Greyhawk Reborn. On the table outside their game room was a few brochures and pamphlets describing GR's mission of restoring Greyhawk's living campaign setting (now 5E). First, to give you an idea of the campaign's rather "dark and gritty" mood here is the blurb from the back of their main pamphlet:
From the Ashes, Greyhawk is Reborn!
It is a dark and dire world where people have fled from the wilds, looking for the protection of fortified villages and walled towns. Travel is safe in numbers, yet still dangerous.Goblins, kobolds and their ilk fill the vast spaces between towns that are now bullied by hobgoblins, gnolls and orcs. People carry about their business by day, and lock themselves behind their defenses at night. The darkness becomes more dangerous each day; it's darker, more sinister, more evil.
Rumors recently emerged of great fiends and other abyssal creatures now rule over weaker monsters. No, it's not a safe world anymore, not since The Breaking.
It is just the kind of world where heroes are needed.
Yet again explore one of the oldest, most beloved campaign worlds of all time. The world of Greyhawk will come alive again as your characters, your heroes, wander upon the Flanaess, pushing back the darkness. Create new player characters in your favorite world with classic races and classes. Create mighty warriors, powerful wizards, saintly clerics and dubious rogues. Your characters' actions will continue to shape the world of Oerth.
Venture forth anew in the realm that brought you classics such as The Village of Hommlet, White Plume Mountain, Against the Giants, Slavers, and the Living Greyhawk Campaign. Revisit placers such as Saltmarsh, Greyhawk City, the Vast Swamp and the Amedio Jungle.
Dubious rogues indeed. Next, to show you where their campaign is set and the story behind it's inception I'll share this section from Why Greyhawk Reborn, by GR Lead, Dave Guerrieri:
Why Choose the Greyhawk Setting?
The idea started with a home game we were doing in Keoland after Living Greyhawk ended. We had left Keoland rather fragmented. I know, I was the Keoland triad that left it there. A large part of "Breadbasket of the Sheldomar Valley" was destroyed (think Sherman's march to the sea). Not only were the existing crops wiped out, but it also ruined much of the arable land in Keoland. The land upon which the Army of the Returned marched is still barren and infertile 17 years after the fact.
Many of the Keoish citizens in the way of the Army of the Returned were killed and reanimated as some form of undead. Many fine Keoish soldiers perished in the last battle against the Invasion in Niole Dra, as well. So even right after the victorious final battle, many citizens of the Empire were dead. With food destroyed and land barren, the starvation and widespread disease that usually follows such strife and crime ensued.
The Flight of Fiends was a ruse by Iuz, who used the trick to aid him in his ascension to full godhood. With Iuz away from the Flanaess, and the Flight of Fiends a ruse, we pictured fiends being loosed upon the Flanaess, as well as the remains of both Iuz's army and the Army of the Returned let loose upon the lands.
So, with little food available and disease, starvation and crime on the rise, it seems likely that those remaining would look for shelter in the protection of towns, villages and cities. Most villages and towns have been fortified with protective walls and other such devices. Add in the rapid proliferation with which humanoids breed, and it seems likely to us that orcs, goblins, gnolls, kobolds and the like would quickly fill the empty spaces in the countryside.
That makes Keoland, and the Flanaess, once again a dangerous place outside city walls. Very much like it was in the Greyhawk of 1E, the famous "gold books", where populations of cities and countries was much smaller than the 3E Greyhawk Gazetteer numbers. We feel it gives it a very old school "Gygaxian" feel.
Remember 4E's "points of light" mantra? I think GR nailed it. In later posts I'll talk about Greyhawk Reborn's call for fans to get involved.