Q&A with Gary Gygax - Page 268
  1. #2671
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    Quote Originally Posted by gideon_thorne
    *chuckles* Me too! They blend much nicer with water..

    But thats probably not what your talking about.

    Peter
    Heh!

    I've used the Venus line to "paint with pencils"! My aunt was a high school art teacher, my pal Tom Keogh won a proze from the Audabon society for an airbrish drawing of a bird and I can draw water as well as anyone

    Cheers,
    Gary
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldschooler
    Gary,

    I have a few multi-part questions, I'm sure you've anwsered them all in the past, but I'm new around here and my curiosity keeps me up at night. I think these threads are a great idea and that you're being very generous at keeping up with them. Thanks for keeping in touch with all your faithful fans!
    And now, on with the badgering:
    Heh...

    I had heard that at one time you were planning to make a second edition of Advanced D&D by throwing together (with a re-edit) all three monster books into one Monster Manual, and folding Unearthed Arcana and Oriental Adventures into a new Players Handbook & Dungeon Masters Guide. Is this close to the truth? I'm wondering what kinds of editing you had been thinking of. Did you personally use UA & OA a lot in your games?
    That's pretty close. The main exception is that I planned to have the OA book re-written to get in Francois Froideval's material, and it, along with a expansion of the Oerth, be a supplement to the main core of rules.

    The Mm would vave been done in two volumes, A-L and M-Z more or less.

    I' won't deal with the changes I'd have made as that is meaningless at this point :\

    Of the original game (the cute lil' digest-sized box) and the Advanced game (with it's plethora of hardcovers), did you ever have a favorite? Do you concider one version better, over all, than the other?
    The short answer is no. they are sufficiently different in approach so as to be treated as separate entities, each enjoyable to play.

    What RPGs do you play most nowadays (including out of print games)? I'm assuming Lejendary Adventures is one of them, maybe Castles & Crusades and old-tyme D&D as well?
    You have it, omitting only OAD&D which I DM now and then. I'd love to play more Metamorphosis Alpha, but I haven't time to create a new campain setting and run it.

    Other designers are working on genre expansions of the La game system, so i hope to be play-testing fantastical science, science fiction, and wild west versions soon, with a horror game not far behind. If things work out, the first of those new offerings will hit the market sometime in 2006.

    Cheers,
    Gary
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  3. #2673
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    Quote Originally Posted by PapersAndPaychecks
    Did I just see a reference to a halfling magic-user/thief? Played by a Gygax? Please don't tell my gaming group you're allowed to do that, otherwise we'll end up with a party full of hobbits again...

    Actually, reading various accounts of early D&D games, I have the impression that the "rules" on which classes could be played by which races, and how high level they could achieve, were fairly frequently ignored and might be better described as guidelines than rules.
    If the Dm allows a hanfling magic-user/tief, who am I to quibble.

    That said, most of the campaigns I played in did keep pretty close to the level limits for non-human PCs. none of the players had problems with that, although when their characters had reached the end of their ability to progress, most, including myself, loked for meand to move them up yet another level the grey elf was thus the choice of many a player wanting a demi-human PC with magical ability.

    Cheers,
    Gary
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anabstercorian
    Gary, you frequently refer to 3e as 'superheroic' in scale. I'm not about to disagree with you - in fact, I whole-heartedly agree. The rate of power increase, and the dramatic increases in power available to a character ("I power attack Sunder the hydra, for sixty points of damage. I cleave to the next head repeatedly until I miss." "You chop off every head in a single brutal swipe." "Score!") make high level characters more akin to demi-gods in status, like that of Hercules of Orpheus, than merely experienced, skilled warriors such as Conan or Fafhrd.

    Now, I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing - I believe that power increase should never be ruled out for a DnD character - greater strength should always be possible through some fashion or another. But I do believe you may be right that power increases too quickly.

    Simply put, what line divides heroic from superheroic power?
    There is indeed nothing wrong with superheroic play...in a comic book-based RPG where the universe assumes such activity and has super villians and monsters too. The same can be said for a well-crafter fantasy RPG.

