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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
haakon1 said:
Hey Gary, here's a question I don't remember anyone asking yet: what's you're favorite movie?

And in case it's not an obviously D&Dish movie, do you have a favorite in the swords & sorcery genre?
Picking a favorite film is quite an impossoible task for me. I can give you a list of some of the flicks I always enjoy watching though :cool:

In no particular order:

Harry Potter films
The Rings Trilogy
The Deep
Zulu
Emperor of the North Pole
King Kong (1938 version only)
Godfather Trilogy
Enter the Dragon
Flesh and Blood
Dances with Wolves
Zardoz
Alien (first film only)
The Thing (original version only)

There are some others than don't spring to mind now, but the above are a good sampling of the films I really enjoy

Cheerio,
Gary
 

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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
gideon_thorne said:
*chuckles* You and my dad. I can't even count how many times I have seen Zulu and Zulu Dawn. He's got to dig em both out any time anyone new comes over. ^_~`
Gail finds other amusement when I watch most of those flicks...

Zulu is near the very top of my list, and I think it more entertaining than Zulu Dawn.

Good old Jeff Perren has a 30mm scale model of Roarke's Drift, the Zuku warrior and British infantry figurines inthe same scale. What a fun recreation to play!

Cheers,
Gary
 

gideon_thorne

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
Good old Jeff Perren has a 30mm scale model of Roarke's Drift, the Zuku warrior and British infantry figurines inthe same scale. What a fun recreation to play!

Cheers,
Gary


Now that would be interesting to look at. My dad and I used to make such things back in the day as well.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Sir Elton said:
Well, Gary, I downloaded the Menzter Red Box a while ago, and somebody gave me a copy of the (O)D&D cyclopedia. You can't get as simple as that. Well, except maybe the Blue and White books. ;)

I've read somewhere to do simple D&D with your kids. At least, that's a quote on what you said. So, I stashed said products on one of my CDs and hope to introduce them to my offspring when they come of age (around 8 to 10, maybe I should expose them to He-Man cartoons first; that's what really got me connected to D&D).
Actually, if your kinder enjoy fantasy...and most children do...you can make up a simple game using just a couple of different kinds of dice and some plastif figures. Story adventures where they are the heroes, have aarmor that absorbs most hit damage, deal out fell blows with their weeapons, perhaps gain some simple magic items allowing invisibility, magic missiles, etc. are a good way to start off with children of around 5 to 7 years of age.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
RedFox said:
Wow. I'm new here, so forgive me if this has been asked before. I think it's incredibly cool of you to field questions like this though. Thank you!

I'm a new-time DM, having just run his first two game sessions of D&D. I came into the hobby with AD&D 1st Edition, but never got to play back-when (just got to oggle the books), and re-entered the hobby with actual play in the mid-90's with White Wolf stuff. So I'm not very experienced with D&D, which has a much different play-style than other RPGs I'm used to.

Do you have any advice for a newbie DM such as myself?
That's a difficult thing to do succinctly, but here are some salient tings a GM must do to have a successful campaign:

Pay attention to what the player group finds most interesting, and provide adventures that reflect this preference.

Do not let the rules get in the way of play; be the arbiter of the game so that the adventure continues on without unnecessary interruptions, and the immersion of the players in the milieu remains complete.

Do not make the group face impossible challenges, and keep the rewards as reasonable as possible (that is modest), so that there is always someting more to seek after.

Well developed villains are usually very compelling to players, and the longer these antagonists remain alive and thwarting the PCs, the more exciting the adventures.

Mix up the adventure settings so that play is not always in the same dort of place. A town adventure leads to a wilderness trek, that brings the party to a subterranian setting for example. From there they might have a waterborne or earial mission.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
gideon_thorne said:
Now that would be interesting to look at. My dad and I used to make such things back in the day as well.
If you have retained any of such gaming sets, by all means bring same to the LGGC, and you, Mick, and I can round up a fourth and have at it!

Cheers,
Gary
 


RedFox

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
That's a difficult thing to do succinctly, but here are some salient tings a GM must do to have a successful campaign:

Thank you. That's good, solid advice. I've heard or read pretty much all of that before but that makes it no less useful. :)
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
rossik said:
like what, mr gygax?
Potions and scrolls as appropriate, those mainly of the healing sort. When magic items of greater value are in order, keep them low initially, and only as the PCs eise in level should the power of such objects rise--say at 4th level, 8th level, 12th level, etc.

Watch out giving potent magic items to NPCs and monsters to use, for the PCs usually end up with them.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
RedFox said:
Thank you. That's good, solid advice. I've heard or read pretty much all of that before but that makes it no less useful. :)
Heh...

See also above.

Anyway, as Soloman said, "There is nothing new under the sun."

Cheers,
Gary
 

gideon_thorne

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
If you have retained any of such gaming sets, by all means bring same to the LGGC, and you, Mick, and I can round up a fourth and have at it!

Cheers,
Gary


I surely wish I did. But that was a long time ago and in a galaxy far away. But hey, there is always tiddlywinks. ^_^
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
gideon_thorne said:
I surely wish I did. But that was a long time ago and in a galaxy far away. But hey, there is always tiddlywinks. ^_^
Blast!

