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Extra Experience Points

I Don't Care What Gary Gygax Says

Greg Chatham
November 10, 2000
 

Most of us know Gary Gygax from his column in Dragon magazine, where he whines about things I don't care about. Gary Gygax says we should stop calling him a fanboy. Gary Gygax says there should be more bitches in gaming. Gary Gygax says he doesn't care what I say.

Well, you know what? I didn't care what you said first. I don't even read Dragon magazine. But there are enough interviews with Gary Gygax online for me to know all about him.

Almost every role-playing site on the internet has a Gary Gygax interview. After skimming a few, you begin to wonder why people keep interviewing him. He always says the same thing, "Buy Lejendary Adventures."

What you may not know is that Gary Gygax is one of the guys who invented Dungeons and Dragons. It was a big surprise to me too. Next thing you know some guy will pop out of a coffin and claim he invented the Storyteller system. "Never mind that," he'll say, "Please buy my new game."

Gary Gygax is also one of the first authors of game fiction. Unfortunately, his Gord the Rogue books can be found in used bookstores to this day. He also wrote The Tomb of Horrors, a classic D&D adventure where senseless death with no way out awaits you at every turn, and The Temple of Elemental Evil, which is famous for no reason I could ever figure out. Possibly for being very long. Assuming even one of these could be considered a merit, shouldn't the others cancel it out? Apparently not. New interviews with the famous fanboy pop up every week. Gary Gygax interviews are so prevalent that I bet even I could get one after he reads this article. They usually start like this:

I was an only child and grew up without friends. I had 2 cats, but they died, and then I only had 2 dead cats to play with. But then I met other people without any friends, and they introduced me to a wonderful game where we could do anything we imagined, as long as we didn't imagine anything except wandering around dungeons with monsters too big to fit into the corridors and killing them for points. Gord the Rogue taught me how to deal with bitches, and because of D&D I had friends by the time I was 30. Thanks, Gary.

Yes, thanks, Gary, for introducing me to a game that was so uncool I had to defend it by telling myself I was "too smart" for other activities, like the parties where cute preppy girls got wasted and handed themselves out as party favors. Yes, thanks for keeping me away from hot teenage sex with multiple partners, and for ensuring that for the rest of my life, if I failed to spend a willpower point, I might say something stupid in public like, "Whoa, Isaac just failed his charisma roll."

When the interview begins, you'll notice Gary Gygax always has the same answers, but that's because the interviewers always ask the same questions.

Q: I really enjoyed the Gord the Rogue books, though I've never gone back and reread them because I fear seeing my childhood memories destroyed. The character's attitude toward women really appealed to me as a high school outcast. Did you enjoy writing them?

A: Yes, and I also enjoyed writing Lejendary Adventures. The J was all my idea. There's also a silent and invisible P. That's to inspire pity.

Q: That's great. What's your advice for aspiring game designers?

A: Have they played Lejandarry Advenchurez yet? I think they'll find my game is really cool and they'll stop designing their own.

As someone who's actually played a role-playing game that was written in the last 10 years, I'm more qualified to advise new game designers than he is.

1. Make sure your game has an audience larger than you and your college roommate.
2. Appeal to the vital cat-person market and include talking cats in your game setting.
3. After you fail-and you will fail-get bought out by a larger company.

The main reason there so many interviews with Gary Gygax on the internet is that unlike other game designers, like Justin Achilli and Harlan Ellison, Gary Gygax will shake your hand and autograph your character sheet. He's a fanboy, and like all fanboys, he loves the attention other fanboys give him and hates being called a fanboy.

There are so many under appreciated game designers out there who deserve the attention Gary Gygax is getting. Who invented Shadowrun? Why aren't we on a first name basis with the creator of RIFTS? Whatever happened to, you know, that game we don't play anymore? There were elves in it. Some guy named Arneson worked on it. I wonder what happened to him.

All I'm saying is that I don't care. And I'm sure Gary Gygax doesn't care about that, but I'm additionally sure that he'd let me interview him about it, as long as I let him tell me about Lejendary Adventures.

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What do you think?

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All Extra Experience Points columns by Greg Chatham

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