Monday, August 2, 2010

Modifiers or 10 Different "To Hit" Tables?

Soliciting a little input here, for Adventures Dark and Deep™. It occurs to me that I have two choices when it comes to the melee "to hit" tables:
  • 1 table, and a chart listing modifiers (as in, 6th level clerics get +X, d12 HD monsters get +Y, etc.). 
  • 10 different tables; one for each different class and hit die type of monster

I think the choice is pretty clear-cut, but I wanted to put it out there as a sanity check. Any watertight arguments for or against either approach? And before anyone chimes in with it, THAC0 is not an option.

Is Greyhawk Relevant?

One of the worthies over at EnWorld posted the following:
I'm sure that many of us have played at some point or another in the world of Greyhawk. This was Gygax's world, home to some of the greatest classic dungeons in D&D. It is for that nostalgia factor that we hold it in such high regards.

Yet as time has gone on and the hobby has evolved, I have to wonder if it still holds up all these years later.

One of the questions I ask is why
WotC would ever want to re-release Greyhawk. They might get some sales based on nostalgia, but what really sets it apart enough to draw in a new crowd? My fear on this is that, as a generic setting, it will be outshone by other generic settings, most notably the Realms. It doesn't offer the wide range of cultures that other settings do. There's nothing geographically or culturally that really sets it apart.

But what of the classic dungeons? My guess is that they'd rather release those in books like Tomb of Horrors. Rather than put out a setting about dungeons, put out books on dungeons.

Does GH need reinvention? I would say yes. It needs to be set apart somehow.

I don't know what Greyhawk needs, or how to make it more relevant to the modern-day gamer. I wish I did. I would hate to just see it fade away, yet that seems to be what's happening. Should it be another continent on the same planet as the Realms? Does it need a makeover?


As you might imagine, gentle readers, I do indeed have a thought or two on this subject.

First off, the question of relevancy depends on the context. Is Greyhawk relevant in terms of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, and those who play it? Not really, unless folks have taken the older material and converted it for use in the new version (and many certainly have, and nothing's wrong with that, if 4E is your thing, it just happens to not be mine). So if you define relevancy by product sales, Greyhawk probably isn't very relevant right now (that could always change, of course, if WotC ever decides to release a 4E version of the setting, Istus forbid!).

That being said, 4E sales are not the be-all and end-all definition of relevancy. New material is still being created for the World of Greyhawk Fantasy Setting, by myself and many putting out better stuff than I. Many more people, by several orders of magnitude, still play in the World of Greyhawk setting despite the fact that WotC isn't putting out new product. So in terms of actual use, Greyhawk is indeed "relevant", because people are actively using the material that's out there, and making new material of their own.

I suppose it all comes down to how one measures relevancy. Sales, or fun?

Some of the comments in that EnWorld thread are well worth reading, btw. Some excellent insights, especially the bits about how the various nations of the Flanaess should be constantly skirmishing with one another, rather than all engaged in a continent-wide conflict. Precisely how I envision the Flanaess, and a vision that I think meshes with Gygax's Dragon magazine articles from the early 1980's on the subject.

Oerth Journal Index

The Oerth Journal is a fan publication, put out in pdf format on an irregular schedule (usually one or two issues a year). There's a lot of good stuff in there, dating back 15 years (!), and it's definitely worth looking into if you're a fan of Greyhawk as I am. I was looking for a particular article today, and as I found myself opening up file after file to look at the table of contents, it struck me that an index of all the issues would be a handy thing to have. An index appeared in issue 10, but naturally that only covered the first nine issues. The one below is complete (as far as I know), and as new issues come out I'll try to keep this page updated.

Issue 1 (1995)

What is the Oerth Journal? - Erik Mona
The History of Oerth (Oerik) - Lenard Lakofka, Steve Wilson, et al
The County of Sunndi - Samantha Quest
Radigast City - Blue Sponge

Issue 2 (1995)

Editor’s Note - Erik Mona
The Fountain of Pelor - Daniel Carter
The Lortmil Mountains - Sobhrach

Issue 3 (1996)

Editor’s Note - Erik Mona
Sorcerous Societies of the Flanaess - Gary Holian
Xan Yae and Zuoken: Bakluna's Perfect Duo - Erik Mona
The Crook of Rao - Eric L. Boyd
Oerth From the Ground Up - Roger E. Moore

Issue 4 (1996)

Editor’s Note - Erik Mona
Dyvers: City of Adventure Part 1: A Dyvers Prospectus - Samantha Quest
Measuring Up the Oerth - Gary Holian
Green Nightmare: The Amedio Jungle, Part I - Roger E. Moore

Issue 5 (1997)

