E. Gary Gygax passed away

Pages

AuthorTopic: E. Gary Gygax passed away
Shake Before Using
Member # 75
Profile #0
:(
Posts: 3234 | Registered: Thursday, October 4 2001 07:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #1
Yup

Troll Lord Games has a forum, and a thread 11 pages long on remembrances. Apparently Gary was involved with them up until his death.

I think TM lives near the Gygax compound.

[ Tuesday, March 04, 2008 13:22: Message edited by: Jumpin' Salmon ]

--------------------
Synergy, et al - "I don't get it."

Argon - "I'm at a loss for words..."
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 7557
Profile #2
Troll Lord Games? Link please?

--------------------
Death, chaos, destruction, my work here is just begining...
Posts: 942 | Registered: Sunday, October 8 2006 07:00
Apprentice
Member # 3673
Profile Homepage #3
It turns out that as you get older, the penalties to your saving throws add up, and eventually you fail one. And even the grandest of heroes eventually roll a natural 1 at the wrong time.
Posts: 19 | Registered: Monday, November 10 2003 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 6785
Profile #4
He was bound to fumble sometime. Still this marks an end of the age of paper RPGs. Pretty soon there won't be any of them left.
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #5
Gygax eventually went off on a weird ego trip, ranting in Dragon magazine about how his status as the 'inventor of the game' gave him some kind of absolute power over every customer's hobby. I expect this was why he was ousted from TSR shortly afterwards. And frankly he wasn't such a great gamemaster. His modules were overpacked with loot, and some of his creations were amazingly lame. (A half-toad theocrat known as 'the hopping prophet' sticks in my mind yet.) The best version of his rule system had a lot of awkward flaws in comparison with modern rule-sets: arbitrary features that just made the game less fun.

But he did invent the role playing game. His D&D co-author Dave Arneson had a precursor of the basic idea that characters gain power through experience, but Arneson's proto-RPG had exactly two levels. It wasn't really levelling as we know it, but something more like acquiring veteran status the ways units do in Civilization. Gygax invented the long road from 1st level to Nth, and with it the deep hierarchy of weak to über monsters, treasures, items, and areas, and all the baroque complexity without which no decent RPG can hold its head high.

In a rural library I once found an old book about how to play wargames with tabletop miniatures, which is where Gygax and Arneson started from. It was like Warhammer, but simpler, and usually historical in theme. Six sided dice, and some simple combat, morale and movement rules. It was really just about having something to do with your lead miniature Roman legions after you had painted them nicely. If I remember Gygax's accounts rightly, other people in this gaming community had already gotten interested in miniature games that represented fantasy adventures of small teams of heroes; but the rules were very simple, and there was no progression. Arneson took the first little step, but Gygax made it click.

E. Gary Gygax didn't just invent Dungeons & Dragons. He invented levelling. Saying that today sounds almost like saying that someone invented sex. It's such a basic feature in so many people's recreation, it seems like a fact of nature. But he started it.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #6
Added link.

--------------------
Synergy, et al - "I don't get it."

Argon - "I'm at a loss for words..."
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #7
I don't think this marks the end of P&P RPGS any more than elves and orcs fantasy died with Tolkien. Gygax played a crucial role in creating the games that we all play (or we wouldn't be on these forums, would we?), but he was just the first, not the last or even the best.

I never knew him personally, not even in the way one can know a journalist or blogger. I've played things he had a hand in, and while they were good I wouldn't go back to them. So farewell to a luminary of RPGs, but this doesn't change anything, really.

—Alorael, who of course acknowledges that P&P gaming is "under attack" from CRPGs and especially MMORPGs. You know what, though? Like radio and TVs, or like books and movies, the old format isn't going to die. Especially not when the new one can't do everything the old one can! Yet, anyway.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Shaper
Member # 7420
Profile Homepage #8
There would likely not be a Spiderweb Software without this man. Either that or Avernum would be a RTS and Geneforge a FPS... which probably wouldn't be as cool as it sounds. Were it not for me stealing a first edition copy of the Monster Manuel from my uncle when I was five, I might not be the magnificent Emperor before you today. The Tullegolite flag shall be flown at half mast in his honor.

--------------------
You lose.
Posts: 2156 | Registered: Thursday, August 24 2006 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 2984
Profile Homepage #9
quote:
He invented levelling. Saying that today sounds almost like saying that someone invented sex.
So levelling is like sex, but for RPG players?

:P

--------------------
The Noble and Ancient Order of Polaris - We're Not Yet Dead.
EncyclopediaBlades ForgeArchivesStatsRSS (This Topic / Forum) • BlogNaNoWriMo
Did-chat thentagoespyet jumund fori is jus, hat onlime gly nertan ne gethen Firyoubbit 'obio.'
Decorum deserves a whole line of my signature, and an entry in your bookmarks.
Posts: 8752 | Registered: Wednesday, May 14 2003 07:00
Shaper
Member # 7420
Profile Homepage #10
You're not a virgin after all!

