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Super mega world of greyhawk video
Greyhawk, also known as the World of Greyhawk, is a fictional world designed as a campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy roleplaying game. Although not the first campaign world developed for Dungeons & Dragons—Dave Arneson's Blackmoor campaign predated it by over a year — the world of Greyhawk was the setting most closely identified with the development of the game from 1972 until 2008. The world itself started as a simple dungeon under a castle designed by Gary Gygax for the amusement of his children and friends, but it rapidly expanded to include not only a complex multi-layered dungeon environment, but also the nearby city of Greyhawk, and eventually an entire world. In addition to the campaign world, which was published in several editions over twenty years, Greyhawk was also used as the setting for many adventures published in support of the game, as well as for RPGA's massively shared Living Greyhawk campaign from 2000–2008.
- Super mega world of greyhawk video
- The history of d d one fighter at a time greyhawk 1976
- Early development
- Home campaign 19721979
- Significant player characters of the home campaign
- The first mention of Oerth
- The first deities of Greyhawk
- The first Greyhawk novel
- The first Greyhawk adventures published by TSR
- The World of Greyhawk folio edition 1980
- Development of geography
- Development of history and politics
- Between editions 19801983
- More information about every political region
- Deities of Greyhawk
- Non player characters of Greyhawk
- TSR Greyhawk adventures published after the folio edition
- World of Greyhawk boxed set 1983
- After publication of the boxed set 19841985
- Greyhawk modules
- Dragon articles
- Gygax departs
- Greyhawk without Gygax 19861987
- Greyhawk novels continue without Gord the Rogue
- The dungeons of Greyhawk revealed
- Greyhawk revived 19881990
- The City of Greyhawk boxed set
- Modules released under the Greyhawk Adventures banner
- A new vision of the Flanaess 19911997
- The Greyhawk Wars
- From the Ashes
- TSR drops Greyhawk
- Wizards of the Coast 19982008
- 25th anniversary of DD
- Third edition
- Living Greyhawk
- Wizards of the Coast Greyhawk releases
- 2008 to present
The history of d d one fighter at a time greyhawk 1976
In the late 1960s, Gary Gygax, a military history buff and pulp fantasy fan, started to add elements of fantasy into traditional tabletop medieval miniatures wargames at his games club in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. He sometimes replaced typical medieval weapons with magical spells, or used dragons and other fantastical monsters in place of soldiers. In 1971, as part of a rule set for tabletop battles called Chainmail that he was co-writing, he created supplementary rules for magical spells and monsters as well as one-on-one combat.
Around the same time, in Minneapolis–St. Paul, another tabletop wargamer, Dave Arneson, was also developing a new type of game. Arneson had been impressed by the Napoleonic tabletop "Braunstein" campaigns of fellow wargamer David Wesely that developed elements of what is now called role-playing, such as using a neutral referee or judge and having the players take on the roles of imaginary characters to resolve challenges. However, Arneson soon grew tired of the Napoleonic setting, and one night when the gaming group assembled, he presented a plastic model of a castle in place of the usual battlefield, and told the players that instead of controlling regiments that night, they would each take one individual character into the castle of the Barony of Blackmoor to explore its dangerous dungeons. For combat resolution, he started by using rock-paper-scissors, but quickly moved to a combination of rules that combined Chainmail and a nautical wargame he had co-written with Gary Gygax and Mike Carr called Don't Give Up the Ship! What set Arneson's game apart from Wesely's tabletop wargaming was that the players could keep the same characters from session to session, and that the characters advanced by developing better abilities or powers over time.
Arneson's Minneapolis-St. Paul Napoleonic gaming group was in touch with Gygax's Lake Geneva group, and Arneson mentioned the dungeons of his Blackmoor game that the group was playing on alternate weekends. Gygax was interested, so during a visit to Lake Geneva in the autumn of 1972, Arneson ran a session of his Blackmoor dungeons with Gygax as a player. Gygax was immediately intrigued by the concept of individual characters exploring a dungeon setting, and believed that this was a game that could be marketed and sold. He and Arneson agreed to co-develop a set of rules based on Chainmail. Gygax took two weeks to write up 50 pages of rules as well as designing "Castle Greyhawk", and preparing the first level of a dungeon that lay beneath it. Two of his children, Ernie and Elise, were the first players, and during their first session, as Tenser and Ahlissa, they fought and destroyed the first monsters of the Greyhawk dungeon; Gygax recalled them as being either giant centipedes or a nest of scorpions. During the same session, Ernie and Elise also found the first treasure, a chest of 3,000 copper coins which was too heavy to carry, much to the children's chagrin. After his children had gone to bed, Gygax immediately began working on a second level for the dungeon. At the next play session, Ernie and Elise were joined by Gygax's friends: Don Kaye, Rob Kuntz, and Terry Kuntz.
About a month after his first session, Gygax created the nearby city of Greyhawk, where the players' characters could sell their treasure and find a place to rest.
Home campaign (1972–1979)
As Gygax and Arneson worked to develop and publish the rules for Dungeons & Dragons through TSR, Gygax continued to design and present the dungeons and environs of Castle Greyhawk to his circle of friends and family, using them as playtesters for new rules and concepts. As the players began to explore more of the world outside of the castle and city, Gygax developed other regions and cities for them. With play sessions occurring seven or more times a week, Gygax didn't have the time or inclination to create the map for a whole new world; he simply drew his world over a map of North America, adding new cities and regions as his world slowly grew through ongoing adventures. The city and castle of Greyhawk were placed near the real-world position of Chicago, his birthplace; various other places were clustered around it. For instance, the rival city of Dyvers he placed in the area of real-world Milwaukee.
