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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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Col_Pladoh said:
BTW, one of the column essays I will be writing soon for the "Up on a Soapbox" feature in Dragon magazine is about my son Luke playing D&D at age 12, the problems he had with staying in character and role-playing on the part of the DM (me).
I'll be looking forward to reading that column. I've just started a childrens game with my three youngsters, ages 6, 8 and 11, and am finding it a lot of fun but also quite challenging, trying to keep everything age appropriate. I've found that the trio are all natural role players with great imaginations. It's also a very different pace than my regular game, as we spent four-hours of gaming just picking out their equipment and discussing what each item can be used for!
 

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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Bloodstone Press said:
Hi Gary,

I remember reading the 1e DMG when I was a kid and thinking "Wow, this guy is really smart."

And even now sometimes I read things you say and I still think "Damn. He's so smart."

So I gotta ask, what is your educational background? Ever been to college? If so, what did you study?

Well, I sometimes get too big for my britches, but those who know me are quick to deflate my bloating ego.

I never finished high school, attended junior college in Chicago, picked up a fair number of English and anthropology-sociology credits amongst various other classes. As I was on the Dean's list and had professors pushing me, I was admitted to the U. of Chicago, but I took a job in insurance instead. Thus, most of what I know came by my own study and reading, and listening to knowledgeable folk, certainly.

When I was at the Washington School of Psychaiatry in 1984 (IIRR) speaking to the faculty on creatiity, the concensus was that my IQ was very high--over 200. Of course, knowing how little I actually know and can do well, I am flattered but dubious. I have given large seminars on gaming and had mere pre-adolescent audience members ask me questions I had extreme difficulty answering, so I know i am far from the Light of the Ages. I just happen to rest well... :D

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Silver Moon said:
I'll be looking forward to reading that column. I've just started a childrens game with my three youngsters, ages 6, 8 and 11, and am finding it a lot of fun but also quite challenging, trying to keep everything age appropriate. I've found that the trio are all natural role players with great imaginations. It's also a very different pace than my regular game, as we spent four-hours of gaming just picking out their equipment and discussing what each item can be used for!

Good, Silver Moon:)

Playing games, especially RPGs with your children is sure to build bonds and help them to grow mentally. As long as it is a group of siblings, likely roleplay will be easy and come naturally as "let's pretend." however, of you add outsiders to the group, especially older persons, your children will likely become shy and constrained in that regard

Cheers,
Gary
 

Jehosephat

First Post
Good day to you Gary !! :)

I have a quick question for you on the art of being a good gamemaster. I know you have probably answered this at some point in your career, but I missed it. Do you think being a great gamemaster is a natural ability or a learned one?
 

mistere29

First Post
i read this about the "r" series of modules. could you verify it?

"According to author Frank Mentzer, these modules are set in the World of Greyhawk, though at the continent opposite the one in the published campaign setting. The plan was to eventually incorporate them into another World of Greyhawk set -- plans that ended when Gary Gygax left TSR in 1985 (thanks to Brett Easterbrook and Frank Mentzer for this info)."

Along the same lines, were there ever any plans to release more material on the world of greyhawk (other than modules). obviously, the skeleton world concept would preclude detailed setting info, but was there ever any plans to add new areas, like say a continent for oriental adventures.
 

CRGreathouse

Community Supporter
I have some questions about monster origins--if you don't mind, Gary. I'd really like to know where the ideas came from originally: legends, thought processes, inspirations, etc.

What can you (will you) tell us about the Umber Hulk? They're my favorite D&D monsters, really. What inspired you? I like the fact that they look like ordinary monsters, but they're actually intelligent and have a particular 'culture' of their own.

What about the diobolic heirarchy (Type I, II, ... or their named equivilents)? Were those designed wholecloth, or did you find inspiration in particular sources? Dante seems a natural influence...?
 
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dmprata

First Post
Flanaess Weather

Hi Gary! Before anything else, I simply must thank you for being so gracious as to field our questions here. I had the pleasure of meeting you at the Higgins Museum in Massachusetts last year, and you were every bit as personable and gregarious as you come across on these pages. Thank you, thank you, thank you for my 21 years of gaming enjoyment!
OK, that's the end of my groveling . . . ;) I was hoping you could clear something up for me in regards to weather in the Flanaess. I only recently acquired the old Glossography (yay, eBay!), and I was curious about the weather table and climatic data therein. Was it really your intention to make the place so &^$% hot all the time? I know you hate cold weather, but, if that table is accurate, the baseline temperature in the Yeomanry during the month of Harvester (for example) averages nearly 100 degrees Fahrenheit!
I'm not as concerned with the actual table as I am with the rationale behind it. I had always assumed that the Flanaess was generally temperate (albeit with an extended summer season). However, the map of latitudes shows the 40th parallel running through the Shield Lands, about 400 miles north of where I thought it would be. That places the Frost, Snow, and Ice Barbarian lands at about 50 degrees north (which seems far too mild), and most of the south-central states well into the sub-tropics. Was that your intention, or perhaps an editing error?
 

mistere29

First Post
I know you changed your (and rob's) greyhawk campaign around for publication. How much of the setting was developed during actual play. (as opposed to detailed for the published setting. )
 

grodog

Hero
Hi Gary---

Any updates on the Castle Zagig project to share? The more juicy details, the better, of course :D

Unrelatedly, Gary, had you created the ruined monastary from the 1e DMG example of play and sample dungeon map for the DMG itself or was it drawn from your GH campaign?
 
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