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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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JohnRTroy

Adventurer
If you didn't see my post in the other thread, I visited him last Thursday. Overall, he's doing pretty darn well, but he's just tired. The shingles have mostly cleared up but he still has a "droopy eye". He's just fatigued. Maybe after the holidays he'll be back here.

He's already started posting a few links to political "rants" on the talk list, so slowly but surely he's getting better! ;)
 




EvilPheemy

First Post
Unashamed Geekery and ring kissing to follow.

It's certainly become difficult to ask you a fresh question considering there's 12 threads and Lord only Knows how many articles, interviews, and essays out there. My 8 year old son received from Santa-Dad his first copy of Dungeons and Dragons this year.

I'm currently preparing a few of the old classic modules like Keep on the Borderlands, and Palace of the Silver Princess to send him and his friends through.

Having introduced your own children to the hobby, do you have any advice, anecdotes or warnings for me?
 

khyron1144

First Post
Grandfather of Assassins

Gary,
I don't know what the likelihood of a response is, but I am curious about a matter concerning world design and thought a consult with one of the masters would be wise.


How badass should a world's Grandfather of Assassins be? Should they be tough but beatable in case of PC assassins aspiring to that rank? Or is a mortal just shy of being a demigod about right?

I ask because I had a concept for my own world's grandfather of assassins. It's under 1st edition AD&D rules, although bent to take some house concepts into account. The character is human in origin but has been exposed to several magical pools which exist on my world and are availabe to PCs that can find them. They have granted him exceptional power (attributes improved permanently as if by massive number of wishes by 3d4) and long life (reset physical age to young adulthood (around 16 for humans by my world's definitions) and subsequent aging at a slowed one for ten rate (including magical aging (but still with a chance of instant death for magical aging)). He has used this power and long life to dual-class in a major way (Assassin 15/ Wizard 29/ Fighter 30). Seeing the stats spelled out like that he looks like at least as much of an unholy powerful DMPC as Elminster.


I have one other question: who do I thank for the nomenclature of polearms appendix in Unearthed Arcana? I found it very useful for my game. I came in at 2nd edition where most of those polearms were in the rulebook but had so little description I found them hard to visualize.


I have said it before but let me say it again: thank you for a wonderful game and the many years of entertainement I have derived from it.



Thanks,
JustiN
 



Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
EvilPheemy said:
It's certainly become difficult to ask you a fresh question considering there's 12 threads and Lord only Knows how many articles, interviews, and essays out there. My 8 year old son received from Santa-Dad his first copy of Dungeons and Dragons this year.

I'm currently preparing a few of the old classic modules like Keep on the Borderlands, and Palace of the Silver Princess to send him and his friends through.

Having introduced your own children to the hobby, do you have any advice, anecdotes or warnings for me?
Howdy,

Only a couple of observations regarding ploaying with very young participants:

They grow frustrated quickly unless they achieve some minor success periodically and are rewarded therefor in even a small way.

Never allow their PCs to meet an end, as that is too traumatic. Even losing a treasured magic item or a trusted henchman or animal companion is likely to sent them from the gaming table in a funk, if not in tears.

Only after playing for several months is it possible to be more rigorous in GMing for youngesters.

Cheers,
Gary
 

BOZ

Creature Cataloguer
Hey Gary, if you're up to answering questions...

I remember ever since reading the Fellowship of the Rings, that the hobbits encountered a man-eating tree on the way to meet Tom Bombadil. i've long wondered if that served as inspiration for the Black Willow from MM2? :)
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
BOZ said:
Hey Gary, if you're up to answering questions...

I remember ever since reading the Fellowship of the Rings, that the hobbits encountered a man-eating tree on the way to meet Tom Bombadil. i've long wondered if that served as inspiration for the Black Willow from MM2? :)
Hi Boz,

Happy to answer questions once again.

The malign Old Man Willow got me interested in the folklore detailing such sentient and evil trees. So indeed, the inspiration was linked to JRRT's writing. English folklore is my main source, though, even if I can no longer remember in which books I found such information.

Cheers,
Gary
 

grodog

Adventurer
Hi Gary---

I'm glad to see you back on the boards, and in better health :D

There have been several discussions recently here about the inspirational reading list from the DMG (Appendix N), at http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=186802 and http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=186812 and http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=186846. Here's the original list, for quick reference (using the DMG list plus the two authors/works that appeared in The Dragon but weren't in the DMG):

