One of the things about a complex cannon of events in a world like Greyhawk is that you quickly find yourself confused about what happened when, to whom, and how it all got there to begin with. The Greyhawk Wars, which I’m clearly preoccupied with of late, are just such an event.
What complicates the timeline even more is the hodgepodge manner in which it came together. As Rick Swan would note in DRAGON Magazine #198:
The WORLD OF GREYHAWK setting, the original campaign setting of AD&D game godfather E. Gary Gygax, has always reminded me of a crazy quilt, where odd-shaped scraps of material are randomly sewn together and everybody hopes for the best. How else to explain a setting that encompasses everything from the somber A1-4 Scourge of the Slave Lords adventure to the King Kong-inspired WG6 Isle of the Ape to the cornball humor of WG7 Castle Greyhawk? It makes for an interesting mess, but it’s a mess nonetheless . . . For me, the most credible attempt at smoothing out the rough spots came with The City of Greyhawk . . . Wisely concentrating on a small section of the world, the set offered a host of intriguing personalities, adventure ideas galore, and best of all, a coherent background . . .”Swan, 49
The City of Greyhawk, though not a part of the Greyhawk Wars, is where I will be starting my own explorations of the event and its fallout. This is because as we (you and me, because I’m going to be writing about what I find) move forward we’re modifying The City of Greyhawk in From the Ashes and not replacing it entirely. So The City of Greyhawk will be the base that everything builds off.
Our next two sources will be the adventures WGS1 Five Shall be One (1991) and WGS2 Howl from the North (1991). These two interconnected adventures set the stage immediately before the Greyhawk Wars and should help ground us in the narrative shortly before everything kicks off.
We follow this with the Greyhawk Wars game. From here we’ll take all the setting material we can find to help build an understanding of what’s happening in the world and couple that with Zeb Cook’s fantastic essay “History of the Greyhawk Wars.”
At this point we’re officially done with the Greyhawk Wars, but I want to look at three sources to help gain a bit more insight into the fallout of things. First we’ll be looking at From the Ashes and the companion piece from DRAGON Magazine #198, “Campaign Journal: From the Ashes” as they’ll help set the stage for what’s coming. But I’m also going to include a look at Return of the Eight. Return of the Eight is a controversial choice to include in this project as it represents an attempt by Wizards of the Coast to re-examine the events after the Greyhawk Wars and provide a different contextualization, but it’s one that I would like to examine to see if this helps provide a better narrative or if it muddies the waters further.
If you have any additional suggestions for sources to examine from this time period I would love to hear them as I’m really interested in the Greyhawk Wars right now.
Swan, Rick “Role-playing Reviews” DRAGON Magazine #198. TSR, Inc. October, 1993 pg. 49