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TSR Q&A with Gary Gygax

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This is the multi-year Q&A sessions held by D&D co-creator Gary Gygax here at EN World, beginning in 2002 and running up until his sad pasing in 2008. Gary's username in the thread below is Col_Pladoh, and his first post in this long thread is Post #39.

Gary_Gygax_Gen_Con_2007.jpg
 
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Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
Col_Pladoh said:
All I can do is speculate, but knowing Lorrane williams, I would tend to go with the spate of wretched WoG material being done as retalitory ;)

More my way of saying that since T$R had killed the setting with trash releases, it was time to wipe out the shame by obliterating the setting. Of course, I left a means of restoring it hidden within in the Gord story saga...

Hi,

could you expound on those hidden means?

Thanks! :D
 


the_bruiser

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
No 3E play here as I personally very much dislike the system.

cheers,
Gary

Wow. I won't bore you by going on and on about how much joy I've gotten from D&D, but I do want to say thanks. It's affected my life in some great ways, including better confidence in speaking, quick-thinking, responding to interpersonal situations - in other words, it's been great not just while I'm playing but has indirectly but meaningfully improved the quality of my life. So, err, thanks :).

Anyway, this statement above grabbed my attention. The reasons might be widely known, so my apologies if I'm asking you to explain something for the 10th time. I've been playing since the early 80s, and to me 3E seemed such a clear improvement - standardized task resolution, clarified magic item creation processes, manageable skill ratings, ability to take character skill development in unexpected directions via new classes, linear attribute bonuses, etc. - that I wonder what it is that you dislike so strongly. Of course, maybe those are the same things you hate and it's simply a matter of taste? I've heard so many people talk about 'flavor' in denigrating 3E, but it's something I've never understood, as to me the DM has always been the determinant of that largely independent of the system - is this a part of your thought process?

Please be clear that I'm not putting early versions down, I've loved 'em all. Any additional color on your above point would be greatly appreciated. As always, best wishes in future endeavors and on your continuing health and prosperity.
 
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Akrasia

Explorer
Is the Colonel still checking this thread, or is he too busy working on Castle Zagyg? If so, please continue good sir!
(Wipes drool from face at the thought of it finally being published.)
:D
 



Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Frost said:
Mr. Gygax,

I just wanted to say hello and thanks for giving us such a wonderful game. I'm greatly looking forward to the Hall of Many Panes. Any teasers you can toss out about that one?

Take care,
Frost

Howdy!

First of a string of replies I will post here;)

Not getting email notice of posts is definately a hinderance! By way of explanation, since my various health incidents, my energy level is very low, and I tire out after about an hour of work--likely from the several midications I must take twice daily. Thus, I am not as active online, or anywhere else, as I was last spring.

The Hall of Many Panes is in final layout, and I am told Darlene is working on it. Likely it will be released in the spring. The delay is because of the changes required to meet the current D20 license.

As for hints, I can only say that the adventure is set up so as to place the party in the location of the panes, pretty well for the duration--with a couple of outs possible at intervals, but they are obviously not desirable. Otherwise, the team will be isolated for the duration of the quest, and the many places they must go to and win through to continue on. My group played for a year, and they were quite skillful in their handling of all but a few of the dozens of scenarios they had to face.

Cheers,
Gary
 
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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
T. Foster said:
Hi Gary,

I've got another OD&D (1974) related question for you. Looking at TSR's original D&D character record sheets from 1975-76 (as posted at The Acaeum) I see that there's no space on the sheet to record the character's hit points. Is this just an error/oversight on those sheets, or is it evidence that (as some people have suggested) character hit points in those days weren't a permanent cumulative number like they are in later editions but were instead periodically re-rolled (either at every new level or every session or perhaps even every combat)? And if hit points weren't a transient number and were cumulative (like they are now) then how were anomalies like the fact that fighters go from 1+1 hit dice at Veteran (1st level) to 2 hit dice at Warrior (2nd level) resolved? Did the player roll 1d6-1 or what?

Regards,

Short answer. The lack of a place for recording HPs was an oversight in composition. Everyone I know of kept hit points as rolled. the additional points rolled by fighters were just a d6 with no reduction. why take away a bonus? The 2 HD indicated don't say that there must be no addition...

And the edit is a case of my haste making waste:(

Cheers,
Gary
 
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fusangite

First Post
Welcome back Gary! I'm sure I'm just the first of a chorus of wishes for your good health.

