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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Gez

Villager
Of the Origin of Species...

I thought it had been asked previously, but haven't found it in the archive.

What's the origin of the beholder?
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
med stud said:
Hi Gary (and merry christmas and happy new year!!)

I was wondering something about the names of Erythnul and Nerull; Erythno means red or something like that in latin or greek, and nero means black. Did you name Erythnull and Nerull with that in mind?
Yuletide Greetings, Med Stud,

You are on target with the above. Erythnul was conceived of a bloody, Nerull as dark and against life.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
mistere29 said:
Well what versions of the material do you use in your AD&D games today. That's what i was really interested in. Or do you play mostly LA now?

Thanks for all the info.
Right-o!

My regular campaign for the last six years has been a Lejendary Adventure game one. When I DM OAD&D I will use the UA material is the players are up for that, otherwise not. I have never played the OA material as written, but I have played in a game run by Francois using his Oriental rules. In fact I returned a thick folder of his Far East material to him on a visit to France back in the late 90s.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Gez said:
Of the Origin of Species...

I thought it had been asked previously, but haven't found it in the archive.

What's the origin of the beholder?
Howdy Gez,

I do believe that the question has been asked and answered previously, but it's not a problem to respond again.

Terry Kuntz, one of Rob's brothers, came up with the beholder back in 1974. All I needed to do was a bit of editing to make it a great addition to the terrible monsters to be found in the D&D game.

Happy New Year,
Gary
 
Gary,

I write this not as a freelance game designer of any accomplishment, but as a lowly fanboy who has enjoyed your work for the past 20 years, so please don't take offense to my questions.

I know your opinion of 3rd edition is that it is overly complicated with too many things that are too rigidly defined. How do you reconcile that with the fact that Mythus, a game of your creation, must be one of the most complicated collections of RPG rules ever committed to paper and ink? Granted, Lejendary Adventures is a much simpler system, but I am curious what your thoughts are on this.

Along similar lines, why was the Mythus Bestiary mostly a collection of animals? Wouldn't the game have been better served by catalog monsters? When I first purchased that book, I was under the impression that you intended the primary non-human adversareis to be monsters, but then the number of monsters in Necropolis clearly challenged that assumption.

Necropolis and Epic of Aerth were both excellent books, by the way. I was able to use the Epic of Aerth for an AD&D campaign somewhere in the mid-90s, and I'm extremely happy that Necropolis has been converted to D20. I'm still waiting for the right opportunity to use it, though I'm sure that Hall of Many Panes (I think is what you're calling it) may knock that out of immediate contention.

Thank you for taking the time to grace these forums with your presence! I wish you well in 2004.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Whisperfoot said:
Gary,

I write this not as a freelance game designer of any accomplishment, but as a lowly fanboy who has enjoyed your work for the past 20 years, so please don't take offense to my questions.
New Year's Greetings,

IMO any gamer worth his salt is a fanboy of someone. As I have stated often I sure was. shows enthusiasm and dedication :D

I know your opinion of 3rd edition is that it is overly complicated with too many things that are too rigidly defined. How do you reconcile that with the fact that Mythus, a game of your creation, must be one of the most complicated collections of RPG rules ever committed to paper and ink? Granted, Lejendary Adventures is a much simpler system, but I am curious what your thoughts are on this.
Indeed, I wrote the DJ Mythus game as a varitable encyclopadia of rules, but the Journey Master was free to strip the system down to a bare framework, add on those parts desired, while the expurgated rules played as well as the delux version with all the bells and whistles. Getting the system to work like that was a challenge. When I turned over the mss. for the core rules to GDW, I urged that the Mythus Prime book be done first so as to demonstrate that the base system was fairly simple. When GDW finally published the introductory rules sales really jumped.

The Lejendary Adventure system is the rules-light refinement of the concept, and it is as adaptable to rules additions as was Mythus Prime, only I don't plan to provide complexities and complications, because I don't like to GM or play such games.

Along similar lines, why was the Mythus Bestiary mostly a collection of animals? Wouldn't the game have been better served by catalog monsters? When I first purchased that book, I was under the impression that you intended the primary non-human adversareis to be monsters, but then the number of monsters in Necropolis clearly challenged that assumption.
There was the Phaerie Bestiary in progress, that work by Dave and Michelle Newton, with some creative input from me, that was meant to cover all of the fantastic monsters and races. I believe that the draft of that work was available online at the DJ fan website for a while, although I can't swear to it. The same is true for the horror rules Unhallowed, and perhaps the fantasy science ones, Chaos Changling.

