Assassins are evil in alignment (perforce, as the killing of humans and other intelligent life for the purpose of profit is basically held to be the antithesis of weal).Perforce? Anthithesis of weal? Who writes like that anymore? In what game book can you find such prose nowadays?
Modern game books read like what they are: technical manuals. There's nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but I much prefer my roleplaying books to be quirky, idiosyncratic things that reveal the mind of their authors. I like to be reminded that there was an actual human being behind these volumes, whose word choices reflect his personality and preferences rather than the demands of mere utility.
High Gygaxian speech sounds to me like a local dialect of High Vancian. I once told Gary my opinion on this and he demurred. He didn't think his own peculiar voice was anywhere as erudite and witty as that of Jack Vance, saying that it was mostly the result of his having read a lot of rather "old fashioned" books when he was a kid, coupled with his lifelong love of dictionaries and thesauruses. Even so, there's something rapturous about the way Gary wrote and it's part of the lasting appeal 1e has for me. There are hints of it in OD&D, even in the three little brown books, but it's not until later that it reaches its fullest flower.
I know there are many for whom High Gygaxian is the thing they miss least about D&D. I can certainly understand not liking the particular way Gary wrote, as it's an acquired taste, but I have a hard time fathoming a preference for game books being treated primarily as instruction manuals rather than as occasions to inspire, exhort, and enchant one's imagination through words, like this bit from Vault of the Drow:
The true splendor of the Vault can be appreciated only by those with infravision, or by use of the roseate lenses or a gem of seeing. The Vault is a strange anomaly, a hemispherical cyst in the crust of the earth, an incredibly huge domed fault over 6 miles long and nearly as broad. The dome overhead is a hundred feet high at the walls, arching to several thousand feet height in the center. When properly viewed, the radiation from certain unique minerals give the visual effect of a starry heaven, while near the zenith of this black stone bowl is a huge mass of tumkeoite -- which in its slow decay and transformation to lacofcite sheds a lurid gleam, a ghostly plum-colored light to human eyes, but with ultravision a wholly different sight.Again, I say, you'll find few passages in contemporary adventures that are as evocative.
The small "star" nodes glow in radiant hues of mauve, lake, violet, puce, lilac, and deep blue. The large "moon" of tumkeoite casts beams of shimmering amethyst which touch the crystalline formations with colors unknown to any other visual experience. The lichens seem to glow in rose madder and pale damson, the fungi growths in golden and red ochres, vermillions, russets, citron, and aquamarine shades. (Elsewhere the river and other water courses sheen a deep velvety purple with reflected highlights from the radiant gleams overhead vying with streaks and whorls of old silver where the liquid laps the stony banks or surges against the ebon piles of the jetties and bridge of the elfin city for the viewers' attention.) The rock walls of the Vault appear hazy and insubstantial in the wine-colored light, more like mist than solid walls. The place is indeed a dark fairyland.
Like Gary himself, I've demurred when someone called my style of writing "Gygaxian." I lack Gary's flair and too many years in academia have infected my writing with adverbitis. Yet, I can't deny that High Gygaxian was a major influence on me as a kid. I know that my vocabulary grew considerably as a result of reading my AD&D books. His writing was challenging and often difficult to decipher, but it also showed me the importance of finding one's own unique voice and using it to make connections to other people. Goodness knows Gary connected to me through his writings and, as I've been recently reminded, in this respect I certainly am following in his footsteps.