Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Dungeons and Dragons Designer Gary Gygax has passed away

In a great irony of my life. Tuesday evening is the time that I run a Dungeons and Dragons game for my son Will(9), and his friends Beau(9) and Bjorn (12). Last night they were currently finishing up module B2: The Keep on the Borderlands written by Gary Gygax (a module that was created with the 6th to 11th publication of the basic D&D set). We play by the rules of AD&D version 2, but I incorporate some of every version.

Before we started to play last night, in honor of the man who started it all, we read the introduction to the first addition of the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons handbook. In it Gary Gygax recites his struggle to bring the game to the next level of play and the work he put forth to get it there.

My father purchased the basic game in 1978(?) we were living at the University of Rhode Island in graduate student housing. I remember him trying it with my sister once (she was the older one) and finding it difficult to manage.

I was introduced to the game in junior high. It was probably about 1982. As a nerd I was fascinated by the who fantasy role playing concept. There are two main impacts that Gary Gygax' works had on my life.

  • You see, I was not a reader. I could read, but I never chose to read. Dungeons and Dragons was a game that required reading and lots of it. But more importantly it introduced me to medieval fantasy concepts. At the age of 16 I suddenly started reading fantasy adventure novels. And from that point forward I consumed hundreds of books, fantasy and then science-fiction.

  • I was also not a jock. I never played sports well. I had a childhood of bad sports team experiences. Since I was not a jock I hand no regular exercise focus. That changed when my D&D friends introduced me to Dagorhir. All at once I had a focus for my physical fitness. I had desire to practice. I had desire to learn. I had desire to tune my body.

So thank you Gary Gygax for your contributions to this world. You help a young nerd find self confidence. I suspect I am not the only one.

The photograph was taken by and is copyright 2007 by the uploader, Alan De Smet. The photograph is multi-licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 and 3.0 licenses; you can select the license of your choice. Per the license, credit must be given to "Alan De Smet".

1 comment:

Alan De Smet said...

Thanks for giving me the credit for the photo. I'm spending a lot of time tracking down people who failed to and asking them to fix it. Your credit is unnecessarily verbose. If you'd like to trim it down, a simple "Photo ©2007 Alan De Smet" that links to will do the job just fine. There is, of course, no problem with leaving what you have; I just feel a little bad being indirectly responsible for a block of boring legalese in your otherwise really nice post.