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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Rest in peace, Gary Gygax, dungeon master

I stepped away from my computer and came back to sad news. Gary Gygax passed away this morning. The co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, Gygax was a legend in gaming and had a tremendous influence on how games are played. My life--as well as the lives of many, many others--would be very different without him. I wouldn't be the person I am today without gaming, and I wonder if I'd have a book or a publisher without him.

I have a brief personal anecdote about Mr. Gygax. I attended my first GenCon at a relatively young age. I'm not sure of the exact year, but it was during the period that the convention was being held at the University of Wisconsin--Parkside. It was a smaller convention then, but overwhelming and exciting for me (I must have been about 13 or 14 at the time). Because I wasn't driving yet, my mom took me (yeah, she's cool). She cut me loose at some point to wander around the various booths. Eventually, I looked up to see her heading toward me, a middle-aged guy squiring her through the crowds and directing her to my current booth. He seemed pretty charmed by her. My first reaction was kind of "Who's that guy and why's he being so friendly with my mom?" My second was "Holy crap! That's Gary Gygax!" My head practically exploded with this brush with greatness. He was kind and gracious and patient with me. I believe I got an autograph or two out of the experience, as well as a fond memory.

I told a coworker the news a few minutes ago. His reaction? "I think my Constitution just dropped a couple of points." Mine, too, brother. Mine, too.

UPDATE: Wizards of the Coast has a nice tribute graphic up on its D&D page. I've copied it below (you can see it full-size with a click).


Spork Boy said...

I guess his saving throw roll of the dice didn't land in his favor this time.

Current hit points = 0
Legacy points = Infinite

Charles said...

He will be missed.

kieran said...

It was the best summer of my life. Raton Sastron Movac and that clown Prelund campagining from morning to night. non stop. And pats friend enda kelly. what a time. Peace and Love Gary from Raton and the boys