Gary Gygax Q&A: part VII - Page 29

# Thread: Gary Gygax Q&A: part VII

1. Originally Posted by T. Foster
Hi Gary,

Something I've wondered about off and on for awhile and don't think I've ever asked (or read an answer to) before: how and why did you decide to use 1d20 as the randomizer for the alternate combat system and saving throw charts in D&D in place of the 2d6 rolls used in Chainmail?
The 5% incriment (20) probability curve was used in the WW II military miniatures rules set, Tractics, that I co-authored with Leon Tucker and Mike Reese. tucker originally wanted a 1-100 spread, and Reese had used something like that using two d6 for one of his rules sets. the desire for different curves was pretty common by the time I authored D&D.

How much consideration did you give to the fact that the wide, flat 1d20 distribution creates a much more random (i.e. luck-based) feel than 2d6 where ~45% of all rolls will fall in the middle of the range (6-8) with the extreme high and low ends both correspondingly rarer?
Not much consideration was given, because of flat curve can be adjusted easily and addition to the chance is lavel, not shifting with the bell curve.

Was it a conscious decision that such a wide-open random/luck-based distribution was more appropriate to the feel of a heroic fantasy-based game as opposed to the more "realistic" historical feel of Chainmail with its less random (more predictable) 2d6 distribution? Do you find it odd that for the sake of 'consistency' and 'elegant design' that this very random 1d20 distribution is now applied to almost every roll in the game? Or am I reading too much into this?

Regards,
Sorry, but I don't agree with the premise of your question, that one curve is more luck-based than the other. Requiring a 20 to hit or to get a given result is about the same as requiring a 2d6 score of 2 or 12, no? It is all a matter of building the mechanics according to the desired probabilities.

In D&D mutliple hits and varying hit points allowed for the option of more frequent hits without affecting the end result, thus making the play more action-oriented and exciting.

Cheers,
Gary

• [QUOTE=RFisher]Picking up this sub-thead about your group's recent OD&D campaign... (Yeah, other things have kept me from keeping up with my internet discussions...)

I ask these questions for many reasons. Mainly, I suppose, because--as someone who started with the c. 1981 Basic Set, Traveller, & OAD&D--I find the original game intriguing. Also, because I figure I'll force my group to give the old game a try sometime--& so--I'm interested in how others--especially its author--play it.[QUOTE]

sure

So, no thieves?

Everyone uses d6 for HD? All weapons do d6 damage?
That's right on both counts. We are playing original D&d as in the three booklets...only with some few modifications I have tossed in to make the PCs more viable.

When a cleric becomes a Curate, he only gets to add 1 hp to his current total rather than a full HD? (Or +2 if Con is >14?)
No, we always played one HD addition per level of character.

[QUOTE]Elves have to declare each session whether they're operating as fighting-men or magic-users? (I assume they keep two XP totals: one for each class.)[QUOTE]

The would if any of the players were of elvish race, but all are human.

Anyone playing an "Other Character Type"? A "young" Dragon, perhaps.
Get out!

[QUOTE]I'm guessing you let the players roll ability scores themselves rather than doing it yourself as Men & Magic indicates. Did you make them stick to 3d6 in order (with the modifications allowed on p.10)?[QUOTE]

To make PCs of the sort that are viable and be what the player wants to play, I allowed them (or optionally me) to roll 4d6 and use the three higheest dice. totals could then be arranged, as I added bonuses for Str, Int, Wis, and Dex, not just Str and Dex.

Do you use the weights on M&M p.15 for encumberance, or just wing it?
My group is veteran, and they don't overload, so that's not a consideration. I pull out those rules only if someone is abusing the amount of equipment they claim to be carrying around.

Do you ever use reaction rolls? (I've always found them to be one of the most seldom used mechanics.)
Not often, as almost everything in the dungeon is hostile. Reaction is thus a foregone

Cheers,
Gary

• Originally Posted by Jdvn1
*bump*
I hope Gary's okay.
I hadn't realized all these posts were here. Likely I deleted a notice that someone had replied to this thread when in my usual spam-deleting frenzy

Cheers,
Gary

Heh, and I'll bet you aren't a fan of smoked eel then
Heh, you got me there. My wife, however, loves the stuff. When we go for sushi she usually gets eel. I'm a fan of tuna and salmon, myself.

Of course, when I drag her to Korean restaraunts she's usually there under protest and so generally orders a koreanized Japanese dish lol.

Gray Mouser

PS
Sheesh, I just noticed not one AD&D related question here. Hmm, I'll have to think of something.

• Originally Posted by Tav_Behemoth
It's great to see you around again, Gary!

I wonder if I could ask you a few questions about the origins of monsters - please excuse me if these have been answered elsewhere.
No problem

1) Can you confirm that the bulette and rust monster were originally a plastic toy that you created a creature around in order to use it on the miniatures table?
That is so, but the name and stats were created by Tim Kask, then editor of Dragon Magazine.

2) Was your invention of the stirge inspired by the striges of Roman folklore, and if so do you remember if you encountered them in Thomas Burnett Swann's fantasy novel Day of the Minotaur or novella "Where is the Bird of Fire" or from another source (such as Ovid)?
The stirge I made up frm whole cloth, vaguely inspired by the myth of Strygea. I haven't read any of Swann's yarns.

3) Were you generally the (uncredited) author of the Creature Features in the early issues of The Dragon?
Durned if I can recall. The best I can offer is to answer on a case by case basis.

