When it comes to big picture Greyhawk, I think of odd bits of science fantasy worming its way into medieval life from wizards’ clones to tech bits from the Barrier Peaks. Arch-mages who have constructed complex philosophies around law, chaos, good and evil. Is that how the cosmos is or are we mapping it in those terms because of our own biased moral codes?
Demi-gods on the verge of ascending to other planes of existence walking around, enforcing their ways of life by sword and spell.
Adventurers eek out a desperate existence through delving and tomb raiding while nobles marshal armies to fight over obscure claims on ancient lands. Clerics worship living breathing but still unknowable deities. Thieves’ Guilds steal the bejeweled crumbs in between by stealth and knife.
I am not sure exactly where I got the idea that in the history of Greyhawk City there was a War of the Arch-Mages. Digging through the archives, I found evidence of a few nasty feuds and an arcane wizard slaughter or two but not what I pictured – the oligarch arch-mages in charge of Greyhawk City slinging spells in the streets, retreating to their other-planar towers and manses to heal and see to their clones – Vancian Dying Earth pettiness meets a Prohibition Era Chicago gang-war.
In the upcoming Burning Wheel game on Comic Srip AP with Rich, his War Wizard is arriving in Greyhawk City with a small mercenary company of archers from the Valley of the Mage. The Council of Eight just retrieved the Hand and Eye of Vecna from a tomb and both artifacts are missing, causing the council to fracture into feuding that the common-folk are calling the Mages’ War. Meanwhile, Iuz the Old is gathering orc, gnolls, giants and trolls to his banners; the world is about to erupt into war.