New to Greyhawk, where to start?



Oct 10, 2006 9:34:00
I'm looking for a nice generic setting that doesnt have too much metaplot (Forgotten Realms) or is too altered from mainstream DnD ideas (Eberron), so it hit me that they probably use the gods from Greyhawk for a reason. So, with that in mind, what do I need to properly set my games in Greyhawk? I tried looking on wikipedia for info on it, but I get mostly info on it from the real world perspective and its sales, not the setting itself. I cant really go out and buy anything as I'm in the process of moving into a new apartment, so my budget is basically non-existant.

I also dont want to get too heavy into the setting, but it'd be nice to have some names and generalizations about the setting to mix in with my own ideas.


Oct 10, 2006 13:12:16
First thing first, read the FAQ sticky post up there as it is a good summary of what GH is, isn't, and what the main canon-sources of info are.

Unfortunately, WotC hasn't posted much "free" info about the setting. Still, they have published 3.5e version of some classic GH modules such as:


You should visit these two websites as they both contain a wealth of info (you'll have to register first though), though do keep in mind that much of it is "fan-material" and thus not-canon.

Plus, there are a few more:

Not to mention the one and only..

Apart from that, you should know that the 3 adventure paths published by Paizo in Dungeon magazine are all set in GH (although I don't quite agree with that statement for Shackled City, but that's just me)

Welcome to the Hawk!


Oct 10, 2006 13:35:43
I guess what I need more than anything is like a one to two page introduction to the setting, covering any major world events that would be known by all and the major geographical regions.


Oct 10, 2006 14:18:45
Unfortunately, that's where "canon" kicks in.

Depending on which GH fan you talk to, there are different "era" considered "best" to begin a campaign, and there are a lot of changes to certain nations depending on "when" you start playing.

The consensus is that 591 CY has the green light, if only because that's the date given in the last canon-GH accessory ever published.

For a short description of the different nations, you could always take a look at the regions and meta-regions of the LG campaign as they use generic GH info:

This will fill you in on the deities:

This is the best site about GH chronology that I know of:

Finally, this has a few articles about intriguing places in GH where any adventurer worth his salt would find opportunities for wealth, power, and horrible death:


Oct 10, 2006 14:20:55
That still seems like a lot of info for someone not familiar with the setting to go through. How am I supposed to know what to include and what not to? As far as timeframe, I guess the most recent era is best because I can always work back from there.


Oct 10, 2006 14:30:44
Greyhawk is rather lacking in that, the fan community for the setting hasn't embraced wiki as much as other worlds.

The best thing you could do for information is pick up a used version of the campaign setting from eBay or look for a pdf somewhere. Paizo might have something.

As most of the deities, prestige classes, races and the like are Core, you can rely on the modern rules and simply read the fluff text.


Oct 10, 2006 14:33:01


Oct 10, 2006 14:46:09
Where to start?

A sword, shield, torch, and 50' of rope.



Oct 10, 2006 16:09:36
It might be better if you told us what kind of game you'll be running and we could offer some starting points.

For example if you wanted to run a 'standard fantasy' campaign starting at level 1, where the PC's fight orcs and such, without too many complications, I might suggest starting folks in the Yeomanry and running Keep on the Borderlands or some other classic into mod. If your tastes ran to urban adventuring discussion would most likely focus on the Free City of Greyhawk. There is no typical Greyhawk campaign; it can accomodate almost any type of play.


Oct 10, 2006 22:27:59
Welcome to Greyhawk OzyBurrfoot

I would get the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer; it gives the latest overview of the setting (some history, nations, groups) and includes a color map, although I prefer the four part one in Dungeon #114-118.

Several sites have these items (fairly cheap esp. LLG) - amazon, paizo or Noble Knight etc.

But I warn you dabbling in Greyhawk quickly becomes addictive...Enjoy :D


Oct 11, 2006 9:12:39
I'm probably going to get a lot of heat for this...

In all honesty, I would avoid Greyhawk, and that's coming from a fan of the setting. Why? Because the setting doesn't have a lot of support in the form of official cohesive product resources for players. It's a problem with which my players had struggled during my Greyhawk campaign. They just didn't have the time required to scour through miscellaneous scattered resources just to glean some information. I tried to compile resources for them, but it seemed to add to the confusion simply because I wasn't able to make it cohesive enough, not to mention the vast information on the large number of regions and nations and the extensive politics and history they each had. To add to the confusion, Greyhawk's long and inconsistent history as a setting made gathering such information even more arduous.

I would suggest instead looking into Ptolus. It's designed specifically to accomodate the D20 rules. There is a free PDF Player's Guide that players can download. If you feel ambitious, the $120 Ptolus hardcover seems to be worth the money when you consider the sheer volume of quality content that you get. The PDFs version of the product can be purchased by sections for easier budgeting and consumption as well as for a lower price overall. Additionally, Ptolus is complete, meaning it is thorough enough and includes enough adventure material that no expansion supplements are needed. Any additional supplements available are simply game accessories such as maps, counters, miniatures, etc.


Oct 11, 2006 10:15:47
I'm probably going to get a lot of heat for this...



Oct 11, 2006 10:31:02
I would get the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer; it gives the latest overview of the setting (some history, nations, groups) and includes a color map, although I prefer the four part one in Dungeon #114-118.

Honestly, I wouldn't. The history is detailed but only a fraction is in the 'history' section and the rest spaced out through the many lengthy descriptions of nations.
It comes with a large map but there are none in the book to aid its reading so you almost have to haul the poster with you.
And while the book is authoratative in its knowledge of the lands it is a chore to get through, being drier than a high school eurpean history textbook.

I bought it for Living Greyhawk so I could learn the setting and never made it more than 1/3rd in.


Oct 11, 2006 10:41:40
I would suggest instead looking into Ptolus.

You know, I looked at it and thats not a half bad idea, and being that the "world" info is fairly light, I can tweak it as much as needed, thanks.

My only question is, which gods do they use? I already have a cleric of St. Cuthbert.


Oct 11, 2006 11:44:37
Ptolus is amazing. I plan on running it as my next campaign. After I finish my current Greyhawk classics of course.

You can change St. Cuthbert to Lothian if you want to be in "the Church", or you can just import St. Cuthbert in. Ptolus assumes innumerable minor gods.

Personally I don't mind the lack of cohesive support for Greyhawk. You can make it what you want. Greyhawk is core D&D. The spells, the magic item, the gods. It's all baked in. Just pick a spot on the map and go for it.


Oct 11, 2006 11:46:19
I think what I'm going to do is keep the GH gods and just tweak Ptolus to suit my needs.


Oct 12, 2006 19:15:15
I would pick up the 1983 World of Greyhawk boxed set on eBay. It has everything you could possibly need to start a GH campaign.



Oct 16, 2006 21:12:33
I'll second Ghul's recommendation, also suggest the LGG (since it's easier to find, though you can probably get a 1983 box or 1980 folio for $25 on eBay without too much difficulty), and cast Amaril into Carynach for his heresies :D :D