Sunday, August 4, 2019

The view from Greyhawk & Judge's Guild's The Wilderlands of High Fantasy 1977 - More Old School Commentary

"Enter this world and discover excitement far beyond your wildest dreams. Greyhawk is the place where adventure begins and ends"

Tonight I was reading through Greyhawk Adventures: Saga of Old City By Gary Gygax. I was surprised at the overlap between this book & the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition book Greyhawk Adventures book by James M Ward. You can find a large write up I did on Greyhawk Adventures on my blog hereSaga of Old City by Gary Gygax introduces Gort The Rogue but its the book's contents that got under my skin. 

You can almost feel the grit & grime of Greyhawk washing off of the page with the soil & Sword & Sorcery weirdness just washing off  of the stories setting. Mr.Gygax's imagination must have been firing on all ends. The plot according to the wiki entry goes something like this;"
Saga of Old City was the first novel to feature Gord the RogueSaga of Old City starts in Gord's childhood, and ends with his triumphant return to Greyhawk City as a young man and master thief. He learns his trade in the 'beggars' guild', and gets involved in the gang war touched off by the beggars encroaching on the official thieves' guild's territory. He travels and has a variety of swashbuckling adventures, ranging from participating in a war, to liberating a young noblewoman held hostage, to defeating a demon with a druid, Curley Greenleaf, and a barbarian, Chert." Everything that we're seeing off sets the material that's presented within the classic Greyhawk box set. 

Gary's vision of Greyhawk as his living breathing table top world that he & his players were delving into & really fleshing out through play comes across in the Gord the Rogue. This same style of writing echoes & pushes its way through Gord's entire saga.Weird see a similar vibe come across in Judge's Guild's The Wilderlands of High Fantasy. In fact I'd say that Gord would feel at home in the back alleys & underworld of Judge's Guild's  adventure setting.

Why?! Because the content of the Wilderlands of High Fantasy; "d
etails the wilderness areas of the City State. Valley of the Ancients, Valon, Tarantis, and the Barbarian Altanis. This playing aid includes s 32-page booklet on the villages, populations, leaders, technological levels, citadels and castles, and wilderness monster lairs of these areas. The first of our wilderlands series, this covers the settlements of the City State of the Invincible Overlord, Tegel Manor, Modron, Thunderhold, and Haghill. This Playing Aid has been Created and Approved for use with D&D. Maps 1 2 3 4 5" The secret lies with Gord & how the beggars guild deals with him on his evolution. Gord is a product of the streets of Greyhawk but he'd be very much at home within the Wilderlands themselves as well. Both settings are products of their time & their author's imaginations.

There is a certain over arching thematic voice that seems to go through late Seventies & early Eighties Sword & Sorcery as well as high fantasy. That voice is Gary Gygax & those who came before him. We see this time & again in the various paperbacks that appeared during this time period. Gord The Rogue could easily pass among the streets the streets of the Invincible Overlord or break into the temples that line the countryside the Highlands. What does all this mean? It means that many of the same thematic flavors have occurred in Greyhawk also appear in JG's  Wilderlands of High Fantasy. Everything is doable & the bounty is permitted to the DM & we are only limited by our imagination. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.