Gygax also continued to develop the dungeons underneath the castle. By the time he was finished, the complex labyrinth encompassed thirteen levels filled with devious traps, secret passageways, hungry monsters, and glittering treasure. Although details of these original Greyhawk dungeons have never been published in detail, Gygax gave some glimpses of them in an article he wrote for the European fanzine Europa in 1975:
Anyone who made it to the bottom level alive met Zagyg, the insane architect of the dungeons. (Zagyg is a reverse homophone of Gygax, and it was Gygax's inside joke that the person who had designed the dungeon—himself—must be insane.) Only three players ever made it to the bottom level and met Zagyg, all of them during solo adventures: Rob Kuntz (playing Robilar), Gygax's son Ernie (playing Tenser), and Rob's brother Terry (playing Terik). Their reward was to be instantly transported to the far side of the world, where they each faced a long solo trek back to the city of Greyhawk. Terik and Tenser managed to catch up to Robilar along the way, and the three journeyed back to Greyhawk together.
By this time, over twenty players crowded Gygax's basement almost every night, and the effort needed to plan their adventures took up much of Gygax's spare time. He had been very impressed with Rob Kuntz's imaginative play as a player, and appointed Rob to be co-Dungeon Master of Greyhawk. This freed up Gygax to work on other projects, and also gave him an opportunity to participate as a player, creating characters like Yrag and Mordenkainen.
In order to make room for Rob Kuntz's dungeons, Gygax scrapped his bottom level and integrated Rob's work into the Greyhawk dungeons. Gygax and Kuntz continued to develop new levels for their players, and by the time the Greyhawk home campaign drew to a close in 1985, the castle dungeons encompassed more than fifty levels.
Significant player characters of the home campaign
While many players participating in the Gygax and Kuntz home campaign were occasional players, sometimes not even naming their characters, others played far more frequently, and several of their characters became well-known to the general gaming world before publication of the Greyhawk campaign setting. Some of these characters became known when Gygax mentioned them in his various columns, interviews, and publications. In other cases, when Gygax created a new magical spell for the game, he would sometimes use the name of a wizard character from his home campaign to add verisimilitude to the spell name, such as Melf's acid arrow, Melf being a character created by his son Luke. Some of the characters who became synonymous with Greyhawk at that time included:
The first mention of Oerth
In the first issue of The Dragon published in June 1976, Gygax prefaced Chapter 1 of his serialized novella The Gnome Cache with a note that the story's setting, Oerth, was very similar to Earth in terms of geography.
The first deities of Greyhawk
One facet of culture that Gygax did not address during the first few years of his home campaign was organized religion. Since his campaign was largely built around the needs of lower-level characters, he did not think specific deities were necessary, since direct interaction between a god and a low-level character was very unlikely. Some of his players took matters into their own hands, calling upon Norse or Greek gods such as Odin or Zeus, or even Conan's Crom in times of dire need. However, some of the players wanted Gygax to create and customize a specific deity so that cleric characters could receive their powers from someone less ambiguous than the gods. Gygax jokingly created two gods: Saint Cuthbert—who brought non-believers around to his point of view with whacks of his cudgel —and Pholtus, whose fanatical followers refused to believe that any other gods existed. Because both of these deities represented aspects of Good, Gygax eventually created a few evil deities to provide some villainy.
In Chapter 2 of The Gnome Cache, which appeared in the second issue of The Dragon, a shrine to St. Cuthbert (spelled St. Cuthburt) was mentioned, which was the first published reference to a Greyhawk deity.
The first Greyhawk novel
In 1976, Gygax invited the science fiction/fantasy writer Andre Norton to play Dungeons & Dragons in his Greyhawk world. Norton subsequently wrote Quag Keep, which involved a group of gamers who travel from the real world to Greyhawk. It was the first novel to be set, at least partially, in the Greyhawk setting, and according to Alternative Worlds, the first to be based on D&D. Quag Keep was excerpted in Issue 12 of The Dragon (February 1978) just prior to the book's release.
The first Greyhawk adventures published by TSR
From 1976–1979, Gygax also shared some glimpses of his home campaign with other gamers when he set several TSR Dungeons & Dragons adventures in the world of Greyhawk:
The World of Greyhawk folio edition (1980)
In 1975, Gygax and Kuntz published a booklet called Supplement I: Greyhawk, an expansion of the rules for Dungeons & Dragons based on their play experiences in the Greyhawk campaign. Although it detailed new spells and character classes that had been developed in the dungeons of Greyhawk, it did not contain any details of their Greyhawk campaign world. The only two references to Greyhawk were an illustration of a large stone head in a dungeon corridor titled The Great Stone Face, Enigma of Greyhawk and mention of a fountain on the second level of the dungeons that continuously issued an endless number of snakes.
The 2004 publication 30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons suggested that details of Gygax's Greyhawk campaign were published in this booklet, but Gygax had no plans in 1975 to publish details of the Greyhawk world, since he believed that new players of Dungeons & Dragons would rather create their own worlds than use someone else's. In addition, he didn't want to publish all the material he had created for his players; he thought he would be unlikely to recoup a fair investment for the thousands of hours he had spent on it; and since his secrets would be revealed to his players, he would be forced to recreate a new world for them afterward.
With the release of the AD&D Players Handbook in 1978, many players were intrigued by the connection of Greyhawk characters to magical spells such as Tenser's floating disc, Bigby's crushing hand, and Mordenkainen's faithful hound. The AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide, released the following year, also made references to the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk. Players' curiosity was further piqued by the ten Dungeons & Dragons modules set in Greyhawk that were published between 1976–1979. Several of Gygax's regular columns in Dragon magazine also mentioned details of his home campaign and characters that inhabited his world. Gygax was surprised when he found out that players wanted to use Greyhawk as their campaign world.
