I remember being asked to make a teaching module. I remember trying to use Gygax monsters for the most part as we were suppose too, but also creating a few just for the module that were really different. Ed Sollers and I worked on this. I'd ask him what he'd think of something, we’d discuss it and if we felt it needed changing I would change it. Ed was my editor. I also wanted to add a little scenery, a wagon owned by an old man and his daughter who could be used to gain information from, mountains, hills, things like that where outside monsters could lurk, all leading up to the palace. I was trying to show the players that there was more to a “dungeon” than just the building. I didn't complete the palace trying to show them this map could be a mini base map for their game. The players could discover the part of the dungeon which had been caved in wasn't any longer and the DM could expand it. I was assuming that they were trying to learn to set up their own world and I was trying to help. This is all I about remember of that, however the Decapus I will never forget.
I created the Decapuses to draw paladins into the room quickly without thinking and to be the first in. I wanted them to rescue the maiden who’s clothes were torn and seemed to be surrounded by nine ugly men taunting her. Ed thought it was a good idea and so did our boss Harold Johnson. It went through the channels with no problems at all until it had been printed. Then all hell broke loose in upper management. The next thing Ed and I knew we were in trouble. Will Niebling was sitting in Dave Sutherland’s office mad as hell. Ed and I had no idea why. Will accused us of putting S&M into a child’s module. Neither Ed nor I even knew what that was. Will found it hard to believe, but it was true. Until this, upper management had no interest in a hands-on read before they modules to press.
I do want to talk about the Ubues, otherwise known as my hermaphrodites. Erol Otus didn’t read my description close enough when I described the one seen as being a female. If it had been two sexes I would have mentioned that. I designed them based on Siamese Twins, but as Siamese Triplets. By the time I saw the picture it was complete and Jim Roslof wouldn’t allow me to have it redone. I was not happy when I saw the picture.
Ubues were created because of a friend of mine. His fiancee was my college roommate and on Friday nights the “gang” would gather in my room during visitation and we would play D&D. When they came in for Linda to get their dinner and a change of clothes Steve would pretend to be an Ubue, a name he came up with. He would pretend he had two swords, lung at us and argue with his other two heads. I remember the one in the middle was named George and poor George didn’t have a weapon of his own, no arm. The heads would fight among each other about what they were going to do and who they were going to kill first. It became a regular thing and we looked forward to each week for his short visit as Linda tried to hurry him out of the room. Now that I read this, it is a shame I didn’t have the fighting Ubue in the module. I just wanted to set the record straight, I didn’t make the Ubues a hermaphrodite; Erol did.
8. Was Will Niebling the primary person at TSR who had a problem with the module as you'd written it or did he speak for others? Do you recall Gary Gygax's opinion of the matter?
I believe Will spoke for himself and the Blume brothers though I have no real proof of it. This all happened when he and the Blume Brothers were tight. I never received any feed back from Gary about B3. If he’d not been all right with it, I would have heard from him. He was far from shy about anything.
9. Did the experience of working on B3 sour your interest in writing adventure modules for D&D or did you just assume the way things turned out were par for the course at TSR?
At first I was soured, but I tried again and everything I suggested to someone, anyone, was shot down as not a good idea. My favorite idea was a Top Secret module called L.A.S.S which stood for a land, air, sea and space vehicle owned by a private company. I worked out my ideas playing with Corey Koebernick and he enjoyed it, but no one else really wanted to listen to me about it I think if Mike Carr had known about it he'd have championed me. Unfortunately he was no longer in Design and Development. I also worked on a space travel board game with play testers, one was Ernie Gygax, and they all had fun, but Lawrence [Schick --JDM] said no. I even had it at cost too. Harold ended up using me more as a secretary my last days at TSR. Was it par for the course? I have no idea about anyone else, but for me, I'd say yes.
10. Did you continue to work in game industry after leaving TSR?
No, I was courting Corey Koebernick which lead to marriage and 6 months later a pregnancy. I did continue to play in Frank Mentzer's game for a while where upon he declared me his best NPC because I hated it when they would count exactly how many 10 foot squares we'd march. Not a good idea to leave a bored Jean all alone. I looked at Frank, he grinned, and I said what do I see? Then I touched it. Myself and Corey were the only ones to live through that encounter. The monster left me alive to pass a warning to leave him alone. Corey got away. I was a mischief maker when bored.
Then Corey was let go while we were on vacation. So we moved to Beloit and had two sons 14 months apart. I still played a little until a severe illness hit me, since then I have been concentrating on combating it. If you don't mind, since there are several illnesses now I would like to not speak on them any further.
I spent several days with Gary at his home and had a blast. He was so bright, clever, and easy to speak with. He had a house full of cats who loved to chase his crumpled up cigarette packs which was fun to watch and sometime join in. I taught his wife how to make Southern Fried Chicken and she made a lot of it in the beginning. Mary didn't do too bad either. I tried to give Mary an example of a dungeon, and used the howling wind blowing down the hall from my first exposure to be hers. Her imagination was so good she wouldn't go down it. She could just see it in her mind and was scared. (laughs remembering) When Gary was in the building his door was usually opened which meant you could just go in. Then they moved to Sheridan Springs Road and I didn't get to see him as much. Gary was always nice to me, and I think he enjoyed my naiveties more than anyone else.
Since I was the one with the Southern Accent, Allen Hammock was from the south too, but didn't really sound like it too much, I got teased a lot. I remember the guys, in the days before Lawrence, would get me to talk about something just to listen to me. They'd stand there grinning like goof balls until I caught on once again as to what they were doing.
11. Do you still play role playing games?
No, I am not really interested in sitting in a room listening to a bunch of players argue about anything from what the monster is to how they want to attack it, to how many little ten foot squares they've marched.