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D&D Gazetteer (3e)

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Welcome to the world of the D&D game!

The Dungeons & Dragons world is a place where powerful creatures contest with ordinary men and women in a subtle war pitting good agasint evil, law against chaos.

It is a world of magic, a world of mystery, a world of fantastic adventure -- all a backdrop for your own adventures.

Inside is everything you need to launch your own version of the first campaign world, including:

  • A full-color map of the land of the Flanaess, also showing the continentes and seas of the planet Oerth.
  • A short history of the land.
  • Descriptions of 60 countries, ready for adventure

Product History

Gazetteer (2000), by Gary Holian, Erik Mona, Sean Reynolds, and Frederick Weining, is an overview of the World of Greyhawk. It was published in August 2000.

About the Name. Gazetteer has the least descriptive name of any product ever produced for D&D. Gazetteer of what? The name doesn't say. Perhaps Wizards of the Coast intended the title to read Dungeons & Dragons Gazetteer, incorporating the product line's logo.

About the Book. Gazetteer is a small 32-page saddle-stitched book with an accompanying full-color map. It also exists in a more limited "RPGA Edition", which is identical to the original other than a different cover. Apprixmately 5,000 copies of the RPGA Edition were printed for the 2000 Gen Con Game Fair, to be distributed to RPGA members at the show.

Gazetteer is essentially a massively cut-down version of the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer (2000) that appeared a few months later. It includes only the broadest overviews from that book.

The New Default Setting for 3e. Why was Greyhawk being detailed in a "Dungeons & Dragons Gazetteer"? Because it was the new "default" setting for D&D 3e (2000). This mostly meant that the gods depicted in the new Player's Handbook (2000) were Greyhawk gods. The rules also contained spells named after Greyhawk wizards, like Mordenkainen and Tenser … but so had every edition of the game since the release of AD&D (1977-1979).

In other words, Greyhawk was almost invisible to the average D&D player, despite being the new default setting for the game. However things were very different for RPGA members, who would play in Greyhawk for the next eight years as the part of the largest organized play campaign ever: Living Greyhawk (2000-2008).

A History of the Greyhawk Brand. The thing is, Greyhawk was the default setting for D&D from the start. In Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry (1976), TSR introduced artifacts such as the Hand and Eye of Vecna … which were eventually revealed to be part of the World of Greyhawk. Then when the first D&D adventures came out — the "G" series" (1978) the "D" series (1978), and S1: "Tomb of Horror" (1978) — they were all lightly set in the World of Greyhawk.

The World of Greyhawk didn't become a brand until the release of the World of Greyhawk Fantasy Game Setting (1983) — a change that might have been to the deficit of the core AD&D brand. Though fans could now enjoy adventures with a strong basis in Greyhawk, the "default" adventures for D&D became entirely generic, a trend that would continue throughout the rest of the 1e (1983-1988), 2e (1989-2000), and 3e (2000-2007) eras of the game.

The change wasn't that great for Greyhawk either, because it was quickly eclipsed by AD&D's Forgotten Realms and by D&D's own default setting, the Known World. Though TSR pushed hard on Greyhawk as a setting line starting in 1989, not even the From the Ashes (1992) revival was enough to make the brand a success. TSR stopped produced Greyhawk books in 1993 and never returned to Oerth.

Wizards of the Coast staff were fans of the setting, so they revived it after WotC purchased TSR in 1997: The Adventure Begins (1998) and the Greyhawk Player's Guide (1998) detailed a new foundation for the setting in a new time period, 591 CY. Unfortunately, this new revival quickly fizzled too.

Ironically, by the end of 2e's run, Greyhawk was trending toward becoming D&D's default setting again, after almost two decades away. A few final Greyhawk-branded books appeared in 1999 and 2000 (with novels continuing a few years more). However, 25th anniversary specials like Against the Giants: The Liberation of Geoff (1999) and even Return to the Keep on the Borderlands (1999) were set in Greyhawk but were adorned with a simple "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" logo.

So, when Greyhawk became the default setting for D&D 3e, it was a return to the status quo for the agéd D&D world.

Exploring Greyhawk. Gazetteer is a very broad overview that covers the history of the world, the major states of the Flanaess, the geographic features of that area, and its power groups. However, that overview is quite shallow. Some reviewers have described it as a do-it-yourself Greyhawk book, for GMs who wanted an outline of a setting that they could fill in themselves.

The time period of this book's setting isn't entirely clear, as the most recent reference is to 589 CY, but Living Greyhawk Gazetteer would reveal that Greyhawk was still sitting at 591 CY.

About the Creators. The team credited with the Gazetteer is (unsurprisingly) the same team who wrote the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer.

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to shannon.appelcline@gmail.com.

 
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Product Information
Pages
38
ISBN
0-7869-1742-3
Publisher Stock #
WotC117420000
File Size:
21.54 MB
Format
Scanned image
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File Last Updated:
February 08, 2016
This title was added to our catalog on February 09, 2016.