Development of geography
In response to this, Gygax changed his mind and decided he would publish his private campaign world, but with some important changes. Rather than using his own map, which was simply the real-world Earth overwritten with his cities, towns and regions, he decided to create a new world called Oerth. Gygax joked, "Say it as Oi-th as if you were from Brooklyn, and that's the way I pronounce it. That annoys all who take a fantasy world far too seriously." Once he had sketched out the entire planet, Gygax decided to concentrate his first efforts on one small corner of the world. One hemisphere of Oerth was dominated by a massive continent called Oerik. Gygax asked TSR's printing house about the maximum size of paper they could handle; the answer was 34" x 22" (86 cm x 56 cm). He found that, using the scale he desired, he could only fit the northeast corner of the continent of Oerik on two of the sheets. He therefore concentrated on providing details for less than a quarter of the landmass of Oerth, concentrating on the eastern part of the continent of Oerik that would be illustrated by his map.
Gygax gave only the most basic descriptions of each state; he expected that DMs would customize the setting in order to make it an integral part of their own individual campaigns. In order to give the campaign setting as much flexibility as possible in terms of geographic settings, his map included arctic wastes, desert, temperate forests, tropical jungles, mountainous cordillera, seas and oceans, rivers, archipelagos and volcanoes. He placed the city and castle of Greyhawk roughly in the centre of the map, in an area that would have about the same temperate climate as his home in Lake Geneva. For the other regions that had surrounded the city of Greyhawk on his old map, some were left relatively close to the city of Greyhawk; for instance, the rivalry between the cities of Dyvers, Hardby, and Greyhawk was a feature of Gygax's campaign, so the three cities were placed in close proximity to each other. However, most other regions were moved further away, scattered across the new map. Gygax also added many more new regions, countries and cities, bringing the number of political states to sixty.
Needing original names for all of the geographical and political places on his map, Gygax sometimes resorted to wordplay based on the names of friends and acquaintances. For instance, Perrenland was named after Jeff Perren, who co-wrote the rules for Chainmail with Gygax; Urnst was a homophone of Ernst (his son Ernie); and Sunndi was a near-homophone of Cindy, another of Gygax's children. From Gygax's prototype map, Darlene Pekul, a freelance artist in Lake Geneva, developed a full color map on a hex grid. Gygax was so pleased with the end result that he quickly switched his home Greyhawk campaign over to the new world he had created.
Development of history and politics
Gygax set out to create a fractious place where chaos and evil were in the ascendant and courageous champions would be needed. In order to explain how his world had arrived at this state, he wrote an outline of a thousand years of history. As a military history buff, he was very familiar with the concept of waves of cultural invasions, such the Picts of Great Britain being invaded by the Celts, who were in turn invaded by the Romans. In creating a similar pattern of history for his world, Gygax decided that a thousand years before his campaign began, the northeast corner of the continent had been occupied by a peaceful but primitive people called the Flannae, whose name was the root for the name of that part of Oerik, the Flanaess. At that time, far to the west of the Flanaess, two peoples were at war, the Bakluni and the Suloise. The war reached its climax when both sides used powerful magic to obliterate each other, in an event called the Twin Cataclysms. Refugees of these disasters were forced out of their lands, and the Suloise invaded the Flanaess, forcing the Flannae to flee to the outer edges of the continent. Several centuries later, a new invader appeared, the Oeridians, and they in turn forced the Suloise southward. One tribe of the Oeridians, the Aerdi, began to set up an empire. Several centuries later, the Aerdi's Great Kingdom ruled most of the Flanaess. The Aerdi overkings marked the beginning of what they believed would be perpetual peace with Year 1 of a new calendar, the Common Year (CY) Reckoning. However, several centuries later, the Empire became decadent, with their rulers losing their sanity, turning to evil, and enslaving their people. When the overking Ivid V came to the throne, the oppressed peoples rebelled.
It was at this point, in the year 576 CY, that Gygax set the world of Greyhawk. As Gygax wrote in his World of Greyhawk folio, "The current state of affairs in the Flanaess is confused indeed. Humankind is fragmented into isolationist realms, indifferent nations, evil lands, and states striving for good." Gygax did not issue monthly or yearly updates to the state of affairs as presented in the folio since he saw 576CY as a common starting point for every home campaign; because each would be moving forward at its own pace, there would be no practical way to issue updates that would be relevant to every Dungeon Master.
Gygax was also aware that different players would be using his world for different reasons. When he was the Dungeon Master of his home campaign, he found that his players were more interested in dungeon-delving than politics; but when he switched roles and became a player, often going one-on-one with Rob Kuntz as Dungeon Master, Gygax immersed his own characters in politics and large-scale battles. Knowing that there would be some players looking for a town in which to base their campaign, and others interested in politics or warfare, Gygax tried to include as much detail as possible about each region, including a short description of the region and its people, the title of its ruler, the racial makeup of its people, its resources and major cities, and its allies and enemies.
For the same reason that he had created a variety of geographical, political and racial settings, he also strove to create a world with some good, some evil, and some undecided areas. He felt that some players would be happiest playing in a mainly good country and fighting the evil that arose to threaten it; others might want to be a part of an evil country; and still others might take a neutral stance and simply try to collect gold and treasure from both sides.
TSR originally intended to publish The World of Greyhawk (TSR 9025) early in 1979, but it was not released until August 1980. The World of Greyhawk consisted of a 32-page folio (the first edition is often called the World of Greyhawk folio to distinguish it from later editions) and a 34" x 44" (86 cm x 112 cm) two-piece color map of the Flanaess. Reviewers were generally impressed, but some remarked on the lack of a pantheon of Greyhawk-specific deities, as well as the lack of any mention of the infamous dungeons of Castle Greyhawk.
