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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
Kershek said:
Do you still game? If so, what system and how often? Are you the DM?
Yes, I run a weekly campaign of the LEJENDARY ADVENTURE system here, and I am the "Lejend Master" ;)

Of course now and then I do DM some OD&D or AD&D too. When Fast Forward publishes the supplement for bringing muitant humans into the METAMORPHOSIS ALPHA game. I intend to get one of the players in our group to GM a campaign of that game so I can play a character at lreast once a month--I miss playing!

Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Harlock said:
Are you related to the Gary character from the movie "Weird Science"?

If you could change one thing about your life, would Dave Arneson be dead?

Who is your favorite game designer? Other than yourself, you egomanical old man!
First, I suspect thay character was likely based off of someone more like you.

Second, what a rude fellow you are. Of course I wish no ill whatsoever to Dave! As an aside, I don't waste time recriminating, let alone considering the immutable past.

Third, as you don't know me in the least, your characterization is pathetic. More importantly, as you fail to indicate what sort of game, I can not possibly attempt an answer,

Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Neo said:
Lets see...

Which one of your creations do you yourself consider your greatest work?

Who of the new batch of creative whizz's would you most like to work with?

Is there a product for d20 that someone else did, that you wished you had created yourself?

Can we clone you to ensure future generations fo Gamers get to enjoy your work as much as we have? :D

What one thing would you have done differently in your career looking back now in hindsight?

What advice would you give to aspiring freelancers?

What genre or specific setting that is out there, would you most like to see converted to D20?

What piece of advice would you give to Wizards regarding thier approach to D20 and its marketing as a longterm gamer and creator?

Erm there you go off the top of my noggin.... :D
Okay, and that's quite a laundry list :eek:

As with children, picking favorites is not my style. I can say that I had a lot of fun writing all the RPGs that I've done, and that the modules are a lot of work but they too were enjoyable. In all, I have a number of historical games that I really like a lot and would love to see published and played. Think of it this way: I am a hardcore gamer, and I like to create and play games. The project I am working on or the game I am playing at the moment is the *current* favorite.

As for working with co-writers, and I have worked with quite a few, familiarity is a key factor. That said, I find that working with Jon Creffield of late is indeed very much a pleasure.

It is not possible for me to produce as much as I do and spend a lot of time reviewing other author's work, so I can't comment. Fact is I don't get the time I wish I could to read fiction. Not all work and no play, but close...

As for cloning, heh! I'd do that now to get to more of the ideas I have were it possible. What I hope will happen, though, is that some of the gamers who have read and played my material, or who have worked with me in creating such work, will come to the fore in due course with their own excellent work, some of which will possibly reflect some of my style.

As noted, I dn't spend time or energy tinking about the past, what could have been changed. However, I try not to make the same mistakes over and over...

Aspring freelancers: Work for love, not money. If you enjoy the effort, love gaming, then that will cme through in your writing. To break into the field, figure on a lot of material being published on a gratis basis, and be sure yo produce plenty to as yo become known. Writing modules for convention tournament play is a great way of building a "name," of course.

No comment on D20 conversions, sorry.

As for advice to WotC. I don't think they need any in regards the D20 system. However, in regards to the new D&D one, I believe that there is a question of "legs" for many new players, because as things stand the game allows too rapid level increase. There's more, but if Hasbro wants consulting, they'll cntract for it:)

Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
laurencio said:
Are there any plans to publish the original Castle Greyhawk?

(I heard rumors about a Hackmaster version, but haven't heard anything in a while)
Publishing a revised version of the original castle ruins and dungeons from my campaign begin in 1972 has been considered, yes. Frankly, the project is so large, would consume so much time, that I can not consider it alone. So far I have had no success in reaching agreement with another person in regards to co-development of the material. Of course I require someone who actually played extensively in the campaign and knows how to design adventure modules.

That said, I am not giving up. I thought perhaps to do something modest based on the old work, and if that proves to be successful, moving ahead on the development of additional material, much as the original dungeons were created.

Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
jester47 said:
How has the d20 explosion affected your work on Lejendary Adventure?

