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Role Playing (Games)

D&D Co-Creator Gary Gygax Has Passed Away 512

Posted by Zonk
from the tip-of-the-hat-roll-of-the-dice dept.
Mearlus writes "In the recent past co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons Gary Gygax has worked with Troll Lord Games, a small tabletop RPG publisher. Their forums have up a post noting that Mr. Gygax has apparently passed away. Gygax was known, along with Dave Arneson, as the Father of Roleplaying." Saddened reactions from well-known designers have already begun to appear online. Consider this is an in-memoriam Ask Slashdot question: How has D&D (and tabletop roleplaying) touched/improved your life? Update: 03/04 23:16 GMT by Z : With more time, official announcements have had time to appear. Many sites are featuring posts on Gygax's impact on gaming, including touching entries on Salon and CNet.
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D&D Co-Creator Gary Gygax Has Passed Away

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  • This sucks. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by LordZardoz (155141)
    Its too bad, since his influence goes well beyond D&D. The impact on videogames is very far reaching too.

    END COMMUNICATION
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Erwos (553607)
      I'd argue otherwise to the videogames, honestly.

      Gygax's biggest impact, setting-wise, was Greyhawk. How many video games are based off Greyhawk? None, as far as I know.

      He left before AD&D 2E, and AD&D 1E was horrifically broken as a rules system. The gold box games succeeded in spite of the system, not because of it.

      The reason that the SSI / Bioware / Black Isle games succeeded was not because of the D&D rules, but because of good writing, good settings, and good programming. The D&D connect
      • Re:This sucks. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Thangodin (177516) <elentar@syPARISmpatico.ca minus city> on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @02:20PM (#22640070) Homepage
        It wasn't the rule system itself that was important, but the very idea of a role playing game. D&D was the first attempt to come up with a war game system that could be applied to general storytelling with players each playing a single character. All the other RPG systems were derived from this core idea, and a lot of the fantasy and nearly all fantasy computer games can trace their influence, directly or indirectly, to this first RPG.

        Of course, once someone had created one RPG, it was fairly easy to come up with others and improve upon it. It seemed so obvious... once someone else had thought of it.

        Oddly enough, during the 70's a lot of former flower children tried to come up with games where players actually played together rather than against each other. They abhorred D&D for its violent content--and yet, it fit exactly the dynamics they were looking for, and RPGs are the only kind of non-competitive game that survived the decade.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Moryath (553296)
        He left before AD&D 2E - actually, was forced out after his ex-wife got controlling interest in TSR and decided as a "fuck you" to mess with the company.

        The gold box games succeeded in spite of the system - oddly, I find 1st/2nd/AD&D easier to use (not to mention cross-compatible) than the 3.0/3.5 rules-lawyer nonsense.

        At least he went before WotC completely pissed all over his design by releasing the crap known as 4E. There's nothing left of D&D in that system, just a bunch of WoW kludge.
        • by lgw (121541) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @03:50PM (#22641746) Journal

          He left before AD&D 2E - actually, was forced out after his ex-wife got controlling interest in TSR and decided as a "fuck you" to mess with the company.
          The fact that he was fighting a lawsuit from the man who *actually* wrote D&D was a factor as well. Regardless, he was influential through the early games that he ran, and the viral spread of the game as the people he gamed with started their own games and so on, until there was a market you could publish a book for.

          The early versions of D&D, perhaps through 2E but certainly the earlier stuff, had a distinct charm. The combat system was certainly crappy, but is was so simple and flexible that you could do what you wanted to with it easily. World War II squad vs company of orcs and trolls? Give me 20 minutes to throw it together and we'll start.

          At least he went before WotC completely pissed all over his design by releasing the crap known as 4E. There's nothing left of D&D in that system, just a bunch of WoW kludge.
          Wonder if he dropped any good loot?
      • by Molochi (555357) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @06:41PM (#22643988)
        I strongly doubt we would have World of Warcraft, or indeed most video games we enjoy today if there had never been a D&D. And I also strongly doubt the commercial success of TSR would have reached national (let alone world wide) recognition without Gary Gygax. The idea of a persistent character that gains experience and becomes more powerful the longer you play it was contrary to the wargames that evolved into D&D. D&D rules spawned ideas for hundreds of other table top RPGs, perhaps because its rules were "broken" but also because the concept was revolutionary and gave would be game designers an industry to design in.

