Gygaxian Star Wars: What makes a game Gygaxian?

What sort of qualities do you think an RPG requires to be termed "Gygaxian"? Short of being penned by EGG himself, of course.

To my mind -- and I may be off here, so feel free to clue me in -- a Gygaxian game must feature these basic facets:

  • A class-and-level system
  • Experience points
  • An emphasis on accumulating wealth and power

What else?


  1. How about?
    Abstract game mechanisms which work, but don't make a lot of sense when explained to someone and you have to end with "Just try it, it'll work." e.g. Armor making you harder 'To Hit' .

  2. Prose, mainly.

    Then, let's hope that gygaxian != mythosian.

  3. Fairly abstracted combat, HP & AC concepts.

    Eg not granular half actions for x & y, special feats & combat moves to do Z.

    Saving throws of some sort (even a single one ala Swords & Wizardy will do me, or the later era Dodge, Toughness, Mental).

    I am not so sure the emphasis on gaining loot & power needs to be built into XP necessarily as it was in AD&D. I think that tends to happen quite naturally anyway :)

    I mean Luke & Obi Wan never coveted money, it would really jar with a Star Wars game for me if they "had to" or be left behind Xp/advancement wise.

  4. As SAROE suggested: emergent utility from seemingly nonsensical systems.


    * flickers of genius buried in drifts of derp,
    * systemisation above and beyond the call of duty,
    * implied setting buried in the rules,
    * archaisms & synonyms galore.

    DJ:Mythus is very, very Gygaxian in tastes and tone even though it has only a few of the stereotypical 'gygaxian' (eg: AD&D) tropes.

  5. I think you should reword your last point. Accumulating wealth and power run counter to the Jedi philosophy.

    1. (without the typos, s'il vous plait)

      I think Gygax would have left Jedi for the Monster Manual—his games seem to run more Cugel than Rhialto. Anyone who includes Jedi PCs in their Gygaxian game will certainly one day insist that they were inveigled against their better judgment.

      That being said, Paladins are as Gygaxian as looting ever was.

  6. Early Gygaxian is relevant.
    A focus on what's fun that works in play.
    Environments designed without consideration for characters.

  7. Very important: an insurance adjuster's sensibility. That is, a lot has to do with actuarial science. Things happen on a statistical basis, which then creates the background emergently.

    Or, to sound less boring, roll on tables for stuff. Encounters occur by rolling a chance for an encounter at regular intervals, followed by rolling for the type of encounter on a table broken down by frequency. Treasure is rolled on tables. And so on.