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Q&A with Gary Gygax

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Gary_Gygax_Gen_Con_2007.jpg


[Edited for introduction: 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. This particular post is the first one he answered. Gary's username is Col_Pladoh

Roland Delacroix said:
"Where do you get your ideas from."
This is an easy one, so don't pist it when I chat:

Jack Chick.

Gary
 
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Col_Pladoh

Father of the Game
Gray Mouser said:
Kudos to him, then, as I greatly enjoyed the series on the Suel pantheon. I did find some of them to be a bit on the good side considering the description of the Suel old-timers in thne WoGH, but they are an interesting group, all in all. While Olidammara is one of my favorites Norebo certainly ranks up there, as well :)

Now, if I recall correctly, the Suel pantheon series came out after the release of the Greyhawk boxed set. I think you'd mentioned before that you had hoped to detail more of Oerth so I was wondering if there were there plans to revise the box set with the inclusion of these deities, or did you simply think they would make for an interesting series of articles in Dragon?

Gray Mouser
:heh:

As it happens Olidammara is a creation of my own that Len added to his pantheon.

It is likely a revised and expanded boxed set for the WoG would have gone into the hopper had I remained in charge of the company after 1984.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Father of the Game
Nagora said:
Getting back to Gary:

Gary,
I'm thinking about running an AD&D game for a pair of bright not-quite-12-year-olds (twins). Did you or TSR ever think about releasing scenarios/modules aimed specifically at pre-teens? Do you think it's something that would be useful? Is there any advice you would have? I know you've run a few games for young players.
It was never contemplated to offer any lower level of module especially for younger players. As the core rules are not written for children, offering special modules for them would be rather pointless.

The adventures for novice PCs were meant to supply the DM with material for a younger player audience. Otherwise the able DM is capable of modifying or creating special adventures for very young players.

I believe the above answers all of questions.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

Gray Mouser

Villager
Col_Pladoh said:
:heh:

As it happens Olidammara is a creation of my own that Len added to his pantheon.
Heh, well I actually was referring to Olidammara as one of my favorite gods in the WoGH boxed set. Norebo seems like a kindred deity from the Suel mythos as he is the god of Luck, Gambling and Risk while Olidammara is the god of Music, Revelry, Rougery and Wine (he getting two of life's three necessities: wine, women and song :) ). Both are also the patron of mant thieves. I didn't mean to imply that both were written up in Len's Suel pantheon articles, just Norebo. Sorry for any confusion being caused on my part! :)

It is likely a revised and expanded boxed set for the WoG would have gone into the hopper had I remained in charge of the company after 1984.

Cheers,
Gary
Of course.

Well, in order not to be uncharitable let me just say that at least Castle Zagyg seems to be progressing :)

Gray Mouser
 

Col_Pladoh

Father of the Game
Gray Mouser said:
Well, in order not to be uncharitable let me just say that at least Castle Zagyg seems to be progressing :)

Gray Mouser
Thankee!

In order to get to the castle and ruins I thought it best to establish a detailed environment and good-sized community for the setting. Thus Castle Zagyg Yggsburgh and the East Mark. Of course, detailing the big walled town by dividing it into quarters or districts, mappomg each and showing the buildings with encounter key numbers and text, giving a bit of color for the sector to assist the GM--and doing the same for the suburban communities--then seemed beneficial in order to give a really detailed urban area. To the best of my knowledge that has not been done previously.

So as those 24 modules were in progress the similar detailing of the actual abandoned castle ruins and its subterranean levels went into high gear, basing the work on my previous castle ruins and dungeons developed and revised as my campaign matured...and PCs wreaked havoc in these places :lol:

Detailing the latter is a project that requires a good deal of time, but this part of the whole project is also proceeding at a good pace.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Geoffrey

Villager
Gray Mouser said:
Halfling NPC's could also be Druids.

You could say, however, that part of the reason these particular races (Elves and Halflings) entered Oerth (or whatever campaign world you were using) was their affinity for nature which may have been the same as that on their home plane.

Gray Mouser
I've long considered halflings to be short humans (Englishmen!) with big, hairy feet. I'd consider them to be natives of the campaign world.
 

Gray Mouser

Villager
Geoffrey said:
I've long considered halflings to be short humans (Englishmen!) with big, hairy feet. I'd consider them to be natives of the campaign world.
Heh, I've had similar thoughts and have run campaigns where this was, in fact, the case. But it seemed from his previous answers that Gary considers all demihumans to be from a different plane.

Does anyone recall if JRRT considered Hobbits small humans? I know I've read stuff on that topic before but, for the life of me, I cannot recall the answer!

Gray Mouser
 

Nagora

Villager
Gray Mouser said:
Heh, I've had similar thoughts and have run campaigns where this was, in fact, the case. But it seemed from his previous answers that Gary considers all demihumans to be from a different plane.

Does anyone recall if JRRT considered Hobbits small humans? I know I've read stuff on that topic before but, for the life of me, I cannot recall the answer!

Gray Mouser
He specifically did not think of them that way and said that the advance of humans pushed the hobbits further and further into the margins until they became the legends of the "little people". They were not "absorbed" as it were.
 

