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
Howdy Loki3,

Shudder! Ex-wives and judges...whoa, the stuff of nightmares :rolleyes:

As for responding, sure. All, I am really just another gamer. Just because I happen to be hyperactive in the design area doesn't make me substantially different from, and certainly not superior to, my fellows.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Quasqueton said:
Col_Pladoh,

Why all the secrecy about Mordenkainen's stats? This character has been written up previously in the old Rogue's Gallery, in Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure, and in the recent Epic Level Handbook. (I have them all, and there is only very little difference between the writeups, so they must be at least close to accurate.)
Heh, and a slight error in reasoning there, amigo. The information in the ROGUE'S GALLERY was quite fallacious, made up im many cases when we refused to give Brian our PCs' stats. Rob respected my wishes and didn't use Mordie's actual stats and information, and whatever was written thereafter based on those works continues the error.

It is my PC, and I do play him now and again, although it's been a couple of years since he last adventured.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
fusangite said:
Here's one tough aspect of this, though: in my current campaigns, people have Summon Monster spells; because the planes system creates a multiverse, I don't know how much business I have circumscribing what they can summon. Theoretically, I suppose, these creatures might exist on some other plane of existence; what do you think would be a reasonable way to regulate what can be summoned by way of this spell? This becomes even more problematic with the Summon Nature's Ally spells. A pivotal combat in a campaign I just ended was resolved by the characters summoning a Dire Bear into an African environment. It was such an innovative thing to do, I chose not to argue but I was left unsure of whether I should have ruled it out.
What we always did was make the summoning random, with some weak ones in the mixes possible. Also, if the monster(s) summoned survived and there were no other opponents around, it or they would attack party members.

As the spell is a regular part of the game, there's no logical way you can limit its sue, eh? If your players are abusing it, then have your NPCs do likewise, summon monsters at the drop of a hat, so to speak.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
LordVyreth said:
Check out this web site for the movie: www.deadgentlemen.com. Gamers is a classic in the making, and definately worth checking out.
Thanks, and when I am not so busy I'll see about it;)

And I figured as much about the campaign discussion thing. Now I'm not sure if I'm glad I didn't bother, or I'm disappointed I didn't get it out before I knew it was bad. You know, that whole forgiveness versus persmission thing. :D
Right.

Moving on from alignment questions, here's something similar. It seems that people are getting more into playing good individuals of typically evil races, like orcs and drow, and even generally universally evil beings like demons and vampires. Do you agree that it's a new thing, or has that been a constant throughout the game? If it is new, do you think it reflects a way gamers look at the world and concepts like universal evil, or is it just because evil characters are considered "cooler" for some reason? I'll post my opinions, but I'd like to hear what you think first.

Vyreth
As there will well be abberations in nature, a chaotic good orc, or drow, is of possible interest to the player who wants a challenge for the PC--virtually every hand will be against such characters. Having demons and vampires of similar stamp is so much nonsense, comparable in my mind to a grass-eating lion or a friendly wolverine. The nature of true evil is just that--no good in it whatsoever.

As for when such approach commenced, I can't say, but the politically correct view of evil individuals as mere victims of their surroundings and upbringing might be involved.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Faraer said:
4:1 according to WotC's 2000 market research piece, and I doubt the ratio has since got worse.
Do you really believe that figure? I certain do not, nor have I seen their documentation. Other surveys I have seen develop a much lower percentage of female gamers, something between 5% and 10%.

Cheers,
Gary
 
Gary, what do you think of recent books dealing with sex and intimacy in RPGs, such as Encyclopedia Arcane: Nymphology, Naughty & Dice, and the BoEF?
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
MerakSpielman said:
My group was 4 females, 3 males for a long time. Now we're 5 females, 5 males, though we run 4 campaigns and we're not all there for each one. 3 DMs are male and 1 is female. The ages of members of our group: 10, 15, 16, 25, 25, 36, 37, 40, 49, and 51.

Maybe we're just more diverse than a lot of people.
Right. Individual experience is not a reasonable guide. The play-test group for LOST CITY OF GAXMOOR consisted of about 40 different players, all male, and 90% under age 20. My group has 10 people in it, one female. If I used those figures, I'd conclude that 1 gamer in 50 was female;)

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
grodog said:
Hey Gary---

Any updates on the Castle Zagyg project for us?
Check out the Troll Lorg Games website;) I am indeed working on a large campaign-base module to intriduce a new setting for the castle and dungeons. Rob is outlining a follow up module to it, and then, the Good Lord willing and the creek don't rise, we should tackle the actual Zagyg's Castle and the dungeon levels thereunder, revising them so that other DMs can make heads and tails out of the shorthand we used for encounters. Of course, much of what happened was made up on the spot by Rob or me, so we'll have a good deal of quantification to attend to.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
blackshirt5 said:
Gary, what do you think of recent books dealing with sex and intimacy in RPGs, such as Encyclopedia Arcane: Nymphology, Naughty & Dice, and the BoEF?
In a word, jejune.

To my way of thinking that sort of material is absolutely unnecessary. If individual DMs want to have it in their campaigns, fine. Producing supplemental material of the sort gives the detractors of the RPG more ammunition with which to attack while providing nothing of substance or value to the game form. The motivation for publishing such material is most likely money to be made from pandering thus.

