Gary Gygax wrote my gaming manifesto back in 1975.

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Geoffrey
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Gary Gygax wrote my gaming manifesto back in 1975.

Post by Geoffrey » Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:43 am

Dave and I disagree on how to handle any number of things, and both of our campaigns differ from the "rules" found in DandD. If the time ever comes when all aspects of fantasy are covered and the vast majority of its players agree on how the game should be played, DandD will have become staid and boring indeed. Sorry, but I don't believe that there is anything desirable in having various campaigns playing similarly to one another. DandD is supposed to offer a challenge to the imagination and to do so in many ways. Perhaps the most important is in regard to what the probabilities of a given situation are. If players know what all of the monster parameters are, what can be expected in a given situation, exactly what will happen to them if they perform thus and so, most of the charm of the game is gone. Frankly, the reason I enjoy playing in Dave Arneson's campaign is that I do not know his treatments of monsters and suchlike, so I must keep thinking and reasoning in order to "survive". Now, for example, if I made a proclamation from on high which suited Mr. Johnstone, it would certainly be quite unacceptable to hundreds or even thousands of other players. My answer is, and has always been, if you don't like the way I do it, change the bloody rules to suit yourself and your players. DandD enthusiasts are far too individualistic and imaginative a bunch to be in agreement, and I certainly refuse to play god for them -- except as a referee in my own campaign where they jolly well better toe the mark.
(This is a quote from a letter of Gary's published in Alarums and Excursions #2, July 1975. Full text of letter transcribed here: http://www.acaeum.com/forum/viewtopic.p ... ead#unread )

What can I say other than that I agree with the above quote. Every. Single. Word.
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Re: Gary Gygax wrote my gaming manifesto back in 1975.

Post by goodmangames » Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:25 am

Wow. That is inspiring. I too agree with all of it. Great inspiration!
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Thane
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Re: Gary Gygax wrote my gaming manifesto back in 1975.

Post by Thane » Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:27 am

Ah the magic :)

Love it!
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Re: Gary Gygax wrote my gaming manifesto back in 1975.

Post by Machpants » Sat Apr 14, 2012 1:38 pm

That is a great find. There are so many games embracing that idea again. I just listened to the Atomic Array podcast with the creator of Lamentations of the Flame Princess on it... a great listen and he too plays like this. There are NO monster stats in the rules apart from a couple of examples on how to create monsters. Even mainstream WotC DnD is going for this with DnD Next, they really are trying to make a game which can suit all tastes- just plug in your modules. Man I hope they succeed!
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Re: Gary Gygax wrote my gaming manifesto back in 1975.

Post by ragboy » Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:56 pm

Funny -- this is the exact opposite trajectory than the one that the 3.X / 4.0 game took. I think that's another of the reasons I tired of 3.X. As a player, you always knew the odds.
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Re: Gary Gygax wrote my gaming manifesto back in 1975.

Post by Karaptis » Sat Apr 14, 2012 10:06 pm

Also in 3.x the players were one cloak and tights away from being superheroes. Who needs odds in that min/maxing nightmare!

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Re: Gary Gygax wrote my gaming manifesto back in 1975.

Post by rabindranath72 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 2:31 am

Considering the later AD&D and subsequent games he wrote, I wonder how much Gary changed his mind, or simply realised that the number of players interested in a more "codified" approach to games was the largest majority. Myself, I don't like having to consistently come up with new rules and new critters every time I play. With gaming time very limited, a game with e.g. no bestiary is not very useful to me.

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Re: Gary Gygax wrote my gaming manifesto back in 1975.

Post by Karaptis » Sun Apr 15, 2012 4:41 am

A lot of really good and unique monsters from Fiend Folio and MM2 were never used much by most parties or DMs. In fact, there is a first edition podcast out there called Roll for Initiative that has a segment where they encounter such unused creatures.

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Re: Gary Gygax wrote my gaming manifesto back in 1975.

Post by DCCfan » Sun Apr 15, 2012 5:47 am

I love this. Especially the last line of that quote. I would wear that T-shirt while DMing a DCC game. :twisted:
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Re: Gary Gygax wrote my gaming manifesto back in 1975.

Post by finarvyn » Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:59 am

The evolution from "GM knows all" to "player knows all" is an interesting one in the development newer editions of D&D, and I'll confess that once the players know too much I think the magic goes out of the game. It no longer becomes a battle against the unknown, but a challenge to defeat the known.

It's like chess. Every piece is well defined so that a master can predict several moves ahead. A challenge, but lacking in certain aspects of fun and imagination.
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Re: Gary Gygax wrote my gaming manifesto back in 1975.

