Sunday, July 7, 2019

An Indepth Look At Greyhawk Adventures By James Ward & Gary Gygax for Your OSR & Old School Games

"Enter this world and discover excitement far beyond your wildest dreams. Greyhawk is the place where adventure begins and ends?.""Become part of the oldest continuous fantasy campaign as you explore parts of Oerth never seen before. Learn about Greyhawk's deities, heroes, monsters, arcane items, magical spells, and much, much more. A book for lovers of Greyhawk and players of all fantasy role-playing games."
Here's the low down on the bits & bobs for Greyhawk Adventures before we get started for the collectors & what not; 
"Greyhawk Adventures 1988 ... James M. Ward ... 128 pages (hardcover) ... TSR 2023 ... ISBN 0880386495"

Someplace over the long weekend I got down my copy of Greyhawk Adventures. This to me is one of the indispensable hardbacks when running Gary Gygax's World of Greyhawk campaign setting. Sure you'll see everyone talk about the classic Greyhawk folio & the box set of Greyhawk. What they don't talk about is what James Ward did for Greyhawk with this book. 

This book takes Greyhawk & bridges the gap between 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons & the second edition of the grand game. This twilight zone period marks the hump between points in eras & this book not only helps bridge that gap for the setting but expands the role of Greyhawk's PC's in so many ways. Here' a quick & easy break down according to Wayne's Books;
"Deities and Clerics of Greyhawk; Monsters of Greyhawk; Hall of Heroes; Magical Spells; Magical Items of Greyhawk; Geography of Oerth; Adventures in Greyhawk; Appendix 1 - Zero-Level Characters; Appendix 2 - Greyhawk Spell List."
While some of these articles had appeared in Dragon magazine under the careful purview of Gary Gygax himself. Its James Ward's quantifying & guiding hand that brings these down to the table top level. That's right this is a book that's meant to be used & played. This is a book meant for both player & dungeon master that bends & then uses the world of Greyhawk for a home  campaign game.  Ward & Gygax do this by giving the player lots of options for their Greyhawk PC then giving them a bit more.

For the dungeon master this is the book that you want if your going to run an in the gutter down & dirty game of Greyhawk. It takes you from one extreme of the setting into the realm of the gods without missing a beat. It does this by keeping the pace quick & the information heavy.
This is a book to take on a campaign in Greyhawk with & do it well there are several reasons for this:

  1. Many of the major events of Greyhawk are referenced & expanded upon within this book especially in the section of the gods. 
  2. The monsters section of Greyhawk Adventures is a must for a dungeon master looking to use this campaign setting. 
  3. Clerics, priests, & even paladins of Greyhawk are gonna need this book in spades. 
  4. The important movers & shaker NPC's of Greyhawk are not only outlined but given more room on the table & within the spot light. 
  5. Artifacts & dangerous magic items are brought right into the light. 
  6. /This marks the really last important book of Greyhawk in my mind from the old classic era of TSR 
  7. Adventures set on Greyhawk need this book to really get the feel & a handle upon where Greyhawk as a setting was going. 
  8. There should have been more modules for this book but that's where you the players & the dungeon master come in. 
  9. There are several adventure & campaign hooks in here that can greatly expand the Greyhawk setting as a campaign.
  10. Com'n this is Greyhawk & its a great book to own,use, etc. 
To say that Greyhawk Adventures doesn't have any baring on the current OSR is like saying that there isn't any apples in apple pie. This book is fantastic for the OSR! Not only can you use Greyhawk Adventures to expand the setting but there's guidelines for using some of the powerful magic items! Imagine opening a doorway into Dark Europe of Lamentations of the Flame Princess or Dark Albion. 
Don't imagine it because that's exactly what happened in a recent game of DM Steve's that I played in.

Gamma World was another place that we visited recently and were stranded there but managed to get back home. Greyhawk Adventures is the perfect book to bridge gap into Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. Many of the factions, alliances,cults etc. of this book are perfectly suited to the darkness & weirdness of the setting with using Hyperborea as a sort of staging area or recruiting point for their own cults. Many of the poor fools  on that world would be only too easily duped into dealing with the cults of Greyhawk.
Greyhawk Adventures remains a favorite & a classic for a reason. The book is now available on Drivethrurpg & is about ten dollars. 

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