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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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Barak

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
While a paladin PC springs to mind, any character class will serve, and some, such as a thief or assassin, would demand some truly awesome roleplay to carry off the matter


While thief -might- be a stretch, given the bloody history of most religions, assassins would be -easy-...

Heck, the word itself has religious connotations, after all.
 

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jasper

Rotten DM
What ( most some few none all) {select the one you like} forget is D&D in any form is a GAME. All games have rules. And all rules don't have to make sense. The game is not the story. The story is what happen during the game.
Just like the time me and my brother got my parents, my uncle and aunt to play Life with us and my Aunt won while Daddy when to the poor house with 1 kid and Jr went to poor house with 4 girls and 3 boys.
all games and hobbies give you stories to tell. They are only interesting if they are told in a interesting fashion and to some one who shares your interest.
 

gideon_thorne

First Post
Barak said:
While thief -might- be a stretch, given the bloody history of most religions, assassins would be -easy-...

Heck, the word itself has religious connotations, after all.

The word assassin has as a popular historical evolution from a sort of hashish religious sect known as the hassassin.. :)
 


Storm Raven

First Post
loki44 said:
Yes. Which work of lit? I dunno.

Except now you are shifting your argument. Previously you have asserted that the level limits reflected the themes of fantasy literature. Now thaqt I ask which works of literature and mythology you draw that assertion from, and you dodge.

Who said the game has to be strictly drawn from existing literature? It is redundant to say again, but if you want elves to be more, or as powerful in your game, then I say uncap that level limit pronto! I was simply trying to argue the point that level limits can be justified in my opinion. It's all about suspension of disbelief and we all have our own ideas of what should or should not be gamewise.

I'm trying to figure out what was the impetus behind making demi-humans dominate lower level play and then have level caps slapped on so as to allow for a "humanocentric" world. Given the desire to have huamnocentric world, it seems odd to have desinged all of the demi-human races to be clearly superior to humans, exscept for those handful who happened to reach 10th+ level in experience.
 

Storm Raven

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
Yes,i do really think that unlimited demi-human races will absolutelt obviate the humanocentric bases for a campaign world...unless the demi-humans are very few and far between. to have them as an integral part of the campaign world, one must have them limited in potential to something less than the dominant humans.

You have asserted this several times, which is what drives my question. You assert that it is an essential element to creating a humanocentric world that you have level limits. Why not, instead create a situation in which demi-humans natural abilites were not obviously superior to humans, but instead more focused, or balanced with drawbacks that accompany their bonuses? You seem to say this is the only way you could have done it, my question is were other ideas considered and rejected, and if so what were they and why were they rejected in favor of such a seemingly arbitrary system?
 

Storm Raven

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
Where are there any elves at all in the majority of fantasy literature?

They exist in Tolkien. And Lloyd Alexander's work (as the fair folk), and Celtic myth (as the sidhe) and the Moorcock's works (in, for example, Knight of Swords) and so on and so forth.
 

Storm Raven

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
As I said before, get a life and forget about all this silly quibbling. After all is siad and done, dwarves are so unbelievable as to be completely irrational. They live underground in caves and drink ale and eat meat. Where do their supplies come from?

I suppose trade isn't an option?

Where, outside of my assertion if D&D that they have a strong constitution, does that "logical" assumption come from.

From a wide variety of sources. But you should know that already.
 

So why are you arguing? You don't like or understand the logic, then change it to fit you ideal. Instead of complaining about why Life isn't more liek monopoly or payday just change the rules you want and go on. No answer any one gives will satisfy you because, you have your own idea of what the solution should be, so use it.
Ken
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Barak said:
While thief -might- be a stretch, given the bloody history of most religions, assassins would be -easy-...

Heck, the word itself has religious connotations, after all.

I think a thief would be easy, and the temple of whatever non goody-goody deity would likely praise his generous contrbutions--all taken from non-believers, of course;)

Cheers,
Gary
 

Storm Raven

First Post
tenkar said:
Guess my experience with AD&D was that multi-class characters fell far behind the rest of the party around name level (9-10) as their THACO and HP were usually substantiallly lower. The fighter-thief doesn't tank as well (lower ac and hp) as a fighter of equal XP, tho the thief abilities don't lag all that far behind.

At the same experience totals, a 1e Ftr/MU (using the UA advancement rules) would be 9th/10th level, while their single classed fighter counterpart would be 10th level. The multiclassed character would have a THAC0 one less, and fewer hit points (the Ftr would have an average of 5.5 per level, through level 9, for a total of 49.5 + Con bonus, while the Ftr/MU would have an average of 37.25 + Con bonus), but on the other hand to offset these deficiencies, the Ftr/Mu would have all the spells of a 10th level magic-user, which would more than compensate.

In 3rd ed, if my cleric takes 1 level of fighter for the bonus combat feats, or my wizzie takes a level of thief first for extra proficiencies, weapons and abilities it like getting a major free bonus at little cost. You are right tho', in 3rd ed it is a liability to try and keep more then one class leveling.

Your wizard or cleric loses an entire level in spell casting, undead turning, familiar advancement, and all of the other benefits of their spell casting class. In exchange, he gets a few skill points, or a few hit points, and maybe a bonus feat. It's generally not a great trade-off. By taking a second (or third) class, you dilute the abilities of your other classes.