Game designer Jim Bambra found the original set "disappointing", because "there is only so much information you can cram into a 32-page booklet, particularly when covering such a large area".
Between editions (1980–1983)
Before the folio edition was released, Gygax planned to publish supplementary information, using his column "From the Sorcerer's Scroll" that appeared on a semi-regular basis in TSR's Dragon Magazine.
In the May 1980 issue, Gygax gave a quick overview of the development of his new The World of Greyhawk folio. For players who planned to use large scale army tactics, he gave details of the private armies that were commanded by some prominent Greyhawk characters from his original home game: Bigby, Mordenkainen, Robilar, Tenser and Erac's Cousin. Gygax also mentioned some of the planned Greyhawk publications he was overseeing: a large-scale map of the city of Greyhawk; some adventure modules set in Greyhawk; a supplementary map of lands outside the Flanaess; all fifty levels of Castle Greyhawk's dungeon; and miniatures army combat rules. None of these projects, other than a few of the adventure modules, were published by TSR.
Although Gygax originally intended to immediately publish more details of Greyhawk in Dragon on a regular basis, other projects intervened, and it was not until the August 1981 issue of Dragon that Len Lakofka, in his column "Leomund's Tiny Hut", outlined methods for determining a character's place of birth and languages spoken. Gygax added an addendum concerning the physical appearances of the main Greyhawk races. In the November 1981 issue, Gygax gave further details of racial characteristics and modes of dress.
In the December 1982 issue, David Axler contributed a system for determining weather in the world of Greyhawk. Gygax later said he thought a system of fourteen charts for determining the weather was too cumbersome, and he personally didn't use it in his home campaign.
More information about every political region
The folio edition had thirty two pages, and information about each region was condensed into a short paragraph or two. Gygax realized that some players needed more in-depth information about the motivations and aspirations of each region, and the history of interactions with surrounding regions. With this in mind, Gygax decided to publish a much longer description of each region in Dragon. The first two articles, covering seventeen regions, appeared in the December 1981 and January 1982 issues. Due to his involvement in many other TSR projects, Gygax handed responsibility for completion of this project to Rob Kuntz, who covered the remaining forty three regions in the March 1982, July 1982 and September 1982 issues.
Deities of Greyhawk
In the August 1982 issue of Dragon, Gygax gave advice on how to adapt deities from the previously published Deities and Demigods for worship by non-human races in the Greyhawk world. A few months later, he published a five-part series of articles in the November 1982 through March 1983 issues of Dragon that outlined a pantheon of deities custom-made for humans in the world of Greyhawk. In addition to his original Greyhawk deities, St. Cuthbert and Pholtus, Gygax added seventeen more deities. Although later versions of the campaign setting would assign most of these deities to worship by specific races of humans, at this time they were generally worshiped by all humans of the Flanaess.
Shortly after the release of the folio edition, TSR released the adventure module C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, designed to familiarize players with the Olman race of the Amedio Jungle. Largely based on Aztec and Incan cultures, this adventure introduced the first published deities of the Greyhawk campaign: Mictlantecuhtli, god of death, darkness, murder and the underworld; Tezcatlipoca, god of sun, moon, night, scheming, betrayals and lightning; and Quetzalcoatl, god of air, birds and snakes. However, this area of the Flanaess was not explored further in any subsequent TSR adventures or source material, and these three gods would remain isolated from the main pantheon for almost twenty years.
Non-player characters of Greyhawk
Also included in the March 1983 issue of Dragon was an article detailing four unique Greyhawk characters. The first two quasi-deities—Heward and Keoghtom—had been created by Gygax as non-player characters (NPCs). The third, Murlynd, was a character that had been created by Gygax's childhood friend Don Kaye before Kaye's untimely death in 1975. The fourth, a hero-deity named Kelanen, was developed to illustrate the "principle of advancement of power".
TSR Greyhawk adventures published after the folio edition
Of the ten adventures set in Greyhawk published by TSR before the folio edition, all but one had been written by Gygax. However, the new availability of information about Gygax's campaign world and TSR's desire to make it central to Dungeons & Dragons encouraged many new writers to set their adventures in Greyhawk. This, combined with the fact that Gygax was increasingly involved in other areas of the company, meant that of the seventeen Greyhawk adventures published in the two years after the folio edition, only four were written or co-written by Gygax:
In 1981, TSR also published the super-modules D1-2 Descent into the Depths of the Earth and G1-2-3 Against the Giants, both being compilations of previously published modules from the Drow series and the Giant series respectively.
Numerous projects were planned to add more depth and detail to the setting after the publication of the initial folio, but many of these projects never appeared for various reasons.
World of Greyhawk boxed set (1983)
In 1983, TSR published an expanded boxed set of the campaign world, World of Greyhawk, which is usually called the Greyhawk boxed set to differentiate it from other editions. According to game designer Jim Bambra, "The second edition was much larger than the first and addressed itself to making the World of Greyhawk setting a more detailed and vibrant place." This edition quadrupled the number of pages from the original edition to 128, adding significantly greater detail. One major addition was a pantheon of deities: in addition to the nineteen deities outlined by Gygax in his Dragon article, another thirty one new deities were added, though only three received full write-ups of their abilities and worshipers. This brought the number of Greyhawk deities to an even fifty. For the next eight years, Greyhawk would be primarily defined by the information in this publication.
