Lately, there has been a big controversy over the Open Gaming Licence of Dungeons and Dragons. While I am not going to discuss the ins and outs of that issue, it raised in me the idea of discussing those games that were undeniably Greyhawk or Greyhawk-like but were published under the OGL.
Now the purpose of this thread was for me to give some of the information I had of good third party games and hopefully have some discussions with the community over what else was out there. I see that on the 'Adventures in Greyhawk' feature on this site, there are a few of these adventures are being placed on the map, so I am not alone in crediting these sources as canonical.
So let's dig into what else is out there while we can still get it and enjoy it.
So to kick things off, I will start with the games that started my interest in cataloging these third party games - BRW games (also known as Greyhawk Grognard's adventures).
Now, I admit I have been a fan of Mr Bloch's writing and gaming style ever since I saw his article on the Pomarj in Dragon Issue 167 (that is a must read for all Greyhawk fans). So I regularly visit his website and eagerly look forward to his releases. Among other things, he has done a D4 Module that expands on the Vault of the Drow, an alternative take on Q1's Demonweb Pits, additions to the Temple of Elemental Evil and more. Check out his website on the links at the home page of Canonfire.
In addition to all this stuff, he is also the President of BRW Games which has published some of these Greyhawk-like modules. Most notably, the megadungeon Castle of the Mad Archmage. I just got two modules that start a party exploring "The Great Rift" that i recommend to anyone wanting to go canyon climbing and spelunking in that most mysterious geological feature in the center of the Flanaess.
I strongly recommend adding all of these materials to your Greyhawk lore library. Unquestionably, these items respect the source materials and add to the GH experience.
I love these adventures. I think T0 Journey to Hommlet might be my favorite, a superb prequel adventure for a party traveling to Hommlet before T1. The locations and the journey are very well-developed and DM-friendly.
D4 City of Spiders is also excellent, being basically additions to D3 Vault of the Drow, absolutely necessary to run that series well.
(By contrast, I think his Q2, while far superior to the original Q1, is a trifle underdeveloped and, while it doesn't really need more adventure in it, it needs considerably more DM advice and essays on preparing for character actions and, especially, role-playing interactions involving Lolth and other powerful NPCs. I'd also appreciate a longer consideration of the campaign ramifications for various conclusions of the adventure.)
Thanks much for the kind words! (And thanks also for the feedback on Q2, Edmundscott; I will definitely keep it in mind if I ever revisit the module.)
Others in this vein that I can think of are of course Carlos Lising's adventures, published through casl entertainment (www.caslentertainment.com), which were my own inspiration for doing my near-Greyhawk modules.
Oh, and it's worth saying that I have two different sorts of adventures out there. The not-quite-Greyhawk ones are sold by BRW Games. But the ones that are actual expansions/prequels/etc. of existing modules are free downloads on my blog, published under the Fan Content Policy.
You guys are on the same wavelength as I! I just got finished reading through the Marquessa series from Casl entertainment and I am glad I got it. I am certainly going to be looking at some of the other offerings from them. The Marquessa series takes the classic A series of modules and continues it in an attempt to track down and slay one of the all time great Greyhawk villains, Markessa (spelling is fuzzed up for OGL purposes, or is it a title?).
Anyway Markessa, however you spell it, is a major GH baddie, the Dr Frankenstein of the magical world. The series features a lot of body horror that she is experimenting on helpless victims, so there is no question about the righteousness in opposing her. I think the series is great to include as a follow on to the A1-4 series and Slavers. The quest to eliminate the final loose end.
So this publisher has some undeniable Greyhawk offerings, check out their products when you can. Here is the link to their website:
1. Rob Kuntz (mentioned by Joe above): Rob's published under his own imprints (Creations Unlmited, Pied Piper Publishing, Three Line Studio), as well as through other publishers including Paizo, Kenzer, Black Blade Publishing (with me and Jon), Chaotic Henchmen, TLB Games and Legends of Roleplaying (both with Paul Stormberg).