        I never particularly cared for D&D or WOW, but I would not try to conceal its enormous influence of Gary or TSR.
      • by LaskoVortex (1153471) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @10:32PM (#22645818)
        I would argue that Mendel has had no impact on molecular genetics.. His model system was horribly simplified and, for the traits he studied, wasn't even perfectly accurate.

        Mendel stopped doing genetics before epistasis and population genetics were even conceived of, much less understood.

        Genetics succeeded after him not because of his influence in understanding heredity, but despite it. We all know that nonhomologous recombination plays an important role in the genotype of certain offspring and that random mutations can cause drastically new traits. (I'm ignoring the fact that such traits can result in selective advantage).

        The reason genetics has succeeded as a field is because molecular geneticists have worked out a lot of the mechanisms of gene segregation on the molecular level. Mendelian inheritance has mostly played a peripheral role in this.

        --
        -1 offtopic = you admit you don't understand the sarcasm = you wasted your mod point
    • by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:49PM (#22639448) Homepage Journal
      Part of my childhood just failed its save vs death.

      Thank you Mr. Gygax, for your role in many enjoyable hours of leisure.
      • But... surely he should have been traveling alongside a high-level cleric.

        Does somebody in here know Raise Dead?!
      • Re:This sucks. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by h4rm0ny (722443) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @03:00PM (#22640870) Journal

        I played D&D as a child and am better for it. It fostered a love of storytelling and is solely responsible for my love of probability theory. If everyone wasn't so busy in their lives at the moment, I'd quite happily still run a game as an adult.

        Mr. Gygax, thank you for creating something so great.
        • Re:This sucks. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by labrats5 (1250890) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @05:50PM (#22643438)
          How has D&D changed my life? If it wasn't for D&D I WOULDN'T EVEN BE ALIVE! Proud son of two nerds who met at the table top. I can't understate what D&D means to my family and I. Some families play monopoly, or watch TV. We play D&D. I will never forget some of my dad's best characters, like the alcoholic Druid, or the Wizard who really just wanted to be a chef, or the Barbarian who was so stupid he thought he was a bard and kept trying to give stat boosts with his warcry. Rest in peace Gary. I will never stop playing D&D, and the world will never forget what you accomplished.
      • Re:This sucks. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by HTH NE1 (675604) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @03:28PM (#22641420)
        I propose a 21 Cast-Magic-Missile-into-the-Darkness salute.
    • Re:This sucks. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ma1wrbu5tr (1066262) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @02:42PM (#22640500) Journal
      I grew up in an orphanage. Playing D&D (frowned upon by the staff and houseparents) was my only escape from farm and school work during those years. It not only helped to enrich my imagination, it gave me the first real life use for the math I was learning in school. And eventually led to my love for computers (since I just had to play this "rogue" game everyone was talking about). For that, I thank the folks over at TSR and Mr. Gygax. Gary, you truly enriched my life then, and your damage system lives on in the RPGs I play today. You will be missed. Though, I'm sure you're rolling a d20 somewhere in the afterlife, even as I write this.
  • FIST SPORT! (Score:3, Funny)

    by ringbarer (545020) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:24PM (#22638906) Homepage Journal
    What loot did he drop?
  • Casting (Score:5, Funny)

    by WormholeFiend (674934) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:25PM (#22638918)
    Spell of Silence on all the trolls!

    RIP, Gary.
  • by StevenMaurer (115071) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:25PM (#22638924) Homepage
    It kept me from ever being in danger of becoming an unprepared teen father.
  • Quick. (Score:5, Funny)

    by RandoX (828285) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:25PM (#22638926)
    Get the cleric.
  • Thank you Gary (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:25PM (#22638934) Homepage Journal
    How has D&D (and tabletop roleplaying) touched/improved your life?

