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Greyhawk, also known as the World of Greyhawk, is a fictional world designed as a campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy roleplaying game . Although not the first campaign world developed for Dungeons & DragonsDave Arneson's Blackmoor campaign predates it by a few months—the world of Greyhawk was the setting most closely identified with the development of the game from 1972 until 2008. The world itself started as a simple dungeon under a castle designed by Gary Gygax for the amusement of his children and friends, but it rapidly expanded to include not only a complex multi-layered dungeon environment, but also the nearby city of Greyhawk, and eventually, an entire world. In addition to the campaign world, which was published in several editions over twenty years, Greyhawk was also used as the setting for many adventures published in support of the game, as well as for RPGA's massively shared Living Greyhawk campaign from 2000–2008.

Early development

In the late 1960s, Gary Gygax, a military history buff and fan of pulp fantasy in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, started to add elements of fantasy into traditional tabletop medieval miniatures wargames, sometimes replacing typical medieval weapons with magical spells, or using dragons and other fantastical monsters in place of soldiers. In 1971, as part of a rule set for tabletop battles called Chainmail that he was co-writing, he created supplementary rules for magical spells and monsters as well as one-to-one combat.

Around the same time in Minneapolis–St. Paul, another tabletop wargamer, Dave Arneson, was also developing a new type of game. Arneson had been impressed by the Napoleonic tabletop "Braunstein" campaigns of fellow wargamer David Wesely that incorporated elements of what would now be called role-playing, including using a neutral referee or judge, and conversations between the players and imaginary characters to resolve diplomatic issues. However, Arneson soon grew tired of the Napoleonic setting, and one night when the gaming group assembled, he presented a plastic model of a castle in place of the usual battlefield, and told the players that instead of controlling regiments that night, they would each take one individual character into the castle of the Barony of Blackmoor to explore its dangerous dungeons. For combat resolution, he started by using rock-paper-scissors, but quickly moved to a combination of rules that combined Chainmail and a nautical wargame he had co-written with Gary Gygax and Mike Carr called Don't Give Up the Ship. What set Arneson's game apart from Wesely's tabletop wargaming was that the players could keep the same characters from session to session, and that the characters "advanced" by developing better abilities or powers over time.

Arneson's Minneapolis-St. Paul Napoleonic gaming group was in touch with Gygax's Lake Geneva group, and Arneson mentioned his dungeons of Blackmoor that the group was playing on alternate weekends. Gygax was interested, so during a visit to Lake Geneva in 1972, Arneson demonstrated his Blackmoor dungeons to Gygax. Gygax was immediately intrigued by the concept of individual characters exploring a dungeon setting, and believed that this was a game that could be marketed and sold. He and Arneson agreed to co-develop a set of rules based on Chainmail. In order to provide a playtest environment in which to develop these rules, Gygax designed his own castle, "Castle Greyhawk", and prepared the first level of a dungeon that lay beneath it. Two of his children, Ernie and Elise, were the first players, and during their first session, they fought and destroyed the first monsters of the Greyhawk dungeon; Gygax variously recalled this as being some giant centipedes or a nest of scorpions. During the same session, Ernie and Elise also found the first treasure, a chest of 3,000 copper coins (which was too heavy to carry, much to the children's disgust). After his children had gone to bed, Gygax immediately began to work on the second level of the dungeon. At the next play session, Ernie and Elise were joined by Gygax's friends Don Kaye and Rob and Terry Kuntz.

About a month after his first session, Gygax created the nearby city of Greyhawk, where the players' characters could sell their treasure and find a place to rest.

1972–1979: Home campaign

As Gygax and Arneson worked to develop and publish the rules for Dungeons and Dragons through TSR, Gygax continued to design and present the dungeons and environs of Castle Greyhawk to his circle of friends and family, using them as playtesters for new rules and concepts. As the players began to explore more of the world outside of the castle and city, Gygax developed other regions and cities for them to explore. With play sessions happening seven days a week, and sometimes twice a day, Gygax didn't have the time or inclination to create the map for a whole new world; he simply drew his "world" over a map of North America, adding new cities and regions as his world slowly grew through on-going adventures. The city and castle of Greyhawk he placed near the real-world position of Chicago, his birthplace; various other places were clustered around it. For instance, the rival city of Dyvers he placed in the area of real-world Minneapolis.

He also continued to develop the dungeons underneath the castle, and by the time he was finished, the complex labyrinth encompassed 13 levels filled with devious traps, secret passageways, hungry monsters and glittering treasure. For anyone who made it to the bottom level alive, the insane architect of the dungeons, Zagyg, awaited them. ("Zagyg" is a reverse homophone of "Gygax", and was Gygax's inside joke that the person who designed this crazy, purposeless place—himself—must be insane.) Only three players ever made it to the bottom level and met Zagyg, all of them during solo adventures: Rob Kuntz (playing Robilar), Gygax's son Ernie (playing Tenser), and Rob's brother Terry (playing Terik). Their reward was to be instantly transported to the far side of the world, where they each faced a long solo trek back to the city of Greyhawk. (However, Terik and Tenser managed to catch up to Robilar along the way, and they made it back to Greyhawk together.)

By this time, over twenty players crowded Gygax's basement almost every night, and the effort needed to plan their adventures took up much of Gygax's spare time. He had been very impressed with Rob Kuntz's imaginative play as a player, and appointed Rob to be co-Dungeon Master of Greyhawk. This freed up Gygax to work on other projects, and also gave him an opportunity to participate as a player, creating characters like Yrag and Mordenkainen.

In order to "make room" for Rob's dungeons, Gygax scrapped his bottom level and integrated Rob's work into the Greyhawk dungeons. Gygax and Kuntz continued to develop new levels for their players, and by the time the Greyhawk home campaign drew to a close in 1985, the castle dungeons encompassed more than fifty levels.

Significant player characters of the home campaign

While many players participating in the Gygax/Kuntz home campaign were occasional players, sometimes not even giving their characters a name, others played far more frequently, and several of their characters became well-known to the general gaming world well before publication of the Greyhawk campaign setting. Some of these characters became known when Gygax mentioned them in his various columns, interviews and publications. In other cases, when Gygax created a new magical spell for the game, he would sometimes "borrow" the name of a wizard character from his home campaign to add verisimilitude to the spell name (for example, Tenser's floating disc, Tenser being a character created by his son Ernie). Some of the characters who became synonymous with Greyhawk at that time included:
  • Murlynd: Gary Gygax's friend Don Kaye created Murlynd for the second-ever session of Gygax's Greyhawk campaign in 1972. Gygax later recalled that "Murlynd" was the first attempt by a player to make a creative name for a character; in the early days, most players—including Gygax himself—simply used their own name as a basis for their character's name. (Tenser = Ernest, Yrag = Gary, etc.) Cross-pollination with other fictional "universes" was common in the early days , and in one of these sessions, Murlynd was transported to America's Wild West, a setting that Kaye loved. When Murlynd eventually returned to the world of Greyhawk, he brought his six-shooters back with him. Although Gygax did not allow the use of gunpowder in his Greyhawk setting, he made a loophole for Don Kaye by ruling that Murlynd actually carried two "magical wands" that made loud noises and delivered small but deadly missiles.
  • Robilar: Robilar was a fighter belonging to Rob Kuntz. Like Murlynd, Robilar was also created for the second-ever session beneath Castle Greyhawk in 1972, rolled up on Gygax's kitchen table. Gygax suggested to Kuntz the name of Robilar, after a minor character in Gygax's novella The Gnome Cache. Because Kuntz was a constant player, Robilar rapidly gained power and possessions. As the city of Greyhawk was developed, he also became the secret owner of the Green Dragon Inn in the city of Greyhawk, where he kept tabs on happenings in the city. Kuntz quickly grew impatient with play when it involved more than a couple of players, and often played solo adventures one-on-one with Gygax. Robilar was not only the first to reach the 13th and bottom level of Gygax's Greyhawk dungeons, but on the way, he was also responsible for freeing nine demi-gods (whom Gygax revived a decade later as some of the first deities of Greyhawk: Iuz, Ralishaz, Trithereon, Erythnul, Olidammara, Heironeous, Celestian, Hextor, and Obad-Hai). Robilar was also the first to enter Gygax's Temple of Elemental Evil, and trashed it from top to bottom, even freeing the demoness Zuggtmoy from her prison at the centre of the Temple. Kuntz later related that Gygax was very dismayed that his masterpiece dungeon had been destroyed by a single adventurer, and as punishment, Gygax had an army pursue Robilar all the way back to his castle, which Robilar was forced to abandon. Robilar even lost possession of the Green Dragon Inn.
  • Tenser: Tenser was a wizard played by Gygax's son Ernie. In the earliest days of Greyhawk, Ernie often gamed with Rob Kuntz (Robilar) and Terry Kuntz (Terik). At one point, using their combined forces of loyal henchmen, the three controlled access to the first level of the Greyhawk dungeons while they ransacked the lower levels. Eventually Tenser became the second character to reach the 13th (and at the time, the bottom level) of the Greyhawk dungeons, when he noticed that Robilar was missing and went in search of him. Gary Gygax "borrowed" Tenser's name for two spells, Tenser's floating disc and Tenser's transformation.
  • Terik: Terik (or Teric) was a character created by Terry Kuntz (brother of Rob Kuntz). Terik often adventured with Tenser and Robilar in the days when the three controlled the first level of the dungeons of Greyhawk. Terik became the third and last character to reach the bottom level of Gygax's original Greyhawk dungeon when he noticed Robilar and Tenser were missing and went in search of them.
  • Erac's Cousin: Gary Gygax's son Ernie originally had a character he called "Erac". Later, he created a wizard who, due to a personal issue as part of his backstory, refused to reveal his name, simply referring to himself as "Erac's Cousin". Gary Gygax knew that Ernie liked the Barsoom stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and at one point, whisked Erac's Cousin off to a very Barsoom-like Mars, where the inhabitants refused to let the wizard use magic. Erac's Cousin was forced to become a fighter instead, and learned to fight proficiently with two weapons simultaneously. Eventually he was able to teleport back to Oerth, but when he acquired two vorpal blades, Rob Kuntz and Gary Gygax decided he had become too powerful, and lured him into a demon's clutches. The demon took him to an alternative plane that drained the magic from the vorpal blades, destroying them.
  • Yrag: After Gygax made Kuntz a co-DM, this fighter was Gygax's first character, and Gygax often referred to Yrag's various adventures in columns and interviews. ("Yrag" is simply "Gary" spelled backwards.)
  • Mordenkainen: This was perhaps Gygax's most famous character, and also his favourite. Mordenkainen started as a lowly 1st-level wizard in 1973, his name drawn from Finnish mythology. Due to constant play, often with Rob Kuntz as DM, Gygax advanced Mordenkainen into a powerful character. (In later years, Gygax would not reveal exactly how powerful Mordenkainen had become, only ever admitting that the wizard had "twenty-something levels".) Even years after he last played Mordenkainen, he would not disclose any of Mordenkainen's powers or possessions.
  • Bigby: Bigby started life as an evil low-level wizard non-player character in Rob Kuntz's dungeons of Greyhawk. Gary Gygax, playing Mordenkainen, managed to subdue him, and forced Bigby to become his servant. After a long time and several adventures, Mordenkainen managed to convince Bigby to leave his evil ways behind, and Kuntz ruled that Bigby had changed from an enemy to a loyal henchmen, and therefore Gygax could take over Bigby as a player character. Thereafter, Gygax developed Bigby into a powerful wizard second only to Mordenkainen, and used his name to describe a series of "hand" spells (Bigby's crushing hand, Bigby's grasping hand, etc.). For a time after this, Rob Kuntz ruled that all the names of Mordenkainen's future henchmen had to rhyme with Bigby. This resulted in Zigby the dwarf; Rigby the cleric; Sigby Griggbyson the fighter; Bigby's apprentice, Nigby; and Digby, Mordenkainen's new apprentice who replaced Bigby.
  • Melf: Melf was an elven character created by Gary Gygax's son Luke. After Luke had rolled up his elf's abilities and filled out the rest of his character sheet, he couldn't think of a name for his new character, and simply went with what was written across the top of the character sheet: M Elf (that is, male elf). Gary Gygax borrowed Melf's name for the spell Melf's acid arrow.
  • Rary: Rary was a low-level wizard created by Brian Blume and played only until he reached 3rd-level, at which point Blume retired him, having reached his objective, which was to be able to call his character "Medium Rary". Gygax borrowed the name for the spells Rary's mnemonic enhancer and Rary's telepathic bond. Ironically, the original Rary was never powerful enough to cast either of "his" spells.
  • Otto: Otto, like Bigby, started life as an evil non-player character wizard in the dungeons of Greyhawk. Tenser and Robilar defeated him in combat, and when given a choice of which master to serve, Otto chose to serve Robilar (thereby becoming a character "owned" by Robilar's creator, Rob Kuntz.) Thereafter, Otto accompanied Robilar on many adventures, including Robilar's destruction of the Temple of Elemental Evil. Gary Gygaz borrowed Otto's name for the spell Otto's irresistible dance.
  • Drawmij: Drawmij was a wizard created by Jim Ward—"Drawmij" is simply his name spelled backwards. Gygax borrowed Drawmij's name for the magical spell Drawmij's instant summons.
  • The Circle of Eight: At the point where Gygax's own characters in the Greyhawk home campaign had collectively accumulated both enough wealth that they couldn't easily spend it, and a standing army that rivalled most nations' forces, he gathered all eight of the characters together—Mordenkainen (wizard), Yrag (fighter), Bigby (wizard), Rigby (cleric), Zigby (dwarf), Felnorith (elf), Vram (elf) & Vin (elf)—as the Circle of Eight. Pooling their resources, Gygax had the Eight construct a stronghold in the middle of an evil land so they would not have to travel far to find adventure. After three years of game time, the result was the Obsidian Citadel, a massive and impregnable octagonal castle from which any of the Eight could sally forth in search of adventure.

