Editorial: Enough is Enough Living City Vs. Living Greyhawk
There has been much argument and controversy surrounding the two campaigns. I cannot keep silent any longer. In my opinion, The Greyhawk System has completely broken.
Game Balance. At certain conventions which hosted a Greyhawk interactive, a character—any character--could buy any magic item listed in the DMG if they had enough gold. That in and of itself didn't concern me as you could only do so at a convention hosting a Greyhawk interactive.
However, Greyhawk started as a low magic campaign, and ended up with the floodgates being thrown open, disrupting the both the premise and the balance of the campaign. I have Greyhawk characters that have more magic items then similar level LC characters. So much for the low magic campaign.
This is not my only complaint with the system. At a convention I noticed outright cheating by a Triad member during the interactive. First we started with the Land Joust and the stated rules "No Magic is allowed to assist the PCs jousting". Well, that rule lasted about 5 minutes. A PC we all know bought a wand of True Strike (yes I thought it was funny). He used it in the joust and was allowed to by the Triad member. The PC the Triad member was backing then ran to the interactive booth and bought a wand of True Strike. In the Final, the PC who bought the original wand faced the PC that the Triad member backed. Each used a wand of True Strike in the Joust. The competition ended when one PC used a die bump cert to stay on the horse (Triad backed PC) while the other PC was not allowed to use a die bump cert. So it looks pretty clear cut to me. All this was reported to the appropriate people. I never heard back and nothing has been done about this, to my knowledge. The prize of the joust was a piece of land worth many thousands of gp.
This left such a bad taste in my mouth that I came close to never playing Greyhawk again. Then the RUP fiasco. RUPs were designed with the intent to reduce/stop cheating. However, the log sheet system, if properly done, does the same thing. RUP is just a big pain for both judge and players.
Differences between Regions. In the Bandit Kingdoms, we fight villains who are either brigands wearing studded leather armor (whole lot of treasure there) or undead. Other regions fight villains in Plate Mail. For the same EL, the treasure is very different. And when you factor in the ability to buy magic items with pure cash, it creates a very unequal situation. So, in the Bandit Kingdoms we struggle to pay common upkeep while other regions have plenty of gold, and by extension, magic.
The Modules. We ran some at Twistercon and after seeing the modules I am really disturbed. So disturbed that I will not play Greyhawk again. In a recently released module it clearly states to the DM "3 PCs must die in order to complete the module" if the villains are not defeated. The premise of gaming is that people play to have fun, not to have their PCs killed. Unless you knew ahead of time and had a party of 5 or 6 and brought 3 sacrificial PCs then it was not possible to complete the module. This is utter idiocy. I was told by Calvin Kelley and Scott Manley that there were other modules that were equally grim, which brings me to "Who the Hell is writing this crap? Grimmtooth?
Rant Conclusion. I actually loved the premise of Living Greyhawk but the people running the campaign have killed any and all liking I had for the system. It is more broken right now then Living City ever was. If you want to play a good 3E D&D campaign then you are going to have to spend that $30 for your Organized Play membership because you will not get it with Living Greyhawk.
LC. So with that said for Greyhawk, lets look at Living City. We have all heard by now that Organized Play bought the rights to run the Living City campaign. There was much fighting and many heated debates--but it happened and there is little to be done about it now. It is my understanding that the RPGA was ready to kill the campaign. If it were not for Organized Play, Living City would be a dead campaign. So, no matter your opinion, OP is the reason you can still play LC.
LC Since OP. Now lets take a look at what has happened since OP took over LC. Living City in my opinion has gotten much better (best I have ever seen it). And more options are coming all the time. A number of the new modules are really cool-- and I have loved playing them as well as running them. The story lines are good and the modules are well written. I do, however, have two problems with the new modules. The first is the most important. Each villain is listed individually and has the stats for each EL detailed under the villain. This is a pain in the behind; I liked the old system better where all the NPC stats grouped by EL. They also need to look at the EL calculations. For those of you that know Jeff Hertel, he is the master of the game; I don't think there is anyone in the country that can give him a run for his money. His Devin Thunderstrike should be EL 16 or 18 by himself but when you run the calculations he comes up EL 12. This is wrong because I don't think there is anything in the game that can touch him. These are minor things. Nothing compared to Greyhawk. So all in all, Living City is worth the money if you want to play good modules. I guess I could close with an old adage "nothing in life worth anything is free" and it is not worth my time to play Greyhawk.
I have received word that the Tristor stuff is in the mail and we should be receiving it shortly (how many times have we heard that?) For more info check out the Tulsa Living News Group on Yahoo.
Edwin Stahlnecker has been named as the Magic Shop Administrator. He joins Melissa Maurer and Jeff Hertel, who are the Animal Shelter Co-Administrators as Living City Staff Members. Jeff is also a Permanent MIC Creation Certifier (meaning he makes out the certs for magic items you create at a convention)
The first of the High Level Campaign Modules will be premièring at Weekend in Ravens Bluff. PCs must be a MINIMUM of 14th level to participate in the High Level module.
As you know, Organized Play has taken over the Living City Campaign. In order to play Living City, you must have registered with Organized Play or you will be limited to first level characters only. Cost of registration varies with the membership option you choose.
Gold - $30 a year and you can play as many modules as you wish and can order your modules for free. Silver - $10 every three months, $5 set up fee. Bronze - $5 set up fee and $1 per module. Must have a credit card to set up the account and they will bill it $1 each time the rounds are recorded at a convention or gameday.
ORPGA Convention Calendar
Weekend in Ravens Bluff April 5th – 7th
at Game HQ in Oklahoma City. 11 LC Events! 5 New Modules!
Steel Con April 19th – 21st
at the Holiday Inn in Stillwater.
This years Weekend in Ravens Bluff will feature 11 Living City Rounds and no Living Greyhawk. The rounds are varied and some are have level requirements.
Round Recommended Levels
Sea Dog Stories 1 – 14
Starboard Stuff 1 – 14
The Shaft 1 – 14
Offending Forest 1 – 14
Family Ties 1 – 14
Opening the Locks 1 – 14
Future Problems 1 – 14
Servants of the People 1 – 14
The Hive 6 or higher
First Link 3 or higher
Scum and Villainy 14 or higher *
*All the other modules listed have levels that the module is recommended for. You can be higher/lower than the recommended level and still play. However, your PC MUST be 14th level or higher to play Scum and Villainy.
In addition there will be a full Meta Campaign Center with all the works. This includes Magic Item Creation, Animal Shelter, Wizards Guild, City Watch, Knights Council, LC Military, Clerical Circle, etc. Hope to see you there!