TSR Q&A with Gary Gygax

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.

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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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adndgamer

First Post
Hey Gary,

Just wondering what happened to your website. It's directed to a domain-name dealer now.

Do you (or your sons) still run Lejendary Adventure games at your place every now and then?
 

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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
adndgamer said:
Hey Gary,

Just wondering what happened to your website. It's directed to a domain-name dealer now.

Do you (or your sons) still run Lejendary Adventure games at your place every now and then?

Howdy!

The domain renewal slipped by the host, so we are now attempting to get it back from the pirates. Current ststus is awaiting advice from the main company concerned, and we are considering legal action because of the "famous name" consideration. It should be resolved in a few weeks, with ;uck.

Both Ernie and Luke are out of my LA game campaign--Ernie works a lot of hours, and Luke is on active military duty. Youngest son Alex is a regular, though. We play most Thursday evenings here--save for the last three when I had a bit of flu and then went off to the East Coast for the speaking engagement at the Higgens Armory Museum (just great medieval armor and arms, plus fighting demos!) in Worcester, MA and on to a Games Day sponsored by Jumpgate (a fine gaming shop and great crowd of patrons) in Portsmouth, NH. I recommend both places heartily!

We were supposed to take a few days holiday while Down East, but business matters cut the trip short:(

Cheerio,
Gary
 

Malcedon

First Post
Gary, in reference to the Book of Erotic Fantasy, you wrote the following,

This is a case of providing fuel to start a real fire, not just smoke as there was before, IMO.

and I find myself curious about that viewpoint.

Prior to the Book of Vile Darkness, there was a similar volume written, named 'Evil.' I don't recall any major fuss about it. It was written with those who would want to use such a thing in mind, snapped up by the gamers who wanted it, and most people now don't even seem to be aware of its existence.

IMO, the BoVD caused a storm of controversy because it was published by WoTC as an official D&D product, as opposed to being put out by one of the myriad little d20 startups now springing up all over the place. It is one such company that is putting out BoEF.

I feel that the BoEF wouldn't do any real harm if people would stop making it out to be some terrible thing... and leave it to those who would like to buy it. By thrusting the juiciest pages into the faces of anyone who might agree with them, as I'm seeing elsewhere on the web in gaming news sites and such, many of its detractors are fanning flames which never needed to be. I'm not saying that you, or anyone in particular, is doing this... rather, I feel that gamers in general are too nervous after the BoVD (I haven't seen any earth-shattering repercussions from that particular volume, even, for that matter). If the BoEF had come first, under another label as it is, I don't think anyone would've given it a second thought.

WotC's official standpoint is a case in point, I think. After releasing (and subsequently, vehemently defending) the BoVD under their own label, they are calling the BoEF 'thoroughly immoral' and 'highly inappropirate.' Nowhere is 'BoVD' to be found anywhere in their statements. Is sex with living people so much worse than sex with dead people, according to WotC? If a magical spell can be empowered by sacrificing a virgin on an altar, why not by stealing her virginity in a bedroom?

A major Dungeons & Dragons theme is sliding one's sword into the goblin's stomach and spilling his intestines out onto the ground. Call of Cthulhu d20, which utilizes the D&D system, was written largely by a D&D author, and will be grouped with D&D as 'those evil roleplaying games' by our detractors, deals with madness, torment, far more 'real' demons, insanity, and so forth. Given that ultimate levels of violence are already present, and often simply 'glossed over,' i.e. the blood is not described in detail as it gushes from the mortal wound... I don't feel sex, particularly handled in a similarly glossed-over fashion, would be a particularly bad addition.

I believe that D&D's detractors were never, ever close to being converted. They visualize their children worshipping Satan, or running through the city sewers with knives playing 'Orcs & Warriors,' and proceed to organize a community burning (figuratively speaking). Then they go away, and come back in a few months, ad infinitum. The ones who momentarily cave in due to a child's incessent pleading will inevitably take the subsequently purchased books away the first time they see the word (or illustration of a) 'Demon.' D&D will always be around, and it will always appeal to the people it's going to appeal to one way or the other, and it will never appeal to the more short-sighted mind... even if it's a bunch of teenagers sitting around just having a good time with a by-and-large completely wholesome and mentally stimulating activity.
 
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Ulrick

First Post
Greetings Gary!

I was unable to discover Standing Bear's "english" name.

So much for that.


Anyway...

How many Total Party Kills have you had in your long gamemaster career? And roughly what percentage of TPKs in the Tomb of Horrors? :D

I've had only 4 in my 14 years of being a DM. 2 of those where while I ran the Tomb of Horrors.


Also,

Col_Pladoh said:
I sure do! Coming after the questionable BOOK OF VILE DARKNESS, the detractors of the RPG game form in general and D&D in particular have new ammunition.

As a concerned parent not knowing anything about D&D, what yould you think if shown oly the names of the two books, showing that such material was "promoted" for players of the game. then a look inside, and most parents would forbid their youngsters to play such a game.

This is a case of providing fuel to start a real fire, not just smoke as there was before, IMO

I agree with you.

This is coming from somebody who's best friend was forced by his parents to burn all his D&D stuff in accordance to a certain Jack Chick Tract...

And this was during the days when devils and demons were Baatezu and Tannari when TSR seemed to try to clean up its image a bit.

While I have the Book of Vile Darkness, and I do like it (the subject matter was handled maturely, IMHO), I can't help but wonder how many other fires that book fueled (literally).

