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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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
andargor said:
Hello Gary,

I was just browsing the forums, and spotted this thread. Thanks for stopping by!

Just to echo some thoughts expressed earlier...

I started gaming in 1977 with the Blue Book (I was 10, damn those dice would wear out fast). BTW, who were the characters on the cover? (I dimly remember an archer and a mage, and the red dragon of course, we still have the book somewhere...)

Happy to read your post and appreciate what you have to pass along.

The characters on the D&D Basic Set cover were, as far as I know, simply creations of the artist, Dave Sutherland.

D&D has definitely changed my life. Asked to explain what it was, I usually said something like "a mix of theater, improv and imagination". I truly do believe that children playing an RPG will develop superior creativity and social skills. I'm a computer engineer currently, but I've always kept that intuitive/creative side and person skills, and I thank RPGs for that.

The other major impact the game has had is that I'm still in touch with the original group after 25 years. After career moves, families, etc, we still manage to play every two weeks.

Some of us are in different cities. No problem, we hook up the webcam and fire up NetMeeting. Some people will balk at this, but when you play with people that have 25 years of experience, you really feel as if they're right next to you.

Yes, what you note above is often mentioned to me in emails from various gamers. Not a few state exactly how playing A/D&D improved their social or scholastic skills, and virtually all note the lasting friendships that were made through gaming.

As for online play, it seems a natural recous=rse when a group of old friends becomes separated. With audio and video components, the NEtMeeting becomes very close to the face-to-face experience when all were in the same rom, eh?

We're playing 3E now, and yes we use archetypes. Although I did see some signs of corruption... Mage such and such takes a level of fighter to boost his hp or get a feat...

But generally, even if you are the min/maxer type (which didn't exist in OD&D), sticking with an archetype usually yields to a better character. The rules appear to promote power via multi-classing, but my experience has not shown this. I usually play the "pure" fighter or mage, and funnily enough, I end up saving the party more times than not... Specialists will always beat generalists in their specialty (if that makes sense) :cool:

In general I concur, but again you are making reference to a group of veterans, not newbies...

I do agree that the current rules do not guide new players towards good role playing. After all, when you use archetypes, you worry less about mechanics, and more about how you are going to play. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I felt that the D&D Basic Set vs AD&D tried to provide simpler rules for beginners so they learn what role playing is about before moving on to a more complex system? If so, it should become so again...

Yes, there should be a lot more emphasis on roleplay, what it is to create a character and stay within the framework created, and what it means to the game overall when this is done. This is not to say I am disparaging combat, as it is a very important, integral, part of the RPG form.

Anyway, sorry for the pell mell comments and questions. It's just nice to have you here. Brings back memories of the old Dragon magazine, the other RPGs I used to play (Gamma World, Cthulu, Boot Hill) and even my first wargames (Blitzkrieg, Tobruk, Panzer Leader, original Squad Leader). :cool:

Heh, and I do have a little column that runs most months in DRAGON--just sent off a couple of installements this week, in fact.

As for GAMMA WORLD, don't overlook Jim Ward's METAMOPPHOSIS ALPHA game from Fast Forward. I always preferred it to the later version, GW, in which input from Kevin Blumne seemed to mess up a perfectly good system...

Keep up the good work, and if you need testers for your MMPORPG (whatever that is LOL) or any GreyHawk stuff (we played that setting for a few years), just give a shout!
Andargor

The Massively Multi-player Persistant Online RPG version of the LA game should go into alpha test late next year. Bu then I'm sure you'll be familiar with the LEJENDARY ADVENTURE game, so getting into the beta test lineup will likely be easy :eek:

Cheers,
Gary
 

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MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
O Great Gygax, who we implore not to let the earseekers infest our helmets - or our ears...

Stepping back to the not-quite-elder days of D&D, how do you see the relationship between AD&D (1E) and the Basic/Expert/Companion/Master sets of "basic" D&D?

Did you ever play or DM the BECM version? (especially at the higher levels?)

Many thanks for the time you've spent answering our queries! :)

Cheers!
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
MerricB said:
O Great Gygax, who we implore not to let the earseekers infest our helmets - or our ears...

Until the wretches conceived of ear trumpets, those marvelous little grubs surely did stop all that vile listening with ears pressed to doors so as to avoid nasty surprises the DMs wished to spring on the PCs.

Stepping back to the not-quite-elder days of D&D, how do you see the relationship between AD&D (1E) and the Basic/Expert/Companion/Master sets of "basic" D&D?