    It's almost cliched now but as a Dungeon Master in my early teen years, Gary Gygax's work helped to refine creativity, learning, communication, strategy and logic in a way that few other tools or experiences (including school) were able to accomplish. The rule sets were were a revolution to me at the time that helped inspire an understanding of how to engineer environments, social interactions and most of all communicate in conventional and unconventional fashions. All of these tools have certainly helped in my personal and academic lives.

    I will forever be grateful to Gary Gygax and the team at TSR.

    • It was... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Jabbrwokk (1015725) <grant...j...warkentin@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:35PM (#22639172) Homepage Journal
      [rolls dice] a pleasure to know him.
    • by frankie (91710)
      Ramen. E Gary Gygax and his party of friends(*) up in Wisconsin pulled together ideas from all of our favorite fantasy novels and turned them into an entire gaming genre that millions of people love. Some of the specific rules they created (HP, AC, spell memorization, etc) turned out to be really bad, but in the grand scheme of things I would place D&D right up there with the Wright brothers' plane.

      (*) = Geek History Competition: name the players and their respective characters in the ORIGINAL "Grayhawk
  • Best game ever (Score:4, Insightful)

    by moderatorrater (1095745) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:26PM (#22638946)
    D&D isn't actually my system of choice, but roleplaying games in general were about the only time that my friends and I could get together. It was a way for us to force ourselves to hang out, and I've made several friends that I expect to keep in touch with for many years to come. I've always made up worlds that I play in, so for me D&D was a way to externalize those worlds and allow other people to affect them with me. It also appeals to many nerds' tendency to break down and quantify the world around them.

    As a side note, my sister-in-law that's currently in college was struggling with depression and a lack of friends until she started doing RPGs. Now she's got as many friends as she could wish for :D
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      D&D isn't actually my system of choice, but roleplaying games in general were about the only time that my friends and I could get together.

      However, like it or no, it's difficult to play any of them without relating them in some way to D&D. It's like fantasy and Tolkein -- you're either like, or unlike, but you can't exist without being compared to it since it's the original frame of reference. (Well, there could have been RPGs before D&D, but my perception is that it's the grand-daddy of them

      • I seem to remember D&D being an impediment to making friends

        I don't know what the situation was like when you were going to college, but I've found that my activities never really limited my pool of friends. I was drawn to my activities because of my personality, which I happened to like. It meant that I had a limited pool of friends, but the friends I did get were good friends that I related to. I don't think my participation or lack thereof in D&D would have changed anything.

        However, I also have a very thick skin and am pretty oblivious to things, so take

      • Re:Best game ever (Score:4, Insightful)

        by hey! (33014) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @06:44PM (#22644010) Homepage Journal

        Not to diminish the situation your sister-in-law was in ... but that seems to be the opposite effect RPGs had on my life in high-school. I seem to remember D&D being an impediment to making friends -- but, that was the 80s and D&D was at the height of its dorkiness. :-P


        Count yourself fortunate then. You wouldn't have liked those people anyway. Too worried about their status to have fun.

        In any case you are right about the importance of the D&D system. Everybody changes rules they don't like, there are so many that are awkward or illogical or just plain inadequate. But the problem with improving rules it that it's hard to stop. In some ways, D&D's technical faults were an advantage. Making better and better systems eventually leads down a path away from role playing and back to its direct ancestor: war gaming.

        It's not that war gaming isn't fun, it's just something different. It's not that you can't make a better role playing system than D&D, but you can't make it too much better without moving falling victim to the siren call of simulation.

        Ever see a toddler running around the house pretending he can fly? In his mind he can fly. It's as close to really flying like a bird that a human being will come, even if jet powered bat suits go on the market. Adults, even young adults, are locked out of that experience. It is beneath their dignity to play.

        D&D, with it s dice and tables, its miniatures and reference books, with all its war gaming inherited paraphernalia, is just a fig leaf, and not a very large one, over childhood games like Cops and Robbers, Cowboys and Indians. People who are particularly insecure about maintaining adult gravitas immediately recognize the risk it poses to their facade of maturity or coolness.

        Well, too bad for them. You can have fun and be cool, you can be cool and have fun, but only one of those things can paramount. It's like choosing a major in college; some people can double major, but most will have to choose to major in one and minor in another. Which one would you rather miss the advanced courses in?

