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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xmanii

Explorer
Hope all is well, and finds you in good health.

Been out of the loop for a bit, and was wanting to check your website at www.gygax.com, and I got some German site. Did you let it expire, or have a different site now?

Thanks for introducing D&D to me and everyone else :)

Hope to hear from you soon.
 

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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
xmanii said:
Hope all is well, and finds you in good health.

Been out of the loop for a bit, and was wanting to check your website at www.gygax.com, and I got some German site. Did you let it expire, or have a different site now?

Thanks for introducing D&D to me and everyone else :)

Hope to hear from you soon.

Thanks, Xmanii,

All good wishes and prayers are most apreciated!

The old website got pirated some time back, so we secured www.egarygygax.com That said, we've never done anything with it, as i haven't the time or energy to devote to keeping up such a site. There were a couple of volunteers, but they didn't come through, so I just dropped any further effort. eventually we'll probably get something back up, but to my way of thinking to do a proper job of it demands a lot of input from me, and a lot of owrk by the webmaster managing the site.

Cheers,
Gary
 

johnsemlak

First Post
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

FUnnily enough a couple of those books actually made their way to a game shop in Moscow Russia. I had been wondering if they were worth getting. I'll have to finally pick them up :)

No don't anyone rush to Portal Game Shop in Moscow to beat me to them
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
johnsemlak said:
FUnnily enough a couple of those books actually made their way to a game shop in Moscow Russia. I had been wondering if they were worth getting. I'll have to finally pick them up :)

No don't anyone rush to Portal Game Shop in Moscow to beat me to them

Funny thing too;) We hope to get the La game translated into russian and sold there in the not too distant future;)
 

francisca

I got dice older than you.
Col_Pladoh said:
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.

Well, I'm sure you're doing the right thing and not wearing yourself down. I'm sure the masses clamoring for "Gygaxian Tomes" will understand.

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

Sweet. So you prety much had them beating a path to your door. Thanks for that little nugget of history. I always thought it was wierd/cool that some of my childhood and textbooks were handled by the same people who did the AD&D books.

Take care, Col.
 

T. Foster

First Post
Hi Gary,

Thanks again for taking time to answer all the questions and put up with all this fawning (I'm sure the latter is easier than the former ;) ). Anyway, I've got another OD&D (1974) related question (something of an obsession of mine because I was too young to play it when it was 'current'):

In issue #2 of The Strategic Review in the article on "The Questions Most Frequently Asked About Dungeons & Dragons" there's a combat example that includes hints of an unarmed combat system that AFAIK never saw print anywhere else. Here's the relevant quote (emphasis added by me):
Combat Example:

10 ORCS surprise a lone Hero wandering lost in the dungeons, but the die check reveals they are 30’ distant at the time of surprise, so they use their iniative to close to melee distance. lnitiative is now checked. The Hero scores a 3, plus 1 for his high dexterity, so it is counted 4. The Orcs score 6, and even a minus 1 for their lack of dexterity (optional) still allows them first attack. As they outnumber their opponent so heavily it is likely that they will try to overpower him rather than kill, so each hit they score will be counted as attempts to grapple the Hero:

- Assumed armor of the Hero: Chainmail & Shield -- AC 4.

- Score required to hit AC 4 -- 15 (by monsters with 1 hit die).

- Only 5 Orcs can attack, as they haven’t had time to surround.

Assume the following dice scores for the Orcs attacks:
Orc #1 - 06; #2 - 10; #3 - 18; #4 - 20; #5 - 03.

Two of the Orcs have grappled the Hero, and if his score with 4 dice is less than their score with 2 dice he has been pinned helplessly. If it is a tie they are struggling, with the Hero still on his feet, but he will be unable to defend himself with his weapon. If the Hero scores higher than the Orcs use the positive difference to throw off his attackers, i.e. the Hero scores 15 and the Orcs scored but 8, so the Hero has tossed both aside, stunning them for 7 turns between them.


- Round 2: lniative goes to the Hero.

- Score required to hit Orcs -- 11 (4th level fighter vs. AC 6).

Assume the following dice score by the Hero. Note that he is allowed one attack for each of his combat levels as the ratio of one Orc vs. the Hero is 1:4, so this is treated as normal (non-fantastic) melee, as is any combat where the score of one side is a base 1 hit die or less.

Hero: 19; 01; 16; 09. Two out of four blows struck. There are 8 orcs which can be possibly hit. An 8-sided die is rolled to determine which have been struck. Assume a 3 and an 8 are rolled. Orcs #3 and #8 are diced for to determine their hit points, and they have 3 and 4 points respectively. Orc #3 takes 6 damage points and is killed. Orc #8 takes 1 damage point and is able to fight.