As one who as lost far too many games and accessories over the years, I can not fault you. For example all of my WW II HO scale US men and vehicles, including a number of conversionsm are lost as are the earlier 54 mm figurines and vehicles--two M4 Shermans, an M5 Stewart, and a White half-track with a quad .50 caliber AA gun mounted in the back. Then there is the 40mm scale medieval peasants cottage and barn I scratch build, adding a commercial coivered well, apple and what looked like an oak tree to the boards to which I had them affixed.

Cheers,
Gary
 

gideon_thorne

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
Blast!

As one who as lost far too many games and accessories over the years, I can not fault you. For example all of my WW II HO scale US men and vehicles, including a number of conversionsm are lost as are the earlier 54 mm figurines and vehicles--two M4 Shermans, an M5 Stewart, and a White half-track with a quad .50 caliber AA gun mounted in the back. Then there is the 40mm scale medieval peasants cottage and barn I scratch build, adding a commercial coivered well, apple and what looked like an oak tree to the boards to which I had them affixed.

Cheers,
Gary


Well, what we used to do was buy those HO scale plastic WW II miniatures and build a diorama. When we got tired of one, we would break that one down, reuse the mesh and various bits and bobs, mix up some new paper mache, sand, et al and build a new set up.

We also used to assemble castles out of old cardboard boxes. Great for those ral partha mini's. ^_^
 

haakon1

Adventurer
Col_Pladoh said:

Zulu is what popped for me from this list. Great movie, and great gaming scenario.

I've been told the best scenario I ever DM'd was a counterattack on the Keep on the Borderlands by the denizens of the Caves of Chaos. An epic battle ~160 rounds long, which ended in the great hall of the Keep'd donjon (as I redrew the Keep), with the last few zombies and skeletons pushing back burning tables barricading the bashed down remains of the great doors. Wow, was that fun.

And of course, the Helms Deep battle is my favorite part of the LOTR movies.

I guess the original movie version of such tales might be Gunga Din or Fort Apache in the 1930s, but Zulu did it oh so well.

Hmmm, half the movies listed are great fun, whereas half I've never seen, and some I've never even heard of. Zardoz, eh? I fought alongside a PC with that name once. We got TPK'd. :D
 


tx7321

First Post
Dear Gary,

Do you recall how you had intended the assassination to work for an assassin? Did you intend the rules to say that the assassin always hits (as long as surprise is won), and that normal damage is taken even if the assassination attempt fails? Or did you mean to say the assassin must hit by rolling before he could attempt to assassinate?

Also, when an assassin wins surprise, does he only get 1 segment of surprise to attempt to assassinate, or all the segments he wins (ex. an assassin wins 3 segs. of surprise on a target, would he get only 1 of those 3 to attempt to assassinate, and attack normally for the other 2, get only 1 attack for that sequence of surprises, or something different).

Also, can an assassination be conducted using a missile attack (as long as the assassin wins surprise)?

I have read some who claim that the assassination attempt was meant to be a "plan" handed to the DM that is rolled for (as long as the plan is sound). A single role that shows if the overall plan worked (ex. the plan to hide above in a tree that overhangs a road, as a passing nobel rides by, drop down from above attacking with a dagger to assassinate. This would be considered a single assassination attempt, rather then a role to climb, a role to HIS, a role to see if the nobel happens to be on the wrong side of the road etc.).

Thanks for taking the time to answer such questions. Keep well!
:) Tx7321
 
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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
gideon_thorne said:
Well, what we used to do was buy those HO scale plastic WW II miniatures and build a diorama. When we got tired of one, we would break that one down, reuse the mesh and various bits and bobs, mix up some new paper mache, sand, et al and build a new set up.

We also used to assemble castles out of old cardboard boxes. Great for those ral partha mini's. ^_^
Speaking of scale models...

In the rear garden of the old Gargoyle, Royal Steak House, owned by one Paul Junker, there were three miniature castles built of actual stone blocks. They were perfect, about HO scale, maybe a bit larger, as they stood about three feet high.

When Junker died Leo Bischoff acquired the place, and as the garden was rather neglected, he refurbished it, took out the castles. I was sick when I discovered that, as they were just trashed, I would gladly have taken then down and salvaged these beauties :\

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
haakon1 said:
Zulu is what popped for me from this list. Great movie, and great gaming scenario.

I've been told the best scenario I ever DM'd was a counterattack on the Keep on the Borderlands by the denizens of the Caves of Chaos. An epic battle ~160 rounds long, which ended in the great hall of the Keep'd donjon (as I redrew the Keep), with the last few zombies and skeletons pushing back burning tables barricading the bashed down remains of the great doors. Wow, was that fun.

And of course, the Helms Deep battle is my favorite part of the LOTR movies.

I guess the original movie version of such tales might be Gunga Din or Fort Apache in the 1930s, but Zulu did it oh so well.

Hmmm, half the movies listed are great fun, whereas half I've never seen, and some I've never even heard of. Zardoz, eh? I fought alongside a PC with that name once. We got TPK'd. :D
Zardoz was not a widely liked film despite it having Sean Connery as the lead. It is a post-apocalyptic SF work.

Add to the list of my favorites:

Seven Samurai
Ten Little Indians (b&w)

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Kevin Mayle said:
Hi Gary, Do you recall what Dave Sutherland based the demon idol statue on the cover of the original Player's Handbook on?
The illustration to which you refer was done by Dave Trampier, one of my favorite artists.

Tramp had a most fertile imagination, and I suspect the inspiration for the idol was a Baal idol of the Carthaginians or other Phonecians.

Cheers,
Gary
 

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