Greyhawk, Greyhawk Wars, Greyhawk Wars Research

LRCGB: Greyhawk and Higher Learning

The City of Greyhawk Boxed set often provides its readers with tantalizing bits of information that are thrown out without any additional connections beyond what it assumes are the most obvious to its readers.

Here the book focus on three schools: the University of Magic Arts, Grey College, and the School of Clerkship. These schools are loosely described, a few lines spared for each, and only the University of Magic Arts has its principal named in Kieren Jalucian.

It’s obvious what they think most players should be interested in here; but what captures my imagination is the following passage:

Other colleges also line the broad boulevard, and smaller and smaller schools are to be found in the parklike maze of Clerkburg. These range from tutors who teach but a single student to colleges with a staff of five and a dozen students, to the halls of Grey College itself, where a class of graduates might approach 100 individuals, during a good year . . .

Niles, pg 4

This passage paints an image of a winding, maze-like section of the city. It should be slightly confusing and wild. The streets should meander about and random dead ends should be a regular occurrence.

It should be a damned mess.

Instead Clerkburg (all locations denoted with a “C”) is a straightforward, boring affair.

Map from the City of Greyhawk Boxed Set

I expected something more like this:

I wanted to find this area of the city to be a pain in the ass to navigate as a player and to be as winding as a river and as confusing as a maze. I wanted it to have double backs, dead ends, and side streets that went off on their own with nothing to be found at the end.

I’m disappointed with what I got.

Clerkburg feels like it was designed without reading the text first. It’s a perfectly serviceable with what feels like an easy, leisurely road you could expect to take a date down. It’s safe; sanitized.

I hate it.

Works Cited

Niles, Douglas. Book 1: Greyhawk: Gem of the Flanaess A gazetteer of the Free City of Greyhawk and the Surrounding Area. TSR, inc. 1989. pg 4

4 thoughts on “LRCGB: Greyhawk and Higher Learning”

  1. I have to agree. My first thought from that description was the more backstreet areas of Oxford and Cambridge; specifically the area either side of Oxford’s Hollywell Street. Which, from the air, gives an impression of being both parklike and labyrinthine.

    I suspect that description is itself part of the problem; parklike suggests wide open spaces, while maze suggests closed and confining.


    1. Park-like denotes wide open spaces for you?

      Hm. I could see that. For me, though, it’s always been low hanging branches and winding trails that are just wide enough for a single person to walk along. They’re dirty, rocky paths with wild animals lurking just out of sight.

      Growing up in the mountains may have colored this understanding of parks and what their paths are like.


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