Greyhawk "firsts"

The first deities of Greyhawk

One facet of culture that Gygax did not address during the first few years of his home campaign was organized religion. Since his campaign was largely built around the needs of lower-level characters, he didn't think specific deities were necessary, since direct interaction between a god and a low-level character was very unlikely. Some of his players took matters into their own hands, calling upon Norse or Greek gods such as Odin or Zeus, or even Conan's Crom in times of dire need. However, some of the players wanted Gygax to create and customize a specific deity so that cleric characters could receive their powers from someone less ambiguous than "the gods". Gygax, with tongue in cheek, created two gods: Saint Cuthbert—who brought non-believers around to his point of view with whacks of his cudgel —and Pholtus, whose fanatical followers refused to believe that any other gods existed. Because both of these deities represented aspects of Good, Gygax eventually created a few evil deities to provide some villainy.

The first glimpse of Oerth

In the first issue of The Dragon published in June 1976, Gygax prefaced Chapter 1 of his serialized novella The Gnome Cache with a note that the story's setting, Oerth, was very similar to Earth in terms of geography.

In Chapter 2, which appeared in the next issue of The Dragon, a shrine to St. Cuthbert (spelled "St. Cuthburt") was mentioned, the first published reference to a Greyhawk deity.

The first Greyhawk novel

In 1976, Gygax invited the science fiction/fantasy writer Andre Norton to play Dungeons & Dragons in his Greyhawk world. Norton subsequently wrote Quag Keep, which involved a group of gamers who travel from the "real" world to Greyhawk. It was the first novel to be set, at least partially, in the Greyhawk setting, and according to Alternative Worlds, the first to be based on D&D. Quag Keep was excerpted in Issue 12 of The Dragon (February 1978) just prior to the book's release. (In 2006, after Norton's death, her partially completed manuscript of a sequel, Return to Quag Keep, was finished by Jean Rabe and subsequently published.)

The first Greyhawk adventures published by TSR

Between 1976–1979, Gygax also shared some glimpses of his home campaign with other gamers when he set several TSR D&D adventures in the world of Greyhawk:

In addition, Lawrence Schick set his 1979 TSR adventure S2 White Plume Mountain in Greyhawk.

1980: The World of Greyhawk folio edition

In 1975, Gygax and Kuntz published a booklet called Supplement I: Greyhawk, an expansion of the rules for Dungeons and Dragons based on their play experiences in the Greyhawk campaign. Although it detailed new spells and character classes that had been developed in the dungeons of Greyhawk, it did not contain any details of their Greyhawk campaign world. The only two references to Greyhawk were an illustration of a large stone head in a dungeon corridor titled The Great Stone Face, Enigma of Greyhawk, and mention of a fountain on the second second level of the dungeons that continuously issued endless numbers of snakes.

The 2004 publication 30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons suggested that details of Gygax's Greyhawk campaign were published in this booklet, but in fact, Gygax had no plans in 1975 to publish details of the Greyhawk world, since he believed that new players of Dungeons and Dragons would rather create their own worlds than use someone else's. In addition, he didn't want to publish all the material he had created for his players; he thought he would be unlikely to recoup a fair investment for the thousands of hours he had spent on it; and since his secrets would be revealed to his players, he would be forced to recreate a new world for them afterwards.

However, with the release of the AD&D Players Handbook in 1978, many players were intrigued by the connection of Greyhawk characters to magical spells such as Tenser's floating disc, Bigby's crushing hand, and Mordenkainen's disjunction. The AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide, released the following year, also made references to the dungeons of Greyhawk. Players' curiosity was further whetted by the ten D&D modules set in Greyhawk that were published between 1976–1979. Several of Gygax's regular columns in Dragon magazine also mentioned details of his home campaign or some of the characters that inhabited his world.

Gygax was surprised when it became apparent that players wanted to use Greyhawk as their campaign world.

Development of geography

In response to this, Gygax changed his mind and decided he would publish his private campaign world, but with some important changes. Rather than using his own map, which was simply the real-world Earth overwritten with his cities, towns and regions, he decided to create a new world called Oerth. (Gygax sometimes joked, "Say it as Oi-th as if you were from Brooklyn, and that's the way I pronounce it. That annoys all who take a fantasy world far too seriously.") Once he had sketched out the entire planet to his satisfaction, he decided to concentrate his first efforts on one small corner of the world. One hemisphere of Oerth was dominated by a massive continent called Oerik. Gygax asked TSR's printing house about the maximum size of paper they could handle; the answer was 34" x 22" (86 cm x 56 cm). He found that, using the scale he desired, he could only fit the northeast corner of the continent of Oerik on two of the sheets. In order to give this campaign setting as much flexibility as possible in terms of geographic settings, his map included arctic wastes, desert, temperate forests, tropical jungles, mountainous cordillera, seas and oceans, mighty rivers, archipelagos and volcanoes. He placed the city and castle of Greyhawk roughly in the centre of the map, in an area that would have about the same temperate climate as his home in Lake Geneva. For the other regions that had surrounded the city of Greyhawk on his old map, some were left relatively close to the city of Greyhawk; for instance, the rivalry between the cities of Dyvers, Hardby and Greyhawk was a feature of Gygax's campaign, so the three cities were placed in close proximity to each other. However, most other regions were moved further away, scattered across the new map. Gygax also added many more new regions, countries and cities, bringing the number of political states to 60:
Almor Furyondy Iuz Pomarj Spindrift Isles Ull
Ahlissa Geoff Keoland Ratik Sterich Urnst
Bandit Kingdoms Gran March Ket Rel Astra Stonefist Urnst
Bissel Great Kingdom Lordship of the Isles Rovers of the Barrens Sunndi Valley of the Mage
Blackmoor Greyhawk Medegia Scarlet Brotherhood Tenh Veluna
Bone March Highfolk North Province Sea Barons Tiger Nomads Verbobonc
Celene Horned Society Nyrond Sea Princes Tusmit Wild Coast
Dyvers Ice Barbarians Onnwal Shield Lands Ulek Wolf Nomads
Ekbir Idee Pale Snow Barbarians Ulek Yeomanry
Frost Barbarians Irongate Perrenland South Province Ulek Zeif

Needing original placenames for all of the geographical and political places on his map, Gygax sometimes resorted to wordplay based on the names of friends and acquaintances. For instance, Perrenland was named after Jeff Perren, who co-wrote the rules for Chainmail with Gygax; Urnst was a homophone of Ernst (his son Ernie); and Sunndi was a near-homophone of Cindy, another of Gygax's children.

From Gygax's prototype map, Darlene Pekul, a freelance artist in Lake Geneva, developed a full colour map on a hex grid. Gygax was so pleased with the end result that he quickly switched his home Greyhawk campaign over to the new world he had created.

