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: Wizards of the Coast
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…
One of the main Dungeons and Dragons spell casting classes is the Warlock, and Warlock is a popular class. It allows you to play an edgy sort of character, because you’ve made a deal with a demon, elder god, or high fey for some reason,…
Almost forgot to share this, it was a rush, but I go through nine different level 1 characters for Dungeons and Dragons. I was hoping that I could knock them out fast, but it took a little bit, but I got them done. And I…
So I just picked up the Eberron source book for fifth edition. And I’ve been waiting for it for a while. With the games that @evilsanscarne and @Mundangerous have run or played in that they talk about on the @TPTCast (Total Party Thrill) podcast, I wanted something for fifth edition that I could run and easily get the information for Eberron. That’s out now in the form of the Eberron: Rising from the Last War setting book.
There are so many games that you can run in Eberron, and I’ll probably do a series on the setting coming up here soon. But just quickly about the setting, it’s pulp, noir, and magic punk. Magic is in place of technology, but they are more advanced with magical flying ships and magical trains than your standard D&D settings, mainly because we’ve only had The Forgotten Realm to this point, and Ravenloft in The Curse of Strahd.
So, what sort of campaign are we going to be running?
In Eberron the Last War has wrapped up two years ago when the day of mourning happened. This was some massive event that destroyed and contaminated the land of Cyre. At that point in time, because of what is basically a cold war standoff, because no one knows what happened in Cyre to cause the day of mourning, the war stopped. That’s the setting that we’re jumping into.
Going with something that is more classic noir, our adventuring party is going to start a campaign where they are a team of private detectives or adventurers for hire who are getting called into a situation where they have to find and rescue the love of the damsel in distress. That seems like a straight forward job, but in this setting, nothing is going to seem as simple as it looks.
This is going to be a less combat focused campaign, but when you have air ships and trains racing around the main city of the land of Khorvaire, you are going to have some good settings for those set piece combats. Especially since the Sharn, the city, is built up, rather than built out. You’re doing combat on top of a train that is doing it’s circuit 2000 feet above the ground. Doesn’t matter if you have a sigil of feather fall, it’s going to have run out well before you hit the ground.
I’d layer in the intrigue. And I’d even throw some red herrings into a game like this. I feel like that standard noir and standard pulp. If it seems obvious that it was someone who did it, suddenly they will have an air tight alibi. Or do they, was some magic employed or is something not what it seems. Keep the intrigue high, create multiple cases for the players to be working on at the same time, and then tie them all back together.
There are plenty of bad guys to choose from in Eberron because while there are definitely bad people, the good guys are even more shades of grey, again leaning into that pulp and noir sort of feel. In my campaign, I think that I would make it that one of the Outsiders, who are evil beings and bound beneath the surface in the underdark is influencing the mind of a noble into doing a bunch of kidnappings or things that will improve the outsiders place in the world and give them more influence, and they hope eventually free them.
At the same time, the reason that the outsider and exert so much influence, it’s because there is a cult worshiping that outsider and giving them more power through their worship. So the players are going to have to deal with the cult. Because if they just deal with the noble, the events start up again and the players will realize that maybe there is something greater going on than just this.
And at the same time as that, there is an artificer of some renown who has come to down and claiming to be able to create this amazing magical effect. And they are setting up equipment to show off the newest and latest and greatest thing. But, they are actually part of the cult of the outsider, just from a different location, so working independently to get the outsider freed.
And finally, it turns out that the missing damsel isn’t actually missing, or possibly doesn’t even exist. The person who hired the adventurers is actually part of a secret organization who is trying to keep the outsiders influence from spreading further, but is not allowed to act openly until the time is right. But also isn’t as competent at what they are doing as they should be and they should seem suspicious themselves, to the players.
You can see how you can tangle everything together. In Eberron, you want to set-up a lot of drama, a lot of pulp action and feeling for the players. While this is clearly more of an intrigue sort of game, do definitely have the big set piece combats and make it so that the adventurers and the bad guys can throw people off the edge of high buildings, go adventuring outside of Sharn if need be, meet powerful people, and generally have way more trouble going on than they should. Give it an epic feel, but make it feel different than your normal fantasy.
So as always, would you want to play in or run a game like this one?
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