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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
As a FWIW:

In the 1940s in Chicago there were horse-drawn milk wagons and junkmen's wagons as well.

In the late 1940s there were still horse-drawn farm wagons in Lake Geneva, although not many.

Of course these days horse and carriage rigs are commonly seen here, as tourists love to ride around thus.

Cheers,
Gary
 

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GrumpyOldMan

First Post
JohnRTroy said:
Just an aside, no need to Hijack, but the reason the London was "off" was because the scenario was not based on the "real world", but a children's book--something called "Boggarts", "Buggles", "Boggles", or something that began with a be, where children turned into faerie-like creatures--the street urchins, so it's off and has anachronisms because of that. It wasn't refered to in the adventure itself for copyright reasons, but a few issues later it was confirmed when a letter-writer wrote in with similar complaints.

EDITED: It was a book series called The Borribles: http://www.theborribles.co.uk/borrible.htm

True, but speaking as another Brit. that scenario stank to the stinkiest degree. I had a run of Dragons from issue 30ish, lots of scenarios, mostly passable, some excellent. I stopped buying soon after 100. it was made worse (in the UK) because if I remember right TSR UK had been set up back then. If anyone at Dragon had thought to pass the scenario by TSR UK I'm pretty sure that the head guy (Ed Turnbull?) would have said 'It stinks.' It had policemen with guns too, and the currency was wrong. I'm old, I'm grumpy, and I have much hate for that scenario.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
GrumpyOldMan said:
True, but speaking as another Brit. that scenario stank to the stinkiest degree. I had a run of Dragons from issue 30ish, lots of scenarios, mostly passable, some excellent. I stopped buying soon after 100. it was made worse (in the UK) because if I remember right TSR UK had been set up back then. If anyone at Dragon had thought to pass the scenario by TSR UK I'm pretty sure that the head guy (Ed Turnbull?) would have said 'It stinks.' It had policemen with guns too, and the currency was wrong. I'm old, I'm grumpy, and I have much hate for that scenario.
Don turnbull was heading up TSR UK back then. I had urged him to do a British Edition of The Dragon, but he insisted on a whole new magazine, Imagine. Had he been amenible to my suggestion, that scenario would never have appeared.

Bobbies with firearms indeed :uhoh:

How I loved the old English monetary system with its farthings, ha'pence, pence, shillings, florins, half-crowns, crowns, pounds, and guineas--really confusing until one learned it, and so I patterened the AD&D monetary system on it.

Someone likely older and grumpier than you, but one that loves real ale and English cusine :lol:

Cheerio,
Gary
 

GrumpyOldMan

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
Don turnbull was heading up TSR UK back then. I had urged him to do a British Edition of The Dragon, but he insisted on a whole new magazine, Imagine. Had he been amenible to my suggestion, that scenario would never have appeared.

Bobbies with firearms indeed :uhoh:

How I loved the old English monetary system with its farthings, ha'pence, pence, shillings, florins, half-crowns, crowns, pounds, and guineas--really confusing until one learned it, and so I patterened the AD&D monetary system on it.

Someone likely older and grumpier than you, but one that loves real ale and English cusine :lol:

Cheerio,
Gary

I always rather liked Imagine, of course, in the good old days there was competition from the Uk's best RPG mag, White Dwarf. I suppose that it's still going, unlike Dragon, but in my opinion death is better that the fate White Dwarf suffered.

Even in the seventies, the key to the only gun cabinet in the police station (and not all stations had gun cabinets) was kept locked in the station safe.

When you start sticking the slang terms for currency, like tanner & bob that really cionfuses the young 'uns :lol:

I'll certainly give you older, and I'm sure that you've got a lot more than me to be grumpy about!
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
GrumpyOldMan said:
I always rather liked Imagine, of course, in the good old days there was competition from the Uk's best RPG mag, White Dwarf. I suppose that it's still going, unlike Dragon, but in my opinion death is better that the fate White Dwarf suffered.

Even in the seventies, the key to the only gun cabinet in the police station (and not all stations had gun cabinets) was kept locked in the station safe.

When you start sticking the slang terms for currency, like tanner & bob that really cionfuses the young 'uns :lol:

I'll certainly give you older, and I'm sure that you've got a lot more than me to be grumpy about!
It is notable that the new direction for GW has been so successful, and that they are now the second largest hobby game company in the world. If they focused on RPGs I do believe that GW would be recruiting and growing the market...quite unlike what WotC is doing.