Development of history and politics

Heroes are not needed in peaceful times. As J.R.R. Tolkien wrote of Bilbo Baggins' harmonious Shire and its lack of warriors, "Swords in these parts are mostly blunt, and axes are used for trees, and shields as cradles or dish-covers..." Knowing that his new world would need conflict, Gygax set out to create a fractious place where chaos and evil were in the ascendant and courageous champions would be needed. In order to explain how his world had arrived at this state, he wrote an outline of a thousand years of history. As a military history buff, he was very familiar with the concept of waves of cultural invasions; for example, the Picts of Great Britain invaded by Celts, who in turn were invaded by Romans. In creating a similar pattern of history for his world, Gygax decided that a thousand years before his campaign began, this corner of the continent had been occupied by a peaceful but primitive people called the Flannae; hence the name of this part of Oerik, "the Flanaess". At that time, far to the west of the Flanaess, two peoples were at war, the Bakluni and the Suolise. The war reached its climax when both sides invoked mighty magic to obliterate each other, an event called the "Twin Cataclysms". Refugees of these disasters were forced out of their lands, and the Suolise invaded the Flanaess, forcing the Flannae to flee to the outer edges of the continent. Several centuries later, a new invader appeared, the Oeridians, and they in turn forced the Suolise southward. One tribe of the Oeridians, the Aerdi, began to set up an empire. Several centuries later, the Aerdi's "Great Kingdom" ruled most of the Flanaess. The Aerdi overkings marked the beginning of what they believed would be perpetual peace with Year 1 of a new calendar, the Common Year Reckoning. However, several centuries later, the Empire began to rot with decadence. The overkings fell prey to madness, black magic and evil, and began to treat their subjects like slaves. When the most evil overking of all, Ivid V, came to the throne, the oppressed peoples rose up in righteous rebellion, and the overking responded with an iron fist.

It was this point, in the year 576 CY, with the once-bright Great Kingdom now an evil crumbling tyranny, and small brave countries and cities rebelling against it, that Gygax set the world of Greyhawk. As Gygax wrote in his World of Greyhawk folio, "The current state of affairs in the Flanaess is confused indeed. Humankind is fragmented into isolationist realms, indifferent nations, evil lands, and states striving for good." Gygax did not issue monthly or yearly "updates" to the state of affairs as presented in the folio since he saw 576CY as a common starting point for every home campaign; because each would be moving forward at its own pace, there would be no practical way to issue updates that would be relevant to every Dungeon Master.

Gygax was also aware that different players would be using his world for different reasons. When he was the Dungeon Master of his home camapaign, he found that his players were more interested in dungeon-delving than politics; but when he switched roles and became a player, often going one-on-one with Rob Kuntz as Dungeon Master, Gygax immersed his own characters in politics and large-scale battles of conquest. Knowing that there would be players simply looking for a town in which to base their campaign, and others who would be seeking to meddle in politics or command armies in battle, Gygax tried to include as much detail as possible about each region, including a short description of the region and its people, the title of its ruler, the racial makeup of its people, its resources and major cities, and its allies and enemies.

For the same reason that he had created a variety of geographical, political and racial settings, he also strove to create a world with some good, some evil, and some "undecided" areas. He felt that some players would be happiest playing in a mainly good country and fighting the evil that arose to threaten it; others might want to be a part of an evil country; and still others might take a neutral stance and simply try to collect gold and treasure from both sides.


TSR intended to publish "World of Greyhawk" early in 1979; the foreword by editor Allen Hammack was dated February 1979. However, Gygax's The World of Greyhawk (TSR 9025) did not hit store shelves until August 1980.

The World of Greyhawk consisted of a 32-page folio (this edition is often called the "World of Greyhawk folio" to distinguish it from later editions) and a 34" x 44" (86 cm x 112 cm) two-piece colour map of the Flanaess. (For folio contents, see World of Greyhawk Fantasy Game Setting.)

Reviewers were generally impressed, but some remarked on the lack of a pantheon of Greyhawk-specific deities, as well as the lack of any mention of the infamous dungeons of Castle Greyhawk.

1980–1983: Between editions

Even before the folio edition was available for sale, Gygax made plans to publish supplementary information, using his column "From the Sorcerer's Scroll" that appeared on a semi-regular basis in TSR's Dragon Magazine.

In the May 1980 issue, Gygax gave a quick overview of the development of his new The World of Greyhawk folio, believing that it would be on store shelves before his column appeared. (However, it would actually be another three months until the folio was finally published.) For players who planned to use large scale army tactics, he gave details of the private armies that were commanded by some prominent Greyhawk characters (all of them originally created by players in his home campaign): Bigby (created by Gygax himself), Mordenkainen (also created by Gygax), Robilar (Rob Kuntz), Tenser (Gygax's son Ernie) and Erac's Cousin (also Ernie Gygax). And Gygax also mentioned some of the planned Greyhawk publications he was overseeing: a large-scale map of the City of Greyhawk; some adventure modules set in Greyhawk; a supplementary map of lands outside the Flanaess; all 50 levels of Castle Greyhawk's dungeon; and miniatures army combat rules. (None of these projects other than a few of the adventure modules were ever published by TSR.)

Although Gygax originally intended to immediately publish more details of Greyhawk in Dragon on a regular basis, other projects intervened, and it wasn't until the August 1981 issue of Dragon that Len Lakofka, in his column "Leomund's Tiny Hut", outlined methods for determining a character's place of birth and languages spoken. Gygax added an addendum concerning the physical appearances of the main Greyhawk races. In the November 1981 issue, Gygax gave further details of racial characteristics and modes of dress.

In the December 1981 issue, David Axler contributed a system for determining weather in the world of Greyhawk. (Gygax later confided that he thought the system of 14 charts needed to determine the weather was too cumbersome, and he personally didn't use it in his home campaign.)

More information about every political region

The folio edition only had 32 pages, and information about each region was necessarily condensed into a short paragraph or two. Gygax realized that some players needed more in-depth information about the motivations and aspirations of each region, and the history of interactions with surrounding regions. With this in mind, Gygax decided to publish a much longer description of each region in Dragon. The first two articles, covering seventeen regions, appeared in the December 1981 and January 1982 issues. (Issues 56 & 57). However, due to his involvement in many other TSR projects, Gygax handed responsibility for completion of this project to Rob Kuntz, who covered the remaining 43 regions in the March 1982, July 1982 and September 1982 issues. (Issues 59, 63 and 65)

Deities of Greyhawk

In the August 1982 issue (Issue 64), Gygax gave advice on how to adapt deities from the previously published Deities and Demigods for worship by non-human races in the Greyhawk world. A few months later, he published a long and very detailed five-part article in the November 1982 to March 1983 issues (Issues 67-71) that outlined a pantheon of deities custom-made for humans in the world of Greyhawk. In addition to his original Greyhawk deities, St. Cuthbert and Pholtus, Gygax added 17 more deities:

Good Neutral Evil
St. Cuthbert (forthrightness) Celestian (stars) Hextor (war)
Pholtus (resolution) Fharlanghn (travel) Iuz (oppression)
Heironeous (chivalry) Istus (fate) Erythnul (slaughter)
Ehlonna (forest) Obad-hai (nature) Incabulos (plague)
Trithereon (liberty) Boccob (magic) Nerull (death)
Zagyg (humour) Olidammara (music) Ralishaz (madness)
Wastri (bigotry)

Although later versions of the campaign setting would assign most of these deities to worship by specific races of humans, at this time they were generally worshipped by all humans of the Flanaess. (For a complete examination of the development of the deities of Greyhawk, see Greyhawk deities.)

Non-player characters of Greyhawk

Also included in the March 1983 issue (Issue 71) was an article detailing four unique characters of Greyhawk. The first two "quasi-deities"—Heward and Keoghtom—had been created by Gygax as non-player characters (NPCs—characters designed to interact with players). The third, Murlynd, was a character that had been created by Gygax's childhood friend Don Kaye before Kaye's untimely death in 1975. The fourth, a "hero-deity" named Kelanen, was developed to illustrate the "principle of advancement of power".

TSR Greyhawk adventures published after the folio edition

Of the ten adventures set in Greyhawk published by TSR before the folio edition, all but one had been written by Gygax. However, the new availability of information about Gygax's campaign world and TSR's desire to make it central to D&D encouraged many new writers to set their adventures in Greyhawk. This, combined with the fact that Gygax was increasingly involved in other areas of the company, meant that of the seventeen Greyhawk adventures published in the two years after the folio edition, only four were written or co-written by Gygax. (In 1981, TSR also published the "super-modules" D1-2 Descent into the Depths of the Earth and G1-2-3 Against the Giants, both being compilations of previously published modules from the "Drow" series and the "Giant" series respectively.)

First published deities of Greyhawk

Shortly after the release of the folio edition, TSR released the adventure module C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, designed to familiarize players with the Olman race of the Amedio Jungle. Largely based on Aztec and Incan cultures, this adventure introduced the first published deities of the Greyhawk campaign: Mictlantecuhtli, god of death, darkness, murder and the underworld; Tezcatlipoca, god of sun, moon, night, scheming, betrayals and lightning; and Quetzalcoatl, god of air, birds and snakes. However, this area of the Flanaess was not explored further in any subsequent TSR adventures or source material, and these three gods would be "orphaned" through disuse for almost twenty years.

1983: World of Greyhawk boxed set

In 1983, TSR published an expanded boxed set of the campaign world, World of Greyhawk (usually called the "Greyhawk boxed set" to differentiate it from other editions). This edition increased the total number of pages of information fourfold, from 32 pages in the folio edition to 128 pages, and the amount of details was commensurately greater. One major addition was a pantheon of deities: in addition to the nineteen deities outlined by Gygax in his Dragon article, another 31 new deities were added (although only three received full write-ups of their abilities and worshippers). This brought the number of Greyhawk deities to an even fifty.

For the next eight years, Greyhawk would be primarily defined by the information in this publication.

(For contents of the boxed set, see World of Greyhawk Fantasy Game Setting. For more information about the development of Greyhawk pantheons, see Greyhawk deities.)

1984-1985: Following publication of the boxed set

Publication of the World of Greyhawk was only the first step in Gygax's vision for Oerth. Over the next few years, he planned to unveil other areas of the continent of Oerik, one piece at a time, giving each new area the same in-depth treatment of history, geography and politics as had been accorded the Flanaess. And even after Oerik had been thoroughly explored, there was always the far side of Oerth: another complete hemisphere that Gygax had mapped out in his personal notes. Part of this would be Gygax's work, but since he had an entire planet to work with, he envisioned other authors' work being incorporated into this. Len Lakofka and Francois Froideval had already created material that Gygax wanted to place on Oerth. Frank Mentzer, Creative Consultant at TSR at the time, wrote four RPGA tournament adventures taken from his home campaign setting of "Acquaria" (published by TSR as the first four of the R-series modules: R1 To the Aid of Falx, R2 Investigation of Hydell, R3 Egg of the Phoenix, and R4 Doc's Island); Mentzer envisioned them as the first part of a new "Aqua-Oeridian" campaign set somewhere on Oerth outside of the Flanaess.