Post by shadewest » Sun Apr 15, 2012 12:26 pm

finarvyn wrote: It no longer becomes a battle against the unknown, but a challenge to defeat the known
So true. Back when I was running 3.5 players complained that I used a lot of monsters from MMII, and considered it cheating when I came up with an original creature. DCC RPG embraces the home brew philosophy, and players need to be ready to embrace that. Last time I judged, I had one player admit that he was getting creeped out. I could never have that with out of the book monsters.
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Re: Gary Gygax wrote my gaming manifesto back in 1975.

Post by rabindranath72 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:54 am

finarvyn wrote:The evolution from "GM knows all" to "player knows all" is an interesting one in the development newer editions of D&D, and I'll confess that once the players know too much I think the magic goes out of the game. It no longer becomes a battle against the unknown, but a challenge to defeat the known.
I don't think that's indicative of editions at all. What stopped a 1e player from buying a Monster Manual and learning it all? Or, even worse, in Classic D&D (OD&D/Holmes/Moldvay/Mentzer) where the monster section was essentially one and all with the full book/box? Essentially everyone who played these, had access to monsters.

The key thing in my experience, is to not call an orc "an orc." Be descriptive, be inventive in new uses for critters, and the players will never know what to expect, even whey they know the stats.

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Re: Gary Gygax wrote my gaming manifesto back in 1975.

Post by fjw70 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:19 am

Here is a quote from the November 1982 Dragon Magazine by Mr. Gygax (#67 p.64).
Adding non-official material puts your game outside the D&D or AD&D game system. It becomes something else at best.

Far too often, extraneous material tinkered onto the existing D&D or AD&D campaign will quickly bring it down to a lower level at best, ruin it at worst.

So it seems when he had a business to protect he became very anti-houserules. Not that any of us playing really cared what he thought.

But to the topic of player knowledge, there are two components of that knowledge. First is does the player understand know the capabilities of his character, and second is does he know the capabilities of the monsters/NPCs. I am in favor of the former but not so much the latter.

I agree that this is edition neutral. Back when I played AD&D primarily in the 80s I played and DMed so if I played with a DM that played the monsters BtB then knew what the monsters could do. And when I play 4e these days I am always adding and deleting abilities from the monsters as I see fit.

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Re: Gary Gygax wrote my gaming manifesto back in 1975.

Post by SYKOJAK » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:31 am

It is my belief that as a Player, I like new and varied monsters. If I wanted to play against the exact type of creature with the same Graphics as its predecessor, and the only change that is made to it is make-up is that it has more hit points and is now called a Raging Orc instead of Orc. Well, I would settle for the hum-drum RPG experience that we all know as MMO.

Since I am more of a thinking man's gamer, and not-so-much as a repetition gamer. I prefer the table-top setting of RPGs to the Computer MMOs currently out there. So many times while playing an MMO did I think why does it have to be this way or that way. Why does it have to be that side or this side. Why can not I make up my own faction in the game and have us rule the world?

Granted, I know that they can only do so much with the limited programming they have for any MMO. This is because, they have to make sure thier game is working properly, mostly bug free. And they have to cater to Graphics snobs, who will only subscribe to an MMO if thier game looks pretty. But those reasons are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to limitations of MMOs.

The main reason that I like good 'ole fashion table-top RPGs, is the ability, to take a framework of rules and suit to our needs/wants/desires.
If there is something that is not in the rules, it is nice to know, a gaming group can always make a house rule to cover that situation. A player is only limited in what a character can do in any situation, by that particular player's imagination. I believe that the Warrior's Mighty Deeds of Arms aptly fits in well here. I don't see any MMO allowing a Warrior to jump to a chandelier, to swing through a Balcony window, to escape being trapped inside an enemy's castle happening at all, do you?
There comes a point in time when it all comes down to the roll of a die!

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Re: Gary Gygax wrote my gaming manifesto back in 1975.

Post by Geoffrey » Mon Apr 16, 2012 12:13 pm

I like to use all-new monsters rather than orcs, trolls, and such. James Raggi's Random Esoteric Creature Generator is invaluable.

If you look at my Isle of the Unknown, you'll see that it has NO standard monsters, magic items, or spell-casters. Each one is unique. Nobody exploring the isle could ever say, "Oh, we've ran into one of those before."
Click here to purchase my five AD&D modules.
Each of these modules is self-contained. No other books are required other than the three AD&D rulebooks (or a similar set of rules if you prefer).
Click here to purchase prints of Luigi Castellani's cover art for these modules.

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