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
Gray Mouser said:
Heh, OK, last question for the night :)

With all the talk about Kobalds recently, I got to wondering if you specifically visualized them as dog-like. The picture in the monster manual appears that way, but I don't recall it being specified as such. The kobalds in The Keep on the Borderlands, however, are referred to as "dog-men", and I seem to remember an Erol Otus picture in a module where they appear somewhat canine (although I can't recall the module off hand). Anyway, was the dog-like appearance something you thought of or simply the result of the Monster Manual artist's (DCS, wasn't it?) imagination?

Gray Mouser

It was indeed Dave sutherland that decided to give the kobolds a dog-like visage, likely because I had described gnolls as hyena-like. I had actually originally envisaged them as more impish ot countenence, but I went along with the depiction, as it made no difference to the game's play.

Kobolds in the Lejendary Adventure game are very different, and very potent as either Avatars or non-avatars opposing the player team.

Cheers,
Gary
 

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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Captain Loincloth said:
Hello Gary, I'm someone who recently rediscovered his love for old school D&D. Really miss the feel of the old game. I could ask you many questions, but I'll try to keep it short.

First, in the Holmes basic set, there is mention of a "witch" class being in the AD&D Player's Handbook. Well we all know there was no witch. Was there originally a witch class that got dropped or was it entirely a figment of Holmes imagination?

That mention slipped by me, and all I can assume was that either Eric was planning to force such a class upon me, or else someone editing the work thought it a good joke to play. i never had a PC class of that sort in mind for the game.

Second, was there anything you REALLY wanted to do for AD&D but never got the chance?

No, there wasn't anything critical that was missed by me...other than a proper revision of the AD&D system. Don't ask about what i would have done in that regard. The effort of explaining is not worth it, as such is meaningless.

Third, besides Castle Zagyg, are you planning on doing any more stuff for C+C?

Thanks, and BTW, Sorcerer's Scroll was the best column ever in Dragon, I'll be running Castle Zagyg this summer (I hope), and Erol Otus drew the best kobolds of any artist who ever worked for TSR or WotC.

As the castle ruins and dungeon levels are hardly begun, and the work to cmplete them will surely take two of us two or more years to complete, I have made no plans to create anything further for the C&C game. While I find it fun as a change of pace, I much prefer designing material for the Lejendary Adventure game;)

Cheers,
Gary
 

RFisher

Explorer
Gary, now that I have LA Essentials, you've created quite a quandry for me. Which will I attempt to force upon my group next: OD&D or LA? They are nearly equally appealling to me.

If the Trolls could convince François to do no more work than to locate a copy of his work for them, surely they could find people both to translate & edit it. How nice it would be for us to finally see the work you've told us about in print as a C&C OA!

Any progress on getting a book of your & Rob's recollections of the early days as published in Dragon & elsewhere published?
 

Gray Mouser

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
Whew, 'Mouser!

That's a tough question, mainly because all of those adventures were designed with gaming in mind, not the telling of a dramatic tale. The fact is that I don't think any of them would serve as the basis for a major motion picture. About the only writing of mine that might be viable are the "Magister Setne Inhetep" fantasy mystery novels. and as they are each around 200 pages long, they would convert to a film script pretty handily. Thay they were written for the Dangerous Journeys FRPG system, Mythus, is of no matter, as the few game-specific portions could easily be altered. So too the world setting, the "AErth."

Cheers,
Gary

Hey Gary, thanks for the answer to my query. Just to let you know, I found a copy of The Anubis Murders in a used bookstore back in (maybe) 1995. A great read! I had always been interested in ancient Egypt when I was a kid and found the novel quite good.

Gray Mouser
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
RFisher said:
Gary, now that I have LA Essentials, you've created quite a quandry for me. Which will I attempt to force upon my group next: OD&D or LA? They are nearly equally appealling to me.

If the Trolls could convince François to do no more work than to locate a copy of his work for them, surely they could find people both to translate & edit it. How nice it would be for us to finally see the work you've told us about in print as a C&C OA!

Any progress on getting a book of your & Rob's recollections of the early days as published in Dragon & elsewhere published?

