Gygax article from long ago, questions and opinions


Gamer Life General Discussion

Shadow Lodge

Now I had a question on this and was hoping that the learned and experienced people of this forum could help.

Quote:

"Realms of role playing

Let’s start pushing the pendulum the other way
by Gary Gygax, 1985

There was a long period of time when action, rather than role playing, was the major focus of gaming, and this was especially true with respect to tournament scenarios at conventions. Thus, an AD&D® game scenario would typically stress combat with monsters to achieve the goal set before the characters. Now, the pendulum has swung the other way much emphasis is being placed on how well the player takes on the role of his or her character. Personification and acting are replacing action of the more direct and forceful type be it sword swinging, spell casting, or anything else. Before this trend goes too far, it is time to consider what the typical role-playing game is all about.

First, it is important to remember that ‘role-playing' is a modifier of the noun game. We are dealing with a game which is based on role playing, but it is first and foremost a game. Games are not plays, although role-playing games should have some of the theatre included in their play. To put undue stress upon mere role-playing places the cart before the horse. Role playing is a necessary part of the game, but it is by no means the whole of the matter.

Role playing is similar to, but not the same as, role assumption. The latter term is generally used to identify the individual’s acceptance of a part which he or she could actually perform. While a child might play the role of a parent, an adult would assume that role when dealing with his or her children. This distinction is important in the context of gaming because of the stress now being placed upon role playing. Too much emphasis in this direction tends to make playing out an adventure more of a children’s let’s pretend activity than an action-packed game which involves all sorts of fun, including the playing of a role but other fun aspects as well.

A role-playing game should be such that players begin the personification portion as role play, and then as they progress the activity should evolve into something akin to role assumption. This does away with stilted attempts to act the part of some character. In place of this, players should try to become that person they are imagining during the course of the game, and conduct the actions of their characters accordingly. A spy, for example, speaks in one way to his superiors, in another way when he converses with his equals, and in yet an entirely different way when he is attempting to penetrate an enemy installation and is impersonating a plumber, perhaps. Implemented in this fashion, the concept becomes one of roles within roles.

This applies to all role-playing games, of course. Straining to play a role is certainly contrary to the purpose of the game. The actual reason for gaming is fun, not instruction in theatrics or training in the thespian art. Role playing is certainly a necessary and desirable part of the whole game, but it is a part. Challenge, excitement, suspense, and questing are other portions equally necessary to a game of this nature.

Problem solving is the typical challenge in a role-playing game. Whether it is discovering a murderer, finding a magic sword, or seeking to expose a gang of criminals, this element is an integral part of such interactive gaming. And ‘note that problem solving, in this context, has to do with a problem to be solved by the character, not a problem (such as How do I role-play this situation?) to be solved by the player.

Combat, survival amidst threatening conditions, or stalking an opponent are typical means of adding excitement and suspense into the whole. These are action oriented portions of the game activity which call for little role playing but a fair amount of role assumption. The magic-user character (and thus, the player of that character) must know his or her spells and how to utilize them efficiently. The explorer must know outdoor craft. Whatever the situation, setting, or character being played, skill not theatrics is what is called for here.

Having a goal, understanding it, and remaining steadfast in its completion are likewise necessary to role-playing games. This questing, if you will, again has little or nothing to do with role playing in the acting sense. It is closer to role assumption and is a measure of gaming ability and skill.

Role-playing games are different from other games in that they allow participants to create a game persona, develop this character, and enhance his or her skills and abilities. While some considerable amount of acting is most beneficial to play, this is by no means the sole objective or purpose. The fun of such gaming includes all the other elements mentioned, plus the interactive relationships which develop between the various characters of the players participating. In the well-balanced game, role playing should quickly become role assumption, which then again leads to character role playing roles within roles!

Not every game of this sort must be completely balanced with regard to all of these aspects. Such a decision is entirely in the hands of the game master and the players. If a particular group desires to stress acting, or combat, or problem solving, or any other singular feature of the whole, that is strictly up to the individuals concerned. How they enjoy gaming, and what constitutes fun, is theirs alone to decide.

