I’m on an interview roll, it seems. I’ve known about the Greyhawk Reborn project, which is an attempt to keep the old Living Greyhawk campaign alive with a new and continuing “living campaign”, as it is active in my neck of the woods, and I’ve seen mentions of it at conventions and online. At this past Dexcon, I got to meet its founder and lead, Dave Guerrieri, and he graciously agreed to answer some questions about the project.
GG: What’s your background with D&D, Greyhawk, and Living Campaigns in general?
DG: I started playing D&D in summer of 1980, when one of my friends started playing during his freshman year of college, and have been playing steadily ever since. We grabbed another friend, and then quickly found another group playing AD&D, and that was a great summer. We played 4-5 nights a week, from 7 pm or so until the wee hours of the morning. Great times with great people discovering a great game. We started in Greyhak, and I never really got into other worlds. I remember buying the Ruins of Myth Drannor box set when it came out, and thinking it was pretty cool, but then when I bought the Forgotten Realms box set, it wasn’t Greyhawk cool. Greyhawk, to me, has always had the perfect formula. The kingdoms and areas have just enough detail to really have a great idea of the flavor and feel or the area, but I can still drop just about any adventure or concept into just about any area.
I started playing RPGA Living Greyhawk shortly after a home game broke up. One of the guys was playing in the LG campaign, and he ran an adventure for us in his basement, and I was hooked, along with other of my long term gamers. We went to a convention shortly after, and found some other like-minded gamers. Next thing we knew, we had a gaming group called The Regulators! Eventually, we ran some conventions, and I became a Keoland Triad member in 2005, and by the end of the LG campaign in 2008, I had basically worn every Triad hat possible in the RPGA. I was also an admin for Cormyr in the Living Forgotten Realms campaign for a short time.
GG: Describe how Greyhawk Reborn works, for those who might not be familiar with Living Campaigns.
DG: Greyhawk Reborn is a new living-style campaign based in the legendary World of Greyhawk using the D&D 5E rules! We pick up 15 years after the end of the Living Greyhawk campaign, using those events as inspiration for GHR. We provide the opportunity to create and play a character in a type of extended home game within a shared world of story-telling. Your PCs can be played at any Greyhawk Reborn event, whether they are at game days, conventions or something else. You can bring a group to a convention and play together all weekend, or you can come in small groups or by yourself and play with different players at different tables. Your characters will level up and become more powerful in the campaign, and as they do so they will become more immersed in our Greyhawk Reborn world.
We have standardized and codified some rules for Greyhawk Reborn to ensure a consistency and structure within the campaign, as well as managing treasure distribution and ensuring a quality play experience for our players. We are currently using the latest version of the D&D Next playtest rules, though we will soon be migrating to the finalized version of 5E. We are different from other living-style campaigns in that our authors also act as the DMs for their adventures. We feel this provides the best possible play experiences for our players.
GG: What made you want to continue the RPGA Living Greyhawk campaign?
DG: I missed the gaming community that Living Greyhawk built. I used to travel quite a bit with The Regulators (our gaming group), and was fortunate enough to meet many wonderful people. LG gave people a reason to go to game days and conventions. When Living Forgotten Realms came out, there was no reason for players to go to conventions or game days to play. LFR could be run in your own basement. So lots of people started playing it like that, while others were less than enthusiastic about 4E D&D, and went to other games or stopped playing. So I wanted to create a reason for the gaming community to get together again, and become stronger. When gamers get together, for playing or any other reason, that can only be good for the gaming community, and the gaming industry.
GG: Describe what you feel are some of the pluses and minuses between living campaigns and home campaigns.
DG: Nothing beats a great home campaign, one with a long term commitment from DMs and players alike, with an organized and creative DM and players desiring to be a part of the story. Unfortunately, that happens rarely as life gets in the way. People move away, get married, have jobs, have kids, and that group that used to gather once a week religiously now is lucky to get together once a month. The living-style campaigns, such as Greyhawk Reborn, can make it much easier to play. You can show up when it is convenient for you, and you don’t need to find other folks, the organizers do that work. It becomes a much easier way to play some D&D as life gets in the way. You can choose the commitment level that fits your current life situation.
The other wonderful benefit of a living-style campaign is the wide variety of gamers that you meet. You find role-players, roll-players, and everything in between. You sit at tables with all kinds of DMs and players. You meet some many great people, many of whom will become friends. By getting into the Living Greyhawk, I met so many great players, great DMs and great people. They made me re-evaluate my gaming, and I became a better player, a better DM, and most importantly, a better person. That is the biggest plus I’ve found.
I guess about the only minus I can find is the amount of work we are putting into it, but we love what we are doing.
GG: Why Keoland?
DG: Very simple reasons, it was my home region in the Living Greyhawk campaign, and the region in which I spent 3+ years as a Triad member. It is most familiar to me, and the area in which I have the most knowledge and background.
GG: What sort of relationship, if any, does your organization have with Wizards of the Coast?
DG: None, really. They are aware of what we are doing. I felt it proper and professional to communicate our intentions to their organized play manager, especially as we were using the D&D Next playtest rules, which required an agreement with WotC. With the DMs writing and running their own adventures, we are not violating any intellectual property of WotC, simply running the game the way it is meant to be played. The DM creates their stories and adventures, and then runs them for the players. The GHR campaign staff simply manages and organizes the campaign, so that there is game balance, and a fairness and consistency to the campaign. If we continue to grow and expand, who knows what the future can hold for GHR.
GG: Where do you see Greyhawk Reborn in ten years?
DG: I’d love to see Greyhawk Reborn as a thriving, exciting living campaign option for players and authors alike. I’d love to see it become a viable play opportunity to stand alongside other living-style campaigns of the future. Our plan is to slowly spiderweb outward, expanding into new areas. We’d love to find a handful of creative people in an area and work with them to develop an area of Greyhawk, creating exciting and integrated stories and plots that fit within the world of GHR, creating adventures and other play opportunities at conventions and game days for gamers in their local areas. I’d love to see this spiderweb network continue to spread. I really think the more localized, grass roots campaign of Greyhawk Reborn can really provide much better play opportunities for our gamers than a “top down” management style.