How to make a 3.5 Greyhawk campaign fun.

4 posts / 0 new
Last post
Hello everybody. English isn´t my first language, so excuse if I mess badly...

I´m thinking of starting a new Greyhawk campaign with some friends using some modified 3.5 rules. I have always thought Greyhawk is the best for low level dungeon-exploring adventures, but, the problem is, when you reach mid-level, it´s impossible not to get entangled with the stupid Greyhawk Wars, which I don´t like, both because I´ve problems understanding how come Iuz doesn´t auto-win (with 2nd edition rules high level characters could fight demigods, but this is not truth anymore) and because they have been done again and again.

The thing is, I would like the group to do something new and original once they reach mid-level, but they are going to roleplay a group of mostly do-gooders, and most of them are going to be well integrated in their local communities (they have family and friends, and maybe even businesses), so it´s going to be really difficult to keep them out of the War.

I guess  we could just erase Iuz and the Wars from the campaign, but that would enrage several of the players, who are Greyhawk lovers and want to keep it as canonical as possible...I have also considered to make the campaign happen after Iuz has been defeated and killed, and make him come back as a "mere" uber-lich (like the goddess Arazni of the Pathfinder campaign), much less threatening (and as such, much less a priority), but I feel that would give a sort of "you have lost the really awesome stuff, guys" feeling...

So the question is, how would you make Iuz less of a priority while changing the campaign to a minimum? I know some people have given several reasons for Iuz not to kill the world with an army of bodaks, ghouls, ghasts, shadows, spectres, vampires and other infectious undead (by the way, I would love to do just that if the players ever reached epic level), but they are largely metagame (as a god of pain, he wants humanity to suffer under his thrall, not to be destroyed; also, he is scared of pushing too far the other gods...etc.) and the good PCs would ignore them, so they would feel compelled to join the war against Iuz.

So, what would you do?
If you like the Wars but don't like Iuz, set the game as being against the Great Kingdom or the Scarlet Brotherhood.

If you don't like the Wars, wind back the clock and play in the '83 box's setting where Iuz is but one bit player.

Or go after the giants, Pomarj, Baklunish lands, explore the Amedio, Tuov cities, Enrei Celhu, etc.

There is a whole lot to Greyhawk besides Iuz.  Plenty of room for a campaign without ever mentioning him.
Yes, you can choose other areas and times to run your campaign. If you do some research you will find that Iuz was imprisoned for a time by Zagyg. Iuz was not always the biggest threat to this game world. There are so many other directions that your campaign can go. Did you try Age of Worms campaign that was in Dungeon magazine? There are also many adaptable adventures. I have mostly run Greyhawk campaign. Iuz is a very dangerous person in a far off land and knows what he is reall up to.

Also, in a game setting, there are challenges for all people in the world. Iuz is very busy dealing with opponents that are his level or higher. Iuz may be busy elsewhere on the Prime Material plane and not on Oerth.

I would say that you and your players are obsessed with Iuz. I am currently running Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, which strongly revolves around Iuz and his minions. The players have too many immediate concerns to even dream about the larger Greyhawk Wars outside of the immediate area. At the levels you mention, the players are far more powerful than the level 1 warriors that are fighting the war. There is very little in the way of adventure and treasure, let alone XP while fighting other peoples wars.

 
Your English might be better than mine, and it is the only language I know. I can answer one of your questions for you. The reason Iuz can't automatically win is that if he sends an avatar or tries to do something himself, there's a chance Saint Cuthbert will send an avatar to stop him. Go back to the old Temple of Elemental Evil module and you'll see an example of this. The Marklands and Iuz the Evil also talk about this. Iuz is limited by the other gods in what he can do on Oerth, and Cuthbert is allowed by the other gods to stop Iuz from going too far. He has to use mortals and fiends to do his bidding. Howl from the North and Five Shall be One 2nd edition modules name the only way mortals can kill Iuz, by the way.

The free download Ivid the Undying (the address is on this site somewhere) can give you bunches of material for playing in the eastern lands, and maybe the players will want to build their own new nations, or rebuild some others. Almor, Bone March, Medegia, etc. are full of thousands of people who need rescued by adventurers with teleportation and other mid-level powers. There's a gate to the Abyssal planes a mile underground in Almor (really big dungeon, full of demons, undead and other nasty things, 1.5 kilometers deep. How to close or destroy the gate? You decide.) Slavers and Against the Giants are great adventures, as other people here have named. I personally think the war in the Pomarj with the slavers is much more interesting than the war in the north. You have to convert the levels a little for the villains, but thats easy.

There's a lot your PC's can do to help out during the wars without being directly involved, since you said they will probably want to get involved in the wars.
If you have, or can get, the original Temple of Elemental Evil adventure, that's a great way to have your players help the war effort without being on the front lines. You have to convert it to 3.5 edition, but that isn't too hard. The characters can gather weapons, armor (over 200 suits-- I counted it), food, and other supplies for the wars. When they get near the end, and destroy the Golden Orb, Iuz loses access to the elemental planes and he and his priests can't summon elemental creatures for 2 years. They might even find the map with the locations and identities of Iuz's spies all over the continent.
The second edition Greyhawk Ruins module also allows characters to gather materials for the wars, but also magic items that are VERY useful for wars and for charities (1 meter wide jars that magically create food, there are 15 of them.) Get past the demilich and a couple hundred invisible stalkers, and they can get those jars, over 3000 magic beads (beads of force and the fireball beads for the necklace of missles) and a river of silver for cash money and making silver weapons.