Cheers,
Gary
 
Col_Pladoh said:
In a word, jejune.

To my way of thinking that sort of material is absolutely unnecessary. If individual DMs want to have it in their campaigns, fine. Producing supplemental material of the sort gives the detractors of the RPG more ammunition with which to attack while providing nothing of substance or value to the game form. The motivation for publishing such material is most likely money to be made from pandering thus.

Cheers,
Gary
You're kinda vague there Mr. Gygax. Tell us how you really feel. :)

What about the dungeon crawl do you think makes it such a great medium for a game? What is it about fighting and thiefing(I know, not a real word, but one I picked up from my brief stint in 2nd edition) your way through the ruins of a castle(or graveyard, or evil temple) that appeals to you?
 

Faraer

Visitor
And yet the bowdlerized Comics Code norm created at TSR after your time there, Gary, is a far cry from the adult, red-blooded fantasy of the original D&D and its swords & sorcery influences. Individual d20 publishers might have the motive you mention, but some kind of corrective (to what you'd call the 'politically correct') is surely needed.

As far as I know, that survey is the only large-scale piece of RPG market research done, at least since 1990 or so. It's all we have to go on as to RPG demographics (other than anecdotal evidence, of course).
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Geoffrey said:
Wow! Sounds like something to look forward to. :D
Oops!

Missed this earlier.

There is a boxed "Primer" Lejendary Adventure RPG set now in play-testing, and it should be in print by spring. To compliment it I have just finished a campaign-base module so the new Lejend Masters who have picked up the boxed set will have solid material to use in creating their campaigns.

If all goes as planned, after these hit there will be two core rules supplements coming out, and then a series of hardback LA game books.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
blackshirt5 said:
You're kinda vague there Mr. Gygax. Tell us how you really feel. :)

What about the dungeon crawl do you think makes it such a great medium for a game? What is it about fighting and thiefing(I know, not a real word, but one I picked up from my brief stint in 2nd edition) your way through the ruins of a castle(or graveyard, or evil temple) that appeals to you?
Appeals to me? That sort of action-adventure appeals to the vast majority of RPGers, as the success of new D&D amply demonstrates. Of far greater note is the fact that the whole of the electronic RPG field is nothing but that sort of play;) The age group for the latter sort of games is older than for the paper game too.

I'll not bother to go nto the psychological reasons for a coiuple of reasons--time and expertise :eek:

Cheers,
Gary
 
Col_Pladoh said:
Appeals to me? That sort of action-adventure appeals to the vast majority of RPGers, as the success of new D&D amply demonstrates. Of far greater note is the fact that the whole of the electronic RPG field is nothing but that sort of play;) The age group for the latter sort of games is older than for the paper game too.

I'll not bother to go nto the psychological reasons for a coiuple of reasons--time and expertise :eek:

Cheers,
Gary
I've got time. The expertise...well, everybody is an expert on their own mental state, right?

Just to note, I'm a fan of the dungeon crawl. Two of my players disagree, though.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Faraer said:
And yet the bowdlerized Comics Code norm created at TSR after your time there, Gary, is a far cry from the adult, red-blooded fantasy of the original D&D and its swords & sorcery influences. Individual d20 publishers might have the motive you mention, but some kind of corrective (to what you'd call the 'politically correct') is surely needed.
TSR's reaction to criticism was quite foolish, IMO. No matter what they did those criticizing would not cease, and they bought no product either. However, cheap sensationalism dealing with sex is hardly a mature response to aything other than a desire to make sales.

As far as I know, that survey is the only large-scale piece of RPG market research done, at least since 1990 or so. It's all we have to go on as to RPG demographics (other than anecdotal evidence, of course).
Do we really know how reliable the WOtC survey was? I don't think so.

There was a fairly extensive survey done by Role-Playing Tips Weekly in conjunction with my website in which somewhere over 5K respondents were counted. The percentage of females there was well under 5%.

I know of one study being conducted by a post-graduate student. She is awaiting funding to proceed, but so far has developed what she believes is a statistically reliable sampling that shows a c. 7% female audience, I do not know the margin of error.

Cheeers,
Gary
 

Endur

Visitor
I think the gender imbalance has quite a bit of variability depending on the medium and the age.

I know a couple of 50 year old women who play the Baldur's Gate game on a game console. And I don't think either of them have ever played D&D on the table top, although they have probably played other computer games in the past as well.

I think rpg's in general are closer to the 10% figure with computer and on-line games having a higher % and Vampire games might be closest to 50%.

When my tabletop group of players (in their 30's) meets, we usually have my sister and my girlfriend, which means two of the half-dozen players are female.

Col_Pladoh said:
Do you really believe that figure? I certain do not, nor have I seen their documentation. Other surveys I have seen develop a much lower percentage of female gamers, something between 5% and 10%.

Cheers,
Gary
 
Col_Pladoh said:
Oops!

Missed this earlier.

There is a boxed "Primer" Lejendary Adventure RPG set now in play-testing, and it should be in print by spring. To compliment it I have just finished a campaign-base module so the new Lejend Masters who have picked up the boxed set will have solid material to use in creating their campaigns.

If all goes as planned, after these hit there will be two core rules supplements coming out, and then a series of hardback LA game books.

Cheers,
Gary
Very nice, It is always good to have solid material to help out the new groups that pick things up.
Ken
 
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