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
V_Shane said:
Would love to see the map on that!
My hand-drawn map covers an area of c. 44 by 34 miles extent, with descriptive text expanding it to a possible 64 by 54. I am hopeful that Darlene will do the map, as she did the original World of Greyhawk pair. I put her in touch with Troll Lord Games in this regard.

Anyway, the size was kept relatively small so as to be such that it could be dropped into a campaign world setting without undue difficulty;)

Cheers,
Gary
 

Joe123

Villager
Hi Gary,

I understand that you are the author of the rulebooks for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st edition). I am curious as to why you renamed the game from Dungeons and Dragons to AD&D?

thanks,
Joe123.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
khyron1144 said:
Dear Esteemed Mr. Gygax, inventor of my hobby, and chief deity of my pantheon,
How does it feel to be an adjective? see here
I bet they got what the term means wrong too.
I apologize, if this has been asked before.
Feel free to call me Gary, as I am a fellow gamer, right?

The term in question simply makes me shake my head in wonder. So many people opining without any actual knowledge to base their assertions upon is astonishing to me.

I read those posts, and I had to chuckle. Nobody seems to know what "Gygaxian" means. I sure don't after perusing the lot. there's a considerable amount of confusion in regards to my DMing style, and not a few people there blowing hard without having an inkling of what it is like.

If I set out to kill PCs, how on earth did Tenser, Robilar, and the rest ever get to relatively high levels? What the whiners don't like are adventure situations where they lose their PCs due to their own inept play. My modules don't suffer fools lightly :D

One poster was quite on target by mentioning running away as an option...


Any advice on how a ferret might level? I gave my brother's PC a ferret as a sort of NPC buddy. This creates some unusual situations. Gold is being split two ways between my brother's PC and his Elf NPC buddy, but monster experience is split three ways. There was enough treasure in the first dungeon to let my brother's Thief go up to level four in one adventure, while the Elf went up a level too. The ferret is lagging by a bit. [this D&D where Elf is a charater class and there are three alignments].

I'm creative enough to come up with a solution myself, but some advice from the master is always apreciated.
There's not much advice I can give in regards the ferret--cool little critters, ferrets ;) I assume you are increasing the familiars HP and attack chance for it's part in adventuring success. You might also increase it's AC as it learns to move and dodge even more quickly.

As an aside, I don't think you should ever allow a PC to gain more than one level from an adventure success.

Hope that served to answer your question.

Cheers.
gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
cimerians said:
2004 and 2005 could not arrive quicker for me!

LA, box sets, hardbacks, C&C, Z's Castle............I must say, lots to look forward to!!
Whoa! Now I feel guilty not producing faster. I am in the midst of trying to pare doen the LA game monsters to a suitable size for a primer set, and it is so hard. So many great crutters, so little space...

The hardbacks will follow paperback core rules supplements, as we don't want the fans who have the current books to feel we are forcing them to buy the new editions.

The ZAGYG'S CASTLE project is a really massive one, so I need to clear the decks of most of the other major undertakings like the boxed set and revised LA editions so as to concentrate for a couple of years on completing the castle and dungeon levels. All of this should keep me out of trouble and not complaining of boredom for some time to come :rolleyes:

Heh,
Gary
 
Col_Pladoh said:
My hand-drawn map covers an area of c. 44 by 34 miles extent, with descriptive text expanding it to a possible 64 by 54. I am hopeful that Darlene will do the map, as she did the original World of Greyhawk pair. I put her in touch with Troll Lord Games in this regard.

Anyway, the size was kept relatively small so as to be such that it could be dropped into a campaign world setting without undue difficulty;)

Cheers,
Gary
That would be fantastic if you can get Darlene to do it.
ken
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Indigo Rose said:
My husband and I are anxiously awaiting both the C&C game and Zagyg's Castle, especially after reading all that it will entail! I'm drooling on my keyboard here! Not pretty, but true... :eek: As soon as I hear that pre-orders are being taken, I'm plunking my $$$ down! There's not much I'm willing to buy rpg-wise, sight unseen, but Zagyg's Castle and C&C definitely both make the cut. :)
Well, Indigo Rose...

