Gary Gygax : 1938-2008

I am in a state of stunned disbelief. A bit of news has crept up on me from the vast buzzing of the interwebs. This news is arcane and oddball, like so much of the info soup out there, but it has seeped inside me and found some long-forgotten place of joy and excitement – and killed it. Gary Gygax, the mastermind behind Dungeons and Dragons, has died. Geekboy enough for ya? Well, it gets worse. I not only spent countless hours playing D&D – I did it by myself. I was both Dungeon Master and Players. I designed vast worlds and complicated labyrinths, drawing up countless maps on graph paper and populating them with creatures both good and evil. I then rolled up character after character to explore these lands and live these stories – those games are still some of the strongest and most engaging memories I have from my youth. But it wasn’t all just play. Profound lessons can be learned when you play god and mortal both. Characters I had nurtured for months could be slain by one bad roll, and I was the one with the power to change that outcome. But there in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, Gary Gygax had written more than just the instructions for how to play the game – there was a tone to the underlying scheme that encouraged the rational analysis of ethics. I feel that D&D, like all great fiction – especially fantasy and science fiction – is a metaphor, a sign pointing the way to truths that are beyond the storyline. So much important learning and interaction is scoffed at by the mainstream because it is couched in the “uncool”. So simple a thing for a man to do as to invent a game – but that game can hold the key to a deeper understanding of life itself. A belated, unheard, and ultimately useless:
Thank You, Gary.

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