--------------------
You lose.
Posts: 2156 | Registered: Thursday, August 24 2006 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 4153
Profile Homepage #11
Wow... I had no idea that concepts so basic to RPGs could have come from a single person. Granted, not entirely, but still. Truly a sad day.

:(

--------------------
Gamble with Gaea, and she eats your dice.
Posts: 4130 | Registered: Friday, March 26 2004 08:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 7538
Profile Homepage #12
A sad day for all RPGamers, to be sure. And most of them have probably never heard of him. (Ahem… WoW :rolleyes: )

Though I can assure you, paper RPGs aren't likely to die because of this. At least, no more than they already have.

--------------------
Do not provoke the turtles.
They do not like being provoked.

-Lenar

My website: Nemesis' Refuge
Posts: 743 | Registered: Friday, September 29 2006 07:00
Agent
Member # 8030
Profile Homepage #13
There was an amazing amount of occurrences in the news today. I never even saw this one. Though I've never even seen Dungeons and Dragons, I shall regard him with curiosity for a few minutes.

--------------------
Decca Records - "We don't like their sound. Groups of guitars are on the way out."
Posts: 1384 | Registered: Tuesday, February 6 2007 08:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #14
I actually have an original copy of Keep on the Borderlands by Gygax, together with a copy of the old Expert rules for D&D (back when there was Basic, Expert, and Advanced). I used to read through them when I was four or five, though they were a bit old even then. They must have been among the first things (together with Lone Wolf, also recently mentioned) that got me into fantasy in the first place.

--------------------
Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #15
I started with a home-brew game I made up, inspired by one session of the much more elaborate home-brew game of a much older family friend. We had no polyhedral dice, so we had pots of poker chips numbered with markers. This was not ideal because my brother, who was my only player, learned to palm the high score chips.

We graduated to the first 'Basic Set', which came out years before the Basic/Expert/Master line was introduced. It was supposed to be an all-in-one-box teaser to get people into Advanced D&D, which was beginning to come out in hardcover books. It used stripped-down rules, but weirdly. All weapons did d6 damage, but you were told that small weapons might strike twice per round, so that a pair of thumbtacks was twice as good as a claymore. It came with a really crappy set of polyhedral dice, that weren't quite symmetrical, were barely legible, and actually eroded visibly with use. I had the edition that was put out before TSR produced its 'modules', so it came with a bunch of random graphs and encounter tables for making instant dungeon adventures.

We graduated to AD&D as quickly as possible. My Monster Manual was second edition (not to be confused with AD&D Second Edition), but I had first edition Players' Handbook and DMG. There was a brief weird phase where the AD&D DM's Guide wasn't out yet, so that we had characters and monsters up to archmage and demon lord, but only the thin and lousy Basic Set rules for how to run a game. The Dungeon Master's Guide was in many ways a horribly written rulebook, but it was a profound revelation. That was when I really began to get the idea that one was seriously trying to simulate an entire world.

I wish now that I had bought the 'collector's edition' rules that were available in a boxed set in those days: the original set of three small paper-bound volumes written by Gygax and Arneson, that were the very first Dungeons and Dragons, on which Advanced D&D was supposed to be improving. From what I know about them, those original rules were pretty bad in many ways. But for history's sake, and for a quaint but somehow authentic flavor that I think I'd really enjoy now, I wish I had them.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 7252
Profile #16
This..I think..is worth mentioning here..

--------------------
But after revenge is taken, nothing remains but a painful scar...
You ain't evil until you hear this!
Looking for group to slaughter the world..
Posts: 732 | Registered: Saturday, June 24 2006 07:00
Shaper
Member # 247
Profile Homepage #17
Wow he sure was young.

--------------------
The Knight Between Posts.
Posts: 2395 | Registered: Friday, November 2 2001 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 6489
Profile Homepage #18
I still have the a few AD&D campaigns lying around somewhere.

--------------------
"Dumbledore returns from the dead and declares it to be hammertime, Harry proceeds to break it down, Voldemort is unable to touch this." —Dintiradan
Spiderweb Chat Room
Avernum RPSummariesOoCRoster
Shadow Vale - My site, home of the Spiderweb Chat Database, BoA Scenario Database, & the A1 Quest List, among other things.
Posts: 1556 | Registered: Sunday, November 20 2005 08:00
By Committee
Member # 4233
Profile #19
I was a First Edition player as a youth, and actively played through to the initial release of Third Edition, though I never had a true PnP session with those rules, as I graduated undergrad at that point and never was able to scrape together a gaming group after (no one ever seems to want to DM...).

