Tuesday, May 26, 2020

The Gygax 75 Challenge

Summary: A post in which I announce my quest to heed and utilize the words of the master in order to achieve greatness.

For those unaware, back in 1975. Gary Gygax wrote an exquisite article about his thoughts on how a GM can begin writing a game world for their campaign. Ray Otus masterfully took the article and reorganized it into clearly defined sections of a booklet, creating a concise and easy to follow week-by-week program. A challenge, if you will.

I've been hearing about this thing in almost every corner of the internet and it seems that my turn has come to get on the bandwagon and plunge into the unknown reaches of my imagination and craftsmanship. Challenge accepted. 

So it begins...

So, why am I doing this and what am I hoping to achieve? To be honest, I don't know exactly, but several things come to mind.

Structure, I need it. I've been massively improvising games as of late, doing barely any prep work, while only a few years ago I was used to writing a ton of material for my campaigns/worlds. Not saying I lost my magic touch, but I miss the ritual of deep diving into my own mind's eye and placing various ideas into neatly organized piles, carefully crafting for hours on end.

This lost habit of sitting down and writing for something that is not an ongoing game leads to another point, which is idea bloat. I have a surplus of various worlds, hooks, stories, events, random whatever crammed in my brain and, when I don't have a game as an outlet, it all just gets stuck in there and begins to itch. The challenge will help with this, since it is a solid reason for controlled and progressively expanding creative outlet. 

In fact, addressing a similar point, one of those festering ideas will be plucked for the Gygax 75 challenge. A strong vision which had enough time to mature in the back of my head, yet completely without structure or a single written word. It has been a fervent vision that I had repeatedly for quite some time, yet it remained a thing untouched.

There's a grander goal to all this, as I would like to keep on writing further past the program, to the point where the created material eventually gets made into a published zine. I'm fully aware that this challenge isn't meant to guide you all the way to publication, but my intention is simply to use it in order to kick off a process. Lay down the ground work and then write, craft, re/shape, playtest and polish as close to perfection as possible.

The content I write for this will probably not see the light of day for quite some time, but I do plan on writing a weekly post about the trials and errors of the challenge, a sort of retrospective of the work done. 

This turned out longer than I planned. Thanks for reading, but now is the time for me to write elsewhere. The GM notebook awaits!


  1. I'm looking forward to seeing how this turns out!

    1. Likewise! I've been eager to start this for a while now, going to be a fun ride!