Friday, March 4, 2011

Open Friday: Gygaxian Prose

Today marks the third anniversary of Gary Gygax's death. Earlier in the year, I'd decided that, after three years, it was time to cease commemorating this date and instead remember Gary on his birthday, as I do with authors like Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft. However, since March 4th fell on a Friday this year, I thought it worthwhile to make today's Open Friday Gygax-related.

So, I'd like everyone to post a favorite passages written by Gary in the comments below. I myself don't have a single favorite, but one that immediately comes to mind is the following from the Players Handbook:
Assassins are evil in alignment (perforce, as the killing of humans and other intelligent life forms for the purpose of profit is basically held to be the antithesis of weal).
What comes to your mind when you think of classic examples of Gygaxian prose?

35 comments:

  1. Rock: A smooth or rough, regular- or irregular-shaped, often slightly rounded, hard mineral substance, that can be used as a weapon either by hurling it at an enemy or holding it in the hand as an inferior form of bludgeon.
    - Dangerous Journeys, Mythus, page 244, under "Weapon Descriptions"

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  2. "You see a sickly gray arm strike the gnome as he's working on the spike, the gnome utters a muffled cry, and then a shadowy form drags him out of sight. What are you others going to do?"
    -- Dungeon Master's Guide pp. 100

    I was reminded of this passage the other day due to Blair of Planet Algol's post on MAR Barker's example of play. The one in the DMG has always been my favorite, even if it isn't exactly Gygax at his most verbose.

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  3. Halberd: After the awl pike and the bill, this was one of the most popular weapons of the Middle Ages. Fixed on a shaft five to eight feet long is a large axe blade, angled for maximum impact. The end of the blade tapers to a long spear point or awl pike. On the back is a hook for attacking armor or dismounting riders. Originally intended
    to defeat cavalry, it is not tremendouslysuccessful in that role since it lacks the reach of the pike and needs considerable room to swing. It found new life against blocks of pikemen. Should the advance of the main attack stall, halberdiers issue out of the formation and attack the flanks of the enemy. The pikemen with their overlong weapons are nearly defenseless in such close combat.

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  4. The alien and strangely disturbing buildings of Erelhei-Cinlu are crowded together in a welter which confuse any not born and bred to the place. Its crooked, narrow streets and alleys are dimly illuminated by signs scribed in phosphorescent chemicals and occasional lichen growths or fire beetle cages. Not even the Drow are certain what horrors lurk in the sewers beneath, but the rooftops are home to many sorts of large, huge, and giant spiders.

    The main ways of this ancient and depraved city are thronged with as unlikely a mixture of creatures as can be imagined. Green cloaked Illithids and Kuo-Toans rub shoulders with Dark Elves. Ghosts and ghouls roam freely, and an occasional shadow or vampire will be seen. Bugbears and troglodytes are common, as are other various servants and slaves of the Drow (dwarves, goblins, half-orcs, humans, and orcs are sometimes free inhabitants of the place). All are pale from dwelling in the sunless Vault. Trolls slink by evillooking men wearing the green garb. None are disturbed to pass a lesser demon or succubus, a night hag or mezzodaemon. These crowds part hurriedly for Noble Drow riding nightmares or the more powerful demons or nycadaemons (see special section at the end), but those of the Dark Elves with pack lizards must slowly force their way through traffic. Beggars of all sorts are seen, and half-Drow thieves, pimps, and harlots are as common as the enslaved human and elven prostitutes displayed before certain establishments.

    Between 8,000 and 9,000 Drow live in the city, and double that number of half-casts, servants, and slaves. To this permanent population can be added a thousand or so creatures visiting for purposes known only to themselves. The tiers and dungeons of Erelhei-Cinlu reek of debauchery and decadence, and the city's inhabitants are degenerate and effete. (Those with any promise and ability are brought out of the place to serve the fighting societies, merchant clans or noble houses. The rest are left to wallow in the sinkhole of absolute depravity which is Erelhei-Cinlu.) The most popular places in the city are the gambling dens, bordellos, taverns, drug saloons, and even less savory shops along the two main streets. The back streets and alleyways too boast of brothels, poison shops, bars, and torture parlors. Unspeakable things transpire where the evil and jaded creatures seek pleasure, pain, excitement, or arcane knowledge, and sometimes these seekers find they are victims. All visitors are warned that they enter the back streets of the city at their peril.

