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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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Forgemeister

First Post
God would never make the rest of us so sad as to take you away Gary.

...and... I haven't been here for a week and I'm two pages behind!

NO, I don't have plans to revamp A Challenge of Arm's and Ritual of the Golden Eyes this year. We'll have our hands full with Castle Wolfmoon.

...also, for everyone else out there...

I'm about 3/4 of the way through the next Lejendary Earth installment, after which it goes to Gary for perusal, additions, corrections etcetera...

But probably by Saturday (sooner if my luck is good) you can start bugging HIM for details.
::evil chuckle::
I am currnetly finding my way through the Kingdom of Chinwu..

Kotugar, Ghortai, The Kalharki Thearchy, and Vantai-nanchi are all that then remain.

Then I'll be taking a short haitus while I redraft the new Playin' in the Streets Rules, and final draft the new micro-game rules for Trade Wars...

...and then its time for the next Lost City of the Utiss adventure, Hekanaptra.

We're also due for another free downloadable LA Module...

...and again, all of these go through Gary before being sent out into the world... so he'll know about them, just ask :)

Don't ever change Gary :).

XXOOCC
 

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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
RFisher said:
Thanks for the answers, Gary. It's a pleasure to be able to learn from the master.

For MUs too? A 5th level Fighting-man, 5th level Cleric, & 5th level MU would all have 5d6 hp? (not counting adjustments due to Con)
Welcome:)

Indeed all the PCs got an extra HD per level after an initial few months of play otherwise, even the MUs. then we always had fighters gaining +1 point to the die roll, and we counted Con bonuses only for fighters. This general idea was reflected in the varied HD gain used in OAD&D, with fighters getting d10, clerics d8, magic-users their d4, etc.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Forgemeister said:
God would never make the rest of us so sad as to take you away Gary.
The thought is appreciated, but I am a realist. I am grateful for each new day of late :D

...and... I haven't been here for a week and I'm two pages behind!

NO, I don't have plans to revamp A Challenge of Arm's and Ritual of the Golden Eyes this year. We'll have our hands full with Castle Wolfmoon.
Plenty of time for that if you quit fiddling with those mini-games you crank out by the dozens :lol:

...also, for everyone else out there...

I'm about 3/4 of the way through the next Lejendary Earth installment, after which it goes to Gary for perusal, additions, corrections etcetera...

But probably by Saturday (sooner if my luck is good) you can start bugging HIM for details.
::evil chuckle::
I am currnetly finding my way through the Kingdom of Chinwu..

Kotugar, Ghortai, The Kalharki Thearchy, and Vantai-nanchi are all that then remain.
There might be an additional use of the Lejendary Earth world setting in the future, but one never knows. I would have bet on the Gord the Rogue graphic novels being a go, but the poor market shot that project down in flames :\

Then I'll be taking a short haitus while I redraft the new Playin' in the Streets Rules, and final draft the new micro-game rules for Trade Wars...
Like I said, mini-game crankin'! Ah well, as they're a lot of fun, have at it!!!

...and then its time for the next Lost City of the Utiss adventure, Hekanaptra.

We're also due for another free downloadable LA Module...

...and again, all of these go through Gary before being sent out into the world... so he'll know about them, just ask :)
All the LA game projects, right. I wouldn't dream of messing with your own creative work, amigo.

Don't ever change Gary :).

XXOOCC
Errr... Not even after showering? Oh, I get your meaning now, sorry....

Heh,
Gary
 

mark_j

First Post
Hello Gary, it is an honor to be "speaking" with you. I even registered to this site just for the opportunity. This is my first post, I have goosebumps just typing this!

I am a crusty old (I'm 34!!) OAD&D player who has been DMing for a group of younger guys in their 20's using 3rd Edition D&D rules for the past 2+ years. I am currently transferring my campaign world lock, stock, and barrel to OAD&D because DMing in 3rd Edition is just not any fun for me, for many reasons.

The reason I am writing is because I have a question regarding touch attacks, via spell or otherwise. In OAD&D, do touch attack spells ignore an opponent's armor/shield (thus making the target AC 10 adjusted by magic bonuses and dexterity) or does the touch attack need to take into consideration the normal AC of the potential victim (such as when striking with a weapon)? The only possible exception being the Shocking Grasp spell which obviously ignores metallic armor, as I understand it.

