Monday, August 15, 2011

Q&A Time with Rob Kuntz

The interview I posted earlier today with Rob Kuntz covered a lot of mileage. Rob encouraged me to tell readers that he is interested in answering direct questions you might have (there was some questions I noticed earlier--some in good faith and some likely not--in forum spaces discussing it).

Here's your chance to step up to the mike. Questions for the Lord of Green Dragons?


  1. Rob,

    You are definitely one of the surviving Knights of Camelot, one of the last Jedi of the Old Republic. Keep up the good fight. No matter how much they try to stamp it out pure imagination has a way of returning.

    The ironman approach to creativity seems almost impossible, but I think once you try it, just going with some ground rules and your own imagination, you really unlock something magical.

    'Course I'm one to talk since I spend most of my own creative energy plundering, twisting and misusing the creations of others. It is easy, fun and perhaps somewhat safer than attempting to work on ideas that are reasonably my own.

    "There is nothing further to say on the subject of my work, which I have created myself, and whose face I do not know. It will be there - that's all one can be certain of - it will be there, it will abide and be there, and there's nothing to say. This is darkness and yet this is also light - this is life and work. Don't laugh, this is what it is."

  2. Thanks Jason (but were not the Jedi betrayed and almost exterminated??)


    Here's a question I've asked of my audience at a couple of seminars, once at GENCON 2007: "How many of you were read to as a child?" I will note that at the GENCON seminar (title" "Rediscovering "Fantasy" in FRP") that the folks who raised their hands to this had no questions/problems with their creations/games/campaign, whereas those who had not been read to had a slew of them, having exhausted in many cases their capabilities regarding sundry matters related to DMing.

    The initial question was a lead-in as well. The enchantment that we felt as children, that of sitting on the edge of our seat and the withheld breath due to anticipation--this is all what a DM (and a good writer/designer) must capture (or in a sense "re-capture") for all involved. When you reach that point, you are well on the way to mastering the matter.

    But here's the main rub: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”-- Pablo Picasso:

    Thanks again for your deliberations, Jason, and I wish you many creative and fun-filled days ahead.--RJK

  3. That's a very interesting observation Rob! One I'm going to take to heart when raising my children. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. Rob,

    Can you say anything about how AD&D was meant to settle matters with Arneson? How did the books/rules address the legal issue?

  5. I posted this question to someone last night who follows a similar approach to gaming and I was wondering:

    I see the well of imagination as being empty to begin with. It needs to have things put into it to yield its bounty.

    My question is what do you think are the best items to put in?

  6. DB--Everything is good in the end. I could have gone down the path of interjecting further complications and their results when applied to any creative field of endeavor thereafter (or to life's challenges, as we are aware that both sides of the brain work in conjunction with the other), or how that relates to the "depopulation" of imaginative thought overall. That's part of the matter included in some essays I've written for my Blog and for an upcoming volume i hope to finish soon enough.

    I am glad you found some worth in my words. In the immortal words of one of my most erratic players from BitD, Bob Burman, "Keep on going!" ;)

  7. Ah , Alexis. You touch a sore and buried bone. The short of it: AD&D was not meant to reconcile Arneson's and my own contribution (nb, in my case, the work I contributed to Greyhawk Volume 1 to D&D) but to reframe them, and unfortunately without our participation.

    Arneson sued; what I did and why remains to be explained in my Memoirs.

  8. My apologies, Rob; did not mean that question to cut. It is only that I find much of the content of those AD&D books to be an inexhaustible source of inspiration and equally indespensible. So I wonder about any statement that seems to dismiss them upon their corporate beginnings.

    It is strange that something so creative would be held as evidence of the enemy of imagination. If it does not hurt, can you comment about that?

  9. ADD/G:

    OK. What you are asking is too broad but here are a list of articles (2 are links) published at my Blog. Lord of the Green Dragons. I took this from my index, so direct links are not included. They occur in 2010 or before, though. Note: I would be happy to pursue your question off this Q&A, which is not a good medium for examining a matter that could have many levels of discussion and questions attached to it. Consider that a sincere offer to contact CHRIS here to get my email for such a "discussion".

