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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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Mathew_Freeman

First Post
Ahah! After months of seeing this thread and being vaguely impressed that I could potentially talk to the guy that started the whole D&D thing...I have a question!

It's not a very good question, though, sorry.

I'm playing in a campaign using the Lost City of Gaxmoor, and yesterday we spent some time having statues described to us. The Wizard is now planning revenge on the DM for reading out all the statue descriptions by planning to use shrink item on the lot of them to sell them in a nearby large city...

So here's my question. Why O why O why did you write such long descriptions? :)
 

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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Merric, thanks for supplying the zine numbers.

Alan, that's a good plot line.

My concept was that Eclavdra was aiming at dominance of the Drow through using the EEG to replace Lolth. she, as the chief priestess of the elemental deity would then be the mistress of all. The final scenario was to have been one in which the adventurers got involved in the battle between the evil entities and made it so that both lost and were tossed back to their own planes, relatively powerless in the Mundane world for some time to come.

The Sunless Sea was indeed meant to serve as a place for further subterranean adventuring, of course. Always leave some room for that sort of thing, obvious or concealed in the setting :eek:

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Tallarn said:
Ahah! After months of seeing this thread and being vaguely impressed that I could potentially talk to the guy that started the whole D&D thing...I have a question!

It's not a very good question, though, sorry.

I'm playing in a campaign using the Lost City of Gaxmoor, and yesterday we spent some time having statues described to us. The Wizard is now planning revenge on the DM for reading out all the statue descriptions by planning to use shrink item on the lot of them to sell them in a nearby large city...

So here's my question. Why O why O why did you write such long descriptions? :)
Heh, happy to have some fun here, and your's is not a bad question at all...only directed at the wrong Gygax:D

My sons Ernie and Luke write THE LOST CITY OF GAXMOOR, and I did only some suggestions (mainly as to the statues) and play-testing (as Tempros Ganger).

The descriptions of the statues have a purpose. Of course they aren't meant to be read serially, only when a party is near to one so as to be able to "see" all the details. Play will reveal more.

BTW, if I were the DM, I think the Wizard in the party would have his spell rebound, and he'd get minimalized whenever he tried to mess with the statues like that;)

Cheers,
Gary
 

Mathew_Freeman

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:
BTW, if I were the DM, I think the Wizard in the party would have his spell rebound, and he'd get minimalized whenever he tried to mess with the statues like that;)

Cheers,
Gary
The DM in question (S'mon on these boards) has mentioned that some of them radiate magic, but no more yet. I await with interest to see what happens.

There's a SH based on the campaign if you have time to take a peek. http://enworld.cyberstreet.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=28405
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Tallarn said:


The DM in question (S'mon on these boards) has mentioned that some of them radiate magic, but no more yet. I await with interest to see what happens.

There's a SH based on the campaign if you have time to take a peek. http://enworld.cyberstreet.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=28405
Talk about long threads!

S'mon seems to have a good turn of phrase; the accounts are interesting. You all must be having some great fun in the adventure. Reading those reports was near enough to get me interested in playing 3E. Shows what a good DM can do ;) Hope you enjoy discovering more about the statues of Gaxmoor...

Cheers,
Gary
 

Ulrick

First Post
Re: Re: Pronunciation, D-series

Col_Pladoh said:



As for Q1, Ask Dave Sutherland and Brian Blume about that. It was taken out of my hands by the latter when Sutherland discovered the "Demonweb" pattern in a hand towel and talked Brian into using it as the main theme for the concluding module. I had no creative control over it.

I had hoped to get to the Elder Elemental god in a sequal to the ToEE, but...

Bah,
Gary
A hand towel???

That's surely an example of how ideas that inspire creativity can from from the oddest sources.

:p
 

Decado

First Post
Gary,

I have been following this thread for a while now and wanted to thank you for creating something that has given me years of enjoyment.

TTOEE is my all time favorite series and I have been DMing it for four years now in a play by post game. I as a DM I really enoy the fact that it is open enough to add my own material which I have done on numerous occasions. I wish there modules like that being published now. I did just purchase Necropolis and am working on intergrating it into my Greyhawk Campaign. I was considering placing it in the Sea of Dust or Dry Steepes.

