log in or register to remove this ad

 

TSR Q&A with Gary Gygax

Status
Not open for further replies.
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
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
khyron1144 said:
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.
Heh,

That is a very good question in my view, and one I will answer as fully as necessary to make my opinion abundantly clear. The fact is that I can do it in short order.

RPGs are games, not stories told by the GM. Stories might develop from play, but setting forth a complex storyline that the characters must needs follow in order to succeed, and suit the hubris of the frustrated novelist cum GM, is right out. RPG campaigns and novels are polar opposits. That should be self evident, Suffice to say that the participants should not be playing scripted characters following the course set forth by the GM's "storyline."

A bit of backstory to ground the players in the setting and give them an idea of what is currently happening is sufficient direction. From there on it must be up to them.

Cheers,
Gary
 

log in or register to remove this ad

khyron1144 said:

Reading that reminded me of how much time has passed since I started this hobby of mine. Also I think is the source of problem over defining what Gygaxian is. From what I remember there were a variety of playing styles then as there were now.

I know one style from hardcore wargamers (PanzerBlitz, 1776, Avalon Hill, SPI, and all that) was that we played all out against each other. The game was fun I knew was playing against opponents that were doing their level best to push me off cemetary ridge, or force their way through my forces at Milita Pass.

This definitely carried over to role-playing games where DM setup killer dungeons. The best DMs followed a unwritten code that with smarts and wits things can be figured out. Although there were times when faced with four levers you just had to roll a d4 and hope for the best.

I am not particularly good at creating puzzles nor enjoy doing so. My own DM style turned toward creating vast vistas for players to explore and make their mark upon. At first I used Greyhawk and then switched to Wilderlands of High Fantasy by Judges Guild (saved me a ton of time in prep work). My wargame roots showed in the end game. My end of campaign plot nearly always involved the players building a castle/town/guild.

Rob Conley
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Joe125 said:
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.
The wight is fleeing to escape the cleric. If it is still fleeing thus and can pass through the door, it will do so. If it can not, then it will turn and attack the cleric.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
robertsconley said:
Reading that reminded me of how much time has passed since I started this hobby of mine. Also I think is the source of problem over defining what Gygaxian is. From what I remember there were a variety of playing styles then as there were now.

I know one style from hardcore wargamers (PanzerBlitz, 1776, Avalon Hill, SPI, and all that) was that we played all out against each other. The game was fun I knew was playing against opponents that were doing their level best to push me off cemetary ridge, or force their way through my forces at Milita Pass.

This definitely carried over to role-playing games where DM setup killer dungeons. The best DMs followed a unwritten code that with smarts and wits things can be figured out. Although there were times when faced with four levers you just had to roll a d4 and hope for the best.

I am not particularly good at creating puzzles nor enjoy doing so. My own DM style turned toward creating vast vistas for players to explore and make their mark upon. At first I used Greyhawk and then switched to Wilderlands of High Fantasy by Judges Guild (saved me a ton of time in prep work). My wargame roots showed in the end game. My end of campaign plot nearly always involved the players building a castle/town/guild.

Rob Conley
:lol:

The whiners claiming my dungeons are "killer" are likely not very clever in theit play. Perhaps they prefer play-acting to thinking and assuming an heroic persona bent on action and adventure.

That all of the dungeons I designed were play-tested, and the play-test groups had a high survival rate gives the lie to assertions to the contrary. The only dungeon I designed to be nearly impossible to defeat was the Tomb of Horrors. Failure to survive the others stems from bad luck, or more probably, bad dungeoneering skills.

Those that complain about real challenges might be better off playing Candyland with their little sister :p

Cheers,
Gary
 

My reference to killer Dungeons was meant in the idea that Dungeon will kill you if you made a mistake. Whether it was unfair, illogical, or unreasonable was a separate issue. I played in plenty of homebrew killer dungeons that were fair (and deadly).

Referring back to four levers and roll a d4, I guess what separated the 'good' killer dungeon from the 'bad' version is whether the DM ran them consistently. Or another way of putting it whether DM stuck with what he written and prepared or did he change things on the fly to 'get' me.

It hard to define and I guess it will alway be one of things that you just know when you experience it whether it was fair or not.

Col_Pladoh said:
:lol:

Those that complain about real challenges might be better off playing Candyland with their little sister :p

Cheers,
Gary

Certainly I grown in maturity over the years (I hope) but to tell the truth but gut instinct is summed up with the above statement ;-) My own wrinkle is that along with the table top I did a lot of live-action roleplaying (NERO).

"When I started, we ran from the goblins, slept in the woods and we LIKED it. And now you are worried about McDonalds and a warm bed. Get you candy butt off the site!. :p
 

Jdvn1

Hanging in there. Better than the alternative.
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.

That's the way I see it.

Cheers,
Gary
I suppose since my experience with OD&D is effectively nonexistant, I'll have to wait for the essay. My games typically don't have competition between players, nor do I feel I'm not the "Master" of my game. :)
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Jdvn1 said:
I suppose since my experience with OD&D is effectively nonexistant, I'll have to wait for the essay. My games typically don't have competition between players, nor do I feel I'm not the "Master" of my game. :)
As I have no particular interest in convoncing any gamer about the superiority of any former version of the D&D game, do not hold your breath awaiting more on that subject.

As for what you have experienced, there are always exceptions. That's what makes for a varied marketplace.

