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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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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Jdvn1 said:
Was this too open-ended a question? :uhoh:
Heh, ot was one O noted to get back to but skipped because in my heart I was against writing an essay here :lol:

In a nutshell:

The original games of D&D and AD&D were about imagination, choosing an archetype to use as a vehicle for role-playing adventure, innovative play and PC group cooperation. The sole arbiter of such play was the DM, and rules lawyers were anethma in well-regulated grpups :]

Cheers,
Gary
 

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haakon1

Adventurer
RigaMortus2 said:
I think it would be great if you were a guest on the Colbert Report (since he is a D&D fan).

A consummation devoutly to be wished, to quote the Bard.

Let's make him come to you!
 
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haakon1

Adventurer
dcas said:
Yes, the good Professor (thankfully) left many questions about the breeding of orcs unanswered. Certain characters in the books put forth theories, but we never know whether these theories are their own or those of the narrator! It really adds to the sense of mystery (the movies unfortunately don't have any mystery about them

My friend the Tolkien expert says that somewhere in his letters, Tolkien answered the question about orcs true origins. Alas, I fail to recall what the answer was, but I believe it somehow pointed out that Morgoth was not capable of true original creation (only corruption), but also said the orcs were not corrupted elves. Ah, beats me, other than he answered it somewhere.
 


Korgoth

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
The original games of D&D and AD&D were about imagination, choosing an archetype to use as a vehicle for role-playing adventure, innovative play and PC group cooperation. The sole arbiter of such play was the DM, and rules lawyers were anethma in well-regulated grpups :]

A noble sentiment indeed, and the proper guiding principle of the D&D game. If only it was more popularly accepted.
 

Jdvn1

Hanging in there. Better than the alternative.
Col_Pladoh said:
Heh, ot was one O noted to get back to but skipped because in my heart I was against writing an essay here :lol:
If you do ever get to that essay, let us know! :)
Col_Pladoh said:
In a nutshell:

The original games of D&D and AD&D were about imagination, choosing an archetype to use as a vehicle for role-playing adventure, innovative play and PC group cooperation. The sole arbiter of such play was the DM, and rules lawyers were anethma in well-regulated groups :]
Current D&D, I think, is still a vehicle for role-playing adventure, innovative play, and PC group cooperation. (Though, I have no basis on which to compare any matter of degree) Were rules lawyers nonexistant in OD&D? If so, was this due to fewer or less precise rules, newness of the game, or some other factor?
 


Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Korgoth said:
A noble sentiment indeed, and the proper guiding principle of the D&D game. If only it was more popularly accepted.
There is a simple answer to that. Allow only those willing to accept the concept into your campaign, play only with GMs that hold to that principle. I have no problem doing this myself.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Jdvn1 said:
If you do ever get to that essay, let us know! :)
Current D&D, I think, is still a vehicle for role-playing adventure, innovative play, and PC group cooperation. (Though, I have no basis on which to compare any matter of degree) Were rules lawyers nonexistant in OD&D? If so, was this due to fewer or less precise rules, newness of the game, or some other factor?
Of the more recent versions of the game I have played only 3E. It is rules intensive, removes the "Master" from Dungeon Master, has no archetypes left, encourages the players to compete for dominance, devalued magic items, and substitutes statutes in the rules for innovation.

That's the way I see it.

Cheers,
Gary
 

haakon1

Adventurer
Col_Pladoh said:
Of the more recent versions of the game I have played only 3E. It is rules intensive, removes the "Master" from Dungeon Master, has no archetypes left, encourages the players to compete for dominance, devalued magic items, and substitutes statutes in the rules for innovation.

I agree the 3e/3.5e rules are over elaborate and attempt to be comprehensive, which can push towards disenfranchising the DM. The main disadvantage of this, for me, is not rules lawyering, but that I waste a lot of time looking up rules that I didn't look up in AD&D. It doesn't matter most of the time when I play over email (in fact, some of their complex rules are pretty reasonable once you figure them out), but in person it's tedious in two ways:
- DMs tend to spend a lot for time looking up rules (boring for all concerned)
- Players tend to forget the rules. Trying to do too many things in one round is a constant issue for some players, and as one fellow-player in a live campaign where I am a mere grunt rather than DM said, only low-level play is fun because at medium to high levels, it's about as complicated as doing your taxes. Sadly, the person making the comparison is an accountant, so he knows whereof he speaks. Personally I like doing math in my head, so it doesn't bother me much, but he's sadly right . . . adding 7 factors and doing 1.5 multiplication for Str, don't forget the Bull's Strength and the Bless, yadda yadda.