After reading all the post in both threads I was finally able to come up with a question. I really enjoy the Ranger class and always wondered about the ruling that no more then 3 rangers could ever work together at one time. I am curious as to the reasoning for that rule. I always thought of the ranger class a fantasy version of Army Rangers, warriors who specialized in fast raids, hit and move tactics and used minimal equipment.

Thanks again for giving us a great game.

Decado
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Decado said:
Gary,

I have been following this thread for a while now and wanted to thank you for creating something that has given me years of enjoyment.

TTOEE is my all time favorite series and I have been DMing it for four years now in a play by post game. I as a DM I really enoy the fact that it is open enough to add my own material which I have done on numerous occasions. I wish there modules like that being published now. I did just purchase Necropolis and am working on intergrating it into my Greyhawk Campaign. I was considering placing it in the Sea of Dust or Dry Steepes.
A mutually shared pleasure, i assure you;) It is good to learn that you appreciate the creative room I always try to leave for GMs, so that the material can be personalized as well as fit into the unique campaign.

As for placing the Necropolis adventure, I'd recommend that you move it off map to a new continent that can a accommodate more civilizations. Nothing wrong with having an Egyptian-Indian-Persian-Burmese-Chinese land mass separated from the Oerik map....if you are so inclined.

After reading all the post in both threads I was finally able to come up with a question. I really enjoy the Ranger class and always wondered about the ruling that no more then 3 rangers could ever work together at one time. I am curious as to the reasoning for that rule. I always thought of the ranger class a fantasy version of Army Rangers, warriors who specialized in fast raids, hit and move tactics and used minimal equipment.

Thanks again for giving us a great game.

Decado
The stricture was placed in the rules to discourage parties of one sort of character, or an over-balance of one--Rangers. We found that a problem in the large groups we were DMing at the time.

The Ranger was envisaged as more of a lone scout sort than a trained military man who operated in units.

Cheers,
Gary
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Rather to my amusement, the "3 Rangers in one party" is faithfully adhered to in the AD&D computer game "Unlimited Adventures". I don't know many who have come afoul of it, though, as you can only have 6 characters in a party... :)

Gary, you introduced the new classes of Cavalier, Barbarian and Thief-Acrobat to us in Dragon Magazine and later Unlimited Adventures... were those classes being played by players in your campaign?

Cheers!
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
MerricB said:

[snip]

Gary, you introduced the new classes of Cavalier, Barbarian and Thief-Acrobat to us in Dragon Magazine and later Unlimited Adventures... were those classes being played by players in your campaign?

Cheers!
Hi Merric:)

We had one cavalier, a couple of barbarians, and one thief-actobat ex post facto... I actually worked up a barbarian just to use as an annoyance factor when playing with a group that had greedy mages in it. Of course I made sure to have a goodly number of sympatico PCS around to avoid undue retribution for his destruction of "stinking magic!"

Heh,
Gary
 

mythusmage

First Post
Gary, have you ever done a 'follow-up' adventure. That is, one where the party is going off to learn what happened to the previous party. The first group gets hired, goes off to investigate, and never comes back. So their employers hire another group to go look for them.

I came up with one for the Giant et. al. series. Having spent all their loose change on the first party all the townsfolk can afford now are first level adventurers. The module titles were, Steading of the Kobold Chief, Glacial Rift of the Goblin Jarl, Hall of the Hobgoblin King, Shrine of the Locathah, and ending with Vault of the Bogies. Yes, those simple folk who "Hardly ever eat each other" from Bored of the Rings get translated to D&D.

Bogies, the one thing elves and drow can agree on. The one creature mind flayers won't touch, even when they're starving to death. Bogies, the only subject that can turn a kender homicidal. The beasts PETA has declared worthy of extinction.

So, you done any thing like that?
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
mythusmage said:
Gary, have you ever done a 'follow-up' adventure. That is, one where the party is going off to learn what happened to the previous party. The first group gets hired, goes off to investigate, and never comes back. So their employers hire another group to go look for them.


[snippage]

Bogies, the one thing elves and drow can agree on. The one creature mind flayers won't touch, even when they're starving to death. Bogies, the only subject that can turn a kender homicidal. The beasts PETA has declared worthy of extinction.

So, you done any thing like that?
Errrrrr...