Cheers,
Gary
 

haakon1

Adventurer
Jdvn1 said:
My games typically don't have competition between players

Nor do mine. One of the things I like best about D&D is the comraderie of brothers in arms overcoming tough obstacles through cooperative and inventive derring-do -- or fighting to their last breath, backs to each other, swords to the on-rushing hordes! :]

It's doesn't matter which edition, and I assume it would work for any similar fantasy RPG.

Gary's original idea is the best team game ever, whether you use Australian-rules, Canadian-rules, rugby-rules, or whatever variant you choose. :)
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
haakon1 said:
Nor do mine. One of the things I like best about D&D is the comraderie of brothers in arms overcoming tough obstacles through cooperative and inventive derring-do -- or fighting to their last breath, backs to each other, swords to the on-rushing hordes! :]

It's doesn't matter which edition, and I assume it would work for any similar fantasy RPG.

Gary's original idea is the best team game ever, whether you use Australian-rules, Canadian-rules, rugby-rules, or whatever variant you choose. :)
Hmmm...

What are Epic Level PCs all about?

Cheers,
Gary
 

Storm Raven

First Post
haakon1 said:
Nor do mine.

Mine don't either. In fact, my games exhibit none of the characterstics the Col seems to attribute to 3e, at least not any more so than any other edition of D&D has. I find, for example, that I need to tone down magic items when converting from 1e modules and published adventures from Dragon to 3e, so that they reflect a treasure distribution in line with the 3e "feel"; and I don't see how providing less magic is cheapening magic.

In my experience, it is the players and the DM who dictate things like whether there is player competition for dominance (and in counterpoint to the idea that this developed via 3e, I point to the Col's relatively recent article in Dragon concerning the jeweled man, and how players couldn't catch him because they refused to share information and work together, if that isn't competition for dominance, I'm not sure what is), rule-lawyering, weak DMs and so on, and not the edition. If a player is a rules-lawyering jerk, he will be so regardless of edition. If a DM is too weak to keep control of his own campaign, he will be so regardless of edition. It is a personality thing, not a edition thing.
 

Storm Raven

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
Hmmm...

What are Epic Level PCs all about?

Not being played, mostly.

Seriously, how many D&D players in the current edition play (or have played) campaigns in which epic level PCs were present? I'd wager that the percentage is very small, probably something like 5% or less.
 

Jdvn1

Hanging in there. Better than the alternative.
Col_Pladoh said:
As I have no particular interest in convoncing any gamer about the superiority of any former version of the D&D game, do not hold your breath awaiting more on that subject.
I don't see it as convincing anyone of anything, just as an explanation of what contributed to the 'feel' of older editions.

Though, if you have no interest in such a exposition, I'll have to continue looking for sources for such information. Thanks, though!
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Storm Raven said:
Not being played, mostly.

Seriously, how many D&D players in the current edition play (or have played) campaigns in which epic level PCs were present? I'd wager that the percentage is very small, probably something like 5% or less.
Only WotC can estimate the actual number based on sales of the work, Imperical evidence is useless, as not 5% of the new D&D game audience posts here or on any other website ;)

My statements are based on the the rule books published, the contents of same, ans what I have heard imperically :lol:

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Jdvn1 said:
I don't see it as convincing anyone of anything, just as an explanation of what contributed to the 'feel' of older editions.

Though, if you have no interest in such a exposition, I'll have to continue looking for sources for such information. Thanks, though!
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. In this case playing the original versions of the game, eh?

Cheers,
Gary
 

Jdvn1

Hanging in there. Better than the alternative.
Storm Raven said:
In my experience, it is the players and the DM who dictate things...
And that was my original understanding as well. Thus, my question was a bit abstract, I suppose, in trying to figure out what dictates qualities which are representative of OD&D. Though, I suppose I could gleam that I should avoid qualities like:
Col_Pladoh said:
... 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.
 


Jdvn1

Hanging in there. Better than the alternative.
Col_Pladoh said:
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. In this case playing the original versions of the game, eh?

Cheers,
Gary
Well, I've recently bought some of the early modules (B2, B3, S2, and X1, unless I've gotten my codes mixed up), with the hope that running them and merely converting the rules would convey at least a similar feel to OD&D. Kind of an OD&D compromise is what I'm going for. I just want to make sure that the proper feel is being upheld.
 

Jdvn1

Hanging in there. Better than the alternative.
Col_Pladoh said:
Hmmm...

What are Epic Level PCs all about?

Cheers,
Gary
In my experience (though, apparently, it's not typical), it's about the same sorts of things. But instead of fighting on-rushing hordes, you're fighting epic-sized on-rushing hordes of epicness. ;)

There are just more obstacles, tougher obstacles, more tools to overcome them, and more possibilities for creativity.
 

Heathansson

First Post
Hello, Colonel!
Hope you're feeling better!!!

Just a question that stretches back down the eons to 1e.: why do druids use scimitars?
It just seems curious with the Celtic connection.
 

John Drake

First Post
Jdvn1 said:
In my experience (though, apparently, it's not typical), it's about the same sorts of things. But instead of fighting on-rushing hordes, you're fighting epic-sized on-rushing hordes of epicness. ;)

There are just more obstacles, tougher obstacles, more tools to overcome them, and more possibilities for creativity.

I guess, but I don't really see how making things tougher or have more hit dice or damage creates furhter avenues for creativity. I find PC's at lower levels, limited resources etc to be ample resource for RPG's. Imho, epic for me is the Mentzer Immortal route: exciting, cerebral, and extremely thought provoking, from my experience
 

Status
Not open for further replies.

Halloween Horror For 5E

Advertisement1

Latest threads

Halloween Horror For 5E

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top