Greyhawk Theatrics, Comments and Quips in Play: Snippets, Funny Lines and Outbursts from the Lake Geneva Gamers

What follows are some dear and treasured memories—snippets, funny lines, and outbursts recalled from play. Many eluded both myself and Gary over the years. But these few should serve to indicate how the majority of us gamed in those days, and especially how we gamed while the original D&D game was still in the midst of being play-tested. Several of these have been extracted from other articles I’ve written well as from other peopleʼs heads, like EGGʼs. The Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Association members were a competitive and rare lot indeed. I have yet to find a group of players that compares to them. Hereʼs to the memories!

“Havenʼt you learned yet?” EGGʼs answer for Tom Champenyʼs inquiry about whether his PC had gained any experience from dying so many times.

“I look up and down and all around.” Terry Kuntzʼs (Terik) favorite line (said very fast) upon entering a dungeon complex area due to EGG having had so many nasties fall upon Terik or surprise him in the past.

“Speed man, Speed!” Mike Reeseʼs exhortation to anyone playing a miniatureʼs game.

“Speaking of wet sponges, how are you these days?” A taste of Jeff Perrenʼs quick wit which was often apparent during games.

“Barrage Balloon!” Garyʼs immediate exclamation for Murlynd (Don Kaye) using his boots of levitation to rise in the air above battles in progress, thus making him a floating target for the oppositionʼs missile weapons.

“Rip-Rip-Rip-Off!!” James Ward (Bombadil), most often said when he felt cheated by Gary or myself during play.

“Fudginʼ Judginʼ.” Many a disgruntled player, but particularly James Ward and James Goodefellow.

“Fudgey Judgey.” A derivative of Fudginʼ Judginʼ quite popular with those Greyhawk participants who were aching for the blue lightning bolt (q.v.).

“A blue lightning bolt comes down and disintegrates your PC!” (any pissed off Lake Geneva DM, but most often attributed to Brian Blume).

“Keep on going.” Bob Burmanʼs reaction to anything which was happening around him, which more often than not resulted in his PCʼs death or the ruin of his side in other gaming contests.

“Hoo-ray!” Joe Fischerʼs slight, hobbit cheer.

EGG: “The passage turns east and west.” Calling Player: “We go south.” EGG (Look of incredulousness): “Bump! You walk into the wall and take 2 hp of damage each.”

“He-he-he-he-he-he-he-he-he!” Joe Goodfellowʼs evil reaction to evil events, said quickly and with a high pitch while jostling his head slightly in various directions.

“Power! Power!!” Eric Shookʼs (Othlindenʼs) maniacal reaction to Bob Burmanʼs PCʼs insane (and inane) quest for power.

“Uhhhh-uuuuh-uuhhhh...” James Wardʼs (Bombadil) undulating moan when he felt things were just about to turn against him. Reminiscent of the sound the character “Lurch” from the Addamʼs Family TV show made.

“Well, I, ah...” Mike Carrʼs humorously couched line when trying to buy time or avoid something in a game.

“Youʼre both a bunch of weirdoes.” Terry Kuntzʼs (Terik) confusing saying aimed at those others who would argue over stupid points during play.

“Rob, itʼs not in the rule book.” Tom Christiansen, the nit-picker rules-lawyer of the group.

“Robbbbbb!” James Goodfellowʼs preemptive mimicking-strike against Tom Christiansenʼs rule-mongering when he sensed a challenge looming.

Player at Con: “Hey, thatʼs not the way the book says it should be played.” EGG (in response): “I wrote the rules, and this is the way I am DMing.”

“Yikes!” Ernie Gygax (Tenser) when either impressed or afraid.

“Burman. Burman! Burman!!!!!!!” James Goodfellowʼs staple “Burmania outburst” upon listening to Bob Burman for less than thirty seconds.

“Ooohhh Nooooo!!” Ernie Gygax (Tenser) at various times when things were going wrong.

Various Players in Greyhawk Castle: “I say we open it.” Acting Player: “We open it.”

EGG/RJK: Everyone roll a spell saving throw. Contrary Player: “Idiot! I told you not to open it!”

“Crom and Mitra!” Gronanʼs (Mike Mornard) response to things going wrong.

“Oh, well. You can both take three.” Dave Arnesonʼs casual reaction to EGGʼs and RJKʼs PCs (Mordenkainen and Robilar) hoard of magic items between them which Dave as DM pared down to three each for their adventure to the “City of the Gods.”

