6 thoughts on “Writing Excuses Bonus Episode 1: Remembering Gary Gygax”

  1. I thought AD&D (1st and 2nd editions) were actually published along side with D&D basic. D&D basic came out in 1977 (three years after the first D&D manuals). AD&D came out in 1978. Both brands were published similtaneously well into the 1990s.

    I like that you pointed out that even though many people didn’t start playing rpgs through D&D, they still owe a debt to Gary Gygax for initiating the rpg industy.

  2. You’re right. Basic D&D was created a little before AD&D. But the box set Brandon saw was the early 1980’s release, when TSR kind of forked the product lines, rather than bringing them together.

    Basic was more about role-play, Advanced was more about the mechanics of combat simulation. Both were FAR more complicated than systems that focus on role-play today.


  3. I just finished Elantris, and I noticed a technique used in that book that may relate to this topic. Sr. Sanderson breaks individual scenes in the way talked about in the podcast: enter late, leave early.

    Many authors will present a scene in one big chunk, even when several distinct things happen. They simply add a transition paragraph between “topics.” Sr. Sanderson, however, eliminates the transition paragraph, and adds a section break. Read the first chapter or two, and I think the longest section before a break is 2 or 3 pages. They are noticeably short. They may get a little longer as the book progresses, bet the technique is generally the same.

    As far as I can tell, this accomplishes two important things:

    1. It breaks the story telling up into much smaller chunks. These chunks are much more digestible than longer sections, and make it easier to read the book. It’s simply less imposing, and also easier to say, “One more section, and then I’ll put the book down.”

    2. It adds drama and emphasis to the item that precedes the break.

    It’s a technique I find it very interesting.

    Glancing through Mistborn, it appears that the sections are much longer than in Elantris, so I imagine the length of scenes or sections probably also says something about the tone and speed of the story telling.

  4. Excellent ‘Easter Egg’, thank you. Really interesting to hear you guys’ background in role-playing, and heartening to hear that you still do. Because of getting into it a bit later than my friends, they had gone through AD&D and were into stuff like Runequest, Rolemaster, Bushido, Powers & Perils, etc. I actually think it was where my writing took off because I found that I loved GM’ing, creating detailed storylines and backgrounds, not to mention some pretty detailed NPC’s, (and perhaps being guilty of playing them a bit too much!).

    For one campaign I have 600+ pages of notes (hand written) which I still hope to turn into a fantasy series – but we have been playing that for something like 18 years (still going, but infrequent now, we’re 46 after all!). We actually got to the point in that story where we were hardly roll a dice from one hour to the next, it’s actually become a communal storytelling or improv. process – possibly less like AD&D and more like Am.Dram!

    Thank so much for Writing Excuses, I have got so much motivation from these casts for my writing – and still 6 seasons to catch up!

    Hey maybe that’s a can of worms, writing a novel from role-playing experiences/scenarios/notes? Then again maybe you’ve already done something like that in one of the 150+ casts I have still to enjoy.

    Best, R

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