Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Reader Mail: Where Would You Start an Adventure in Greyhawk?

Last night I received an email through my fancy little contact box over there on the left of the page that was a really good question. So I thought I would throw it up on the blog, along with my answer, so that other Greyhawk enthusiasts could join in with some suggestions to help this reader out.

Hi! . . . I'm starting a campaign soon that's going to be set in Greyhawk. No one in the group has played In Greyhawk. I've been reading up on the setting, and I'll be using the LGG [Living Greyhawk Gazetteer] as my reference. What are the top areas to start a Greyhawk campaign for players new to the setting? There's so much information in the LGG that I'm having trouble choosing where to get started . . . 


Greyhawk Adventures Cover by Jeff Easley

Dear Reader, 

Without knowing what your group is into it's hard to give you a definitive answer as to where you should start adventuring. The World of Greyhawk has so much to offer your group from swashbuckling adventures on monster infested waters with the Sea Princes; to crossing a seemingly endless waste in the Sea of Dust as they search for lost cities hidden beneath the ash of a ruined civilization; to infiltrating the dreaded kingdom of that vile demigod Iuz; to the political intrigue of the Great Kingdom with its mad king and devilish lords; and of course there's the dungeon that gave the world its name. Greyhawk just is a land of plenty and you'll find something for every interest you could ever have waiting for you! 

But that isn't really helpful, is it? 

No. 

If I were to suggest a place to start adventuring I would pick the city of Dyvers. It's a free city located just on the southwestern portion of the Nyr Dyv (a lake of fathomless depths with monsters slumbering somewhere deep within that occasionally rise when particularly bad storms or earthquakes disturb their sleep) along the Verbobonc river. It's smaller than the more famous Greyhawk and has a natural rivalry with its sister city. I often describe it to my players as a city the size of Nashville; large and sprawling but not so big that you can't find your way around it. To the north you have the Kingdom of Fuyrondy (a land of noble knights standing against the ever present evil of Iuz and his demonic armies). To the south the Gnarly Forest where I usually put wild beastmen, goblins, and necromancers. Then there's the Wild Coast and the Orcish Empire of the Pomarj where all good adventurers go to die. 

As for getting everyone together I usually start them off having just been released from the city militia or having just graduated from the various colleges, universities, seminaries, and academies that their assorted classes would use. Then I tend to provide them with a few close-ish locations for them to explore. Often I tend to tie their first adventure to a character's family or friends to help establish them in the world. I like adventures that have them hunting down someone missing as it's easy to connect them with the slavers of the Wild Coast or the machinations of Iuz's armies. Then I just let the players craft their story from there. 

The other good thing about Dyvers is that it's fairly close to many of the big adventure locations in classic adventures like Maure Castle, Castle Greyhawk, the Temple of Elemental Evil, the Bright Desert, and so on. So if you have access to those adventures it will be fairly easy to get the players there from Dyvers. 

Hope this helps and don't hesitate to contact me again if you need more, 

Charlie 

P.S. Oh! Before I forget you should always remember that while Iuz is the biggest threat to the world that the Great Kingdom is not to be discounted as an enemy if you want to avoid demons. The king is mad and periodically purges the nobility (and, well, if we're being honest here most anyone else he remembers exists). His agents are fanatical in their devotion to him and act on his word as though it were the Holy Word of a god. They're a great enemy to throw into the game even if only for a mild distraction.

13 comments:

  1. Dyvers is cool, but Irongate is where it's at.

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  2. I actually preferred Dyvers as my focus city as well. One of my best and longest campaigns centered around the city extensively in fact, and others involved it in some fashion or other. I liked it because it was near the center of activity, but because not much had been published about it I was free to do whatever I liked with it.

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    1. Great point, Ed. My wife's solo campaign takes place in the Gnarley Forest so there is a chance I'll have things from Dyvers affect her adventures. That so little is published for the city is a boon and open slate for creativity, using the skeleton from the Folio/Box Set as the starting frame.

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  3. Third vote for Dyvers. You can get the City of Greyhawk set when the campaign starts expanding beyond the start. Lots of plot hooks in all directions from Dyvers.

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  4. The eponymous City of Greyhawk, of course. :-)
    But for neophytes I'd probably suggest the Wild Coast region as a good starting place. Plenty of adventures and mischief to be had there.

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    1. The Wild Coast is a good place to explore. Lots of dangerous stuff out there just looking to cause you harm.

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  5. There really isn't a "bad" location in the Flanaess to start a campaign. I have started campaigns in Greyhawk, the Pomarj/Ulek border, Idee, the Lendore Isles, and (of course) Hommlet.

    As DM, find what interests both your players and yourself and go with it.

    Cold iron avail you!

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  6. I've been a big fan of Ratik lately. The whole "frozen north" thing is easy to grasp for players who watch modern cable fantasy shows...

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  7. "Then there's the Wild Coast and the Orcish Empire of the Pomarj where all good adventurers go to die."

    It might called a high risk area, but if you want a "powerful" group of players to loot and kill orcs, the Pomarjj is great for a "free ride". Raid, retreat; raid again, go invisible. Waste your fireball spell on 100 orcs....

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