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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.


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Dear Gary,

Have you been proud of *all* of your role-playing creations?

Were you proud of Dangerous Journeys? Are you disappointed that it didn't fully mature?

Dangerous Journeys was criticised as a very, very complex system. Is this one reason you decided to make LA a simple system?

Was DJ a learning curve for you? You state in the foreword of LA (I think) that you made the system simple to attract new gamers. Did you find new gamers a little intimidated by Dangerous Journeys and, thus, decided to develop a simple system?

Do you have a lot more rules in your home campaign for LA than is published. Dangerous Journeys and the 1E DMG would suggest that your game was (once) backed up by a lot of rules.

With the evolution of RPGs, do you play much differently *now* in style as opposed to the old days of 1E AD&D?

Do you use miniatures and a battlemat for your LA game?


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First Post
I'd like to get your opinion on something.

One of the trends I'm noticing - indeed, heavily and gleefully contributing to - is a whole new level of customizability in character concepts in 3e DnD. Wizards, rogues, fighters, clerics are being more or less discarded in favour of lashers, pugilists, shifters, duelists, dragon disciples, thaumaturgists, animators, golem sculptors, keepers of epics, bright sages of the high mountain, dark bearers of the six sinful secrets, and so forth.

On the one hand, this allows players to generally muck about with their characters until they're something they're very happy with. On the other hand, this can do catastrophic things to game balance if not done cautiously and makes every game of DnD VERY different from every other.

How do you feel about this? Do you think this level of customizability in theme and archetype is good, or bad, for a game?


Col_Pladoh said:
now the lads are playing slightly modified OD&D rules exploring the five original dungeon levels of Castle Greyhawk.

Can you tell us a bit about those modifications?

Are you playing with just the original 3 booklets, or are you using stuff from the supplements as well?

Any particular reason why you choose OD&D & not OAD&D?

Sir Elton

First Post
Hello Gary,

I'm glad you're back. I got Gary Gygax's Insidae and your introduction was great! However, strangely, it's the same advice I got in other books, just written in a different style. The only thing missing, however, was the promised Value of Metals chart. Is there any chance of TLG posting the Chart on their website for download?



First Post
Hello Mr. Gygax,

I think I posted a question earlier about your feelings on your name being used as an adjective and one regarding a ferret, but I'm having trouble tracking down the thread in question. That's an irrelevant side issue, but I believe in making sure that people remember me.

Thanks for your answers to those questions by the by.

I recently started rereading my 1e hardbacks and was looking at the Hammer of Thunderbolts/ Girdle of Giant Strength/ Gauntlets of Ogre Power combo. It looks like you can add together the damage bonuses for the Gauntlets and Girlde, even though they both provide a magical bonus to Strength. It also looks like you add those damage bonuses together to determine the Hammer's throwing range.

This brings up an interesting question:
In my campaign world there are magical pools that bestow permanent ability score increases (only usable once per character, only one pool per ability score in the whole world). What happens if a character who already has a "giant" Strength from a magic pool gets the Gauntlets/ Girdle/ Hammer combo?

I just bought a copy of Unearthed Arcana at the used book store for $12.50 on Monday. I've only just started reading it, but it is a most interesting book of additional rules. I would especially like to thank you (or whoever) for the Nomenclature of Pole Arms chapter.


First Post
I been in the Marine Corps now 17 years and some change and I speak for those who continue to game within the enlisted rank structure. Despite the fact that D&D is frowned upon by the upper echelon in the Chain of Command, it is still one of the more popular past time hobbies of many a junior Marine or Sailor...

As a long time gamer of 27 years, i can only say thank you for what you have given the world. It was unique and still appreciated today by many.


A Marine 1stSgt who games...


Hi Gary---

Over on Dragonsfoot, we're having an extensive discussion about when a 1e invisibility spell/potion ends:

  1. The PC appears before the attack is physically attempted---hence drawing the sword, notching the bow, etc. cancels the invisibility and forces the PC to appear.
  2. The PC appears during/after an attempted attack, whether the attack is successful or not; whether the PC appears in the nanosecond the attack begins or anytime during the follow-through stroke seems to be the center of debate. In either case, a drawn sword or notched bow does not cancel the invisibility, which ends only when the physical attack is attempted.
  3. The PC remains invisible until after an offensive action has been attemped. This can be in the form of a spell or melee attack (or a pick pockets attempt??). The PC is invisible throughout the entire attack attempt. After the attempt is finished, whether successful or not, the PC becomes visible. If PC attempts an attack but misses, the PC still becomes visible. Or, after the offensive spell casting begins, the mage will become visible, whether the spell has any effect or not.
  4. The PC does not appear until a successful attack has been made. If the PC attempts the attack but misses, the PC remains invisible. The original query raised by Paul Stormberg was whether or not an MU's invisibility would end after his attempted fireball spell was interrupted by a giant's hurled boulder.

Can you please clarify which option is correct?

Thanks :D
Last edited:


Hi Gary!

First off, thanks ever so much (may not be important for you to hear, but it's terribly important for me to say).

Secondly, I was wondering if you had the chance to read George RR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series, and if so, what you thought of them?

If you have not, (seeing as I think I owe you one), please let me recommend them. I read so little fantasy these days as I find so much of it tedious and unoriginal. Martin's works, happily, are the exception to the rule and a true diamond-in-the-rough.

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