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Thread: Gary Gygax Q&A: Part X
Sunday, 2nd July, 2006, 05:41 PM #441
Hydra (Lvl 25)
Originally Posted by airwalker
I didn't mean to sound like a scold. Pardon me There were indeed a lot of gamers giving me useful input in regards to my design, but I was the only one doing the work, deciding what was "right" and "wrong." For example, before the D&D game was published, in early 1973, I allowed any class of character to use a wand, but if they were not a mgic-user, they had to roll their Int or ledd on 3d6 to make it work. The players generally liked that, but I scrubbed the rule as it blurred class lines.
I simply did not wish to do others a disservice if they helped come up with the idea in question. This brings up an interesting question for me though, since I was born after D&D was invented. I know you are credited with "creating D&D" and I certainly don't question that. But just how much was 1st edition your sole work and how much of it was inspired or suggested by others? 90% or greater? I mean, although you might be deific compared to such mortals as I, you did have help obviously with such a monumental task of creating a brand new game and getting it marketable. It is my current understanding that you were the primary designer and Dave Arneson collaborated. Was Rob Kuntz's contribution early on limited to DMing? What kinds of things did Dave Arneson help with? Others?
I can not attribute percentages of actual creativity to the whole, but here is how the OD&D game came into being:
I wrote the Chainmail Medieval Military iniatures Rules "Man-to-Man" and "Fantasy Supplement" c. 1970, and the booklet was published in 1971.
Dave Arneson and I met at a GenCon here in Lake Geneva around 1968, and with Mike Carr we authored the Don't Give Up the Ship Naval Miniatures rules for the Great Age of Sail around 1971-2.
Dave was running a man-to-man (1 figure = one person) Chainmail fantasy campaign around then, and he and Dave Megary came down from the Twin Cities to see us, the gaming group, in Lake Geneva in the late autumn of 1972. Arneson brought some of his campaign material with him and Megary brought his Dungeon! boardgame for us to play. Megary said he had used the Chainmail Fantasy Supplement (which is obvious from the game itself) and sme of Arneson's ideas to create his boardgame. Would I become his agent, for he could find no one to publish it. We all had a great time in Dave's campaign and playing Megary's boardgame. I was enthused, and said I was going to create a full-fledged set of fantasy game rules; and yes, I would approach both Guidon Games, for whom I was Chief Editor, and The Avalon Hill Company in regards to the Dungeon! boardgame.
At the end of 1972 I had written a 50 p. ms. for the fantasy game. Arneson was to send me all the rules notes he used in his campaign, but nothing usable arrived, so I write the entire ms. off the top of my head. At the same time I did a minor board re-design for the I]Dungeon![/I] game )mainly on the 4th level adding the "Torture Chamber" to balance the two parts of it, revised the monster and treasure cards, and cleaned up the rules.
Of course during all this time we were playing both the RPG abd the boardgame regularly, about every day for several hours as it were. The initial plau-testers were my son Ernie and my daughter Elise, then ages 12 and 10 years respectively. They adventured on the first of what became 13 levels of "Castle Greyhawk" of the "Greyhawk Campaign" and loved it. I went to work immediately on a second level, even as Rob and Terry Kuntz and Don Kaye joined the play-test group. I sent out about 20 photocopies of the fantasy game rules ms. to various gamers I knew that belonged to the International Federation of Wargaming, the Castle & Crusade Society, and/or the Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Assoiation. Most of the recipients were as enthused about the game as I was.
By the late spring of 1973 we had played 100 or more sessions of the fantasy game, dozens of I]Dungeon![/I] boardgame games, and with the GMing and playng experience I had by then (then young Rob Kuntz being my main GM when I played), some input from those that had received copies of the nitial ms., I revised and expanded the rules to 150. pages, sent copies to the original recipients and a dozen other persons, and began to seek a publisher.
Guidon Games was not doing well, and my good friend, Tom Shaw, V.P. heading up The Avalon Hill Company laughed when I offered him one or both of the games. I then determined to do my best to start my own publishing cmpany...a;though I had not a spare penny what with a wife and five kinder to support.