Howdy!

funny you should say that, as my group is torn between the two much the same way, only a three-way split with LA, OD&D, and C&C. We played in Yggsburg using C&C rules and had a fun time, and now the fellows are dungeon crawling using OD&D and loving it. As soon as possible, though, I want to get to a new La game module that Jon Creffield has just finished and turned over to the Trolls for publication.

As for the book compiling the humorous adventures Rob and i have DMed or engaged in, i asked Rob to supply me with more of his essays, but so far nada... I can't complain loudly, though, for i haven't turned over any castle or dungeon levels to him;)

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Gray Mouser said:
Hey Gary, thanks for the answer to my query. Just to let you know, I found a copy of The Anubis Murders in a used bookstore back in (maybe) 1995. A great read! I had always been interested in ancient Egypt when I was a kid and found the novel quite good.

Gray Mouser

Thanks 'Mouser:)

The Anubis Murders was my first attempt at a mystery yarn, so it is only so-so IMO. the next two, The Samarkand Solution and Death in Delhi were better, with the latter the most exciting from my perspective. Death in Delhi might make a fair to middlin basis for a film script.

Cheers,
Gary
 

francisca

I got dice older than you.
Hey Gary-

Hope Groundhog Day found you in improving health.

My question concerns the original Monster Manual. being the first hardback RPG book ever published, did you have difficulty securing a printer for it? Were folks in the industry leery of such an expenditure for such a relatively new game? Or was it simply an exercise in waving enough capital in their faces? :D Also what circumstances led to Random House being the distributer?

Thanks!
 

BOZ

Creature Cataloguer
Col_Pladoh said:
No, there wasn't anything critical that was missed by me...other than a proper revision of the AD&D system. Don't ask about what i would have done in that regard. The effort of explaining is not worth it, as such is meaningless.

it might be meaningful to someone who wanted to spend the time revising the 1e AD&D system the way you would have done it - preferring that to the 2e AD&D that TSR did - but this would require a lot of explanation on your part for not too much reward beyond "Thanks!" ;)

me though, eh, i never had a real problem with 2e. some things seemed silly and to make not much sense, but i had a lot of fun and was introduced to the game with that system.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
francisca said:
Hey Gary-

Hope Groundhog Day found you in improving health.

Thanks. I feel pretty well. the problem is that i tire out after about an hour, and game design calls for extended periods of hard concentration and work at the keyboard.

My question concerns the original Monster Manual. being the first hardback RPG book ever published, did you have difficulty securing a printer for it? Were folks in the industry leery of such an expenditure for such a relatively new game? Or was it simply an exercise in waving enough capital in their faces? :D Also what circumstances led to Random House being the distributer?

Thanks!

We has the dunds on hand to pay the printer for the initial 50,000 copies of the Monster Manual that were ordered. It was no problem finding a printer thst could do a stitched binding and school-book cover material either, as i wanted the AD&D volumes to be as nearly indestructable as could be managed. Later on the Blumes changed that so save a nickle or two on each copy printed...as if we weren't making enough as it was.

Crown books wanted me to write a special introductory game book exclusively for them. that was a no-go. Simon & Schuster contacted me about book trade distribution, but they were going to take a year to set it up, so i wasn't too thrilled. Then I got a phone call from Mildred Marmur, then the VP of Sub-Rights Licensing at Random House. they flew me out to NYC the next week and were ready to begin distribution in a month's time. As the remainder of the deal I negotiated assured TSR cash flow and other great benefits, i signed my name up there in their offices on the second day of our meetings.

Having Millie as an advocate was a lot of help in cutting a great deal for TSR. Both of her sons were D&Ders :D

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
BOZ said:
it might be meaningful to someone who wanted to spend the time revising the 1e AD&D system the way you would have done it - preferring that to the 2e AD&D that TSR did - but this would require a lot of explanation on your part for not too much reward beyond "Thanks!" ;)

me though, eh, i never had a real problem with 2e. some things seemed silly and to make not much sense, but i had a lot of fun and was introduced to the game with that system.

Hi Boz,

Right you are about reward for effort. Especially nowadays, that just ain't going to happen as time and energy are limited resources.

Surely you have no problems with 2E, as it was your fisrt FRPG;) It did lose about half the AD&D audience for TSR, though, and that's a fact.

Cheers,
Gary
 

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