When I played years ago in high school and college, we simply used the victim's full AC, but my recent foray into 3rd Edition has clouded my view. The current group's cleric and I are discussing the matter, but haven't come to a good conclusion.

Thank you for any guidance you can provide, and thank you for a wonderful past-time.
 
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Gray Mouser

First Post
Hey Gary, a Lejendary Earth question for you. I don't have the game itself but I've heard it's set in a "Lehendary Earth" setting which has the same (or similar) continents and civilizations as earth does, just with some changes thrown in. I'm wondering if there's a "Lejendary Earth" Atlantis anywhere below the depths?

Come to think of it, was there ever a Greyhawkian "Atlantis"? I don't recall reading about any sunken continents in the gazateer but could certainly be wrong about that.

Also, does the Lejendary Earth fit in at all with the Oerth/Aerth/Yarth parallel worlds? (BTW, I designed a campaign world with the name Ærth before I knew you had used that name in the Gord books! :) )

Gray Mouser
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
mark_j said:
Hello Gary, it is an honor to be "speaking" with you. I even registered to this site just for the opportunity. This is my first post, I have goosebumps just typing this!
Exchanging communications is fun. As for goosebumps, likely there's a cold draft there at your computer :uhoh:

I am a crusty old (I'm 34!!) OAD&D player who has been DMing for a group of younger guys in their 20's using 3rd Edition D&D rules for the past 2+ years. I am currently transferring my campaign world lock, stock, and barrel to OAD&D because DMing in 3rd Edition is just not any fun for me, for many reasons.

The reason I am writing is because I have a question regarding touch attacks, via spell or otherwise. In OAD&D, do touch attack spells ignore an opponent's armor/shield (thus making the target AC 10 adjusted by magic bonuses and dexterity) or does the touch attack need to take into consideration the normal AC of the potential victim (such as when striking with a weapon)? The only possible exception being the Shocking Grasp spell which obviously ignores metallic armor, as I understand it.

When I played years ago in high school and college, we simply used the victim's full AC, but my recent foray into 3rd Edition has clouded my view. The current group's cleric and I are discussing the matter, but haven't come to a good conclusion.

Thank you for any guidance you can provide, and thank you for a wonderful past-time.
To make it quick and easy, we always used the target's AC, except as you note for shocking grasp against metal armor which is the same as no protection. That all makes sense to me, because a touch means contacting a bit of exposed flesh or possibly a garment touching the subject's bare flesh. A shield fends off such a touch, and dexterity enables better avoidance of such contact.

cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Gray Mouser said:
Hey Gary, a Lejendary Earth question for you. I don't have the game itself but I've heard it's set in a "Lehendary Earth" setting which has the same (or similar) continents and civilizations as earth does, just with some changes thrown in. I'm wondering if there's a "Lejendary Earth" Atlantis anywhere below the depths?
Yes, the Lejendary Earth is somewhat similar in land masses to this world, but the continents are rather different in form, and the eighth is not at the south pole but to the northwest of the LE world's version of Australia. There is also a group of large islands some distance off the west coast of the LE world's equivalent of North America, a sort of Lemuria-like grouping

No, there was never an Atlantis on the LE world, but there are some large and fertile islands in its version of the Atlantic Ocean.

Come to think of it, was there ever a Greyhawkian "Atlantis"? I don't recall reading about any sunken continents in the gazateer but could certainly be wrong about that.
Such a place might have existed to the east of Oerik in the area that Francois Marcela Froideval had created for his campaign. I seem to recall him mentioning it, but it's been about 25 years...

Also, does the Lejendary Earth fit in at all with the Oerth/Aerth/Yarth parallel worlds? (BTW, I designed a campaign world with the name Ærth before I knew you had used that name in the Gord books! :) )

Gray Mouser
It can ft in anywhere the GM using it wishes;) The history I have created for the setting has the planet ruled by a strange non-human race that enslaved humans, then because of mankind's growing capacity to use magic, lost it all in a long and terrible war.

