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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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JamesM said:
Ah, so there was a plan to map and detail the rest of Oerth as well? That might well explain my dim recollection of hearing of "Oriental" lands for the World of Greyhawk setting around the time that Oriental Adventures was being published. When said book was released, I was surprised that the setting information included within it seemed to be self-contained and without any connection to Oerth or indeed any other fantasy setting.

'Tis a pity you were never afforded the opportunity to produce more material to flesh out Oerth fully.

That does remind me that there was an "Endless Quest" book that came out in the mid-80s that was set in Nippon/Nippon Dominion. Gary, was Nippon/Nippon Dominion your creation, and what was the difference between the two?
 

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Geoffrey

First Post
Gary, how much (if any) input did you have on the 1981 Basic (edited by Tom Moldvay) and Expert (edited by David Cook with Steve Marsh) D&D rulebooks?

Were you pleased with these 1981 rulebooks, or do you think they lack some of the "magic" of the earlier rulebooks?

Whose idea was it to publish these books, thus replacing the older D&D Basic rulebook edited by Dr. Holmes?
 

haakon1

Adventurer
Old School Bard

Hi Gary -- I'm wondering about "old school" bards, the kind described in the Appendix of the AD&D PHB, where you had to progress through thief and fighter levels before beginning as a bard. Have you seen anyone develop a character in that fashion?

I always thought it would be interesting, but I never saw anyone do it.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
JamesM said:
Ah, so there was a plan to map and detail the rest of Oerth as well? That might well explain my dim recollection of hearing of "Oriental" lands for the World of Greyhawk setting around the time that Oriental Adventures was being published. When said book was released, I was surprised that the setting information included within it seemed to be self-contained and without any connection to Oerth or indeed any other fantasy setting.

'Tis a pity you were never afforded the opportunity to produce more material to flesh out Oerth fully.
Yes indeed, and I planned to invite Len Lakofka and Francois Froideval to assist me in the design of the whole planet Oerth. Zeb Cook tossed out Francois' OA material in favor of his own, IMO quite inferior, material. Sadly, I was too invoved in saving TSR from bancruptcy at the time to correct that ill-advised decision, so there was indeed no link to the WoG setting.

There were a whole slew of AD&D projects I planned, including the revised edition. Such is life :\

Cheerio,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Prince of Happiness said:
That does remind me that there was an "Endless Quest" book that came out in the mid-80s that was set in Nippon/Nippon Dominion. Gary, was Nippon/Nippon Dominion your creation, and what was the difference between the two?
Actually, I had nothing to do with the EQ books, those were iverseen by Kevin Blume.

I do know that he prdered huge reprint runs about the time the line was going into steep decline, so that there were millions of unsold copies of the series in the TSR warehouse that had to be duped for scrap paper prices.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Valiant said:
Dear Gary,

What was/is your all time favorite AD&D Module?
:lol:

The one that I was playing and the group were having a lot of fun with at the time. That includes modules that I did not write.

For me picking favorites is rather like deciding which child is your favorite.

I did enjoy DMing the G series a lot and the T1 and environs modules.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Reynard said:
I feel kind of wierd doing this, Gary, but I was hoping you might give me your opinion on this essay I wrote.

Much appreciated.
A well written piece, although I am not so sure I can agree with your assessment of the roles of Game Master and player. The GM's "power" comes only if he properly entertains the player group, and conversely the player group must likewise entertain the GM for that role to be continued at all. That means there must be a great deal of camaradery between all participants.

Cheers,
Gary
 

JRR_Talking

First Post
Hi Gary

Apologies for any insult you, and others, make take from this but, as we all eventually hit -10 hp, do you intend to have anything RPG related on your headstone?

Myself i was thinking, and inspired by Spike Milligan, to have something like "I told you it was trapped'" on mine?

Regards, and long life.

John
 
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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Geoffrey said:
Gary, how much (if any) input did you have on the 1981 Basic (edited by Tom Moldvay) and Expert (edited by David Cook with Steve Marsh) D&D rulebooks?

Were you pleased with these 1981 rulebooks, or do you think they lack some of the "magic" of the earlier rulebooks?

Whose idea was it to publish these books, thus replacing the older D&D Basic rulebook edited by Dr. Holmes?
The direction of the D&D game versions noted was that of Brian and KEvin Blume.