However, by this time, Gygax was in Hollywood on a semi-permanent basis, approving scripts for the Saturday morning D&D cartoon series and trying to land a deal for a D&D movie. Not only was Gygax's own output of Greyhawk-related materials greatly reduced, but without his day-to-day presence at TSR headquarters, the company's focus and resources were about to shift away from Greyhawk to a new campaign setting called Dragonlance.

One of the factors that contributed to the success of the Dragonlance setting when it was published in 1984 was a series of concurrent novels by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis.Gygax realized that novels set in Greyhawk could have a similar benefit for his campaign world and wrote Saga of Old City, the first in a series of novels that would be published under the banner Greyhawk Adventures. The protagonist was Gord the Rogue, and this first novel told of his rise from the Slum Quarters of the city of Greyhawk to become world traveller and thief extraordinaire. The novel was designed to promote sales of the boxed set by providing colourful details about the social customs and peoples of various cities and countries around the Flanaess.

Even before Saga of Old City rolled off the presses in November 1985, Gygax wrote a sequel, Artifact of Evil. He also wrote a short story, At Moonset Blackcat Comes, that appeared in the special 100th issue of Dragon in August 1985. This introduced Gord the Rogue to gamers just before Saga of Old City was scheduled to be released.

Greyhawk modules

As further proof that TSR's focus had shifted away from Greyhawk, in the two years after the boxed set appeared, TSR only published 8 adventures set in Greyhawk, five of them written or co-written by Gygax, and the other three from TSR's United Kingdom division: [Both of the EX adventures, although nominally set in Greyhawk, transported characters through a planar gate into an alternate reality.]

Dragon articles

Between 1983–1985, the only notable supplement for the Greyhawk world was a five-part article by Len Lakofka in Issues 86–90 & 92 of Dragon (June–October 1984 & December 1984) that detailed the Suel gods who had been briefly mentioned in the boxed set.

In Issue 92 (December 1984), Gygax mentioned clerics of non-human races and indicated that the 24 demihuman and humanoid deities that had been published in Issues 58–62 of Dragon (February–June 1982) were now "Greyhawk legal"; this increased the number of Greyhawk deities from 50 to 74.

Other than those articles, Greyhawk was only mentioned in passing in three other issues until Gygax's "Gord the Rogue" short story in Issue 100 of Dragon (August 1985). Gygax then provided some errata for the boxed set in Issue 101 (September 1985). However, this would be the last mention of Greyhawk in Dragon for almost two years.

Gygax departs

Shortly after the release of the boxed set, Gygax discovered that while he had been in Hollywood, TSR had run into serious financial difficulties. Returning to Lake Geneva, Gygax managed to get TSR back on firm financial footing. However, different visions of TSR's future caused a power struggle within the company, and Gygax was forced out of TSR on December 31, 1985.

By the terms of his settlement with TSR, Gygax kept the rights to Gord the Rogue as well as all D&D characters whose names were anagrams or plays on his own name (for example, Yrag and Zagyg). However, he lost the rights to all his other work, including the world of Greyhawk and the names of all the characters he had ever used in TSR material. Mordenkainen, Robilar, Tenser and Melf—to name a few—no longer belonged to Gary Gygax, Rob Kuntz, Ernie Gygax and Luke Gygax; their fictional lives were now controlled by TSR.

1986–1987: Greyhawk without Gygax

Up until this time, Gygax had been the creator of Oerth and the arbiter of all things Greyhawk. Now the world of Greyhawk belonged to TSR, and its continued development would become the work of many writers and creative minds. Rather than Gygax's vision of an entire planet of new lands and adventures, the setting would never be expanded beyond the Flanaess, nor would other authors' work be linked to unexplored areas of Oerik. In time, TSR's stewardship would produce a new storyline, and Greyhawk would become a very different place than Gygax had envisioned.

At this point in 1986, however, in the months following Gygax's ouster, TSR turned away from development of Greyhawk and focussed its energies on a new campaign setting called Forgotten Realms. TSR's preoccupation meant that in 1986 and 1987, only three Greyhawk modules were released, A1-4 Scourge of the Slave Lords, S1-4 Realms of Horror and GDQ1-7 Queen of the Spiders, all being collections of previously published modules rather than new material.

Greyhawk novels continue without Gord the Rogue

Gygax's novel Saga of Old City, released in November 1985, and Artifact of Evil, which ironically appeared two months after Gygax's departure from TSR, proved to be popular titles, and in 1987, TSR hired Rose Estes to continue the series, albeit without Gord the Rogue, to whom Gygax had retained all rights. Between 1987 and 1989, Estes produced five more novels under the Greyhawk Adventures banner: Master Wolf, The Price of Power, The Demon Hand, The Name of the Game, and The Eyes Have It. A sixth book, Dragon in Amber, appeared in 1990 book catalogues, but the book was never written, and the series was discontinued.

The dungeons of Greyhawk revealed

In its 1986 Summer Mail Order Hobby Shop catalogue, TSR had listed a new Greyhawk adventure called WG7 Shadowlords, a high-level adventure to be written by Gary Gygax and Skip Williams. However, this adventure was cancelled after Gygax left TSR, and the catalogue number WG7 was reassigned to a new adventure, Castle Greyhawk, released in 1988. It was the first new Greyhawk adventure in three years, but players buying the adventure hoping to be finally ushered into Gygax's famous dungeons discovered it had nothing to do with Gygax's original Castle Greyhawk. Instead, it was a compilation of 12 humorous dungeons levels, each one written by a freelance author. The puns and jokes often referenced modern culture—the Amazing Driderman, King Burger, Bugsbear Bunny, and the crew of Star Trek—while the appearance of Mordenkainen in a movie studio seemed to mock Gygax and his time spent in Hollywood trying to land a movie deal for TSR.

1988–1990: Greyhawk revived

By 1988, with the first series of Dragonlance adventures drawing to a close and Forgotten Realms doing very well, TSR turned back to Greyhawk. In Issue 129 of Dragon (January 1988), Jim Ward—one of the original players in the dungeons of Greyhawk, creator of the wizard Drawmij, and now working for TSR in the post-Gygax era—requested player input about what should be included in a hardcover source book for Greyhawk.He received over 500 letters in response. Seven months later, in Issue 135 (August 1988), he outlined the ideas from readers that been included, and Greyhawk Adventures appeared shortly afterward. The book's title was borrowed from Rose Estes' "Greyhawk Adventures" line of novels and used the same front-cover banner design. It was the thirteenth and final hardcover book published for the 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules.

The contents were designed to give Dungeon Masters ideas and play opportunities unique to the Greyhawk world, including new monsters, magical spells and magical items; wondrous geographical features; and profiles of prominent citizens and the avatars of deities. In the time since Gygax had left TSR, no original Greyhawk material had been published, and many letter writers had requested ideas for new adventures. Ward responded by including six plot outlines that could be inserted into a Greyhawk campaign.

The City of Greyhawk boxed set

The publication of Greyhawk Adventures came just as TSR released the 2nd edition of D&D. In an attempt to ride the combined wave of publicity resulting from the release of 2nd edition, the release of the Greyhawk Adventures source book and the relative popularity of Roses Estes' "Greyhawk Adventure" novels, TSR released The City of Greyhawk boxed set in 1989 under the "Greyhawk Adventures" banner. This was not the city created by Gygax and Kuntz, but a new plan built from references made in previously published material. (For the complete contents of the boxed set, see City of Greyhawk )

The following year, in conjunction with this boxed set, TSR published a trilogy of WGA (World of Greyhawk Adventure) modules by Richard & Anne Brown—WGA1 Falcon's Revenge, WGA2 Falconmaster and WGA3 Flames of the Falcon—set in the city and centred around a mysterious villain called "The Falcon." A fourth WGA module published the same year, WGA4 Vecna Lives! by David Cook, featured the first appearance by Vecna, formerly just a mythic lich in D&D lore, but now promoted to demigod status.

Modules released under the "Greyhawk Adventures" banner

TSR also released five new WG (World of Grehyawk) adventures which used the "Greyhawk Adventures" banner:
  • WG8 Fate of Istus (Various authors, 1989)
  • WG9 Gargoyle (Dave Collins & Skip Williams, 1989)
  • WG10 Child's Play (Jean Rabe & Skip Williams, 1989)
  • WG11 Puppets (Vince Garcia & Bruce Rabe, 1989)
  • WG12 Vale of the Mage (Jean Rabe, 1989)

In 1990, TSR also published WGR1 Greyhawk Ruins, a module and source book about Castle Greyhawk by TSR writers Blake Mobley and Timothy Brown. Although this was not the Castle Greyhawk of Gygax and Kuntz, it was the first serious attempt to publish details of the Castle.

1991–1997: A new vision of the Flanaess

In 1990, TSR decided that the decade-old world of Greyhawk needed to be refreshed. Rather than expanding beyond the boundaries of the Flanaess to develop new lands and new stories, the decision was made to stay within the Flanaess and instead, move the campaign timeline forward a decade, from 576 CY to 586 CY, in order to provide the setting for a new storyline.

The main story vehicle to move the timeline forward would be a war fomented by Iuz that would embroil the entire Flanaess, a device that would allow TSR to radically alter the pattern of regions, alliances and rulers from Gygax's original vision.

The Greyhawk Wars

In order to move players from Gygax's familiar World of Greyhawk to their new vision, TSR planned a trilogy of modules that would familiarize players with events and conditions leading up to the coming war, and then take them through the war itself. Once players completed the war via the three modules, a new boxed set would be published to introduce the new storyline and the new Flanaess. Part of the reworking of the world was the remolding of Gary Gygax's old "Circle of Eight" into a new plot device. Instead of a group of eight companions (all characters belonging to Gygax) who sallied forth from an impregnable bastion to fight evil, the Circle became eight wizards whose names were well known to D&D players, since Gygax had used their names to describe various spells: Mordenkainen, Bigby, Otiluke, Drawmij, Tenser, Nystul, Otto, and Rary. Now the Circle's mandate was to act as neutral referees between Good and Evil, never letting one side or the other gain the upper hand for long.

Although the original plan called for the publication of three modules, only two of the them,WGS1 Five Shall Be One by Carl Sargent and WGS2 Howl from the North by Dale Henson, were released in 1991. These described events leading up to the war.