        Everybody feels like a geek inside; so many people live in dread that they will be found out. The great thing about being a grown up geek is that once you get over everybody saying it's uncool, you realize how much more simple, comfortable and fun to let those things that most people are apparently ashamed of show for all the world to see; things like playfulness, imagination and fantasy.

        In that way many people's lives have been made immeasurably richer by Gary Gygax's work.
  • Friends (Score:4, Insightful)

    by The Aethereal (1160051) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:26PM (#22638948)

    How has D&D (and tabletop roleplaying) touched/improved your life?
    I made some great friends in college that I probably would not have met were it not for D&D (or role playing in general).
    • Re:Friends (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Penguinisto (415985) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:41PM (#22639290) Journal
      Same here, but in the military. Dunno about the other branches, but the USAF was packed to the rafters with D&D geeks, my former self among them.

      I remember playing a round of D&D once in the cargo bay of a C-141, on the way to a TDY exercise... beat the hell out of playing the same card games over and over again, and you're right - it led to meeting a lot of great people overall.

      /P

      • Re:Friends (Score:4, Interesting)

        by ShOOf (201960) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @02:20PM (#22640078) Homepage

        There were alot of us D&D geeks in the Navy too, used to play on the aircraft carrier while out on a cruise. Everyday after that 12 hr shift you head down to the forward galley and there were at least 2 games going on, sometimes more. You didn't even have to really be a part of the campaign you could just sit down, roll up a char and play for a couple hours. Played with alot of great people, we even had some officers who played.

        Gary will be missed, he gave us geeks hidden down in the basement hours and hours of enjoyment.
    • Same, plus: (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:52PM (#22639522)
      I met the woman who would later be (and still is, to be clear) my wife through my gaming friends.

      Other friends of mine have changed careers and gotten much better jobs through friends they met gaming.

      Clearly D&D is a gift to the world that's touched a lot of lives, and not just those of parents'-basement-dwelling pasty teenagers.
  • Will be missed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wembley fraggle (78346) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:26PM (#22638952) Homepage
    A better question would be what aspect of my life hasn't been influenced by Gygax. Safe travels, Gary.
    • While I was never a pad-and-paper RPGer, I learned the basics of IP networking, Unix sysadmin'ing and C programming from playing and administering an lpMUD many years ago. I met my wife through that same MUD, so much like the parent here, there's very little professionally and personally in the past 15 years that can't be traced back to that game. Its sword-and-sorcery constructs all derived from D&D, so indeed, Gygax's influence means a lot.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Brazilian Geek (25299) *
      Thank you...

      Better words have yet to be spoken.
  • by TheMiddleRoad (1153113) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:27PM (#22638982)
    He wrote wonderful pulp fantasy that my students enjoy to this day.
  • by dotancohen (1015143) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:28PM (#22639004) Homepage
    When I was 13 I spent one summer, er, not at home. I only got through it by visiting a 'friend' and his buddies and playing D&D every day. 7 days a week. All summer. That's how I ate. That's where I showered. D&D didn't make me friends with those kids, but it made us close and support one another. Well, it helped them support me.
  • Can some one please explain the fascination with D&D to me? I have been around the block with RPGs (specifically D2) but I never played D&D. Isn't it a card game? Why does being geeky seemingly go hand in hand with a fascination with D&D?
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:5, Informative)

      by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @02:19PM (#22640052)
      A good D&D game combines sitting around talking with friends about movies, school, your life with
      * puzzle solving
      * ensemble acting
      * lots of calculating
      * making moral choices that give you practice for real life
      * or just reveling in being bad since it doesn't really count
      * painting
      * collecting
      * drawing
      * writing stories
      * telling jokes
      * a lot of laughter-- sometimes so hard you can't breath.

