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How would you definte "gygaxian"?

@robowieland

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To me, a gygaxian trap is one that's creative, gonzo, and maybe even a little cheap.

For example, a pit trap on the ceiling..but the floor has a rune that shoots the PCS up into it.

The old "diamond in a pool of acid" one also gets me.

How would you define it? and what's your favorite?

EDIT: GAH! Spellingz!
 
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Mr Adventurer

More Daring Than That
Validated User
I think SteveD said it: "Behind Door #1: a PILE of GOLD PIECES! Behind Door #2: a MAGICAL CROWN! Behind Door #3: a SWARM of GIANT BEES!" or words to that effect ;).

EDIT: Alternatively, "Save or die". Alternatively alternatively, "Die, no save".
 

Theron

The Best Legionnaire
Validated User
"If the pole will reach, I'll use the end to prod the formation and see if it is actually a skeleton covered with mineral deposits from the water! I know the Shakespearean bit about a 'sea change'!"
 

JimLotFP

New member
Banned
To me, a gygaxian trap is one that's creative, gonzo, and maybe even a little cheap.

For example, a pit trap on the ceiling..but the floor has a rune that shoots the PCS up into it.

The old "diamond in a pool of acid" one also gets me.

How would you define it? and what's your favorite?

EDIT: GAH! Spellingz!
I think it might be helpful if people cited actual examples when coming up with bits like this. (edit: hell, you may have given actual examples from Gygax-penned modules, I haven't read everything he wrote... but I see a lot of "ah Gygax = dumb dungeon shit" type of comments around these parts...) I have a feeling a lot of people have an idea of what "Gygaxian" is by reputation, or how their DM ruled something when they were 13, or some such, rather than from Gygax's actual work.

Edit 2: How I define Gygaxian, by quoting the highlighted bits from the Successful Adventures essay in the 1e Players Handbook:

"A map is very important because helps assure that the party will be able to return to the surface."

"Avoid unnecessary encounters."

"Do not be sidetracked."

"If the party becomes lost, the objective must immediately be changed to discovery of a way out."

"Co-operation assumes mutual trust and confidence."

The entire essay is a brilliant presentation of a play style that is anything but randomly perilous. Quite the opposite, as it stresses preparation and sound strategy as the primary way to succeed in the game.
 
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Mongoose

Unrealistic Body Image
Yes, there's the weird, arbitrary death thing. But, to me, it also means cutting open 150-lb. giant frogs because there might be a gold piece (or even a gem!) inside. How am I going to find a .5 karat gem amidst 150 pounds of frog guts and viscera, and is it really going to be worth being covered in frog gore? Well, that's not the point, is it?" The point is that heroes cut open their enemies so they don't miss any loot.
 

andreww

Soul sucking Lawyer
Validated User
EDIT: Alternatively, "Save or die". Alternatively alternatively, "Die, no save".
My recollection is far more of the latter than the former.

As far as challenging the players goes, I'm not really seeing it. Could someone give examples.
 

T. Foster

Retired User
"If the pole will reach, I'll use the end to prod the formation and see if it is actually a skeleton covered with mineral deposits from the water! I know the Shakespearean bit about a 'sea change'!"
This is, of course, an example rather than a definition, but it's a very good one in that it captures several elements of what I consider quintessentially "Gygaxian" -- solutions coming the player's problem-solving ability rather than the character's stats, casual out-of-character/out-of-milieu anachronism, punning/word-play, and an affected appeal to a very old-fashioned "high cultural/literary" mindset.
 

La Maupin

Morrigan's Granddaughter
I would define it as "messy, creative and exciting, but not necessarily intended to hold up under close scrutiny."
 
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