After publication of the boxed set (1984–1985)
Publication of the World of Greyhawk was the first step in Gygax's vision for Oerth. Over the next few years, he planned to unveil other areas of the continent of Oerik, giving each new area the same in-depth treatment of history, geography, and politics as had been accorded the Flanaess. Gygax had also mapped out the other hemisphere of Oerth in his personal notes. Part of this would be Gygax's work, but Len Lakofka and Francois Froideval had also created material that Gygax wanted to place on Oerth. Frank Mentzer, Creative Consultant at TSR at the time, wrote four RPGA tournament adventures taken from his home campaign setting of Aquaria (published by TSR as the first four of the R-series modules: R1 To the Aid of Falx, R2 The Investigation of Hydell, R3 The Egg of the Phoenix, and R4 Doc's Island). Mentzer envisioned them as the first part of a new Aqua-Oeridian campaign set somewhere on Oerth outside of the Flanaess.
However, by this time, Gygax was in Hollywood on a semi-permanent basis, approving scripts for the Saturday morning Dungeons & Dragons cartoon series and trying to land a deal for a D&D movie. Not only was Gygax's own output of Greyhawk-related materials greatly reduced, but the company began to shift its focus and resources away from Greyhawk to a new campaign setting called Dragonlance.
The success of the Dragonlance series of modules and books pushed aside the World of Greyhawk setting, as TSR concentrated on expanding and defining the world of Krynn. One of the factors that contributed to the success of the Dragonlance setting when it was published in 1984 was a series of concurrent novels by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis. Gygax realized that novels set in Greyhawk could have a similar benefit for his campaign world and wrote Saga of Old City, the first in a series of novels that would be published under the banner Greyhawk Adventures. The protagonist was Gord the Rogue, and this first novel told of his rise from the Slum Quarters of the city of Greyhawk to become a world traveler and thief extraordinaire. The novel was designed to promote sales of the boxed set by providing colorful details about the social customs and peoples of various cities and countries around the Flanaess.
Before Saga of Old City was released in November 1985, Gygax wrote a sequel, Artifact of Evil. He also wrote a short story, "At Moonset Blackcat Comes", that appeared in the special 100th issue of Dragon in August 1985. This introduced Gord the Rogue to gamers just before Saga of Old City was scheduled to be released.
In the two years after the Greyhawk boxed set appeared, TSR published eight adventures set in Greyhawk. Five were written or co-written by Gygax, and the other three were from TSR's United Kingdom division:
Both of the EX adventures, although nominally set in Greyhawk, transported characters through a planar gate into an alternate reality.
From 1983–1985, the only notable supplement for the Greyhawk world was a five-part article by Len Lakofka in the June–October and December 1984 issues of Dragon that detailed the Suel gods who had been briefly mentioned in the boxed set. In the December 1984 issue, Gygax mentioned clerics of non-human races and indicated that the twenty four demihuman and humanoid deities that had been published in the February–June 1982 issues of Dragon were now permitted in Greyhawk; this increased the number of Greyhawk deities from fifty to seventy four.
Other than those articles, Greyhawk was only mentioned in passing in three other issues until Gygax's "Gord the Rogue" short story in the August 1985 issue Dragon. Gygax then provided some errata for the boxed set in the September 1985 issue, which was the last mention of the Greyhawk world in Dragon for almost two years.
Shortly after the release of the boxed set, Gygax discovered that while he had been in Hollywood, TSR had run into serious financial difficulties. Returning to Lake Geneva, Gygax managed to get TSR back on firm financial footing. However, different visions of TSR's future caused a power struggle within the company, and Gygax was forced out of TSR on December 31, 1985.
By the terms of his settlement with TSR, Gygax kept the rights to Gord the Rogue as well as all Dungeons & Dragons characters whose names were anagrams or versions of his own name, such as Yrag and Zagyg. However, he lost the rights to all his other work, including the world of Greyhawk and the names of all the other characters he had ever used in TSR material.
Greyhawk without Gygax (1986–1987)
After Gygax left TSR, the continued development of Greyhawk became the work of many writers and creative minds. Rather than continuing forward with Gygax's plan for an entire planet, the setting was never expanded beyond the Flanaess, nor would other authors' work be linked to unexplored areas of the continent Oerik. According to Gygax, TSR's stewardship turned Greyhawk into something very different from what he had envisioned.
In 1986, in the months following Gygax's ousting, TSR turned away from development of Greyhawk and focused its energies on a new campaign setting called Forgotten Realms. In 1986 and 1987, only three Greyhawk modules were released, A1-4 Scourge of the Slave Lords, S1-4 Realms of Horror and GDQ1-7 Queen of the Spiders, all being collections of previously published modules rather than new material.
Greyhawk novels continue without Gord the Rogue
Gygax's novel Saga of Old City, released in November 1985, and Artifact of Evil, released two months after Gygax's departure from TSR, proved to be popular titles, and in 1987, TSR hired Rose Estes to continue the series, albeit without Gord the Rogue, to whom Gygax had retained all rights. From 1987–1989, Estes produced five more novels under the Greyhawk Adventures banner: Master Wolf, The Price of Power, The Demon Hand, The Name of the Game, and The Eyes Have It. A sixth book, Dragon in Amber, appeared in 1990 book catalogs, but was never written, and the series was discontinued.
The dungeons of Greyhawk revealed
In its 1986 Summer Mail Order Hobby Shop catalog, TSR had listed a new Greyhawk adventure called WG7 Shadowlords, a high-level adventure to be written by Gary Gygax and Skip Williams. However, this adventure was canceled after Gygax left TSR, and the catalog number WG7 was reassigned to a new adventure, Castle Greyhawk, released in 1988. It was the first new Greyhawk adventure in three years, but it had nothing to do with Gygax's original Castle Greyhawk. Instead, it was a compilation of twelve humorous dungeons levels, each one written by a freelance author. The puns and jokes often referenced modern culture—the Amazing Driderman, King Burger, Bugsbear Bunny, and the crew of Star Trek—and the module also included an appearance by Gygax's Mordenkainen in a movie studio.
