The series was written by Gary Gygax (the father of Dungeons & Dragons) and set within his own World of Greyhawk campaign. The story revolves around a street urchin (Gord) who grows up in the city of Greyhawk and later has adventures that take him across the width and breadth of the Flanaess.

Although the first book was released in 1985, I never read it until just recently. As I said yesterday, I have never had any interest in reading books about games I was playing. I finally gave Keep on the Borderlands a shot (hoping that such a fine module would lead to an equally exciting book). Unfortunately, I found the novelization terribly disappointing.

Urged on by friends, who insisted that there were much better books out there, I went to a used book store in search of one of Rose Estes’ Greyhawk books (which various people had recommended as worth reading). The store I went to first didn’t have anything by Estes at the moment, but I bought a copy of Artifact of Evil (the second book in the Gord the Rogue series). After checking numerous other used book stores, I had acquired books two through five but was unable to locate the first one (other than online and I avoid online purchases whenever I can, especially since it was the middle of the christmas rush at the time).

I hate reading a series out of order but I wanted to dig in and see what the story was about. I picked up Artifact of Evil and found it riveting from the first page. Before I was done, I had acquired the first book (Saga of Old City) and moved quickly on to devour it. From there I moved on to, and now am in the middle of, Sea of Death (3rd or 4th book, depending on your count).

There are five books in the series (In order: Saga of Old City, Artifact of Evil, Sea of Death, Come Endless Darkness, and Dance of Demons) plus two other books of collected short stories (Night Arrant and City of Hawks). Some people place the two collections within the series, making the whole a series of seven books. However you count them, they make up a wonderful story.

Saga of Old City Artifact of Evil Sea of Death Come Endless Darkness Dance of Demons Night Arrant City of Hawks

Corporate Politics

Gary Gygax co-founded TSR and created the World of Greyhawk. He wrote the first two Gord the Rogue books, at least in part, to promote the other World of Greyhawk products. Sadly, he was forced out of TSR at this time and lost the rights to his Greyhawk setting (as well as most other intellectual properties) but managed to retain control of Gord the Rogue. You will notice in the pictures above that only the first two books are listed as Greyhawk Adventures. The rest were produced after he left TSR and carry instead the banner of Gord the Rogue.

TSR then began screwing around with the World of Greyhawk, taking it ever further from the vision Gary held for the setting. As a result, in the fifth (and final) Gord the Rogue novel…

… nope, no spoilers.

You’ll have to read the series and see for yourself.

More than a Series of Books

One of my greatest regrets is that I never had the chance to meet Gary or sit in on one of his games. There are archived posts on various forums that give an insight to the man and a couple of folks who have played in his games that can relate some of their experiences. But that’s not the same as experiencing it for yourself.

The Gord the Rogue series has allowed me to step back in time and, in a sense, sit in on one of Gary’s games. I have Darlene’s map of the World of Greyhawk on my wall and can follow Gord’s exploits on it as I read the books. They give me a glimpse into how Gary approached the game and what kind of adventures he must have run. It was an unexpected treat to discover how much I was to enjoy this aspect of his books.