuff and doesn't like others as much.
I get along perfectly well with people who don't like exactly the same set of things that I do. I've read a lot of smashmouth discussions on RPG forums, and they're almost without exception adversarial, rhetorical, unproductive and unpleasant.
GVD, I do not agree with you man. Sorry for that, cause I follow you consistently and I generally like your posts (by the way, thank you for the comment on my Platonic Solids article).
Maybe a fan does not have the money to move to 2nd or 3rd edition. Is she a pseudo-fan? Maybe a fan checked new material and she did not like it. Is she a pseudo-fan?
In addition, your argumentation (on the first post, the second one was too lengthy to read) has logical flaws. You attempted to define what was Greyhawk (under the Gygax administration) and what is now. Then, you attempted to prove that present Greyhawk is something different, more Sargent than Gygax. The logical flaw is that Sargent Greyhawk is a function of Gygax Greyhawk, so your comparison should be more careful. Sargent utilized a great deal of Gygax Greyhawk, and he even used to a good extent all the Gord novels (e.g., beggars-thieves war, Greyhawk Wars, theopart subtle references). So partly, Sargent's Greyhawk is Gygax Greyhawk. Intuitively, I believe Sargent's Greyhawk is more Gygax Greyhawk. Though, in order to be more precise, one shoyld isolate original Sargent elements, and then compare the Sargent elements with the rest Gygax Greyhawk. Of course, in such a comparison one should apply the largest weight to the conceptual leap of the innovation of creating the world.
Finally, a have one last comment to submit. The question you raised is a matter of taste, basically. Apart from the logical flaws, your post shows enmity and animosity with Gygax, and with all the fans that it is more appealing to their taste the Gygax element. I, for example, like the Gygax deal more than other later developments, however, I use all material for my game. Now that I know that you have such feelings for me, I feel uncomfortable and uneasy. _________________ "It is easier to milk a cow that stands still." Tzeliobas-Aristomenes, General Cleaning, Greyhawk Construction Company.
I do not believe I dismissed Gygax' contributions. I don't believe I even took issue with people who find Gygax the best of Greyhawk. I took issue with defining Greyhawk solely in terms of Gygax. There is a large difference.
It is nothing personal. It is my opinion, however, that in two camps we find approaches to GH that can too often be less than helpful.
The Garyites, in their most virulent form, are anti-Greyhawkers because Greyhawk is valuable only as an expression of Gary Gygax’ genius. They value Gary and not Greyhawk or Gary above Greyhawk. As Gary is unlikely to be involved with the IP, they practically would see Greyhawk dead as they believe only Gary is fit to develop it.
The Deadenders, to use a term I heard, make no bones about wanting Greyhawk to see no further development by any game company. They want Greyhawk dead and to stay dead, to be left to the fans at best.
These are false Greyhawk fans to me because their affection is fatal to the subject of their affections. Greyhawk. Like Black Widows, they kill the object of their affections.
These people also have a negative impact on threads and postings I’ve read in the collected Forums of this site. I can too often tie such to dead threads and posts that go nowhere or just trail off. I believe they, to some degree, stifle participation, rendering this forum one where people may feel afraid to breathe too loudly. It becomes then a library.
The most painful or frustrating thing to me is that these false-friends are blithely accepted as just another species of Greyhawker. Certainly, they are fans of Greyhawk in their own way and they deserve to be heard. They do not, however, deserve the blank check they too often receive.
This is where an otherwise pleasant decorum becomes stifling. One cannot point out the inherently destructive nature of these sorts of philosophies without breaking some eggs. The false-friends hide behind a facade of decorum. That some are online presences of long standing and some notoriety is an excuse to give them a pass as “just being that way.”
Anyway, it does no good to complain, I suppose, but it is unfortunate in my opinion. I certainly was not pointing fingers in your direction. As a matter of fact, I have just submitted an article that expands on The Platonic Solids to wit, The Lords of Geometry: The Platonic Solids Revisited. Based on the cue, I think it will arrive on the home page in early November.
The problem is fanatical Gygax fans who demand that we accept everything Gygax wrote, and even worse, his off the record statements now, 20 years later, as the word of god.
Give me examples of what you say, if you please, because I think you exaggerate.
Before I unfold my thoughts, it is important that I do a statement. I am a Gygax fan like Erik Mona is, but I am not a fanatical Gygax fan. All that you are going to read in the following post is a product of logical enquiry and not a product of fanaticism.
It seems like everything Gygax wrote is in fact accepted anyway, or at least, efforts are done for their acceptance. Why would not you let fanatic Gygax fans demand that everything Gygax wrote to be accepted? Their demand is not irrational after all. To better understand this, I refer to the way Sargent utilized the Gord novels, and to Mona's notes on "Utter West," where Mona bases his development on the Sagard the Barbarian novels. The designers working for the mental right owner are doing their best to accept everything Gygax wrote, why not a Greyhawk fan do the same? And this of course serves a very good purpose: the purpose of condacting continuity in the available material, so that more sources can be exploited.
As to the off the record statements of Gygax, it is true that some of them make real good sense, while some others are interesting to know how the creator of our game conceived certain things. When you are involved in expanding the world (that means, you are a DM, renegade designer, or professional designer), Gygax statements help. Why is this? For example, in order to better understand the work of a poet his biography and interviews are useful. Bios and statements of important artists, writers, philosophers, are considered throughout the academic institutions together with their works. Any serious interpretation or development in Greyhawk is dependent on such factors. A DM or a designer cannot avoid not to consider Gygax's statements in order to achieve outcomes of scholarly excellence. I do not see why it is irrational the demand to consider the statements of Gygax. On the opposite, it has the potential to do good: any such treatment by the mental right owner will attract more customers (the rest customers will have no problem, since they are indoctrinated to accept as canon only the products of the mental right owner). _________________ "It is easier to milk a cow that stands still." Tzeliobas-Aristomenes, General Cleaning, Greyhawk Construction Company.
Interestin Tzelios. I do not know that I agree 100%. Statements by an artist, of anysort, can often have unusual consequenses in interpreting the work. I know of several artists and poets who do not want their lives used in interpreting their work.
That aside, I would suggest that written material by an author shoudl be considered authoritative, but most spoken/verbal communications are dicey. They can be extremely contextual, and therefore open to massive misinterpretation. They may have been made on a bad day, or as a negotiating tactic with the publisher, or to impress his/her mother. So, I would argue that the spoken, and most importantly press release or interview questions should be disregarded. This is a casual thought, and I am not wed to the thesis, but it would seem to filter out the more fanciful or unrestrained momemnts of a creator.
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