The third module was reworked into Greyhawk Wars, a strategy wargame that led players through the events, strategies and alliances of the actual war. A booklet included with the game, Greyhawk Wars Adventurer's Book, described the war in detail: In 582 CY (six years after Gygax's original setting of 576 CY), a regional conflict started by Iuz gradually widened until it was a war that affected almost every nation in the Flanaess. A peace treaty was finally signed in the city of Greyhawk two years later, which is why the conflict became know as the Greyhawk Wars. On the day of the treaty-signing, Rary—once a minor spellcaster created and then discarded by Brian Blume but now elevated by TSR to the Circle of Eight—attacked his fellow Circle members, aided and abetted by Robilar. After the attack, Tenser and Otiluke were dead, while Robilar and Rary fled to the deserts of the Bright Lands. (Rob Kuntz, original creator of Robilar, objected to this storyline since he believed that Robilar would never attack his old adventuring companion Mordenkainen. Although Kuntz did not own the creative rights to Robilar and no longer worked at TSR, he unofficially suggested an alternate storyline that Robilar had been visiting another plane and in his absence, a clone or evil twin of Robilar was responsible for this outrage.)

From the Ashes

In 1992, after the two WGS "prequel" modules and the Greyhawk Wars game had been on the market for some months, TSR released the new Greyhawk setting, From the Ashes, a boxed set primarily written by Carl Sargent that described the Flanaess in the aftermath of the Greyhawk Wars. This contained a large 4-colour hex map of the area around the city of Greyhawk, a number of "quick adventure cards", and two 96-page books. The first book, Atlas of the Flanaess, was a replacement for Gygax's original World of Greyhawk boxed set, albeit with some changes:
  • Many human gods from previous editions were not included, although one new demigod, Mayaheine, was added. This had the net effect of reducing the total number of human deities from 50 to 28.
  • Deities of other races were increased from 24 to 38, but unlike the full descriptions that were given to the human gods, these were simply listed by name.
  • Like Gygax's original boxed set, each region was given a 200- to 300- word precis, although some details included in the older edition, such as trade goods, total population and racial mixes, were not included in this edition. A number of regions—Ahlissa, Almor, Medegia and South Province—no longer existed after the Wars or had been folded into other regions. Two new regions—the Plains of the Paynims and the Olman Islands—were added. This had the net effect of reducing the total number of regions from 60 to 58.
  • Darlene Pekul's large 4-colour 2-piece fold-out map of the Flanaess included in Gygax's setting was reduced to a small black & white map printed on the inside cover of the Atlas.

The second book, the Campaign Book, was designed as a supplement to the 4-year-old City of Greyhawk boxed set, not meant to replace it but only to update some of the details of the city and its environs, as well as give details of some new non-player characters and possible adventure hooks.

In Gygax's setting, the major conflict had been between the Great Kingdom and the lands that were trying to free themselves from the evil overking. In Sargent's world, the Great Kingdom storyline was largely replaced by the major new conflict between the land of Iuz and the regions that surrounded it. Southern lands outside of Iuz's reach faced the menace of the Scarlet Brotherhood, while in other parts of the world, some countries had been invaded by monsters and others had been taken over by agents of evil. Overall, the vision was of a darker world where good folk were being swamped by a tide of evil. ("The cult of Mayaheine is one considerably on the increase in beleaguered non-evil Flanaess lands, for Mayaheine is a demipower of protection and survival")

Sargent tried to generate interest for this grimmer vision of the Flanaess by following up with an article in Dragon's Issue 191 (March 1993): "...the powers of evil have waxed strong. The hand of Iuz, the Old One, extends across the central Flanaess, and the cruel Scarlet Brotherhood extends its power and influence around the southern lands bordering the Azure Sea. The WORLD OF GREYHAWK setting has become a truly exciting world again..."

The boxed set was supported by the publication of two new source books in 1993, also written by Sargent:
  • WGR4 The Marklands provided information about the good realms of Furyondy, Highfolk, and Nyrond that opposed Iuz.
  • WGR5 Iuz the Evil detailed information about the lands of Iuz, and emphasized the prominent new role that Iuz now played in the world order.

In addition, a number of adventures were also published, as much to provide more source material as for adventure:
  • WGQ1 Patriots of Ulek was the first module published after From the Ashes, and advanced the storyline in Ulek, threatened by invasion from Turrosh Mak of the Pomarj.
  • WGR2 Treasures of Greyhawk by Jack Barker, Roy Rowe, Louis Prosperi and Tom Prusa was a loosely connected series of mini-adventures—for instance, exploring Bigby's home, travelling to the demiplane called The Great Maze of Zagyg, and trading riddles with a sphinx. Each mini-adventure focussed on a unique treasure in the Flanaess.
  • WGR3 Rary the Traitor by Anthony Pryor was both an adventure module as well as a source book about the Bright Lands, the new home of Rary and Robilar following their murder of Tenser and Otiluke.
  • WGR6 The City of Skulls by Carl Sargent and WGM1 Border Watch by Paul T. Riegel were modules highlighting the struggle between Furyondy and the lands of Iuz.

Like Gygax had done ten years before, Sargent also used the pages of Dragon to promote his new world. He was working on a new source book, Ivid the Undying, and excerpted parts of it in Issues 204, 206 & 208 (April, June and August 1994).

TSR drops Greyhawk

However, in late 1994, TSR abruptly killed Sargent's new book just as it was being readied for publication, and stopped work on all other Greyhawk projects. Nothing more about Greyhawk was ever published by TSR with one exception: in May 1995, a Dragon column devoted to industry gossip noted that the "lost manuscript" of Ivid the Undying had been released by TSR as a computer text file. Using this file, several people have reconstructed the book as it might have appeared in published form.

By the end of 1996, TSR found itself heavily in debt and unable to pay its printers. Just as bankruptcy seemed inevitable, the upstart Wizards of the Coastmarker stepped in and in 1997, fueled by income from its collectible card game Magic: The Gathering, bought TSR and all its properties.

1998–2008: Wizards of the Coast

After Wizards of the Coast (WotC) and TSR merged, the determination was made that TSR had created too many settings for the D&D game, and several of them were eliminated. However, WotC's CEO, Peter Adkison, was a fan of both D&D and Greyhawk, and two major initiatives were created: a revival of Greyhawk, and a new (third) edition of D&D rules. A team of people was put together to revive the moribund Greyhawk setting by pulling together all the previously published information about the campaign setting. Once that was done, the decision was made to update Carl Sargent's storyline, and in much the same way as Sargent had done, using "prequel" adventures to pave the way for the new campaign setting.

First, Roger E. Moore created Return of the Eight in 1998. In this adventure, set in 586 CY (the same year as the From the Ashes boxed set), the players meet the surviving members of the Circle of Eight (now called the "Circle of Five" because it was missing Tenser, Otiluke and Rary). If the players successfully finish the adventure, Tenser is rescued from death (although he refuses to rejoin the Circle), and the Circle is reconstituted as Eight with the addition of three new wizards: Alhamazad the Wise, Theodain Eriason and Warnes Starcoat.

Next, the Greyhawk Player's Guide by Anne Brown was released. This 64-page booklet moved the storyline ahead 6 years to 591 CY, and it mostly condensed and reiterated material that had been released in Gygax's and Sargent's boxed sets. New material included important non-player characters, a guide to roleplaying in the Flanaess, and some new sights. The list of deities was both shrunk and expanded; the 38 non-human deities in the From the Ashes boxed set were eliminated and non-human concerns assigned to a handful of human deities, but the list of human deities was expanded from 24 to 54.

With the groundwork for a new storyline prepared, TSR/WotC released the new campaign setting as a 128-page sourcebook, The Adventure Begins by Roger E. Moore. Taking its lead from the Greyhawk Player's Guide, the new campaign world was set in 591 CY. Unlike the darker feel of From the Ashes, where the Flanaess was slowly drowning in evil, Moore returned to Gygax's world of adventure.

The "Lost Tombs" trilogy of modules—The Star Cairns and Crypt of Lyzandred the Mad by Sean K. Reynolds, and The Doomgrinder by Steve Miller—were the first to be published in the new setting.

25th Anniversary of D&D

The year 1999 marked 25 years since the publication of the original D&D rules, and WotC sought to lure older gamers back to Greyhawk by producing a series of nostalgia-tinged "Return to..." adventures that evoked the best-known Greyhawk modules from 20 years before, under the banner "25th Anniversary of D&D":

In conjunction with the publication of the "Return to" adventures, WotC also produced a series of companion novels: Against the Giants, White Plume Mountain, Descent into the Depths of the Earth, Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, The Temple of Elemental Evil, Queen of the Demonweb Pits, Keep on the Borderlands,and The Tomb of Horrors.

In an attempt to attract players of other D&D settings, WotC released Die, Vecna, Die! by Bruce R. Cordell and Steve Miller, a three-part adventure tying Greyhawk to the Ravenloft and Planescape campaign settings. Published in 2000, it was the last adventure to be written for D&D's 2nd edition rules.

Third edition

In the editions of D&D published by TSR, the setting of the game had not been specifically defined—Dungeon Masters were expected to either create a new world, or purchase a commercial campaign setting such as Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms. In 2000, after two years of work and test-play, WotC released the 3rd edition of D&D, and for the first time, defined a "default" setting for the game: the world of Greyhawk. Under third edition rules, unless a Dungeon Master specifically chose to use a different campaign setting, his or her D&D game would be set in the world of Greyhawk.

Living Greyhawk

the release of the 3rd edition of D&D, RPGA—the organized play division of WotC—announced a new massively shared living campaign, Living Greyhawk, modelled on a 2nd edition campaign called Living City. Although Living City was relatively successful, RPGA wanted to expand the scope of their new campaign—instead of one city as a setting, the new campaign would involve 30 different regions of Greyhawk, each specifically keyed to a particular country, state or province of the real world. Each region would produce its own adventures, and in addition to these, RPGA would provide worldwide "core" adventures. To provide the level of detail needed for such a venture, WotC published the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, the most in-depth examination of the world of Greyhawk ever produced, and the official starting point for not only the campaign, but also for all home campaigns from that point forward.

The concept of Living Greyhawk was introduced at Gencon 2000 with the adventure The Fright at Tristor by Keith Polster, although the campaign was not officially launched until the release of the first "core" adventures the following summer at Origins 2001. Unlike previous campaign settings where the calendar was frozen at a point chosen by the author, the Living Greyhawk calendar did advance one year in game time for every calendar year in real time: the campaign started in 591 CY (2001) and ended in 598 CY (2008), at which point over 1000 adventures had been produced for an audience of over 10,000 players. During this time, the campaign administrators incorporated most of WotC's new rules releases into the Greyhawk world (only excising material they felt would "unbalance" the campaign by either providing too much power to the players or to the adventure writers). In 2005, the administrators incorporated every deity ever mentioned in official Greyhawk material previous to 3rd edition, as well as all deities mentioned in new 3rd edition source books. This tripled the number of deities in the campaign from about 70 to almost 200.

