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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
Ron said:
Gary,

I was thinking of running a West meet East campaign, something akin to my Portuguese ancestors exploring the orient in the XV-XVI centuries. As such, I just ordered a replacement copy of Oriental Adventures. I know that you were more a supervisor than a designer to that project. Still, I wonder if I will get in trouble mixing characters from both books and if it would hurt much to take out the Oriental Adventures' Non Weapon Proficiencies system?

Best wishes,
Ron
That sounds like a most interesting campaign.

Indeed I was up to my a** in alligators at the time OA was being written, for TSR was in deep financial tropuble then. I assigned Froideval and Cook to the project, and Zeb dumped what I thought was superior material done by Francois in favor of his own work. As we had to get a product into print, OA came out as it did.

If you allow reasonable non-weapons proficiencies for both Occidental and Oriental PCs, I can foresee no problems being likely. You might want to take a look at the general skills I added to the C&C game system to have an inspirational basis in creating a new approach to such addition.

Cheers,
Gary
 

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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Fifth Element said:
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

(You need to imagine a fake spanish accent to get the right feel.)
:lol:

It is of no import to me whatsoever, but I appreciate your light-hearted suggestion.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
To Those It May Concern:

What part of this statement is not understood"

"Now let us drop this subject and move on to something interesting."

:confused:
Gary
 

John Drake

First Post
Hi Gary
Just curious, having just read your reply in regards to OA etc. Now, please forgive my ignorance upon this line of questioning upon which I intend to embark, but as has been mentioned previously:
Col_Pladoh said:
Indeed I was up to my a** in alligators at the time OA was being written, for TSR was in deep financial tropuble then. I assigned Froideval and Cook to the project, and Zeb dumped what I thought was superior material done by Francois in favor of his own work. As we had to get a product into print, OA came out as it did.
Did this also apply to then to UA, (one of my favourites, iirc, it came out in close proximity to OA) in that it was put out quickly in order to generate much needed revenue? I'm only going by things I have read /said by others, so if I'm out of line, I apologise wholeheartedly. Again, sorry if this has been asked of you ad nauseum! :) Thanks and glad you're feeling better.
 

Col Pladoh said:
You might want to take a look at the general skills I added to the C&C game system to have an inspirational basis in creating a new approach to such addition.
...which can be found here. It's a skill bundle approach, similar to that in Lejendary Adventure. I'd prefer that over the NWP system from AD&D.

Col Pladoh said:
What part of this statement is not understood"

"Now let us drop this subject and move on to something interesting."
Dropping a debate is anathema to lawyers. :D :p
 

T. Foster

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
Actually there was little contact between TSR staff and the JG pep[;e/They sent prosepective mss. to TSR, and someone at the company suposedly read them and gave an okay or asked for revisions. That operation was generally the purview of Brian Blume.

Cheers,
Gary
I thought Judges Guild's biggest acknowledged contribution to D&D was (inadvertently?) helping TSR to realize that there were people out there who didn't want to create their own adventures and would happily pay good money for "someone else's dungeon" (i.e. modules). This is what Steve Marsh says, at least.
 

nyrfherdr

First Post
Gary,
I guess I do have a question.

In the kindling pile by the fireplace is hidden a magical wand of fire.
If the characters start a fire and throw the wand in, what happens?

Game ON!
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
John Drake said:
...

Did this also apply to then to UA, (one of my favourites, iirc, it came out in close proximity to OA) in that it was put out quickly in order to generate much needed revenue? I'm only going by things I have read /said by others, so if I'm out of line, I apologise wholeheartedly. Again, sorry if this has been asked of you ad nauseum! :) Thanks and glad you're feeling better.
Howdy,

It does indeed apply to the UA book. I was writing essays for Dragon magazine to both preview my new ideas and prerpare for a revised edition of the AD&D game. I was alerted to a problem, Kevin Blume shopping TSR on the street in NYC, flew back from the West Coast, and discovered:

The corporation was in debt to the bank the tune of c. $1,5 million.

There seemed to be no way to repay the money based on current inventory and sales.

The bank was preparing to perfect its security interests/

So, I had a big fight, and then a Herculean task, before me. To cut to the chase, when I got matters in hand, I saw to the compilation of my magazine material with other work I had that had not been published, so that UA came into being. Of course during that time I was working on company business matters most of the time, so U had a number of very long days before things began to show that the rurn-around I planned was working.

At that point I was stabbed in the back by Lorraine Williams :\

Cheers,
Gary
 



Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
T. Foster said:
I thought Judges Guild's biggest acknowledged contribution to D&D was (inadvertently?) helping TSR to realize that there were people out there who didn't want to create their own adventures and would happily pay good money for "someone else's dungeon" (i.e. modules). This is what Steve Marsh says, at least.
Steve is a fine fellow, and he is spot on in regards caslling our attention to the fact that the consumers wanted pre-pacjeged adventure material beyond the stuff I had done--the random dungeons et al.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
nyrfherdr said:
Gary,
I guess I do have a question.

In the kindling pile by the fireplace is hidden a magical wand of fire.
If the characters start a fire and throw the wand in, what happens?

Game ON!
Sure thing!

