04 March 2008

Gary Gygax is Gone

Now my old-fashioned geek creds can finally come out:

Gary Gygax, co-creator of the first tabletop role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons, has died at age sixty-nine.

I can credit Mr. Gygax to giving me my first introduction to high fantasy and sword-and-sorcery at the young age of nine when my friends and I started playing—or attempted to play—D&D. I don’t play the game any more, and don’t think much its system of any of the d20-based games (when I play RPGs these days, which is rare, I play rules-lite systems like Fudge), but I owe Gary some serious weregild for giving me that early fantasy boost.

I read one of Gygax’s novels last year, The Anubis Murders, to review it for Black Gate. The review hasn’t appeared yet, but I’ll keep you informed when it makes its debut. Sorry to say, I didn’t enjoy the novel that much. Gygax was a better game engineer than a novelist, it would seem, and he had a knack for bringing together disparate fantasy writers into one gaming environment. Tolkien, Moorcock, Anderson, Vance, Leiber, and Howard are just the writers that I can name off the top of my head that influenced Gygax in creating D&D.

I’m going to go dig up my polyhedral dice and have a moment of remembrance. All geeks lost a friend today.