Wednesday, February 22, 2012

City of Greyhawk Outer Wall and Gate

Sorry for the rough map, but I'm terrible at drawing.

This seems to match the City of Greyhawk outer wall description from the City of Hawks novel.

"A double wall encircled the city. All of Greyhawk - Old City, the larger area called New Town and the Citadel too were within it. The outer curtain was some twenty-five feet high. This wall splayed out at the base where it met a ditch, or moat, or some other watercourse, and was topped with serried merlons and crenels to protect defenders in time of war.

Between the outer and inner walls was a relatively level sward a hundred or more feet broad. The outside edge of this strip of grass was level with the battlements that topped the outer wall. The crowning stone of the inner wall was much higher. The city had been built on a large hill - not especially high, but large in area. Those on the sward between the walls could look upward forty feet to where machicolated battlements stood topping the massively thick curtains of the inner wall. At intervals there were bastions on the outer wall, and matching them on the inside were tall towers.

Wherevere the walls were pierced by gates, the sward was broken. Every way that led into the city resembled a road at the bottom of a canyon. Travelers from the outside would pass through a gatehouse first, then a long passage, open above, but flanked by walls on either hand; then a tunnel that bored through another, bigger tower."

I've seen the fan drawn map of the City of Hawks and the map published in LGJ#2. Both are excellent and well beyond my own cartographic skills, but while the first is much more faithful to the map from City of Hawks I dislike the squareness of the streets and districts. I also haven't compared the scale of this map with the scale from the book. The Greyhawk of City of Hawks is vast. About six miles wide by nine mile long within the walls.

The latter, Maldin's map is about one third of this size. It is also not faithful to the City of Hawks maps in a number of ways. The exterior rivers are missing, the Bastion outside the walls is missing, the Citadel and many districts have been moved. The interior wall seperating the Old City and smaller wall seperating the Foreign Quarter, etc...

One of the things I want in a Gygaxian City of Greyhawk is the ability to connect the streets and place various inns, taverns and other buildings as described in the novels. While this may be possible in the fan created version I just don't feel that the shape or size of the city is captured to my liking.

This is a very crude depiction of the outer wall. I intend to crudely draw out the various streets and buildings as well as add detail of interiors while trying to keep them faithful to the available information provided for the city.


  1. I'm too much of a neat freak when it comes to mapping on graph paper. I can't bear how often I have to erase and make corrections. Yet, such efforts do have a certain charm to them in the end.

    It's great how you're capturing the mind's eye from Gygax's books.

  2. One course in old-style pencil and paper drafting and hundreds of hours scribbling out maps for adventures. I've never managed to get beyond the graph paper stage.

    There is a web-site by Chris Siren (if I have hos name correctly) that extracts a great many details from all the Gygax novels. It should be something everyone interested in Greyhawk has access to.

    It is also a project I'm working myself, but it is going to by some time before I even finish with Saga of Old City.

  3. I dig the way you've put that map together. It reminds me of those shows on Discovery where archaeologists recreate Roman forts based upon historical accounts.

  4. Thanks Christian, that bit was nice and easy because there was a few pages of Specific detail in City of Hawks. I wish Gygax had had the chance to have gone over the whole city in such detail, but I've never seen anything published. I am finding that at least three of his novels are excellent for fleshing out the city. At the very least they provide a great deal of atmosphere for the campaign.

  5. I've always taken the illustration from the Outdoor Geomorphs to be Gary's view of the city, as well, Jason: have you compared it to the descriptions from the novels to see if they square up?


  6. I've seen some of the Outdoor Geomorphs Illustrations and some small descriptions but I don't own a copy myself.

    The most detailed description I've found in Gygax's novels comes from City of Hawks and that novel seems to be a redefing of Gord's early years. It is a New Infinities novel and covers (and alters) the earlier work presented in Saga of Old City. I'm not sure if City of Hawks represents a different version of Greyhawk from earlier TSR profucts or something more akin with Gygax's original concept.

    From what of seen of Outdoor Geomorphs the city appears fairly flat and not double-walled. I will have to see if I can find the link to the Outdoor Geomorphs illustration. I think it was post to the Gygax Greyhawk area of DF.