      Even a bad game has most of these-- but often drops the acting part. The worst are where the referee seems themselves competing with the players instead of entertaining them since they can always win by adding more foes or an unsolvable puzzle.
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Informative)

      by closetpsycho (1175221) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @02:22PM (#22640114)
      For the uninitiated, I will attempt an explanation of D&D. You and a number of your friends all get together, one of you comes up with an idea for a story, and everybody else plays a character in that story. The actions of the characters in the story are moderated by the person who is telling it (the dungeon master), the choices of the friends acting in it, and the whims of random chance(dice rolls). The reason geeks are so fascinated by it, is it's a chance to hang out with friends, it's a way to be creative and tell a story, it's a chance to let your imagination go wild. In theory, it's interactive story telling with dice rolls. In practice, it's an opportunity for a bunch of friends to get together, and have some fun while exercising their imaginations just a bit. If you've never tried it, I suggest you go to a local hobby shop, and find out if they host any games. You might like it, you might not. But it is the only way to truly understand what D&D is.
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Insightful)

      by esper (11644) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @04:28PM (#22642292) Homepage
      No, youngdev, you haven't, assuming that the "D2" you're referring to is Diablo 2. Computer RPGs reflect the experience of in-person RPGs about as well as cybersex reflects the experience of in-person sex, if even that well.

      Take your CRPG, but replace the computer's role as a mediator of what you can do and what the results are and replace it with an actual, living, breathing human who is able to assess any action you can imagine and (with the aid of the game's rules) determine what results. At the broad physical level, there's no asinine "there's a completely immovable knee-high table here that you must walk around" simply because the game engine doesn't have support for it - if you can't jump over, stand on, flip over, carry away, take a bite out of, etc. the table, there's a specific reason for it and you have a decent chance of determining that reason.

      Much more importantly, though, it means that you can take on the persona of your character and interact with the other characters in the world - both PCs and NPCs - through that persona. You can set your own goals instead of or in addition to those presented to you. You can even negotiate the terms of the goals presented to you or their rewards instead of just walking up to the guy with punctuation floating above his head, click to talk, click a few canned responses, click "accept quest", kill 20 monsters, collect gold, repeat. (Admittedly, that's WoW. I haven't played D2, so I don't know whether it uses the floating punctuation or not.)

      You can also change the (game) world in tabletop RPGs. Things don't respawn as soon as you turn your back (unless, as in the table example, there's an actual in-game reason). If there's a dragon threatening the city and you slay it, it stays dead instead of just waiting for the next person to accept that quest so you can go farm it. If you ignore it, then that city is going to be toast and your characters will be held at least partially accountable for their decision not to even try to save it unless they make sure that nobody knows it was their fault.

      These last two combine to open up possibilities for actual stories to develop in the course of the game rather than just a series of "deliver item", "kill X monsters", and "clean out dungeon" contracts. With a good gaming group, you can get stories comparable to, and even more intricate than, the plot of a good novel or movie.

      It's a whole different world.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Culture20 (968837)
      Dungeons & Dragons: Satan's Game [youtube.com]

      ..Can I have a mountain dew?

  • Let's roll and find out...
  • by The-Bus (138060) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:30PM (#22639048)
    "Gary Gygax has passed away? I'm--"
    * rolls dice *

    "very sad to hear that!"

    (With apologies to the writers of Futurama).

  • His d20 saving throw wasn't good enough
  • I met some people many years ago through playing AD&D who are still friends today. That's testament enough to how much it's affected my life I reckon.
  • Sad day... (Score:4, Funny)

    by painandgreed (692585) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:33PM (#22639118)
    ...if only I had a 1000 GP gem.
  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <taiki&cox,net> on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:34PM (#22639138)
    Man failed his save roll.

    RIP
  • Awwww... (Score:2, Funny)

    by gotroot801 (7857)
    Now who's going to help Al Gore guard the space-time continuum [wikipedia.org]?!
  • by unassimilatible (225662) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:35PM (#22639166) Journal
    I'd like to thank Gary and D&D for ensuring my virtue in grade school.
  • Gary, thanks for what you and Dave created.

    May your rolls always be natural 20s....
  • RIP Gary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Weaselmancer (533834) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:36PM (#22639200)

    You gave me a lot of my favorite childhood memories.

    Thanks Gary. We'll miss you.

