Tuesday, May 3, 2011

City of Greyhawk Project

The City of Greyhawk Project

Earlier this spring I began work on a project to map and detail a Gygaxian City of Greyhawk. Back when TSR meant both Greyhawk and Gygax to me I'd been hoping for such a supplement or boxed set to be released. When Gygax and TSR parted ways I had no idea exactly what that meant, but the death of the Greyhawk campaign quickly made me realize what was lost. When the City of Greyhawk boxed set was released I still had hopes, but it took only one look at the absurd map that was meant to represent the Gem of the Flannaess for me to realize that TSR was not going to bring the city to life.

For me the heart and soul of everything I liked about Greyhawk was created either by Gygax or under his supervision. For many, many years I didn't believe that the City would ever be designed under any name (Yggsburgh, Dunfalcon, Greyhawk, etc...) or company. The Castle Zagyg work made me hope once again, but Yggsburgh definitely wasn't the City of Greyhawk. The death of Gary Gygax and the end of the Castle Zagyg setting seems to have put the possibility of a Gygaxian City of Greyhawk on hold indefinitely, but I still wanted The City of Greyhawk.

What I have used for the past 30 years are a mish-mash of streets and shops, creating only enough of the city for my players to travel through. What I want to do now is to begin fixing those shops and streets in place. I want the players to be able to travel street by street through Greyhawk and learn which alleyway leads where, know that such and such a hovel really hides the entrance to a secret tunnel that dives under the Old Town wall and beneath a such and such a shop beneath a tinker's booth in the trade area opposite an old mansion in the Garden Quarter. I want to develop neighborhoods that have character, streets that have history, and I want a place where the players can live and campaign for weeks or months or years. It can be done. I have seen it in works such as Ptolus, the massive sets for Waterdeep in the Forgotten Realms, several generations and editions worth of The Invincible Overlord.

The City of Greyhawk deserves to be detailed and I know of at least three other projects working on this very thing. I'm just throwing my hat into the ring and going for fourth or upteenth depending on how many other similar projects I've missed.

The first step seems to me to be to gather the source material.

1) The Gord the Rogue novels provide a great number of details and a rudimentary map of the City.
2) Gygax has made brief references to the City of Greyhawk in several publications over the years.
3) Gygax has also mentioned the City here and there online.
4) Friends and co-imagineers of Gygax's have played, worked on or discussed the City and have also left published and online references to the city

I will try to track down and post these references as I work on this project. If anyone knows of material I am missing please post and comment.

City of Greyhawk Changing Sizes of the City

City of Greyhawk Contour Map

City of Greyhawk General Information

City of Greyhawk Outer Wall and Gates

City of Greyhawk Prison Workhouse

City of Greyhawk Slum Quarter

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