|Rary the Traitor by Ben Wootten|
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
A Line in the Sand for One of the Oldest Settings in D&D
On December 19. 2017 Dungeons & Dragons Creative Director, Mike Mearls, did an Ask Me Anything on Reddit which I found an interesting read. Among the many questions he was asked was one about his favorite setting. Mike answered, "I'd love to tackle Greyhawk, but I'd want to approach it from the original [Gary] Gygax material, ignoring most everything post-1983 (unless he was the author)."
That's an interesting way to go in re-imagining the setting as it both eliminates a rather large swath of weak material but also some beloved adventures that came after Gary Gygax was forced out of TSR. Kick out the Greyhawk Wars, World of Greyhawk, all the Carl Sargent stuff, all the Living Greyhawk material, and all the stuff published by Wizards of the Coast throughout the tail end of Second Edition and all of Third Edition. Essentially it would reset the world at the Greyhawk Boxed set with the whole setting on a tenuous peace with armies posturing and occasionally raiding across the boarders but without the outright war that characterized the setting throughout the majority of its published existence.
I'm conflicted about this proposed reset. On the one hand I hate some of the changes that came to the setting after the Greyhawk Boxed Set and really hate the way that the world was reshaped by the Greyhawk Wars; but on the other hand I really love some of the Carl Sargent stuff (seriously, Sargent rocks and to completely lose his influence from the setting would really be a bit difficult for me). Still, at this point the Greyhawk setting has been largely neglected and pushed to the side so often that just to have some light from someone who loves it would be . . . amazing.
Listen, as a setting the World of Greyhawk is just a few short years away from being a forgotten memory that used to be a place played in back when the game first started. It's a relic waiting to be discarded. That needs to change before it gets forgotten and left to those few of us still waving our flag out here on the boarders of ignoble oblivion.
Greyhawk deserves to have a new generation of players care about it the way that I do after reading Carl Sargent. It needs to have authors that love the setting exploring it and pushing the game in a way that the Forgotten Realms simply can't compete with anymore. It needs to have boarder wars and devils walking the face of Oerth again. It needs to be a place where players go when they've gotten over the triteness of Faerun and are looking for somewhere new to explore where the canon warriors haven't entrenched themselves on every hill and loudly proclaim, "That's not how it goes in the books!"
There is so much potential in Greyhawk for new players. It's the land where the greatest adventures are set and where the best game designers made bold choices. It's a place where the great experiments of D&D were often first tested and where many of the most beloved spells, items, devils, gods, and non-player characters were first pushed out in the world. It can be that place again, and if the way we get it there is to let go of things like Sargent and the post Gygax material, then we should.
Come on Mearls. Make us proud and do something breathtaking with the setting.
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