[QUOTE]4) Was the displacer beast inspired by the Couatl in Van Vogt's "Voyage of the Black Destroyer"?[QUOTE]

It was Van Vogt's Voyage of the Space Beagle when i read it...but I suspect the story is the same, yes

I have the highest respect for your bibilomania - after 20 years I continue to find new riches within the DMG's Appendix N: Inspirational and Recommended Reading - and tracing these literary antecedents serves to only further increase my admiration for you as a connoiseur of fantasy and as a game designer.

Thanks as always!
Thank you very much, and happy you are making good use of the list! Hope you also enjoy the more recent work of Glen Cook and Terry Prachett. How I admire Terry's creation "luggage" and the manner in which he describes it in his novels

Cheers,
Gary

• Originally Posted by Krieg
I'm starting to get worried that I am going to get gout just from reading this thread!

Gary, back when you were exiled to Hollywood as the media entertainment head of TSR how far along did plans progress towards the D&D movie? Were their actual scripts in the works and if so written by whom? Plans being made for casting or director selection? etc
I had meetings with many studio heads, and we had a completed script written by james Goldman. The Blume brothers refused to make the final payment, so the potential deals we had for producing a motion picture based on it went south.

About a year later I co-wrote a partial fantasy film script with Flint Dille. The whole premise was also writen up along wth a "bible." It was based on the World of Greyhawk, and the action took the viewer into other genres of fantastic and historical sort. That project I put together with the crew of Dungeons & Dragons Entertainment Corp. Orson Wells loved it and agreed to play the main supporting role--the villianous mage. thus armed, I took it to Edgar Gross, the Executive Producer for John Boorman. After three meetings, Edgar said Mr. boorman was definately interested.

Before the deal could be concluded thus, I had to return to Lake Geneva because of the state of affiars at TSR--it was near bankruptcy due to mismanagement. In a couple of month's time Lorraine Williams managed to get control of the compamy. That ended all interest in the film, and at the same time killed the new spinoff project based on the D&D Cartoon Show tha was actually moving forward up to that point with new scripts being written and the concluding episode for the original show completed.

Gary

• [QUOTE=Gray Mouser]Heh, you got me there. My wife, however, loves the stuff. When we go for sushi she usually gets eel. I'm a fan of tuna and salmon, myself.[QUOTE]

Sushi? Why spoil perfectly good raw seafood with all that rice and seaweed? go for the sashimi, dude!

Of course, when I drag her to Korean restaraunts she's usually there under protest and so generally orders a koreanized Japanese dish lol.

Gray Mouser
The very few times I have sampled Korean food I found it much too garlic-ridden for my palet. Much to my wife's annoyance, I am not very fond of garlic in my cooking as it overpowers almost all other flavors. so many people spoil lamb by smothering it in garlic Halved onions are much milder and enhance the meat's flavor IMO, and that applies to mutton as well as the more delicate lamb.

PS
Sheesh, I just noticed not one AD&D related question here. Hmm, I'll have to think of something.
I did quite a few OAD&D questions on earlier numbers of this continuing thread...

Cheerio,
Gary

• Well Pilgrims...

I recon that answers all of the posts, but if I missed yours, hller at me

Gary

That is so, but the name and stats were created by Tim Kask, then editor of Dragon Magazine.
Ah, that's good to know! I'm in the middle of editing a Masters and Minions book centered on the ecosystem of the bulette; one of the things we like to do is to present the history of each monster, and I'm thus glad to have record straight.

The stirge I made up frm whole cloth, vaguely inspired by the myth of Strygea. I haven't read any of Swann's yarns.
I think you'd like Swann. I got turned on to him by David Pringle's Modern Fantasy: The Hundred Best Novels, which has considerable overlap with Appendix N (although your selection is more to my taste than Pringle's). He describes Day of the Minotaur as a "light and charming historical fantasy". I'd be honored to send you a copy; the few hours of enjoyment it might bring you are small recompense for the many thousands of hours your work has brought us! If you're interested, send me your mailing address at tav (at) behemoth3.com.

Durned if I can recall. The best I can offer is to answer on a case by case basis.
The remorhaz Creature Feature was Erol Otus's, I believe, since you thanked him for preliminary work on the monster in the acknowledgments to the Monster Manual. I'm particularly interested in its possible literary antecedent - Carter & DeCamp's "Lair of the Ice Worm" (published in Conan of Cimmeria) describes an artic worm called the remorla, which radiates cold whereas the remorhaz radiates heat. Might you be able to shed any light on the subject?

It was Van Vogt's Voyage of the Space Beagle when i read it...but I suspect the story is the same, yes
You are quite correct! The novel grew out of the short story "Black Destroyer", but there ain't no such beast as a "Voyage of the Black Destroyer" (and the beast in the story was named Coeurl, not Couatl). I am appropriately humbled.

Thank you very much, and happy you are making good use of the list! Hope you also enjoy the more recent work of Glen Cook and Terry Prachett. How I admire Terry's creation "luggage" and the manner in which he describes it in his novels
You've cleverly answered a question I hadn't even asked yet, which is what inspirational and recommended literature you'd add to the list today! Many thanks.

• ## About Rincewind's Luggage (A short diversion)

Rincewind was originally one of Terry's D&D characters. Luggage was originally a magical chest, with feet, Rincewind picked up on an adventure. Luggage's bellicose attitude and healthy appetite were part of the original deal.

If you ever get the chance to read some of the early Discworld books be sure to note the D&Disms running through them.

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