Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Notes from 1998 Gen Con Greyhawk seminar

From: Scott Casper <Scvolstagg@AOL. COM>


Date: Fri, Aug 21, 1998 6:23 PM

Subject: [GREYTALK] Notes from the seminar

Hi all!

I didn't think the responses would be so good to my GEN CON report, but since they have been, here is what I gleaned from the Why GREYHAWK Has Lasting Appeal seminar. Since I don't write fast enough to have taken this stuff down verbatim, I can only paraphrase from my notes. Hopefully, Mr. Gygax will take me to task if I have misinterpreted him in any way.

So, the following are "facts" and anecdotes, as I copied them down, from the seminar (with some additional notes I've sprinkled in which are set aside by <>):

-When Rob Kuntz was DMing, Mordenkainen (Gygax's PC) and his party managed to subdue a red dragon. They hid the dragon in a giant covered wagon and posed as merchants. Then they wandered the land for sometime waiting for wandering encounters to ambush. <This would make a very lethal, but excellently canon wandering encounter for our campaigns>

-luz is pronounced "ee-uz."

-Again while Rob Kuntz was DMing for him, Mordenkainen once raised an army of nomads and went from town to town with his army "searching for evil clerics" -- which served as an excuse for looting the town.

-Zuggtmoy is pronounced "Zugg-moy."

-Len Lafolka invented the Spindrift Isles for his campaign, as Frank Metzer created Aquaria for his, because they thought the Flanaess was boring.

-Mr. Gygax, as a DM, is very loose with campaign time. His players would often have no idea of the game year it was.

-The high-level NPCs in the Village of Hommlet were specifically designed for one of Mr. Gygax's sons. This son <I didn't catch which> would play evil PCs that stole sheep but felt guilty for it later and paid for the sheep. However, when playing good PCs, he would kill indescriminately. Thus, the NPCs were there to give him Alignment guidance. <I wish I had asked for the name of that PC>

-Wastri is the antithesis of the Scarlet Brotherhood. Wastri represents mutation, while the Brotherhood stands for racial purity.

-Mr. Gygax's early players often switched to playing evil PCs thinking that they would get more magic items that way. <This explains the Rogues Gallery, apparently> Mr. Gygax frequently arranged for PCs to lose their magic items.

-One of Mr. Gygax's sons' PCs was a magic-user who had acquired a vorpal sword in Caslte Greyhawk, and a second one on Barsoon. He could wield these ambidexterically, which made challenging him very difficult. This PC, and his paladin NPC companion, wound up travelling to a plane of the Abyss where the swords were lost. The PC turned evil in frustration, lost his paladin companion, but never did find another vorpal sword. <This story was mentioned under Fraz-Urb'laa's entry in the MMII, and received a lengthy write-up in a previous Oerth Journal>

-Mr. Gygax dislikes how long it takes to write a module. <At the World of Greyhawk Fan Club seminar, Frank Mentzer commented on how Gary just came up with the ideas and it was up to Mr. Mentzer to flesh them out.>

-Mr. Gygax described a scenario he had once seen and liked in a game while playing. There was a gem dispensing machine in the dungeon which took gold pieces and exchanged them for gems. The machine actually had a dwarf sitting inside handing out fake gems. Mr. Gygax wished he had thought that up first.

-When asked to make a wishlist for future GREYHAWK products, Mr. Gygax only suggested a "city pack" with short descriptions of numerous towns and cities from the Flanaess. <Fate of lstus without the adventures, basically>

-Mr. Gygax wishes TSR would bring back Metamorphosis Alpha. He liked it better than Gamma World, as Alpha was more surreal and versatile.

-Mr. Gygax liked Jim Ward as a DM, and played Mordenkainen in Metamorphosis Alpha, only with an illusion making him look like a female elf. <A side of Mordy that doesn't come out in the official products!>

-Mr. Gygax likes to keep the mood light in his games, and prefers to DM for a funny group.

-Rob Kuntz's last name is pronounced "Koontz."

-Nitescreed is pronounced "Nitesoil."

-The Tomb of Horrors, particularly the entrance, was designed to challenge Mr. Kuntz's PC, Lord Robilar. Robliar fell in evey pit trap, because Mr. Gygax had predicted what pattern Robilar would walk in. Robilar deduced the nature of the Sphere of Annihlation by throwing an ore into it.

-The Tomb of Horrors was successfully completed by both Lord Robilar and Tenser seperately. Tenser defeated Acererak by scooping up his skull and throwing it in a Bag of Holding.

-If Mr. Gygax had to live somewhere on Oerth, he would pick the City of Greyhawk.

-In answering my question about intended Earth/Oerth parallelism, Mr. Gygax responded that the Yeomanry equals England and the South Province would be Austria, Hungary, or Bulgaria.

-No one ever discovered the purpose of the Enigma of Greyhawk <an Ellis Island-type head sculpture on an upper level of Castle Greyhawk>, but Jim Ward's PC once cast Magic Mouth on it and had it tell Ernie Gygax's PC to give Mr. Ward's PC a magic item. The scheme worked.

And that's all I have! If I left out anything anyone else remembers, let the list know.

Scott "Volstagg" Casper

-The Warden was built by Spelljamming Yak-Men.</PRE></HTML>


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