Gryphon: How often does the Greyhawk campaign meet and play nowadays?I suppose 3 or 4 times a years is better than not playing at all, but I do feel a bit sad for Gary that he wasn't able to game more regularly once D&D became such a success.
Gygax: Not too often. A few of the original players are still left around here -- Rob Kuntz, of course, who had to move up to co-judge for a long time but by running side campaigns and so forth. I've got him back as a player. Ernie Gygax, my son, is still here. Terry Kuntz is no longer in this area regularly. Don Kaye died a few years back so he's out -- and many of the other original players have moved out of the area too. We still have some meetings -- Ward will play whenever I set it up and so forth -- so we play 3 or 4 times a year maybe.
Here's an interesting exchange about the origins of AD&D and why Gary felt it was necessary:
Gryphon: When did you realize that Dungeons and Dragons would need the massive rewrite/redesign which would become Advanced Dungeons and Dragons?The notion that AD&D is "a different game" is an interesting one, of course, not least of all because, from what I've gathered, it was at the crux of TSR's defense in some of the lawsuits Dave Arneson launched against the company.
Gygax: We knew you could play Dungeons and Dragons if you were very bright or very imaginative or had some game experience. But we knew initially, probably in early 1975, that we had to do a more clearly done introductory piece. We began looking at it. Dr. Holmes was kind enough to volunteer. I got talking with him and Eric and I arrived at a very happy agreement and he took that over. I was not satisfied with Dungeons and Dragons in that it did not allow continuity of play from group to group and from region to region. The game had too many open ends and not enough structure and at that point I decided that we better have a new game with the same role playing principles and so forth, but one a little more tightly controlled.
Gryphon: Why do you want this continuity form place to place?
Gygax: So that people are playing the same game and have some uniformity of interest? It's very frustrating for someone to go from one place to another and sit in on a game that he or she doesn't recognize and it's called Dungeons and Dragons. There were some very good games that didn't resemble Dungeons and Dragons and there were some incredibly wretched ones. I did get a letter and I don't know if I still have it or not from a "43rd level Balrog" complaining that he didn't enjoy the game anymore -- it was too boring. Too many things were being done going from the sublime to the ridiculous that were virtually killing the game. Now, of course, there is a choice. You can play Dungeons and Dragons which is an open ended, freeform, lightly structured type of a game or you can play Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, which is a different game.
I'll probably have more excerpts from the interview in the coming days. It's a fascinating interview and its relatively early date makes it particularly useful to anyone studying the history of the hobby.