    -Gary Gygax, D3 Vault of the Drow

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  5. My favorite Gary writing usually came from Dragon Magazine. Even when he was writing about something "mundane", his writing still has a certain... je ne sais quoi.

    Here's one I found that I always enjoyed.

    "At the risk of claiming too much for the game, I have lately taken to likening the whole to Aristotle’s POETICS, carrying the analogy to even
    more ridiculous heights by stating that each Dungeon Master uses the rules to become a playwrite [sic](hopefully of Shakespearean stature), scripting only plot outlines however, and the players become the Thespians. Before incredulity slackens so as to allow the interviewer to become hostile, I hasten to add that the analogy applies only to the basic parts of the whole pastime, not to the actual merits of D&D, its DMs, or players. If you consider the game, the analogy is actually quite apt. DUNGEONS & DRAGONS is like none other in that it requires the game master to create part or all of a fantasy world. Players must then become personae in this place and interact with the other populace. This is, of course a tall order for all concerned — rules, DM, and players alike."

    - "From the Sorcerer's Scroll", The Dragon Issue #22, February 1979. Page 29.

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  6. The alien and strangely disturbing buildings of Erelhei-Cinlu are crowded together in a welter which confuse any not born and bred to the place. Its crooked, narrow streets and alleys are dimly illuminated by signs scribed in phosphorescent chemicals and occasional lichen growths or fire beetle cages. Not even the Drow are certain what horrors lurk in the sewers beneath, but the rooftops are home to many sorts of large, huge, and giant spiders.

    The main ways of this ancient and depraved city are thronged with as unlikely a mixture of creatures as can be imagined. Green cloaked Illithids and Kuo-Toans rub shoulders with Dark Elves. Ghosts and ghouls roam freely, and an occasional shadow or vampire will be seen. Bugbears and troglodytes are common, as are other various servants and slaves of the Drow (dwarves, goblins, half-orcs, humans, and orcs are sometimes free inhabitants of the place). All are pale from dwelling in the sunless Vault. Trolls slink by evillooking men wearing the green garb. None are disturbed to pass a lesser demon or succubus, a night hag or mezzodaemon. These crowds part hurriedly for Noble Drow riding nightmares or the more powerful demons or nycadaemons (see special section at the end), but those of the Dark Elves with pack lizards must slowly force their way through traffic. Beggars of all sorts are seen, and half-Drow thieves, pimps, and harlots are as common as the enslaved human and elven prostitutes displayed before certain establishments.

    Between 8,000 and 9,000 Drow live in the city, and double that number of half-casts, servants, and slaves. To this permanent population can be added a thousand or so creatures visiting for purposes known only to themselves. The tiers and dungeons of Erelhei-Cinlu reek of debauchery and decadence, and the city's inhabitants are degenerate and effete. (Those with any promise and ability are brought out of the place to serve the fighting societies, merchant clans or noble houses. The rest are left to wallow in the sinkhole of absolute depravity which is Erelhei-Cinlu.) The most popular places in the city are the gambling dens, bordellos, taverns, drug saloons, and even less savory shops along the two main streets. The back streets and alleyways too boast of brothels, poison shops, bars, and torture parlors. Unspeakable things transpire where the evil and jaded creatures seek pleasure, pain, excitement, or arcane knowledge, and sometimes these seekers find they are victims. All visitors are warned that they enter the back streets of the city at their peril.

    -Gary Gygax, D3 Vault of the Drow

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  7. Two of my favorites are reasons why D&D is humanocentric:

    "Men are the worst monsters..." and "From all views then it is enough fantasy to assume a swords & sorcery cosmos, with impossible professions and make-believe magic. To adventure amongst the weird is fantasy enough without becoming that too!"

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  8. "ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS is first and foremost a game for the fun and enjoyment of those who seek to use imagination and creativity. This is not to say that where it does not interfere with the flow of the game that the highest degree of realism hasn't been attempted, but neither is a serious approach to play discouraged."

    - DMG p. 9: "The Game: Approaches to Playing Dungeons & Dragons"

    Which I consider to be the "golden rule" for D&D: http://deltasdnd.blogspot.com/2009/06/game-mission-statement.html

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  9. Perhaps the highest bit of High Gygaxian is the following passage from pp. 10-11 of D3: Vault of the Drow. The first paragraph gives the context, while the second ramps it up to maximum Gygaxian.

