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The Dungeon Master

Gary Gygax died yesterday. For those of you who don’t know the name, he was the co-creator of early Dungeons & Dragons, and the main driving force of the game for the first decade of it’s publication. Gygax and Dave Arneson created the initial concept of the game in the early 1970s (first published in 1974), but Gary wrote the majority of the game rules and books through about 1985. That work became the foundation for the whole role-playing game (RPG) genre and industry, including all the current computer RPGs like World of Warcraft. He was affectionately called the “Father of RPGs.”

He was a life-long gamer — a player of all kinds of games — and a prolific writer. He had a very creative mind, and from all I’ve ever read about him, was just a fun guy to sit at a table and roll dice with. He’s one of the very few celebrity-type people I’ve always wanted to meet, just to shake his hand and thank him for creating the hobby that excited me as a young teenager and entertained me into advanced adulthood.

He was 69 years old (35 at the first publication of D&D), and he was still playing and writing games right up till the end. I occasionally visit a D&D discussion forum where he participated, and his last post there was February 21, 2008. He even responded to some of my questions on that board (he responded to everyone’s questions).

Most everyone who knew of him knew he’d been having health problems through the last few years. And although we all realized, in the back of our minds, that he wouldn’t live forever, no long-time D&D gamer wanted to think about it. But now it’s happened. The father of our favorite pastime has moved up to the big game table in the sky. Salute, Gary — your works have given me decades of imaginative, fun times.


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