#RPGaDay2018 – Describe how your play has evolved

As a group we’ve become more tolerant of non-standard character concepts, especially when it comes to the World of Greyhawk. When our Dungeons & Dragons campaign started 20 years ago, we were diehard devotees of Greyhawk canon (there is a reason, after all, why the biggest Greyhawk fan website is called Canonfire).

We had holy wars over whether you could ever have a non-human paladin, whether druids should be allowed to wear metal armor (or hell, be alignment other than something in the neutral axis), whether to allow a barbarian who was raised by feyfolk, and whether dwarves can ever be wizards. (the answer to the last was obvious. No. Never.)

The Greyhawk setting was paramount to us, in part — I think — as a reaction against everything that was happening in the Forgotten Realms. You can have your duel-wielding, surface-dwelling drow antihero if you want … but you better not try that crap in Greyhawk.

Change came slowly. When Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition came along and we ran our Pirates of the Vohoun playtest campaign, one of the players wanted to run an elven paladin with a giant seahorse mount. This gave rise to a heated debate about slippery slopes and the abomination that would be a kobold paladin.

Because damn it, you know this is going to lead to kobold paladins.

Not. In. My. Greyhawk.

So we compromised and said that he could be a half-elf paladin. This way it was tied back to the human cultural ideal of the paladin (a concept that was, quite naturally, absent from proper the lore of proper Greyhawk elves). He was promptly killed by dire weasels, but that’s a story for another day.

When Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition came around, many of us balked at the idea of dragonborn in Greyhawk. That was one of the reasons I went with the extraplanar Planetorn campaign concept — you can have whatever kind of crazyass character concept you want on the streets of Sigil, but he better stay in Sigil.

These days we’re much more tolerant. Part of it might be that we’ve playing for two decades in the same campaign setting. We’ve played every archtypal character you can play, so suddenly that dragonborn looks a little more attractive. Our current Hearts of Darkness campaign is purposefully set in Greyhawk’s future specifically so we can introduce whatever character concepts we want without upsetting campaign canon.

As a result the new campaign included a tiefling, dragonborn and even a dwarven battlemage. Heck, I’m even playing the dwarven battlemage.

We’ve had fun figuring out exactly how all this came to pass. The tieflings are obviously fallout from the fiends summoned to fight in the Greyhawk Wars. The dwarves? It turns out that there was a dwarven nation that went west, discovered magic, and returned home to share their knowledge with their eastern cousins.

There are still no kobold paladins though. You have to draw a line somewhere.

2 comments

  1. Dag abbot, I much prefer kobold paladins over most of those other options! Ran a whole secondary storyline that led to a lawful good kobold monastery for holy warriors.

    Then again, I did do a 1e game with a halfling magic user. What halfling cook wouldn’t want cantrips? A good one, which I was not.

  2. Nice! At this point kobold paladins in Greyhawk are a line I won’t cross. But a cadre of kobold paladins sounds like an excellent addition to Spellcrash. Hated by all, mocked by many, feared by none … but that’s gonna change. 🙂

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