“Run Away!” David Sutherlandʼs favorite saying whether DMing or Playing or while recounting a tale. A saying also favored by Skip Williams, usually accompanied by flailing his hands.

“Oh, yeah...” EGG, while rubbing hands together, just having bested or trapped the party.

“We high-tail-it outa here!” EGGʼs (Mordenkainen and Crew) reaction to overwhelming odds while I was DMing. Often accompanied by a jerk of the thumb to indicate same.

“Mommy.” Another of Gronanʼs (Mike Mornard) sayings upon being impressed by something truly monstrous and/or powerful.

“Mike, you can close your mouth now.” EGG or RJK in reaction to Mike Mornardʼs (Gronan) incredulous look for our benefit half the time when things werenʼt going well for his PC.

“It looks like what?!” Various Greyhawk players.

“Weeeeeeee!” Some of the more theatrical of the group as the party descended a slide to the depths below Castle Greyhawk.

“Aeeeehhhhh!!” Screamed by James Goodfellow so loudly (and at odd times) so as to awaken the dead.

“W-w-what?!” Archie-Bunker like response from Joe Goodfellow when confounded or when disturbed by another playerʼs actions.

“Recompense! Recompense!” James Ward when he felt cheated by various merchants, institutions and/or PCs in the campaign.

“Swoosh...” and “Bonk!” Verbal sound effect words used by EGG and myself to indicate a miss or hit in melee, usually by our own attacking NPCs or monsters.

“You do what?” Mark Ratner (Aylerach), after rolling his eyes, in reaction to any numb- skull act or plan.

“Otto is my name! Magic is my game!” Otto, as DMed by Gary, doing a dance and a ditty at the Green Dragon Inn and elsewhere, much to Robilarʼs consternation.

“Thatʼs not good.” A jest-like, but deliberative, summarization by Murlynd (Don Kayeʼs PC), usually in reaction to something bad which Gary or I had just finished describing.

“Oh Boy!” “You Betcha!” “Fat Chance.” Various interjections by EGG, of which the first and last ones were the least desired to be heard by any player...

© 2019. Robert J. Kuntz. All Rights Reserved.
 
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Robert J. Kuntz

Comments

Rob Kuntz

Adventurer
They were colorful days occupied by a lot of colorful people.

I do know that this is mostly a "good feeling" account and there won't be many questions and such; but, hey, it's a real good time recounting that's going into my memoirs. More to chew on in my forthcoming installments. "Burmnaia" will be covered in detail!
 

Rob Kuntz

Adventurer
I thought we were unusual in recording and archiving silly-humourous quotes from our games; yet here I see it's been a thing since the days of the founders.

Nice! :)
Certes! These were glorious times and stories. And some of the antics had Gary and myself rolling on the floor in laughter. No doubt I'll recount soon enough the time when Gary actually fell out his chair doing so... :)
 
“Run Away!” David Sutherlandʼs favorite saying whether DMing or Playing or while recounting a tale. A saying also favored by Skip Williams, usually accompanied by flailing his hands.
Was this before or after they'd seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail?
It seemed to me, in the early 80s, whenever playing with older (than me at the time, so, like college age'd've counted, though there were greybeards then, too) players MP&tHG would get quoted incessantly.
 

Rob Kuntz

Adventurer
Was this before or after they'd seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail?
It seemed to me, in the early 80s, whenever playing with older (than me at the time, so, like college age'd've counted, though there were greybeards then, too) players MP&tHG would get quoted incessantly.
Most definitely for Dave Sutherland. I saw it in 1975 while spending 3 weeks in the Twin Cities with Mike Mornard and while DMing Castle Greyhawk which I had taken there with me. So yeah. It's probably related to MPHG for both Sutherland and possibly Skip.
 
It seems like quips, pop-culture references, jokes, and general verbal fun is often a feature of gaming - even, or especially, in really good games that are quite engaging in the fiction.
I didn't see MP&tHG for years after hearing, like, every line of it quoted at a game at least once. ;) When gaming within my own age bracket, though, the quotes tended much more towards Star Wars. Still do, really. Last week it was "Aren't you a little short for a Sorrowsworn?"
 
Rob, one thing I'd be especially interested in future installments is a seldom addressed topic in gamer circles: personal spirituality. I'd be really interested to know of your spiritual / philosophical path, what authors, teachers, or "wisdom streams" you've connected with in your biography, and how this has interwoven with your D&D life.
 

