Gary Gygax Q&A: part VII - Page 18




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  1. #171
    Hey Gary-

    Hope Groundhog Day found you in improving health.

    My question concerns the original Monster Manual. being the first hardback RPG book ever published, did you have difficulty securing a printer for it? Were folks in the industry leery of such an expenditure for such a relatively new game? Or was it simply an exercise in waving enough capital in their faces? Also what circumstances led to Random House being the distributer?

    Thanks!

 

  • #172
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    Quote Originally Posted by Col_Pladoh
    No, there wasn't anything critical that was missed by me...other than a proper revision of the AD&D system. Don't ask about what i would have done in that regard. The effort of explaining is not worth it, as such is meaningless.
    it might be meaningful to someone who wanted to spend the time revising the 1e AD&D system the way you would have done it - preferring that to the 2e AD&D that TSR did - but this would require a lot of explanation on your part for not too much reward beyond "Thanks!"

    me though, eh, i never had a real problem with 2e. some things seemed silly and to make not much sense, but i had a lot of fun and was introduced to the game with that system.
    don't quote me on that.

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  • #173
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    Quote Originally Posted by francisca
    Hey Gary-

    Hope Groundhog Day found you in improving health.
    Thanks. I feel pretty well. the problem is that i tire out after about an hour, and game design calls for extended periods of hard concentration and work at the keyboard.

    My question concerns the original Monster Manual. being the first hardback RPG book ever published, did you have difficulty securing a printer for it? Were folks in the industry leery of such an expenditure for such a relatively new game? Or was it simply an exercise in waving enough capital in their faces? Also what circumstances led to Random House being the distributer?

    Thanks!
    We has the dunds on hand to pay the printer for the initial 50,000 copies of the Monster Manual that were ordered. It was no problem finding a printer thst could do a stitched binding and school-book cover material either, as i wanted the AD&D volumes to be as nearly indestructable as could be managed. Later on the Blumes changed that so save a nickle or two on each copy printed...as if we weren't making enough as it was.

    Crown books wanted me to write a special introductory game book exclusively for them. that was a no-go. Simon & Schuster contacted me about book trade distribution, but they were going to take a year to set it up, so i wasn't too thrilled. Then I got a phone call from Mildred Marmur, then the VP of Sub-Rights Licensing at Random House. they flew me out to NYC the next week and were ready to begin distribution in a month's time. As the remainder of the deal I negotiated assured TSR cash flow and other great benefits, i signed my name up there in their offices on the second day of our meetings.

    Having Millie as an advocate was a lot of help in cutting a great deal for TSR. Both of her sons were D&Ders

    Cheers,
    Gary

  • #174
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    Quote Originally Posted by BOZ
    it might be meaningful to someone who wanted to spend the time revising the 1e AD&D system the way you would have done it - preferring that to the 2e AD&D that TSR did - but this would require a lot of explanation on your part for not too much reward beyond "Thanks!"

    me though, eh, i never had a real problem with 2e. some things seemed silly and to make not much sense, but i had a lot of fun and was introduced to the game with that system.
    Hi Boz,

    Right you are about reward for effort. Especially nowadays, that just ain't going to happen as time and energy are limited resources.

    Surely you have no problems with 2E, as it was your fisrt FRPG It did lose about half the AD&D audience for TSR, though, and that's a fact.

    Cheers,
    Gary

  • #175
    Hope all is well, and finds you in good health.

    Been out of the loop for a bit, and was wanting to check your website at www.gygax.com, and I got some German site. Did you let it expire, or have a different site now?

    Thanks for introducing D&D to me and everyone else

    Hope to hear from you soon.
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  • #176
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    Quote Originally Posted by xmanii
    Hope all is well, and finds you in good health.

    Been out of the loop for a bit, and was wanting to check your website at www.gygax.com, and I got some German site. Did you let it expire, or have a different site now?

    Thanks for introducing D&D to me and everyone else

    Hope to hear from you soon.
    Thanks, Xmanii,

    All good wishes and prayers are most apreciated!

    The old website got pirated some time back, so we secured www.egarygygax.com That said, we've never done anything with it, as i haven't the time or energy to devote to keeping up such a site. There were a couple of volunteers, but they didn't come through, so I just dropped any further effort. eventually we'll probably get something back up, but to my way of thinking to do a proper job of it demands a lot of input from me, and a lot of owrk by the webmaster managing the site.

    Cheers,
    Gary

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Mouser
    Hey Gary, thanks for the answer to my query. Just to let you know, I found a copy of The Anubis Murders in a used bookstore back in (maybe) 1995. A great read! I had always been interested in ancient Egypt when I was a kid and found the novel quite good.

    Gray Mouser
    FUnnily enough a couple of those books actually made their way to a game shop in Moscow Russia. I had been wondering if they were worth getting. I'll have to finally pick them up

    No don't anyone rush to Portal Game Shop in Moscow to beat me to them
    Currently selling my D&D collection in Moscow--see the Legacy forums.

  • #178
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsemlak
    FUnnily enough a couple of those books actually made their way to a game shop in Moscow Russia. I had been wondering if they were worth getting. I'll have to finally pick them up

    No don't anyone rush to Portal Game Shop in Moscow to beat me to them
    Funny thing too We hope to get the La game translated into russian and sold there in the not too distant future

  • #179
    Quote Originally Posted by Col_Pladoh
    Thanks. I feel pretty well. the problem is that i tire out after about an hour, and game design calls for extended periods of hard concentration and work at the keyboard.
    Well, I'm sure you're doing the right thing and not wearing yourself down. I'm sure the masses clamoring for "Gygaxian Tomes" will understand.