Necropolis and Epic of Aerth were both excellent books, by the way. I was able to use the Epic of Aerth for an AD&D campaign somewhere in the mid-90s, and I'm extremely happy that Necropolis has been converted to D20. I'm still waiting for the right opportunity to use it, though I'm sure that Hall of Many Panes (I think is what you're calling it) may knock that out of immediate contention..
Thanks kindly. I spend an inordinate amount of time researching information for the Epic of Aerth world setting, and Necroplois was a like labor of love--a campaign setting with the main dungeon adventure one that was as deadly as the old ToH...

The Hall of Many Panes is a very different sort of module from Necropolis, it being a self-contained mini-campaign where the participants are committed to long-term adventuring in order to complete the quest and escape the pocket cosmos. Of course I provide the group with a way out of it is too much, but veteran gamers are not going to be quitters, and the range of challenges in the module cover the whole gamut of the game form, with plenty of exploration and combat because those are the most popular elements.

In summation, the two modules are quite different, and i hope you'll have much entertainment with both!

Thank you for taking the time to grace these forums with your presence! I wish you well in 2004.
Welcome, and rest assured I am happy to be here with fellow gamers...even if so far I am the only one in the whole group age 60 and older :rolleyes:

Cheers,
Gary
 

mistere29

Villager
What ever happened to DJ. I heard that tsr got the right's in a lawsuit or something like that.

In between leaving tsr and creating LA what was your system of choice gary? Did you still play alot of AD&D or did you switch over to DJ?
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
mistere29 said:
What ever happened to DJ. I heard that tsr got the right's in a lawsuit or something like that.

In between leaving tsr and creating LA what was your system of choice gary? Did you still play alot of AD&D or did you switch over to DJ?
Fact is that when I separated from TSR I began work immediately on a horror RPG--played the developing system. A chap named Mike McCulley joined me in the design, and that game was ready for publication before Mythus was. About that time, though, NEC and JVC got interested in the system, asked for a fantasy game, so that's when I rounded up Dave Newton so as to get Mythus complewted on the time table they asked for.

When the new FRPG was introduced at the GTS, a lawsuit was filed by TSR, they claiming it violated the copyright of A/D&D. Quite a stretch that, but only a judge intimately familiar with RPGs would know that and dismiss it. So what followed was a long period of discovery and depositions that ran up a huge lawyers' bill--far more on the TSR end than on ours, four to one is likely. Eventually the suit was settled. TSR paid us a very large sum and they got all the rights to the DJ system and Mythus.

I suggested to TSR (Lorraine Williams) that the next time I wrote a new RPG they just offer me $1 million for the rights to it, thus saving at least that much money.

Immediately after the settlement, I began working on CRPG designs, and that led me in a couple of years to the development of the Lejendary Adventure game system.

Cheers,
Gary
 

Silver Moon

Villager
Hello Col_Pladoh,

A "Boot Hill" question for you. In the first Dungeon Masters Guide there are guidelines for Boot Hill/AD&D crossover games. My question is, Did you or Buckshot Blume ever play or DM one? I ask because my group is currently playing our third module in a D&D/Boot Hill hybrid campaign and we are having a great time with it.
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Silver Moon said:
Hello Col_Pladoh,

A "Boot Hill" question for you. In the first Dungeon Masters Guide there are guidelines for Boot Hill/AD&D crossover games. My question is, Did you or Buckshot Blume ever play or DM one? I ask because my group is currently playing our third module in a D&D/Boot Hill hybrid campaign and we are having a great time with it.
Well, Pilgrim...

The short answer is no. While we did some testing to see that the suggestions actually worked all right, we never did get to a real campaign. That was due to Brian being involved in other things and not having time to devise the basis for a mixed D&D-BH setting.

I really like the idea of mixing magic and Wild West play, and it is great to learn you and your group have done it and are enjoying the result:) I don't know if this is the proper form for a recounting of your campaign, but I'd sure like to hear more! Maybe an email to me at ggygax@genevaonline.com if you have time and inclination.

Cheers,
Gary
 

redwing00

Villager
Gary- I'm not quite sure if this question has been asked before as it seems to be a fairly simple one, but how did you pick the races for D&D? In 1ed only dwarves, elves, "hobbits", and humans were PC races. I'm guessing this was drawn from LotR. But in 2ed gnomes came in. What source did you draw these creatures from.
 

johnsemlak

Villager
If I may, I'd like to humbly add one more detail about DJ--The rights to those products are now owned by Wizards of the Coast (like all other TSR material). PDF versions of three of the products are on sale at www.svgames.com. I wish they'd put out the Epic of Aerth. That's the one I'd really like.
 