IIRR, a bob is a shilling, but I haven't heard of a tanner. None of my english chums ever used the term. Do tell, what is it?

And heh...I am seldom grumpy on these boards, for the comments and questions here are generally polite, interesting, and enjoyable. It is a matter of fact, though, that I do get rather irrascible now and again.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Nagora

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
It is notable that the new direction for GW has been so successful, and that they are now the second largest hobby game company in the world. If they focused on RPGs I do believe that GW would be recruiting and growing the market...quite unlike what WotC is doing.

GW has certainly picked and stuck to its own direction ("chaos spikey bits" as we used to call it). It's not for me, but it is hard to deny that it is easier to find GW products in the UK than WotC's. There are GW shops in even relatively small cities like Belfast.

IIRR, a bob is a shilling, but I haven't heard of a tanner. None of my english chums ever used the term. Do tell, what is it?

It's a sixpence. The origin of the term seems to be connected with the wages of the profession it takes its name from.

And heh...I am seldom grumpy on these boards, for the comments and questions here are generally polite, interesting, and enjoyable. It is a matter of fact, though, that I do get rather irrascible now and again.

You are amongst friends here (maybe even preaching to the converted ;)). I doubt that you would find things so congenial on, say, the Order of the Stick boards despite OotS itself being a very entertaining read.
 

loseth

First Post
Colonel,

I used to assume that D&D was based on Tolkien, but doing a study of typical themes and elements in Howard’s Conan stories, I quickly realised that I had been mistaken, and that (1e) D&D was, in fact, far more Hyborea than Middle Earth. So, I'm dying to know: If you had to rank the degree of influence the following four authors had on you when you designed AD&D, would this ranking be accurate?

1. Howard
2. Leiber
3. Vance
4. Lovecraft

And part 2: Is that list of 4 missing any very significant influence(s)? Are any of those authors not deserving of the title 'very significant influence on D&D?'

Thanks,

loseth
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Hi Nagora,

I am not much of a one for fantasy miniatures mysself.

A sixpence, eh? How jolly! :lol:

I have had a few wise guys here and on the Dragonsfoot boards. The worst seems to be RPGnet, so I assiduously ignore that website.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
loseth said:
Colonel,

I used to assume that D&D was based on Tolkien, but doing a study of typical themes and elements in Howard’s Conan stories, I quickly realised that I had been mistaken, and that (1e) D&D was, in fact, far more Hyborea than Middle Earth. So, I'm dying to know: If you had to rank the degree of influence the following four authors had on you when you designed AD&D, would this ranking be accurate?

1. Howard
2. Leiber
3. Vance
4. Lovecraft

And part 2: Is that list of 4 missing any very significant influence(s)? Are any of those authors not deserving of the title 'very significant influence on D&D?'

Thanks,

loseth
It is hard to rank such infuence, but I'll take a stab at it...and add authors as well. Some on the list below are virtually tied as I consider them:

Howard
De Camp & Pratt
Vance
Leiber
Moorcock
Merritt
Lovecraft
Saberhagen
Poul Amderson
Tolkien
...and a score of others ;)

Cheers,
Gary
 

JamesM

First Post
Gary,

If my memory does not fail me, the original write-up for Iuz in Dragon was vague about his demonic parentage, theorizing that he might be "a by-blow of Orcus." Later, it was revealed that Graz'zt was the Old One's demonic sire. Was there any reason for this change (if change it be) and, if so, did it relate to your use of Orcus or Graz'zt in the Greyhawk campaign?

Thanks.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
JamesM said:
Gary,

If my memory does not fail me, the original write-up for Iuz in Dragon was vague about his demonic parentage, theorizing that he might be "a by-blow of Orcus." Later, it was revealed that Graz'zt was the Old One's demonic sire. Was there any reason for this change (if change it be) and, if so, did it relate to your use of Orcus or Graz'zt in the Greyhawk campaign?

Thanks.
The very same question was recently posed on another website. When I was hyping Iuz I thought suggesting that Orcus was his sire would make Iuz more menacing. I never intenbded to link his parentage to that mighty demon, and thus later on I noted that Graz'zt was his progenator.

I had Orcus appear once in my campaign, but Iuz was was a behing-the-scenes figure far more often. That said, none of the PCs were of sufficient level to manage a confrontation with Iuz, let alone Graz'zt or Orcus.

