Saturday, July 16, 2011
4E, TOEE & the Why-Nots
-Why not just set it in Greyhawk? Well Greyhawk is something special to me and it needs to feel a certain way. I don't like a bunch of Drow and Minotaur PC's running around Greyhawk. I wouldn't call it wrong if someone else was running it that way but that kind of thing destroys part of the feel of the world and turns it into the Realms or something else. Part of what makes a campaign world unique is what is NOT a part of it. Trains and airships are Eberron, not Greyhawk. Drow PC's are Forgotten Realms, not Greyhawk. Mortals ascending to godhood is certainly a part of Gryhawk, so 4E itself is not un-Hawk to me, just some of the options. Even psionics fits just fine in GH as a sort of underground power source. There are just some quirky limitations I would have to put in place and my players probably wouldn't like it or understand them beyond "Dad's being a jerk because I can't play a Drow after asking to play one for 6 months" so why not place the campaign somewhere else?
- Why not Eberron? Because although I do have the books I have not read them, nor have I played in Eberron. I have no attachment to it and I don't think it has any quality that makes it particularly suited for placing TOEE over the Realms.
- Why not set it in the default 4E D&D world of Nerath or the Vale or whatever it's called? That would ensure a good fit with 4E but it doesn't have a ton of flavor. If we had been using the default setting already I probably would find a place to put it, especially since one of my early campaign ideas was to use that as a legendary age of Greyhawk [LINK] set in the distant past of 1E/2E/3E Greyhawk continuity. The problem there is that the temple shouldn't be around that far back and it just messes up my timeline in a big way. So the generic world has nothing to recommend it over the Realms and my ancient Hawk idea has too many problems with the timining.
- Why not run something else? There's the published string of 4E adventures, the dragon themed path published online, and now the Chaos Scar /Keep on the Borderlands thing online too. Well, I haven't seen the Chaos Scar stuff and the draogn thing looked kind of cool but the lower levels didn't do a ton for me. As for those published adventures...well, there is some cool stuff in there. My biggest problem is that they only really work in the generic D&D world as the whole theme of the series is the attempt by Orcus to wrest power over the dead from the Raven Queen. Move it to Eberron or the Realms and you don't have a Raven Queen anymore. There was a published conversion for the frist few at least but the problem with the Realms conversion is that it made the major opponent Shar the night goddess rather than Orcus, invalidating what few links there were already! Plus I don't care about making Shar my big bad - I want to use Orcus! What I needed was a replacement for the Raven Queen that made sense, not a replacement for Orcus! I would like to run these someday and they will probably form the backbone of my someday campaign set in ancient Greyhawk whenever I do eventually get to run that. I've also learned that 4E is fun for me to design in again - I like tweaking monsters and creating new ones and a conversion project gives me a chance to do that rather than just running some preset material.
- Finally, why not just run it in 1E or 2E as the lord intended? Sigh. I want to. One day I will run it in the original form. Right now though it's a tough sell on the Apprentices, Lady Blacksteel, and my other players. Some of them are a little interested, but they all know they like 4E so this wouldn't be a replacement for a 4E campaign - it would be a side game so I would have to come up with another option for a 4E game. Since I know I want to run it, and I know they want to play 4E, the obvious solution is a conversion to make us both happy. The old school urges still run deep, I just won't get to exercise them for this game.