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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MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
Originally posted by Col_Pladoh Now I could swear that's in the rules somewhere, maybe UA? Anyway, we always played it as 100 XP per level of the spell cast--usefully in an adventure or to assist someone during or after, so clerics were rewarded as well as m-us.

G'day, Gary!

No, I can't seem to find it anywhere. (Actually, not quite true - a similar rule exists as an option in the 2E dmg!) ;)

The rules I can find on granting XP are:
* monster XP
* treasure XP
* special bonus for dying & being raised XP.

Were there any other class-based XP awards you use?

On a related topic, until recently, I thought treasure XP was awarded the same way as monster XP, that is, evenly amongst the party members. Looking through a couple of rules about henchmen made me think I was mistaken: instead XP was granted for treasure depending on how much the individual managed to acquire. Is that right?

:)

Diving into my Greyhawk books, (in reference to Tarek's query), the Foreword to the Glossography in the 1983 boxed set has a section that reads: "During Smedger's time, magic was not a lost art, but, apparently, a fading one." The foreword is signed by Steve Winter & Allen Hammack. It is even possible one of them wrote that passage. ;) The topic causes hotly contested debate on Greytalk whenever it turns up, much like whether the Oerth goes round the sun, or the sun goes round the Oerth.

Gary - the Oerth isn't flat, is it? ;)

Oh, and thanks to RJK managing to re-release some of his modules, I'm getting an idea of how fiendish the man can be. Your poor characters have my sympathy. :)

Cheers!
 

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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Re: ok

jgbrowning said:
my questions..

how do you remember all this stuff about what you and the other early guys did? I'm lucky if i can remember more than two campaigns ago.

if you got one wish, what would you wish for? :) hehehe.. and how would you WORD it? :D


joe b.

First, amigo, I have to admit that I have what I now understand to be a most unusual memory. I can recall incidents from before I could walk, the time I first walked (ran rather, as I tried to do that and made it about three steps), and so forth. I won't bore you with any more of that, though.

Some of the gaming incidents stand out, others I need to ruminate for long periods in order to recall them. I also will check with someone involved in an incident in order to see if my recollection is correct--or to get something vaguely recalled right.

We played so much that in truth I can't remember 90% or more of what happened, and the accounts are the incidents that were truly exceptional.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Re: Lendore Isle

Tarek said:
I know Len Lakofka did a lot of work on the Suel and on the Lendore Isle area, but I was thinking maybe you'd know the answer to this question:

The city of glass/Gates of Glass on Lendore Isle were meant to be used in the event of some "ultimate calamity." Do you know what that calamity was supposed to be?

Also, the recent Living Greyhawk Guide had a line about Boccob worrying about the slow decline of magic in the Flannaess and his suspicion that Tharizduun was behind it. Was this "decline of magic" part of your original campaign, or was this a theme introduced by recent writers?

Finally, for this round of questions anyway :), what was the origin of Tharizduun? (apart from the module Forgotten Temple, that is :) )

Tarek

I strike out on two of the above, Tarek. Len kept his campaign material close to his chest, just as I did mine save when it was ripe to publish a bit of it, so I don't have a clue as to what he was doing there. Why not ask him?

What the guts are doing in Living Greyhawk is strictly their own creation, and it is not related to any of my own thinking.

As for Bit T, well, I decided a really nasty and wholly evil deity was needed, so I created Tharizdun from whole cloth. When I wrote the FToT I had that in mind, and from there I developed him into what I hope is a truly dispicable entity.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
MerricB said:


G'day, Gary!

No, I can't seem to find it anywhere. (Actually, not quite true - a similar rule exists as an option in the 2E dmg!) ;)

The rules I can find on granting XP are:
* monster XP
* treasure XP
* special bonus for dying & being raised XP.

Were there any other class-based XP awards you use?

And just a bit back I was near to boasting of my mnemonic capacity... :rolleyes:

Well, I certainly did hand out XPs in my campaign for spell use, also successful tracking by rangers, use of thief abilities by any PC so doing, that sort of thing.

As I left behind when I split with TSR various documents regarding a revision of the AD&D game, I wonder if perhaps amongst them I had written the information regarding XPs. Ah well, not much of a matter now anyway... ;)

On a related topic, until recently, I thought treasure XP was awarded the same way as monster XP, that is, evenly amongst the party members. Looking through a couple of rules about henchmen made me think I was mistaken: instead XP was granted for treasure depending on how much the individual managed to acquire. Is that right?

:)

Actually, as the DM I left it up to the players. Generally they took all treasure as property of the party, then at the conclusion of an adventure divided it in shares according to the total number of levels of the PCs involved, counting half of any multi-classed PCs levels only as addition the the higest sngle class one, i.e. a F/T/MU of 8/4/10 levels would get 4+2+10 shares of the loot.

Magic was always selected by high d% roll, each player getting a roll for each level of his or her PC--in the above example 16 rolls saving the highest. Prcks then went from highest on down. Many a tie of 00 rolls occurred. In such case the top scorerers rolled off for order of picks.