Whitey

Villager
Let's rewind time to 1986 - I was eight years old at the time. My friend's older brother was playing D&D [Palace of Silver Princes, IIRC] and I've been fascinated ever since. Thanks for fifteen + years of entertainment, and for your contributions to the RPG community as a whole. I have just one question to pose here, out of the thousands that've come up since then, and have been the root of great RP experiences - it's a tricky epistemological one, and may not have a simple answer. Do evil Outsiders or creatures listed as 'always evil' think of themselves as doing wrong? Or do they think everyone else is being naive or weak? I suppose Good subtyped beings raise a similar issue.

Thanks again,
Whitey
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
redwing00 said:
Gary- I'm not quite sure if this question has been asked before as it seems to be a fairly simple one, but how did you pick the races for D&D? In 1ed only dwarves, elves, "hobbits", and humans were PC races. I'm guessing this was drawn from LotR. But in 2ed gnomes came in. What source did you draw these creatures from.
Howdy!

Fact is that dwarves and elves came from mythology and folklore, the hobbit from JRRT's work. That mix was selected to attract readers of the "Rings Trilogy," of course. Later on I added gnomes to D&D to broaden the choices for non-human PCs, as I did in AD&D. This was done because a number of players, myself included, were tired of having so many dwarves, elves, and halflings in the group of adventurers. In my campaign a party of 12 would have three front rank halflings, a second rank of dwarves, elves in the third rank, and the fourth rank the humans--mainly magic-users and clerics.

Cheers,
Gary








'
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
Whitey said:
Let's rewind time to 1986 - I was eight years old at the time. My friend's older brother was playing D&D [Palace of Silver Princes, IIRC] and I've been fascinated ever since. Thanks for fifteen + years of entertainment, and for your contributions to the RPG community as a whole. I have just one question to pose here, out of the thousands that've come up since then, and have been the root of great RP experiences - it's a tricky epistemological one, and may not have a simple answer. Do evil Outsiders or creatures listed as 'always evil' think of themselves as doing wrong? Or do they think everyone else is being naive or weak? I suppose Good subtyped beings raise a similar issue.

Thanks again,
Whitey
Salut!

Semantics can be a problem. "Outsiders" is a prooblem term with me, as I don't think it appropos in describing creatures and entities of unusual sort. Ah well, that aside, semantics is a problem in regards to defining "evil" and "wrong."

In my view those wholly evil creatures are malign and purposefully wicked. To their way of thinking, "wrong" is desirable, mainly when they are doing it to others, not being done themselves. Of course they consider all others not of the same mindset as naive, weak, foolish, and gullible. "Wrong" is subjective, something the non-evil creatures have invented, and a weakness connected to conscience, something the evil ones do not have.

A W.C. Fields line is a working axiom for evil: "Never give a sucker an even break."

That's how I see it ;)

Gary
 

mistere29

Villager
Gary, i didn't know you worked in the CRPG field. What games did you work own.

Did you ever play much DJ before you created LA, or did you kind of give up on it when TSR got the rights?
 

Col_Pladoh

Gary Gygax
mistere29 said:
Gary, i didn't know you worked in the CRPG field. What games did you work own.

Did you ever play much DJ before you created LA, or did you kind of give up on it when TSR got the rights?
There was a DJ/Mythus CRPG being done by NEC-JVC that I was inputing on, and had written a comic book introduction for. that was killed when TSR files its bogus lawsuit. I then did about 30 computer game proposals, two got optioned and were going forward. The first was killed by us when new management demanded contract changes that were impossible. The second was axed when the developer was sold off. That is when I returned to paper RPGs.

The development of the DJ game system went on for about five years. During that time I played the horror game for about two years and the fantasy game for about the same period. It got so that I could turn out a dozen completed Heroic Personas in a day's time;) When we took TSR's settlement money I did indeed cease playing the DJ system and begin on new ones for the CRPGs. As I mentioned, that exercise convinced me that I really preferred a rules-light system with skill-bundles, so the LA game system was born.

Cheers,
Gary
 

grodog

Adventurer
attn Moderators!

Hey someone with Moderator status----

A moderator was kind enough to place Part IV of this series in the archive meta-forum; would someone please do the same for parts 1-3 as well (you can back-track through the links from 4 to 3 to 2 to 1).
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
Allan, I've moved them for you. As a note, I also changed the titles of the first two to include the words, "Part I" and "Part II" to make searching easier.

Can't lose these babies to obscurity! That'd be like losing Louis Armstrong's jam tracks! :)
 
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