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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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Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Re: Gord the Rogue

Hi Gary! :)

Col_Pladoh said:
hirning in here, I just want to say thanks for those very kind words abut the series.

Just telling it like it is big guy...now get whoevers concerned to pull their finger out and get those graphic novel interpretations released. :p

Col_Pladoh said:
I wrote it as fantasy thet reflected the AD&D game in feel and scope of action. I suppose it's obvious I like action in my stories and games too :eek:

The series kind of paralleled our own AD&D game at the time...lets just say we also took things a bit beyond 20th-level and leave it at that. ;)

Col_Pladoh said:
Anyway, it is great to read that you enjoyed the plot twists. SOme of them sort of wrote themselves, as the characters took over and began to direct things outside the planned story outtline I had scripted for them. Funny thing about that is it really happens.

Graz'zts big mistake is an all time favourite and is accompanied by one of my favourite lines:

"IT IS A DAY TO SLAY OR BE SLAIN!"

Love him or hate him, old six-digits is quite a character. :D
 

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Upper_Krust

Adventurer

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Hadit said:
Hello Gary!
Hope your holidays were joyous!

Howdy, and thanks. We had a great holiday with most of the family in for Christmas.

Have a question for you concerning ancient Egypt (from another thread that tweaked my interest): How was the court of the Pharoah arranged? I assume that it could be considered a theocracy... but what were the titles held by subordinates and did they have actual control over fiefdoms around the Nile valley or further? Or was the Pharoah strictly top dog?
I ask this of you because I assumed that much study went into the writing of Necropolis, and I thought you may have run across information pertaining to this.

Pharoah was absolute ruler, a living god. The various districts of Egypt were ruled by governors, but they were generally absloutely under the thumb of the king. The military was absolutely loyal too.

I do not have an organizational chart of the governemnt under the pharoah--the palace officials, priests, governors, overseers, and scribes. In all my reading I never came across anything resembling a treatment of this. Sorry.
Thank you dear sir!
Duglas K[/B][/QUOTE]

(Oh... I just thought of one more question that got missed earlier... was the Elder Elemnetal Eye worshipped by Eclavdra and her minions an avatar of Tharizdun?)

No, the Elder Elemental God I envisaged as an entity of vaguely Chronos-like sort, a deity of great power but of chaotic sort, and not always highly clever in thought and action. Big T on the other hand is the epitome of pure, reasoning and scheming evil.

Eclavrdra, being more of the mold of Tharizdun, would prefer to have as "master" a powerful deity she might hope to influence, thus the EEG.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Son_of_Thunder

Explorer
Just a few questions

Howdy Gary,

A few questions if you please. I haven't been able to find out if there are other races besides humans in your Legendary Adventures game. Are there? And secondly, what do you think of the recently published 'Book of Vile Darkness'? Do you think it needed to be made?

Thanks for your time.

Son of Thunder
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Re: Just a few questions

Son_of_Thunder said:
Howdy Gary,

A few questions if you please. I haven't been able to find out if there are other races besides humans in your Legendary Adventures game. Are there? And secondly, what do you think of the recently published 'Book of Vile Darkness'? Do you think it needed to be made?

Thanks for your time.

Son of Thunder

Hi:)

There are a lot of Avatar races to play in the LA game, none of which are exactly parallet to other systems', 3E included.

Dwarfs--about like standard RPG ones, with a few differences.
Gnomes--ditto.
Ilfs--a sort of rustic elf race.
Kobolds--the most potent non-human race for sure.
Oafs--large and strong, none-too-bright humanoids
Oafs, major--ditto.
Orcs, greater--more human-like, semi-neandrathal types.
Orcs--ditto.
Orcs, lesses--ditto.
Trollkin--annoying and shifty little anti-dwarfs, perhaps...
Veshoges--the Ferengi of the system.
Wylfs, grotto--wild, subterraneal elf types.
Wylfs, thicker--ditton, only woodsy sorts.

Plenty of different race roles to play, and some great roleplay opportunities in the mix;)

Thankfully what I feared with the publication of the BOOK OF VILE DARKNESS has not happened. The opponents of D&D and RPGs in general did not jump on it and make it into a weapon in their arsenal. Thus my reservations have been allayed.

It seems more of a "hype" product that anything else, but that's not much of a knock. It it is selling well, then it is a work that the consumers wanted, if for nothing else the rebellious "shock" value.

Given WotC's continual assertion that the 3E game is about heroes adventuring against Evil, one might question its addition to the line, of course. From my perspective, though, one must have dark villians to oppose the bright heroes, so for those who are in need of assistance in developing the malign and evil to be fought against, the BOOK OF VILE DARKNESS should be of use.

Cheers,
Gary
 



Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
ColonelHardisson said:
Gary, what mythology is Demogorgon from? I know I've seen him somewhere, but I can't recall where.

It was the Greeks, in their mythology, who had Demogorgon originally. He was held as the elemental force of earth that which made plants grow, and was thus depicted as an old man covered with moss. Medieval writers demonized him into a terrible ruler of the underworld--a much more colorful depiction for use in a FRPG :eek:

Cheers,
Gary
 

Paul_Klein

First Post
Gary, I have another question for ya:

What does your "average" work-day look like? Do you typically write for 8 hours? How many projects do you typically work on at the same time? Do you ever get burned out doing so much writing? ;)

Thanks!
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Paul_Klein said:
Gary, I have another question for ya:

What does your "average" work-day look like? Do you typically write for 8 hours? How many projects do you typically work on at the same time? Do you ever get burned out doing so much writing? ;)

Thanks!

I get to the computer sometime between 6 and 7 AM on an average day, stay here most of the time thereafter until 6 or 7 PM, seven days per except during football season and in find summer weather.