The item remains unscathed. A magical instrument of its type will not be affected by normal fire ;)

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
MerricB said:
G'day, Gary!

Did you ever play the Talisman board game?

Cheers!
Ho Merric,

Sadly I have not. I should see if Tom Wham has a copy, so we could play it on one os son Ernie's boardgame get-togethers that occur most Monday afternoons.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Jdvn1

Hanging in there. Better than the alternative.
To John Drake:
[sblock=Aside]
John Drake said:
Hmmm, very well put. Y'know, I guess in my experience, I've had very few good ones with "epic" level stuff, so I suppose that is why I have the POV I do. I do find it rare, however, that a DM has run a decent game on large levels. In one specific instance, I knew for a fact that the DM just wanted to be able to use big massive monsters, just to check out their crazy abilities! Now, that is all fine and good, but with no proper story (imho) to tie it together, even a half decent premise to warrant such encounters, made it boring imho. But yes, if the DM uses their brain, any level of adventure can be satisfying, as you eloquently state.
Thanks.

I feel I was lucky to have some very good (and some diverse) GMs when I learned how to play D&D (and they, in turn, also got experience from very good GMs).

Apparently, my experience is atypical, but I've been in good epic games and a good deity game (which was mostly story-driven... the balance of deities from Deities & Demigods made combat near-impossible. I think he wanted to use the game to flesh out his pantheon). Upper level games are more difficult to run, I think, which is why it's rare to find a good epic game--it requires... let's say a particular sort of DM.

And I would argue that those with poor experiences of 3.x didn't have the right sort of DM. I'm trying to avoid saying "bad" because it's not necessarily true. I'm more apt to believe that different games require a different mindset, so running a different game would either require a different person or a very flexible person. I think flexibility is a mark of a good DM, but that's not necessarily so.

On that train of thought, that might explain why 3e has a different feel to earlier versions of the game, and that makes it too abstract to explain fully, and makes it impossible to reconcile the differences.

Anyway, that's enough of a thread-jack. This discussion is probably better fitting elsewhere, anyway. I appreciate Gary's taking the time to consider my question.
[/sblock]
 

Fifth Element

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
What part of this statement is not understood"

"Now let us drop this subject and move on to something interesting."

This presumes that everyone agrees the subject is not interesting, which is not the case. You're quite welcome to say "I don't wish to answer any more questions on this topic", but you could do it without the dismissiveness.

One thing I've always wondered about was the proper use of the "Armor Class Adjustment" numbers for weapons on p.38 of the 1E PHB. I don't have my DMG handy and I don't see any clues in the PHB. (We never actually used these in-game.) As I see it, different weapons get different "to hit" bonuses against different ACs. Why was this based on AC (which can be arrived at by different combinations of armour, shield, Dex and magic) rather than armour type?
 

Ron

Explorer
Col_Pladoh said:
That sounds like a most interesting campaign.

I agree. I am glad you liked the concept too.

Col_Pladoh said:
[...]
If you allow reasonable non-weapons proficiencies for both Occidental and Oriental PCs, I can foresee no problems being likely. You might want to take a look at the general skills I added to the C&C game system to have an inspirational basis in creating a new approach to such addition.

Cheers,
Gary

I was thinking about taking out the NWP system and I was wondering if this move wouldn't hurt the balance of the Oriental Adventures characters. However, I downloaded your C&C file and, although I only quickly read it, sounds pretty good. The multiclassing rule is clearly superior to the one found in AD&D and the skill bundles looks like a better system than the NWP from late AD&D. Is that a new design or something you were considering to your second edition AD&D?

Anyway, thanks for the comments.
Ron
 

Hypersmurf

Moderatarrrrh...
Fifth Element said:
This presumes that everyone agrees the subject is not interesting, which is not the case.

This thread has a singular purpose - Q&A With Gary. If people wish to discuss a topic that arises here among themselves, that discussion should continue in a separate thread; it is no longer a part of Q&A With Gary, and thus no longer belongs in this thread.

(If people wish to discuss what belongs in the Q&A With Gary thread, that's also a discussion for a separate thread, which would belong in the Meta Forum.)

Please let this thread fulfil its purpose.

-Hyp.
(Moderator)
 


Korgoth

First Post
Geoffrey said:
Gary, I have been remiss in my standing as a Scotsman. Though I'm 36 years old, I'm innocent of the ways of Scotch. Can you recommend a good (and not too pricey) bottle of Scotch?

I'm guessing not, but I'll bet he could recommend a good Scotch whisky. ;)
 

haakon1

Adventurer
Storm Raven said:
Sure, they've branched out. But at its core, the comic focuses on Hackmaster - and from reading the strips, that game appears primarily to be a satirized version of older editions of AD&D. It isn't exact, of course, and many things have been exaggerated for humor value, but it is still recognizably 1e AD&D/OD&D to large extent.

Only 'cause AD&D is the best. ;)

Storm Raven said:
Also, it seems to me that the owner of Hard 8 games isn't named "Gary Jackson" by accident.

True, but the "Jackson" isn't an accident either -- Steve Jackson Games of GURPS fame, I always assumed. But there can be no denying "Garweeze Wurld", or whatever they call it, is Greyhawk, if only from the name.
 

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