Cheers,
Gary
 

eyebeams

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
Why not have the PCs have to expend some XPs to move up in their skill just as they need them for class level?
Well, I figured that our brave adventurers would pick up these skills on the run, as they sallied forth! The thief might have to pick up the skill of being party teamster, or the MU may study a sagely field as a normal part of his arcane training.

Still, normal people would probably favor a normal profession and would probably spend their XPs just as you suggest. And since adventurers ought to be able to do the same thing, it ought to be an option.

The easiest thing would be to allow characters to pick of a new field/trade in lieu of a class level -- or for half the price, maybe. Still, I'm worried about it looking too much like third edition multiclassing.

By the way Gary: Was Gutboy Barrelhouse somebody's character, or just made up for the combat example in the OAD&D DMG?
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
eyebeams said:
...

...Still, I'm worried about it looking too much like third edition multiclassing.

By the way Gary: Was Gutboy Barrelhouse somebody's character, or just made up for the combat example in the OAD&D DMG?
Having PCs with abilities that qualify for the comic book superhero role is not desirable in a FRPG, I concur. If you have secondary skills, be sure to keep them as just that--secondary and not powerful in application, uncertain in application.

Gutboy Barrelhouse was a name made up for the example;)

Cheers,
Gary
 

dead

First Post
AD&D 1E Questions

Dear Gary,

Please help me find inner peace.

I love 1st Edition AD&D to death, but there were two rules in the game that annoyed the hell out of me and, as a result, I did not abide by them. Here are the rules:

1) Level limits for demihumans

2) Restrictions on picking up multiple classes (or stopping your progression in a class/classes). In other words, if you started an elf fighter/wizard from 1st level, then you were stuck with an elf fighter/wizard forever! You weren't "officially" allowed to add another class, or discontinue, say, your fighter class and pursue wizardry only. [Not to mention the fact that humans could not pick up multiple classes (except they could dual-class if they had extraordinary attributes; but only once in their life).]

I want to return to the good ol'days very soon and run a retrospective 1E AD&D campaign but I want to stay as *true* to the original rules as possible. Now, I know your decision to have the two rules above was for "game balance", but I'd like to hear from you how I could possibly describe the restrictions "in game".

Using the elf fighter/wizard as an example: If the player is a 4th-level fighter/4th-level wizard, but (in game) his character wants to join the clergy of an elven god and become a cleric, I can't just say: "No, the rules don't allow you to do that." I have to give an "in game" explanation.

As to the level restrictions on demihumans, you might say: "Demihumans just lose all drive for adventure after they've had but the merest taste of it". This doesn't rub well with me, though, because they don't get very far before they're restricted. Top levels are, perhaps, 10th. To get to 10th level doesn't take very long. It is just a drop in the river of time.

Alternatively, Gary, you could tell me that roleplaying games were in their early conception back then and your decision to put these arbitrary restrictions in place to serve game balance (but not resolving in-game believability) was a mistake.

Either response should put me on the road to finding inner peace.

Thankyou.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
dead said:
Dear Gary,

Please help me find inner peace.

I love 1st Edition AD&D to death, but there were two rules in the game that annoyed the hell out of me and, as a result, I did not abide by them. Here are the rules:

1) Level limits for demihumans

2) Restrictions on picking up multiple classes (or stopping your progression in a class/classes). In other words, if you started an elf fighter/wizard from 1st level, then you were stuck with an elf fighter/wizard forever! You weren't "officially" allowed to add another class, or discontinue, say, your fighter class and pursue wizardry only. [Not to mention the fact that humans could not pick up multiple classes (except they could dual-class if they had extraordinary attributes; but only once in their life).]
I don't regret that in the least. If demi-humans, already given some advantages, were as able as humans, the world would be dominated by them, and there goes the whole of having a relatively familiar world setting in regards to what cultures and societies one will find in control. So a demi-human is unlimited in thief level only, as that is a class not destined to control the fate of major groups or states.

As for limiting human PCs to one class or possibly a dual class, the game is supposed to be about heroic people, not comic book super heroes.


I want to return to the good ol'days very soon and run a retrospective 1E AD&D campaign but I want to stay as *true* to the original rules as possible. Now, I know your decision to have the two rules above was for "game balance", but I'd like to hear from you how I could possibly describe the restrictions "in game".
If you create a setting with a complete demihuman culture and varied societies, complete with a long history for that dominant race, then have them take the place of humans and restrict humand as if they were a demi-human race. The only unlimited race should be theone that is dominant on the planet.

