log in or register to remove this ad

 

TSR Q&A with Gary Gygax

Status
Not open for further replies.
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
 
Last edited by a moderator:

log in or register to remove this ad

Nagora

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
And to think the Brits gave up their proper system of measurement for a French kickshaw. Only the USA won't give an inch in that regard!

The fight's not over yet! We still have miles and pints, lbs and stones. Some of us even try to get furlongs and chains into conversations with youngsters to test their mettle!

The EU has in fact just this year given up trying to completely convert us (preferring to leave it to the government to do it through brainwashing school-children).
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
JamesM said:
Gary,

Did you ever consider using a vague monotheism à la The Lord of the Rings in AD&D rather than polytheism? I'm assuming not, given things you've said in the past about angels vs. devas, etc. I ask primarily because I've always found the medieval trappings of the game somewhat at odds with its pulp polytheism.

Thanks.
By no means!

As a Christian, playing with actual religion is quite beyond the pale.

Secondarily, the medieval-Renaissance technology has nothing to do with the supernatural aspects influencing the fantasy milieu. It is also noteworthy that the medieval world had a plethora of saints and demons as might a mythological pantheon.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Nagora said:
...
Which brings me to a question for Gary:

You've mentioned a few times the fact that no one in your campaign would ever have been able to take on a Demon Prince. Yet I think many people would consider Mordy more than so able on his own, let alone with Robilar and some of the other "big names" in tow.

I think this reflects a general difficulty for DMs to really get to grips with the level of challenge such an opponent is supposed to represent (for instance, there is an active thread over at Dragonfoot's 1st edition forum about why Asmodeus is a whimp because he "only has 199" hit points).

In broad terms, Gary, how would you recommend a DM doing justice to the power of the top ranks of the Evil planes when encountered by high level PCs?
Such deital figures are so far beyond ant effects by mortals that I would simply give a warning to that effect, then:

Asmodeus (or whomever it was the PCs were contemplating assaulting) would send in a few companies of devils (or demons) so as to have some entertaining sport to amuse him for a time. When he tired of that, it would be time do something such as begin killing each of the offending mortals slowly with his power, drawing out their soul if not protected from him by some other like deity, and sending it off to suffer in one of the hells or a layer of the abyss.

If: "Hey! you can't do that because X isn't like that in the book," so what? Who says that the information in that work is correct in regards to deities? Do you imagne they are going to reveal their secrets to the likes of you?

Cheers,
Gary
 

JamesM

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
As a Christian, playing with actual religion is quite beyond the pale.
To clarify, in case it wasn't clear, I didn't mean to suggest that you might have included Christianity in AD&D. It was always obvious you intended the game to be a fantasy and not a historical simulation. However, Professor Tolkien, a devout man himself, took the monotheism route for Middle Earth. It seems a very unusual one for fantasy, though I've never been sure why.

Secondarily, the medieval-Renaissance technology has nothing to do with the supernatural aspects influencing the fantasy milieu.
Would you mind expanding on this slightly? Are you simply saying that D&D's supernatural trappings were a separate creative choice from the decision to include medieval technology rather than one being the outgrowth of the other?

It is also noteworthy that the medieval world had a plethora of saints and demons as might a mythological pantheon.
True enough, although I've never really viewed saints or demons as being even the functional equivalents of polytheistic deities.
 

Raven Crowking

First Post
JamesM said:
True enough, although I've never really viewed saints or demons as being even the functional equivalents of polytheistic deities.

I do; as a result I have a hard time seeing LotR as being as monotheistic as Tolkein intended.

RC
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Nagora said:
The fight's not over yet! We still have miles and pints, lbs and stones. Some of us even try to get furlongs and chains into conversations with youngsters to test their mettle!

The EU has in fact just this year given up trying to completely convert us (preferring to leave it to the government to do it through brainwashing school-children).
:lol:

Don't forget spans, cubits, rods, and leagues.

The science teachers really did their best to tout the metric system to us in school, but it is so non-intuitive that if one is used to inches, feet, and yards, ounces, cups, pints, quarts, and gallons, the millis, centis, and kikos just don't cut it. For a tome they showed distances in kilometers on the Interstate highways, but that's now pretty much a thing of the past, and only miles are given.

The US never did get into the use of stones of weight. Had a stone been 12 rather then 14 pounds, I suspect the measurement would have caught on. 12 is a great base number!