Did you ever play or DM the BECM version? (especially at the higher levels?)

Many thanks for the time you've spent answering our queries! :)

Cheers!

Because I was so involved in getting the AD&D line up and running, I did not play the D&D "B-E-C-M" other that in tests of Frank Mentzer's (able) work there. It was only after I did not need to be concerned about the direction of AD&D that I had time to revisit D&D as DM. It is a great game, IMO, and no question I still enjoy running adventures using the system.

AS for answering questions here, rest assured it is my pleasure:)

Gary
 

Larcen

Explorer
Hi Gary, me again. Glad to see your still around. :)

If you have the time, can you describe a typical encounter between an average fighter-type and average monster-type in your LA game? I am looking to see what the rolls made are from beginning to end and also try and get a general feel for the flow of LA combat.

Heck, if you like, spice it up with a little magic too!
 


Henry

Autoexreginated
Larcen said:
Hi Gary, me again. Glad to see your still around. :)

If you have the time, can you describe a typical encounter between an average fighter-type and average monster-type in your LA game?

I second this question. An example of play of the LA game would be extraordinarily helpful to me as well. Is there an example of such perhaps in the rule book, or perhaps available online?
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Howdy!

Here's a general response to LArcen, ColonelHardisson, and Henry.

The main online shop handling the LA game line is found on a link at www.lejendary.com --I use that as the URL because it's the place where you can get just about anything you are interested in regarding the game :D

Now for a cmbat example... Wait! The LA game system is not one that stresses combat. It facilitates all forms of activity. Ah well, okay, back to the H&S then.

Let's assume that a party of adventurers is entering the ruins of a temple hidden in the thick foliage of a tropical jungle, There is a Forester Order Avatar leadiing the way, a Noble Order one directly behind him, and a Mage Order Avatar is bringing up the rear. (Note, for this example I am using "ordered avatars," so we'll have archetypes in play.

Combat is handled in 3-second-ling "ABCs."

As the Forester pauses to use his Hunt Ability to check for any signs in the entry to the temple, he is grabbed from above by a massive gorilla-like creature, a kru-krad. This alerts the two others, but it doesn't help the victim. The kru-krad (Health 65, Precision 60, and Speed 17) smashes the Forester (9-12 +10--that 10 bypassing armor), then bites him (13-16 +6 Harm), and hurls him down to the stone floor. As the LM I rule that the Forester must make an Avoidance Roll against his Speed Base Rating or else be stunned for 3-6 ABCs from the impact. Assuming an average unadjusted Speed, this gives a 13% chance. The Forested is lucky and makes the roll. He has suffered 26 points of Harm, so he's at half normal Health now but ready to fight back.

As the krukrad is attacking the first of the party to enter, the Noble and the Mage see what's is happening and move into action:

The Noble is unable to attack immediately, as the ape-creature is in the beams overhead, but his sword is at the ready.

The Mage reacts immediately, using a Flame Fan Power to inflict 9-12 Harm on the creature as it drops the Forester. The activation of this Power takes 2 seconds, so at the start of the second ABC of the encounter, the mage checks against his Enchantment Ability score of 64, succeeds, and so the kru-krad is subjected to the flame, and it's coat of hair is on fire, so an additional 3-5 points will accrue next ABC.

Meantime the Forester is up, readying his crossbow, while the Noble hefts his sword.

The enraged kru-krad leaps down on the Noble. The LM rules that this attack will certainly overbear the Noble, but as his sword is ready, he will have opportunity for first attack. The Noble has a Weapons Ability of 52, with his sword adding 10, and Chivalry another 10, so his likelihood of success is 72%, he makes that. Harm is 4-20 base for the sword he has, and to that is added Chivalry and Physique bonuses--10 and 4, the total then adjusted downwards by the kru-krad's natural amrom of 6. Let's assume that the noble manages to inflict 20 total Harm on the ape. So it is at the end of the ABC down from H 65 by 14 from the fire and 20 from the sword, so it is at 31 Health.

It's attack chance is 60 (ots P Base Rating), plus the LM gives it +10 for its leaging assault, and it lands squarely on the Noble. Both of it's attacks succeed, but the shield and armor worn by the Noble mean that only the +10 boinus from the smash accrue to that character. However, the kru-krad's impact inflicts also d10 Harm on the victim, this also ignoring shield and armor protection. The roll is a 10, so the Noble is down 20 Health, pinned, and unable to attack. The kru-krad will ignore shiuled protection in subsequent attacks, so the Noble is in trouble!