Do you feel vindicated that the d20 system allows you to publish what is essentially D&D stuff for the D&D game?

Lately you have done a lot of d20 projects, including The Slayer's Guide to Dragons, the revamp of Necropolis, and the Canting Crew. Are these projects good examples of what you have planned or just a precursor to what is next? What d20 thing do you have in the works?

As a player, if you had to choose, would you rather adventure in the Forgotten Realms, or in Greyhawk?

What is you opinion of the Forgotten Realms as a campaign setting?

Aaron.
Okay, and I'll try to answer all of the aove in abridged fashion. First, from my standpoint, writing for 3E is very constraining, and it can not compare to creating material for AD&D--mush less rules-heavy a system. I try to make all adventure material I write at least somewhat different from former work--unless the modules are connected, of course. You'll have to be the judge of how well I've done as new adventures appear in print.

Note that the reference series being done by TLG is really very much generic in its aim, and that material for D20, and the LA game system, is appended for the benefit of those who want such details to facilitate the incorporation of the generic ideas into their campaign rules systems.

Now as for a campaign setting, of course I prefer the WoG to FR, as I wrote so much of the former, am intimately familiar with the original work. I hasten to add that there are many buffs that are now better informed that am I in regards to the world setting. Having perforce left it for going on two decades, one tends to forget as new material is created.

Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Nightfall said:
If I offer you a blood sacrifice and get 50 copies of Necropolis, will do write for S&SS's Scarred Lands?

Okay maybe not...but serious, Gary, now with R&R2 out and since you wrote the preface for R&R1, do you think that quality of the stuff put out by S&SS has improved a great deal?
Heh, and all I can say to the first is, liquor is more efficacious that blood...

Seriously, I have not had the chance to review R&R 2--I do have a heavy work schedule, and reading others' work doesn't get the words on "paper" (into the computer file), so I miss a lot when fully engaged in creative work. Fact is that I have not yet had time to do more than skim through the NECROPOLIS adventure. The team at Necromancer has done a great job in the conversion, adding material that really fits in so smoothly that it's hard to tell where thay did that. I'm really delighted with their efforts in this regard, so I can only assume they've done a bang-up job with R&R 2 now. Eventually I'll get to read the material. of course. I think there's an opening late in February for that... :rolleyes:

Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
William Ronald said:
Do you have any plans to work on a new campaign setting, or revisit one that you have worked on in the past.

Who are some of the new designers you would like to work with?

If you could revisit any product you have worked on, what would it be?

What do you think of the gaming industry and the hobby as it stands now as opposed to the early 1970s?

What do you see as the future of our hobby, especially the role of computers and electronic products?
Whoa! Another longish list.

As to new designers, that's a question I can't answer, for as I've noted above, I seldom have the opportnity to read, let alone play, other authors' material. (That's why I am eager to "retire" so I can spend 40 or more hours a week playing games rather that writing them.)

If I could revisit something, two adventures spring to mind immediately--the city of Erelheicindlu in THE VAULT OF THE DROW and the Elder Elemental God and what might lie below the ToEE.

There can be no comparison to the hobby gaming field of the early 1970s and today's, the difference being vast! As I have often said, and in opposition to not a few in the business, I do believe that gamers are both above average in intelligence and highly creative. My main proof of the latter position is the size and diversity of gaming now as compared to anytime in the late 1970s or evcen early 1980s.

Paper games will persist, and the market might even grow some, but the clear future for growth and diversity is in the electronic end of gaming. That's something I've said for quite a few years now.

Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Mark said:
The 1st edition AD&D DMG (1979 - TSR Games) is adorned (front and back cover) with a David C Sutherland III rendering of three adventurers battling an efreet on the Elemental Plane of Fire. Was this inspired by one of the games that you ran (or played in) and, if so, what was the outcome of said battle?
Actually, I did run a few adventures in the City of Brass, but I don't recall Dave Sutherland being involved--mainly rob and Terry Kuntz. So, to answer the question, I suppose that Dave either based his illustration on his own adventuring or else pure imagination ;)

Cheerio,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
JoeGKushner said:
Can we see a cease and desist of Lejendary Journeys material in the D20 books? I don't like dual statted books from AEG and Holistic Design, and this is a trend I'd like to see end.
Got a mouse in your pocket, joe? :eek:

As far as I am concerned, I much prefer creating in the LA game system than doing so in the D20 one. So the short answer is that I have another super-adventure done, THE HALL OF MANY PANES, and that will be dual system, as will CASTLE WOLFMOON. After that, though, I don't plan on writing any more dual-system material so you'll not have to suffer beyond what is noted. Well, allow me to step back and add that the "Gygaxian" fantasy world reference books while mainly generic is content, will likely continue to include both D20 and LA game system material ;)

Gary
 
Lejandary d20?

Hi Mr. Gygax
Perhaps if you converted LA to d20, your work load might lesson and I would have another campaign setting to tack on to my World of Greyhawk setting, which is a combo of Call of Cthuhlu, Star Wars and D&D. ; )
I would also love to see you do a WoG campaign source book like WoTC did for the Forgotten Realms as well as a revised queen of spiders module.


Scott Holst
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
shouit said:
If you would have designed d20 what would you have done differently?
This is likely the same answer you'd get from any pro designer: Nothing, except what comes after the name and before the part that concludes the work.

Seriously, the designers who did the material don't want to hear what I'd have done differently, and I don't have any interest in detailing my particular design ideas for a third edition system, eh?

Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Golem Joe said:
Here are a few:

What do you think are the strengths of d20 and Lejendary Adventure? How would you compare the two?

What material for Lejendary Adventure do you feel would be of most use to d20/DnD players?

What is "Well of Shadows"?

Do you find it difficult to design a cross-over product, like "The Hermit"?

Who were the nine demigods Xagyg imprisoned in Castle Greyhawk?

What's going on with the Lejendary Adventure multiplayer online game?

How would you compare the Lejendary Earth setting to Greyhawk?

Now that Necropolis is out, are there any other "unpublished" Dangerous Journeys material you are looking to have updated to d20?

Tell us about an average night in a Gygaxian gaming session.
Whew!

Such a lot you EN boarders are! So many questions, so little time to answer them :D

The D20 system is so diffrent from the LA game that's it's like comparing apples and oranges. Rules-heavy/rules-light, c;ass-based/skill-bundle-based. About all I can say is that one is a great change of pace from the other. Well, that and if you are writing material for one or the other, it's a lot easier to do for the LA system ;)

Again, there isn't much corelation between D20 and LA systems, so much of the base material doesn't easily cross over. However, there are a number of magic items, spells, and monsters that can translate to D20 and will likely be fun to add to the game.

The WELL OF SHADOWS is a very difficult adventure module that Jon Creffield and I co-wrote a couple of years back. It is connected to an LA game sourcebook, THE MALEDICTED PLATEAU. when the latter is published, The WELL OF SHADOWS will follow it into print--likely in late 2003. Many an a player will rue the day they sent their avatar into that deadly place... :D

The difficulty with doing a dual-system product is more in the system details than in the conceptualization, especially with a module. After all, a good adventure translates into most every system with the correct mechanics. So it is the correct mechanics that are a pain, not the ideas. As the D20 system is very detailed, the pain is great ;) Fortunately, I have good comrades to help assure that nbot too many errors crop up, so that the pain won't also be felt by the gamers who pick up the product.

"Who were the nine demigods Xagyg imprisoned in Castle Greyhawk?" --Ask this over on the GreyTalk list:)

We have a deal signed with Dreams-Interactive for am LA MMPORPG. The demo is being added to now, and we hope to have an alpha test ready around the middle of next year. That given, then a closed beta ar year's end, open beta in 2004, and then the game up and running online late in that year.

The Lejendary Earth world setting is a complete planet based on a very loose parallel to the actual world. so it is again a matter of apples and oranges in regards comparing it to the WoG. About the only parallel than can be drawn between the two is that both are designed to facilitate GM creativity, encourage input, and allow for campaigns to be vastly different evcen though based on the same setting.

