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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
blackshirt5 said:
Also, who were the Circle of Eight, and what classes were they? I know of Mordenkainen the Mage, but who were the others?

Well...

To be completely accurate, I'd have to do a search to find the ring binder in which all that information is kept. Haven't looked at it for almost 20 years now. From memory the original CoE was composed of my PCs--Mordenkainen, Bigby, Yrag, Rigby, Felnorith, Zigbie, Vram & Vin. In the novel version the Circle was expanded to encompass other PCs in my campaign such as Tenser.

It came into being because Mordenkainen and Associates had a lot og wealth stored up from successful adventuring, located a place for a stronghold deep in enemy territory to assure plenty of action, and then went to work building the citadel. As there was an small army of dwarves associted with the larger, mounted field army, the building project went relatively quickly, about three game years to complete. While it was in progress, the "boys" were active in raiding the lands around to keep the enemy forces back on their heels.

Cheers,
Gary
 

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Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Endur said:
I think the gender imbalance has quite a bit of variability depending on the medium and the age.

Quite so. When I am commenting in regards to a 10% female audience I am referring to paper & pencil RPGs, not LARPGs, or electronic forms, including online text/Chat gaming or MMP ones.

I have no relaible estimate of female participants in LARPing, but it is certainly above 10%, and might approach 50%. I have some information that places the computer "RPG" audience at in the 20% range, and online play higher, more like 30%.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Ed Cha

Community Supporter
Gary,

Speaking of dungeon romps and such, where are you taking your game to lately? Are you doing dungeons, forests, deserts, battlefields, castles, or something else?

Ed
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Ed Cha said:
Gary,

Speaking of dungeon romps and such, where are you taking your game to lately? Are you doing dungeons, forests, deserts, battlefields, castles, or something else?

Ed

Creatively, yes. All of the above plus a town and some villages.

My group is just starting in THE HERMIT adventure, but I've not GMed for a three weeks, and won't again until the middule of this month because work load.

Cheers Ed,
Gary
 

Fester

First Post
Hi Gary,

I have a number of links on my website which link to your old site - mainly your FAQ. I notice that the development of your new site seems to be fairly dorment (though looks could obviously deceive here). Any news on when you're hoping to get the new site up and running? And will you have the old FAQ there, or something similiar?
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Fester said:
Hi Gary,

I have a number of links on my website which link to your old site - mainly your FAQ. I notice that the development of your new site seems to be fairly dorment (though looks could obviously deceive here). Any news on when you're hoping to get the new site up and running? And will you have the old FAQ there, or something similiar?

Seems that my new webmaster has been innindated with various demands that heve prevented him from getting the website up and functioning:)

Soon...

Cheers
Gary
 

Hi Gary...

Looks like my letter got overlooked (top of page 7), no doubt due to the flood of letters you routinely receive. Any chance you could look over those questions for me?

Thanks in advance,

Sluggo
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Hi Sluggo!

Indeed I did miss the message below. As you are are likely a Little Lulu fan, how can I refuse to answer?

sluggo the sleazebag said:
Hey there Gary...

Glad to hear that Castle Z is moving right along. How exciting it must be to share it with your fans after all these years. In the meantime, I hope you won't mind fielding a couple design questions.

What I am working on now is what Rob would call backfill. Seeing as how the original setrting for the work can't be used, I am creating a large module with a campaign area of managable size that's filled with a lot of material that establishes the politics and society of the area, its ecomony and monetary system. There is a walled town, some small communities, a great inn, and all the surrounding terrain is described and keyed for encounters and random ones too, with many adventure hooks and five dungeon-level-like areas that I have yet to flesh out as I await the final monsters list for the C&C rules.

Meantime, Rob is outlining an add-on module that will introduce Zagyg's original residence in the area.

I'm sure you've had some great ideas pop up over the years. Ideas that, for one reason or another, you couldn't put to paper. What I want to know is: How much of Castle Z will absorb those sudden moments of satori, and how much of it will retain its original splendor?

The whole of the combined material Rob and I put together would be far too large for publication, 50 levels or so. What I have done is gone back to my original design of more modest scope, because I doubt the work will need to accommodate groups of 20 PCs delving on a daily basis.

As Rob learned from me, he too DMed by the proverbial seat of the pants method. A single line of notes for an encounter was sufficient for wither of us to detail a lengthy description, action, dialog, tricks or traps, and all the rest. As this is not the stuff of modules, we will have to do the same thing as we go over each encounter on the map, actually recording our otherwise extemporized details for the reader.

The most interesting and demanding features of levels will be retained, but the maps will have to be re-drawn from originals. the latter were altered as we merged dungeons, and as PCs interacted with the complex. At one time Robilar, Tenser, and Terik converted the first level of the dungeons to their base.

In short the original upper and lower parts of Castle Greyhawk changed many times over the years they were in active use. What we will do is to take the best of the lot and put that into a detailed format usable by anyone, no "winging-it' required. Noite that it is "Zagyg's Castle", so no tedious explanations of how the denizens of the place got there will be needed.

I'm also curious as to whether your extensive gaming experience has tempered the encounters therein or have you chosen to preserve the Castle as it first appeared when Robilar and company made their initial forays?

The desire to build upon one's early work is a temptation not easily overcome. You could hardly be condemned for doing so, but I imagine there's a percentage of fans who would hope for either result. What can you share about your design plans so far?

