I was reading the 1st edition AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide the other day, when I came across a (new to me) stunning quote from Gary Gygax. Although the book was written in the 70s, the quote is still 100% relevant to today’s GM.
The 1st edition AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide is—for my money—the greatest gaming book ever written. Even though I’ve owned my copy for almost 30 years I still find “new” stuff in it. That’s remarkable. I can only dream that something (anything) I write will still be relevant in 30 years time.
What was the quote?
“The game is not merely a meaningless dungeon and an urban base around which is plopped the dreaded wilderness. Each of you must design a world, piece by piece, as if a jigsaw puzzle where being hand crafted, and each new section must fit perfectly the pattern of the other pieces.”
—Gary Gygax, 1st ed. DMG page 21
I think this short quote should be made into a poster, and distributed to every GM in the world. World or campaign building is so much more than just grabbing a series of modules and running them back to back. Ours is a hobby of the imagination; the successful GM brings their world alive in the players’ minds. Building a richly detailed world that makes sense is a key part of that process.
This quote near-perfectly sums up the approach I take to my campaign and the strategy behind a lot of Raging Swan Press’s releases. Game mechanics are important—don’t get me wrong—but they are not the be-all and end-all of a successful game.
We play games of the imagination—engage your players’!