Saga of Old City Gygax Book Club Review
Part 1 - pg9-42
I have read Saga of Old City (SoOC) several times but it has been at least 16 years since I last read it. I've become much more critical of Gygax's prose over the years and the story itself is less enjoyable for me as fiction than as a resource for the Greyhawk campaign.
This time through I've found the story more engaging than I remember and many of the elements I found bothersome much less so. The 34 pages takes us to the beginning of chapter 5 and covers the development of Gord as an acrobat-thief.
There is a great deal of atmosphere presented for a Greyhawk campaign as well as information about the city. We are also shown the backstory for characters wanting to run Thief characters including their basic training.
I found this story heavily influenced not only my idea of what the City of Greyhawk was like but also a Guild War campaign I ran for over a year.
We find out several things about the city in these 34 pages.
Big, dangerous black rats in the Slum Quarter.
Gangs of violent youths in the Slum Quarter
The Slum Quarter is filled with half-ruined buildings, alleys, gangways, and decrepit shacks.
The city of Greyhawk has mild winters (an important note for those interested in the weather of the Flanaess).
The worst part of the Slum Quarter is near a section (or different quarter) where menial laborers live. Killcat lane is in or near this area.
The Foreign Quarter is near the Slum Quarter.
The Foreign and Slum Quarters are in Old City.
The Petit Bazaar is in the Foreign Quarter near the Black Gate. (We get some descritpion of the Bazaar and the people in it).
There is a brief look at Greyhawk Low Justice and a description of the Workhouse Prison as well as its atmosphere and practices.
Then it is the Beggarmaster's mansion and examples of training as both a beggar and a especially a Thief. A good background summation for those running thief characters or for a DM to get an idea for NPC thieves and thief guilds (although this is an example of a renegade beggar's guild).
We are then given some street and location names with some clue to their interrelation. Odd Alley, The Processional, Grand Square, The Citadel, Garden Quarter, Blue Boar Street, The Wizard's Hat Inn...
And we begin chapter 5.
Monday the 13th will be pages 43-76