Greyhawk revived (1988–1990)
By 1988, with the first series of Dragonlance adventures drawing to a close, and Forgotten Realms doing very well, TSR turned back to Greyhawk. In the January 1988 issue of Dragon, Jim Ward—one of the original players in the dungeons of Greyhawk, creator of the wizard Drawmij, and now working for TSR in the post-Gygax era—requested player input about what should be included in a hardcover source book for Greyhawk. He received over five hundred letters in response. In the August 1988 issue of Dragon, he outlined the ideas from readers that been included, and Greyhawk Adventures appeared shortly afterward as a response to requests from Greyhawk fans. The book's title was borrowed from Rose Estes' Greyhawk Adventures line of novels and used the same front-cover banner design. It was the thirteenth and final hardcover book published for the 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules.
The contents were designed to give Dungeon Masters ideas and play opportunities unique to the Greyhawk world, including new monsters, magical spells and items, a variety of geographical features, profiles of prominent citizens, and the avatars of deities. In the time since Gygax had left TSR, no original Greyhawk material had been published, and many letter writers had requested ideas for new adventures. Ward responded by including six plot outlines that could be inserted into a Greyhawk campaign.
The City of Greyhawk boxed set
The publication of Greyhawk Adventures came just as TSR released the 2nd edition of Dungeons & Dragons. TSR released The City of Greyhawk boxed set in 1989 under the Greyhawk Adventures banner. Written by Carl Sargent and Rik Rose, this was not the city created by Gygax and Kuntz, but a new plan built from references made in previously published material.
This release remolded Gary Gygax's old Circle of Eight into a new plot device. Instead of a group of eight companions based in the Obsidian Citadel who left periodically to fight evil, the Circle became eight wizards led by a ninth wizard, Gygax's former character Mordenkainen. In addition to Mordenkainen, seven of the wizards were previously existing characters from Gygax's original home game: Bigby, Otiluke, Drawmij, Tenser, Nystul, Otto, and Rary. The eighth was new: the female wizard Jallarzi Sallavarian. The Circle's mandate was to act as neutral referees between Good and Evil, never letting one side or the other gain the upper hand for long. In addition, Sargent & Rose took Gygax's original Obsidian Citadel, re-purposed it as Mordenkainen's castle, and placed it in an unspecified location in the Yatil Mountains.
The following year, in conjunction with this boxed set, TSR published a trilogy of World of Greyhawk Adventure (WGA) modules by Richard & Anne Brown—WGA1 Falcon's Revenge, WGA2 Falconmaster and WGA3 Flames of the Falcon—set in the city and centered on a mysterious villain called The Falcon. A fourth WGA module, WGA4 Vecna Lives! by David Cook, was published the same year, and featured the first appearance by Vecna, formerly a mythic lich in Dungeons & Dragons lore, now promoted to demigod status.
Modules released under the Greyhawk Adventures banner
TSR also released five new World of Greyhawk (WG) adventures which used the Greyhawk Adventures banner:
In 1990, TSR also published WGR1 Greyhawk Ruins, a module and source book about Castle Greyhawk by TSR writers Blake Mobley and Timothy Brown. Although this was not the Castle Greyhawk of Gygax and Kuntz, it was the first serious attempt to publish details of the castle.
A new vision of the Flanaess (1991–1997)
In 1990, TSR decided that the decade-old world of Greyhawk needed to be refreshed. Rather than expand beyond the boundaries of the Flanaess to develop new lands, the decision was made to stay within the Flanaess and move the campaign time line forward a decade, from 576 CY to 586 CY, in order to provide the setting for a new storyline. The main story vehicle would be a war fomented by an evil half-demon named Iuz that involved the entire Flanaess, which would allow TSR to radically alter the pattern of regions, alliances, and rulers from Gygax's original setting.
Game designer Rick Swan described the Greyhawk setting up to this point as "a crazy quilt, where odd-shaped scraps of material are randomly sewn together and everybody hopes for the best. How else to explain a setting that encompasses everything from the somber A1-4 Scourge of the Slave Lords adventure to the King Kong-inspired WG6 Isle of the Ape to the cornball humor of WG7 Castle Greyhawk? It makes for an interesting mess, but it's a mess nonetheless." He considered The City of Greyhawk "the most credible attempt at smoothing out the rough spots", and felt that Greyhawk Wars "took another step in the right direction by shaking things up with a much-needed dose of epic conflict"; he felt that by drawing on these earlier works, "veteran designer Carl Sargent has continued the overhaul with the ambitious From the Ashes. By combining heroic tradition with elements of dark fantasy, he's come up with a Greyhawk campaign that is both familiar and refreshingly unexpected."
The Greyhawk Wars
In order to move players from Gygax's familiar World of Greyhawk to their new vision, TSR planned a trilogy of modules that would familiarize players with events and conditions leading up to the coming war, and then take them through the war itself. Once players completed the war via the three modules, a new boxed set would be published to introduce the new storyline and the new Flanaess. Two World of Greyhawk Swords modules, WGS1 Five Shall Be One by Carl Sargent and WGS2 Howl from the North by Dale Henson, were released in 1991. These described events leading up to the war.
