TSR 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

Robert J. Kuntz

TSR Veteran
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

Well the aforementioned Castle Greyhawk Levels belong to both myself and the Gygax Estate (roughly 41 levels crafted by him and belonging to the estate and 21 by me, with 6 that we created together, such as The Dragon Level).

These are the dates that the aforementioned project was attempted to be brought to fruition: 1982 (TSR/freelance), 1987 (NIPI), 1998-1999 (RPGA), 2006 (Troll Lords), 2016-2018 (Gygax Estate). I was involved intimately at all of these aforementioned times. The latter has stalled due to a Lawsuit between the Gygax Estate and Tom DeSanto (search online, I will not discuss it here). NOTE: This does not include my 1997 push (approved of by Gary) in constructing a detailed World of Greyhawk Marketing Plan and presenting it to WIzards of the Coast; a prior petition that I wrote and circulated on the GreyTalk List-serve and personally mailed to Lisa Stevens at WotC in 1996; and a short-lived attempt by Gary and myself to get Mongoose Publishing to take it on, the latter prior to proceeding to the Troll Lords.

So there was no Castle ever published (by its two creators), though that may change...
 

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Jay Verkuilen

Grand Master of Artificial Flowers
<snip> So there was no Castle ever published (by its two creators), though that may change...

Cool!

I played in Castle Greyhawk which was released for 2E and some in the joke version that was at the tail end of 1E. Of course we all knew these were just someone else's take on it. The 2E one we managed to integrate into a long-running Greyhawk campaign. Our PCs had mostly serious motivations to get to Zagyg's library at the bottom but eventually we left when things got too crazy and went after a source of information in a different locale.
 

Cool!

I played in Castle Greyhawk which was released for 2E and some in the joke version that was at the tail end of 1E. Of course we all knew these were just someone else's take on it. The 2E one we managed to integrate into a long-running Greyhawk campaign. Our PCs had mostly serious motivations to get to Zagyg's library at the bottom but eventually we left when things got too crazy and went after a source of information in a different locale.
Wait! There was a 2e version!?
 




Jay Verkuilen

Grand Master of Artificial Flowers
"Official" but not the original.
Unquestionably not original, although none of the Greyhawk material post-Gygax was as far as I know. Certainly not the 2E material.

That said, much of it, especially what was written by the late Carl Sargent, was quite good, though, as was a lot of the 2E material overall. Pity the business side of TSR were such greedy dimwits in a lot of ways, as has been described by Jim Ward and a number of other posters.
 

Unquestionably not original, although none of the Greyhawk material post-Gygax was as far as I know. Certainly not the 2E material.

That said, much of it, especially what was written by the late Carl Sargent, was quite good, though, as was a lot of the 2E material overall. Pity the business side of TSR were such greedy dimwits in a lot of ways, as has been described by Jim Ward and a number of other posters.

Yes, Sargent had some good stuff, with slight pieces of it redone from my early columns about Greyhawk in Dragon Magazine, i.e., Knights of Doom. My Fate of Istus parts in WG8, 1989 were pretty on target, too.
 

Jay Verkuilen

Grand Master of Artificial Flowers
Yes, Sargent had some good stuff, with slight pieces of it redone from my early columns about Greyhawk in Dragon Magazine, i.e., Knights of Doom. My Fate of Istus parts in WG8, 1989 were pretty on target, too.
I'm glad to hear that. I felt what Sargent had done was a pretty logical extension of what had been brewing in Greyhawk from the various Dragon columns I'd read before (haphazardly, I was a kid with only intermittent access to Dragon), although wow did it become a grimdark world with the ascendance of many of the evil powers.
 


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