This last point extends not only to players but to products as well. A particular game might be designed to stress one aspect over others. Role playing can be the major thrust, or action and combat, or any of the other elements. Similarly, the underlying game might offer one or another while its accessories and scenarios develop some different aspects. Most games and support material are general and offer a reasonably well-balanced mix.

But is this true for competition situations as well? In contrast to a long period when such tournaments tended to feature hack-and-slash, shoot-‘em-up, and blast-‘em-out situations, there is now a trend toward downplaying everything except the theatrical side of gaming. This tendency has evidenced itself to a lesser extent in some support materials, it must be noted. The reaction is not altogether unwarranted, for many particpants seem to have been ignoring role playing completely, or nearly so, in their games. Instead, it is usual for such games to stress direct, usually violent, action. This is a true detriment to fully appreciating the scope of role-playing games; as with most things, one extreme is just as undesirable as the other.

The current vogue of placing seemingly undue importance on the role-playing portion of the game is simply meant to inform and educate participants about a very important segment of what differentiates these games from other types of games. It is to be hoped that the needed training thus afforded will enable game participants to go beyond role playing of their characters and enter into role assumption instead. Once it is understood that role playing is a vital ingredient of the game, and players understand how to actually accomplish it, the undue attention can be discarded.

Balanced games are certainly the most enjoyable sort for the great majority of players. A meal does not consist of but one thing if it is to be an enjoyable one. By the same token, a role-playing game must have all the ingredients which allow it to be varied and enjoyable. Playing and assumption of roles, interpersonal dealings, action, problem solving, excitement, suspense, and questing are all important to make the whole. The portions can be mixed in different amounts, but each should have a degree of existence within the scope of the whole.

It is common for scenarios to identify the level of experience and skill recommended for those utilizing the material they provide. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to also identify any particular stress the scenario places upon a certain aspect of the game activity role-playing, action, problem solving, or any other.

Tournament scenarios and competitions might also benefit by such identification. Prospective entrants would then be able to determine which aspect they favor, or possibly need to learn more of, before they entered the event. Participants who find their enjoyment lies in one area or another would thus be able to select events optimal for their tastes and avoid those which they might find less fun making the competition experience more enjoyable for everyone who does take part. Is the player who has difficulty personifying a well-understood character any different from an excellent thespian who misplays the game otherwise? By being able to identify the focus of a scenario, not only would players be informed, but they would also be given the opportunity to round out their abilities in weak areas if they chose to do so.

Play of the game is the thing. Play includes development of the character and personification thereof, role assumption and role playing, and the rest. After all, fantasy in whatever form is integral. Whether fighting a dragon, piloting a starship, or shooting it out with evil enemy agents, the action imagined during the game is what really makes it fun. The pendulum did need to move a bit to balance things, but it must not go too far, or the realms of role playing will become small and constricted instead of being as they should be as broad and varied as the imagination."

What is role assumption and how is it different from role play?

Also wanted to see what peoples opinions on this article were.

Sovereign Court

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While I think its good for folks to discuss role playing games and their preferences, I feel talks of where the "pendulum" should be are not particularly helpful. The results of such are generally endless arguments about rightgoodfun, which is only true for the opinion holder and those who share it. The best part of the article was this paragraph;

"Not every game of this sort must be completely balanced with regard to all of these aspects. Such a decision is entirely in the hands of the game master and the players. If a particular group desires to stress acting, or combat, or problem solving, or any other singular feature of the whole, that is strictly up to the individuals concerned. How they enjoy gaming, and what constitutes fun, is theirs alone to decide."

Overall, I think there are some good nuggets in the article. Particularly, the parts that discuss calling out a module/adventure/tournament and what parts of the game it emphasizes to set accurate expectations for players. However, discussing the difference between role play and role assumption is fine, as long as the writer refrains from marking boundaries of good vs. bad. I think GG gets really close to doing just that here.