Anderson, Poul. THREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS; THE HIGH CRUSADE; THE BROKEN SWORD
Bellairs, John. THE FACE IN THE FROST
Algernon Blackwood
Brackett, Leigh.
Brown, Fredric.
Burroughs, Edgar Rice, "Pellucidar" Series; Mars Series; Venus Series
Carter, Lin. "World's End" Series
de Camp, L. Sprague. LEST DARKNESS FALL; FALLIBLE FIEND; et al.
de Camp & Pratt. "Harold Shea" Series; CARNELIAN CUBE
Derleth, August.
Dunsany, Lord.
Farmer, P. J. "The World of the Tiers" Series; et al.
Fox, Gardner. "Kothar" Series; "Kyrik" Series; et al.
Howard, R. E. "Conan" Series
Lanier, Sterling. HIERO'S JOURNEY
Leiber, Fritz. "Fafhrd & Gray Mouser" Series; et al.
Lovecraft, H. P.
Merritt, A. CREEP, SHADOW, CREEP;MOON POOL; DWELLERS IN THE MIRAGE; et al.
Moorcock, Michael. STORMBRINGER; STEALER OF SOULS; "Hawkmoon" Series (esp. the first three books)
Norton, Andre.
Offutt, Andrew J., editor SWORDS AGAINST DARKNESS III.
Pratt, Fletcher, BLUE STAR; et al.
Fred Saberhagen Changling Earth
St. Clair, Margaret. THE SHADOW PEOPLE; SIGN OF THE LABRYS
Tolkien, J. R. R. THE HOBBIT; "Ring Trilogy"
Vance, Jack. THE EYES OF THE OVERWORLD; THE DYING EARTH; et al.
Weinbaum, Stanley.
Wellman, Manly Wade.
Williamson, Jack.
Zelazny, Roger. JACK OF SHADOWS; "Amber" Series; et al.

My question to you is, if you were writing D&D for the first time, now in 2007, how would your Appendix N listings differ from your original selections? Would you add some more contemporary authors (like Neil Gaiman, George R. R. Martin, Lucius Shepard, etc.)? Would you add more contemporary works of the listed authors (Zelazny's more-recent Amber books, Leiber's concluding F&GM books, etc.)? Would you remove some authors who may not inspire you today like they did in the early 1970s (Frederick Brown, Margaret St. Clair, John Bellairs, etc.)? Would you add non-literary media (comic books, films, television, music, etc.)? Would you add more non-fiction (history, mythology, etc.)?

On some level I'm asking what inspires you today, but I'm also curious about how your tastes have changed (if they have).

Thanks, as always, for sharing your thoughts :D
 

thedungeondelver

Adventurer

Two for you, Gary...

One: laying aside LEJENDARY ADVENTURES for a moment, do you think DANGEROUS JOURNEYS is still a viable system? That is, would you recommend someone check it out?

Two: Assuming AD&D rules, are you of the opinion that a cleric/paladin dual-class (with the necessary stat requirements being met) is permissable?
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
grodog said:
Hi Gary---

I'm glad to see you back on the boards, and in better health :D

There have been several discussions recently here about the inspirational reading list from the DMG (Appendix N), at http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=186802 and http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=186812 and http://www.enworld.org/showthread.php?t=186846. Here's the original list, for quick reference (using the DMG list plus the two authors/works that appeared in The Dragon but weren't in the DMG):

My question to you is, if you were writing D&D for the first time, now in 2007, how would your Appendix N listings differ from your original selections? Would you add some more contemporary authors (like Neil Gaiman, George R. R. Martin, Lucius Shepard, etc.)? Would you add more contemporary works of the listed authors (Zelazny's more-recent Amber books, Leiber's concluding F&GM books, etc.)? Would you remove some authors who may not inspire you today like they did in the early 1970s (Frederick Brown, Margaret St. Clair, John Bellairs, etc.)? Would you add non-literary media (comic books, films, television, music, etc.)? Would you add more non-fiction (history, mythology, etc.)?

On some level I'm asking what inspires you today, but I'm also curious about how your tastes have changed (if they have).

Thanks, as always, for sharing your thoughts :D
Howdy,

The fact is that I wouldn't change the list much, other than to add a couple of novels such as Lanier's second Hiero yarn, Piers Anthony's Split Infinity series, and the Disc World books.
I would never add other media forms to a reading list. If someone is interested in comic books and.or graphic novels, they're on their own.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
thedungeondelver said:

Two for you, Gary...

One: laying aside LEJENDARY ADVENTURES for a moment, do you think DANGEROUS JOURNEYS is still a viable system? That is, would you recommend someone check it out?

Two: Assuming AD&D rules, are you of the opinion that a cleric/paladin dual-class (with the necessary stat requirements being met) is permissable?
If one really enjoys great detail in one's character, then the DJ Mythus game is fine. Howeverm I must point out that the work in incomplete, lacks the Faerie Bestiary and the several other RPG genre games that were meant to round out the game;s milieu.

As a point of order, much of the game rules were designed to be modular, so the Journey Master could plug in or unplug such parts as he found suitable for his taste and that of his player group.

Cheers,
Gary
 

rossik

Explorer
Col_Pladoh said:
Howdy,

.... and the Disc World books.


Cheers,
Gary

first, its very good to see you back and well, mr gygax!

second: disc world would be great inspiration, good to know that u like it too ;)
 

Korgoth

First Post
A question for you, Gary:

In B2 Keep on the Borderlands we have examples of humanoid habitation that resemble primitive life: a family/clan dwelling in a cave, complete with 'women and children'. The question of how to handle humanoid women and children still comes up today. What was the rationale for including females and young rather than, say, making humanoids some sort of sui generis products of nightmare, witchery or divine intervention/retribution, like (presumably, at least) a minotaur?
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
rossik said:
first, its very good to see you back and well, mr gygax!

second: disc world would be great inspiration, good to know that u like it too ;)
:D

I even added a great class of magical items to the Lejendary Adventure game's list of "Extraordinary Items," this being called "Footlocker."

:cool:
Gary
 

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