And here I thought it was expensive to play D&D with Paul Stormberg at the old Gygax house on 330 Center street for $100! The $4000 for 6 days is a bit steep, but considering you're guaranteed to play with Ernie Gygax, Jeff Leason and Jim Ward isn't bad if that's what you really want from a private mini-Con. I was going to drop around $2K on GaryCon for 4 days of gaming, so not such a huge difference... But since the Covid-19 vaccine may not be out by November, it is difficult to make plans. I'll stick with GaryCon 2021 and hope the vaccine is available by then.
Last Edit: Jul 15, 2020 13:03:40 GMT -5 by GRWelsh
Post by geneweigel on Jul 15, 2020 15:22:27 GMT -5
Yeah, it is pretty steep considering Jim Ward might show up... <<<CRINGE>>> Seriously, I'm definitely aimed at GaryCon 2021 to do any and all (real D&D related) hijinx instead of some organized showcase.
I think the thing about Jim Ward that irks me the most is that he was largely associated with the second edition platform and in retrospect it seemed like he relied on others a lot.
I like Ernie and he was big behind the scenes despite him lacking a massive portfolio but Jim, someone with a massive portfolio, I just can't pretend anymore. His major track record is in the 90's and I had all those products searching for anything good in them. It seemed like stuff cobbled together by a roomful of pre-teens then slicked up every time.
Besides that the tale about Ward dissing Gary in the 70's really comes to mind every time that I see his name too.
I saw on Facebook that they had Mentzer around. Whats the deal with that? I thought he was a stalker or something?
Frank Mentzer was involved in some online scandal a few years ago, but I don't recall the details.
In regards to Jim Ward, a friend of mine named Mark is fond of telling a story. In the early 80's, Mark attended GEN CON EAST and played in a GAMMA WORLD session GMed by Jim Ward. The party was hired by the Knights of Genetic Purity to do some quest, and each player character could pick out one artifact to help them on their way. Everyone else went for the big, powerful items but Mark chose a high ranking ID card. Ward was impressed with his choice, which was a good one because the powerful-appearing artifacts all turned out to be flawed in some way. For example, one character chose power armor but it was missing a helmet -- when he tried to go underwater, the water rushed into his armor and short-circuited it and electrocuted him. By contrast, Mark's high ranking ID card granted them all sort of access and clearance in the place they were exploring and helped them to succeed in their quest. In the end none of it mattered since the Knights of Genetic Purity betrayed the party after the quest was complete... The Knights pointed all of their guns and power weapons at the party and shot them down! Ward's explanation was that some of the characters were mutated humanoids, and so the betrayal should have been expected... Mark loves telling that story and thought Ward was a good GM even though the session was a TPK. It reminded me of how EGG told stories about how much he enjoyed Ward as a GM, as well.
Post by geneweigel on Jul 16, 2020 12:01:13 GMT -5
Now see that is hard to debate about. But I honestly think the Gary promotion was based on Ward being a gatekeeper for someone else's unknown gameplay, "I'll see if I can work that in to something at the office", etc. Meanwhile as the years (and fan enthusiasms) waned he was on his own for T$R's and his other latter publishings which were almost pure vapid anti-matter.
The other clips are in this album. I believe the photos/footage were taken by the current owner of 723, who is renovating it as a self-proclaimed "Hobby Shop Dungeon Museum":
Last Edit: Jul 16, 2020 19:21:48 GMT -5 by Zenopus
“Story tellers are always careful to point out that the reputed dungeons lie in close proximity to the foundations of an older, pre-human city, to the graveyard, and to the sea.” --- J. Eric Holmes Zenopus Archives blog: Exploring the Underworld of Holmes Basic D&D. Holmes Ref: Reference Sheets for Holmes Basic Referees.
I'd love to play with those guys. I'd be pretty star-struck. I have this endless fascination of the early days of D&D and RPGs, Greyhawk, what it was like to play with EGG, his DMing style, and so on. So it would be difficult to resist the temptation to ask hundreds of questions about the original Castle Greyhawk, Tenser, Erac and Erac's Cousin, Bombadil, Drawmij, the original Temple of Elemental Evil, the first adventures on the Starship Warden, the origins of METAMORPHOSIS ALPHA and GAMMA WORLD, what those games were like, Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, early tournament play, etc. But they're probably expecting that from any uber-fan willing to pay $4000+ for this tour. A good idea for anyone fortunate enough to go on this Lake Geneva tour would be to take detailed notes or write a journal, and perhaps even prepare some questions ahead of time.
Based on the old Bombadil thread, it looks like Rob Kuntz DMed a lot for Jim Ward as a magic-user named Bombadil and Skip Williams as a fighting man in 1975.
Based on those links Zach posted, it looks like someone bought the former Dungeon Hobby Shop building and is restoring it into a museum with the help of some locals, Ernie DMed for them after they had all done some work. That is awesome! Definitely an added destination for me at GaryCon 2021.
Post by geneweigel on Jul 17, 2020 11:10:08 GMT -5
Well, I think the cool factor has to play in to that.
Gary spilled the beans because I made him laugh on a college level of intelligent D&D appreciation not because I studied Greyhawk like crazy or fanned out. But that is specifically Gary, I think playing it cool and aggressively shutting down big mouths (politics and sports talk) would be key.
