Wednesday, April 22, 2020

The Gygax 75 Challenge

Matt Jackson sent me this link today.

Which is basically a guide book based on something Gary wrote about creating your own setting.  Broken down into different tasks every week.  The guide book is written by the wonderful Ray Otus (check out his podcast here )

This workbook is based on an article written by Gary Gygax in 1975, less than 12 months after D&D was released. It encapsulates his thinking at the time about how to get your own D&D campaign world started. I have taken his general advice and parsed it out into achievable, bite-sized prompts & goals for a week-by-week program. 

To print the booklet file, make sure your printer is set to no-scaling (or 100% scaling to the paper, which is intended to be US Letter), 2-sided, binding on short edge. If you don't have a long-arm or booklet stapler, square up the pages and fold them in half to get your crease. Open the booklet back up and place it face down on a few sheets of cardboard. (Anything flat and firm, but not impenetrable, will work. Like an ironing board.) Place two staples along the crease, then pull the booklet away from your surface and bend the prongs of the staples in carefully with your thumb (or use a pencil eraser). Voila!

Coincidentally I've been sorta working on a setting for awhile now.  A little while back Matt and I were discussing settings and he sent me a Shane version of what would become "The Dungeon Masters Book Of Cartography".

You can grab it here:

One of the first suggestions in the guide book by Ray is to create a town and 1-3 level dungeon.  Another interesting turn of events! Matt just posted up another awesome map over here:

So I'm going to spend the rest of the evening reading over Ray's guide book, order myself a copy of the Cartography book and go to town.... err create a town!

Actually here's some proof of concept.

The first section of the book talks about coming up with a theme, and what has been rattling around my head is Xanth and Magic Kingdom For Sale by Terry Brooks.  Specifically a more fairy type world, rather than the typical D&D type world.  Don't get me wrong I really like bandits and old musty tombs.  But I've been thinking about a different sort of world lately.  In the Spell For A Chameleon series there is a lot of wonderful and scary vegetation out in the wilds of Xanth.  The plants can do wondrous and scary things! Which has started me down a rabbit hole of thought.  What kinda of interesting plants can I create that will have magical effects similar to BX D&D spells?  Hmm!

(Interestingly enough there was an RPG choose your own adventure book about Xanth.  Find it here )

Another thing I'd like to incorporate into my next game is different races other than the typical ones.  Once again I have nothing against Elves, Halflings and Dwarves (Not entirely a fan of Gnomes....)  I have however "been there and done that".  I've also been playing a lot of Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim latetly.  Which has given rise to the idea of creating some race as a class characters like Argonians & Kahjits.  Although with my own spin on em.  *Note that the Kahjits probably came from the Rakasta in the first place!

Here's some inspiration for the Rakasta/Kahjit idea (I found it on instagram check out more here:

So a world that isn't quite medieval (but maybe it has guns?), has different races that the usual suspects, I"m still not quite sure about the religion, No real organized government (or maybe not...maybe it'll be like Xanth? I dunno yet), Fairy mists where the world beyond is shunned and scary, and of course the world wasn't always like this was it?

Well I think I got the first part done!

Are you going to join me in the challenge?


  1. Awesome work Shane! I may just have to join you!

  2. Ahhh! So not Kahjit or rakasta at all

  3. Nice! I can't wait to see how you fare.

  4. Just don’t go down the rabbit hole of reading all the Xanth books first.

    1. I wont. Once I get thru the chameleon trilogy I have a music biography to read.