In the third ABC of action, the Mage attempts to activate a new Power, Xargya's Military Fork (essentially a to paralyize the ape for a few seconds), but he misses his Ability check, the Power fails, and his Activation Energy Points are lost.

The kru-krad is acting first, and its beating and biting upon the Noble score fully 20 more Harm to that worthy's Health. He is at 20 points now, will be unconsious next ABC from another 20 Harm, virtually dead if more that that is inflicted on him.

Fortunately, the Forester has taken aim, and hith a 15 bonus with the crossbow to his Weapons-Archery Ability at close range, he hits easily. The base Harm rtange is 3-20, adding 4 for his Archery ability. His Ability check score is 01, a special success that means maximum Harm base 20 is scored, that bypassing opponent protection. A confirming check for possible added Harm is made. It is a 20, and that means added Harm is done. A d10 comes up 7, so the kru-krad suffers 20 + 4 + 7 = 31. Just enough to send the creature into unconsciousness. The Forester drops his crossbow, draws his dagger, and end's the monstrous creature's life, then pulls his comrade out from under its dead body.

Total time of combat has been 12 seconds. Two of the Avatars will now be seeking some healing, espacially the usually unscathed Noble, for in this case his full playe armor and shield did not serve as they do in most cases.

The LM is wondering if any of them spot the giant cobra that is slithering near...

:eek:

Gary
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
Fascinating. I shall have to look for this further...

I noticed a few circumstances which added or took away a +10 or -10 from the percentile chance - roughly analogous to the +2 and -2 circumstances in the d20 system...

One thing that confused me, and I will really need to pop up around the Lejendary Boards for more info - but I noticed that some Avatars get certain abilities, at a percentage of their health, or precision, or speed, or such. Do other Avatars get any "default skills" for some things? For example, say an avatar with no skill at all in hiding wants to "get off the road," to paraphrase Elijah Wood. What would his chance be at this?
 

Larcen

Explorer
Thanks for the example. Sounds faster than 3E alright! But I happen to LIKE discussing rules and have been called a rules lawyer more than once, so I hope you don't mind being dragged into an in-depth analysis here. :eek: I know, I know, sorry. Anyway, being as I am, several questions popped into my head after reading the example:

1) What roll was made, if any, for the kru-krad to successfully grab the forester? It was not mentioned, so was it automatic?

2) If appears like a person's chance of successfully striking an opponent is not dependant on any kind defense value the target may have and that only the attacker's skills, bonuses and weapon play a part. What is the rationale for this?

3) Along the same lines, is the Mage's chance of successfully activating a Power dependant solely on his Enchantment skill and not the magnitude (level?) of the Power he is attempting?

4) Some of the die ranges seem strange to me. How is "3-20" or "4-20" rolled?

5) I am still getting used to going from a combat round of 1 minute (1E) to 6 seconds (3E). Feels too constrictive somehow. No way I can ever play GURPS, their round is 1 second I believe! Have your players had any problems with a mere 3 seconds per ABC? Something along the lines of: Avatar: "Ok, I take my backpack off, find that potion, and drink it." LM: "No way you can do all that in 3 seconds." Would this action just carry over into more than one ABC then?

6) Any particular reason why common RPG terminology was changed, like "rounds" to "ABCs" and "damage" to "Harm"? Was this just for flavor? (Not that after gaining familiarity it wouldn't become second nature I am sure.)

There may be more questions if I go back and read the example in more depth, but I know that one of LA's promoted strengths is that it's rules light, so I can understand if the answer to any and all of the above is something along those lines. Also, like I said earlier, if this is not the proper forum (literally) for all this, and you would prefer discussing it elsewhere (if at all) let me know. I would also accept it if your answer to it all was simply: "Buy the rulebook!" ;)
 
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optimizer

First Post
Howdy!

Col_Pladoh said:

After the split with TSR, I returned to my original concept, painted over a globe of the earth to match my original ideas for a fantasy alternate earth, and thus Aerth was born. My wife and some others thought I'd lost it when they saw me with acrylics and brushes altering the globe:) I still have it around somewhere...

Only after I had the fullly done globe of Aerth did I then set about the research needed to quantify all that was thereon.

I just wanted to say that this was a nice story on how you created a world. Any chance you will include this tale in your World Builder's Guide?

Thanks.

Mike
 

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