I know you're quite backlogged in this thread but, when you get to it, I'm wondering if you would be willing to comment on how you saw the Monk class as working when it first appeared in the core rules.

Did you imagine monks living in the same societies as characters of classes like the Paladin and Druid or did you see the Monks as part of an Oriental civilization that was separate from but in contact with the civilization that produced Paladins and Druids?
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
ColonelHardisson said:
Hi Gary -

Here's a question I haven't seen yet, but perhaps it's been asked and I haven't seen it. Is there a comprehensive bibliography of your work out there somewhere? It'd be great to see a fully updated list of your output.

Hi Colonel!

the only such list I know of is one I keep in my long bio--not all articles but the more substantial works. It is updated by me every few months, and there's still a lot of material in the publication pipeline, so i'll have to do that soon. It doesn't have LA Essentials, the Hall of Many Panes, or additions to the Gygaxian Fantasy Worlds reference book series that are coming this year. Fact is, I don't think it has the Castle Zagyg campaign module on it, but I haven't sent the bio out for some months.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Virel said:
Gary,

In early 1980's when my group started playing 1st ed AD&D or as you say OAD&D, we had the following question come up based on the way the sleep spell is worded. We were unsure of how the spell was intended to work. We scoured the Players Hand Book and the note in DMG on page 45. Most of us assumed this note meant the caster did not get to specifically pick which of the possible multiple targets were effected, that this would be determined by level/HD and baring that randomly. Others insisted the caster could pick and choose who was or wasn't effected as the caster desired mixing and matching among of the levels or hit dice involved as long as the total wasn't exceeded.

The caster did not get to choose amongst multiple targets when a sleep spell was used.

Say a sleep spell is cast at a group of ten characters, say four fighters all 1st level, two clerics both 2nd level, two magic users both 2nd level and two thieves both 1st level. The dice indicate a total of 6 one HD creatures or levels can be effected. All of the targets are with very close together and with in range and area of effect.

Can the caster specifically select the six creatures or six levels he or she wants to be effected?

No. Six of the 1st level NPCs would be affected at random.

Can the caster specifically designate: one wizard the one to the right, one cleric the one of the left, two fighters in the front rank he wants effect but declare the spell will not effect the two fighters in the rear rank, the wizard on the left, the cleric on the right, and two thieves?

No.

Or would who is effected be determined by lowest level/HD first in the group until all of the levels effected were used up?

Just so,

Allowing the caster to pick and choose who was and wasn't effect with in a group seemed too powerful for a 1st level spell to some of us (DM's) and about right to some of the others (players).

Agreed.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
dead said:
Dear Gary,

Have you been proud of *all* of your role-playing creations?

Yes, but with varying degrees of satisfaction.

Were you proud of Dangerous Journeys? Are you disappointed that it didn't fully mature?

Indeed, and the complete, multi-genre series planned for the system would have been a sum greater than any single part of it, so that was a disappointment.

Dangerous Journeys was criticised as a very, very complex system. Is this one reason you decided to make LA a simple system?

No, I did the LA game as it was because I had done a highly complex one, and I felt that the rules-light approach was preferable to encourage freedom in play.

Was DJ a learning curve for you? You state in the foreword of LA (I think) that you made the system simple to attract new gamers. Did you find new gamers a little intimidated by Dangerous Journeys and, thus, decided to develop a simple system?

I hope to learn something every day;) As for intimidation, most RPGs, even the most simple ones, tend to do that to newbies. I do wish to bring young people into the RPG hobby, of course.

Do you have a lot more rules in your home campaign for LA than is published. Dangerous Journeys and the 1E DMG would suggest that your game was (once) backed up by a lot of rules.

Actually no, and we seldom look at the LA core rules books when we play. about the only additions coming--outside the addition of Shamanism & Witchery abilities and all that goes with thatm, are a few rules clarifications, a handful of new ones, and lots more in the way of spells and magic items--powers and extraordinary items in the proper patois for the game. There are new creatures and additions to the attack rules for them so as to beef of the Avatars' opposition, of course. Troll lord Games has all of those mss now.

With the evolution of RPGs, do you play much differently *now* in style as opposed to the old days of 1E AD&D?

Actually, I am playing some OD&D and OAD&D recently, and I DM just about as I did over 30 years back.

Do you use miniatures and a battlemat for your LA game?

