Advance Scout

Guided by his dimensional compass, the Scout roams the infinite universes, ever treading from world to world and plane to plane, seeking the latest tidings of new RPG-related releases...

Greetings from the Scout. This week I'll be providing a quick look at a new accessory from TSR for the Greyhawk campaign world, called The Adventure Begins. If you can get past the somewhat uninformative title, you'll find that this 128-page sourcebook provides a good bit of background information for DMs who want to start a Greyhawk campaign, or update an existing one.

This year's new Greyhawk releases, of which The Adventure Begins is one, are set in the year 591 CY, nearly a decade after the so-called Greyhawk Wars. This accessory is designed to act as a bridge between previous Greyhawk products (such as 1992's From the Ashes boxed set) and the new releases planned for the months to come. If you are familiar with descriptions of places from older Greyhawk products, you'll find updates in this sourcebook that reflect the same locations for the current game year.

The Adventure Begins itself begins with a brief description of the City of Greyhawk, noting its suitability as a starting point for a campaign, and continues with a bit of flavor text on the history of Oerth (the planet on which Greyhawk can be found). After a brief description of the Flanaess (Greyhawk's general geographical region) and its inhabitants, a detailed 20-page history covers the history of the Flanaess from the Greyhawk Wars to the present time. Information about Greyhawk's calendar, seasonal festivals, and climate (including weather tables) is also included. A removable 16-page map booklet contains some pretty basic maps of the region.

The largest section of the book focuses on the City of Greyhawk, and, in addition to providing a history of the city from its ancient beginnings through the present day, it also notes character descriptions for important NPCs, a list of crimes and punishments, and social details like racial population and language information. Also included in this section are descriptions of the city's various Quarters and numerous locations of interest both within and without the city walls.

If you are a Greyhawk DM, and you're interested in keeping up with what's going on in published source material, then this book will probably be something you'll want to get; it does a decent job of updating what was previously published in the City of Greyhawk boxed set back in 1989, and will likely help you get your game set up in the "new" Greyhawk setting. However, if you're not concerned with keeping your campaign concurrent with published materials, then you'd do just as well to track down a copy of the old 1989 boxed set -- there's a lot more information in it, and it would probably be cheaper. Also, on a technical note, the page layout of The Adventure Begins is strange: the text on each page is split into one wide column and one narrow one, for some reason. It's laid out as if there are sidebars, but there aren't, it's all one body of text. It got on my nerves after a while.

Well, vertebrates, I see my dimensional portal opening, so I'm off in search of another new item. Until next time, happy gaming. Scout out.

Greyhawk: The Adventure Begins cover art

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a.k.a. Scott T. Watkins

RPG Scout