    We has the dunds on hand to pay the printer for the initial 50,000 copies of the Monster Manual that were ordered. It was no problem finding a printer thst could do a stitched binding and school-book cover material either, as i wanted the AD&D volumes to be as nearly indestructable as could be managed. Later on the Blumes changed that so save a nickle or two on each copy printed...as if we weren't making enough as it was.

    Crown books wanted me to write a special introductory game book exclusively for them. that was a no-go. Simon & Schuster contacted me about book trade distribution, but they were going to take a year to set it up, so i wasn't too thrilled. Then I got a phone call from Mildred Marmur, then the VP of Sub-Rights Licensing at Random House. they flew me out to NYC the next week and were ready to begin distribution in a month's time. As the remainder of the deal I negotiated assured TSR cash flow and other great benefits, i signed my name up there in their offices on the second day of our meetings.

    Having Millie as an advocate was a lot of help in cutting a great deal for TSR. Both of her sons were D&Ders

    Cheers,
    Gary
    Sweet. So you prety much had them beating a path to your door. Thanks for that little nugget of history. I always thought it was wierd/cool that some of my childhood and textbooks were handled by the same people who did the AD&D books.

    Take care, Col.

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    Hi Gary,

    Thanks again for taking time to answer all the questions and put up with all this fawning (I'm sure the latter is easier than the former ). Anyway, I've got another OD&D (1974) related question (something of an obsession of mine because I was too young to play it when it was 'current'):

    In issue #2 of The Strategic Review in the article on "The Questions Most Frequently Asked About Dungeons & Dragons" there's a combat example that includes hints of an unarmed combat system that AFAIK never saw print anywhere else. Here's the relevant quote (emphasis added by me):
    Combat Example:

    10 ORCS surprise a lone Hero wandering lost in the dungeons, but the die check reveals they are 30 distant at the time of surprise, so they use their iniative to close to melee distance. lnitiative is now checked. The Hero scores a 3, plus 1 for his high dexterity, so it is counted 4. The Orcs score 6, and even a minus 1 for their lack of dexterity (optional) still allows them first attack. As they outnumber their opponent so heavily it is likely that they will try to overpower him rather than kill, so each hit they score will be counted as attempts to grapple the Hero:

    - Assumed armor of the Hero: Chainmail & Shield -- AC 4.

    - Score required to hit AC 4 -- 15 (by monsters with 1 hit die).

    - Only 5 Orcs can attack, as they havent had time to surround.

    Assume the following dice scores for the Orcs attacks:
    Orc #1 - 06; #2 - 10; #3 - 18; #4 - 20; #5 - 03.

    Two of the Orcs have grappled the Hero, and if his score with 4 dice is less than their score with 2 dice he has been pinned helplessly. If it is a tie they are struggling, with the Hero still on his feet, but he will be unable to defend himself with his weapon. If the Hero scores higher than the Orcs use the positive difference to throw off his attackers, i.e. the Hero scores 15 and the Orcs scored but 8, so the Hero has tossed both aside, stunning them for 7 turns between them.


    - Round 2: lniative goes to the Hero.

    - Score required to hit Orcs -- 11 (4th level fighter vs. AC 6).

    Assume the following dice score by the Hero. Note that he is allowed one attack for each of his combat levels as the ratio of one Orc vs. the Hero is 1:4, so this is treated as normal (non-fantastic) melee, as is any combat where the score of one side is a base 1 hit die or less.

    Hero: 19; 01; 16; 09. Two out of four blows struck. There are 8 orcs which can be possibly hit. An 8-sided die is rolled to determine which have been struck. Assume a 3 and an 8 are rolled. Orcs #3 and #8 are diced for to determine their hit points, and they have 3 and 4 points respectively. Orc #3 takes 6 damage points and is killed. Orc #8 takes 1 damage point and is able to fight.

    - All 7 surviving/non-stunned Orcs are now able to attack.

    Continued attempts to overpower the Hero are assumed, and no less than 4 Orcs are able to attack the Hero from positions where his shield cannot be brought into play, so his AC is there considered 5, and those Orcs which attack from behind add +2 to their hit dice. In the case it is quite likely that the Orcs will capture the Hero.
    Was this an actual system used in your games at that time or just something that was created ad-hoc for this example? If the former, why was this (seemingly quite simple and straightforward) system abandoned in favor of the much more complicated percentile-based system found in the AD&D DMG (which was so complex that at least in my games it served to effectively discourage anyone from ever attempting those maneuvers, at least until we got UA)?

    Also, I can't help noticing that both this example combat and the combat example in the AD&D PH feature large numbers of orcs taking out superior PC opponents by grappling them rather than engaging in straight up melee (which the higher level PCs would almost certainly win). Was this pure coincidence or were these intended as subtle hints to DMs how such 'mook' monsters should be played -- making up by sheer numbers what they lack in skill and hit dice?

    As always,
    "AD&D is designed to be an amusing and diverting pastime, something which can fill a few hours or consume endless days, as the participants desire, but in no case something to be taken too seriously." - Gary Gygax (DMG, 1979)

    "There are people who regard the RPG as something more than an amusing game, more than a most entertaining hobby. They really do need to get a life" - Gary Gygax (EN World, 2004)

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