However, despite the massive amount of world and storyline development, none of the Living Greyhawk storylines or changes to the setting were considered "official" since the regional adventure modules were produced by volunteers, and only received a cursory vetting by the campaign administrators of RPGA and no review by WotC personnel.

WotC Greyhawk releases

Despite the popularity of the Living Greyhawk campaign, WotC did not produce much material for Greyhawk after the 25th anniversary "Return to..." series of adventures mentioned above, other than the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer and Fright at Tristor. The Standing Stone (2001) by John D. Rateliff did have several minor references to the Greyhawk setting, and Red Hand of Doom (2006) by James Jacob contained instructions for where to set the adventure within the world of Greyhawk (as well as for Forgotten Realms and Eberron). Otherwise, WotC left the development of the Greyhawk world to RPGA's Living Greyhawk campaign and concentrated on producing more source books of new expansion material for the core rules of D&D.

2008 to Present

At Gencon 2007, WotC announced that the 4th edition of D&D (D&D 4E) would be released the following spring, and Greyhawk would no longer be the default campaign setting under the new rules system. For this reason, Living Greyhawk was not converted to the new rules system; instead, it was brought to a conclusion at Origins 2008.

In 2009, WotC released The Village of Hommlet (Andy Collins). It is not available for purchase; rather, it is sent as a reward to anyone signing up for the RPGA. It updates Gygax' Village of Hommlet to 4E. This is the only published official 4E material for the World of Greyhawk setting to date, although Mike Mearls' RPGA adventure Return to the Moathouse is also based on the original Village of Hommlet.

Unofficial Greyhawk sources

Although TSR and then WotC had owned the official rights to the World of Greyhawk since the first folio edition was published in 1980, the two people most responsible for its early development, Gary Gygax and Rob Kuntz, still had most of their original notes regarding the 50 levels of dungeons under Castle Greyhawk. In addition, Gygax also had his old maps of the city of Greyhawk, and still owned the rights to Gord the Rogue.

After Gygax left TSR in 1985, he continued to write a few more Gord the Rogue novels, which were published by New Infinities Productions: Sea of Death (1987), City of Hawks (1987), and Come Endless Darkness (1988). However, by this time, Gygax was furious with the new direction in which TSR was taking "his" world. In a literary declaration that his old world of Oerth was dead, and wanting to make a clean break with all things Greyhawk, Gygax destroyed his version of Oerth in the final Gord the Rogue novel, Dance of Demons. For the next 15 years, he worked to develop other game systems.

But there was still the matter of the unpublished dungeons under Castle Greyhawk. Although Gygax had given tantalizing glimpses into the dungeons in his magazine columns and articles, the dungeons themselves had never been released to the public. Likewise Gygax's version of the city of Greyhawk had never been published, although Frank Mentzer believed the reason for that was because "the City of Greyhawk was a later development, originally being but a location (albeit a capital). As such it was never fleshed out all that thoroughly... notes on certain locations and notorious personnel, a sketch map of great brevity, and otherwise quite loose. That is doubtless why Gary didn't publish it; it had never been completed."

However, in 2003, Gygax announced that he was working with Rob Kuntz to publish the original castle and city in 6 volumes, although the project would use the rules for Castles and Crusades rather than D&D. Since WotC still owned the rights to the name "Greyhawk", Gygax changed the name of the castle to "Castle Zagyg"—the reverse homophone of his own name originally ascribed to the mad architect of his original 13-level dungeon. Gygax also changed the name of the nearby city to "Yggsburgh", a play on his initials E.G.G.

This project proved to be much more work than Gygax and Kuntz had envisioned. By the time Gygax and Kuntz had stopped working on the original home campaign, the castle dungeons had encompassed 50 levels of cunningly complex passages and thousands of rooms and traps. This, plus plans for the city of Yggsburgh and encounter areas outside the castle and city, would clearly be too much to fit into the proposed 6 volumes. Gygax decided he would recreate something like his original 13-level dungeon, amalgamating the best of what could be gleaned from binders and boxes of old notes. However, neither Gygax nor Kuntz had kept careful or comprehensive plans. Because they had often made up details of play sessions on the spot, they usually just scribbled a quick map as they played, with cursory notes about monsters, treasures and traps. These sketchy maps contained just enough detail so that the two could ensure their independent work would dovetail. All of these old notes had to be deciphered, 25-year-old memories dredged up as to what had happened in each room, and a decision made whether to keep or discard each new piece. Recreating the city too, would be a challenge; although Gygax still had his old maps of the original city, all of his previously published work on the city was owned by WotC, so he would have to create most of the city from scratch while still maintaining the "look and feel" of his original.

Even this slow and laborious process came to a complete halt in April 2004 when Gygax suffered a serious stroke. Although he returned to his keyboard after a seven-month convalescence, his output was reduced from 14-hour work days to only one or two hours per day. Kuntz had to withdraw due to other projects, although he continued to work on an adventure module that would be published at the same time as the first book. Under these circumstances, work on the Castle Zagyg project continued even more slowly, although Jeffrey Talanian stepped in to help Gygax. Finally in 2005, Troll Lord Games published Volume I, Castle Zagyg: Yggsburgh. This 256-page hardcover book contained details of Gygax's original city, its personalities and politics, as well as over 30 encounters outside the city. The two-part fold-out map of the area was rendered by Darlene Pekul, the same artist who had produced the original map for the folio edition of World of Greyhawk. Later that year, Troll Lord Games also published Castle Zagyg: Dark Chateau, an adventure module written for the Yggsburgh setting by Rob Kuntz.

Book catalogs published in 2005 indicated several more volumes in the series would follow shortly, but it wasn't until 2008 that the second volume, Castle Zagyg: The Upper Works, appeared. The Upper Works described details of the castle above ground, acting as a teaser for the volumes concerning the actual dungeons that would follow. However, Gygax died in March 2008 before any further books were published. After his death, Gygax Games, under the control of Gary's widow Gail, took over the project, but to date no more volumes of the Castle Zagyg project have been published.

Rob Kuntz has also published some of his creative work within the Greyhawk dungeons, releasing in 2008 the adventure modules The Living Room, a whimsical but very dangerous room in the Greyhawk dungeons that housed enormous furniture; and Bottle City, a seemingly innocuous bottle found on the second level of the Greyhawk dungeons that contained within it an entire city. 2009 saw Kuntz release Daemonic & Arcane (a collection of Greyhawk and Kalibruhn magic items) and The Stalk (a wilderness adventure from Greyhawk), with plans to publish Kuntz's original levels contributed to Castle Greyhawk.