- All 7 surviving/non-stunned Orcs are now able to attack.

Continued attempts to overpower the Hero are assumed, and no less than 4 Orcs are able to attack the Hero from positions where his shield cannot be brought into play, so his AC is there considered 5, and those Orcs which attack from behind add +2 to their hit dice. In the case it is quite likely that the Orcs will capture the Hero.

Was this an actual system used in your games at that time or just something that was created ad-hoc for this example? If the former, why was this (seemingly quite simple and straightforward) system abandoned in favor of the much more complicated percentile-based system found in the AD&D DMG (which was so complex that at least in my games it served to effectively discourage anyone from ever attempting those maneuvers, at least until we got UA)?

Also, I can't help noticing that both this example combat and the combat example in the AD&D PH feature large numbers of orcs taking out superior PC opponents by grappling them rather than engaging in straight up melee (which the higher level PCs would almost certainly win). Was this pure coincidence or were these intended as subtle hints to DMs how such 'mook' monsters should be played -- making up by sheer numbers what they lack in skill and hit dice?

As always,
 

The_Gunslinger658

First Post
Hi ya Gary-

You mentioned in an earlier thread that you would have liked to see a revised AD&D system, why not go through Kenzor Co. and propose the revision, I think they hold the license for AD&D right now if I'm not mistaken.


Scott
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
francisca said:
Well, I'm sure you're doing the right thing and not wearing yourself down. I'm sure the masses clamoring for "Gygaxian Tomes" will understand.



Sweet. So you prety much had them beating a path to your door. Thanks for that little nugget of history. I always thought it was wierd/cool that some of my childhood and textbooks were handled by the same people who did the AD&D books.

Take care, Col.

Sales were burgeoning so as to attract the book trade, and thanks to sensationalist "news reporting" we got milions in publicity thereafter. The entertainment industry in California was also after us from about 1981 on through 1983--that's a very long time in terms of of desirable film property.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
T. Foster said:
Hi Gary,

Thanks again for taking time to answer all the questions and put up with all this fawning (I'm sure the latter is easier than the former ;) ). Anyway, I've got another OD&D (1974) related question (something of an obsession of mine because I was too young to play it when it was 'current'):

In issue #2 of The Strategic Review in the article on "The Questions Most Frequently Asked About Dungeons & Dragons" there's a combat example that includes hints of an unarmed combat system that AFAIK never saw print anywhere else. Here's the relevant quote (emphasis added by me):


Was this an actual system used in your games at that time or just something that was created ad-hoc for this example? If the former, why was this (seemingly quite simple and straightforward) system abandoned in favor of the much more complicated percentile-based system found in the AD&D DMG (which was so complex that at least in my games it served to effectively discourage anyone from ever attempting those maneuvers, at least until we got UA)?

Also, I can't help noticing that both this example combat and the combat example in the AD&D PH feature large numbers of orcs taking out superior PC opponents by grappling them rather than engaging in straight up melee (which the higher level PCs would almost certainly win). Was this pure coincidence or were these intended as subtle hints to DMs how such 'mook' monsters should be played -- making up by sheer numbers what they lack in skill and hit dice?

As always,

Happy to be of service!

We sometimes used the SR system in grappling melees, but most often the Dm simply weighed the situation and ajudicated without all that dice rolling. thus, eight orcs getting the jump on a 4th level fighter would be assumed to overpower him with some loss to themselves--d6 and another die rolll for each KOed in the struggle, a score of 6 indicating killed in action.

The more complex system in AD&D was my error, mainly that of listening to those who wanted combat to be very detailed.

You are on target in regards the examples of low-level monsters seeking to come to grips with a strong PC. Eight orcs will likely be slain by a well-armored 4th level fighter unless they use their sheer numbers to overwhelm him.

I now have that happen when pack animals attack characters. Two wolves, dogs, or hyenas, for example, both successful in hitting the same target human (or humanoid), will knock him down and put him at a considerable disadvantage.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Doomed Battalions said:
Hi ya Gary-

You mentioned in an earlier thread that you would have liked to see a revised AD&D system, why not go through Kenzor Co. and propose the revision, I think they hold the license for AD&D right now if I'm not mistaken.


Scott

Easy!

I dn't particularly care for the direction that Kenzer has taken with Hackmaster--too frivolous and far too many books required to play;)

Now i do like the Castles & Crusades rules that Troll Lord Games has crafted under the OGL :cool:

Cheers,
Gary
 

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