Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gygax quote, offered without comment

I offer this quote by Gary Gygax. This was written a short time before the 1e DM guide was released, but after the players guide and monster manual had already come out. There is a lot that could be said about this but I think I'll let each reader digest it for himself/herself.

From The Dragon #22, February 1979

An excerpt from “Dungeons & Dragons, What it is and Where it’s Going,” by Gary Gygax

Fanatical game hobbyists often express the opinion that DUNGEONS & DRAGONS will continue as an ever-expanding, always improving game system. TSR and I see it a bit differently. Currently D&D is moving in two directions. There is the “Original” game system and the new ADVANCED D&D® system. New participants can move from the “Basic Set” into either form without undue difficulty— especially as playing aid offerings become more numerous, and that is in process now. Americans have somehow come to equate change with improvement. Somehow the school of continuing evolution has conceived that D&D can go on in a state of flux, each new version “new and improved!” From a standpoint of sales, I beam broadly at the very thought of an unending string of new, improved, super, energized, versions of D&D being hyped to the loyal followers of the gaming hobby in general and role playing fantasy games in particular. As a game designer I do not agree, particularly as a gamer who began with chess. The original could benefit from a careful reorganization and expansion to clarify things, and this might be done at some future time. As all of the ADVANCED D&D system is not written yet, it is a bit early for prognostication, but I envision only minor expansions and some rules amending on a gradual, edition to edition, basis. When you have a fine product, it is time to let well enough alone. I do not believe that hobbyists and casual players should be continually barraged with new rules, new systems, and new drains on their purses. Certainly there will be changes, for the game is not perfect; but I do not believe the game is so imperfect as to require constant improvement.


cyclopeatron said...

Nice find! Thanks!

Robert Fisher said...

Gygax also gave some pleasant quotes about 3e when it came out. ^_^

I don’t ever really know what to make about many of Gary’s comments in TD especially around this time period. How much is he just being his “another gamer” self and how much is he being a businessman talking to his customers? How much is the D&D/AD&D split really about the game or legal issues or interpersonal issues?

Not to mention that he’s talking in medias res. What he thought then might explain why he decided to do something, but I’m more interested in his opinion after he’d lived through the consequences of those decisions.

nextautumn said...

Amen to all of that.

Stuart said...

I miss having Gary around as part of our community. It was great being able to have him posting on a couple different forums. :(

Dan said...

Unfortunately, your quote did not prove to be true. While I do believe there were actual improvements in 3e (ascending AC, removal of demihuman level limits), these could have been minor changes worked into the original ruleset, instead of complete overhauls every 8 years or so.

Victor Raymond said...

What this quote reveals is the tension between Gary as Gamer - re-read the last section of Vol. 3 The Underworld and Wilderness Adventures for that perspective - and Gary as Businessperson - increasingly apparent over time. And it is a tension.

It's interesting that one of the few games I can think of that actually meets this test, if you will, is Call of Cthulhu.

P. S. Mangus said...

'Nuff said!