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
Tav_Behemoth said:
It's great to see you around again, Gary!

I wonder if I could ask you a few questions about the origins of monsters - please excuse me if these have been answered elsewhere.

No problem:)

1) Can you confirm that the bulette and rust monster were originally a plastic toy that you created a creature around in order to use it on the miniatures table?

That is so, but the name and stats were created by Tim Kask, then editor of Dragon Magazine.

2) Was your invention of the stirge inspired by the striges of Roman folklore, and if so do you remember if you encountered them in Thomas Burnett Swann's fantasy novel Day of the Minotaur or novella "Where is the Bird of Fire" or from another source (such as Ovid)?

The stirge I made up frm whole cloth, vaguely inspired by the myth of Strygea. I haven't read any of Swann's yarns.

3) Were you generally the (uncredited) author of the Creature Features in the early issues of The Dragon?

Durned if I can recall. The best I can offer is to answer on a case by case basis.

4) Was the displacer beast inspired by the Couatl in Van Vogt's "Voyage of the Black Destroyer"?
It was Van Vogt's Voyage of the Space Beagle when i read it...but I suspect the story is the same, yes :D

I have the highest respect for your bibilomania - after 20 years I continue to find new riches within the DMG's Appendix N: Inspirational and Recommended Reading - and tracing these literary antecedents serves to only further increase my admiration for you as a connoiseur of fantasy and as a game designer.

Thanks as always!

Thank you very much, and happy you are making good use of the list! Hope you also enjoy the more recent work of Glen Cook and Terry Prachett. How I admire Terry's creation "luggage" and the manner in which he describes it in his novels :lol:

Cheers,
Gary
 

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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Krieg said:
I'm starting to get worried that I am going to get gout just from reading this thread!

Gary, back when you were exiled to Hollywood as the media entertainment head of TSR how far along did plans progress towards the D&D movie? Were their actual scripts in the works and if so written by whom? Plans being made for casting or director selection? etc

I had meetings with many studio heads, and we had a completed script written by james Goldman. The Blume brothers refused to make the final payment, so the potential deals we had for producing a motion picture based on it went south.

About a year later I co-wrote a partial fantasy film script with Flint Dille. The whole premise was also writen up along wth a "bible." It was based on the World of Greyhawk, and the action took the viewer into other genres of fantastic and historical sort. That project I put together with the crew of Dungeons & Dragons Entertainment Corp. Orson Wells loved it and agreed to play the main supporting role--the villianous mage. thus armed, I took it to Edgar Gross, the Executive Producer for John Boorman. After three meetings, Edgar said Mr. boorman was definately interested.

Before the deal could be concluded thus, I had to return to Lake Geneva because of the state of affiars at TSR--it was near bankruptcy due to mismanagement. In a couple of month's time Lorraine Williams managed to get control of the compamy. That ended all interest in the film, and at the same time killed the new spinoff project based on the D&D Cartoon Show tha was actually moving forward up to that point with new scripts being written and the concluding episode for the original show completed.

Sadly,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Gray Mouser said:
Heh, you got me there. My wife, however, loves the stuff. When we go for sushi she usually gets eel. I'm a fan of tuna and salmon, myself.
Sushi? Why spoil perfectly good raw seafood with all that rice and seaweed? go for the sashimi, dude!

Of course, when I drag her to Korean restaraunts she's usually there under protest and so generally orders a koreanized Japanese dish lol.

Gray Mouser

The very few times I have sampled Korean food I found it much too garlic-ridden for my palet. Much to my wife's annoyance, I am not very fond of garlic in my cooking as it overpowers almost all other flavors. so many people spoil lamb by smothering it in garlic:( Halved onions are much milder and enhance the meat's flavor IMO, and that applies to mutton as well as the more delicate lamb.

PS
Sheesh, I just noticed not one AD&D related question here. Hmm, I'll have to think of something. ;)

I did quite a few OAD&D questions on earlier numbers of this continuing thread...