  • by IAmAMacOSXAddict (718470) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:38PM (#22639226) Homepage
    I'm currently on the play test team with Jeff T. in Gary's current works (Castle Zagyg). Gary was was the Progenitor of all modern gaming. Imagine a world that did not have D&D. Computer games would not have developed in the way they have, they would be 3d versions of Chess etc. Gary's work, and the work of the people that have followed have entertained us for decades, and through Gary's work we will be entertained for decades and centuries more... Bob H.
  • by binaryspiral (784263) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:39PM (#22639256)
    I had the opportunity to talk with Gary at a GenCon (when it was still hosted in Milwaukee) back in the 90's. I was a teen and full of questions having played rpgs for many of my years growing up.

    He was friendly, and a fun guy to talk to. I was actually quite amazed at how interested he was at talking to my friends and I about the game and actually was very interested in what we thought of the 2nd Generation of D&D.

    I only had the chance to meet him once, but I was glad I had the opportunity.

    Farewell, Gary. Thanks for the great games and entertainment.
  • He will be sorely missed. R.I.P. Gary.
  • Thank you so, so, so much.

    D&D helped me through my timid teens, made me friends, made me love reading (introduced me to Tolkien) and led me to Rogue, Hack and Nethack - which, in a way, helped me fall in love with computers.

    I'll be sure to break out my old, old, old D&D books and read them over for old time's sake.

    Thanks Gary and rest in peace.
  • Ugh, I *just* cancelled my DDO subscription this morning, too - before I found out about his passing.

    For those who don't know Gary Gygax performed the narrator sequences for a few quests in DDO.

    Tips an ale to Gary Gygax.

    Cheers, mate!!
  • Where's the Cloak of Immortality when you need it?
  • Neverwinter Nights (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PIPBoy3000 (619296) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:46PM (#22639384)
    While I wasn't a big D&D fan, I loved the idea and always enjoyed tinkering and making up stories. When Bioware put out Neverwinter Nights, I started my own campaign [adamandjamie.com], which was received quite well. When Neverwinter Nights 2 came along, I started yet another [adamandjamie.com] and don't plan on stopping.

    At one level, it's simply a hobby that combines a lot of skills I enjoy practicing. The scripting language is C-like, which probably helped me get over a long habit of programming in Basic-like languages. Modding is also something I can share with my kids, as my son enjoys tinkering around with the toolset and putting together simple modules.

    On another level, I'm in awe of the people who have played my modules and how I've touched their lives. I remember getting an e-mail from a woman who was dying of cancer and how a particular moment in my game made her husband laugh for the first time in a long while. I got another letter from a young man in the Israeli army, talking about how my games were a bright moment in an otherwise terrifying life.

    I think Dungeons and Dragons has ended up being something larger than it was originally envisioned. My kids make up these elaborate "playing pretend" stories. D&D has turned this instinct for adventure into something adults can do without too many funny looks. We all need to play the hero and live a life bigger than ourselves. Gary helped give that to us, and for that I am most grateful.
  • I picked up Deities and Demigods when I was in the 3rd grade or 27 years ago. I wasn't a reader until then. It got me hooked on reading specifically Fantasy and Science Fiction. The undertones of math in D&D probably helped too.

    Basically Gary, thank you for influencing me for 27 years and going. I probably would be as smart, but you opened worlds to me.
  • the main impact upon me that D&D has had really hasn't been through D&D as a game in and of itself, but instead through nethack. I seem to spend so much of my life playing that game now and it just wouldn't be possible without D&D having existed.

    I know many other people on /. will feel the same here, and that seems like a good way to remember the people who made it possible
  • Pouring... (Score:5, Funny)

    by dbc23 (1161569) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:54PM (#22639570)
    Pouring out a 40 of mountain dew for my dead homie.
  • by sjvn (11568) <sjvn@vna1.cLIONom minus cat> on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:54PM (#22639584) Homepage
    I might not have been become a computer journalism without his influence. Some of the first stories I ever published were 'tech analysis' D&D stories. You wouldn't believe how much a volume a D&D fireball actually takes up in an enclosed area. Well, not until you've been fried by one anyway, or the fine art of bouncing lighting bolts off obstacles.

