Last night I was reading an older DRAGON magazine that I had picked up recently when I ran across an article, “Part Dragon, All Hero: Half-dragon characters, for the Council of Wyrms setting and beyond,” by Roger E. Moore. The article is fascinating for a number of reasons but what got my attention was the following passage:
Oerth is a more cosmopolitan setting than many, its peoples long accustomed to magical displays and unusual beings in their midst. Individual power, both physical and magical, is respected and sought; the people of the Flanaess are on the whole practical, calculating, materialistic, and prone to looking out for their own interests first. This dark flavor has promoted a certain freedom from bias among its peoples, especially in the City of Greyhawk. One wag has commented that a stranger can be as strange as he wants, so long as he obeys the rules of the game.”Moore, 24
My first instinct when reading this passage was to note that it was different from the world that I had spent most of my time researching over the years – but then I realized it isn’t all that different. Unlike a lot of other setting the world of Greyhawk is open to some really aggressive displays of power that directly affect the people of the world instead of things that are beyond their control. Think about things like the Sea of Dust, the Sinking Isle, the Tovag Baragu, the fiend armies of Iuz, the demon armies of Sir Kargoth, the smiting of Iuz’s armies by the crook of Rao, the twin cataclysms that destroyed the Baklunish and Suloise empires, and so on. Magic isn’t some far off thing for the peoples of Oerth; it’s an every day fact of life that could decimate their cities and end civilizations.
I’ve got to give this concept a bit more thought going forward but it’s certainly an interesting idea.
Moore, Roger. “Part Dragon, All Hero: Half-dragon characters, for the Council of Wyrms setting and beyond.” DRAGON Magazine #206. TSR, Inc. June, 1994. pg. 24