Diving into my Greyhawk books, (in reference to Tarek's query), the Foreword to the Glossography in the 1983 boxed set has a section that reads: "During Smedger's time, magic was not a lost art, but, apparently, a fading one." The foreword is signed by Steve Winter & Allen Hammack. It is even possible one of them wrote that passage. ;) The topic causes hotly contested debate on Greytalk whenever it turns up, much like whether the Oerth goes round the sun, or the sun goes round the Oerth.

Likely the two named individuals wrote that bit, certainly! Why they did is known only to Messrs. Winter and HAmmack, of course. "Smedgar" was Frank Mentzer.

There is no question in my mind as to the Oerth and the sun. Oerth revolves around the sun.

Gary - the Oerth isn't flat, is it? ;)

Oh, and thanks to RJK managing to re-release some of his modules, I'm getting an idea of how fiendish the man can be. Your poor characters have my sympathy. :)

Cheers!

Oerth is a sphere, and it might be hollow...

Rob learned from me, then added all sorts of horrid nuiances and completely new devices to his store of cruel things to wreak upon PCs. As he did that, I recipriocated, and so our games were lively matters indeed. One face sharpens the other :D

Cheerio,
Gary
 

ScottGLXIX

First Post
I notice that there are no thieves of note in the who's who of Greyhawk. I can't think of one well known thief PC. How did the early PCs go about finding and removing traps and opening locks?
Scott
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
ScottGLXIX said:
I notice that there are no thieves of note in the who's who of Greyhawk. I can't think of one well known thief PC. How did the early PCs go about finding and removing traps and opening locks?
Scott

Well, some of the less caring PCs had orcs who were sent forth to take care of such things. Others of the PCs had henchmen who were of the thire class. There were also such things as wands of secret door & trap detection ann knock spells for the m-us.

As an aside, and pertaining to the question of treasure division, there was an unwritten understanding that any thief who made off with a reasonably smalll amount of the loot, that including monor magic items, was "unnoticed" and the spoils and XPs that went with them were that PCs. Thieves that were too greedy didn't last long, though...

Cheers,
Gary
 

Daiymo

First Post
Greetings Gary!

You spoke earlier about mind flayers, so I have a question about the Gith races, my favorite outisder type monster race(no doubt due to their being prominently featured on the cover of the old Fiend Folio).

I dont know how much input you had in the gith's development, but where did the idea of these two warring races(the yanki and zerai) come from?
 
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Tarek

Explorer
Lenard Lakofka

Gary--

Thanks for your reply. Certainly, in the newest incarnation of the D&D game, Tharizduun is playing a major role; from Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil to the Living Greyhawk campaign, we're seeing T's cultists all over.

As for getting in touch with Mr. Lakofka, I'm having trouble even finding out if he has a presence on the net. I know he wrote two articles for Canonfire and the Oerth Journal, but that was a few years back. I understand he's also a major figure in the Diplomacy world, but again, I can't find anything recent from him.

Tarek
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Daiymo said:
Greetings Gary!

You spoke earlier about mind flayers, so I have a question about the Gith races, my favorite outisder type monster race(no doubt due to their being prominently featured on the cover of the old Fiend Folio).

I dont know how much input you had in the gith's development, but where did the idea of these two warring races(the yanki and zerai) come from?

Where are Steve Jackson (the Brit) and Ian Livingston when you need them? Likely living it up in Spain... :eek:

The FIEND FOLIO was compiled by those two, then the owners of GW, from submissions published in WHITE DWARD MAGAZINE, and brought to TSR as material for an additional book of monsters. I culled some, saw that other creatures were added, and then Lawrence Shick, the man in charge of project left in the monsters I'd said must be cut--he was leaving the company so...

Anyway, I agree that the Gith are an interesting racial pair. Only their creator, or Steve & Ian possibly, can give you the inside information you seek.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
G'day, Gary!

(referencing Daiymo's query)

Peering into my copy of the Fiend Folio, I find that the Githzerai and Githyanki were the invention of one Charles Stross, probably a UK gamer. I don't know if Gary had any hand in producing the FF except for a couple of monsters. I do remember that the adventure The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun does feature a large number of Fiend Folio creatures - were you trying to help TSR UK along by using them, Gary?

Hmm. I've been looking at my copy of Necropolis d20 again today, wondering about whoever could review it properly. Something I really like about it is the style of writing - I hadn't seen that style before, with asides to the DM in this fashion:

"Are the PCs virtually unscathed? If so, you've been too lenient, they've been clever, or I've made this module as deadly as I intended..."

Wonderful stuff! (Note to other DMs: get Necropolis! Note to other players: nag your DMs to get Necropolis! :))

There's a reference in the epilogue to gaining "Special Connections" (allies). Is that a hangover from the Dangerous Journies game? Were there guidelines/rules in those works for such matters?

Yet another question, I'm afraid. ;) What are your current (active) PCs? (Whatever game, whatever system, of course!)