Editor’s Note: From Talmud to Tomb of Horrors - Erik Mona
The Archbarony of Blackmoor - Frederick Weining
Copperhead - Eric L. Boyd
Dyvers, City Of Adventure, Part 2: The Longshoreman’s Union - Christopher Mills
Perrenland - Jim Lanter
Robilar Remembers: Erac’s Cousin - Robert J. Kuntz and Douglas J. Behringer

Issue 6 (1997)

Editor’s Note: The More Things Change - Erik Mona
Tavern Fare of the Flanaess - Rachel Lyndstrom
The Wyrm of Woe - Eric L. Boyd
Dyvers, City of Adventure, Part 3: The One-Eyed Mug - Rick LaRue
The Iquandex, v. 1.0 - Erik Mona
Robilar Remembers: Journey to the City of the Gods - Robert J. Kuntz

Issue 7 (1998)

Editor’s Note: A Time for Change E- rik Mona
Wee Jas: The Lady of Book and Bone - Nathan Irving
Ebonfrost - Eric L. Boyd
The House on Summoner Court - Roger E. Moore
Ahlissa: Land of Intrigue - Morgan Rodwell
Robilar Remembered: Lord Robilar and Company - Robert J. Kuntz and Douglas J. Behringer

Issue 8 (1998)

Editor’s Note: …The More They Stay the Same - Nathan Irving
Hochoch: Gateway to the Lost Land - Tom Harrison
The Phostwood - Morgan Rodwell
Verbobonc: The City - Jeff McKillop
The Dyverse Dragon - Eric L. Boyd
Wastri: The Hopping Prophet - Russell S. Timm

Issue 9 (1999)

Editor’s Note: Everything Old is New Again - Nathan Irving
Verbobonc: The Viscounty - Jeff McKillop
Incabulous: Lord of Evils - Russell S. Timm
A Slight Distraction - Morgan Rodwell
Hextor: The Herald of Hell - Jim Temple
Dyvers, City of Adventure, Part 4: Faiths of the Western Gate - Tom Harrison

Issue 10 (1999)

Editor’s Note - Nathan Irving
Hieronious: The Invincible One - Russell S. Timm
Dyvers, City of Adventure, Part 5: The Assassins’ Guilds - Philip Niewold
The City of Hardby - James A. S. Muldowney III, MD
Trithereon: The Summoner - Creighton Broadhurst
The Mines of Elsidell - Sean Williams
Return to Hommlet - Scott Knowles
The Fading Lands: The Maze of Skin & the Mines of Dumathoin - Jim Temple
Dyvers, City Of Adventure, Part 7: Faiths of the Western Gate - Tom Harrison
Leomund’s Life - Lenard Lakofka
Oerth Journal Index - James A. S. Muldowney III, MD

Issue 11 (2000)

Joramy: The Mistress of Heat - Paul M. Rokuskie
Iron Enchantments - Paul F. Schmidt
Repair to the Keep on the Borderlands - Russ Taylor
Crystal Skulls of Nerull - Kenneth Newquist
The Fading Lands: Lands of the Great Kingdom - Jim Temple
A History and Timeline of the Suloise - Lenard Lakofka
Ruins of the Mistmarsh - Sean Williams
Mastryne Castle - Dan Buterbaugh

Issue 12 (2001)

A Scribe’s Chronicle: Retracing a Beginning - Marc Tizoc González
Thus Spake Gary Gygax: Ye Secrets of Oerth Revealed - Paul J. Stormberg
Omnipotent Views - Richard Di Ioia
Wintershiven, a traveler’s memoir - Issak Haywood
Ye Auld Neblin: Or How to Say Hotfoot in Gnomish - Paul J Stormberg

Issue 13 (2001)

A Scribe’s Chronicle: Digital Palimpsest? - Marc Tizoc González
Olidammara: The Laughing Rogue - Russell S. Timm
Loneliness, the Draconic Perspective - Russell Bird
The City of Hendrenn Halgood, north-central Nyrond - Andy Seale
King Belvor’s Decision - Richard Di Ioia
Knights of Hextor - Richard Di Ioia
Ancient Artifacts of Evil - Russell Bird

Issue 14 (2002)

A Scribe’s Chronicle: As Celene Steadily Rises - Marc Tizoc González
Erelhei-Cinlu: The Drow “City of Pleasure” - Russell Bird
The Paganhammer - Issak Haywood
The Valorous League of Blindness - Issak Haywood
An Interview with Robert J. Kuntz - Allan T. Grohe, Jr.
Evil’s Changing Face in the Vesve Forest - Andrew Seale

Issue 15 (2004)