I am not sure when the Trolls will be releasing the first of the ZC material, as I haven't turned anything over yet. As I mentioned, I am awaiting the monster roster for the C&C rules so as to be able to populate some dungeon-like areas included in the camapign base module, Yggsburgh.

Meantime that are working on the dual d20/LA game system HALL OF MANY PANES boxed set module and the LA primer boxed set. Hmmm... Looks as if I have gotten them into a lot of boxed set work with my writing.

Heh,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Indigo Rose said:
This is another project I'm looking forward to. We've already got the "complete" LA rules, but (and maybe this is just because we're getting older and our brains just aren't as flexible as they used to be!) we've had a difficult time wrapping our heads around the different game concepts. In other words, we keep wanting to refer to AC, hit points, etc. I'm hoping that the boxed set will be to LA what the old "Basic" boxed sets were to AD&D back in the early 80's, and I can just ease my way into the game! :D If we had a LA gaming group in the area, it would probably be easier on us, but it's just the two of us right now. Lots of things to look forward to!

Indigo Rose
Knight of the Woeful Countenance
I know what you mean! When I write the LA game I purposely used as many new terms for the established D&D ones so as to assist the new participant to think in LA game terms, for the system plays differently, and requires a shift of gears from a class-based RPG to a skill-bundle-based one that is rules-light.

Surf on over to www.lejendary.com and download the free "LA Quickstart Rules" pdf. Just reading it will likely serve, but it is a complete and ready to play adventure with sic pre-generated characters included, lots of advice for the new Lejend Master too :cool:

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Joe123 said:
Hi Gary,

I understand that you are the author of the rulebooks for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st edition). I am curious as to why you renamed the game from Dungeons and Dragons to AD&D?

thanks,
Joe123.
Howdy Joe:)


The AD&D game was suibstantially different from the D&D game being revised at the same time AD&D was written, so to distinguish the one sysyem from the other it was determined that "Advanced" should be included in the title, dor AD&D ahead of D&D in new concepts and details. The two systems played quite differently, but came from the same base.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Joseph Elric Smith said:
That would be fantastic if you can get Darlene to do it.
ken
Serendipity, Ken!

Darlene emailed mr some months back to say "hi," and let me know how things were going. Shortly after an exchange of such messages, the ZAGYG'S CASTLE project began to move forward, so I mentioned to her that perhaps she might be interested in doing the map. So now Darlene and the Trolls are in correspondence regarding the matter. Hope that they can reach an agreement ;)

Cheers,
Gary
 

Particle_Man

Villager
This will sound really dumb, but it has been bugging me.

What is the historical/mythic/game balance/whatever reason that monks in 1st ed AD&D were forbidden to use burning oil? Was the oil too chaotic? What it just to accentuate the different nature of monks?

Just wondering...for the last 21 years...
 

Joe123

Villager
Hello Gary, :)

How important is the ability of “winging” an adventure? Particularly, when players take actions the DM did not expect. Apparently, allowing players true freedom in determining their PC’s action provides them a better gaming experience. Is “railroading” something the DM should strive to avoid. If so, then to what extent should the DM give freedom to the players when they choose a course of action the DM may not have accounted for?

thanks,
Joe123.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
jokamachi said:
Hey Gary,

This is a bit off-topic, but do you have any thoeries about the Kennedy assassination?

Jokamachi
Not much in the way of a theory, only that I am convinced that more than one shooter was involved, and that likely Oswald wasn't the one who hit JFK.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Particle_Man said:
This will sound really dumb, but it has been bugging me.

What is the historical/mythic/game balance/whatever reason that monks in 1st ed AD&D were forbidden to use burning oil? Was the oil too chaotic? What it just to accentuate the different nature of monks?

Just wondering...for the last 21 years...
Return with me now to those thrilling days of yesteryear...

