Friday, August 22, 2014


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What Is "Spirit of Greyhawk"?

Spirit of Greyhawk (SoG) is an implementation of Evil Hat's Fate Core, with the idea that the rules try to reflect "the way things worked" in the gameworld of Greyhawk, circa the late 70's and early 80's.

For example, if a player came to a session of SoG with the past experience that, in the world of Greyhawk, trolls take extra damage from fire, hitting a troll in SoG with a torch would have the expected effect.

The goal is to make a set of rules that takes advantage of all the positives that Fate Core allows, but still gives players the sense that they have been adventuring in the world of Greyhawk.

So the point of the ruleset is to invoke the "spirit" of Greyhawk. Which also makes the working title a no-brainer. This project was started at a time when Evil Hat's Spirit of the Century was the state-of-the-art Fate ruleset. Which should also give Fate-o-philes a sense of the pace at which I've been working.

What Makes Spirit of Greyhawk Different?

Spirit of Greyhawk is about trying to recreate the "play experience" of what it was like to play in the world of Greyhawk. The conceit of SoG is that the rules in the source material were written to describe the way things work in the world of Greyhawk.

Think of the basic translation process as working like this:

Take the source material's rules and turn that into a series of assumptions about how something works in the gameworld. From those assumptions, apply Fate Core rules to portray assumptions using the "Fate fractal" to expand where necessary.

Hopefully, this would provide RPG players of a certain age (like me) the opportunity to play Fate in a world that is already somewhat familar.

When I actually get an all-too-rare opportunity to spend a few hours with friends at the table-top, I don't want to spend that time having to learn a new version of rules for a world I've already put a lot of work into understanding. I love Fate Core, I love old-school Greyhawk. Simple enough. Though that's not the same as saying "easy enough"...

So, What's the Goal?

I don't consider myself a game designer, so much as a game master in need of a ruleset that helps me tell the stories I want to tell, the way I want to tell them. The actual goal (more than a hope) is to get to a compiled ruleset and that it would be something worth sharing with people who are looking for something similar.

The blog's goal is be a workspace to test ideas, noodle around theories, gather opinions, and in general be a reason to push myself to keep progressing towards that goal of a compiled ruleset.

Roll Credits!

I'll start with a very sincere debt of gratitude to Mike Olson, who has been gracious enough to let the Spirit of Greyhawk project "crash on the sofa" of his blog the last few years. He was also kind enough to encourage me to put this project into its own blog.

To Jeff Bradley, who has been a tireless sounding board for Spirit of Greyhawk playtests. Your unflagging positive energy (and inspired roleplay) has been a great resource--not sure I'd be posting today without your support. Here's a mug of ale to Rysc and Muntz--the Laurel and Hardy of SoG--long may they annoy each other!

To Bill Burdick: my partner in crime since the second grade. Discovering Steve Jackson's Melee and Wizard Microgames truly was the beginning of the end for us.

And a tip of the hat to Nick Daly, for reminding me that people still read those original SoG posts that appeared on Mike O's Spirit of the Blank blog.

And of course the whole project is really a love letter to the work and endless imaginations of E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

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