None of my family was interested in backing the project, but my old pal Don Kaye was. After seeing how large GenCon had become in 1973, the new wargame compant Game Designer's Workshop formed in June of that year exhibiting at the con, Don came over to my house afterwards and asked if I could really do it, put a publishing compant together. I said sure thing! So Don borrowed $1,000 against a life insurance policy, he and I became equal partners in Tactical Studies Rules. We published Cavaliers & Roundheads Military Miniatures Rules for the English Civil War by Jeff Perren & Gary Gygax in October of 1973, hoping the sales of the booklet would generate sufficient income to afford to publish the D&D game soon thereafter, as we both knew it would be the horse to pull the company.
As an aside, I had named the fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons in the summer of 1973 after compiling two lists of potential titles, with "Dungeons" on one and "Dragons" on the other. When my little daughter Cindy said, "Oh daddy, I like Dungeons & Dragons best!" I went with her. choice.
Brian Blume attended Gencon in 1973, asked to join the LGTSA, and he was accepted. When he played the D&D game at my house, Brian bcame as enthused as we were, and when TSR was formed he asked to join as a partner. As we had only around $700 from sales, wanted to get the D&D game out, we agreed he could be an equal partner for $2,000. He joined the company thus in December, and I took the D&D ms. to Graphic Printing, then here in LAke Geneva, early in January 1974, ordering labels to go with the wood-grained paper-wrapped boxes I had ordered just prior to having the three booklets and reference sheets go to the printer. The whole run of 1,000 booklets, reference sheets sets, box front and spine labels, and boxes came to around $2,300.
Our first sale was one mail-order shipped off at the end of January when the game was hot off the press.
The next additions to the game were in process soon thereafter, those being the material published asthe rules supplement booklet Greyhawk in 1975, again all of which I wrote, but with a lot of creative input from Rob, so I included him as a co-author.
I began writing the material for the AD&D game in 1976, and I did all of it by myself as well, again with a good deal of useful input from the fellow gamers named in the work.
There you have it.
Oh obviously. I find AD&D an incredibly well-designed and well-thought out system. I am not trying to tell you that you could have done a better job or anything. I am just seeking to make some adjustments to coincide with my tastes and the tastes of my group and was trying to be circumspect about the consequences of "changing the rules."
That is what I figured the reason was. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something. Thanks a lot!
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Sunday, 2nd July, 2006, 07:13 PM #442
Enchanter (Lvl 12)
I agree. If the DM is the sadisitc type that gets his kick by playing cat-and-mouse games with the PCs, then the players should walk if they don't like it. And the players should keep in mind that this is a group activity and not pursue fun at the cost of everyone else's enjoyment.Originally Posted by Col_Pladoh
Of course there are players and DMs out there who won't do that, the upside of that is it gives us plently of things to talk (more like argue in most cases ) about around here.
PbP info here: http://www.enworld.org/forum/5396456-post81.html
Sunday, 2nd July, 2006, 07:24 PM #443
Hydra (Lvl 25)
Originally Posted by Orius
As such an excuse to argue was needed! Gamers are about as contentious a bunch as I can imagine. Perhaps that goes with the imagination possessed by most and the creativity many have. What GM worth the name doesn't "Improve" the game rules or module at hand? And how many have their own RPG, module, or novel ready to publish? Heck, as I mentioned above, I am often "improving" on my own work, wondering why the devil I write it as I did in the first, or second or third, place
Monday, 3rd July, 2006, 01:03 AM #444
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Your history lesson up above there has brought something to mind. I remember you once writing that Dave Arneson complained about the Dungeons & Dragons rules being 'not right', or something to that effect. Can you remember what it was about the game that he was dissatisfied with?
