[Greyspace] Fly Me to the Moon by Gary Gygax

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[Greyspace] Fly Me to the Moon by Gary Gygax

Post by Big Mac » Sat Sep 29, 2018 1:39 pm

I just saw on Grodog's Gary Gygax's "Up on a Soapbox" Archive that Gary Gygax wrote an article called Fly Me to the Moon*, where he tells the story of Robilar hiring a sage called Herb the Sage to build him a device that would take him to one of Oerth's moons.

* = It was actually called "Up on a Soapbox: All I Need to Know I Learned from D&D: Fly Me to the Moon" but that is a bit of a mouthful

The article is on page 16 of Dragon Magazine issue 301 and is a page long. It's pretty funny. Gary Gygax ripped off Rob Kuntz's PC (Lord Robilar) and had Herb the Sage spend large amounts of his money on research on one of Oerth's moons and a top secret project. Herb hired workmen to built a gigantic barn like building and inside built the largest catapult on Oerth. When Robilar finally got Herb to let him enter the building he didn't want to use the catapult, and scrapped the project, but I'm wondering if any of this would be usable in a Spelljammer game.

Herb the Sage has clearly learned some ancient legends about people travelling to Greyspace, so could give some sort of advice to groundling PCs about to set off into Greyspace. Has he ever featured in a commercial Greyhawk product, or has he only been used in Gary Gygax's personal campaign?

As for the device that Herb the Sage constructed they do have some gnomish inventions in Dragonlance that are similar to that. They are called Gnome Flingers if I recall correctly. So Herb could presumably have found books written about the inventions of Tinker Gnomes from Krynnspace and tried to perfect one of their strange inventions.

Gary Gygax finished off his article saying that he had wanted to encourage his players to travel to space and explore the moon in question, but after Herb's fiasco, not one of his players wanted to go to the moon any more. That's a shame as we might then have had some notes from Gary Gygax that could be used in Greyspace. (The article doesn't even specify which of the two moons Gary Gygax was talking about.)

There have been a number of articles about getting groundling PCs into Wildspace, but I don't think I've seen another one that suggests you could fire them up into the air from a gigantic catapult. Has anyone got any ideas on making this into a less crazy idea that could actually work?

There is a ship called a Goblin Porcupine. That looks a bit like a spiky canonball (with a tail on the back) and there are cargo nets at the bottom part of that ship. I wonder if a ship like that could be launched into space from a catapult.
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Re: [Greyspace] Fly Me to the Moon by Gary Gygax

Post by Cromstar » Sun Sep 30, 2018 3:32 am

I don't immediately see a way to use this for getting groundlings into space, but I am at this very minute picturing an asteroid belt colonized by Tinker Gnomes where they travel between the larger asteroids (with low gravities) via catapults which send them flying at large mattresses with targets painted on them. Naturally, most people find this unnerving and prefer to use ships, but the gnomes insist they've long since fixed the math and they never miss the landing zones anymore.

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Re: [Greyspace] Fly Me to the Moon by Gary Gygax

Post by Jaid » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:37 am

heh, back when i was fiddling around with trying to make some variety in nonmagical engines (partly to try to answer questions like "how can a 500 gp catamaran have a nonmagical engine intrinsically built into the hull when nonmagical engines cost 10,000 gp, and partly to account for depowered flitters arbitrarily having an SR of 2, and so forth - as well as trying to make fighter craft more viable), i had considered having something along the lines of a catapult that you would mount on a carrier ship that could launch fighter craft, providing them with SR for a certain period of time (i think i was going to do something along the lines of giving an initial SR value that would be lost at a rate of 1/turn, with the fighter craft needing to return to the carrier for relaunch before the end of that time, or else they would need to be recovered by another ship). i can't recall if i ever got so far as to actually post that idea or not, though.

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Re: [Greyspace] Fly Me to the Moon by Gary Gygax

Post by GMWestermeyer » Thu Oct 04, 2018 3:35 pm

Well, since Gygax wasn't a fan of Spelljammer (IIRC) I am DEFINITELY adding this to the SJ timeline! Robliar's attempt to get into space deserves to be noted. :) Thanks for sharing this!

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Re: [Greyspace] Fly Me to the Moon by Gary Gygax

Post by Yaztromo » Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:15 am

Was not Basil the Sage? Maybe I'm confused...
I'm the Real Nowhere Man, sitting in my Nowhere Land,
making all my Nowhere plans for Nobody.

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