    '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.

    '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.'

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  10. Gellor recommended some of the dry white wine from Furyondy to begin with. After several goblets of the stuff, Gord felt quite able to attack the tavern's bill of fare, and soon food was set before them. Tubb, the proprietor, fitted his name quite well, and this worthy, together with a woman to see to their drink and a lad to step and fetch, personally attended the pair. Gellor was evidently a regular here, and well-regarded by Tubb.
    More of the crisp, apple-fragranced wine was poured for them as their host set a pewter slaver before them. it was filled with morsels of radishes with black skins, smoked rounds of eel, scallions, and pickles. All of it tasted delicious, especially when washed down with the Furyondian vintage. They also had a small loaf of bread with a golden and crispy crust and soft, white crumb. The whole was gone all too soon, and Gord was about to call for more when bowls of pink liquid were placed before them. This stuff was a thick, creamy soup of a sort he had never tasted. Gellor told him it was made from the young crayfish taken from the mill pond of Agile Creek. It was made with wine, cream, and herbs, plus only Tubb knew what. Gord felt like licking the bowl clean when he'd finished the last spoonful he could get out of it.
    Both men sat back a bit and enjoyed their contentment. The wench, Amy, brought them fresh goblets, filled this time with an emerald-colored elvish wine—whether from Celene or Ulek, Gord neither knew nor cared. As the wine was poured, the boy hastily removed their bowls, for Tubb was at hand with a brace of squabs for each. The birds were roasted to perfection, juicy, and stuffed with green grapes.
    When the tiny bones were picked clean and the last globe of fruit devoured, Gord thought no prince or king had ever dined so well. Gellor, in contrast, seemed only mildly satisfied, telling their host that so far all had been acceptable. So far? That made Gord wonder, but not for long. The elvish wine was whisked away in favor of a deep ruby-hued wine served to them in chalices. Gord imitated Gellor's actions as the one-eyed thief swirled and sniffed the stuff.The aroma was heady and tantalizing. Gord sipped and found the flavor full, strong, and impossible to describe. Just as one flavor seemed to come to mind, the vintage moved a different part of his palate to identify another taste, and when he let the last of it pass down his throat, still another sensation filled his mouth. Then a vast dish filled with mutton and legumes, seasoned with garlic and herbs, was placed before the, and both fell to—Gord more from the appetizing odor and appearance of the dish than from hunger for it. Could it be that this course was even better than the previous one?

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  11. Neither man could possibly finish these last potions served, and when the remainder was cleared, both belched and grinned. As if by magic, small plated with various sorts of greens were placed before them. Gord's nose detected vinegar, fine oil, and pepper. Gellor speared the leafy bits and ate them with relish, and Gord followed suit. The stuff was tasty and removed the greasy mutton aftertaste from his mouth. Soon the plate was clear of all but a few stray bits of parsley and cress. At last they were finished, thought Gord, but he was mistaken once again! The astonished Gord was served a trencher of thin, white bread, a dozen cheeses were put before them, and a crook of butter placed between the pair.
    As more wine was poured, Gellor said, "Tubb, you continue to amaze me, I must admit. Where did you find these wonderful cheeses? I haven't seen their like in years!"
    Tubb only beamed and hurried off to serve his other customers. Gellor enlightened Gord as to the nature of several of the small wheels and rounds on the table. One was a goat cheese from far to the west, Ket, actually. Another, one with great holes and a sharp, vaguely nutty flavor, was Perrenlander. Still another was a creamy and delicious, but very smelly, one made by the Frustii and known as Djekul for the town of it's origin. Best of all, Gord liked an ivory-colored cheese with a greenish marbling through the center. His companion informed him it was called Wicker, from the Yeomanry. Just after this array came some diminutive tarts of various sort—berry, nut, and mincemeat. At last it was really over, and the thoroughly stuffed patrons sipped brandy and groaned.

    a meal at the Horn and Haunch, Stoink
    Saga of Old City

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  12. Personally I was never so enamored of his more florid use of language, however there were certain attitudes Gygax expressed that have always made me smile:

    Superior play makes the game more enjoyable for all participants, DM and players alike. It allows more actual playing time. It makes play more interesting. The DM will have to respond to superior play by extending himself or herself to pose bigger and better problems for the party to solve.
    ...
    If you believe that Advanced Dungeons & Dragons is a game worth playing, you will certainly find it double so if you play well.