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Even with the article, GG doesn't seem to know for sure which way he wants to go on certain aspects. If you look at these two paragraphs, which are one after the other, you see contradictory elements:

Quote:

Problem solving is the typical challenge in a role-playing game. Whether it is discovering a murderer, finding a magic sword, or seeking to expose a gang of criminals, this element is an integral part of such interactive gaming. And ‘note that problem solving, in this context, has to do with a problem to be solved by the character, not a problem (such as How do I role-play this situation?) to be solved by the player.

Combat, survival amidst threatening conditions, or stalking an opponent are typical means of adding excitement and suspense into the whole. These are action oriented portions of the game activity which call for little role playing but a fair amount of role assumption. The magic-user character (and thus, the player of that character) must know his or her spells and how to utilize them efficiently. The explorer must know outdoor craft. Whatever the situation, setting, or character being played, skill not theatrics is what is called for here.

He talks about problem solving being an in-character thing, but then discusses combat and survival and specifically references player skills to deal with threats.

I do think that his points about this not being theater are very good and something that needs to be taken to heart more often. Not just in reference to how we act and behave during the game, but how the fiction generated through RPG's is unlike fiction in other media. A good story in a book/tv/movie/theater has certain elements that do not always appear in RPG's, even an RPG that is good and fun. Themes, metaphors, through-line, plot and many other elements can appear superficially in an RPG, but often aren't nearly as impactful nor have the connection to one another as they would in a story of equal quality told through another medium. Often times the concept of story is only present superficially in an RPG, even one with excellent roleplaying where players are completely in character.

We often use other forms of media as reference for our RPG's, but I think the hobby would benefit from separating itself in how we think about our games. While those other forms of media are great inspiration, and we can even build games around emulating them (Prime Time Adventures), they aren't the same.

D&D itself has a lot of self-referential tropes to it that don't appear outside of RPG's. They are things that developed or hardened, because they were present in early D&D, but aren't actually from other types of media. They originate from other games, but not from fiction, rather mechanics. It's why in a movie like Gamers, they can make a lot of jokes that are specific to gaming and the incongruities that result in the fiction.


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I recall when this article was published, I believe I read it in Dragon Magazine. At the time it was hard to relate to because no-one I knew role played their character...they simply said "I will go to the tavern or I order a drink and sit down." That was the extent of role playing I was exposed to in 1980.

My reaction to the article was that if anything we needed more character insertion, more development and speaking in character. Over the years I have gamed, this is the direction I have taken my own game and because of it, the games are more enjoyable and the character more interesting.

We have gamers all over the spectrum on what they feel is right or what they are comfortable with. When I last game mastered on Roll 20 I asked for role players....everyone said they were. When we sat down to play no one had any idea how to speak as if they were that character. I can't tell you how fast disappointment overtook me and needless to say I pulled the plug on the game after a few sessions.

Perhaps Gygax was annoyed by a trend in role playing games and it just wasn't his style.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

As far as the seemingly contradictory elements go, it helps to remember a couple of things:

1) RPGs were initially an outgrowth of table-top wargaming, so when Gygax is talking of "action oriented portions of the game activity which call for little role playing" he was referring to combat (and other situations) where the system mechanics are clear and defined. "Skill not theatrics" means that you don't need to extemporize how your character swings a sword, casts a spell, climbs a wall, picks a lock, etc. (although a little bit of context and flavor can help with immersion); you just need to be familiar with the system mechanics involved.

2) Because of the origins of RPGs, there were large gaps in the system mechanics of AD&D (1st Ed at the time of the article); especially when dealing with interactions between PCs and creatures/NPCs (although not restricted to only that). Even something like "what does my character know about..." was almost completely undefined by system mechanics. "Pure" role-playing/role-assumption had to cover a wider range.

As noted, a "balanced" approach (incorporating all three of the gamist, narrative, and simulationist* elements) will tend to more enjoyable and sustainable. The exact desired balance point, of course, will depend on the tastes of the group and even vary from session to session!