That I did not particularly like it was evident by my placing Frank Mentzer over the D&D line thereafter. Count on Cook doing whatever he wished when you see his name on smething, and Schick was much the same.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
haakon1 said:
Hi Gary -- I'm wondering about "old school" bards, the kind described in the Appendix of the AD&D PHB, where you had to progress through thief and fighter levels before beginning as a bard. Have you seen anyone develop a character in that fashion?

I always thought it would be interesting, but I never saw anyone do it.
Yes, one player for certain managed that progression in my campaign group. It was too slow a process in all, for the player was too long denied playing the sort of PC actually desired.

Cheers,
Gary
 

JamesM

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
Yes indeed, and I planned to invite Len Lakofka and Francois Froideval to assist me in the design of the whole planet Oerth. Zeb Cook tossed out Francois' OA material in favor of his own, IMO quite inferior, material. Sadly, I was too invoved in saving TSR from bancruptcy at the time to correct that ill-advised decision, so there was indeed no link to the WoG setting.

That's a shame. To this day, I look back on those forgotten Oriental lands of Oerth as one of the great mysteries of gaming. I recall reading that, back in the day, players in your Greyhawk campaign occasionally visited Far Eastern lands and wondered if they had any peculiarities of their own or were based strongly on real world Asian lands.

There were a whole slew of AD&D projects I planned, including the revised edition. Such is life :\

I take it that Unearthed Arcana, as published, was not in fact a preview of what you had in mind for the revision? I remember reading an old "From the Sorceror's [sic] Scroll" column where you talked generally about your plans for a revision of the rules and Unearthed Arcana seemed to have some connection to them. I'd have loved to have seen the Savant and Mountebank classes; they both sounded like excellent additions to the game.
 

Geoffrey

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
The direction of the D&D game versions noted was that of Brian and Kevin Blume.

That I did not particularly like it was evident by my placing Frank Mentzer over the D&D line thereafter. Count on Cook doing whatever he wished when you see his name on something, and Schick was much the same.

Cheerio,
Gary

Thanks, Gary! No wonder your name is conspicuously absent from the 1981 D&D Basic's and Expert's credits and acknowledgements.
 

Reynard

Legend
Col_Pladoh said:
A well written piece, although I am not so sure I can agree with your assessment of the roles of Game Master and player. The GM's "power" comes only if he properly entertains the player group, and conversely the player group must likewise entertain the GM for that role to be continued at all. That means there must be a great deal of camaradery between all participants.

Cheers,
Gary

Thanks for your comments and taking the time to read it.
 

T. Foster

First Post
Geoffrey said:
Thanks, Gary! No wonder your name is conspicuously absent from the 1981 D&D Basic's and Expert's credits and acknowledgements.
:confused: The 1981 Basic and Expert Sets both prominently list Gary as co-author ("By Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, Edited by [x]"), just like the 1977-78 and 1983 sets.
 

Geoffrey

First Post
T. Foster said:
:confused: The 1981 Basic and Expert Sets both prominently list Gary as co-author ("By Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, Edited by [x]"), just like the 1977-78 and 1983 sets.

Oops. :eek: I just noticed that it says that in my copy of the Basic rulebook. If it had been a rattlesnake... :)

But my copy of the Expert rulebook does not have Gary and Dave listed. There is just a blank space underneath the Willingham drawing where the Gary and Dave by-line is in the Basic rulebook, then the words "Edited by David Cook with Steve Marsh".
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
JamesM said:
That's a shame ...
Water under the bridge, and never to be seen again :\

That said, I have made up for that with a whole lot of other creative material...a fair amount of which is yet unpublished or working along towards completion with various co-designers now that I am semi-retired.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Geoffrey said:
Thanks, Gary! No wonder your name is conspicuously absent from the 1981 D&D Basic's and Expert's credits and acknowledgements.
The jealousy was not restricted to the Blumes. Even as I was doing my best to have every one of our game designers recognized by name credit on the cover of the work thay did, and attempting (fruitlessly) to arrange for a bonus for above-average product sales, many of those same people were bent on cutting me down.

That was very disappointing to me.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Reynard said:
Thanks for your comments and taking the time to read it.
Well...

That is a worthwhle essay, and it deserves to be published in a work of scholarly sort dealing with the RPG. My criticism was meant only for your consideration in broadening the scope of your analysus.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

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