Email and board postings take up anywhere from an hour to three a day. When I am on a hot creative project I keep it to an hour, thet grudgingly given.

I work on two or three projects at a time, usually, although one will be center stage, the others in the wings--given only slight attention while thr main one is being completed in rough draft.

Indeed, I get burnout. Usually a migraine headache will be the result. That means I am forced to take a day or two off, sleep, rest, watch the tube. Sadly I can't read much when a migraine headache is hanging in.

In summer when I feel a lack of enthusiasm for creative work, no ideas are hammering at my brain seeking to be let out, I sit on the front porch, listen to the birds, read books of fact or fiction, or in the evening watch the fireflys and listen to the crickets, sipping minted and lemoned iced tea or maybe enjoy a gin and tonic. That usually gets me back on track in a day or three.

Actually playing a different sort of game, RPG or boardgame, will often spur me to want to be creative, if outside of the realms of fantasy. No matter, as the energy can then be channeled.

If things are really slow in the creative thinking department, then it's time for a holiday. Speaking of which, I could use one somewhere warm, sunny, and flower-fulled :D

Cheers,
Gary
 

Flexor the Mighty!

18/100 Strength!
Hey there Gary I've got a question for you.

What parts of 1e did you house rule when you still played it? I read in an old issue of Dragon that you used a different hand to hand combat system. Was it the same one that was published in Dragon? Any other changes?
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Flexor the Mighty! said:
Hey there Gary I've got a question for you.

What parts of 1e did you house rule when you still played it? I read in an old issue of Dragon that you used a different hand to hand combat system. Was it the same one that was published in Dragon? Any other changes?

Whoa, and I have to think hard about those questions. Generally, I just DMed on the fly, so to speak, and didn't use the rules books except for random encounters, monster stats, and treasure.

when hand-to-hand fighting occurred I usually did that seat-of-the-pants rules--asking what the character was doing and deciding on the chance for success based on the circumstances.

I did not use psionics, generally ignored weapons vs. armor type and weapon speed.

When an opponent was helpless I always allowed an immediate kill if of lower level; otherwise a successful hit killed, a "miss" doing double damage anyway.

That's about all I can think of ;)

Cheers,
Gary
 



BronzeDragon

Explorer
Well, this has probably been asked before, but the prospect of wading through almost 700 posts to find the answer is, shall I say, not very entertaining...

What product do you rank as your WORST?

I always hear people ask to writers what they think is their best product, and it starts to get old pretty fast. I always wanted to know which piece the authors really wanted to be able to erase their names from.

Let me establish only one condition for the answer : the product must have been printed.

Thanks in advance...
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
BronzeDragon said:
Well, this has probably been asked before, but the prospect of wading through almost 700 posts to find the answer is, shall I say, not very entertaining...

What product do you rank as your WORST?

[snip]

Thanks in advance...

To be asked this is uique, actually. I would rank my "The Gnome Cache" story--thankfully never completed in DRAGON Magazine--as one that needed to be re-written.

Much flak has been generated about CYBORG COMMANDO, and I write very little of it, but the portion that was published needed reworking and more play-testing, plus the addition of the two other parts of the whole game.

Otherwise, I am generally happy with my published work, as is proper for an author. If one doesn't like something, it should not be sent to a publisher :rolleyes:

Cheers,
Gary
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
...or it shows how desperate you were at the time, Gary?

(Flicks through Tomb of Horrors... "Call that a trap? Huh! If it can't even kill Robilar, it's not worth putting in..." ;))

Gary, is there a type of product you enjoy writing the most? (Novel, adventure, rules supplement, core rulebook, book of advice, etc.)

And going back to one of those dark memories from oAD&D, might I trouble you about the assassin?

It's one of those things that I've always seen debate on amongst 1E people: does the assassination ability work against any old monster/opponent the assassin happens to surprise in a dungeon or elsewhere, or is it only usable against the poor innocent soul that the assassin has been hired to kill?

Or is it somewhere in between? Something that requires planning, or something that can be done on the spur of the moment?

Cheers!
 
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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
MerricB said:
...or it shows how desperate you were at the time, Gary?

Desperate? No, just very much immersed in writing the Gord the Rogue novels. New Infinities needed the sales income from them, of course, and they sold very well, so I was constrained in what I created.

(Flicks through Tomb of Horrors... "Call that a trap? Huh! If it can't even kill Robilar, it's not worth putting in..." ;))

Gary, is there a type of product you enjoy writing the most? (Novel, adventure, rules supplement, core rulebook, book of advice, etc.)

Noppers! More of a mood and inspiration thing...although modules are not usually on top of my favorite s list, because designing a new and entertaining one is very demanding. The last one I did, HALL OF MANY PANES, took about six months to complete.

And going back to one of those dark memories from oAD&D, might I trouble you about the assassin?

It's one of those things that I've always seen debate on amongst 1E people: does the assassination ability work against any old monster/opponent the assassin happens to surprise in a dungeon or elsewhere, or is it only usable against the poor innocent soul that the assassin has been hired to kill?

Or is it somewhere in between? Something that requires planning, or something that can be done on the spur of the moment?

Cheers!

As you suggest in closing, the assassin character was meant to have some limitation, the need for planning the kill. Of course, a totally unexpecting victim seen and assessed needs little in the way of thought and preparation...

Cheers, Merric,
Gary
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Col_Pladoh said:
Desperate? No, just very much immersed in writing the Gord the Rogue novels. New Infinities needed the sales income from them, of course, and they sold very well, so I was constrained in what I created.

What a pity. Having to create material that sold well. :)

I've always greatly valued the Gord books as an insight as to the types of adventures that entertain you, Gary - there's also a certain inspiration from reading a novel that I don't get from reading a module, and I'm very glad that the Gord books were written.

Cheers!
 


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