That's what I have to do to try and remember why the proscription was placed on the class. As I recall, it was both deemed as too Chaotic and also to serve as a distinction, as all classes were restricted in one way or another in reagrds to weapons or poison. A monk hurling multiple pots of oil in a round just doesn't seem right somehow :rolleyes:

Cheers,
Gary
 

ColonelHardisson

What? Me Worry?
Hiya Gary! I have a question that I'm sure has been asked before, but I figured I'd ask again.

In your original vision for Greyhawk, did gunpowder work? If you had projected ahead in Greyhawk's history, and worked on a campaign along the lines of something like the "Greyhawk 2000" article from Dragon a couple years back, would gunpowder be readily manufactured? Is there anything that would prevent gunpowder from being made, or if it was made, anything that would keep it from being combustible, at least combustible enough to prevent its use in firearms?
 

Bregh

Villager
Didn't Don Kaye's PC Murlynd pack (and use) a pair of six-shooters?

Related to Col. H's question, then, how did Murlynd come by 'em (or, perhaps, how did he come to be in GH)?
 

ColonelHardisson

What? Me Worry?
Bregh said:
Didn't Don Kaye's PC Murlynd pack (and use) a pair of six-shooters?

Related to Col. H's question, then, how did Murlynd come by 'em (or, perhaps, how did he come to be in GH)?
As I recall, there was some mention about how the guns only worked for Murlynd. So the question remains.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
ColonelHardisson said:
Hiya Gary! I have a question that I'm sure has been asked before, but I figured I'd ask again.

In your original vision for Greyhawk, did gunpowder work? If you had projected ahead in Greyhawk's history, and worked on a campaign along the lines of something like the "Greyhawk 2000" article from Dragon a couple years back, would gunpowder be readily manufactured? Is there anything that would prevent gunpowder from being made, or if it was made, anything that would keep it from being combustible, at least combustible enough to prevent its use in firearms?
Well Suh!

I do not believe that magic and gunpowder technology mix well. It can be done, as Stanly Weinbaum proved in his post-catyclysm fantasy novel...the title of which escapes me at the moment. There was a spell that sset off gunpowder and like explosives at a considerable distance. Having gunbpowder weapons really moves the game from the fantasy genre to some other, wierd or science fantasy. Which brings me to the short answer:

No, I didn't have working gunpowder nor did I contemplate having gunpowder weapons in the campaign.

See my next reply for the answer to a seeming anomaly in my response;)

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Bregh said:
Didn't Don Kaye's PC Murlynd pack (and use) a pair of six-shooters?

Related to Col. H's question, then, how did Murlynd come by 'em (or, perhaps, how did he come to be in GH)?
Howdy!

The strange wands that Murlynd used made a loud noise and delivered a damaging missile, but neither effect was due to gunpowder. These were very rare magic items devised by Murlynds arcane understanding of technology and how to make it function magically;)

The LA game has an Extraordinary Item known as Kaydon's Thunderous Bolters, each weapon having six charges that renew after a relatvely long period of time. They are not gunpowder weapons, and exactly one pair exist in my campaign after sever years of play involving about 20 different players.

Cheers,
Gary
 

ColonelHardisson

What? Me Worry?
Thanks for the quick response, Gary! It's most appreciated. Another question: just for the sake of discussion, let's say you had wanted to have gunpowder exist in a modern/future Greyhawk setting. Do you have any thoughts on how it's existence would have come about, such as who might've invented/manufatured it?

Another question, which I know has been addressed to some extent:

I know Vecna wasn't your creation (I forget whose it was). Did you ever use the character as anything but the backstory for the Hand and Eye? That is, did he ever make a "personal appearance" at some point? I never thought much of the way Vecna was made a god by those who worked on Greyhawk after you left. Had you ever contemplated making him a god? Or was he always to remain a campaign "boogie man"? My own thoughts were to bring him back along the lines of the ancient Acheron wizard in R.E. Howard's "Hour of the Dragon" (if I am remembering correctly), and have him come looking to collect him missing appendages. Any thoughts?

And, did you ever have any plans for Iuz's future?
 
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