Well, some of the more rabid posters over on RPGnet will likely say I have, but I don't think so.

BTW, if you are looking for Bogie candidates, I think I can give you the URL :rolleyes:

Heh,
Gary
 

Darrin Drader

First Post
Gary,

Forgive me if this was asked before in the previous thread, but I'm wondering how you feel about certain 3rd edition rules. The monk and the paladin have a rule stating that if either of them multi-class, they can no longer continue in their advancement in these classes at a later time. Do you feel that these are good rules, especially considering that many of the prestige classes are based on the monk or paladin class?
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
**looks on in interest, knowing how Gary feels about 3E rules...** :rolleyes:

Gary - thank you muchly for your answer about the cavaliers, barbarians, and acrobats. Or, the ABCs if you prefer. :)

You played a barbarian just to annoy your group's magic-users? Right - time to start a new character. I don't think Meliander the Mage would enjoy such a companion. You weren't pilfering the items already possessed by the magic-users, were you?

I was wondering (again!) about something in those oAD&D rules. You've got a rather complex system written for initiative - with modifiers for weapon speeds, weapon lengths when charging, casting times, magic device activation times, bow fire initiatives modified by dexterity...

Did you actually use all of that, or was it - as seems standard for you - much more a DM's call as to when things occurred, modified by what seemed appropriate?

Many thanks once more!

Cheers!
 

Hadit

First Post
Hello Gary,
Thanks again for humoring us with this Q&A thread! I just can't get over how cool it is to be able to drop questions on the Old Wizard himself about his creative ideas... truly the internet has made the World that much closer together!
Anyway... my query regards Mythus. I pretty much know the story how T$R pillaged that lovely endeavor... but I was curious about whether there existed any unpublished material for the game (perhaps now owned by WotC)? Namely, a book of monsters! (Or would that be considered "faerie creatures" in Mythus terms?) The book of native animals and such just didn't have enough crunchy action in it for me to consider pursuing a Mythus campaign despite the lawsuit... but a book of monsters just might have.
Would you be interested in seeing the current owner of the Mythus rights (I am assuming WotC) republishing that game, or is it considered a dead beast by you? Perhaps having it republished would run counter to your activities with Lejendary Adventures?
Thanks and take care, Duglas

By the way... I can't find Lejendary Adventures products ANYWHERE in Seattle... very frustrating!
 

Ulrick

First Post
Col_Pladoh said:


Hi Ulrick,

The name doesn't ring an immediate bell. Did he ever use another name? It seems to me that I recall a gamer who was an American Indian, a very knowledgeable and articulate fellow who was from Iowa. Met him at a GenCon or two early on when D&D was just starting, and I think he played in a tournament I was DMing and was on the winning team.

Going back a quarter-century and more tests the memory rather severely...

Cheers,
Gary
Thanks for the answer. I'm going to speak with those who knew Standing Bear today (Wednesday) to find out if he went by another name.

In the meantime, I wish to ask one more question:

Has anybody ever pointed out that certain artwork in the 1st ed. DMG resembles artwork from Gustave Dore's illustrations for Dante's Inferno?

"There is no honor among thieves"--p.24, resembles "Ugolino"

and the succubus on p. 200 resembles "Myrrha."

I'm fan of Dore's artwork and Dante's "Divine Comedy" and just happened notice that awhile ago.

I apologize if the question is too obscure. I'm just curious.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Baraendur said:
Gary,

Forgive me if this was asked before in the previous thread, but I'm wondering how you feel about certain 3rd edition rules. The monk and the paladin have a rule stating that if either of them multi-class, they can no longer continue in their advancement in these classes at a later time. Do you feel that these are good rules, especially considering that many of the prestige classes are based on the monk or paladin class?
Hi Baraendur,

The question hasn't been asked before.

