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.
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.
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