“There is a truly great advantage offered to the Game Master when devising a
campaign set on the Dying Earth. It is not highly detailed. There is no strict timeline laid
down. All that has happened before is not “recorded”, nor is there an accurate gazetteer
of for the world. What magic operates? Nobody can say or guess, because in the long
eons of the Dying Earth’s history, likely every form possible was discovered, used, and
then forgotten…almost. That means that all that’s necessary is to have the game in hand,
the books that Jack Vance wrote about the world, to create a really compelling campaign
environment. Using the creative base of the author, the GM’s own imagination cannot
fail but to rise to the occasion.” – Gary Gygax, Jack Vance & the D&D Game
I’ve been saying for ages now, all you need to run a game is a good short story and some stat blocks.
You’ll find some good stories that qualify in our upcoming issues… subscribe today!
A few months back, Jon Peterson of Playing at the World wrote a rather detailed account of the events leading up to Gary’s resignation from the board of TSR. It is definitely worth taking the time to read. Really, something like this was more of what I was hoping from David Ewalt’s Of Dice and Men.
The story of TSR is one of those great tragedies where good intentions cannot make up for mediocre business practices. When large amounts of money and livelihoods are at stake, sometimes survival trumps the art of the artist. I don’t think that Gary was a crummy dude for being bad at managing a large business. But I also don’t think that Lorraine Williams was some kind of evil witch villain for protecting her investment and staving off dissolution of TSR at the expense of removing Gary from the helm.
At least thanks to modern digital crowdfunding, you don’t have to become financially and corporately beholden to some guy down the street to put out your game.