What has been pretty well lost is the peck and bushel dry measurements. Those are non-intuitive as well, perhaps.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

Nagora

First Post
JamesM said:
True enough, although I've never really viewed saints or demons as being even the functional equivalents of polytheistic deities.

I think you'll find that that was exactly what saints were intended to be. Many early saints were in fact just local deities with "Saint" slapped in front of their name and a quick hagiography scribbled on the nearest piece of parchment. Saint Brigid is a classic of the genre - from fire goddess (Holy Day 1st Febuary - my birthday) to saint (Feast day: 1st Febuary) in a single bound!
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
JamesM said:
To clarify, in case it wasn't clear, I didn't mean to suggest that you might have included Christianity in AD&D. It was always obvious you intended the game to be a fantasy and not a historical simulation. However, Professor Tolkien, a devout man himself, took the monotheism route for Middle Earth. It seems a very unusual one for fantasy, though I've never been sure why.
I suggest that Tolkien rather than monotheism had no religion in Middle Earth. There were no priests, no religious services, no formal prayers

Would you mind expanding on this slightly? Are you simply saying that D&D's supernatural trappings were a separate creative choice from the decision to include medieval technology rather than one being the outgrowth of the other?
Just so.

The level of technology need not be tied to social organization, culture, political system or degree of working magic. After all, in a fantasy world the paramaters are set by the game system that it is to control its laws and the one designing it.

True enough, although I've never really viewed saints or demons as being even the functional equivalents of polytheistic deities.
There is a parallel of sorts to be drawn there, however, especially in regards to the netherrealms' heirarchy.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

Darkwolf71

First Post
You've mentioned a few times the fact that no one in your campaign would ever have been able to take on a Demon Prince. Yet I think many people would consider Mordy more than so able on his own, let alone with Robilar and some of the other "big names" in tow.
Speaking of "Big Names", are there many non-spellslingers payed in your games that might be well known? I mean everyone knows Mordenkainen, Bigby, Tenser, etc. For the iconic spells which bear their names. What of the sword and board types? Any that stand out?

On a side note, you've probobly answered this before, but are the characters of Gord, Curley Greenleaf and co. based on PCs or were they created specifically for your novels?
 

DarkKestral

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
:lol:

What has been pretty well lost is the peck and bushel dry measurements. Those are non-intuitive as well, perhaps.

Cheerio,
Gary

Actually, Gary, the bushel's still used a lot in the commodities trade for grain in the US. If I recall correctly, in many cases, it's also used internationally as well, though the kilo's becoming more common for taxation. I think the standard trading unit is 1000 bushels. However the size of a bushel of grain or any dry food item compared to the amount of something the average person uses renders it useless for the normal person, as an average family rarely has need of 30-60 lbs. of any single item (rice can be an exception, as can oats and other feed for those who still own livestock.)
 

JohnRTroy

Adventurer
Too Many Yarths!

Just a few more notes about the other worlds.

There are actually three Yarths.

Yarth was a world Gord, Leda, and Gellor went to.

Another Yarth was where Sagard the Barbarian was. It's most likely the Yarth mentioned in that article was Sagard's.

Yarth was the original name for what was released as Epic of Aerth. Yarth was renamed since Steve Jackson's GURPS fantasy world is named Yrth. I thought it was Gord's home but Gary cleared that up.

Actually the Metric system is more mnemonic, since it's base 10, but we US citizens are quite stubborn and nobody mandated conversion, making it "voluntary". We're slowly converting in other ways, such as computer measurements (even though a Gigabyte isn't 1 Billion Bytes exactly, since its binary based). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metrication_in_the_United_States
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Darkwolf71 said:
Speaking of "Big Names", are there many non-spellslingers payed in your games that might be well known? I mean everyone knows Mordenkainen, Bigby, Tenser, etc. For the iconic spells which bear their names. What of the sword and board types? Any that stand out?

On a side note, you've probobly answered this before, but are the characters of Gord, Curley Greenleaf and co. based on PCs or were they created specifically for your novels?
The best known fighters were Robilar and Terek, along with the lesser known with Aylerich, a paladin and Gronan.

Most of the characters in the Gord novels were created for the stories. Curley Greenleaf was a PC of mine, and Melf was my son Luke's principal PC. We actually played out the scene where Keek dupes Melf...for which Luke berates me to this day.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
DarkKestral,

Actually, I was referring to popular usage. when i was a lad grocers used to sell produce by half-peck, peck, and even bushel measure now and then. That is no longer the case as far as I can tell, although they might well still sell potatoes by the peck.

