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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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Henry said:
...And to answer my burning question... scaly, or hairy?

Heh...

I thought of kobolds as humanoid, but with green complexion due to their forest habitat and skin that was rough and scaly even though they were mammalian.

What your kobolds have in the way of skin texture can be quite different;)

cheers,
Gary
 

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mythusmage

Banned
Banned
Col_Pladoh said:
Heh...

I thought of kobolds as humanoid, but with green complexion due to their forest habitat and skin that was rough and scaly even though they were mammalian.

What your kobolds have in the way of skin texture can be quite different;)

cheers,
Gary

I figured some kobolds had algae growing in their fur. :)
 

Mythmere1

First Post
Actually, I do have a question. In the early days just after publishing the first hardback (I don't know if it was the MM or the PH - they were both out when I started playing, but not the DMG), how chaotic was it? There must have been a severe shortage of cash to get out the hardbacks and the little 1-3 level monsters and treasure books, while also funding Dragon. How did you manage that? Was new money coming in, or were you publishing new books with the proceeds of the published ones. At what point did you realize that the country was going to buy everything that you could afford to print, and how did you react to the realization that D&D was going to be a craze of nationwide magnitude? Fear? Excitement? Repeated glances at checkbook? Frenzied bouts of authorial effort? Did it affect quality control on any of the books or products in your opinion?
 


Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
mythusmage said:
I figured some kobolds had algae growing in their fur. :)

Well...

In the dark, damp forests, that could well be moss, as is seen on the backs of sole old snapping turtles :eek:

Heh,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Mythmere1 said:
Actually, I do have a question. In the early days just after publishing the first hardback (I don't know if it was the MM or the PH - they were both out when I started playing, but not the DMG), how chaotic was it?

The first hardbound AD&D book was the MM published in 1977.

Things at the office were hectic but not chaotic. We were all crowded into an old house, a game shop taking up much of the ground floor, shipping in the former kitchen, inventory on the front porch and in the basement, and the offices upstairs on the first floor.

There must have been a severe shortage of cash to get out the hardbacks and the little 1-3 level monsters and treasure books, while also funding Dragon. How did you manage that? Was new money coming in, or were you publishing new books with the proceeds of the published ones. At what point did you realize that the country was going to buy everything that you could afford to print, and how did you react to the realization that D&D was going to be a craze of nationwide magnitude? Fear? Excitement? Repeated glances at checkbook? Frenzied bouts of authorial effort? Did it affect quality control on any of the books or products in your opinion?

At that time I was the actual CEO of TSR, and money was tight because we had to reprint D&D works and produce new material at the same time, even as we paid employees. Sales were good, so cash flow was key. We borrowed some short-term cash to produce smaller products, and raised funds by offering lifetime subs to the DARGON and also to new game products. While the zine was then a cash drain, the goodwill and advertising/promition were more than a counter-balance.

It was in 1976 that we recognized that the game was going to be a growing one, and planned accordingly. I kept long term debt to about the amount of revenue the company generated in a month, and so the operation was very profitable. Not many customers were slow in paying, as they wanted to keep getting restocks and new product, so cash flow was good.

The main thing that affected quality control was lack of personnel and the need to get product into the pipeline or face outraged consumers. In all, I believe we did a very fine job all things considered.

Cheers,
Gary
 


scadgrad

First Post
Mr. Gygax,

As so many have said before, thank you for this game. It has brought me so much joy over the past 27 years. Additionally, your list of suggested reading was invaluable to those of us with no peer group to make such recommendations in the dark days of 1980. East Tennessee in those days was not exactly chock-full of fantasy literature fans.

I'm curious about the origins of a few of the original monsters from the MM; the Gnoll in particular and later, the Flind. I've heard that these have an origin in fantasy literature, but for the life of me I can't imagine which series one might find them featured in. As a follow up to that question, of the monsters in that early tome, and in fact quite a few beasties of OD&D and AD&D, there are a good number which were entirely made from whole cloth, name and all. Of those, is there one, or a group, which you're particularly pleased with? I've always found the idea of the Puddings to be just wildly imaginative and appreciate the way that such strange, original creatures have become part of our shared experience.

And finally, one last question concerning level-draining, the latest edition makes this setback considerably less problematic than in the original. Personally, I prefer something closer to the original ruling, but I'm wondering, did your original players detest this rule as much as one might imagine (God knows my players always loathed it)? And, was this simply a very real method of instilling a sense of dread and fear into the players when confronted by powerful Undead? It always seemed cruel to me, but boy, it made those encounters tense and perhaps that was the point all along.

Continued good health to you Sir and looking forward to what you and the Trolls do w/ Castle Xagyg.
 

Geoffrey

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
Okay Geoffrey,

My comments are given below:



Hope my input is of some benefit!

Cheers,
Gary

Thank you very, very much Gary! By the way, my wife says to me, "Gary Gygax costs you more money than anyone else on earth!" I'm afraid she's right. What with all your LA, DJ, AD&D, and D&D products (and soon C&C products as well!) that I buy...

Keep up the good work!
 

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