    Player's Handbook, page 109

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  13. --Players Handbook, page 109
    Superior play makes the game more enjoyable for all participants, DM and player alike. It allows more actual playing time. It makes play more interesting. The DM will have to respond to superior play by extending himself or herself to pose bigger and better problems for the party to solve. This in turn means more enjoyment for the players. Successful play means long-lived characters, characters who will steadily, if not rapidly, gain levels. You will find that such characters become like old friends; they become almost real. Characters with stories related about their exploits - be they cleverly wrought gains or narrow escapes - bring a sense of pride and accomplishment to their players, and each new success adds to the luster and fame thus engendered. The DM will likewise revel in telling of such exploits...just as surely as he or she will not enjoy stories which constantly relate the poor play of his or her group! Some characters will meet their doom, some will eventually retire in favor of a new character of a different class and/or alignment; but playing well is a reward unto itself, and old characters are often remembered with fondness and pride as well. If you believe that ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS is a game worth playing, you will certainly find it doubly so if you play well.

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  14. To me, its all about the DMG Afterword:

    "IT IS THE SPIRIT OF THE GAME, NOT THE LETTER OF THE RULES, WHICH IS IMPORTANT. NEVER HOLD TO THE LETTER WRITTEN, NOR ALLOW SOME BARRACKS ROOM LAWYER TO FORCE QUOTATIONS FROM THE RULE BOOK UPON YOU, IF IT GOES AGAINST THE OBVIOUS INTENT OF THE GAME. AS YOU HEW THE LINE WITH RESPECT TO CONFORMITY TO MAJOR SYSTEMS AND UNIFORMITY OF PLAY IN GENERAL, ALSO BE CERTAIN THE GAME IS MASTERED BY YOU AND NOT BY YOUR PLAYERS. WITHIN THE BROAD PARAMETERS GIVEN IN THE ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS VOLUMES, YOU ARE CREATOR AND FINAL ARBITER. BY ORDERING THINGS AS THEY SHOULD BE, THE GAME AS A WHOLE FIRST, YOUR CAMPAIGN NEXT, AND YOUR PARTICIPANTS THEREAFTER, YOU WILL BE PLAYING ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS AS IT WAS MEANT TO BE. MAY YOU FIND AS MUCH PLEASURE IN SO DOING AS THE REST OF US DO!"

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  15. "A faint, foul draft issues from the 20' wide cave mouth which is the entrance to this place. The worn path throught the copse of obscenely twisted and oddly bloated trees gives those approaching along its length an eerie sense of unease, and as soon as they enter the cave mouth a dim awareness of lurking evil will pervade their senses. Red strata intertwines with bulging black veins running through the hewn rock walls beyond the entrance. The wide corridors and chambers are deathly still. A faint groaning sound, and a shrill piping may be occasionally heard, barely perceptible even if the party is absolutely silent and listening." Keep on the Borderlands, p21.

    Wonderful scene-setting descriptive passages like this, intended to spur the imagination of the DM into engaging with their own of-the-cuff narrative skills, had the greatest impact on me as a DM. The job is to transport the players with conviction into the realm conjured up by the game.

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  16. "I cannot resist the analogy of a lion standing over its kill. The vultures
    scream, and the jackals yap, when the lion drives them off without
    allowing them to steal bits of the meat. Perhaps a hyena will manage
    to successfully grab off a mouthful, but that is all. Other lions may
    also prey upon the same herd and make even bigger kills, but that is the
    law of the land. Pardon me, please, if you find the picture not to your
    liking. From my end it seems most apropos, for I hear a good deal of
    screaming and yapping. TSR was the lion which brought down the
    prey, and we intend to have the benefits derived therefrom. If we share
    with anyone, it will be on our terms."

    From Dragon issue 11, page 6.

