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

Jay Verkuilen

Grand Master of Artificial Flowers
If you don't have tension you don't have much of a story, eh? ;)
Certainly, though I don't know that that's exactly the kind of tension that's needed all the time, particularly because it can push "save the world" storylines. A "cold peace" can be good, and leaves lots of room for motion without it moving into grimdark territory. I guess it was the tenor of the times with games like Vampire coming out.

When we played our long-running Greyhawk game (as adults, so this was late '90s to about '07) the DM rolled back some of those changes, but our characters ended up helping some happen due to our own actions. For instance, we raided the Horned Society and killed some of the Hierarchs, leaving them weakened and ripe for the plucking by Iuz. The Horned Society had, however, planned on sacrificing the love of one of the PCs, the cousin of another, and done a lot to draw our aggro, so we were out for blood. One PC was a priest of Tritherion so he wasn't too picky about who he vanquished as long as it was someone suitably evil and deserving of vengeance.

We played the game in what I like to think was similar to the old Lake Geneva style (but could be wrong---you'd know). Each player had a number of PCs but usually only one was "on screen" at a time, with the party being beefed up by hirelings or henchmen as needed. The henchmen were often really fun to play, concepts that might not make for a satisfying long term PC but be fun to explore for a while. This let other PCs do things like spell research or not participate in storylines that the players were interested in but which didn't fit the PCs. For instance, my fighter/wizard who was vying for a position on some future Circle of Eight and in the Greyhawk Guild of Wizards was totally not interested in knocking over the Horned Society.
 
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Certainly, though I don't know that that's exactly the kind of tension that's needed all the time. A "cold peace" can be good, and leaves lots of room for motion without it moving into grimdark territory. I guess it was the tenor of the times with games like Vampire coming out.

When we played our long-running Greyhawk game (as adults, so this was late '90s to about '07) the DM rolled back some of those changes, but our characters ended up helping some happen due to our own actions. For instance, we raided the Horned Society and killed some of the Hierarchs, leaving them weakened and ripe for the plucking by Iuz. The Horned Society had, however, planned on sacrificing the love of one of the PCs, the cousin of another, and done a lot to draw our aggro, so we were out for blood. One PC was a priest of Tritherion so he wasn't too picky about who he killed as long as it was someone suitably evil.

We played the game in what I like to think was similar to the old Lake Geneva style (but could be wrong---you'd know). Each player had a number of PCs but usually only one was "on screen" at a time, with the party being beefed up by hirelings or henchmen as needed. The henchmen were often really fun to play, concepts that might not make for a satisfying long term PC but be fun to explore for a while. This let other PCs do things like spell research or not participate in storylines that the players were interested in but which didn't fit the PCs. For instance, my fighter/wizard who was vying for a position on some future Circle of Eight and in the Greyhawk Guild of Wizards was totally not interested in knocking over the Horned Society.

Sure. I agree. But Gary and I decided to take the Wars route. That was our story that Sargent carried on. And it created some interesting articles/information to boot on the organization and numbers of forces involved and of course helped precipitate Greyhawk Wars Greyhawk Wars (game) - Wikipedia

Later codified in these...

Armies of Oerth, Part I: Bigby

Armies of Oerth, Part II: Mordenkainen

Armies of Oerth, Part XVI: South Province

among others that occurred at my Lord of the Green Dragons Blogspot

Armies of Oerth, Part XXVI: Kingdom of NyrondArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory, Kingdom of Nyrond
Armies of Oerth, Part XXV: Prelacy of AlmorArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory, Prelacy of Almor
Armies of Oerth, Part XXIV: See of MedegiaArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory, See of Medegia
Armies of Oerth, Part XXIII: North ProvinceArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory, North Province
Armies of Oerth, Part XXII: Sea BaronsArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory, Sea Barons
Armies of Oerth, Part XXI: The Great KingdomArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory, Great Kingdom
Armies of Oerth, Part XX: OnnwalArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory, Onnwal
Armies of Oerth, Part XIX: Irongate & Iron HillsArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory, Iron Hills, Irongate
Armies of Oerth, Part XVIII: IdeeArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory, Idee
Armies of Oerth, Part XVII: SunndiArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory, Sunndi
Armies of Oerth, Part XVI: South ProvinceArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory, South Province
Armies of Oerth, Part XV: Bone MarchArmies of Oerth, Clan of the Bloody Sun, Field of Glory, Orcs of the Death Moon, Orcs of the Vile Rune
Armies of Oerth, Part XIV: RatikArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory, Ratik
Armies of Oerth, Part XIII: Northern BarbariansArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory, Frost Barbarians, Ice Barbarians, Snow Barbarians
Armies of Oerth, Part XII: StonefistArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory, Stonefist
Armies of Oerth, Part XI: Rovers of the BarrensArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory, Rovers of the Barrens
Armies of Oerth, Part X: Duchy of TenhArmies of Oerth, Duchy of Tenh, Field of Glory
Armies of Oerth, Part IX: Bandit KingdomsArmies of Oerth, Bandit Kingdoms, Field of Glory
Armies of Oerth, Part VIII: Horned SocietyArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory, Horned Society
Armies of Oerth, Part VII: IuzArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory, Iuz
Armies of Oerth, Part VI: Wolf NomadsArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory, Wolf Nomads
Armies of Oerth, Part V: Erac's CousinArmies of Oerth, Erac's Cousin, Field of Glory
Armies of Oerth, Part IV: TenserArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory, Tenser
Armies of Oerth, Part III: RobilarArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory, Robilar
Armies of Oerth, Part II: MordenkainenArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory, Mordenkainen
Armies of Oerth, Part 0: Field of GloryArmies of Oerth, Field of Glory
Armies of Oerth, Part I: BigbyArmies of Oerth, Bigby, Field of Glory
 


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