*- Gygax didn't use those terms, but they may be more familiar with current gamers


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Dragonchess Player wrote:

As far as the seemingly contradictory elements go, it helps to remember a couple of things:

1) RPGs were initially an outgrowth of table-top wargaming, so when Gygax is talking of "action oriented portions of the game activity which call for little role playing" he was referring to combat (and other situations) where the system mechanics are clear and defined. "Skill not theatrics" means that you don't need to extemporize how your character swings a sword, casts a spell, climbs a wall, picks a lock, etc. (although a little bit of context and flavor can help with immersion); you just need to be familiar with the system mechanics involved.

2) Because of the origins of RPGs, there were large gaps in the system mechanics of AD&D (1st Ed at the time of the article); especially when dealing with interactions between PCs and creatures/NPCs (although not restricted to only that). Even something like "what does my character know about..." was almost completely undefined by system mechanics. "Pure" role-playing/role-assumption had to cover a wider range.

As noted, a "balanced" approach (incorporating all three of the gamist, narrative, and simulationist* elements) will tend to more enjoyable and sustainable. The exact desired balance point, of course, will depend on the tastes of the group and even vary from session to session!

*- Gygax didn't use those terms, but they may be more familiar with current gamers

The contradiction exists, especially as Gygax defines the two elements. This is something that's inherently true of any RPG that includes things like Diplomacy and Knowledge skills alongside tactical combat and system mastery. That doesn't mean the contradiction is bad, but it needs to be recognized. Knowing that these two competing priorities exist helps us understand and utilize the game better. It also helps a GM realize which parts his players are better at and enjoy more.

Problem solving being an in character or out of character thing is best summed up with riddles. Can a riddle be solved with skill checks? If so, it is done entirely in character. If it can only be solved by the players, it is reliant on their knowledge and skill. You can certainly combine the two, giving clues via rolls after a period of time, but you are still balancing these two competing methods.


I think you have to take this article in context. This was at the start of the Dragonlance era where you had a series of modules that were basically just reenacting the novels to the point where it was expected that players would be using the main characters of the novels statted out in the back of the module. Players were literally acting out the novels as if they were a play rather than playing a game where their own characters and choices really mattered.

Dark Archive

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My main takeaway here is that Gary Gygax wasn't very good at writing.


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Grammar Nazi wrote:
My main takeaway here is that Gary Gygax wasn't very good at writing.

hahaha

and yet if you read the "fan boy" book, "Of Dice and Men" the Author would have you believe that Gygax was the better writer of the pair of Gygax and Arneson, even though Gygax did not finish college, and Arneson had a bacholer's Degree

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't mean to insult Mr. Gygax, he was a great gamer in his own, and I ate up everything he wrote back in those days,

but yes, his thought process when put into writing could at times become, seemingly over complicated and circular at times.


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I think perhaps there has been a paradigm shift since the publication of this article; many of the things which GG stresses the importance of in the artice, the assumption of different character roles for example, are well accepted now to be the basis of role-play.

The 'big evil' that GG seems to be warning against is what we might now refer to as the Drizzt effect; where everyone latches on to some well-known piece of cannon or fantasy trope, and re-enact it without any thought or consideration for the actual setting, or the actual character being played.

Shadow Lodge

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So what is Role Assumption and how is different from Role Playing?


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Jacob Saltband wrote:
So what is Role Assumption and how is different from Role Playing?

From the article: "Role playing is similar to, but not the same as, role assumption. The latter term is generally used to identify the individual’s acceptance of a part which he or she could actually perform."

So I could role-play a martial artist (and roll dice appropriately), but I couldn't actually assume the role of a martial artist unless I had appropriate skills and knowledge. The purpose of the game engine is to shield people from needing to know details about the skills they're applying.

There was a case a while ago where one of Steve Jackson's games (GURPS Cyberpunk) was grabbed when the office was raided by the Secret Service. The ostensible reason was that the game provided instructions for would-be computer criminals. Something similar is behind the Jack Chick "Dark Dungeons" tract. In both cases, people are confusing rolling dice about something with actually doing something.


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I don't think that's what Gygax is getting at at all.