I well know about bushel measures for grain, as I took agriculture in high school, worked on a farm, and had to know the weights of varying soprts of studffs in a bushel measurement.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
JohnRTroy said:
...

Actually the Metric system is more mnemonic, since it's base 10, but we US citizens are quite stubborn and nobody mandated conversion, making it "voluntary". We're slowly converting in other ways, such as computer measurements (even though a Gigabyte isn't 1 Billion Bytes exactly, since its binary based). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metrication_in_the_United_States
Phooey!

The linear measurement system is based on the human body and is intuitive.

12 is a better base than 1o as it is divisible by 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 12 rather than only 1, 2, 5, and 10.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

Grain measurements are something that are hard for me to internalize. I'm sure if I could actually see what a bushel's worth of whatever looks like I'd have a better idea.

I'm running into the same issue with the koku measurement. I mean, I know it means enough rice to support one man for one year in theory, but no idea how much rice that even looks like.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Prince of Happiness said:
Grain measurements are something that are hard for me to internalize. I'm sure if I could actually see what a bushel's worth of whatever looks like I'd have a better idea.

I'm running into the same issue with the koku measurement. I mean, I know it means enough rice to support one man for one year in theory, but no idea how much rice that even looks like.
I am not positive, but I visualize a koku or rice as a container somewhat larger than a peach crate but of the same general shape, wide at the top and tapering towards the base.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

JamesM

First Post
Gary,

Two somewhat related questions, if I may:

1. Early portrayals of orcs in AD&D gave them decidedly porcine physical attributes. Was this done intentionally or was it simply the whim of the illustrators?

2. In Greyhawk, you often used alternate names for the various humanoid races, such as Euroz for orcs and Jebli for goblins. What was the origin of this practice? I always liked it and felt it contributed just enough flavor to the setting without becoming obsessive, so I'd be curious as to your rationale for having introduced these terms.

Thanks.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
JamesM said:
Gary,

Two somewhat related questions, if I may:

1. Early portrayals of orcs in AD&D gave them decidedly porcine physical attributes. Was this done intentionally or was it simply the whim of the illustrators?

2. In Greyhawk, you often used alternate names for the various humanoid races, such as Euroz for orcs and Jebli for goblins. What was the origin of this practice? I always liked it and felt it contributed just enough flavor to the setting without becoming obsessive, so I'd be curious as to your rationale for having introduced these terms.

Thanks.
Heh...

I mentioned "pig-like faces" to Dave Sutherland, and he took me far too literally as far as I was concerned.

I created the names you mention for humanoids so as to make those of the Oerth setting more distinct and unique to the world. less folklorish if you will.

Cheers,
Gary
 

T. Foster

First Post
JohnRTroy said:
Just a few more notes about the other worlds.

There are actually three Yarths.

Yarth was a world Gord, Leda, and Gellor went to.

Another Yarth was where Sagard the Barbarian was. It's most likely the Yarth mentioned in that article was Sagard's.

Yarth was the original name for what was released as Epic of Aerth. Yarth was renamed since Steve Jackson's GURPS fantasy world is named Yrth. I thought it was Gord's home but Gary cleared that up.
Yarth is also the name of the world in Gardner Fox's Kothar series, which clearly isn't the third, but could be the same as the first or second, or could be yet a fourth Yarth...
 

jolt

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
You are most likely correct, but what I said applies to the WoG as well as to the game per se. In truth I had plans to create material detailing the various states and major terrain features of the world setting, as well as completing the world with a second boxed set.
Cheers,
Gary


Emphasis mine. Sorry to quote such an old post but I would have (and still would) pay a lot of money for a complete Greyhawk world. A shame that the IP for Oerth didn't revert to you (especially since WotC clearly has no intention of doing anything with it). Greyhawk is the only published setting I have ever used for D&D. Once they stopped making Greyhawk in the early 2E days. I started on my homebrew which I still use to this day.

Greyhawk was such a big influence on me. I had the packet edition and the shields that decorated the covers are what kindled my interest in heraldry. There are too many influences for me to even mention. It's depressing that I'll never get to see Greyhawk completed. How much of the rest of the world had you fleshed out?

I really enjoy worldbuilding; did you find world creation to be easy, difficult or somewhere in-between? Any particular part that was hardest for you?

Thanks again for Greyhawk (and everything else), I still have all those old materials and I'll never give them up.

jolt
 

Status
Not open for further replies.

Visit Our Sponsor

Latest threads

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top