While I think the D&D=Satanism has died down quiet a bit (it's more of a "nerd" hobby) its still out there. I think all it will take is the media to blow these books of context again.
 
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Malcedon

First Post
While I have the Book of Vile Darkness, and I do like it (the subject matter was handled maturely, IMHO), I can't help but wonder how many other fires that book fueled (literally).

I feel that your post pretty much bears out my viewpoint on things. You say this happened before things like the BoVD ever came out. These people will always be around, and will always hate D&D for what it isn't. You think someone who would actually be willing to do something so hideous as to force their child to burn some of their possessions as an object lesson is going to wait until something of the BoVD's magnitude comes out before doing so? As for the media destroying D&D... When's the last time you saw Dungeons & Dragons in the newspaper? It's been a good half-year now since Vile Darkness came upon us. I've not seen any major repercussions, and in fact before the BoEF came to the discussion table across the 'net I've not heard the BoVD mentioned at all.

Books like the BoVD and the BoEF just need to be left to the people who want them, and are no more horrible--particularly in the eyes of, for example, an 'upstanding Christian parent' (or the non-parent head of a parent's group, who knows all about parenting from reading books on the subject)--than a supplement detailing new ways to kill someone. As you said, the BoVD was handled maturely (for the most part). I own it, and I have found it an asset in fleshing out the more despicable sides of some of my villains whom I don't want to be at all seductive or morally 'grey-line.' I'll definitely be grabbing up the BoEF as soon as it comes out. From the preview, it sounds like it was handled very much maturely, and it covers a great deal more than the 1% of sex which is putting the carrot in the cake. Details in regards to courtiers, sexually empowered magic, seductive uses for skills, and the like have me very much breathless in anticipation. If they don't affect other people in that fashion... no need to buy, or to blow up, or to burn, the book. It won't be making its way into every game I run, only ones which specifically state its inclusion.
 
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Nathal

Explorer
Col_Pladoh said:
...Coming after the questionable BOOK OF VILE DARKNESS, the detractors of the RPG game form in general and D&D in particular have new ammunition...this is a case of providing fuel to start a real fire, not just smoke as there was before, IMO.

I see the above statement as incontrovertible. In fact, WOTC's stated strategy from the beginning of 3E was to target more "mature" audiences, particularly the college aged. I do find it hypocritical that they have expressed "disapproval" of the Erotic Fantasy book yet published the Book of Vile Darkness, but such is typical PR and I won't dwell on it.

My parents are fairly liberal minded, but I think they would have forbidden my play if they saw a book like Erotic Sex or Vile Darkness associated with the brand.

As an aside, I often wonder how many younger kids actually remain interested in D&D in its third incarnation, compared with the kids of the 80s with their basic sets. I've sat in on a game run by a bunch of teens and was amused by how little things change in many ways (they spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how to circumvent a pit trap...LOL. Heh, beginners!) I'd be interested in hearing more stories about the experience of younger players with the game. Does it still hold it's magic for the age range most of us were when we began our hobby, or do many of you think that D&D has now become a college aged game? I wonder what statistics on attrition would tell us...
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Ulrick said:
Greetings Gary!

I was unable to discover Standing Bear's "english" name.

So much for that.

Ah well... It would have been interesting, but no big deal in all.


Anyway...

How many Total Party Kills have you had in your long gamemaster career? And roughly what percentage of TPKs in the Tomb of Horrors? :D

I've had only 4 in my 14 years of being a DM. 2 of those where while I ran the Tomb of Horrors.

It never happened with my regular group, but running tournaments and special games I have racked up a few TPKs. Let me rephrase that: The players have managed to get all their PCs killed;)

In the ToH those of my players who dared enter did it mainly with their PCs being alone save for hirelings. Robilar's use of his orcs is pretty well known, with all slain in the initial entrance, and he then going on alone to find the demi-lich's lair, grab the treasure and run away without any combat.


Cheers,
Gary
 

ScottGLXIX

First Post
I've had more TPK in The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun than anywhere else, and the all happen in the first room of the temple. The difficulty of the encounter is fiendishly disguised by the trickling in of monsters after the first round, and my players often forgets about running away to fight another day.

The talk of barbarians reminds me of a question I've had for some time, Ernie the Barbarian, did Ernie play a barbarian character (besides his magic-users who were prone to fits of barbarian berserker rage) or was this just a nickname he picked up?
Scott
 
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So gary are you able to find time to play any miniature games any more, or stay current with rules systems/ if so please share what you are currently using or following
Ken
I feel like I am a writer on jeopardy phrasing these question some times :)
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
ScottGLXIX said:
I've had more TPK in The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun than anywhere else, and the all happen in the first room of the temple. The difficulty of the encounter is fiendishly disguised by the trickling in of monsters after the first round, and my players often forgets about running away to fight another day.

The talk of barbarians reminds me of a question I've had for some time, Ernie the Barbarian, did Ernie play a barbarian character (besides his magic-users who were prone to fits of barbarian berserker rage) or was this just a nickname he picked up?
Scott

Howdy Scott:)

Right you are. Groups not used to my DM style tend to lose many, if not all, their PCs because they don't have their characters flee when things are looking grim. "He who runs away lives to fight another day." Of course The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun reflects my DMing:D

Ernie got the nickname of "Barbarian" because of his play style. Even as a mage his character would go full bore to defeat the foe without regard to danger. That was indeed the inspiration for the spell "Tenser's Transformation," as Ernie would risk all thus.

It was me who loved to play a barbarian and disconcert the players with characters who desired magical items... ;)

Cheers,
Gary
 
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