- Nathan P. Mahney -
Monday, 3rd July, 2006, 01:40 AM #445
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Didn't really have a question, just wanted to throw some thanks out there to airwalker for his superb question(s), for he phrased them far more eloquently than I ever could. And of course, a big thanks to Gary for the awesome answer! Wow, it explained so much that I always wanted to know! Thank you, gentlemen!
Monday, 3rd July, 2006, 03:22 AM #446
Magsman (Lvl 14)
I hate sounding like a sycophant, but I do have to thank you very much for giving me the best game and hobby, ever. Now one, that I in turn, get to share with my 14, 13, and 10 year old kids; and give them memories of not only great adventures, but a great time playing with their mom and dad. It is a priceless gift you have given me, my wife, and those like us. Thanks for making it happen.
It is the spirit of the game, not the letter of the rules, which is important. NEVER hold to the letter written, nor allow some barracks room lawyer to force quotations from the rule book upon you, IF it goes against the obvious intent of the game. As you hew the line with respect to conformity to major systems and uniformity of play in general, also be certain the game is mastered by you and not by your players. Within the broad parameters give in the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Volumes, YOU are creator and final arbiter. By ordering things as they should be, the game as a WHOLE first, your CAMPAIGN next, and your participants thereafter, you will be playing Advanced Dungeons and Dragons as it was meant to be. May you find as much pleasure in so doing as the rest of us do.
-1E DMG, page 230
Monday, 3rd July, 2006, 06:53 AM #447
Guide (Lvl 11)
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ø Ignore airwalkrr
Oh not at all. That was a quite interesting read. Thank you for filling me in on the details!Originally Posted by Col_Pladoh
Monday, 3rd July, 2006, 08:59 AM #448
Guide (Lvl 11)
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ø Ignore haakon1
That's the heart of the issue. Is a certain amount of gp or xp of equipment is "fair" at each level?Originally Posted by Orius
I figure relative poverty or richness compared to someone else's campaign world is irrelevant. I doubt what you or WOTC means is "treasure for the sake of treasure", because there's inherent "fun" in accumulating the proper amount, or because players compare across campaigns and bragging rights are held in who has a better sword?
I'm guessing WOTC's reason for worrying about character wealth is that being X level assumes you have Y amount of stuff, so if you don't, you might be too weak and threatened by X-level adventures, which were supposed to be calibrated for your character safety and ease of success?
My attitude is: so what? The DM will write or choose adventures that "fit", and the players will survive by their wits and the skin of their teeth or run or die trying, hopefully having fun in the process. When risk is taken out of the game, a lot of the fun disappears too.
I hate the "motorcycle helmet law" approach WOTC is taking here. Adventuring means danger, a chance to get killed without bubble-wrap over all the sharp corners in the dungeon, and DMing means creativity and judgment. By and large, D&D players are smart enough that we don't need child safety locks. It almost seems like they're afraid to get sued if a character is killed. I want the Holodeck Safety Protocols off.
I think the amount of treasure that it's "fair" for a player to have is precisely the amount that they have obtained and held onto. It's their world -- their call what adventures they pursue, how good they are at surviving, how good they are finding and retrieving treasure, and how they spend their money:
"Where is the Eye of the Serpent? Rexor says you gave it to a girl. Probably for a mere night's pleasure, hm? What a loss. People have no grasp of what they do." Thulsa Doom in "Conan the Barbarian"
Last edited by haakon1; Monday, 3rd July, 2006 at 09:33 AM.
Monday, 3rd July, 2006, 03:52 PM #449
Hydra (Lvl 25)
Hi Nathan,Originally Posted by Nathan P. Mahney
Sorry, but I can not recall exactly with what Dave was dissatisfied. It might have been virtually any aspect of the game. If you can give me anything in the way of memory refreshment, I'll be happy to try to recollect the nature of this.
Monday, 3rd July, 2006, 03:55 PM #450
Hydra (Lvl 25)
Blast that devil AirwalkerOriginally Posted by John Drake
His rotten query made me spend an inordinate amlunt of time recalling ancient history and recording it here ...with a copy to my files for biographical purposes
That aside, you are most welcome!