A Scribe’s Chronicle: Lichen on the Stone, Ivy Bursting Through - Marc Tizoc González
Norebo: The Daredevil - Paul M. Rokuskie
Legends and Folklore of the Vesve Forest - Andrew Seale
By Sword and Song: Notes on the Old Faith Bards of the Flanaess - Paul J. Stormberg

Issue 16 (2005)

Editor in Chief’s Thoughts - Andy Seale
Pelor, The Radiant Force - Paul M. Rokuskie
Ahlissa, A Greyhawk Gazetteer - Scott Casper
Knights of the Golden Dawn - Chris Anderson
Keoland: The Geopolitical History Of Keoland Part I: Petty States And Proto-Nations - Kirt Wackford
The Temple Of Elemental Evil, From The Rise Of Iuz To His Release - Scott Casper

Issue 17 (2005)

Editor’s Chronicle - Rick Miller
Cities of Aerdy – Kalstrand, City of Gold - Paul Looby
The Gray Orcs of Greyhawk - Everett Brunson and Tal Meta
The Shadow Tome - Rick Miller
The Hands of Aargrosh: Part 1 of “The Trail of Evil” - Stephen S. Greer
The Skulltwister - Rick Miller
Grey-comix: Vecna Begins! - Mike Bridges

Issue 18 (2006)

Editor’s Chronicle - Rick Miller
Zelradton – City Of Steel - Creighton Broadhurst
The Chronals - Victor Caminha
The Vale Of The Mage - Rick Miller
Seas Of Fallen Summer - Rick Miller
Grey-Comix: Dungeon Master’s Dilemma! - Mike Bridges

Issue 19 (2006)

Editor’s Chronicle - Rick Miller
Ull - Michael Bridges
Amid the Deepening Dark - Creighton Broadhurst
Hunt for the Cofre Del Mar: Part Two of “The Trail of Evil” - Stephen S. Greer
Grey-comix: Pantheon of the Stick #1 - Mike Bridges

Issue 20 (2006)

The Wizard’s Chronicle - Rick Miller
Red Dragon of the Rift - Casey Brown
Arcanology of Magical Nodes and Structures in the Flanaess - Rick Miller
The Early History of the Velverdyva & the Origin of Cuthbert - Sam Weiss
The Grinning Blue Devil - Stephen S. Greer
Grey-Comix: These Questions Three - Mike Bridges

Issue 21 (2007)

The Wizard’s Chronicle - Rick Miller
On Oerth and Ice - Creighton Broadhurst
Trennenport - Sampo Haarlaa and Nick Silverstone
Gajtak, Ilkhan of the Chakyik Horde - Michael A. Johnson
Kayen Telva - Michael A. Johnson
The Colorless Spire of Frozen Shadows - Rick Miller
Grey-comix: Five Shall Be One! - Mike Bridges

Issue 22 (2007)

The Duchy of Almor - Brandon Gillespie and John Jenks
Divisions of the West - Ed Healy
Saboteurs of Gigantic Dimensions - Michael A. Johnson
The Divine Slaadi - Sam Weiss
Origins of the Twin Cataclysms - Rick Miller and Denis Tetreault
Fell Denizens of the Dreadwood - Adam Daigle
Constellations of Greyhawk - Andy Miller
Za’Aith Ruaala: The Olven Kingdom of Asternyx - Sam Weiss
Until the Starbreak - Rick Miller
Grey-Comix: The Hungering - Mike Bridges

Issue 23 (2008)

Rumors about the Maure Lands - Robert J. Kuntz
Seltaren - Rick Miller
Mystic Catalogue of the Company of Seven - Rick Miller
The Seer of Urnst - Mike Bridges and Rick Miller
The Gleaners - Adam Daigle
Maure Castle: Warlock’s Walk - Robert J. Kuntz (3.5e Conversion by Rick Miller and Stuart Parr)
Grey-Comix: Kerzit the Cartoon Peril - Mike Bridges

Issue 24 (2008)

A Compilation of the Draconic Realms of the Flanaess, Volume 1 - Gary Van Binsbergen
Za’Aith Sha: The Olvenkingdom of Helios - Sam Weiss
Guiliana Mortidus The Night Dame, Hidden Hierarch of the Horned Society - Creighton Broadhurst
Horrors of Hepmonaland - C. Wesley Clough
The Sundered Spark - Trevor Watson

Issue 25 (2009)

Chronicle of the Mad Archmage - Rick Miller
Marchland of Medegia - Creighton Broadhurst and Paul Looby
Mordenkainen - Rick Miller
The Seekers of the Arcane - Gary Holian and Rick Miller
Side Trek Locations in the Yatils - Rick Miller (original version by Gary Gygax)
Tuerny the Merciless - Rick Miller and Mike Bridges
Deities of Lo Nakar - Ainatet - Nathan Irving (conversions by Rick Miller)