Using the elf fighter/wizard as an example: If the player is a 4th-level fighter/4th-level wizard, but (in game) his character wants to join the clergy of an elven god and become a cleric, I can't just say: "No, the rules don't allow you to do that." I have to give an "in game" explanation.
How many people do you know that are able to excell in more than one field? what some bozo wants to do so as to have a dominant PC isn't a matter for consideration in regards a campaign. Saying "why not" is a lame excuse. In a world where magic works, many-ton beasts can fly, things breath fire, it makes as much sense for a player to demand that his PC can ivent a spell that always slays his target subject, ot armor that is impervious to any and all forms of attack.

As to the level restrictions on demihumans, you might say: "Demihumans just lose all drive for adventure after they've had but the merest taste of it". This doesn't rub well with me, though, because they don't get very far before they're restricted. Top levels are, perhaps, 10th. To get to 10th level doesn't take very long. It is just a drop in the river of time.
So? Maybe the whiny player should take his wannabe PC off to a game world where everyone is a superhero of unpteenth level with barns full of magic.

Alternatively, Gary, you could tell me that roleplaying games were in their early conception back then and your decision to put these arbitrary restrictions in place to serve game balance (but not resolving in-game believability) was a mistake.

Either response should put me on the road to finding inner peace.

Thankyou.
Bah! It is a mistake to bow to the wished of munchkins who whine. If they know the restrictions on dfemi-human characters before they create one, then they haven't a leg to stand on.

Why are humans more able to rise in level than demi-humans? Because the gods say so, and don't like pointy eared types with curly-toed shoes, squat miners with big beards, hairy-footed midgets, etc.

Cheers,
Gary
 


dead

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
Bah! It is a mistake to bow to the wished of munchkins who whine. If they know the restrictions on dfemi-human characters before they create one, then they haven't a leg to stand on.
The player is not a munchkin. They like the story idea of a diverse character. They're not thinking about how much stuff they can slaughter at and loot to steal at all.

I'm somewhat at peace now.

I'm glad to see your stance on this but I'm gonna stick to my house rules (which don't create over-powerful, comic-book characters, by the way). ;)

Thanks.
 


tenkar

Old School Blogger
Gary, you're making me want to dig thru my closet to find my 1st Ed AD&D books. Back in the day my players generally weren't looking to multi-class unless the group was small and they needed the flexiblity.

Ah well, it all went down hill with the 2nd edition anyway ;)

Erik

"Why are humans more able to rise in level than demi-humans? Because the gods say so, and don't like pointy eared types with curly-toed shoes, squat miners with big beards, hairy-footed midgets, etc." EGG
 


Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Joseph Elric Smith said:
Right answers all the way gary
Ken
Thanks Ken!

Your kind and unsolicited support is appreciated:D

BTW, give me your snailmail addy again, so I can sent the check as promised.

Heh,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
dead said:
The player is not a munchkin. They like the story idea of a diverse character. They're not thinking about how much stuff they can slaughter at and loot to steal at all.
Okay, you know better than I do. I am left wqith the nagging question: If the players aren't concerned about power gaming, wish only to create "stories," why should they worry/express concern about level limits

I'm somewhat at peace now.
Then I did a somewhat satisfactory job in responding.

I'm glad to see your stance on this but I'm gonna stick to my house rules (which don't create over-powerful, comic-book characters, by the way). ;)

Thanks.
It is your campaign, and you best what the participants expect and enjoy.

Novertheless, what I said about level limits for demi-human PCs is logical in the fantasy cosmos the AD&D game subsumes. without such limits, using actual human history, myth, and legend becomes problematical.

Cheerio,
Gary
 


Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
tenkar said:
Gary, you're making me want to dig thru my closet to find my 1st Ed AD&D books. Back in the day my players generally weren't looking to multi-class unless the group was small and they needed the flexiblity.
That is a good point indeed! When only two or three players generally adventure it is typically necessary for them to play multiple PCs or else be multi-classed.

Ah well, it all went down hill with the 2nd edition anyway ;)
Now there's an observation with which I have no disagreement :uhoh:

Cheerio,
Gary
 

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