    Beyond that, I can't begin to count the number of hours I spend enjoying first D&D in 1975 and then all the other RPGs that followed it.

    Good-bye Gary.

    Steven
  • D&D is IRL software (Score:5, Interesting)

    by graveyhead (210996) <(ten.scinorthctelf) (ta) (hctelf)> on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:56PM (#22639612)
    I've made a similar post once before, but it seems appropriate now.

    D&D was my entire reason for becoming interested in programming computers. In the early 80's what I realized is that D&D is the "software" of games. Modules expand the original game in new ways that nobody thought of before. They expand the core system in new and interesting ways.

    Sure, software was already doing this on computers at the time, but it really helped my brain make that leap at a young age - software is extraordinarily powerful.

    It also seemed to foster a healthy (or unhealthy of you believe Jack Thompson ;) love of video games and computer graphics.

    Thank you Mr. Gygax. You will be missed.
  • by 192939495969798999 (58312) <<info> <at> <devinmoore.com>> on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @01:56PM (#22639618) Homepage Journal
    It says he died of health problems, but we all know his passing was the result of the most classic of roleplaying deaths, the Nethack death "touching the edge of the universe". That's a death worthy of the father of roleplaying... thanks for helping me and friends through our early teens, GG!
  • by EricTheGreen (223110) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @02:07PM (#22639808) Homepage
    "Mr. Gygax, care to explain why I wasn't included in Deities and Demigods?"
  • by Khopesh (112447) on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @02:14PM (#22639974) Homepage Journal

    Really: Ernest Gary Gygax was a god. He turned the wargaming world on its head when he created a fantasy-based game, and did it again with the little supplement in the back that dealt with more individual encounters. His legacy was this new attention to detail, a whole genre, richly inspired by Tolkien's similar work, and spawning universes of imagination to touch generations. ... for this reason, I'd say he was a creation god [wikipedia.org], having created the world of role-playing games, significantly influencing the Fantasy genre itself, and even brining polyhedral dice to a more mainstream world. Gods don't die; Gygax will live on as only the most significant fathers of ideas do.

    D&D has been a part of me since 1986 or so. I've been actively playing and even designing rules for most of that time, even if I had no idea of what I was doing. How did D&D improve my life? It gave me a gateway to my imagination, allowing me to express myself in creative ways that would otherwise have been developed far less aptly. It increased my vocabulary ("what does 'proficiency' mean?), and in triggering my interest in Tolkien, it caused me to learn much of linguistics, etymology, and language, not to mention the reading of fantasy novels including RA Salvatore's Drizzt books. Its limitless possibilities make me laugh at MUDs and MMORPGs for their simplicity ... I can't play CRPGs or the like thanks to having discovered the real thing.

    Thanks, Gary. From your days guiding the RPG movement, to your voice-overs on the D&D television show, to your return to the core team with WotC, you had a great run. We always wanted more, but that's only because you always provided so much. You will be missed, and never forgotten. So long and thanks for all the books.

    PS: Anybody thinking of DMing or writing about a game or fantasy world (even outside the context of D&D) should take a look at his book Master of the Game [google.com], which is sadly out of print.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745)
      "Really: Ernest Gary Gygax was a god. "

      please. He created a game that allowed people to play individual pieces in a war game. It became an influential game that created an industry, but he was hardly perfect.

      His comment about women being good for gaming because they bring food and tidy up says much.

  • by gmcraff (61718) <gmcraff@NOsPAM.yahoo.com> on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @02:23PM (#22640132)
    They're going to wonder at the legions of people in various modes of dress, from lawyers to pimply-faced geeks to Vin Diesel, that will stop by and pour out a tube of dice on his grave.

    And then they'll realize they have to have someone go out and clear up the piles before they can mow. A lawnmower hitting Gygax's grave will cause a 30' radius spray of polyhedrons, doing from 1d6 to 3d6 damage depending on the horsepower of the mower.
  • My remembrance (Score:4, Interesting)

    by HikingStick (878216) <z01riemer.hotmail@com> on Tuesday March 04, 2008 @02:39PM (#22640422)
    I will always remember Mr. Gygax as the man who, while villified by many, was responsible for introducing me to a world of unlimited imaginations where grand adventures took form. The doorway of imagination he opened through his game allowed me to dream bigger dreams and to imagine entire worlds within my own mind. More than any English teacher, Mr. Gygax, albeit indirectly, moved me to write stories of epic scale. Without Dungeons & Dragons, neither would I have known so many great friends.