So we have Gary Gygax to thank for grinding? :)

He really was kind of an abrasive guy, from what I understand. Going to undergrad and gaming in Wisconsin, I knew a number of people from the Lake Geneva area who had various and sundry ties to TSR, and the general impression I got from them was that he was a bit of a pariah. Vast improvements were made in the game going into Second Edition, IMO, changes which he had nothing to do with, and I think much of what's great about the game really is due to the work of Zeb Cook and others on his team.
Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #20
Interesting point: grinding is a purely CRPG phenomenon. No human gamemaster can tolerate running tons of boring fights or quests. When the GM doesn't have better ideas than that, what you get instead of grinding is just that nobody wants to be GM.

Perhaps also interesting: in my years as a DM, I found there was a sort of sweet spot in the degree of planning and preparation I made for a game. A sufficient skeleton of well-considered game ideas meant a story that engaged players' interests. But only if they also felt enough improvisatory slack could they see a chance to really affect how the story went. Then the players would really do creative things as well, instead of just observing. This made the PnP RPG experience.

--------------------
Listen carefully because some of your options may have changed.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 2984
Profile Homepage #21
From WikiQuote:

quote:
The new D&D is too rule intensive. It's relegated the Dungeon Master to being an entertainer rather than master of the game. It's done away with the archetypes, focused on nothing but combat and character power
He might be blamed for some things, but advocating Grinding isn't one of them. Note that "leveling" (as SoT attributed it to Gygax) does not refer to grinding at all, but to the basic concept of gaining experience which translate into points to be allocated to improve abilities. Grinding just means to play in a repetitive style that serves no other purpose than leveling.
Posts: 8752 | Registered: Wednesday, May 14 2003 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 6785
Profile #22
The modules that were made based on D&D certainly don't have much grinding to them, but they have the idea of a boss fight at the end. It was mostly leveling up to deal with more powerful monsters.

I started out on 1st edition Advanced D&D after all the books were out and still have my copies. I remember a friend hunting down copies of all the earlier books and related material as he built a library. The early issues of Dragon magazine were much better than what finally died last year. Gygax's columns were still readable before he and his company, TSR, parted ways.

2nd edition was different as it tried to fix the mistakes of the earler versions. Mostly it made powerful monsters like dragons actually something of a challenge instead of a treasure hoard waiting to be looted. In some ways it was better than 3rd edition that modified the player classes so they became less powerful and required more planning on what you wanted to do with your character.
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #23
Heh. I knew being lazy about ebaying my collection would pay off. I've got Dragon box Basic D&D, the old books, modules, and a couple of supplements from the 70's.

And I agree about the Dragon slide. I stopped subscribing at issue 110ish, and felt it had stopped being good even earlier.

--------------------
Synergy, et al - "I don't get it."

Argon - "I'm at a loss for words..."
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
By Committee
Member # 4233
Profile #24
Whether a system is particularly rule-intensive or not bears little correlation with the gaming experience; at the end of the session, it all hinges on the creativity of the DM and the willingness of the players to be cooperative.

Maybe we could make an analogy out of it:

grinding : leveling :: mobocracy : democracy

I guess then that Gygax could be considered the spiritual father of grinding. Grinding is the place-holder of content in cRPGs - it fills out the spaces where programmers these days can't afford more FMV. In older visually-oriented games, it made up almost the entire game, because it was difficult to meaningfully deliver content.

I'm of two minds about it: on the one hand, I hate the time it takes to grind to a level suitable to achieve the next goal; on the other hand, I also possess a neurotic fascination with tinkering around and building an optimal uber-character. Being rewarded for the choices I make or time I spend also appeals; I think this is why I've enjoyed playing D&D as opposed to games where characters had lower character "growth" rates; leveling creates an artificial incentive for continuing to play the game. Interestingly, since the best campaigns I played in tended to keep things fairly balanced with our characters' levels, capabilities, and inventory, it really didn't make much difference, though the DM would occasionally throw in a few low-level pawns of whomever we were going after at the time just so we could gauge how far we'd come, which was nice.

In the end, I think leveling/grinding is best when it is meaningfully tied in with choices you can make later. Planescape: Torment was excellent for this; actual levels served almost no purpose, except to help unlock different content, and if you explored the game fully to the end, no choice you would make would necessarily prevent you from reaching at least one of the game's endings. The more recent Final Fantasy games on the other hand instead just present the illusion of choice - ultimately, you're watching one story, and it's going to happen provided you grind to the point that you can reach the next step. If the stories are great, I don't necessarily have a problem with that, but it can be so tedious when they aren't.

EDIT: On a side-but-related note, when I was walking out of Safeway today and passing the book swap table, I saw that someone had put in the original "Curse of the Azure Bonds" gold box game, formatted for Macintosh, complete with box, diskettes, documentation, advertisements, and clue book. All in somewhat worn condition, but hey! what a find. I put my dollar in the donation barrel and walked out with it. Anyone know where I can find an original mac system emulator? :)

[ Wednesday, March 05, 2008 14:18: Message edited by: Drew ]
Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00

Pages