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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Nathal

Explorer
Col_Pladoh said:
Mike, the coming book of that name is really more of a "descriptionary" reference for all that needs to be placed into the txt of a work on fantasy, not how to create the world.
Gary

I thought I'd put my 2 cents in here, as the co-author of the World Builder. A question was asked of me on another forum, "I wish to know if this book is going to only be a work full of items, or is there going to be some actual planned uses for it."

My answer: The book aids in describing things...it is a "descriptionary". It is not just items but also includes a section on real world facts (container weight capacities, gemstones, herbalist lore, geography, etc). The use for the book is to aid when designing a dungeon or any above ground locale. You can use the book as a means to make every place unique. The book can also be used "on the fly"...answering questions such as, "what's in the barrel?" or "I search the body...what do I find?" or "what's in this library?" or "what kind of wood is that chest made out of?"...

Another comment: "If it is going to be listing items, I find that books like that are not that useful to me.

Answer: Yes, it lists items and EVERYTHING inbetween. Flora, fauna, government types, building types and construction materials, etc. If the "detail" aspects of game mastering come to you naturally and if such a massive resource of stuff would not aid in brainstorming, then...I'm impressed. You're right though. I'd bet the sort of GMs who benefit most from such a book are those who focus mostly on story rather than environments. For them this book will be a great aid.

And another question: "What would be some of the helpful ways one could use this book??"

Answer: Let's say you have a game the next night and you want to create a wizards tower and region. You open up the World Builders guide and look a list of the terrian types, tree types, unusal land features, etc and pick them according to your vision...in this it is a creative "brainstorming" aid. Then you go to the building material section and contruct your tower using the book to as a guide to architecture, which will help to describe the place later in-game. And then you use the WB to add rooms to the tower, not according to random charts (although some are provided) but rather according to taste and logic. Lastly, you fill in those rooms with decorations, items, wall and cieling type, blah blah blah. It's all there.

Could you do this without the World Builders? Sure, but this resource can make such work go faster, help to inspire, and represents material from dozens of sources that would take one person a while to unearth and keep in his notebook. I worked on this thing with Gary for nearly two years...I want to use the damn thing now, because a print out of the whole manuscript is HUGE...I want a nice layout like the one that the Trolls will be doing.

There is also tons of D20 material, like new weapons, herbs by magical property (with a magical herb list culled from a datebase that my wife compiled over a years time)...and much more. The table of contents alone is impressive.

In the end, some will find that such a tool is not for them. Not all GMS will find such detail a chore and would rather re-invent the wheel, so to speak. Those are some wonky fellows to be sure. Heh.
 

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Rel

Liquid Awesome
I don't want to take this thread off topic (if it can be said to have a "topic") but when does that book come out and where can I order one? Cause I'm grabbing that thing in a skinny minute.
 

Storm Raven

First Post
Re: Re: Re: Questions for Gary

Col_Pladoh said:
No way I am goping to get involved in a critical analysis of 3E now, amigo. I will say that while you suggest that some players stick with a single-class character, is that because of the way the game is done or in spite of it? Also, the way that skills and feats are presented tends to both encourage multi-classing while blurring the archetypes. Yes, one can still play 3E with archetypes, but the system does not encourage it, nor is that in the spirit of the system--gaining power.

Well, just to answer your basic question: from actual game play, the system favors single classed characters in general. Some character visions (such as the Gord the Rogue presented in the appendix of the very first book of his series) don't fit some of the basic archetypes, but for the most part, playing the single classed archetypical character is the most "effective" way to advance.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Rel said:
I don't want to take this thread off topic (if it can be said to have a "topic") but when does that book come out and where can I order one? Cause I'm grabbing that thing in a skinny minute.

As the work will bear the D20 logo, I don't think you are taking the thread too far off topic ;)

Surf on over to the Troll Lord Games website, and you'll see the promo for CANTING CREW and the rest of the series planned for the "Gygaxian" Fantasy World reference works. All are basically generic, meant to make the task of creating and developing fantasy material for stories, modules, and the like easier for the one so doing.

http://www.trolllord.com/id176.htm

TLG has left off the list a book of names we are working on. If the general line does well, the series will be extended to cover some additional things such as principal archetypes and perhaps even an expanded version of my "joke" magic items catalog.

Gary
 

Vocenoctum

First Post
Okay, my questions;

1) Ever heard something refered to as Gygaxian? How does it feel to be a descriptive term? :)

2) how do you feel about the Cult that has sprang up around you? What about those that in a way revere you, but probably haven't seen anything outside your A/D&D stuff?

3) How do other game designers/ authors treat you? I'm sure you have some that love or hate you based on your past work, but in general, are they polite or are you one of the crowd etc?