Geoffrey

Villager
Gray Mouser said:
Does anyone recall if JRRT considered Hobbits small humans? I know I've read stuff on that topic before but, for the life of me, I cannot recall the answer!
In late 1951 J. R. R. Tolkien wrote a long letter to Milton Waldman (letter #131 in The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien--see second footnote on page 158 for the following quote) in which Tolkien wrote: "The Hobbits are, of course, really meant to be a branch of the specifically human race (not Elves or Dwarves)--hence the two kinds can dwell together (as at Bree), and are called just the Big Folk and Little Folk. They are entirely without non-human powers, but are represented as being more in touch with 'nature' (the soil and other living things, plants and animals), and abnormally, for humans, free from ambition or greed of wealth." [emphasis in original]
 
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SuStel

Villager
Col_Pladoh said:
Of course, detailing the big walled town by dividing it into quarters or districts, mappomg each and showing the buildings with encounter key numbers and text, giving a bit of color for the sector to assist the GM--and doing the same for the suburban communities--then seemed beneficial in order to give a really detailed urban area.
Gary,

When you are preparing a town for your own refereeing (as opposed to preparing one for publication), how do you organize your notes? I've seen a number of techniques, including detailing individual buildings, detailing sections or neighborhoods of the town as if they were dungeon rooms, and just creating encounters to throw in as the referee decides.
 

Nagora

Villager
Geoffrey said:
In late 1951 J. R. R. Tolkien wrote a long letter to Milton Waldman (letter #131 in The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien--see second footnote on page 158 for the following quote) in which Tolkien wrote: "The Hobbits are, of course, really meant to be a branch of the specifically human race (not Elves or Dwarves)--hence the two kinds can dwell together (as at Bree), and are called just the Big Folk and Little Folk. They are entirely without non-human powers, but are represented as being more in touch with 'nature' (the soil and other living things, plants and animals), and abnormally, for humans, free from ambition or greed of wealth." [emphasis in original]
Hmmm. Well, I'm pretty sure that JRRT never intended the reader to think of hobbits and humans interbreeding, so to that extent they're not the same race anymore, even if they once were. Eventually, they lost the desire to live together.
 

Col_Pladoh

Father of the Game
SuStel said:
Gary,

When you are preparing a town for your own refereeing (as opposed to preparing one for publication), how do you organize your notes? I've seen a number of techniques, including detailing individual buildings, detailing sections or neighborhoods of the town as if they were dungeon rooms, and just creating encounters to throw in as the referee decides.
:lol:

A sketch map of the community, a few places of interested highlighted in color, and then wing it. As the PCs develop something interesting by interacting with what I present that becomes a fixture in the town. This might be a particular street thief, a tavern, a stable with a shifty owner, whatever...

Cheerio,
Gary
 

haakon1

Villager
Halflings

I think of halflings as being a special ancient crossbreed of elves and dwarves. Special because in "modern" times, those two races cannot breed (and FYI IMC, though elves and humans can, and orcs and humans can, elves and orcs cannot). Tallfellows have more elvish blood, Stouts more dwarvish.

Gnomes, goblinoids (goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears), and ogres don't breed at all with the others, IMC, being completely different genuses.
 

triplehex

Villager
Music

Gary,

Our group often uses music in conjunction with our games, to suggest atmosphere or theme, or to highlight a dramatic turn in the action. Did you and your players listen to music when gaming in the early days of D&D, and if so, what were some favorites?
 

Col_Pladoh

Father of the Game
triplehex said:
Gary,

Our group often uses music in conjunction with our games, to suggest atmosphere or theme, or to highlight a dramatic turn in the action. Did you and your players listen to music when gaming in the early days of D&D, and if so, what were some favorites?
Actually it was all I could manage to keep the players from constantly chattering. Adding music to the commotion would have made DMing impossible. All of my groups have enjoyed a lot of socialization during play.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Nagora

Villager
Hi, Gary,
Just got the East Mark and Yggsburgh sets. Very nicely done (and thank the Troll Lords for printing black text on white paper - something that's been going out of style in RPGs for the last decade or so); good to see a Darlene map again too.

I have one question at the moment: on pages 18-19 of the Yggsburg book the mayor's salary is listed as 15,000 plus a 10% share of civic profit whereas the councilors' income is listed as 240,000 and a 5% share. Is that really correct or has a zero wandered into the councilors' pay or out of the mayor's?
 

ghul

Villager
Hi Nagora,

I can help with this one, even though I'm not Gary. When Gary laid out the income and goods/service price lists in the Yggsburgh book, he did so using $ amounts that were supposed to be translated to gold piece equivalents. The editor made a few mistakes along the way, but we are presently addressing this in the Yggsburgh Town Expansion modules (Moat Gate and Town Halls District presently available). This includes revised price lists in the shops as well, should the GM wish to adopt Gary's suggested system in which the exchange rate is such: 1 gp = 50 sp = 500 cp.

Anyway, the mayor was presented by Gary as earning $300,000 per year, and each Council member earning $240,000. So, as you note, the editor did not exchange the $ amount for the gp amount.
 

Nagora

Villager
ghul said:
Hi Nagora,

I can help with this one, even though I'm not Gary. When Gary laid out the income and goods/service price lists in the Yggsburgh book, he did so using $ amounts that were supposed to be translated to gold piece equivalents. The editor made a few mistakes along the way, but we are presently addressing this in the Yggsburgh Town Expansion modules (Moat Gate and Town Halls District presently available). This includes revised price lists in the shops as well, should the GM wish to adopt Gary's suggested system in which the exchange rate is such: 1 gp = 50 sp = 500 cp.

Anyway, the mayor was presented by Gary as earning $300,000 per year, and each Council member earning $240,000. So, as you note, the editor did not exchange the $ amount for the gp amount.
Thanks for that; I had wondered about the gp:sp:cp ratio too but was going to use 1gp=20sp as per AD&D. 1:50 is fine too.

So: the Mayor's salary is correct and the councillors' should be 12,000, yes?
 
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