SkidAce

Adventurer
Myself and other DMs used the "blue lightning" to warn players of impending transgressions back in the day, I wonder what circuitous route it took to get to our table in the 80s.
 

Rob Kuntz

Adventurer
Rob, one thing I'd be especially interested in future installments is a seldom addressed topic in gamer circles: personal spirituality. I'd be really interested to know of your spiritual / philosophical path, what authors, teachers, or "wisdom streams" you've connected with in your biography, and how this has interwoven with your D&D life.
I've never been prompted to discuss that. I'll make a note to write about this, though one can thread the fine line between self-reflection and ego doing so. There have been some formative periods that are noteworthy that I'll take a shot at expressing for their external worth. Dungeonosophy indeed. "There's more than meets the eye."-- W. H. Auden
 

Shiroiken

Adventurer
I do know that this is mostly a "good feeling" account and there won't be many questions and such; but, hey, it's a real good time recounting that's going into my memoirs. More to chew on in my forthcoming installments. "Burmnaia" will be covered in detail!
Given how little is actually known of the early days, posts and comments like this help archive things for everyone. I know I appreciate reading these!
 

Jay Verkuilen

Dogsbody Waghalter
I thought we were unusual in recording and archiving silly-humourous quotes from our games; yet here I see it's been a thing since the days of the founders.

Nice! :)
Oh yeah, my own longtime group has our treasured chestnuts, too.

"I hear he's pitching for the Githyankis now." ---throwing specialist, upon killing some pesky Githyanki with throwing darts.

"You put me in a box!" ---uttered by a player who was absent for several sessions and the DM needed a convenient reason for the PC to be gone. He got put in a crate and transported to the next adventure.

"Seven to five? Excellent!" ---about the casualties after a particularly brutal, high casualty game of Vampire: the Masquerade that involved a war between the Camarilla and Sabbat. The prince who said that was immediately attacked and put into Torpor by the angry survivors.

"What is your bidding my ma---What the f---!?!?!? We must leave!" Uttered by a djinn was summoned in the teeth of two Nycadaeomons. (In 5E they're only so-so, but in 1E and 2E nycadaemons were seriously bad dudes.)
 

Rob Kuntz

Adventurer
Oh yeah, my own longtime group has our treasured chestnuts, too.

"I hear he's pitching for the Githyankis now." ---throwing specialist, upon killing some pesky Githyanki with throwing darts.

"You put me in a box!" ---uttered by a player who was absent for several sessions and the DM needed a convenient reason for the PC to be gone. He got put in a crate and transported to the next adventure.

"Seven to five? Excellent!" ---about the casualties after a particularly brutal, high casualty game of Vampire: the Masquerade that involved a war between the Camarilla and Sabbat. The prince who said that was immediately attacked and put into Torpor by the angry survivors.

"What is your bidding my ma---What the f---!?!?!? We must leave!" Uttered by a djinn was summoned in the teeth of two Nycadaeomons. (In 5E they're only so-so, but in 1E and 2E nycadaemons were seriously bad dudes.)
Great stuff! I feel a collection of these would be a hit. The sources run into the tens of thousands and possibly more. How many DMs have there been? :)
 

Jay Verkuilen

Dogsbody Waghalter
Great stuff! I feel a collection of these would be a hit. The sources run into the tens of thousands and possibly more. How many DMs have there been? :)
It'd be a cool blog post, certainly! I can think of others, those were just the top of my head, and I'm sure many folks have similar ones.

Over the years I've played with quite a number of people, but my main group---we call the Den of Iniquity after a particularly nasty college apartment some of us lived in---has been a pretty steady five with a few extras here and there since the mid '90s I think. There were folks moving and such but given VTT gaming, that core of five has reformed. We get together twice yearly in person and play pretty regularly online via Discord and Roll20. For a while four of the five would DM, but now really only two of us do.

As to how many DMs total? Who knows? A lot!
 

Bohandas

Explorer
This reminds me. Was the original Castle Greyhawk (or a faithful adaptation to a newer edition) ever actually published? I know there was the version with the random monster generator and the version with the evil doubles of the Company of Seven, but I also know that neither of these followed the original. They did not, for instance, have the abovementioned giant slide.

I remember that Gary Gygax was working on another version before he died but I don't know if it was ever completed or where to buy it if it was
 
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