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  17. Obscure but memorable:

    "Yunnngh, uff!" replied Floppspel, going upwards as fast as his shaking hands would pull him. "No! NO!" shouted Lessnard, but the apprentice was like a drowning man, intent only upon climbing atop the straw of imagined safety. "I'll cut the rope," threatened Lessnard as they sunk still lower. Floppspel hauled himself to a position where he could grasp his master's ankles, and once he had a handhold he shinnied up the Magician in a trice. "Yorph, bluchh!" cried Lessnard as the fellow's foot wedged firmly into his mouth. Floppspel stood triumphantly upon his master's crown; then, and with a frantic leap managed to regain the safety of the ledge as his former haven was descended below its level. Freed of the oppressive weight of the Medium, Lessnard's magical footwear once again asserted their influence -- just in time to save him from the ravening maws but a scant span below. Upwards he bounded like a startled grouse. But while the latter controls its flight, the Magician was too surprised to rule his levitational device, and his head smote the ceiling of the chamber resoundingly.

    The Magician's Ring

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  18. I've had this in my email .signature file for ages. I'm not sure when/where I picked it up, but I whole-heartedly agree with it. It's probably from an interview, not from a piece RPG source material:

    There is no role-playing in an online game that can match what happens in person.

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  19. I started looking in Tomb of Horrors for my favourite quote but soon realised that the entire work was almost a favourite quote (on how not to design a dungeon). But it was memories of encountering this that initially drew me there...

    6. THE FACE OF THE GREAT GREEN DEVIL: The other fork of the dungeon leads right up to an evil-appearing devil face set in mosaic at the corridor's end. (SHOW YOUR PLAYERS GRAPHIC #6). The face has a huge O of a mouth; it is dead black. The whole area radiates evil and magic if detected for. The mouth opening is similar to a (fixed) sphere of annihilation, but it is about 3' in diameter -- plenty of room for those who wish to leap in and be completely and forever destroyed.

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  20. Gary's quote in the AD&D 1e DMG about having the intelligence to know smoking is bad for you but lacking the wisdom to quit (to illustrate the difference between the two stats) has always stuck out in my mind.

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  21. 17A. WEIRD ABANDONED TEMPLE: This room is of faintly glowing purplish green stone, carved with disturbing shapes and signs which seem to stare out from the walls and columns, to shift position when the watcher's back is turned. Touching the walls makes one chilled, and contact with a pillar causes the one touching it to become nauseous. At the far west end of the temple is an altar of pale, yellow-gray translucent stone. It feels greasy to the touch. Behind this altar is a flight of low, uneven steps which lead to an alcove with a concave back wall of purplish-black, glassy appearing substance. If any creature stands before this wall and gazes upon it for one round, a writhing amorphous form of sickly mauves and violets will be seen stretching its formless members towards the viewer. This sight causes the creature seeing it to have a 50% chance of becoming insane. If the creature does not go insane, a touch upon the curving wall will cause a scarab of insanity to appear upon the altar for the first one so doing, and a 5,000 g.p. gem for the next.

    — Dungeon Module G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, p.7 (1978)

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  22. I've little to add here except that this just might be the most enjoyable comment thread I've ever read on any blog post anywhere on the internet.

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  23. I think that the Gygaxian prose is the only reason I miss the 1E AD&D books! All hail the creator! Huzzah!

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  24. I don't think I have Saga of Old City anymore, and I certainly don't have it memorized, but I immediately thought of the description of the huge feast, which Duglas quotes above.

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  25. Yesmar, good job. Top 5 for me or so.

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  26. One of my favourite Gygaxian quotes comes from the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth:

    "Poor play does not merit special consideration. Players will not improve if the DM pampers rather than challenges them. If your players perform badly, do not allow their characters to increase in experience level. Be most judicious in how you handle awards to player characters. Allowing foolish and ignorant players to advance their characters to high levels reflects badly upon the game and even more so upon the Dungeon Master who allowed such a travesty to occur. In effect, it is the excellence of the DM which is judged when the caliber of play by any group is discussed. Keep yours high!"

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  27. "...people them with monsters of various horrid aspect..."

    I really like the one Geoffrey posted as well.

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  28. "These rules are strictly fantasy. Those wargamers who lack imagination, those who don't care for Burroughs' Martian adventures where John Carter is groping through black pits, who feel no thrill upon reading Howard's Conan saga, who do not enjoy the de Camp & Pratt fantasies or Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser pitting their swords against evil sorceries will not be likely to find DUNGEONS and DRAGONS to their taste."