Sincerely,

Sluggo

To be frank, the castle changed over the years, so "original" is moot. As levels were added by me, new nad different things were introduced. When after a couple of year's of time Rob became my co-DM there was a massive alteration in the upper works of the castle, a whole, massive new 1st level was created, and then the level plan for the expanded lower levels of the dungeon was created anew, with the original levels of my making incorperated with those of Rob's dungeons, plus a number of new ones we created to fill the whole scheme.

Again, what our challenge is going to be is to cull the extraneous, take the best, and re-create the details we made up on the spot. Of course the most famous things will be there, along with most of the best parts that are not well-known through story and word of mouth. Of course, the expanded work's multiple levels will have to be cut back. Having six second level maps is not only impossible for a published work but quite unnecessary for a normal campaign.

Remember, when Castle Greyhawk was in its heyday, groups of 10 or more PCs would adventure in it several times a week, many of the players in each group different from the previous ones.

Cheers,
Gary
 



Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
sluggo the sleazebag said:
Thanks, Gary. The whole thing sounds great. I look forward to its publication (as with the Hall of Many Panes).

I had hoped that the Hall of Many Panes would be hitting the shops soon, but the Trolls inform me that the art for the cover has not come in, so it looks like the launch of the boxed campaign-sized module will be winter-spring 2004. Such is the life of a game designer :rolleyes:

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh said:
I had hoped that the Hall of Many Panes would be hitting the shops soon, but the Trolls inform me that the art for the cover has not come in, so it looks like the launch of the boxed campaign-sized module will be winter-spring 2004. Such is the life of a game designer :rolleyes:

Cheers,
Gary
Well we wait a bit longer, but it is coming out and that is the best part :)
ken
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Col_Pladoh said:
I had hoped that the Hall of Many Panes would be hitting the shops soon, but the Trolls inform me that the art for the cover has not come in, so it looks like the launch of the boxed campaign-sized module will be winter-spring 2004. Such is the life of a game designer :rolleyes:

About the only good thing I can say about that is that perhaps my finances will have recovered enough to afford it then.

But of course, if it came out now, I'd find the money. :)

I'm so looking forward to the HoMP. How long did it take your group to complete it, Gary?

Cheers!
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
MerricB said:
About the only good thing I can say about that is that perhaps my finances will have recovered enough to afford it then.

But of course, if it came out now, I'd find the money. :)

I'm so looking forward to the HoMP. How long did it take your group to complete it, Gary?

Cheers!

Heh, Merric;)

They took about 50 weeks to get through the whole of the module, and they generally played very expertly, so as to manage to get through some scenarios in an evening's play that I thought would take at least twice that. On balancem though, any veteran group should be able to manage it in 40-60 sessions of 3-4 hours playing time.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
Hi Col_Pladoh mate! :)

I hope you and the family are keeping well?

Any update on those 'hush hush' secret Graphic Novel adaptations of a certain Rogues adventures? Or is it still too early to talk about them? :p
 

mossfoot

First Post
Hey Gary ;)

How hard do you find it to keep a solid game going and work on so many different projects? I mean, I barely have a once a week game going on over here with my job and stuff!

Yeah, this is partly an excuse to say Hi somewhere else, but I am honestly curious, too ;)
 


Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Upper_Krust said:
Hi Col_Pladoh mate! :)

I hope you and the family are keeping well?

Any update on those 'hush hush' secret Graphic Novel adaptations of a certain Rogues adventures? Or is it still too early to talk about them? :p

Argh!

A sore subject that.

Because of the poor market for comics, there is now a question of the project going forward:(

I have a query into the licensee, but no response yet--just sent it on Monday. It has brought me to wonder about our not incluiding a "print or pay" clause in the contract, though, ala films. Option money being small, the publisher has no real incentive to go forward in many cases without such a requirement.

If this goes into the dumper I will be most sad. Keep your fingers crossed that we can find a way for it to happen despite the bad market conditions.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
mossfoot said:
Hey Gary ;)

How hard do you find it to keep a solid game going and work on so many different projects? I mean, I barely have a once a week game going on over here with my job and stuff!

Yeah, this is partly an excuse to say Hi somewhere else, but I am honestly curious, too ;)

Heh, Noah...

Love the mini ads for Fuzzy Knights!

Funny you should mention my campaign. As a matter of fact I cancelled four sessions so as to be able to keep up with work. We resume play this month on the 15th.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
grodog said:
Gary---

Thanks for the extensive update on the Castle project. Do you plan to include the Black Reservoir in it? BTW, I finally put the story of that Castle Greyhawk exploration episode up on my site at http://www.greyhawkonline.com/grodog/gh_castle_black_reservoir1.html :D

Darn! Thanks for posting the link:)

Allan, I had totally forgotten that lurid tale I wrote. It was a dramatization of an actual dungeon adventure into the enlarged Castle Greyhawk that Rob and I co-DMed, of course, and an accurate one too. The strange rod was a Dirdir laser pistol gained from adventuring through a gate that brought PCs to the "Pkanet of Adventure" and the "Carabas" thereof.

Anyway, I have the map of the level, of ourse, and it might make it into the revised form we need to have so as to have a product that is publishable. At worst it can be used as a potential add-on module to the main levels.

So I have saved the story and will see what can be done in regards including the level in the Zagyg's Castle project.

Cheers,
Gary
 

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