Thanks :)
 

Larcen

Explorer
EDIT: I just went back and reread your message Gary and was reminded that you suggested we continue this conversation elsewhere. Sorry I forgot. Disregard if you like.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi Gary, thanks for all the responses. I have been busy so I couldn't get back to you right away. Actually, I still am pretty busy here at work so I'll make it quick, and I promise this is the last LA mechanic question I'll ask here. I just wanted to clear this up:

Col_Pladoh said:
...
Heh, well, maybe that armor doesn't really reduce the chance to be struck, but rather it absorbs damage (Harm in LA game terms) delivered by the attack. In the wash though, the effect of either system is much the same, so it's a mechanic, not a commentary on combat.
...

I wasn't referring to armor which is the reason why I used the term "defense value". I meant such things as (but by no means all of) the defender's speed, agility, size, parry, dodging, skill, intuition, etc. Shouldn't these kinds of things determine if the attack hit home in the first place, even before armor comes into play?

Thanks for your infinite patience with us rules lawyers. Look at it this way, if LA can survive US, it can survive anything. :D Unless of course the system wasn't MEANT for us... :p
 
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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Vocenoctum said:
Okay, my questions;

1) Ever heard something refered to as Gygaxian? How does it feel to be a descriptive term? :)

2) how do you feel about the Cult that has sprang up around you? What about those that in a way revere you, but probably haven't seen anything outside your A/D&D stuff?

3) How do other game designers/ authors treat you? I'm sure you have some that love or hate you based on your past work, but in general, are they polite or are you one of the crowd etc?

Thanks :)

Some brief answers to the above:

1. I admit I was somewhat taken aback when I first heard the term "Gygaxian" bandied about. It is, I suppose, a rather unavoidable thing considering my work and my style :eek: That aside, it hasn't turned my head...

2. A cult following? Damn! Why aren't I getting rich on contributions and surrounded by lots of comely groupies then? Seriously, there is a solid fan base for my creative work, and that's much appreciated by me. Not seeing my work outside the D&D field is unforgivable, though. Members of the Cult! hie the hence and immediately buy all of the products not associated with AD&D, or face my wrath :rolleyes: Okay, okay, buy what grabs you and ignore the rest.

3. As to relations with other designers, I really can't say. Better ask them. I am pretty much isolated and working all the time here, and even at cons I am usually so busy I don't have much schmoozing opportunity. Fact is I pay more attention to gamers there than I do to other creative types. I get along quite well with a number of game designers I know, and I'm on speaking terms with many others. Of course there are a few I don't really care to associate with--likely that feeling is mutual:D

Cheerio,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Larcen said:
EDIT: I just went back and reread your message Gary and was reminded that you suggested we continue this conversation elsewhere. Sorry I forgot. Disregard if you like.

As my response is pretty brief, as you'll soon see, there's no reason not to take care of this here ;)

Hi Gary, thanks for all the responses. I have been busy so I couldn't get back to you right away. Actually, I still am pretty busy here at work so I'll make it quick, and I promise this is the last LA mechanic question I'll ask here. I just wanted to clear this up:


I wasn't referring to armor which is the reason why I used the term "defense value". I meant such things as (but by no means all of) the defender's speed, agility, size, parry, dodging, skill, intuition, etc. Shouldn't these kinds of things determine if the attack hit home in the first place, even before armor comes into play?

Thanks for your infinite patience with us rules lawyers. Look at it this way, if LA can survive US, it can survive anything. :D Unless of course the system wasn't MEANT for us... :p

The LA game is not a wargame, not only it it rules light, but it is fantasy. Some fantasy things I feel are important--monsters and their attack forms, magical things. Details of imagined combat such as you mention are things that in my view slow down the game, interpose themselves in the flow of play, belong in combat simulation exercises, not in FRPGs.

When I hear from someone that ignoring factors such as you mention isn't "realistic" I must confess I have to shake my head. Not only is the very premise of the FRPG wholly unrealistic and fantastic, but all of those factors are likewise based on little more than supposition and make believe. Dealing with them adds nothing to the roleplaying and ad nauseum to the rules required to handle combats that stretch into hours.

And that's the way I see it.

Of course if I were designing a game of tactical warfare with miniature figurines, I'd want to have such tings dealt with in exhaustive detail.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

Golem Joe

First Post
Gary didn't say it, but it is relevant to the question.

With characters, speed does not have a great effect on avoiding being hit. It does, however, factor into avoiding disasters (sort of a Reflex save). Lots of smaller, more agile animals and monsters gain additional protection from this, but it is not standardized in any way.

I would like to point out that one ability, Swashbuckling (from the Canting Crew) does impart bonuses to Armor Protection due to Agility. Swashbuckling adds one point to Defense protection for every 10 points possessed, and one point per five to any parry attempt, so long as the character wears only minimal armor (cloth or leather).

Parrying is covered as part of the core rules.

That's all.
 


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