Cheers,
Gary
 

T. Foster

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
It is hard to rank such infuence, but I'll take a stab at it...and add authors as well. Some on the list below are virtually tied as I consider them:

Howard
De Camp & Pratt
Vance
Leiber
Moorcock
Merritt
Lovecraft
Saberhagen
Poul Amderson
Tolkien
...and a score of others ;)

Cheers,
Gary

Michael Moorcock has climbed a bit since your list in the AD&D DMG (which included Merritt and Lovecraft but not Moorcock on the list of "most immediate influences"), and I'm also a bit surprised to see Fred Saberhagen so high on the list (above other "usual suspects" like Burroughs, Farmer, and Fox). I've read Saberhagen's "Empire of the East" series (on the basis of your recommendation in the aforementioned DMG list) but nothing else -- are there any other titles by him that you particularly recommend?
 

rossik

Explorer
hi gary!
sorry if someone asked this before, but...

why drows have spiders as "sacred"?

i mean, why do you choose spiders? any reason in particular?

what is your thoght about "good" drows (not drizzt, i was thinking on that eberron scorpion clan, or something like that)

tx!
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
T. Foster said:
Michael Moorcock has climbed a bit since your list in the AD&D DMG (which included Merritt and Lovecraft but not Moorcock on the list of "most immediate influences"), and I'm also a bit surprised to see Fred Saberhagen so high on the list (above other "usual suspects" like Burroughs, Farmer, and Fox). I've read Saberhagen's "Empire of the East" series (on the basis of your recommendation in the aforementioned DMG list) but nothing else -- are there any other titles by him that you particularly recommend?
The first two Elric stories were very influential in the development of the D&D game. Saberhagen is listed for his "Empire of the East" that I very much liked. None other of his novels struck me in this regard. Anyway, the series Saberhagen called to mind Stanley Weinbau''s The BLack Flame. That is not to deny Farmer, Fox, and Burrough had considerable influence. As I noted, another score of authors belong on the list.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
rossik said:
hi gary!
sorry if someone asked this before, but...

why drows have spiders as "sacred"?

i mean, why do you choose spiders? any reason in particular?

what is your thoght about "good" drows (not drizzt, i was thinking on that eberron scorpion clan, or something like that)

tx!
The Drow are nasty and poisonous and lurking and dwell in darkness as do many sorts of spiders.

As I created them, there are absolutely no good Drow save for the insane.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

rossik

Explorer
Col_Pladoh said:
As I created them, there are absolutely no good Drow save for the insane.



OMG, i wanna put that in my signature!!!!!

tx gary!!

(did it worked?)
 
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T. Foster

First Post
Hi Gary,

One more quick thing on the AD&D DMG "Inspirational Reading" list, if you don't mind: in that list, you single out the anthology Swords Against Darkness III (ed. Andrew J. Offutt), but not the other volumes of that series (which ran to 5 volumes in total, though I believe the last volume or 2 may have post-dated the DMG). Why vol. 3 specifically rather than the series as a whole? Was there something in that specific volume (perhaps Poul Anderson's essay "On Thud and Blunder") that stood out as particularly noteworthy, something in the other volumes that turned you off, or was it as simple as that vol. 3 just happened to be the only one of the series you had read?
 


JamesM

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
That said, none of the PCs were of sufficient level to manage a confrontation with Iuz, let alone Graz'zt or Orcus.
That's interesting. I take it then that, in your Greyhawk campaign, characters didn't tend to reach very high levels of experience? One of the things I always liked and appreciated about AD&D was the difficulty of achieving levels above 9th or so. This ensured that even long-played characters never became veritable living gods capable of singlehandedly taking on armies and so forth. This seems much more in keeping with the pulp fantasies that influenced the development of the game.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
JamesM said:
That's interesting. I take it then that, in your Greyhawk campaign, characters didn't tend to reach very high levels of experience? One of the things I always liked and appreciated about AD&D was the difficulty of achieving levels above 9th or so. This ensured that even long-played characters never became veritable living gods capable of singlehandedly taking on armies and so forth. This seems much more in keeping with the pulp fantasies that influenced the development of the game.
The old veterans had PCs with levels in the teens after about 10 yeras of play. Back then my own highest level PC was the same, although nearly 20th level. It was common to virtually retire a character when 15th or so level was attained.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

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