Cheers!
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Re: Lenard Lakofka

Tarek said:
Gary--

Thanks for your reply. Certainly, in the newest incarnation of the D&D game, Tharizduun is playing a major role; from Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil to the Living Greyhawk campaign, we're seeing T's cultists all over.

As for getting in touch with Mr. Lakofka, I'm having trouble even finding out if he has a presence on the net. I know he wrote two articles for Canonfire and the Oerth Journal, but that was a few years back. I understand he's also a major figure in the Diplomacy world, but again, I can't find anything recent from him.

Tarek

Heh... Cults of worshippers of Tharizdun must needs be those with an extreme death wish...

Right in regards to Len. Have you tried a websearch? Fact is I haven't heard from himin over a year. The whole of my email addy book got blown out about a year back, so Len's went with it, and I not having heard from Len since, I can't email him about this thread.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
Where are Steve Jackson (the Brit) and Ian Livingston when you need them? Likely living it up in Spain... :eek:

Republishing the Fighting Fantasy books at the moment, actually. :) The first four of the reprints (Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Citadel of Chaos, Deathtrap Dungeon & Creature of Havoc) have just arrived on the shelves of many bookstores Down Under.

See the icon books website.

Did you ever look at them, Gary? I've very fond memories of the Warlock of Firetop Mountain...

Cheers!
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
MerricB said:


Republishing the Fighting Fantasy books at the moment, actually. :) The first four of the reprints (Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Citadel of Chaos, Deathtrap Dungeon & Creature of Havoc) have just arrived on the shelves of many bookstores Down Under.

See the icon books website.

Did you ever look at them, Gary? I've very fond memories of the Warlock of Firetop Mountain...

Cheers!

Bet their agent is seeing to the republishing of those books, MerricB, even as they frolic here or there ;)

I was so busy when those books were being published initially that I never did read/play any of them. I did have Steve and Ian as guests at my place--then out in the country west of Lake Geneva. Both assisted me in clearing some vines from the trees sourrounding the house. I forgot that a lot of people react badly to handling poison oak--it doesn't bother me much, a small blister if I rub it on my bare skin. Seems as if both of them returned to the UK and had some rather annoying skin outbreaks like poison ivy from their good deed helping me :rolleyes:

Heh,
Gary
 

Moorcrys

Explorer
Hey Gary,

One of my favorite things about the original AD&D was the illusionist class. In fact, I'm still disappointed with the 'genericized' specialist wizards in both second and 3E (a fireball flinging illusionist? Where's the flavor in that?) As it was such an odd class in the first edition of the game and forfeited a good deal the damaging 'punch' of the magic-user in favor of something subtler, I was wondering if you recall any of the more successful players of illusionists in your earlier games? What was your inspiration for that particular class?

Moorcrys
 

Tarek

Explorer
Getting in touch

Gary--

I did in fact try a web search or two. That's how I found out that Mr. Lakofka was heavily into Diplomacy . :)

Unfortunately, the web search engines that I used did not pick up any e-mail address for him, not even through the web sites that showed up.

Tarek
 



Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Moorcrys said:
Hey Gary,

One of my favorite things about the original AD&D was the illusionist class. In fact, I'm still disappointed with the 'genericized' specialist wizards in both second and 3E (a fireball flinging illusionist? Where's the flavor in that?) As it was such an odd class in the first edition of the game and forfeited a good deal the damaging 'punch' of the magic-user in favor of something subtler, I was wondering if you recall any of the more successful players of illusionists in your earlier games? What was your inspiration for that particular class?

Moorcrys

Thanks, and I appreciate the good words.The illusionist sub-class sprang from my reading. So many spellworkers in fable and fiction used only the illusory, not "real magic" that had actual substance and effect, that I thought it would be fun to include such an option in the game.

Subtilty was indeed a factor in play--and for that reason not a lot of illusionists were active in my campaign. Also, as a "latecomer" to choices, those who did have such PCs were not in the level par with the veteran characters of other class. As I recall, there were a couple of mid-level illusionists, somewhere around 9th-10th level active. Don't recall who played them. Rob might...

As noted previously, I have a gnome illusionish/thief PC, but he is of pretty low level, about 4th in both classes, and I haven't had opportunity to play him for a couple of years, so I'll have the devil of a time finding his character sheet if the opportunity arises.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Re: Getting in touch

Tarek said:
Gary--

I did in fact try a web search or two. That's how I found out that Mr. Lakofka was heavily into Diplomacy . :)

Unfortunately, the web search engines that I used did not pick up any e-mail address for him, not even through the web sites that showed up.

Tarek

A Kind Soul sent me an email giving me Len's addy, and I have just contacted him, included the URL to this page in the message. If Len is wiling, he'll be dropping in:)

Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Theuderic said:
Quick question Gary: have you read any of Margeret Weis & Tracy Hickman's works and if so what did you think of them?

Well, I did read about half of the first of the "Dragonlance" novel and found it not to my particular taste in fantasy, so I passed it on to my sons. One read several of their books thereafter and enjoyed them.

I enjoy either a lot of action or very interesting and different characters being developed. So, for example, Howard and Vance are favorite authors ;)

Gary
 

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