    The major appeal of the FRPG is the fantastic, the assumption of a character role in a world filled with strange creatures, and by dint of effort building through deeds of action and intellect that game persona from a lowly adventurer to a renown figure with power and prestiege in his milieu. there is little satisfaction in such accomplishment if it isn't earned.

    The basis for the D&D game, including 3E and 3.5E is not the superheroic, but the heroic. IMO, the new system hands players on a proverbial silver platter what once had to be earned, and so there is an escalation in character powers and tose of "monsters" as those who play the new game seek to find the satisfaction they will never gain from ti because there is no earning of rank through long play that gives actual expereince and understanding, grands the ability of clever play, not mere use of gifter powers.

    Also, I would like to ask your opinion about a house rule of mine. It is directly inspired by the OD&D rules Cyclopedia: Purify Food and Water is raised to a 1st level clerical spell, Create Water to 4th level, and Create Food to fifth. By doing this, and requiring a certain degree of overland travel, I hope to make simple survival more noteworthy - not a matter of constant accounting, surely, but a matter worthy of forethought even at the highest levels of play, because resorting to magic prevents you from using such dramatic spells as Divine Power or Flame Strike!
    Who am I to comment on rules changes used in your campaign? Actually, the alterations you detail are not going to affect much other than as you note, so if that makes the game more interesting for you and your players, great. The change might well affect the ability of some underground denizens to survive, as low-level clerics will no longer be able to feed their flock...

    Cheers,
    Gary
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    Quote Originally Posted by BOZ
    potions and scrolls, my man, potions and scrolls. and pre-cast spells are nice, too. i'm sure every DM goes through this experience after a time...
    Right, Boz!

    The propblem with the potion is getting it out and quaffing it off takes two rounds at least, and the same for getting and reading a scroll. The good old wand and worn magic items are much faster to use, multi-shot/use, so the temptation is always there to have them.

    Obmi the Dwarf had his boots of Speed and Dwarven Throwing Hammer (plus whatever defensive items I decided he needed for an encounter, protection and absorption) and believe me I made sure he had logical means of evading pursuit

    Cheers,
    Gary
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    Quote Originally Posted by BOZ
    i have the feeling that such a "second edition" AD&D would have gone over a lot better than the one that actually happened.
    Word.

    Gary
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    Quote Originally Posted by Col_Pladoh
    The basis for the D&D game, including 3E and 3.5E is not the superheroic, but the heroic. IMO, the new system hands players on a proverbial silver platter what once had to be earned, and so there is an escalation in character powers and tose of "monsters" as those who play the new game seek to find the satisfaction they will never gain from ti because there is no earning of rank through long play that gives actual expereince and understanding, grands the ability of clever play, not mere use of gifter powers.
    Gary,

    I'm going to have to disagree with this to some extent. The designer notes for 3rd edition have stated that character advancement in 3rd edition was designed this way for a reason. Despite the need to draw younger players into the hobby, the reality is that right now there are more older players than younger ones. One of the realities of being an adult is that there are more real-life constraints on time than there were as a child. In today's society, people just don't have the time to play as much as they would like. The designers of 3rd edition took this into account by establishing that the ideal group at one DM and 4 players, and by accelerating level progression. Gone are the days of creating an adventure for a party of 6 to 8 PCs of X level (that isn't to say that you can't modify an adventure to suit a party of more PCs). On the other hand, the DMs Guide aknowleges this more rapid progression, and suggests that if you wish, you can prolong the amount of time it takes to advance by rewarding a fraction of the XP indicated in the DMG. To me this seems like a perfectly reasonable way to maintain the enjoyment for modern players while still allowing for a more lengthy progression in power for those who have more time to devote to this hobby.

    In addition to this, the monsters are more than capable of continuing to provide a challenge to the PCs by advancing them by hit dice, size, or adding templates. In 1E and 2E, monsters were mostly set in their power level while in 3E they are scalable, which is a wonderful thing for me as a designer and DM. It used to really irritate me that after a certain level, there was no point in throwing orcs or goblins at higher level PCs because they weren't designed tough enough to be a challenge for them. Wonderful monsters had to be scrapped at higher levels because they just weren't a challenge anymore.