Which would you rather be? A 4th level cleric/1st level Fighter, able to cast 2nd level spells? Or a 5th level cleric (able to cast 3rd level spells)? It depends on your situation, but one is not obviously better than the other. In the way a 1e Ftr/MU is better than a 1e Ftr.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
jasper said:
What ( most some few none all) {select the one you like} forget is D&D in any form is a GAME. All games have rules. And all rules don't have to make sense. The game is not the story. The story is what happen during the game.
Just like the time me and my brother got my parents, my uncle and aunt to play Life with us and my Aunt won while Daddy when to the poor house with 1 kid and Jr went to poor house with 4 girls and 3 boys.
all games and hobbies give you stories to tell. They are only interesting if they are told in a interesting fashion and to some one who shares your interest.

Hoi Jasper,

Not much case for disputation in what you state;) However, "told" isn't a necessary part of most games. The critical factors are entertainment and enjoyment arising from play.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Well you got one right Tolkien had elves but as for knight of the swords while Corum visited earth he was mistaken for an elf, he was not on, but actually Vadhagh, and the Corum books are an excellent example of how humanity overwhelms the race of the Vadhagh because they lake the inclination and drive to complete things in a timely fashion.
Ken

Storm Raven said:
They exist in Tolkien. And Lloyd Alexander's work (as the fair folk), and Celtic myth (as the sidhe) and the Moorcock's works (in, for example, Knight of Swords) and so on and so forth.
 

Barak

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
I think a thief would be easy, and the temple of whatever non goody-goody deity would likely praise his generous contrbutions--all taken from non-believers, of course

Well yes but on.. Hey! Wait a minute! You are the one who said assassin and thief would require quite an extensive bit of roleplaying, not me! You trickster you.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Joseph Elric Smith said:
So why are you arguing? You don't like or understand the logic, then change it to fit you ideal. Instead of complaining about why Life isn't more liek monopoly or payday just change the rules you want and go on. No answer any one gives will satisfy you because, you have your own idea of what the solution should be, so use it.
Ken

Ken,

A good suggestion, because sure as shootin', and just like I said, I ain't about to bother with any more of the demi-human silliness :p

Heh,
Gary
 

Storm Raven

First Post
Joseph Elric Smith said:
So why are you arguing? You don't like or understand the logic, then change it to fit you ideal.

Thus far, no one has asserted any logic, thus there is no logic to like or understand. There is only an assertion of arbitrary fiat. I don't believe this to be the actual answer. Because if it is, then that is the earmark of someone who didn't actually do the thinking behind the design. Which I am not convinced is true.

Instead of complaining about why Life isn't more liek monopoly or payday just change the rules you want and go on. No answer any one gives will satisfy you because, you have your own idea of what the solution should be, so use it.

No, my question is aimed at what went into the decisions. The given answers don't match the given reasons. Therefore, they don't add up, and hence, as ultimately entirely unsatisfying, giving more credence to some theories about the early development of the D&D game that are less than flattering to some in attendance here. I don't believe those are true, therefore, the actual answers cannot be the ones handed about here.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Barak said:
Well yes but on.. Hey! Wait a minute! You are the one who said assassin and thief would require quite an extensive bit of roleplaying, not me! You trickster you.

Heh,

Well, caught with my hand in the cookie jar playing devil's advocate;)

Seriously, though, the difficulty in roleplay would most likely arise from the player's mindset, not in finding a reasonable explanation for the character to be actively religious.

Speaking of the assassin PC, the Thug would likely get into hot water by preaching Kali abroad, eh? :eek:

cheers,
Gary
 

Storm Raven

First Post
Joseph Elric Smith said:
Well you got one right Tolkien had elves but as for knight of the swords while Corum visited earth he was mistaken for an elf, he was not on, but actually Vadhagh, and the Corum books are an excellent example of how humanity overwhelms the race of the Vadhagh because they lake the inclination and drive to complete things in a timely fashion.

What you call a demi-human is not necessarily indicative of what they are. Corum is an elf, because his race fits the classical "elven" traits of our mythology (mostly the Sidhe myth). And humanity overhwlems his race because of the change in the cosmological nature of the multiverse, not because they lack drive.
 

loki44

Explorer
Storm Raven said:
Except now you are shifting your argument. Previously you have asserted that the level limits reflected the themes of fantasy literature. Now thaqt I ask which works of literature and mythology you draw that assertion from, and you dodge.


Not to be contentious, but I never asserted that level limits reflected themes of fantasy literature. That must've been someone else. My argument was simply that a level limit for demi-humans is justifiable in that elves, dwarves and such might simply not have the same capacity to improve beyond a certain level that humans do. That's all. I never mentioned anything about literature. However, if I had to select one literary fantasy world that most reflects my game world it would either be Nehwon or Hyboria. I don't recall demi-humans, in the D&D sense, existing in either one. I thought this discussion was supposed to be ended on this thread?
 

Barak

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
Speaking of the assassin PC, the Thug would likely get into hot water by preaching Kali abroad, eh?

Given the stuff they were on... Would they care? :cool:

It does give one some thoughts about the benefits of playing in an alignment-less system. Something to be said about all sides believing they are right. Then again, When playing a game, a lot of people (me included some of the time) like the option of a black and white world, when one can make sure he's on the right side with the casting of a low-level spell.
 

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