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  29. Here's one that came to mind from KoTB:

    SHRINE OF EVIL CHAOS A faint, foul draft issues from the 20’ wide cave mouth which is the entrance to this place. The worn path through the copse of obscenely twisted and oddly bloated trees gives those approaching
    along its length an eerie sense of unease, and as soon as they enter the cave mouth a dim awareness of lurking evil will pervade their senses. Red strata intertwines with bulging black veins running through the hewn rock walls beyond the entrance. The wide corridors and chambers are deathly still. A faint groaning
    sound, and a shrill piping may be occasionally heard,barely perceptible even if the party is absolutely silent and listening.

    That makes me want to play!

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  30. Another evil temple from G3/D3. This may be the most memorable to me (followed by those in B2, G1, S1, WG4 in some order):

    TEMPLE OF THE EYE: Note the illusion walls which screen this area. The place is illuminated by a strange swirling light which seems to be part of the very air of the place. Eddies of luminosity drift and swirl here and there, causing the whole scene to be strange and uncertain. Distances and dimensions are tricky to determine in the shifting light of rusty purple motes and lavender rays. Globs of mauve and violet seem to seep and slide around. The ceiling of the Temple is out of visual range...

    Giants' Worship Area: Each pillar radiates a sense of unease and insecurity (simulate this by making players uneasy in whatever way you find best) in a 5' radius. The wall to the west is a mural showing giants bowing to a cairn of black, offering sacrifices, giving gifts, etc. The floor on this side of the column in the center is of porphyry, the pillars of serpentine, and their well-polished surfaces clash with each other and the strange light as well. The scenes on the west wall grow more horrific, showing human and giant sacrifice near the altar (north) end.

    Servants & Thralls Worship Area: The polished floor of red and black hornblende seems to flow between the obsidian pillars which close off this area. Each of these pillars radiates mild fear in a 2' radius, and if one is touched, the creature contacting it must actually save versus fear or run away in absolute panic. Passing between 2 pillars causes the creature to receive 2-8 h.p. electrical damage, or double that if wearing metal armor. The wall to the east shows a scene of various creatures crawling, then creeping, up to huge, vaguely squid-like creatures with 10 hairy tentacles. In the forefront of this mass self-sacrifice are elves and men, but there are also dwarves, gnolls, orcs, trolls, halflings, ogres, goblins, etc. amongst the crowd. Those near the monsters are being torn apart and the bloody gobbets eaten as dainty morsels. There are 3 of these ghastly things, mottled in various shades and tints of purple and violet...

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  31. I'm on vacation and not near my books, but I'm really enjoying reading all the posts.

    For me it was even the different tables and rules. The Benign and Malevolent properties for artifacts, imiscibility table for potions, antipathy for race etc.

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  32. 'Another nadir of Dungeon Mastering is the "killer-dungeon" concept. These campaigns are a travesty of the role-playing adventure game, for there is no development and identification with carefully nurtured player personae. In such campaigns, the sadistic referee takes unholy delight in slaughtering endless hordes of hapless player characters with unavoidable death traps and horrific monsters set to ambush participants as soon as they set foot outside the door of their safe house. Only a few of these "killer dungeons" survive to become infamous, however, as their participants usually tire of the idiocy after a few attempts at enjoyable gaming. Some lucky ones manage to find another, more reasonable campaign; but others, not realizing the perversions of their DM's campaign, give up adventure gaming, and go back to whatever pursuits they followed in their leisure time before they tried D&D.'
    -DMG, page 92, 2nd paragraph, under Placement of Magic Items.

    EGG, on campaign versimilitude!(Or lack thereof, and consequences of inattention to same.)

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  33. I'm surprised that no one has brought this up, but I think the novelty of being in the same episode as the former Vice-President of the United States is pretty funny and memorable in and of itself:

    "It's a...[rolls dice]pleasure to meet you!"

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  34. "...we believe that all wargamers who are interested in the medieval period, not just fantasy buffs, will enjoy playing Dungeons & Dragons. Its possibilities go far beyond any previous offerings anywhere!"

    two paragraphs down:

    "These rules are strictly fantasy. Those wargamers who lack imagination...will not be likely to find Dungeons & Dragons to their taste."

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