    LOTGD articles, etc


    *Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity? (Video Link)

    *Darrell King's, The Illusion of Rules

    *Up on A Tree Stump™ #5: Creative Exceptionalism & Asking "Why"?

    *The Continuing Battle Between Creativity and Conformity in Our Society: Observations and Links

    *Up on A Tree Stump #4: The Value of D&D's Early Creativity, Improvisation and Play

    *LEAVE THE DUNAWAYS ALONE: True Artists and Their "Critics"

    *Lessons to be Learned (article link)

    *Creative Play "IS" The "Thing": Boyd and Spolin

  10. Alexix, Hey, no apologies needed, and no pain here, anymore. It's part of history, now, though some parts are rather personally attached to said history, and those are the ones that I will only write about in my Memoirs, of course.

    To your question: It's really not that back and white as you suggest. My observation is that it sided with commercialism and left greater creative channels to their own devices. It's consumeristic America, most would point out, so what would one expect? Also, if TSR had not gone the route of adventures, someone would have, anyway. The latter is certain; the former I reject and whole-heartedly.

    So I see the lessening of the greater creative side as opposed to the plug-and-play course that predominated as a loss, thus a siding with an entertainment mostly with some sparse creative elements for those who do not push it any further or who require a minimal of the former back from it. A loss which might have been a gain for many, the "greater glory" I referred to. I also note that this was the ideal, but it did exist for a space in time, not just as originally published, but as we play-tested it, also. So yes, I loved that form in the play tests as it allowed me total freedom and excited me to greater possibilities. It was all of us creating, like children we were, playing for the first time, and over and over. D&D became "that close" to canning those moments for everyone, not just the few like yourself. That's all I'm saying

    I hope that answers somewhat, and if not, try again.

  11. I wish to thank Chris for the opportunity to comment here and answer questions. I will check back weekly to answer any more that are posted.

    Here's some parting thoughts for the "Creatives" out there, these extracted from an article I wrote:

    "Being involved in the RPG industry as long as you have, surely you’ve collected bits of wisdom and knowledge along the way. Is there any advice you could give to budding game designers?

    "RJK:  Seriously: Throw out everything you think you know, including the rules. Challenge established norms, redefine what imagination and creativity “really” are, ignore the jealous and the pundits (re: critics), push past the mundane and open up possibilities, don’t close them, no matter how absurd someone says you are, or how off base they say you appear to be. With that, follow the words of my oft-quoted author, Orson Scott Card: “How can we experience the literature of the strange if we stay in well mapped lands?”-- my advice from one of the many interviews I've given.

    "If we all think alike, if we all become uniform and bland, we shrivel up and die, and the great process shudders to an end. Uniformity is death, in economics or in biology. Diversity within communication and cooperation is life. Everything your forebears, your ancestors, everything you have ever done, will have been for naught, if we ignore these basic bacterial lessons." Autopoiesis and the Grand Scheme, Greg Bear

    "Most of the time I look at my work as an ocean of missed opportunities...My lack of talent & knowledge bedevils me no end... But I realized a long time ago that my art is a race I run alone..."  Michael Bair

  12. Thank you for the starter list. And yes, I would very much like to continue the discussion.

    I apologize for the vagueness of my question, but you described some things that in all my years of being involved with gaming no one else had seemed to touch on. I will reform the question and elaborate.

    And when you a have chance Chris I would appreciate RJK's email address. I'm an easy man to find (just check me profile :)

    And thanks again for taking time for us here at Hill Cantons. It's been an eye opener already. And a BIG thank you to our host.

    Now, off to read!

  13. Great, I pulled the email from your Blogger profile and will send a smallish note to you so you have my address. Answering questions will have to wait until tomorrow as I am soon off to bed.