Rather, when you sit at the table, you take on certain responsibilities at the table. If you're GM, your role is to facilitate the game, be judge for the rules, play NPC's, run opponents in combat, etc. If you're a player, your role is to know your character, the mechanics involved and everything your character is capable of. You don't just play at being a wizard, you are responsible for utilizing your characters abilities to assist the part as best as you're able. You don't have to know how to project bolts of force from your finger tips, but you do need to know what Magic Missile does in the game.


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Yeah I am pretty sure role assumption is NOT the term Gygax was looking for... Since in no way should anyone play a wizard then since presumably none of us can really cast magic. I get what he is saying though. He doesn't like role playing past a certain point, his preference is to have role play as a supporting element only with combat and skill challenges being the main focus.
He is wrong of course. He said it best himself

Gygax wrote:
If a particular group desires to stress acting, or combat, or problem solving, or any other singular feature of the whole, that is strictly up to the individuals concerned. How they enjoy gaming, and what constitutes fun, is theirs alone to decide.

In other words each group has their own take on the balance of elements, and their take is the correct one for their own group.

That long winded piece is just Gygax ranting about people not doing things his way.


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Aranna wrote:
Yeah I am pretty sure role assumption is NOT the term Gygax was looking for... Since in no way should anyone play a wizard then since presumably none of us can really cast magic.

Well, none of us can assume the role of a wizard. His point is that "as they progress the activity should evolve into something akin to role assumption." Not, note, "become role assumption." But as the game progresses, you should get closer and closer to becoming the person you are role-playing, for example, by responding to things more as the person you are inhabiting would, and less as you would. "A spy, for example, speaks in one way to his superiors, in another way when he converses with his equals, and in yet an entirely different way when he is attempting to penetrate an enemy installation and is impersonating a plumber, perhaps" -- and this is something that you as the player should be able to "assume" instead of simply saying "I speak diplomatically to him."

Similarly, "[P]roblem solving, in this context, has to do with a problem to be solved by the character, not a problem [...] to be solved by the player."

In the case of playing a role of a wizard,... yes, spellcasting is a problem that probably precludes full role assumption. But one key aspect of the wizard that can be "assumed" is that the wizard herself knows her spell list and capacities, so she can quickly decide what an appropriate thing is. As a player, I don't need to know what my spells actually do, and I can simply look them up -- "hey, I have a spell called `spectral force,' maybe it's useful here?" -- when I need. The wizard doesn't need to do this, as she knows what the spell does, and it's better for the game if I know at least that much, too. So the closer I can get to role assumption, the better an experience I and the rest of the table will have.

Cf: "The magic-user character (and thus, the player of that character) must know his or her spells and how to utilize them efficiently."

Silver Crusade

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Grammar Nazi wrote:
My main takeaway here is that Gary Gygax wasn't very good at writing.

Hey, he is the guy who gave us aesthetic monks :-)


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Terquem wrote:
Grammar Nazi wrote:
My main takeaway here is that Gary Gygax wasn't very good at writing.

hahaha

and yet if you read the "fan boy" book, "Of Dice and Men" the Author would have you believe that Gygax was the better writer of the pair of Gygax and Arneson, even though Gygax did not finish college, and Arneson had a bacholer's Degree

And how many novels did Arneson publish compared to Gygax?

Degrees don't make the writer. Writing makes the writer.


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Grammar Nazi wrote:
My main takeaway here is that Gary Gygax wasn't very good at writing.
Terquem wrote:

hahaha

and yet if you read the "fan boy" book, "Of Dice and Men" the Author would have you believe that Gygax was the better writer of the pair of Gygax and Arneson, even though Gygax did not finish college, and Arneson had a bacholer's Degree

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't mean to insult Mr. Gygax, he was a great gamer in his own, and I ate up everything he wrote back in those days,

but yes, his thought process when put into writing could at times become, seemingly over complicated and circular at times.