All that said, players do seem to like the character creation process more, and really enjoy leveling up.

The joy of the game has switched from the joy of action to the joy of "builds". I think AD&D got it closer to right, but I think both games are enjoyable.

That said, if you play it every week, 3/3.5 probably isn't so much like tax forms. The problem for me is, me & my fellow gamers are too old/busy to play that often. With AD&D, we knew the rules we needed from frequent play, and ignored a lot of other rules without thinking it was "bad" to simplify the grapple rolls into just opposed "to hit" rules, say a natch 20 is always double damage, etc.

The solution for us to make 3/3.5e go fast enough to be fun is to stay low level and die a lot when high levels threaten to bog us down! :eek:
 
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Korgoth

First Post
haakon1 said:
The joy of the game has switched from the joy of action to the joy of "builds".

To me, "builds" aren't even D&D. I feel confident saying this in the virtual presence of the game's inventor... D&D is not a game about "builds". That sounds more like Magic: The Piginapoke.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Korgoth said:
To me, "builds" aren't even D&D. I feel confident saying this in the virtual presence of the game's inventor... D&D is not a game about "builds". That sounds more like Magic: The Piginapoke.
Well...

If builds are a part of the game, that part was meant to be insignificant in comparison to the action and adventure with the group.

As an aside, gaining a level on O/AD&D had been exciting since the beginning of the first game in 1972 :cool:

Cheers,
Gary
 

dcas

First Post
FWIW, I've found that creating a character in the Lejendary Adventure game is quite enjoyable because of all the options. It might be worthwhile to have 3e aficionados who like to "build" characters take a look at LA.
 

John Drake

First Post
haakon1 said:
I agree the 3e/3.5e rules are over elaborate and attempt to be comprehensive

Wow, great post! I couldn't agree more, myself being part of a 3.5 campaign currently. For those who retain near encyclpoedic knowledge of said rules it's not so bad but like the rest of his post said, almost everyone else forgets all that "minor" stuff.

haakon1 said:
That said, if you play it every week, 3/3.5 probably isn't so much like tax forms.

Again, right on. And honestly, I do believe that that could be one of the reasons so many people (imho) prefer the older versions of the game: they played it much more and became so familiar with it! I know that is how I feel (played with AD&D 1st & 2nd eds for 14 years), never mind that I just like the rules better, but I'm so much more comfortable with that style. If only my current group felt that way.....
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
dcas said:
FWIW, I've found that creating a character in the Lejendary Adventure game is quite enjoyable because of all the options. It might be worthwhile to have 3e aficionados who like to "build" characters take a look at LA.
Ondeed, and that is the beauty of a skill-bundle based system that also offers a broad range of archetypes for character building, none of which are cookoe-cutter figures. Similarly. there are no comic book super-hero type ones from which to choose. OTOH, one can create just about any reasonable and logical sort of game persona desired with the Lejendary Adventure game system.

Cheers,
Gary
 

BOZ

Creature Cataloguer
Col_Pladoh said:
As an aside, gaining a level on O/AD&D had been exciting since the beginning of the first game in 1972 :cool:

as well it should be! get a new level, get more powerful! that's been a constant through all editions, the main difference being exactly what "more powerful" means.
 

khyron1144

First Post
Another question for you Gary (Again, I hope it isn't something that has been asked before):

In the early version of the Dungeoncraft column in Dragon magazine (might have been around when they got you to start writing the Up on A Soap Box series again or a year or month or two before), the writer of this column suggested that DMs design a setting that can be adventured in rather than a storyline or adventure that might have some good scenery along the way.

What do you think of this aproach to homebrew world design/ campaign creation?


A short answer is good if it looks too essay questionish.


Thanks much. The folks over on WotC's boards are debating the word Gygaxian again.
 
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Joe125

First Post
Gary,

Basic D&D. I was running players through the caves of chaos and one of the PCs turned a Wight. The wight went away down the tunnel to a closed door and the PC cleric pursued. Then he wanted to attack the monster. Should the Wight at this point suddenly fight back, given that it has been approached after having been Turned?

-David.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
BOZ said:
as well it should be! get a new level, get more powerful! that's been a constant through all editions, the main difference being exactly what "more powerful" means.
Well said Boz!

Cheers,
Gary
 

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