Cheerio,
Gary
 


Tav_Behemoth

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
That is so, but the name and stats were created by Tim Kask, then editor of Dragon Magazine.

Ah, that's good to know! I'm in the middle of editing a Masters and Minions book centered on the ecosystem of the bulette; one of the things we like to do is to present the history of each monster, and I'm thus glad to have record straight.

Col_Pladoh said:
The stirge I made up frm whole cloth, vaguely inspired by the myth of Strygea. I haven't read any of Swann's yarns.

I think you'd like Swann. I got turned on to him by David Pringle's Modern Fantasy: The Hundred Best Novels, which has considerable overlap with Appendix N (although your selection is more to my taste than Pringle's). He describes Day of the Minotaur as a "light and charming historical fantasy". I'd be honored to send you a copy; the few hours of enjoyment it might bring you are small recompense for the many thousands of hours your work has brought us! If you're interested, send me your mailing address at tav (at) behemoth3.com.

Col_Pladoh said:
Durned if I can recall. The best I can offer is to answer on a case by case basis.

The remorhaz Creature Feature was Erol Otus's, I believe, since you thanked him for preliminary work on the monster in the acknowledgments to the Monster Manual. I'm particularly interested in its possible literary antecedent - Carter & DeCamp's "Lair of the Ice Worm" (published in Conan of Cimmeria) describes an artic worm called the remorla, which radiates cold whereas the remorhaz radiates heat. Might you be able to shed any light on the subject?

Col_Pladoh said:
It was Van Vogt's Voyage of the Space Beagle when i read it...but I suspect the story is the same, yes :D

You are quite correct! The novel grew out of the short story "Black Destroyer", but there ain't no such beast as a "Voyage of the Black Destroyer" (and the beast in the story was named Coeurl, not Couatl). I am appropriately humbled. :eek:

Col_Pladoh said:
Thank you very much, and happy you are making good use of the list! Hope you also enjoy the more recent work of Glen Cook and Terry Prachett. How I admire Terry's creation "luggage" and the manner in which he describes it in his novels :lol:

You've cleverly answered a question I hadn't even asked yet, which is what inspirational and recommended literature you'd add to the list today! Many thanks.
 

mythusmage

Banned
Banned
About Rincewind's Luggage (A short diversion)

Rincewind was originally one of Terry's D&D characters. Luggage was originally a magical chest, with feet, Rincewind picked up on an adventure. Luggage's bellicose attitude and healthy appetite were part of the original deal.

If you ever get the chance to read some of the early Discworld books be sure to note the D&Disms running through them.
 

Jdvn1

Hanging in there. Better than the alternative.
Col_Pladoh said:
There is surely a very dfferent spirit in new D&D than in the original games, D&D and AD&D.
After considering this idea, what do you think it is that makes the spirit in each of the games different? Is it just the language of the text?
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Tav_Behemoth said:
...

The remorhaz Creature Feature was Erol Otus's, I believe, since you thanked him for preliminary work on the monster in the acknowledgments to the Monster Manual. I'm particularly interested in its possible literary antecedent - Carter & DeCamp's "Lair of the Ice Worm" (published in Conan of Cimmeria) describes an artic worm called the remorla, which radiates cold whereas the remorhaz radiates heat. Might you be able to shed any light on the subject?

Only Erol can answer that;)

Cheerio,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
About Rincewind's Luggage (A short diversion)

Alan,

Thanks very much for the interesting comments. It makes me chuckle about the D&D influence on the stories, because the Lejendary Adventure game will soon have magic items of a sort not dissimilar to Luggage. Of course I have them as being very rare and coming in varying sizes and potencies.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Jdvn1 said:
After considering this idea, what do you think it is that makes the spirit in each of the games different? Is it just the language of the text?

It is most difficult to pin down what gaves a game soul, and that's a major part of its spirit. the ability of the game designer and his dedication to the game are likely main components in giving a game soul. The way the subject is treated, the language in the text, the rules and mechanics form the spirit.

cheers,
Gary
 

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