On a related note, I found Of Dice and Men to be rather even-handed. Sure, it's by a fanboy (who admits as much), but beyond that, it's also pretty clear when everyone - from Gygax to Arneson - had their faults and failures, and it directly admits such things, while trying to remain respectful nonetheless.

I felt it walked that fine line pretty well. But that's a book review, not a review of this article. :)


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voodoo chili wrote:
I think you have to take this article in context. This was at the start of the Dragonlance era where you had a series of modules that were basically just reenacting the novels to the point where it was expected that players would be using the main characters of the novels statted out in the back of the module. Players were literally acting out the novels as if they were a play rather than playing a game where their own characters and choices really mattered.

Other way around. 'Autumn Twilight' was written based on the internal play-through of DL1 and DL2. Weiss and Hickman have talked about this at times- like the scenes with the charmed gully dwarf happened because of what happened at the table. There is actually a lot of really flat looting and combat in those modules that the novels just skipped entirely. As the novels went on, they touched on the modules less and less.

When it comes to Gygax, he was a war gamer first and a role-player almost never, and was often baffled by the people invading 'his' hobby. This article is almost entirely aimed at the drama/role-playing crowd and insisting they're doing it wrong.


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Yeah. Badwrongfun has a long and illustrious history. :-)


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A degree, in and of itself, is not determinative. I know idiots with degrees and talented geniuses without them.

Liberty's Edge

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Gygax liked games, not community theater. He was an old school war gamer, and D&D, as Arneson taught it to him, was wargaming with one person instead of a mini representing a squad or something.

When non-wargamers started getting into the hobby when the fad was at its height, they focused on the "roleplaying" part over the "game" part. No senseless deaths, arcing stories, etc.

Eh, it was a rant from an old guy not liking change, nothing really to discuss. The game evolved, the dice don't mean as much to a lot of groups. Play how you like, no one is coming to confiscate your books.

Liberty's Edge

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I have to say, some folks are being pretty dismisive of Gygax. Let's never forget that he, more than any one person *period* is the reason we have the game(s) we all play and love today. Although there certainly were other people that helped Gary shape D&D, he was the main, driving creative force that made the game, not to mention the company he founded to publish the game, the success it was and continues to be through its' many successors.

I just think Gygax deserves a bit more respect that he's getting in this thread

Shadow Lodge

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Nah, not really.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My brothers always enjoyed playing with him at GenCon back in the day. :-)


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I would say disrespecting Gary is easy without any historical perspective. He was an amazing creative genius and an excellent face to face GM.

He had strong ideas about what he wanted his game to be like. I remember he liked parties that were half fighters. I would quote Theodore Roosevelt for him for he fought for what he wanted the hobby to be like.

'It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.'


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Marc Radle wrote:

I have to say, some folks are being pretty dismisive of Gygax. Let's never forget that he, more than any one person *period* is the reason we have the game(s) we all play and love today. Although there certainly were other people that helped Gary shape D&D, he was the main, driving creative force that made the game, not to mention the company he founded to publish the game, the success it was and continues to be through its' many successors.

I just think Gygax deserves a bit more respect that he's getting in this thread

Gygax's role in the history of this hobby is....complicated.


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Marc Radle wrote:

I have to say, some folks are being pretty dismisive of Gygax. Let's never forget that he, more than any one person *period* is the reason we have the game(s) we all play and love today. Although there certainly were other people that helped Gary shape D&D, he was the main, driving creative force that made the game, not to mention the company he founded to publish the game, the success it was and continues to be through its' many successors.

I just think Gygax deserves a bit more respect that he's getting in this thread

It's also harsh to judge someone who created a whole bunch of the concepts we've now refined over forty years as if he were writing today.

He'd have different opinions if they'd been formed along with ours and if they were based on what we have collectively learnt over the years.


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I do not disrespect him. It is enough to say that as I understand him, he very much cared for the game, but he wanted something else from it than I do, and it shows in his writings. He was a bit of an iconoclast, but I would suppose that is what drove him to put as much work into it as he did. I would have loved to have the chance to talk to him. I also think it is interesting to see the difference between what he wrote in different roles. Much that he has been maligned for (only use official adventures) was written as CEO of a company, to whom it was likely a business oriented view.


