Gary Gygax Departs For Ethereal Plane
Gygax co-created Dungeons & Dragons, a roleplaying game that likely occupied some time for the geeks you know today. We bid farewell to him.
What follow herein is strictly for the eyes of you, the campaign referee. As the creator and ultimate authority in your respective game, this work is written as one Dungeon Master equal to another. Pronouncements there may be, but they are not from “on high” as respects your game. Dictums are given for the sake of the game only, for if ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS is to survive and grow, it must have some degree of uniformity, a familiarity of method and procedure from campaign to campaign within the whole.
-- Opening passage from 1979's AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide by Gary Gygax
News of the passing of Gygax, 69, first emerged on the Internet the other day, in news posted on the Troll Lord Games forum. The Dungeon Master had died, and plenty of gamers experienced a moment of reflection; the forum now has 35 pages of posts in response.
Tributes to him at Wizards of the Coast, current owners of Dungeons & Dragons, and on Dork Tower, Order of the Stick, and Penny Arcade quickly followed. Over its 30 years, the game, and Gygax, influenced plenty of people, myself included.
I met him at a long-ago GenCon in the 80s, after his departure from TSR and subsequent work on a new game system. This was only a few years after I started playing the game in study hall in 8th grade, as the only other person in the class who was willing to give it a try.
He was busy, as any gamer would expect, but he was kind enough to chat to this fanboy for a moment, and to sign a dice bag; said bag has been regrettably lost for years now.
But c’mon, how cool was this? I got to meet the guy who penned the AD&D Players Handbook and Monster Manual and the DM’s Guide. Who gets to do that every day?
Sadly, no one else now. When I called my old friend and fellow gamer, RPG artist Greg Smith, he reminded me that March 4th was the unofficial Gamemasters Day. An odd synchronicity, to be sure.
The game he helped create will soon progress into a 4th edition, the rules of which resemble a bastardization of World of Warcraft and Gurps. I don’t mean that in a bad way, it’s just different, and not the game I know. DnD is a business, one which Wizards has to operate to attract the young audience.
As long as I have my 1979 editions of the three core books, a bag of dice, some character sheets and pencils, and a two liter of something cold and carbonated, the fun of the game will never pass. After all, Gygax lives on in those pages.
Anyone wanna game?