    Now he has passed from the game we call life. I don't think Mr. Gygax failed his last saving throw, but rather that the Great DM determined that it was time for his character to be retired. He will be missed.
  • by Tom Christiansen (54829) <tchrist@perl.com> on Thursday March 06, 2008 @12:50PM (#22665150) Homepage
    [ I know it's late, but trying to write even a half-decent eulogy and
    restrospective of a person like Gary Gygax this takes a bit of time
    to think about. Mea culpa. ]

    To the rest of the world world, Gary Gygax was the guy who created D&D
    (Dungeons and Dragons) back in Lake Geneva, WI, and who started the company
    there called TSR Hobbies, which produced it.

    To me, though, Gary was just my neighbor down the ways a bit along Center
    Street. I lived down the street and around the corner from from him,
    *worked* for him at TSR for about 4 years, played games with him, on and
    off the job. Hung out with his son Ernie and pal Skip (Ralph) Williams a
    good bit in high school, since the other kids of my own age I found--um,
    boring and slow. I'd sub for Skip on his paper route at times, and once
    Ernie dragged Skip into D&D, I wasn't far behind, even thought I was like
    five years younger than they were.

    Gary was from my folks' generation--actually a little older even. Gary was
    smoething of a nobody for the longest time, our semi-employed town cobbler,
    whose flame-haired wife, Mary, a fervent Jehovah's Witness, was the mother
    of their 6 children (2m+4f) who lived in the only sesquistoried house I'd
    ever been in. His dad was a violinist down in the Chicago Symphony, but
    Gary never got the hang of the instrument.

    I also seem to recall Gary may only gotten a college degree later in life,
    if then, but even so, it was something like a BA-English and may have been
    of the honorary or over-the-net or mail-in variety, Gary initially being
    one of those bored-with-school drop-out sorts. People around town really
    didn't think much of him--*UNTIL* he became rich.

    But before then, the talk of the town wasn't very good about him. "All
    those kids, and all you did was shoe repair with maybe a little insurance
    on the side? And your wife has nothing better to do than to be knocking on
    our doors passing out Watchtower pamphlets? What kind of a way to raise a
    family is that?" You know how critical some small-town people can be of
    others, especially when they just don't know the people their bad-mouthing.

    But I did, and I never thought that. It was especially fun to go over to
    Gary's house, not just because of his jokes and stories, not to mention the
    virtual library books and comics he had littered about everywhere, but also
    because that extra half-story was kidsville, since only we kids could get
    around standing up straight in it and the adults were crippled. I always
    enjoyed Gary's first wife, Mary, even if she did have funny pamphlets.

    I got into D&D just after Don Kaye died, which would be in 1975. I
    remember stopping off at 542 Sage Street with Skip (Ralph) Williams to get
    some D&D books or supplements from Don's widow. This was just across from
    the street from Eastview, the grade school I'd only just then completed the
    6th grade at, and barely half a block from my home.

    Later when Gary and Brian Blume moved the business to the corner house a
    couple blocks to the north, called the "Dungeon Hobby Shop" then. The
    downstairs was retail, the upstairs games-design. I helped out in the
    store and in shipping and mailing. By the time I was old enough to be
    hirable, TSR had moved down to the choicest of spots in town: the old
    hotel property at corner of Broad and Main, which at that time was Lake
    Geneva's only stop-light. We didn't even have 5k inhabitants at the
    time. There were well under 2 dozen employees when I first went on the
    payroll; I think my employee number, if you counted extant employees was
    13, or 19 if you didn't.

    I'd work in the retail hobby shop under Ernie, or upstairs in mailing, or
    eventually in the GenCon (Geneva Convention) department itself under Joe
    Orlowski (R.I.P.) and Skip Williams. GenCon started out in Lake Geneva

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