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Just because Gygax and his friends first came up with the idea of 'One mini equals one character' that transformed wargaming into RPGs, it doesn't mean he was a genius. It was the right time for such an idea and if he hadn't published then someone else would have been the first and had all the credit. Gygax was also the first one to call others way of playing wrong. I read an article which was a response to that effect over something Gygax wrote in 1978 I guess. So he is also the founder of the 'wrongbadfun' arguments. I give thanks to the whole group of those early pioneers not just to Gygax.


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To be fair, the idea of everyone doing what they want, there is no wrong way of playing the game, is a fairly newer idea.

Wrongbadfun is a reductive argument that attempts to silence anyone that disagrees with a particular playstyle.


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Gygax is like the George Washington of the US, but in regards to RPGs.

It's become to much in fashion to disrespect the accomplishments of the past.

Gygax is also like Jobs of Apple. There would be no Apple today without Jobs.

Arneson is like Steve Wozniak...there may be no RPG without Arneson.

We may not agree with the way many of them did things...but it was a different time and to diminish their accomplishments diminish us all...

At least in what I've seen in the thread thus far.


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GreyWolfLord wrote:

Gygax is like the George Washington of the US, but in regards to RPGs.

It's become to much in fashion to disrespect the accomplishments of the past.

Gygax is also like Jobs of Apple. There would be no Apple today without Jobs.

Arneson is like Steve Wozniak...there may be no RPG without Arneson.

We may not agree with the way many of them did things...but it was a different time and to diminish their accomplishments diminish us all...

At least in what I've seen in the thread thus far.

+1 or ditto

Grand Lodge

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Gygax is like any other man. A mixture of virtues and flaws.

Liberty's Edge

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Gygax is like any other man. A mixture of virtues and flaws.

That is very true.

However, I firmly believe that some people are born with that certain something 'extra' ... something 'special'. An elusive spark of true creative genius. Gygax was one of those people.

Liberty's Edge

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Gygax is like any other man. A mixture of virtues and flaws.

And without him and Dave, RPGs don't become a fad, and video games would look a lot different. D&D heavily influenced the video game industry, a lot of the original programmers were big time role players.

You can be dismissive, that's fine, but pretending everything would be the same, and your hobby would exist, without him is just myopic dissing to dis, frankly.

Liberty's Edge

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Marc Radle wrote:

I have to say, some folks are being pretty dismisive of Gygax. Let's never forget that he, more than any one person *period* is the reason we have the game(s) we all play and love today. Although there certainly were other people that helped Gary shape D&D, he was the main, driving creative force that made the game, not to mention the company he founded to publish the game, the success it was and continues to be through its' many successors.

I just think Gygax deserves a bit more respect that he's getting in this thread

I'm not dissing, for the record. I'm not a fan of the game not being a game first either. I like the dice to matter, I can't stand DMs fudging, all sorts of things. If a character of mine dies, I don't get upset, I see an opportunity to try out a different concept.

I still love reading my 1e DMG, the dude had a weird way of writing that was oddly compelling.


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houstonderek wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Gygax is like any other man. A mixture of virtues and flaws.

And without him and Dave, RPGs don't become a fad, and video games would look a lot different. D&D heavily influenced the video game industry, a lot of the original programmers were big time role players.

You can be dismissive, that's fine, but pretending everything would be the same, and your hobby would exist, without him is just myopic dissing to dis, frankly.

Just like flight, the radio, or the micro processor these are ideas that would happen regardless of who was first. RPGs are like that. People wanted them and eventually someone would create a product to meet that want. Gary and Dave were first. That takes the smarts to see a need and fill it, not genius. So yes they were like Steve Jobs NOT like Albert Einstein.

Shadow Lodge

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houstonderek wrote:
You can be dismissive, that's fine, but pretending everything would be the same, and your hobby would exist, without him is just myopic dissing to dis, frankly.

You're projecting your own personal peeves again.

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