Wednesday, January 13, 2010
As I was having some coffee with my Greyhawk Map the other day, I kind of got to wondering - what would it be like to take a look at Greyhawk through the eyes of someone like Leiber or Howard?
There's a popular image of Greyhawk (and its world "Oerth) as a sort of alternate version of Earth in the Middle Ages, with magic and elves thrown in for good measure. Shiny-armored Knights thunder across the plains of the Great Kingdom, Feather-capped archers plumb the depths of the Gnarley Forest, Dervishes ravage the borders of Bissel, etc. But we all know Gygax's love for pulp fantasy was just as important as his love for Medieval miniatures warfare, so somewhere in there are the seeds for a campaign of Dark Savagery.
I can't really call it "Reimagining Greyhawk", because the pulp stuff is in there, it just kind of got brushed aside as Greyhawk passed through the hands of more and more editors, marketers, and editions. So I prefer to think of it as "Refocusing". Finding those parts of Greyhawk where you just know there's a howling barbarian with a bloody greatsword trying his best to get out!
Imagine Greyhawk City a little closer to Lankhmar. Its Thieves' Guild a little darker and more cultish as opposed to the one portrayed in the Gord novels.
Imagine a Scarlet Brotherhood more akin to the Dreaming Isle of Melnibone, its Suloise monks and wizards the modern descendents of the twisted demon-sworn conquerers of a dead age.
Imagine the Wild Coast and Pomarj as a savage Hyborian wasteland, where a man's life is only worth the steel he carries.
Imagine the Nyr Dyv as a pirate-infested sea like the Vilayet, dotted with black isles haunted by the nightmares of lost races and empires.
Imagine Dyvers as a city of dark pleasures, depraved wizards, and crowded brothels like Shadizar the Wicked.
Instead of This:
Well, you get the idea.
Sounds like fun, doesn't it?