The third module was reworked into Greyhawk Wars, a strategy war game that led players through the events, strategies, and alliances of the actual war. A booklet included with the game, Greyhawk Wars Adventurer's Book, described the event of the war. In 582 CY (six years after Gygax's original setting of 576 CY), a regional conflict started by Iuz gradually widened until it was a war that affected almost every nation in the Flanaess. A peace treaty was signed in the city of Greyhawk two years later, which is why the conflict became known as the Greyhawk Wars. On the day of the treaty-signing, Rary—once a minor spellcaster created and then discarded by Brian Blume, but now elevated by TSR to the Circle of Eight—attacked his fellow Circle members, aided and abetted by Robilar. After the attack, Tenser and Otiluke were dead, while Robilar and Rary fled to the deserts of the Bright Lands. Rob Kuntz, original creator of Robilar, objected to this storyline, since he believed that Robilar would never attack his old adventuring companion Mordenkainen. Although Kuntz did not own the creative rights to Robilar and no longer worked at TSR, he unofficially suggested an alternate storyline that Robilar had been visiting another plane and in his absence, a clone or evil twin of Robilar was responsible for the attack.
From the Ashes
In 1992, after the two World of Greyhawk Swords prequel modules and the Greyhawk Wars game had been on the market for some months, TSR released the new Greyhawk setting, From the Ashes, a boxed set primarily written by Carl Sargent that described the Flanaess in the aftermath of the Greyhawk Wars. It contained a large 4-color hex map of the area around the city of Greyhawk, a number of quick adventure cards, and two 96-page books.
The first book, Atlas of the Flanaess, was a replacement for Gygax's original World of Greyhawk boxed set, with some changes. Many human gods from previous editions were not included, although one new demigod, Mayaheine, was added. This had the net effect of reducing the total number of human deities from fifty to twenty-eight. Deities of other races were increased from twenty-four to thirty-eight, but unlike the full descriptions that were given to the human gods, these were simply listed by name. Like Gygax's original boxed set, each region was given a two to three hundred word description, although some details included in the older edition, such as trade goods, total population and racial mixes, were not included in this edition. A number of regions—Ahlissa, Almor, Medegia and South Province—no longer existed after the Wars or had been folded into other regions. One new region—the Olman Islands—was detailed. This had the net effect of reducing the total number of regions from sixty to fifty eight. Darlene Pekul's large 4-color 2-piece fold-out map of the Flanaess included in Gygax's setting was reduced to a small black & white map printed on the inside cover of the Atlas.
The second book, the Campaign Book, was designed to supplement, rather than replace, the four-year-old City of Greyhawk boxed set. It included updates to the city and its environs, and gave details of some new non-player characters and possible adventure hooks.
In Gygax's setting, the major conflict had been between the Great Kingdom and the lands that were trying to free themselves from the evil overking. In Sargent's world, the Great Kingdom storyline was largely replaced by the major new conflict between the land of Iuz and the regions that surrounded it. Southern lands outside of Iuz's were threatened by the Scarlet Brotherhood, while other countries had been invaded by monsters or taken over by agents of evil. Overall, the vision was of a darker world where good folk were being swamped by a tide of evil.
Sargent tried to generate interest for this grimmer vision of the Flanaess by following up with an article in Dragon's March 1993 issue, writing, "...the powers of evil have waxed strong. The hand of Iuz, the Old One, extends across the central Flanaess, and the cruel Scarlet Brotherhood extends its power and influence around the southern lands bordering the Azure Sea. The World of Greyhawk setting has become a truly exciting world again..."
The boxed set was supported by the publication of two new source books in 1993, also written by Sargent. WGR4 The Marklands provided information about the good realms of Furyondy, Highfolk, and Nyrond that opposed Iuz, while WGR5 Iuz the Evil detailed information about the lands of Iuz, and emphasized the prominent new role that Iuz now played in the world order.
In addition, a number of adventures were also published, as much to provide more source material as for adventure:
As Gygax had done ten years before, Sargent also used the pages of Dragon to promote his new world. He was working on a new source book, Ivid the Undying, and excerpted parts of it in the April, June and August 1994 issues.
TSR drops Greyhawk
In late 1994, TSR canceled Sargent's new book just as it was being readied for publication, and stopped work on all other Greyhawk projects. Nothing more about Greyhawk was ever published by TSR, with one exception: in May 1995, a Dragon column devoted to industry gossip noted that the manuscript of Ivid the Undying had been released by TSR as a computer text file. Using this file, several people have reconstructed the book as it might have appeared in published form.
By the end of 1996, TSR found itself heavily in debt and unable to pay its printers. Just as bankruptcy in 1997 seemed inevitable, Wizards of the Coast stepped in and, fueled by income from its collectible card game Magic: The Gathering, bought TSR and all its properties.
Wizards of the Coast (1998–2008)
After Wizards of the Coast (WotC) and TSR merged, the determination was made that TSR had created too many settings for the Dungeons & Dragons game, and several of them were eliminated. However, WotC's CEO, Peter Adkison, was a fan of both Dungeons & Dragons and Greyhawk, and two major initiatives were created: a revival of Greyhawk, and a new third edition of D&D rules. A team of people was put together to revive the moribund Greyhawk setting by pulling together all the previously published information about it. Once that was done, the decision was made to update Carl Sargent's storyline, using similar prequel adventures to pave the way for the updated campaign setting.
First, Roger E. Moore created Return of the Eight in 1998. In the adventure, set in 586 CY, the same year as the From the Ashes boxed set, the players meet the surviving members of the Circle of Eight, which is called the Circle of Five because it is missing Tenser, Otiluke and Rary. If the players successfully finish the adventure, Tenser is rescued from death, though he refuses to rejoin the Circle, and the Circle is reconstituted as Eight with the addition of three new wizards: Alhamazad the Wise, Theodain Eriason and Warnes Starcoat.
