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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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gideon_thorne

First Post
And thank you kindly sir!. And you do realise this makes the third time you have agreed with me? Makes one almost believe in miracles? ;)

Col_Pladoh said:
Actually, I agree, and give you a tip of the hat, especially for the comments regarding "adult," for all gamers at least know that's a highly subjective term in regards to attitudes and behavior.

Cheers,
Gary
 

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VirgilCaine

First Post
Most Honored Colonel:

What is the significance of the optional "Nessus Shirt Company" tag in the Cloak of Poisonousness in the 1e DMG?

Thanks.
 








Orius

Adventurer
I recently skimmed through the original D&D rules recently, and I have to say what grabbed my attention wasn't what changed over the last 30 years, but rather how much of the original game is still a part of the game in some form. Changes seem to consist more of things that have been added rather than things that that have been radically altered (with a few exceptions here and there).

I also think that the flavor of the game is partially a matter of who's DMing it. I seriously doubt any 2 DMs out there run the game in exactly the same way.

Even though I prefer to run 3e rules, I do not run an "anything goes" type of campaign. The half-dragon/half-vampire character mentioned earlier in this thread would almost certainly be disallowed in my games. I'm not really all that fond of lots of different subraces for that matter; I prefer keeping choices limited to the PHB in a general sort of campaign (and there's plenty of choices there for the players). A lot of DMs complain about how there's too many options that make PCs too powerful; I'd say those DMs have to learn how to say "NO" to material that's meant to be optional (and this isn't a 3e matter only, there were lots of similar complaints back in the 2e days as well).
 

haakon1

Adventurer
D&D Movie

Mighty Veil said:
I find myself watching the D&D movie on TV. Never watched it before. Half-way through I can honestly say this. I wish I had woke up earlier to catch "Man Who Would Be King" instead. Awful movie.
Yeah, there was some painful stuff in there.

Best D&Desque movie: LOTR, 13th Warrior, Willow, Braveheart, Conan the Barbarian, or "other" (Adventures of Robin Hood, Princess Bride, Holy Grail, etc.)?

They're all great, but I think 13th Warrior is closest to a D&D adventure, at least as I like to play it.
 

haakon1

Adventurer
Col_Pladoh said:
TSR got into trouble when it stopped serving the needs of its consumer base. In 1982 it made over $16 million gross, with about 25% of that pre-tax profit, and long term debt was about $1 million--easily payable with an average month's receipts. at that time DRAGON was not making any profit. GenCon paid for itself, but dislocated production for a week or two. Adventure modules were profitable SKUs.

Fascinating . . .

I'm guessing part of the problem (with why we don't get modules anymore from WOTC, just "crunch" and other useless crud) is that they are thinking the 2nd Edition financial model. That was all about "add-ons" to the operating system of the game (Complete Book of Postal Employees) and about lots and lots of settings (Birthright 37th Age!). Trouble is, that stuff divides the small audience into tiny shards, instead of getting us all to buy and play Hommlett.
 

haakon1

Adventurer
Editions

Dannyalcatraz said:
Was 1Ed AD&D perfect? No. Was 2Ed? Nope. 3/3.5? Not even close.

Everybody has their own opinion, probably largely based on the happy times when they were playing it. Whatever edition, it's all D&D to me . . . which means fun!

My unasked for opinion:
AD&D: A perfect game if you knew to ignore the dumb stuff like Weapon Speed Factors, but people wanted something new.
2nd Edition: Nice idea in reorganizing the AD&D books, shame about wimping out on deleting half-orcs and assassins, etc. My least favorite.
3rd Edition: Wow, really cool in integrating the rules into one consistent rule set, but it's true it's overly complex. Also annoying to learn new rules when you had all the AD&D ones memorized. (Price of a longsword, duh 15 gp -- wait, was it 25 gp? See, I'm starting to forget!) Shame about how it becomes unplayable at about 12-15th level.
3.5: Marginal improvement on 3.0.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
haakon1 said:
Fascinating . . .

I'm guessing part of the problem (with why we don't get modules anymore from WOTC, just "crunch" and other useless crud) is that they are thinking the 2nd Edition financial model. That was all about "add-ons" to the operating system of the game (Complete Book of Postal Employees) and about lots and lots of settings (Birthright 37th Age!). Trouble is, that stuff divides the small audience into tiny shards, instead of getting us all to buy and play Hommlett.
What can I say?

My manner of operating TSR differed radicaly frm that of the Blume brothers who took over management of the company and ran it into the ground. Then Lorraine Williams directed things so that it was, to the best of my knowledge, at least over $30 million in debt when WotC acquired TSR. I do believe that the method of doing business by Wizards is not one that best serves the D&D game audience or the game itself, but time will tell.
 

haakon1

Adventurer
Col_Pladoh said:
In new D&D arriving at that level takes a mere few months, and that PC is nothing compared to the half-dragon/half-vampire multi-prestige class one that the kid next door stomps around the campaign world with :lol:

I hate that stuff too, but that's why it's good to be the DM. In my 3.5 campaigns, everyone is the normal races, with two exceptions: a centaur and a lizard man, both "AD&D approved" races in Rogues Gallery. I'd allow near-human stuff like a selkie or an ogre, but never something dumb . . . and half-anything but orc or elf strikes me as dumb.

Oh, and no "spikey" armor. The armor illustration in the 3e PHB kept me from playing for like an extra 6 months. My Osprey books provide armor illustrations, if I ever need them.

My point, other than blathering on, is that: the DM is still in charge in an edition, and can make it right. Some might argue their edition is already right, but that's up to the DM to decide.
 

ColonelHardisson

What? Me Worry?
haakon1 said:
Oh, and no "spikey" armor. The armor illustration in the 3e PHB kept me from playing for like an extra 6 months. My Osprey books provide armor illustrations, if I ever need them.

Hey, it gives giants some mighty sore hands when they grab a PC!
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
"We're being chased by fire giants!"

"Throw the spikey-armored halflings, gnomes and dwarves off the back of the cart...that'll slow 'em down!"
 


Zudrak

Explorer
haakon1 said:
My point, other than blathering on, is that: the DM is still in charge in an edition, and can make it right. Some might argue their edition is already right, but that's up to the DM to decide.

From the 1st edition PHB, p.8:
"Rules not understood should have appropriate questions directed to the publisher; disputes with the Dungeon Master are another matter entirely. THE REFEREE IS THE FINAL ARBITER OF ALL AFFAIRS OF HIS OR HER CAMPAIGN."

That should have been repeated verbatim in 3.Xe. Too many players have become rules lawyers and want to quote books at the table rather than roleplay -- when it's a roleplaying game to begin with. If someone wants to quote books all day, they should join a Shakespearean fan club. There has been a shift of power at the gaming table that could have been avoided by keeping those two above sentences in the PHB. DM's have to do a lot and becoming targets for player abuse (both in the game and of the game) should not be one of the challenges.

[Edit: I should have mentioned that the caps were in the book and not added by me for emphasis.]
 

BOZ

Creature Cataloguer
Dannyalcatraz said:
"We're being chased by fire giants!"

"Throw the spikey-armored halflings, gnomes and dwarves off the back of the cart...that'll slow 'em down!"

caltrops, yay! :)
 

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