Gary Gygax Wasn't Perfect

Posted by Labyrinthian in , , ,

My last quote inspired article, "Game Balance and the Conformist Utopia" seemed to be greatly enjoyed by our readers so I decided to follow it up with another one.  

Gary Gygax, often dubbed the father of our hobby, is obviously beloved by nearly everyone.  Why not?  He inspired countless men and women, was friendly and welcoming to those he met, and above all passionate about what he did.  Yet Gary, like all of us, was not perfect.  For proof we need go no further than Gary himself.

"There's a number of things in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons that I never should have done. I shouldn't have put Psionics in there, but somebody talked me into it." -Gary Gygax

So as we see, Gary didn't regard himself as perfect, nor did he see his creation as a flawless masterpiece.  As seen above he particularly regretted addition psionics into the game.

Psionics remains something of a hot button issue today.  Most people harbor a strong dislike for them, preferring to leave them out of their own games.  Others harbor a strong and fervent love of them and tend to lash out at those who take pot shots at one of their favorite parts of D&D. 

I gave psionics a go multiple times, but just found that they generally don't fit in games and settings that I play.  They are too close to magic to have each be special and play a vital role in both the setting and the story.  I have played with people who used psionics to replace magic altogether, and in my opinion this would probably work better than having both and creating a big jumbled mess, but would alter the feel to be something other than a typical fantasy setting.  Given the psionic abilities in 3rd edition the game would probably feel more like a sci-fi game than a fantasy one, though it would probably be really cool if you were playing a post-apocalyptic fantasy game.

Giving the Mega-Dungeon a whole new meaning

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 13, 2011 at Thursday, January 13, 2011 and is filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


"Given the psionic abilities in 3rd edition the game would probably feel more like a sci-fi game than a fantasy one"

Arguably that would make it very Old School. Remember, 0ed has mentions of some Barsoomian monsters, the DMG mentions crossovers with Metamorphosis: Alpha and Gamma World, and there's plenty of SF showing up in everything from Blackmoor to Expedition To The Barrier Peaks. back in the early days it seems D&D ended up being almost more science-fantasy than anything.

January 13, 2011 at 7:55 PM

I am working on a conversion of Errant to a post-apocalyse sci-fi setting where I have a class called an Empath which is designed to be a kind of River Tam character class with some Jedi influence. I have put all the telekinetic Jedi force powers into a Kinetic class as well.

January 14, 2011 at 11:43 AM

I think I much prefer the psionics from Strategic Review #1 (the Mind Flayers' Mind Blast) and simplifying the psionics from Supplement 3 - Eldritch Wizardry.

January 14, 2011 at 12:38 PM

Gygax wasn't the "original DM," Dave Arneson was. Gygax also wasn't the creator of D&D, he was the co-creator along with Arneson.

Considering how Gygax treated Arneson, I wish people could at least get these simple facts straight and stop perpetuating the idea that Gygax was the sole creator of the game.

April 19, 2013 at 1:02 AM

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