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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Faraer

Villager
Gary's said that he never considered Vecna (the creation of Brian Blume) part of the World of Greyhawk or used him in his campaign.
 

Joe123

Villager
Gary,

I notice that you answer questions in the order they appear, so why did you skip and not reply to my last question?

Joe123.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
It was probably missed because it was posed whilst Gary was answering another question, thus ending up sandwiched between his answers. It's happened once or twice to my own questions. :)

Gary, I was wondering:
Have you ever Dungeon Mastered an adventure designed by someone else?

It came to me that I primarily know you as an author/DM or (rarely) a player, but I wasn't sure of what experiences you have of DMing someone else's material.

Cheers!
 

Joe123

Villager
Actually Merric, my question was the last on the list, (not sandwiched between two of his answers). He answered the two questions before mine, waited perhaps a day or two…then resumed answering the several questions after mine.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
ColonelHardisson said:
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?
Hi Colonel:)

Faraer is correct about Vecna. I must admit I love the recent tales about the "Head of Vecna," though. your thought regarding the use of Vecna as a "boogy man" is excellent...providing the PCs have gained nis eye and/or hand. Perhaps he's want to add a few of their appendages and organs to his own repertorie in the process of gaining his own back.

As for Iuz, I surely did plan to keep him around as an arch-villain! the players detested him, and would respond vigorously to anything having to do with foiling his plans. I purposely made him full of hubris and disliked by most other Evil entities too, so as to have him with a large target on his back, despite which he would always survive and come back with new machinations. Wastri is another figure I planned to use in similar fashion.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Joe123 said:
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.
Joe123,

Noting your query, I went back a page and found your earlier post. Sorry, but I missed it somehow.

The opinions of some folks to the contrary, I have always "winged" most adventures--the exceptions being play-tests of material in a ms. for a module, and a few set-piece places I developed. All the outdoor adventures I ran, and most of the dungeon crawls were half or more made up on the spot.

When extemporizing, the GM must be prepared to handle all manner of unexpected actions by the players. If they are foolish, I always invent a number of opportunities for disaster. If the course taken is one that is clever and innovative, I add in rewards.

Before a party goes off on a likley disasterous course I will try to deter them from such action--wandering monsters have much usefulness in this regard.

As for "railroading," there are some scenarios where a bit of that is absolutely necessary to further the whole of the adventure. This is not to say that an entire adventure should be linear and force the party into a situation with a foregone conclusion. The use of a predetermined outcome should be only to set up an interesting and challenging scenario where the players are absolutely free to manage the outcome on their own, that outcome offering penalties for wrong decisions, rewards for correct ones, large rewards for innovation and creative solutions;)

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
MerricB said:
It was probably missed because it was posed whilst Gary was answering another question, thus ending up sandwiched between his answers. It's happened once or twice to my own questions. :)

Gary, I was wondering:
Have you ever Dungeon Mastered an adventure designed by someone else?

It came to me that I primarily know you as an author/DM or (rarely) a player, but I wasn't sure of what experiences you have of DMing someone else's material.

Cheers!
Howdy Merric:)

Right you are. Somehow I missed Joe123's post, but its TCO now.

I have indeed DMed a fair number of adventures using other designers' material. The SLAVE PITS series, for one, and another I used often for quick pick-up games was the ABDUCTION OF GOOD KING DESPOT, one of my favorite short scenarios.

Usually, though, players want to adventure in something I have created, so I do a lot of winged adventures outdoors or in the old Castle Greyhawk dungeons, or else use manuscript material I have on hand. To be absolutely truthful, I usually create new material on the spot for my own material that doesn't exactly follow what is written down, as circumstances alter cases :D

Cheers,
Gary
 
Col_Pladoh said:
Wastri is another figure I planned to use in similar fashion.

Cheers,
Gary
Poor forgotten Wastri, no one every gives him the respect he thinks he deserves :)
He and a few of his minions gave one of my groups a run for it a few times.

Ken
 

Golem Joe

Villager
Col_Pladoh said:
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.
Oh yeah, like current fans are going to pass on hardcover versions of the books. I'm with Cimerians. 2005 can't get here fast enough. Now if I could just finish that cryogenic chamber... ;)
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Joseph Elric Smith said:
Poor forgotten Wastri, no one every gives him the respect he thinks he deserves :)
He and a few of his minions gave one of my groups a run for it a few times.

Ken
Argh!

Forgetting "The Hopping Prophet" is an unforgivable thing guaranteed to bring doen a rain of toads!

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Golem Joe said:
Oh yeah, like current fans are going to pass on hardcover versions of the books. I'm with Cimerians. 2005 can't get here fast enough. Now if I could just finish that cryogenic chamber... ;)
Evening Golem Joe:)

Likely not, as having three hardbacks to replace five softcover books is a good thing. However, nobody will feel pressured to do so, and can picj up the hardbound volumes at their convenience, even wait until the paperback books start to fall apart. the latter are very sturdy, and my three-year-old copy is still in good shape despite frequent use,m some pretty hard on the spine;)

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
grodog said:
Perhaps it's time to start a part V Q&A thread, as this one seems to be getting rather large?
Yipe!

Eleven pages of this Q&A is indeed quite lengthy. If there's to be more posed for my response I should think it a fine idea to begin Part V of this thread... :eek:

Cheers,
Gary
 
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jokamachi

Explorer
Hey Gary,

I seem to remember reading that you enjoyed wargaming in the early days before D&D, so I'm curious as to what kind of experience you have with miniatures. How much effort did you and your friends put into miniatures at that time? Did you paint them with great detail or were they simply tokens for you to manipulate? Has that attitude changed? What about now? Do you still enjoy incorporating minis into your campaigns? Is it much harder since monsters have grown so fantastic in scope? How much attention/detail do these minis receive from you?

Lastly, I'm curious if you've seen the new minis line from Wizards. It has displayed a fair degree of success and seems to be pulling in thousands upon thousands of new minis fans by the week. Do you think that's good for the game (D&D)?

Sincerely, Jokamachi
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
ArthurQ said:
Col_Pladoh, where do you think D&D will be 5-10 years from now?
20?
That calls for some powerful crystal ball reading, amigo!

I have no doubt that D&D will be around in 10 years time. How popular it is then is really something that depends on what WotC and Hasbro do between now and then to make it what it will then be.

Right now nothing is being done to bring in new players, and if that isn't rectified, I believe the audience will contract by some few percent each year.

Competition from electroinic games is fierce, now capturing most of the young potential paper RPGers.

Cheers,
Gary
 
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