castle greyhawk campaign robert kuntz lord robilar james ward zothar zothaar m.a.r. barker ept theron kuntz terry kuntz empire of zothar empire of zothaar rpg design focus tsr history david sutherland the stategic review dragon magazine metamorphosis alpha dungeons and dragons university of wisconsin wargaming a moral issue? human condition heroic combat worldbuilding rpg techniques
By Lord Teric
The central feature of Zothar's economy is the military forces. The military is necessary to protect Zothar from external invasion, internecine conflict, and constant war with aboriginal jungle tribes. External invasion originates from pirates, mauraders, dictators, and from the Insane Anarchist. Because of the transition to empire control, there were several break-away states that represents political unity problems for Zothar. The jungle tribes have been continually at war with Zothar, even during pre-Zothar mass migration into the region. It's suggested to participants that they join the military in order to gain wages for adventure expenses and building. There's a quick promotion rate in the Zothar Army, related to upgrading Zothar units on a yearly basis, for recruits who demonstrate exceptional skills, especially when in combat against the enemy. "Lord Robliar's" character constantly showed exceptional ability while conducting the much needed Shield Wall duty, which earned him a commission for a special mission.
Professor Barker's Empire of the Petal Throne (EPT) had influenced me, immensely, compared to the anesthetized nature of Mr. Gygax's Castle Greyhawk Campaign RPG. There was no "background" for the Greyhawk Castle, just a very old castle crumbling from its age. Hardly any history about the "Greyhawk area" was revealed to anyone, the exception being those participants who had taken the time to indulge in fact-finding adventures by visiting sages, higher wizards, and other NPCs and places. This would take considerable time , and a participant might gain very little in the form of reasonable knowledge, while losing thousands in experience by not conducting "standard adventures." The first Greyhawk adventure modules, starting in 1976, would change the background focus, but it wouldn't be until the folio editions and beyond, from 1980 and onwards, that the World of Greyhawk folio and the Greyhawk Adventures editions would include the historical locations of the original characters from Mr. Gygax's Castle Greyhawk Campaign RPG. EPT introduced the human and heroic paradigms as a background pitch. A participant for EPT knew that he or she would be casted into a situation in which the planet had suffered a major catastrophe. Politics and resources, for example, are very valuable for the survival of each nation. The militaries are used to protect the political structures and resources or to increase them. Individual or heroic combat/trial, successful combat, increases the political structure and makes it easier to increase resources. This type of paradigm or theme has been with us from the mythologies to heroic literature to modern situations. Professor Barker recognized the associative factors from his world travels and from his academic education.
By 1975, there was one conworld RPG available, thanks to Professor Barker's stupendous creation and TSR's production team who made sure Dr. Barker had a quality creation on the RPG market. Both Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson were lagging in demonstrating worldbuilding RPG techniques, with the exceptions of the Greyhawk Supplement and the Blackmoor Supplement. In addition, TSR needed to expand its art department, making David Sutherland the supervisorial or lead artist, and expand its art studio to decrease production times. This was handled, magnificently, by TSR's move to downtown Lake Geneva.
It wouldn't be until the first Dragon in 1976 (and maybe some of The Strategic Review newsletters starting in 1975), Metamorphosis Alpha by James Ward in 1976, the first Greyhawk adventure modules in 1976, and the Dungeons & Dragons Advanced Rules in 1977, maybe some hard and long convention game refereeing, and the core of the adventure module proliferation starting in 1980 that proper didactic primal RPG methods reached the purchasers of the first printing of D&D in 1974. That would be, approximately, two to six years after the first publication of D&D.
During late 1975, I quit TSR because of insufficient wages, forcing me to stop my creative attitude to maintain my livelihood. By 1976, I was employed with True Value Hardware in Lake Geneva, and by August had enrolled at the University of Wisconsin. That same year, I wrote Wargaming: A Moral Issue? and submitted it to the Dragon magazine for publication.
Coming Up: The New Zothaar Directive. "Lord Teric" explicates on his mission to use new Zothaar as a non-traditional RPG (using generic rule sources), a gigantic Fantasy MMORPG, smaller MMOs (by extracting locales on the Zothaar's map), and more culture, history, and battles about Zothaar.