    My personal beef with 3E is the proliferation of feats and the leap in power that occurs at epic levels. I feel that the feats presented in the core rules make a nice complete set of abilities that, for the most part, are well deisgned and not overpowered. I feel that some of the ones that have appeared through various supplements have not been as well balanced as the originals, which leads to power creep by virtue of owning those books. Epic play can be easily remedied by throwing out epic feats and epic magic, and instead going with the stripped down system presented in the 3.5 DMG.

    This doesn't seem to me like rapid advancement and gifted usperpowers. Instead, its just a game that incorporates more dynamic elements than hack, slash, wipe blade, repeat. Anyway, as you are someone that I have an enormous amount of respect for, I look forward to your rebuttal.

  8. #2678
    Hello there, Gary!

    I was wondering if you could comment on some of TSR's other games, in terms of how successful they were on two fronts: financially, and how well you think they succeeded as a game, in terms of being playable and enjoyable?

    Specifically, I'm thinking about:

    Divine Right
    Boot Hill
    Dawn Patrol
    Fight in the Skies
    Knights of Camelot
    Gamma World
    Top Secret
    Gang Busters
    and the super hero game whose name is escaping me right now.

    I'm guessing you simply had no time to really delve into many of these, but any thoughts you care to pass along would be appreciated.

    Also, and this is an admittedly silly question, do you have a favorite maker of dice? I myself prefer the old GameScience Gem dice, especially the d20s numbered 0-9 twice, with "+" with half the numbers.

    Thanks again!

  9. #2679
    Quote Originally Posted by Col_Pladoh
    The basis for the D&D game, including 3E and 3.5E is not the superheroic, but the heroic. IMO, the new system hands players on a proverbial silver platter what once had to be earned, and so there is an escalation in character powers and tose of "monsters" as those who play the new game seek to find the satisfaction they will never gain from ti because there is no earning of rank through long play that gives actual expereince and understanding, grands the ability of clever play, not mere use of gifter powers.
    This resonates with me a great deal. Indeed, one of the very words I spoke upon starting my current campaign is, "I want you guys to advance before your characters do."

    That said, Whisperfoot is right - The decision to increase the rate of advancement, whilst perhaps unhealthy for the skill of players, was based on very real limitations on time to play that the current market must cope with. I will say that I recently ran some of my friends from a DnD game through the Tomb of Horrors, using the Castles and crusades rules, and I was pleasantly flabbergasted at how deftly they overcame the dangers within! Not a single fatality. Forgive me for lapsing in to gaming stories, but...
    Spoiler:
    The halfling rogue, who had been rendered invisible by the gnomish illusionist, had crept through one of the concealed passages from the Room of Orbs to the room of three chests. I had expected him to meet an untimely end at the hands of the great skeletal beast within the chest he chose, but he did not open it - instead, he pulled it out to the room of orbs. As he put it, he refused to open the chest on my terms. I was so proud! The collected party defeated the skeleton soundly.


    Quote Originally Posted by Col_Pladoh
    Who am I to comment on rules changes used in your campaign? Actually, the alterations you detail are not going to affect much other than as you note, so if that makes the game more interesting for you and your players, great. The change might well affect the ability of some underground denizens to survive, as low-level clerics will no longer be able to feed their flock...

    Cheers,
    Gary
    See, I never would have thought of that.

  10. #2680
    Dear Gary,

    How many years did you run your Greyhawk campaign?

    Could you please list all the worlds/dimensions that players interacted with? Murlynd obviously travelled to a Wild West world (was this just Earth?) and, apparently, there was cross-overs to Rob Kuntz's campaign setting.

    Did the crashed space craft in "S3: Expedition to the Barriar Peaks" really take place in your own campaign?

    Were there a lot of genre cross-overs in the original GH?

    Thanks.

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