See also


  1. Gygax: "As the members began to get tired of medieval games, and I wasn't, I decided to add fantasy elements to the mix, such as a dragon that had a fire-breath weapon, a 'hero' that was worth four normal warriors, a wizard who could cast fireballs (the range and hit diameter of a large catapult) and lightning bolts (the range and hit area of a cannon), and so forth. I converted a plastic stegosaurus into a pretty fair dragon, as there were no models of them around in those days."
  2. Gygax: "The reception of fantasy elements in the medieval tabletop wargame was incredibly enthusiastic by about 90% of the old group. Lee Tucker dismissed it, and me. Mike Reese and Jeff Perren were not captivated by giants hurling boulders and dragons breathing fire and lightning bolts, nor did wizards with spells, heroes and superheroes with magic armor and swords prove compelling to them."
  3. Gygax: "I would use my point buys to take a superhero in magic armor, with a magic sword, backed up by a wizard with fireball spells. The superhero would assail the mass of enemy troops, and when they gathered round to attack him the wizard would drop a fireball on the lot. The superhero was very likely to come out unscathed, much to the fury of my opponents."
  4. Gygax: "I wrote the Chainmail Medieval Military miniatures Rules "Man-to-Man" and "Fantasy Supplement" c. 1970, and the booklet was published in 1971."
  5. Arneson: "See, I had this neat German plastic kit [of a castle]. Oddly enough, even though it was actually a German kit, years later I learned that it was actually a model of a castle in Sicily. But when I started, I was thinking German."
  6. Arneson: "[The concept of a fantasy campaign] just grew and shortly [the plastic castle] was too small for the scale I wanted. But it was a neat kit and I didn’t want to abandon it, so the only way to go was down [into the dungeons]. All this happened a few weeks before the first adventurers caught sight of it."
  7. Gygax: "Dave Arneson and I met at a GenCon here in Lake Geneva around 1968, and with Mike Carr we authored the Don't Give Up the Ship naval miniatures rules for the Great Age of Sail around 1971-2."
  8. Arneson: "We were in correspondence with the group from Lake Geneva through the Napoleonic Campaigns at that time, so we mentioned that we were doing fantasy stuff on alternate weekends and they became very interested in it."
  9. Gygax: "Dave was running a man-to-man (1 figure = one person) Chainmail fantasy campaign around then, and he... came down from the Twin Cities to see us, the gaming group, in Lake Geneva in the late autumn of 1972. Arneson brought some of his campaign material with him..."
  10. Gygax: "I was as much taken with the prototype of the D&D game as anyone..."
  11. Gygax: "Credit Dave Arneson and Dave Megary (designer of the Dungeon! boardgame) with my concentrating on subterranean settings for the D&D game. The contained adventuring environment was perfect for establishing fixed encounters before a game session, and for developing progressively more hazardous ones as the PCs grew in their capacity to manage them."
  12. Gygax: "It was in the late fall of 1972 when I completed a map of some castle ruins, noted ways down to the dungeon level (singular), and invited my 11-year-old son Ernie and nine-year-old daughter Elise to create characters and adventure. This they did, and around 9 PM ... they had to come back from such imaginary derring-do, put their index card character sheets aside, and get ready for bed. They had had a marvelous time and wanted to keep playing."
  13. Q: "What was the first ever monster killed by a PC in D&D?" Gygax: "A giant centipede, with the 1st level PCs played by my son Ernie (fighter) and daughter Elise (cleric)."
  14. Gygax: "The monsters first encountered, by son Ernie's and daughter Elise's characters, were a nest of scorpions in some rubble in the very first room of the dungeon they entered. The glint of coins was mentioned to lure the incautious hand into attack proximity, but Elise's PC used a dagger to poke around, and the scorpions were spotted. Eventually one managed to sting, but the poison saving throw was made."
  15. Gygax: "They next encountered and defeated a gang of kobolds with a chest of 3,000 copper pieces. Needless to say, they weren't pleased with the treasure."
  16. Gygax: "Later in the long session of exploration, the two intrepid adventurers came upon the lair of several kobolds, slew two and the rest fled. They found an iron chest filled with coins...several thousand copper pieces--that was too heavy to move. A big disappointment."
  17. Gygax: "After they went upstairs I stayed in my study and went to work on a second dungeon level."
  18. Gygax: "In a couple of days time Don Kaye (Murlynd), Rob (Robilar, Otto) and Terry (Terik) Kuntz joined the gang."
  19. Gygax: "The castle and dungeons came about a month before the first, one-page map of the City of Greyhawk."
  20. Gygax: "An average of seven gaming sessions a week was typical even when I was busy working. Often I played more than that. "
  21. Gygax: "When I initiated the Greyhawk campaign, I envisaged a world of parallel earth sort. Thus the geography then assumed was pretty close to that of earth. Being busy running game sessions, creating dungeon levels, the map of Greyhawk City, writing new material, and also really enjoying 'winging it', I never did a large-scale map for the world."
  22. Gygax: "The planet was much like our earth. The city of Greyhawk was located on the [Great] lakes in about the position that Chicago is, and Dyvers was north at the Milwaukee location. The general culture was pseudo medieval European. Some of the kingdoms shown on the WoG map were around the adventure-central area, the City of Greyhawk."
  23. Gygax: "When I was using the pre-World of Greyhawk map for my world setting, the West Coast of North America was the Pleistocene region inhabited by savage cavemen and their contemporary fauna."
  24. Gygax: "Zagyg is based on a sort of joke--me as the mad designer of Greyhawk Castle and its dungeons. After all, how else could such a place exist?
  25. Gygax: "Rob, playing Robilar solo, delved into the dungeon, made it. Ernie, noting Rob's absence from adventuring with the party, sent Tenser on a solo quest to discover Robilar's whereabouts. He managed to follow a similar path, and made level 13. Then Terry Kuntz noted both of his usual companions were not available to play, went forth with Terik, and made the lowest level successfully... No other players in the group managed that."
  26. Gygax: "When a character got down to this level there was no going back. The one managing that was given an appropriate reward then sent on a giant, one-way slide clear through to the other side of the world."
  27. "Robilar was one of the first to make it around the Oerth. By entering the lowest level in Greyhawk Castle, he was propelled by a magical slide to what would be modern day 'China.' Teric and Tenser followed, as they missed his return to the first level of the Castle, which, as a team, this trio held sway over. They caught up with him by scrying and they finished the adventure together."
  28. Gygax: "Many of them, the "regulars" numbering around a dozen, were there seeking daily adventure sessions, while the majority of the others showed up to play on weekends. Sometimes there were over 20 D&D gamers gathered in my basement."
  29. Gygax: "I enlisted Rob as co-DM for my campaign too, as it took two of us to manage the large player groups, and also to run all the game sessions demanded by smaller parties. Often times there were two long sessions a day in 1974 and 1975. I had to write material, so Rob ran many of them."
  30. Gygax: "There were well over 60 different players that participated in in the game sessions that I ran, and that's one of the reasons that I had Rob Kuntz join me as co-DM."
  31. Gygax: "An average of seven gaming sessions a week was typical even when I was busy working. Often I played more than that. Rob would DM for me one-on-one where I mostly roleplayed..."
  32. Gygax: "When after a couple of year's of time Rob became my co-DM there was a massive alteration in the upper works of the castle, a whole, massive new 1st level was created, and then the level plan for the expanded lower levels of the dungeon was created anew, with the original levels of my making incorporated with those of Rob's dungeons, plus a number of new ones we created to fill the whole scheme."
  33. Gygax: "I ceased the campaign in 1985 when I severed all times with TSR. I have used it on occasion since, of course, but nor for regular, ongoing play."
  34. Gygax: "The whole of the combined material Rob and I put together would be far too large for publication, 50 levels or so."
  35. Q: "I'm curious as to, in the early D&D games, how much character and personality did the players put into the PC's?" Gygax: "The main thrust for most players back then was the action, so a few PCs were unnamed, and we referred to them rather caustically as 'Joe's fighter' or 'Bob's cleric'. The core group, the regulars, were much more concerned with developing their PCs, interacting with each other and some NPCs in character."
  36. Q: "Did you make up named spells like Melf's acid arrow, Otiluke's resilient sphere and Mordenkainen's disjunction yourself, or did these come from player research?" Gygax: "All of those spells I made up, usually to honor a PC in my campaign, or for the person who suggested the basis. Tasha [Tasha's hideous laughter] was a little girl who sent me letters in crayon, Nystul [Nystul's magic aura] was an actual stage magician I met through Len Lakofka. Melf [Melf's acid arrow] was a PC of son Luke, and Otiluke [Otiluke's resilient sphere] was a combination of a couple of his other PCs."
  37. Gygax: The next day they played, and with their PCs were two new ones, that of Rob Kuntz and Don Kaye's Murlynd."
  38. Gygax: "In general most of the players, myself included when initially adventuring and not DMing, thought little of the PC's name, but more about what thrilling things would transpire. Thus my first character was named Yrag, and some of the younger fellows in the group didn't even name their PC. Don Kaye was a semi-exception with Murlynd. As I became a bit more engaged in the broader possibility spectrum of the game I did a more seriously considered PC [Mordenkainen]... That became common with most of the veterans in our group around that time."
  39. Gygax: "We did WWII, modern city, and a bit of wild west... SF action was common... About one session in every 12 would involve somethingfrom outside the fantasy genre. That was enough to keep things from getting too staid."
  40. Kuntz: "Don was a great fan of the Western and an avid supporter of the Boot Hill rules."
  41. Gygax: "The strange wands that Murlynd used made a loud noise and delivered a damaging missile, but neither effect was due to gunpowder. These were very rare magic items devised by Murlynd's arcane understanding of technology and how to make it function magically."
  42. Kuntz: "Robilar's name is derived from Gary's novel, The Gnome Cache. Written prior to the formation of TSR, Robilar occurs therein as the baron who sends the questing Dunstan after the gnome treasure. Since I had contributed a minor sequence idea to the novel (wherein Dunstan, having succeeded, requires the Baron Robilar to uphold his part of the bargain by knighting him, which he does, quickly and without ceremony and then runs off to claim fame from higher-ups for "his", the Baron's, success) Gary later suggested the name for my primary PC in Greyhawk."
  43. Q:"What was the largest party Robilar ever adventured with (I mean, with other player characters)?" Kuntz: "Probably 6-7 in the earlier days. That then was too much for my wonts, which spurred me to seek solo adventures when possible."
  44. Kuntz: "Gary was none too happy with Robilar's adventure beneath the Temple of Elemental Evil. Robilar had a great time dismembering creatures, crunching things and watching Gary's look of consternation grow with every toppled column. The final straw was the releasing of Zuggtmoy. The DM's vendetta pursued Robilar all the way back to his castle, which he was forced to abandon."
  45. Kuntz: "Losing my castle was a major defeat, but I decided to abandon it because [Gygax] was noticeably intent on getting even with me for the Temple of Elemental Evil sacking I’d perpetrated."
  46. Kuntz: "The city, at the instigation of those Good forces, especially Tenser, had [the Green Dragon] confiscated."
  47. Kuntz: "Robilar, along with Teric and Tenser, formed a triumvirate and took over the first level of Castle Greyhawk for a while. They barracked their respective forces there and guarded ingress and egress, using the location as a base for further adventures deep within the sprawling castle complex. "
  48. Gygax: "Ernie, noting Rob's absence from adventuring with the party, sent Tenser on a solo quest to discover Robilar's whereabouts. He managed to follow a similar path, and made level 13."
  49. Gygax: "My first PC was a fghter named Yrag, back in 1972."
  50. Q: "Of the characters you have played, which is your favorite?" Gygax: "I really must admit Mordenkainen is my favorite. I enjoy playing fighters, rangers, thieves, clerics, and multi-classed sorts in OAD&D, but the magic-user is usually most fun for me."
  51. Gygax: "Mordenkainen came into being about the first month of 1973."
  52. Gygax: "The background I created for Mordenkainen was Finnish-like in nature, and his master was a chap called...Vainomoinen, sometimes referred to as 'Old Waino.' I really was captivated with Finnish myth after seeing a B&W movie done by the Russians, I think, about [Vainomoinen], Leminkainen, and Ilmarinen adventuring to Pojola and entering Louhi's fortress, then reading The Green Magician by de Camp and Pratt as well as the Kalevala."
  53. Gygax: "I do believe that Mordenkainen earned his twenty-something levels through cleverness, daring, a bit of luck, and dint of trying..."
  54. Q: "May we see [Mordenkainen's] stats?" Gygax: "Can you see Mordie's stats? No! I won't even show you those for my most recent PC, Louhi Sharpnose, a gnome illusionist and treasure finder who I created only about four years back."
