Gary Gygax / Dungeons & Dragons Interview

GB: You're working with Dreams Interactive to make an online computer-based version (MMORPG), correct?

Gary: Right, it won't be quite as free-wheeling, of course, as a paper game. Unfortunately, online doesn't allow the same sorts of things as when you have a game master right there and a cooperative group meeting. I can't talk too much about it, but the graphics are beautiful. What the Dreams Interactive people have in the works and are developing is really fun and will offer a great deal of enjoyment to play. With all of the politics in each region decided by the players based therein, the world is going to be varied from state to state and surprisingly large.

GB: Have you had a chance to playtest the game, and when do you think it will be available?

Gary: Parts of it. They haven't got the creatures modeled yet, so I had a little character jumping around fighting various boxes (chuckles). The boxes had the name of the various LA game creatures on them..

I think that the beta will begin next year. We were hoping to get it ready for later this year, but I don't think it'll make it. They are working very hard on it, which is why there has been so little done on the website lately.

GB: Are there any other projects you're currently working on, aside from Lejendary Adventure?

Gary: Lejendary Adventure is the main project and Troll Lord Games will be coming out with all kinds of stuff later this year or next. They're getting ready to release a Lejendary Adventure Essentials boxed primer set. They're introducing it so that we will get the game out to more people.

I am also working on a little number called Castle Zagyg which is the campaign-based material for my original (Greyhawk Campaign) begun back in 1972. It will nominally be for the Castles & Crusades FRPG system from Troll Lord Games. Rob Kuntz, who became co-DM of that campaign back in 1974 will assist me and we'll start later this year on the castle and dungeon levels portion of the project. We would have started already, but my health isn't good enough yet. Anyway, we are going to take the best of those 40 or 50 dungeon levels we devised and do about twenty-five or so for the printed version of the setting. That is the meat of the Castle Zagyg project.

GB: Have you had a chance to play any of the Dungeons & Dragons videogames that have been developed in recent years, such as Troika's Temple of Elemental Evil - which is based on one of your original Greyhawk adventures?

Gary: I read through parts of it and talked with the lead programmer there (Tim Cain). And he was right on! He knows his stuff very well. But if I start playing games like that, I won't get any work done. I am not kidding, if I start playing one of those games I waste two or three months of my life. I won't quit until I've exhausted all of its potential.

GB: Do you feel that videogames based on rulesets like Dungeons & Dragons, Vampire: The Masquerade, or your own Lejendary Adventure help or hinder the sale of the pen n' paper versions of such RPGs?

Gary: I think if anything they marginally help. If those were the only games available on the computer than I would tell you they are hindering sales. But I don't think people are playing computer games all the time and not paper games. So they are certainly not hindering.

Paper games are fighting against computers in general for time, reading is not too popular these days, and attention spans are short. You gotta pretty much figure its not going to be a rapidly growing hobby.

GB: If you had to choose your favorite three adventures to either play or dungeon/game master from any role-playing system, what would they be and why?

Gary: They are probably going to be in D&D since that is the only place I have really run adventures other than my own Legendary Adventure material. Probably the one I had the most fun doing would be Against the Giants, G1-G3 and the Drow series, D1-D3.

And then I think my second favorite would be one that I just finished writing which will be released at the end of this year called the Hall of Many Panes. It is going to be in both D20 and Legendary Adventure rule systems. In that one, the playtesters were active in it for over a year. It's quite a large and interesting adventure module.

And then there is a little short one that I always got a kick out of that was called The Abduction of Good King Despot. I used to carry it around with me because it took about two hours to play through and it was really a lot of fun and quite challenging.

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, Gary. It's much appreciated!