Yeah, I’d love to be in a game with them, but not a tournament style game, or even a week long arc. It’s the ongoing campaign stuff that fascinates me about those stories. In a recent interview Ernie mentioned how modules weren’t like the home campaign. It’s the depth of the campaign and the players’ interaction with it that I’d like to experience.
Once the game started you were 'in character' whether you were trying to be or not. If you were sitting around the table arguing about sports or politics, you were standing in the dungeon arguing about sports and politics. And obviously wandering monsters just love sports and politics talk. One of the things that stood out in Mike Mornard's recent interview was his comment that the Greyhawk players were so much more organized than the Blackmoor players. They were much more tactical in their approach, and you have to think Gary's DMing style had something do with it. Pay attention or you'll be rolling up new characters.
Post by geneweigel on Jul 17, 2020 18:17:06 GMT -5
Gary was definitely captain of a starship material. Without even having played with him, I can tell from his conversations, that I have more of a cushion because I'm aggressively pleasing. You really have to be a boiled psychopath to hate my DMing style and believe me I know what DMing one of those is like!
Post by geneweigel on Jul 18, 2020 15:22:22 GMT -5
I just pressed on a link sent to my e-mail from GaryCon/Luke Gygax on Twitch and Jim Ward just chimed in as I clicked on a roundtable with Luke, Kask, Carr?, Dave Conant (TSR employee 1981-198/1994-1997) and Jim Ward.
Oooh boy, he just dug his own career grave with me. He is a nasty piece of shit that deserves all the hell the fans give him. He says, Gary used too many fancy words but we fixed that along with many, many Gary problems in second edition. Then he brags about Greyhawk Adventures being a great book. This is him schmoozing with Gygax's son. What a piece of shit.
Well, it's not like I haven't dealt with it before I think it just confirmed what I already knew. So I don't believe it would be an issue if I went to something like that. Hell, I've played with hostile DMs/GMs before too so... KABOOM! "He's got him in a headlock!"
I was surprised to hear Jim Ward mention AD&D 2nd edition and GREYHAWK ADVENTURES as what he thought were his greatest contributions at TSR. I always thought it was overwhelmingly obvious his claim to fame was being one of the earliest D&D players as well as being co-designer of both METAMORPHOSIS ALPHA and GAMMA WORLD. And those games have such a clear lineage to original D&D and to the sf books ORPHANS OF THE SKY by Robert Heinlein and NON-STOP and HOTHOUSE by Brian Aldiss that they can hardly be mentioned independently. D&D provided a ready-made conceptual framework (the RPG soon shown to be adaptable for any genre) and the novels with the source material. Some have called MA "D&D in space" and I can see that because of the confined environment. It was interesting to listen to the Starship Warden game from over the weekend, to see what one of those games is like: many encounters with giant, mutated monsters and lots of zaniness (a region where all the animals had two heads, a river flowing both ways, a visit to McDonalds, etc.). Deadly, but not serious.
Last Edit: Jul 20, 2020 10:58:35 GMT -5 by GRWelsh
Post by geneweigel on Jul 20, 2020 15:34:12 GMT -5
I don't know why I'm so sensitive about the Gary bashing. It just drives me up the wall. My indifference towards Lorraine TSR is really something that irks almost continuously. I think the pattern that I get is I set my self revved for 1982 nostalgia then someone comes crashing down with some 1995 nostalgia.
The other day someone posted a bronze dragon by Todd Lockwood from Third Edition on a Greyhawk 1E Facebook Page and I automatically felt compelled to say that isn't 1E. Then I caught myself and said to myself let somebody else do the fighting. They didn't complain about the first one weeks ago. Even though those 2E era styles are clearly not 1E. I had Strongheart on my dresser for years riding the official bronze dragon so I think I can say what a bronze dragon looks like back in the day. But at the end of the day today it isn't really my problem. I don't want to lead a community... again. I just want to belong to "the cool" and not sink into "the drool".
I don't regret interacting with Rob Kuntz even though he is one of the most problematic people that I know. Jim Ward is different to me. He doesn't seem legit like Kuntz rather he seems like an aggressive glory hound. Rob didn't claim anything in DEITIES & DEMIGODS but Ward did. Very aggressively to the point where it seemed like Rob did nothing at all. Rob did good articles unaided about deities (and monsters) so its very odd that he did nothing at all. Rob I feel gets much of the indignation that Ward most likely deserves. Case in point. Where is the Ward adventure back in the day? When Kuntz and Gary were pumping MORDENKAINEN'S FANTASTIC ADVENTURE in 1984, Ward was relegated to editing and writing Endless Quest books.
So how did this guy make METAMORPHOSIS ALPHA in 1976? My theory? Coincidence. Maybe someone else's home game solicited by an unknown? GAMMA WORLD by Jaquet was the successful game and it was a variant of MA. Gary who led production on MA with Blume and Carr felt like this was Arneson all over again so there was sympathies about GW being Ward's creation. Its not like EGG was not paying attention to GW because he did an adventure designed to be a hub for it. So he was definitely paying attention to credit giving front cover credit to Luke Gygax and Paul Reiche III. Its not much of a stretch but it would account for GW 3 and GW 4 being what they were and him not being able to present something tasty for his own franchise in the 2000s.