Although I am by no means an expert on 3E, I must say that I concur with the rules that limit monk and paladin advancement is a character multi-classes. Both have special mindsets and dedication to the base class, that of monk or paladin. One might have logical prestige class based on some facet of the monk's or paladin's underlying dedication and still progress in that specialization, of coourse. Otherwise, though, I would question the prestige class, not the limitation of progression in either base class.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
MerricB said:
**looks on in interest, knowing how Gary feels about 3E rules...** :rolleyes:
;) Too many of them, too much quantification, and where has the magic gone? Anyway, I believe you'll find the response I gave a sincere and appropos one ;)

Gary - thank you muchly for your answer about the cavaliers, barbarians, and acrobats. Or, the ABCs if you prefer. :)

You played a barbarian just to annoy your group's magic-users? Right - time to start a new character. I don't think Meliander the Mage would enjoy such a companion. You weren't pilfering the items already possessed by the magic-users, were you?
But of course!

Merric, we played a LOT. An average of seven gaming sessions a week was typical even when I was busy working. Often I played more than that. Rob would DM for me one-on-one where I mostly roleplayed because i was doing manual work at the same time. So, understanding that, the number of PCs I created and played should be likewise understandable. Playing seriously and intensely a good deal of the time, I varied that by playing otherwise--such as with my half-orc cleric-assassin :eek:

When I played a barbarian, I would indeed atempt to get at newly discovered magic items and rid the world of their bane, and if some mage was foolish enough to flaunt such an object before the character, and he could lay hands on it, then... Because the barbarian was otherwise cooperative and put the overall interest of the party first, he survived quite a number of adventures, and his demise was not at the hands of a fellow PC. Some monster got him--which I don't recall, but it seems to me it was a basilisk. No cleric or mage in the group was much interested in having the poor chap returned to life :rolleyes:

I was wondering (again!) about something in those oAD&D rules. You've got a rather complex system written for initiative - with modifiers for weapon speeds, weapon lengths when charging, casting times, magic device activation times, bow fire initiatives modified by dexterity...

Did you actually use all of that, or was it - as seems standard for you - much more a DM's call as to when things occurred, modified by what seemed appropriate?

Many thanks once more!

Cheers!
Actually, most of the DMs I played with were like me. We used only initiative and casting times for determination of who went first in a round. The rest was generally ignored save in the most critical situations when rules lawyering might enable saving a PC. I did use weapon length for the NPCs as a factor when I DMed so as to manage to get in some first attacks on PCs, and players who had good Dex could factor that into their initiative when using bows, sure. If they didn't, okay :D In all, we played to have fun, and in the throes of a hot melee rules were mostly forgotten except as a feature of the combatant's nature, if you will. If it seemed logical then none of the veterans would look for a rule to the contrary.

Cheerio,
Gary
 

S'mon

Legend
Col_Pladoh said:

BTW, if I were the DM, I think the Wizard in the party would have his spell rebound, and he'd get minimalized whenever he tried to mess with the statues like that;)
Thanks, Gary...

-Tallarn's GM ;)

PS: I only read out the descriptions of the nearby statues! It's not my fault if the Wizard happens to fly over lots of them on his way to somewhere else! :)
 

S'mon

Legend
Col_Pladoh said:


Talk about long threads!

S'mon seems to have a good turn of phrase; the accounts are interesting. You all must be having some great fun in the adventure. Reading those reports was near enough to get me interested in playing 3E. Shows what a good DM can do ;) Hope you enjoy discovering more about the statues of Gaxmoor...

Cheers,
Gary
Thanks Gary - I've aimed for a somewhat 'Gygaxian' style in this campaign (although I can't do puns), glad to know it's paid off!

We were having a discussion about 3e after last Sunday's game - my feeling is that it's a good ruleset but much more highly structured than 1e, and seems to take more work by the DM. I always need to have 1 player assist me by keeping track of Initiatives in combat, which was never a problem in 1e. And stat enhancements from spells (bull's strength, greater magic weapon, haste etc) are much more central than in 1e, which requires more book-keeping - un-buffed NPCs are at a severe disadvantage vs spell-enhanced PCs, and the buffing spells rarely have drawbacks (eg haste no longer ages the recipient).
The power gradient in 3e is different, and generally steeper - a 12th level 3e PC can be enormously powerful, a 12th level Sorcerer can potentially shoot around 30 fireballs/day (and has done IMC), an effect you used to only be able to get with wands of fireballs, and they had limited charges. The flying improved invisible hasted (2 spells/round) Sorcerer w 'protection from arrows' up is a terror indeed, and keeping track of the modifiers can be quite a headache.
Wizards by contrast are much the same as in 1e.
 

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