Not usually. Dice on the table top serve well enough most of the time.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Anabstercorian said:
I'd like to get your opinion on something.

One of the trends I'm noticing - indeed, heavily and gleefully contributing to - is a whole new level of customizability in character concepts in 3e DnD. Wizards, rogues, fighters, clerics are being more or less discarded in favour of lashers, pugilists, shifters, duelists, dragon disciples, thaumaturgists, animators, golem sculptors, keepers of epics, bright sages of the high mountain, dark bearers of the six sinful secrets, and so forth.

On the one hand, this allows players to generally muck about with their characters until they're something they're very happy with. On the other hand, this can do catastrophic things to game balance if not done cautiously and makes every game of DnD VERY different from every other.

How do you feel about this? Do you think this level of customizability in theme and archetype is good, or bad, for a game?

Heh,

And I believe that the archetype that's central to a character class system has been lost--along with much more--in the new system. That's about all I'll venture other than to opine that to customize characters, one needs to use a skill base.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
RFisher said:
Can you tell us a bit about those modifications?

Are you playing with just the original 3 booklets, or are you using stuff from the supplements as well?

Any particular reason why you choose OD&D & not OAD&D?

In brief: We are using the three booklets. HP rolls are re-done if a 1 comes up. Fighters add +1 per die, and all PCs add +1 if their Con is above 14. Fighters add +1 damage for Str above 14. Dex does not affect AC just missile attacks. That's about it.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Sir Elton said:
Hello Gary,

I'm glad you're back. I got Gary Gygax's Insidae and your introduction was great! However, strangely, it's the same advice I got in other books, just written in a different style. The only thing missing, however, was the promised Value of Metals chart. Is there any chance of TLG posting the Chart on their website for download?

:)

The advice in the introduction is for building a campaign world, so it has many common elements from book to book. that i offered in insidae was aimed at creating adventure plots, of course.

I wasn't aware that the Trolls had not furnished a Value of Metals table, as that's pretty standard for the La monetray system. You should email them about the lack if this doesn't cover things:

Gold: $500/ounce (coin metal)
Silver: $10/ounce (coin metal)
Copper: $1/ounce (coin metal)
Bronze: $10/pound
Iridium, pure: $850/ounce
Lead, pure ingot: $3/pound
Nickel, pure ingot: $30/pound
Platinum, pure: $750/ounce
Tin, pure ingot: $5/pound.
Titanium, pure: $1,000/ounce

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
khyron1144 said:
Hello Mr. Gygax,

...

I recently started rereading my 1e hardbacks and was looking at the Hammer of Thunderbolts/ Girdle of Giant Strength/ Gauntlets of Ogre Power combo. It looks like you can add together the damage bonuses for the Gauntlets and Girlde, even though they both provide a magical bonus to Strength. It also looks like you add those damage bonuses together to determine the Hammer's throwing range.

This brings up an interesting question:
In my campaign world there are magical pools that bestow permanent ability score increases (only usable once per character, only one pool per ability score in the whole world). What happens if a character who already has a "giant" Strength from a magic pool gets the Gauntlets/ Girdle/ Hammer combo?


...

Howdy!

So many posts to answer I must be brief.

Right about the cululative additions for the hammer, girdle, and gauntlets. They make a fighter almost as lethal as a mage;)

Using magical equipment enhancements is fine, but that is useless if the increase doesn't add anything to a character because he is already at or above the level of the enhancement. A giant-sized Girdle of Storm Giant Strength doesn't add a thing to a storm giant, except maybe for looking good with a natty new waist cincher...

cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
EyeforanEye2 said:
I been in the Marine Corps now 17 years and some change and I speak for those who continue to game within the enlisted rank structure. Despite the fact that D&D is frowned upon by the upper echelon in the Chain of Command, it is still one of the more popular past time hobbies of many a junior Marine or Sailor...

As a long time gamer of 27 years, i can only say thank you for what you have given the world. It was unique and still appreciated today by many.

Thanks...

A Marine 1stSgt who games...

Well Dang:)

My son Luke was in Desert Storm with the 1st Armored, and they played D&D there.

Not too long ago I heard from a Marine Sgt. Major who had played for years, and the young S/Sgt recruiter that called here to talk to my son Alex (age 18) was also a player :lol:

So thanks, 1st Sgt, for the good word. I do believe that the officers would benefit from some RPG activity too.

Heh,
Gary
 

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