Kind of continuing the midst of physical distancing that we have going on all around the world, I want to keep talking about ways that we can still socially be close and possibly some ways to even grow the nerd community around you. I wrote…
Tag: Dungeons and Dragons
I’ve talked about a lot of games that are about that epic adventure for a small group of characters. Birthright is about epic things, but not on that smaller level. Birthright is about great leaders going to battle against other nations, probably with other world…
Time to get back to talking abut a little bit of D&D, this time looking at the campaign setting of Greyhawk. This setting is a Gygax original creation that just started out as a simple dungeon under a castle, grew into having a nearby town, of Greyhawk, and eventually a whole world. While some of the worlds were created fully formed, Eberron for example, Greyhawk is an example of how I think you should homebrew a world, start small and grow it as you need to.
Greyhawk is a traditional fantasy style world and, as I said, possibly one of the original worlds for Dungeons and Dragons. It has the elements of spell casting while focusing on a war style of game. But in order to differentiate itself from war games, there was the role playing element added to it, and it was a dungeon, an early dungeon crawler, that eventually ended up in having a 13 floor dungeon in which players battled their way through traps, monsters, found secret passages and eventually made their way down to a slide in the 13th floor which would take them back to the outside. Then Gygax stepped aside and let someone else run a game in Greyhawk and working with that DM, eventually the dungeon under the old castle Greyhawk reached 50 levels.
If you’re following along with the Dungeons and Dragons source books for 5th Edition, you’ll have heard of the book Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes or heard of the spell Bigby’s Hand. These are characters who were created and played in this Greyhawk setting, so, beyond them, a lot of interesting characters who have continued to shape the worlds of Dungeons and Dragons came into being.
Greyhawk as a setting for playing it, again it’s going to be that more traditional setting. I’d probably say it’s somewhere between Sword and Sorcery and High Fantasy setting, but it is fairly Forgotten Realms before Forgotten Realms was a thing. If you wanted to start out as nobodies to eventually become a hero, you would play a game in Greyhawk. The one difference is as an older setting it’s going to be filled with dungeon crawling experiences. Yes, you might end up exploring the lands, but it’s a setting where you’ll go from a dungeon to a dungeon more than you would in the Forgotten Realms.
Would I play in this world? Probably not, again, because we have Forgotten Realms now. If someone suggested a game in this world and wanted to adapt it for 5th Edition, I guess I would, but there isn’t a massive reason to do that as Forgotten Realms can do the same thing. It is a good setting if you wanted to adapt a dungeon delve. Like I was saying at the beginning of the article, there is a dungeon under the old castle Greyhawk that goes down 50 levels. So if you and your group want to turn that into something for 5th Edition, it’s sitting out there ready to get taken on, it’ll just take time to convert it.
How about you? Would you play as a PC or run a game as a DM in Greyhawk? Is there anything unique that I should have pointed out?
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Back into Dungeons and Dragons settings with Dragonlance. This one is probably best known for the D&D books that came out around it, though it is one of the oldest settings for D&D. Dragonlance falls into that more classic fantasy flavor, which makes sense for…
While some of the worlds of Dungeons and Dragons are big and expansive, and Ravenloft can be, in fifth edition, you’ll find that Ravenloft is quite small. It’s also quite different as we’ve shifted away from something that’s heavy fantasy and into a world that…
Eberron is a very different setting from your normal D&D worlds. Eberron probably can be best described as something like magic punk pulp noir. That’s a lot of terms thrown together, but it’s very much what Eberron is. If you want to hear about a game run in the setting and talk about the setting quite often, checkout Total Party Thrill podcast. They do talk about other things as well, but you can track down their thoughts on the setting there. If you’re up to a quick read, I got some thoughts on it as well.
Eberron is a complex setting where you can delve the depths of intrigue, go on crazy adventures, and take magically powered trains to different places in the world. In the world, it has always just come out of a long war which was ended by the Day of Mourning. What happened in the day of Mourning, there is no canonical answer, but whatever it was, the people of the world are scared into a peace that is shaky, but no one wants it to happen again. So the nations are at peace and the families/corporations are doing their things which can be travel, body guarding, healing, and several different things. And that’s just the main lands, then there is a jungle section with many ancient giant ruins, an island where the dragons live, the underdark, and a monstrous city/country where you can easily play monstrous characters.
Eberron is really a setting that is created to let you play almost anything. Whereas the Forgotten Realms were more standard fantasy, Eberron is always going to be colored by the magic punk nature of the setting and this pulp style where you are better and more powerful than most people. The best example to give of this is that magic is common in Eberron, magically powered airships and trains are a thing, but it’s generally lower level magic, so when you get to be a PC casting 4th level spells, you’re more powerful for than a normal spell caster, and probably even earlier than that. So you get to do the heroic things that the heroes of pulp fiction do, the genre not the movie. You’re going to be able to interact with dragons without just being eaten, go exploring giant ruins or venture into the Mournland in hopes of finding out what happened on the Day or Mourning.
In the land, there are also new races, War Forged who were created for the war and now are on their own, what does that mean for them and for them in society is something that is struggled with, because they are sentient but they are also made for war. Changlings and Shifters are two more races that can show up, Changlings can look like other people and change their shape, while shifters are almost were-people, but not quite. Plus races like Goblins, Orcs, and Hobgoblins are playable in this world and something that might not be quite normal to see around the main city on the main continent, but also aren’t out of the normal. So you can really play whatever you want to play in Eberron. And there’s even more for races that you can play.
And there is also a new class that has been added to fifth edition for Eberron and that’s the Artificer. The artificer is basically a magical tinkerer. They are going to be creating magical contraptions, potions, etc. that can help them in combat or in other encounters. It might be mundane and just be something that looks cool, but it could also be that they have a turret in their backpack that’ll blast magical bullets at their enemies or shield them from attacks. It really helps build up that magic punk feel of the setting to have that class that almost is steam punk, but it’s really more based off of magic.
Eberron is really a fun setting and one that I’m looking forward to running a game in. There’s a lot that you can do from that massive explorations into the ruins of a giant civilization. Or maybe it’s a crime story that is happening in the vertical city of Sharn. Maybe the party is going to go into the Mournland to try and find the cause of the Day or Mourning and find out what happened to the land of Cyre. Or perhaps there is something that the Church of the Silver Flame is doing that you need to help with or stop. You have a ton of different options from if you want it to be a more epic adventure to a more contained story, and it’s up to you what you play. But whereas the Forgotten Realms places it so that you can do all of those things but doesn’t add flavor in to help with that, in Eberron it’s created and there are places that make sense for different types of campaigns so that the campaign is going to feel more special.
Have you played a game in Eberron? If so, what type of game was it? If not, is Eberron a setting you’d want to play in?
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