  55. Gygax: "Mordenkainen was adventuring in Rob's dungeon when he surprised a 3rd level magic-user of Evil persuation. Mordie's charm spell worked on that worthy, whose name turned out to be Bigby. By dint of fellowship, lecturing, mentoring, and sharing with Bigby, he was not only turned from [Evil] to Neutral, but from there to a leaning towards [Good] as he considered his past actions."
  56. Q: "I heard a story which made it sound like Bigy was an NPC that you charmed and [who] later became your PC." Gygax: "Mordenkainen did indeed manage to get the drop on Bigby, [and] charm him. At the time Bigby was a 3rd-level [Evil] dungeon dweller. By word and deen Mordie brought him around from [Evil] to [Neutral], and thus Bigby became his apprentice. I got to roll the stats for that character after Rob [Kuntz] determined he was a loyal henchman of Mordenkainen."
  57. Gygax: "[Rary] was one that Brian Blume created early in the D&D cycle, a magic-user that Brian wanted to work up to 3rd level so as to introduce him as 'Medium Rary.' When he gained that level Brian quit playing that PC, pretty much dropped out of regularly playing D&D in fact."
  58. Gygax: "The original [Circle of Eight] was composed of my PCs--Mordenkainen, Bigby, Yrag, Rigby, Felnorith, Zigby, Vram & Vin. In the novel version the Circle was expanded to encompass other PCs in my campaign such as Tenser. It came into being because Mordenkainen and Associates had a lot of wealth stored up from successful adventuring, located a place for a stronghold deep in enemy territory to assure plenty of action, and then went to work building the citadel. As there was an small army of dwarves associted with the larger, mounted field army, the building project went relatively quickly, about three game years to complete. While it was in progress, the 'boys' were active in raiding the lands around to keep the enemy forces back on their heels."
  59. Gygax: "The Obsidian Citadel was indeed my personal creation as a player.... It was an octagonal castle with eight wall towers and a central keep with much space between the outer wall and the inner works because of the number of troops housed in this fortress.
  60. Gygax: "The Obsidian Citadel and its Circle of Eight was original to my own campaign. When Mordenkainen was at a level I considered too high for normal adventuring, I used the money he and his associates had amassed to construct the said fortress. The members of the 'Circle were Mordenkainen and...others of my PCs: Bigby, Yrag the fighter, Rigby the cleric, Zigby the Dwarf, the Elves Vram and Vin, and Felnorith as principles. A number of lesser PCs were [also] associated."
  61. Kuntz: "Before [Gygax] codified the gods there [were] Norse Gods... Robilar really only mentioned Odin once or twice; Mornard's Gronan as well as Ratners's Ayelerach both swore by Crom."
  62. Gygax: "St. Cuthbert was more of a joke than otherwise. Consider the advocacy of pounding sense into someone's head by dint of blows from a club."
  63. Gygax: "The development of anything akin to a logical pantheon of deities for the world setting took a considerable period of time to complete because we seldom dealt with such entities in play. St. Cuthbert and Pholtus were amusing to the players with cleric PCs so I spent time detailing them. The balance then followed as I brought into play evil deities to serve as villians and to frustrate the aims of the PCs."
  64. Gygax: "When I initially began creating adventure material I assumed that the GMs utilizing the work would prefer substance without window dressing, the latter being properly the realm of the GM so as to suit the campaign world and player group."
  65. Gygax: "As I was running a game with a large number of players involved, I really didn't want to supply them with the whole world on a platter."
  66. Gygax: "When I was asked by TSR to do my World of Greyhawk as a commercial product I was taken aback. I had assumed most DMs would far prefer to use their own world settings."
  67. Q: "In Dragon 315, Jim Ward talks about the origins of the Greyhawk setting, and is quoted as having said: 'He [Gygax] had the whole world mapped out'. Does this mean you have material about the rest of Oerth hidden in your basement?" Gygax: "Yes, I had a sketch map of the remainder of the globe..."
  68. Gygax: "The exact form of the remainder of the globe was not settled upon. I wanted an Atlantis-like continent, and possibly a Lemurian-type one. Likely two large continents would have been added. The nearest would house cultures akin to the Indian, Burmese, Indonesian, Chinese, Tibetan, and Japanese. Another would likely have been the location of African-type cultures, including the Egyptian. A Lemurian culture would have been based on the Central and South American cultures of the Aztec-Mayay-Inca sort."
  69. Gygax: "When I was asked to create a campaign setting for TSR to market, I did a new and compact "world"--that only in part, of course, as that was all I could fit onto the two maps allowed. So that became the World of Greyhawk."
  70. Gygax: "I found out the maximum map size TSR could produce, got the go-ahead for two maps of that size, then sat down for a couple of weeks and hand-drew the whole thing. After the maps were done and the features shown were named, I wrote up brief information of the features and states. Much of the information was drawn from my own personal world, but altered to fit the new one depicted on the maps."
  71. Gygax: "The World of Greyhawk setting was crafted to allow for individualization by DMs, of course, and so was as non-specific and vague in places where the DM was likely to have created his own material."
  72. Gygax: "When I did the map for the World of Greyhawk product I made up 90% of the material on the spot...and liked it better than what I had been doing so switched my own campaign to the newly created world of Oerth. Only the places surrounding the City of Greyhawk came from my original campaign setting."
  73. Gygax knew that Len Lakofka's first TSR adventure, The Secret of Bone Hill, was being readied for publication. It was set in Lakofka's home campaign setting of Lendore Island, so Gygax added that placename to the Spindrift Islands archipelago, and slyly added a reference to Lakofka in the description of the islands: "Lendore Isle is named for the Arch Mage who founded it, but tales of him and the fellowship he brought to the Spindrifts are all but lost."
  74. Ket was accidentally left out of the Table of Contents in the folio edition.
  75. Valley of the Mage was accidentally left out of the Table of Contents in the folio edition.
  76. Gygax borrowed the name of Dave Arneson's campaign world, Blackmoor, for one of his regions. However, his intention was not to move any part of Arneson's campaign to his own, and the Greyhawk region of Blackmoor bore no resemblance to Arneson's world, other than a sly reference to a ruined castle and "extensive ruins are supposed to exist under these ruins.". Gygax: "The Blackmoor on the Oerik maps is certainly not the same as Dave Arneson's campaign setting. I liked its ring, so I put it onto the map as I was making up names for the various states.
  77. Gygax: "Of course as my campaign world was active, had many players, I did not wish to detail it [for the general public], so I created Oerth, the continent of Oerik, and all that went with it for general use by other DMs. I found I liked it so well that I switched my group's play to the World of Greyhawk soon after I had finished the maps and manuscript"
  78. Gygax: "In regards to the timeline for the WoG setting, I had no immediate plan for advancing it as the world was meant to be used by all DMs so desirous, each making it conform to his own campaign needs."
  79. Gygax: "In general the player groups in my campaign were not much interested in politics and warfare. When I played my PCs, I was always meddling in politics and had a large army, so some warfare was played out with Rob as the DM."
  80. Gygax: "Greyhawk was set up to enable both political play and large-scale warfare..."
  81. Gygax: "The relatively low level of NPCs, and the balance between alignments was done on purpose so as facilitate the use of the world setting by all DMs. With a basically neutral environment, the direction of the individual campaign was squarely in the hands of the DM running it... That was done because to my way of thinking dominance by one alignment group tends to restrict the potential for adventuring."
  82. "Often promised, but often delayed, WORLD OF GREYHAWK sometimes appeared destined to never see the light of publication... Soon the summer was fast disappearing, along with most of our expectations, but on a fateful day in early August, the cherished cry was finally raised. THE WORLD OF GREYHAWK had arrived!"
  83. Gygax: "I must accept the blame, of course, as I okayed the material. Of course, being a DM who always flew by the seat of his pants, I never used [the tables]... When I was running a game the weather was what I said it was."
  84. Gygax: "Had I remained in creative control of the D&D game line at TSR one of the projects I planned was the complete development of the Oerth world setting, and production of source nodules for the various states and outstanding featires of the Flanaess--such as the Roft Canyon, the Sea of Dust, etc."
  85. Q: "What direction would have Greyhawk gone? How different would it be today?" Gygax: "There would be a complete globe with more continents and states thereon."
  86. Gygax: I did intend to expand the WoG setting to cover the complete planet... No real work had been done on this project, though, when I parted from TSR at the end of 1985."
  87. Gygax: "I had plans to create material detailing the various states and major terrain features of the world setting, as well as completing the world with a second boxed set.""
  88. Gygax: "Francois had a map of a continent and some islands to the east, and they were going to be added. The "Orient" wes actually to be past them, closer to the West Coast of Oerik... Len Lakofka had an eastern continental addition as well as the Lendore Isles, so what I planned to so was incorporate Francois' and Len's maps with Oerik, complete the lower continent below it, and have a real globe."
  89. ]
  90. ]
  91. ]
  92. ]
  93. Gygax: "I was alerted to a problem: Kevin Blume was shopping TSR on the street in New York City. I flew back from the West Coast, and discovered the corporation was in debt to the bank the tune of circa $1.5 million."
  94. Gygax: "Anagrams of my name are exclusively my property according to my settlement agreement with TSR, so that is how I can use Zagyg, or Zagig, as well as Yrag."
  95. Gygax: "Later TSR and [Wizards of the Coast] approaches to and treatment of the Greyhawk setting was quite contrary to the purpose for which I intended it when it was created."
  96. Gygax: "The original map of Greyhawk city was one sheet of graph paper with colored boxes indicating various places where PC would go--inns & taverns, armorers, money changers & banks, gemners & jewelers, city buildings, guilds, etc. That was expanded to two, then four map sheets, with the thieves' quarter and Rob's Green Dragon Inn shown."
  97. Q: "After you left TSR, you finished the Gord the Rogue books. At the end of the cycle, Oerth bites the bullet. Was this your way of saying that Greyhawk is dead and that fans should turn away from TSR's version with disdain?" Gygax: "More my way of saying that since T$R had killed the setting with trash releases, it was time to wipe out the shame by obliterating the setting."
  98. Gygax: "I have laid out a new schematic of castle and dungeon levels based on both my original design of 13 levels plus side adjuncts, and the 'New Greyhawk Castle' that resulted when Rob and I combined our efforts and added a lot of new levels too. From that Rob will draft the level plans for the newest version of the work. Meantime, I am collecting all the most salient feature, encounters, tricks, traps, etc. for inclusion on the various levels. So the end result will be what is essentially the best of our old work in a coherent presentation usable by all DMs, the material having all the known and yet to be discussed features of the original work that are outstanding... I hope."
  99. Gygax: "The whole of the combined material Rob and I put together would be far too large for publication, 50 levels or so. What I have done is gone back to my original design of more modest scope, because I doubt the work will need to accommodate groups of 20 PCs delving on a daily basis."
  100. Gygax: "...the original upper and lower parts of Castle Greyhawk changed many times over the years they were in active use. What we will do is to take the best of the lot and put that into a detailed format usable by anyone."
  101. Gygax: "I did indeed create details for the PC party on the spot, adding whatever seemed appropriate, and as Rob played and learned from me, he did the same, and when we were actively co-DMing we could often create some really exciting material on the spot, if you will."
  102. Gygax: "As Rob learned from me, he too DMed by the proverbial seat of the pants method. A single line of notes for an encounter was sufficient for either of us to detail a lengthy description, action, dialog, tricks or traps, and all the rest."
  103. Gygax: "What our challenge is going to be is to cull the extraneous, take the best, and re-create the details we made up on the spot. Of course the most famous things will be there, along with most of the best parts that are not well-known through story and word of mouth. "
  104. Gygax: "Yggsburgh was a pain in the rump to write because I wanted to include as much detail as possible for the GM interested in using it as a campaign base. So there are sections on history, costume, monetray system and economy of the area, and complete descriptions of the town, its main locations, and the outstanding geographical areas all with encounters or suggestions for same."
  105. Gygax: "the problem is that I tire out after about an hour."
  106. Gygax: "Rob has finished his add on module, but i have not been up to doing the work needed to create the upper works of the castle proper, let alone the dungeon levels below them When my oldest friend died in late November, it was quite a setback for me. Anyway, I am feeling a good deal better if late, and I will attempt real creative work as soon as I feel up to it--likely March."

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