Here's the third and final part of my interview with Len Lakofka.
13. Can you please explain the publication process for L3? My understanding is that you had performed extensive revisions and expansions to the original version but that TSR then either lost them or never used them, or something like that? Do you have any plans to "fix" L3 and to make your updated/expanded final version available?
I sent TSR L3 at same time as L1 and L2. They edited L1 and L2 and we talked back and forth. Then the dark days came and L3 went into a bottom drawer to rot for 20 years.
Of course AD&D had evolved significantly in 20 years. So I went through the laid-out material and updated it. (I don't recall my editor's name... sorry). We were on the same page. Then someone lost the whole thing. They did not tell me they lost it of course. So it went to print and someone else edited it and put stuff in. I had no input. Could I tell you what was put in? I don't think so. I don't think I have the orginal layout and the changed material either.
14. You created a large number of spells for OD&D for Supplement I: Greyhawk, various PC/NPC character classes and spells in fanzines, as well as the whole of the Suel Pantheon for the published Greyhawk campaign. Your contributions to the game via "Leomund's Tiny Hut" were also quite extensive. What do you consider your most valuable additions to the game, and why?
Actually it's something that didn't happen. In the orginal AD&D manuscript (typed double space -- about 800 pages or so) Gary had said that if a person was held (via hold person) he/she had to make a system shock roll! I said to Gary that this would become a "Little Finger of Death." Certainly many NPCs as well as a few characters would have a Constitution score of 14 or lower. A system shock would kill quite a few folks. Since hold person is a 2nd-level cleric spell and 3rd-level magic-user spell, those spell casters needed very little experience to gain access to the prayer/spell. A gaggle of four 3rd-level clerics all throwing hold person at once on the same person would have a very high chance of not only holding him but killing him/her as well. I talked Gary out of it.
15. Given the vast number of rules expansions and additions that you created over the years, can you please describe how your D&D games evolved from when you first discovered the game, and then through your correspondence with Gary, into writing for TSR? Were you playing a proto-AD&D in some form, for example, or were your games always very OD&D-based (or Holmes Basic based, etc.)? Did you regularly use variant rules like spell points, or other variant sub-systems of your own creation?
I stuck to D&D which became AD&D. I wrote quite a few pages that ended up in the Players Handbook and DMG, with Gary inspecting each and tweaking it, as was his wont. As I played D&D, I discovered so many things that were not really explained. How did you get trained for a new level being one of those.
I was at the playtesting of Chainmail (without the fantasy supplement). TSR (Tactical Studies Rules) became the parent of the D&D booklets with time. I played the fantasy supplement of Chainmail on Gary's sand table. It was a simple developement to take it to pen & pencil.
16. From your perspective as one of the key originators and developers of the AD&D system, what words of wisdom would you share with the Old School Renaissance readers, tinkerers, designers, and publishers: words that would speak to your vision for the best possible legacy for D&D?
Well I was there at the beginning but I was not in Lake Geneva. So I had some influence but not a tremendous amount. I got my finger in the pie and no one bit it off. I got a lot of freedom in Dragon. For some number of years I put my stuff in. How much went into later editions or other people's games I have no way of telling. Now and then I hear someone tell me they used this and that but the vast majority of readers never said anything.So who knows?
17. Are you still active in the hobby today?
I have written modules "L4 and L5" and await publication from Dragonsfoot. I will begin L6 once L4 sees actual print. I do not play in any campaign at the moment.