"Now that Necropolis is out, are there any other "unpublished" Dangerous Journeys material you are looking to have updated to d20?"--None that spring to mind, no. Loren Wiseman's CITY OF ASCALON would be a good D20 product, though, I should think. It was never published as a DJ/MYTHUS one, so Loren has the material. and it's his call.

"Tell us about an average night in a Gygaxian gaming session."

Well, heh! No time for another page of material here. Get on my "games list," and you'll get an email from me just about every week that recounts the action in the campaign session run Thursday night. The team of doughty adventurers are now working their way through the HALL OF MANY PANES--said module to be published late this year or early next by Troll Lord.

Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Golem Joe said:
And one more:

With Troll Lord Games doing dual-stat stuff for Lejendary Adventure and d20, any chance we'll see more companies that you write for doing that in the future?
Good question! Aside from the massive CASTLE WOLFMOON adventure that Chris Clark and I have about finished, I haven't any plans on doing more dual-system material. However, if some publisher is interested, maybe so.

Fact is that it is very demanding work, module writing. I approach it with trepidation, and executing the project is very time consuming. So to make the task lighter and maximize personal enjoyment I far prefer writing using the LA game as a base--I find it facilitates my creativity. If I can work thus, it's more likely that I'll be motivated to write ;)

Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Talath said:
Do you like eggrolls? :D

It is a legitimate question :D
Thet're okay, but I prefer Vietnamese "rollups" with mint in 'em:)

It is a legimate question as I don't think that this is restricted to RPG material...

:eek: Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Zarthon said:
I wish I could sit in on this chat, but I have an important test on Wednesday and the fact that the chat is usally about 3-4 am for me. I will just have to wait for the log:(

Here is my questions for Gary: How many dragons have you killed in alll your years of gaming?
To the best of my recollection my PCs have managed to slay only a few. Of course Mordenkainen and party did subdue a couple of red dragons. The last time Mordie was involved in dragon slaying was in an OAD&D campaign run by my son Ernie. Two ancient white dragons had ambushed his main players' PC party, killed most. So they sought help, Mordenkainen agreed to the deal, and lead the survivors and some new PCs into the dragons' lair. a Power Word Stun took care of one, and the other, lurking invisibly above on a ledge was then assailed and laid low--many a Magic Missile lightening the combat load on the other characters in the melee.

Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Harlock said:
Mr. Gygax, do you have the personality to cast real spells yet?
"I've got that magic touch, it makes you thrill so much.
"It casts a spell, it rings a bell, that magic touch."

Real spells? You mean like dizzy spells, coughing spells, fainting spells? Dry spells? Wet spells? Heat spells? Cold spells? As far as I know, that's about the extent of reality in regards spells.

If there were actually magic spells, and I could use same, do you suppose I'd be answering these kinds of questions?

Heh,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
sword-dancer said:
Mr Gygax

When You compare Dangerous Journeys, Lejendary Adventures and D&D/D20 what are the strength and weaknesses from every setting?

Which non english RPGs do you know and how did you value them and why?
Good questions, but I have no time to manage critical analyses of this sort. Besides, everybody and their pet monkey too does this sort of exercise all the time on one website or another :)

Briefly: DJ is a rather rules-heavy skill based system with great detail required for the creation of the heroic persona.

LA is a rules-light, skil-bundle-based system that facilitiates creativity and innovation within the rules framework.

As for my opinion of non-English RPGs, I understand that there are some excellent ones. However, not reading in other languages, not having time or the chance to play them--or most other English-language RPGs for that matter--I can not offer any useful comment here Sorry.

Gary

3E is a rules-heavy system that provides full structuire for everything.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Fourecks said:
If you could have Greyhawk back under your control and therefore could, and did, publish a decisive GH book, what would you change to bring it back to your "vision"?
Well, with all the creative ideas I need to come up with for projects I can do, I simply don't have time or energy to speculate in regards material that is quite unlikely to ever eventuate.

When WotC approaches me with such an assignment I'll think about it :eek:

Gary
 
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