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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Hello Gary...

I have a class question for you. Do you think a cleric's presence is absolutely essential to the long-term survival of a party? In the absence of a divine caster, potions of healing are the old standby (as are frequent trips to nearby city's cleric for healing/remove disease), but is it really enough? I ask this because I usually feel obligated to play the cleric when no one else wants the job, simply to keep things running smoothly, I suppose.

Am I worried too much about survival?

Sincerely,

Sluggo
 

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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Agback said:
...

Anyway, now that I am provoked to write, I have a question:

I have read that you did a lot of experimental play before the first release of D&D, tinkering with game features until you got things right. My question is, how systematic was this experiementation? Did you map out a possibility space and try the combinations systematically to discover what worked best? Or was it more of an incremmental approach, in which you started with a design that seemed intuitively right, tested it, and changed the things that seemed to work?

Regards,


Agback

Hi Agback,

I was as much taken with the prototype of the D&D game as anyone, so the design approach was strictly hands-on, seat-of-the-pants play and revise. The process began in the laast quarter of 1972 and continued through the spring of 1973. By summer I felt the basics were sufficient to publish the game, and only a few alterations were made between then and when the work was published in January of 1974. Thereafter, however, I went back to play-and-revise, so that before the year was out we were testing the material that was published in the Greyhawk D&D game supplement in 1975. In short, I was too busy having fun playing to be really organized in the writing of the game.

When later on I wrote the AD&D game I used a less chaotic approach, including a general mission statement I created for my own reference and a short outline that grew as I progressed.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
sluggo the sleazebag said:
Hello Gary...

I have a class question for you. Do you think a cleric's presence is absolutely essential to the long-term survival of a party? In the absence of a divine caster, potions of healing are the old standby (as are frequent trips to nearby city's cleric for healing/remove disease), but is it really enough? I ask this because I usually feel obligated to play the cleric when no one else wants the job, simply to keep things running smoothly, I suppose.

Am I worried too much about survival?

Sincerely,

Sluggo

Hoi Sluggo!

Gotta love that nick--Sluggo in Little Lulu comics was a favorite of mine as a boy. anyway...

The absolute need for a cleric in the adventuring party depends on the campaign. In mine, where there are plenty of undead, the players knew all too well there was a need for a cleric in a large expedition where the PCs couldn't sue magical means to depart when faced with a situation that was likely to bring some unpleasant results.

When small parties adventured--well stocked with potions of healing and extra-healing--often no cleric would be present, for the members were high level and had a lot of magical goodies to cover them in crises. for example, Mordenkainen and Bigby would teleport away in a pinch.

What you might want to do is play another sort of character that you enjoy, forget being the minder for the group, and see how things turn out. If lack of a cleric in the party causes difficulties, then go back to the class if you like,but be sure to get extra rewards for the services of that needed PC:)

Cheers,
Gary
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
Where did they get the potions of healing, Gary? Were the temples doing a roaring business in them, or were they somewhat common in the dungeons?

Cheers!
 

Devall2000

First Post
Hi, Gary

I noticed a few pages back that you were discussing Castle Zagyg. Will this be the long awaited 3E version of the Castle and ruins? When can we expect it to come out?

thanks,
Jamie
 

Devall2000 said:
Hi, Gary

I noticed a few pages back that you were discussing Castle Zagyg. Will this be the long awaited 3E version of the Castle and ruins? When can we expect it to come out?

thanks,
Jamie
Oh I can answer this one :) It will be written for the New C&C rules coming out from Troll lord games. It will be a boxed set, and Rob will also be releasing material for it as well.
Ken
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
MerricB said:
Where did they get the potions of healing, Gary? Were the temples doing a roaring business in them, or were they somewhat common in the dungeons?

Cheers!

Hi Cirrem...err, I mean Merric;) (Inside joke from another thread.)

No potions were sold, but I was liberal in distributing them in dungeon chaches and the like. Many a clerical scroll with various healing spells on them as well.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Devall2000,

Ken's answer is basically correct. the system base for Zagyg's Castle will be the new C&C rules from Troll Lord Games. The original spirit of the material can bets be presented in a system that is close of O/AD&D, of course.

I am in process of completing a very large campaign base module for the project, this likely appearing as a boxed set titled Zagyg's Castle, Yggsburgh. The material in this covering the land around a town of some 10,000 inhabitants, the town, various smaller communities, and many encounters (five dungeon-like areas in the lot), adventure hooks for the GM to flesh out. the text covers all manner of background details for the GM, so as to set the area in an existing campaign world, and develop the work through exposition in playby the group adventuring therein. The GM will know the economics, politics, and society completely, can modify it easily and make it hos own.

As soon as that is published, the Trolls will follow up with the second part of the series, Dark Chareau, a module designed by Rob Kuntz that introuces the Mad Archmage laterally by revealing his former domicile, that inhabited before Zagyg became a more-than-human entity.

After the second part is released there will follow about six further modules, each successively detailing Castle Zagyg, its upper works and dungeon levels. This modular presentation also allows for expansion of the dungeons and addition of "side adventures" as was done in our original campaign, examples of such add-ons being like my modules Dungeonland and Isle of the Ape.

In all, we expect to be busy completing this extensive creative project over the next two years.

cheers,
Gary
 

Melan

Explorer
Greetings!

Gary, how do you feel about city adventuring? Were cities a central feature in your campaigns, or were they more like places to rest&shop between adventures? Also, did you ever do a writeup of Greyhawk City... And if yes, is there a chance to see it under some other name - like "Dunfalcon City" or such?
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Melan said:
Greetings!

Gary, how do you feel about city adventuring? Were cities a central feature in your campaigns, or were they more like places to rest&shop between adventures? Also, did you ever do a writeup of Greyhawk City... And if yes, is there a chance to see it under some other name - like "Dunfalcon City" or such?

About one adventure in 10 was run in a city--Greyhawk or some other. If the PCs were not seeking adventure when there for R&R, bringing it to them was no problem :D

The original map of Greyhawk city was one sheet of graph paper with colored boxes indicating various places where PC would go--inns & taverns, armorers, money changers & banks, gemners & jewelers, city buildings, guilds, etc. That was expanded to two, then four map sheets, with the thieves' quarter and Rob's Green Dragon Inn shown. I was working on a very large version some 20 years back, but I abandoned it as far too detailed.

No version of the city that I designed has ever been published.

Cheers,
Gary
 

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