2. Pacesetter Games: Bill Barsh has published sequels and expansions to classic TSR adventures over the years, but many are now OOP. He tackled additions/expansions to the A series, B1 (and maybe B2?), I1, T1, and X1. I'll have to dig a bit to see what I've missed listing.
3. In addition to Carlos own work, casl Entertainment has also published a jointly-designed scenario between Carlos and Jay Scott (of Lord Gosumba fame), set in the Hool Marshes. I've had the opportunity to playtest several scenarios, and have enjoyed them all! :D
4. Back in the early 1980s, Carl Perkins published his "In Quest of the Hand of Vecna" and it was later revised/excised as "The Serpent of Me'Tal".
5. Modi Thorsson published his _Vecna: Hand of the Revenant_ graphic novle via WotC license in 2002.
6. Wolfgang Baur built upon his Dragon #70 "Kingdom of the Ghouls" in his 2008 Open Design project _Empire of the Ghouls_ as well.
7. Lenard Lakofka continued his Lendor Isle adventures L4-5 on Dragonsfoot (with L6 in-progress still), as well as submitting articles to Footprints and the Oerth Journal; more will be forthcoming on this front, too
9. I have been adding to Greyhawk lore through my articles in various zines (Dragon, the OJ, Knockspell, AFS, The Twisting Stair), and in my work with Rob Kuntz and others, but I don't have a published Greyhawk stand-alone product to my name. Yet =)
I'm sure there are others, too---keep them coming!
I will second the advice to check out Wicked Studios and William Henry Dvorak's materials. One critique I have of a lot of third party games is the art, or lack thereof. Often times there is no interior art at all. Now I get that, it makes the publishing process expensive so many TPP do not have it done. But Ravensrook has interior art throughout, making it a very nice piece to add on to your collection.
Like Greyhawk Grognard, there was TPP that was for sale through Wicked Studios on DriveThuRPG, and Mr Dvorak had other downloads available on Greyhawk Companion. Unfortunately, it appears the Greyhawk Companion may be shutting down for the near future. Some of his materials may be found archived on Greyhawk Online here:
I will second the advice to check out Wicked Studios and William Henry Dvorak's materials. One critique I have of a lot of third party games is the art, or lack thereof. Often times there is no interior art at all. Now I get that, it makes the publishing process expensive so many TPP do not have it done.
But Ravensrook has interior art throughout, making it a very nice piece to add on to your collection.
Would Ravensrook be like Rookroost with the numbers filed off? (Just going by the name here.)
You would be correct, just like edmundscott said earlier in this thread, this is the City of Rookroost with the name fuzzed up.
On that point, it is fun to see how each game designer decided they would change the names up for the open licensing purposes. Sometimes they spell the names backwards, make a homonym style change, use synonyms, etc etc. In some of the materials, I had to stop and think a minute as to what was the classic GH reference.
Depending on how close they designer wanted to be to the WoG, the naming conventions can range from pretty obvious to more obscure. I tend to like them fairly close to the source materials, but opinions can vary.
Randy Richards wrote a series of articles ages ago on an AOL Greyhawk board about "Bayou Halflings". These guys lived in the edges of the Hool marshes and developed a distinctly cajun style of existence. I thought the articles were great and printed them out and kept it in my Greyhawk binder of miscellaneous things for years.
Then I came across a 3.5ed D&D book called "Dreadmire" by the same author. In it, you get a sourcebook for all things swampy, with most (if not all) of the concepts created in those original AOL boards in this book. The Greyhawk connection is pretty much entirely fuzzed out, but the concepts seem easily applicable to the Hools, or any other swamp environment in Oerth or anywhere else.
I got the bundle which includes the book in pdf format, some bonus material, and a 146 page pdf fiction book set in the Dreadmire area.
Rob Kuntz has released his Dark Druids module in pdf format this month. I scooped it up and have been going through it. I think it is a great piece for the old school adventure lover. The appendix with the history of some of the lore alone makes this a worthy purchase. So check it out!
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