Next, the Greyhawk Player's Guide, by Anne Brown, was released. This 64-page booklet moved the storyline ahead six years to 591 CY, and it mostly condensed and reiterated material that had been released in Gygax's and Sargent's boxed sets. New material included important non-player characters, a guide to roleplaying in the Flanaess, and some new sights. The list of deities was both shrunk and expanded; the thirty eight non-human deities in the From the Ashes boxed set were eliminated and non-human concerns assigned to a handful of human deities, but the list of human deities was expanded from twenty four to fifty four.
With the groundwork for a new storyline prepared, TSR/WotC released the new campaign setting as a 128-page source book, The Adventure Begins, by Roger E. Moore. Taking its lead from the Greyhawk Player's Guide, the new campaign world was set in 591 CY. Unlike the darker feel of From the Ashes, where the Flanaess was overrun by evil, Moore returned to Gygax's world of adventure.
25th anniversary of D&D
The year 1999 marked twenty five years since the publication of the original Dungeons & Dragons rules, and WotC sought to lure older gamers back to Greyhawk by producing a series of nostalgia-tinged Return to... adventures that evoked the best-known Greyhawk modules from 20 years before, under the banner 25th Anniversary of D&D:
In conjunction with the publication of the Return to adventures, WotC also produced a series of companion novels known as the Greyhawk Classics series: Against the Giants, White Plume Mountain, Descent into the Depths of the Earth, Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, The Temple of Elemental Evil, Queen of the Demonweb Pits, Keep on the Borderlands, and The Tomb of Horrors.
In an attempt to attract players of other D&D settings, WotC released Die, Vecna, Die!, by Bruce R. Cordell and Steve Miller, a three-part adventure tying Greyhawk to the Ravenloft and Planescape campaign settings. Published in 2000, it was the last adventure to be written for D&D's 2nd edition rules.
In the editions of Dungeons & Dragons published by TSR, the setting of the game had not been specifically defined—Dungeon Masters were expected to either create a new world, or purchase a commercial campaign setting such as Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms. In 2000, after two years of work and playtesting, WotC released the 3rd edition of D&D, and defined a default setting for the game for the first time. Under third edition rules, unless a Dungeon Master specifically chose to use a different campaign setting, his or her D&D game would be set in the world of Greyhawk.
With the release of the 3rd edition of Dungeons & Dragons, RPGA—the organized play division of WotC—announced a new massively shared living campaign, Living Greyhawk, modeled on a 2nd edition campaign called Living City. Although Living City was relatively successful, RPGA wanted to expand the scope of their new campaign—instead of one city as a setting, the new campaign would involve thirty different regions of Greyhawk, each specifically keyed to a particular country, state, or province of the real world. Each region would produce its own adventures, and in addition to these, RPGA would provide worldwide Core adventures. To provide the level of detail needed for such a venture, WotC published the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, the most in-depth examination of the world of Greyhawk ever produced, and the official starting point for not only the campaign, but also for all home campaigns from that point forward.
Concurrent with the release of the 3rd edition Player's Handbook, Living Greyhawk debuted at Gen Con 2000 with three Core adventures: COR1-1 Dragon Scales at Morningtide, by Sean K. Reynolds; COR1-2 The Reckoning, by Sean Flaherty and John Richardson; and COR1-3 River Of Blood, by Erik Mona. Unlike previous campaign settings, in which the calendar was frozen at a point chosen by the author, the Living Greyhawk calendar did advance one year in game time for every calendar year in real time: the campaign started in 591 CY (2001) and ended in 598 CY (2008), at which point over a thousand adventures had been produced for an audience of over ten thousand players. During this time, the campaign administrators incorporated most of WotC's new rules into the Greyhawk world, only excising material they felt would unbalance the campaign, by either providing too much power to the players or to the adventure writers. In 2005, the administrators incorporated every deity ever mentioned in official Greyhawk material previous to the D&D 3rd edition, as well as all deities mentioned in the new 3rd edition source books. This tripled the number of deities in the campaign from about seventy to almost two hundred.
Despite the massive amount of world and storyline development, none of the Living Greyhawk storylines or changes to the setting were considered official, since the regional adventure modules were produced by volunteers, and only received a cursory vetting by the campaign administrators of RPGA, and no review by WotC personnel.
Wizards of the Coast Greyhawk releases
Despite the popularity of the Living Greyhawk campaign, Wizards of the Coast did not produce much material for Greyhawk after the 25th anniversary Return to... series of adventures, other than the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer and The Fright at Tristor. The Standing Stone, written by John D. Rateliff and released in 2001, did have several minor references to the Greyhawk setting, and Red Hand of Doom, written by James Jacob and released in 2006, contained instructions for where to set the adventure within the world of Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, and Eberron. Otherwise, Wizards of the Coast left the development of the Greyhawk world to RPGA's Living Greyhawk campaign and concentrated on producing new source books of expansion material for the core rules of D&D.
2008 to present
At Gen Con 2007, WotC announced that the 4th edition of Dungeons & Dragons would be released the following spring, and Greyhawk would no longer be the default campaign setting under the new rules system. For this reason, Living Greyhawk was not converted to the new rules system; instead, it was brought to a conclusion at Origins 2008.
In 2009, WotC released The Village of Hommlet, by Andy Collins, which updated Gary Gygax's original 1st edition Village of Hommlet to the 4th edition rules . It was not available for purchase, but was sent as a reward for those who joined the RPGA.
When the Player's Handbook for the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons was released in 2014, several references to the world of Greyhawk appeared throughout the descriptions of various races and classes, and a partial list of Greyhawk deities appeared in the book.