RIP, Dungeon Master

Gary Gygax has died.


Though it probably sounds pretty nerdy to those who never or only rarely played D&D or other role playing games, Dungeons & Dragons had a profound effect on my youth. And, therefore, my life.


  1. For the Record! I have NEVER refered to D & D as meaning Dorky & Dweeby! LOL! Or commented disparagingly on it’s fans! Actually it’s quite odd, I was (and still am) a HUGE fan of R.E. Howard’s Conan stories (just the Howard originals as well as the L. Sprague DeCamp, Lin Carer, & Bjorn Nyborg completed Howard partials), as well as numerous fantasy staples, such as Michael Moorcock & others. For whatever reason, when D & D first came on the scene, I just never transitioned to it. After listening to some friends who were ‘early adopters’, it just sounded like it was too time consumptive, if nothing else. I can say I wish I’d been Gary G. He must have made a bundle on the books and spin offs. And, massive multiplayer online games, the internet successor to D & D book & board games, is hugely popular and growing.

  2. Murdoc, I was fortunate enough to meet the Great God Gax many times over the years. I used to write for a company (The Companions) that produced FRP modules and supporting items. What many do not know is that Gary first started TSR with an idea to make wargames. They had two exellent (if somewhat complex) rules sets called Tractics, and Chainmail. Tractics was a complex but realistic and fun game of modern combat from WWII to the present. Chainmail was for medieval combat, and it’s combat system became the core elements of D&D over time. What was to become D&D started as a fantasy supplemet to Chainmail that allowed the players to recreate the times & legends of Arthur and Merlin, or of St. George & the Dragon, etc. Later it expanded to a small add-on booklet, and thence to a three-volume stand alone boxed set (which goes for a pretty penny today if, like me, you happen to have a copy). I also have original copies of Chanimail and the supplemets. From there, the rest if history. Gary had some bitter feelings with TSR and Dave Arneson after the breakup, but things smoothed out a might in later years. Now, having said all of that, I never really got into fantasy or any of the D&D FRP’s. I was an historical wargamer, being more attracted to Napoleonics, Civil War, etc. Oh, I was happy to write it for profit and all that, but i never really played the stuff. It used to be a source of irritation when, after a night’s gaming session, I’f be at the local bar, hitting on some pretty young thing, and one of the D&D fellows would see me and just HACE to tell me about how his 27th level Paladin destroyed an entire army of Orcs and saved some poor villge from an eveil Necromancer, etc. There were times that I truly believe that no jury would convict me were I to kill the little cretin. But I digress. Gary’s death represnts the passing of a true pioneer, and all of us, regardless of how we feel about the game, are a little the poorer for his demise. That fame opened up a whole new world, and helped bridge the gap literally and figuratively from parlor games to modern computer games. Anyone really think that Runescape or WOW would be here without his ideas? RIP, brother. You’ve earned your rest, and your accolades.

  3. I have a whole bunch of D&D books. I enjoyed reading them and understanding the rules. I think I played the game twice or something.

  4. OK, sorry, I guess I meant ‘suggestions’. The thing that I like least about D&D is how badly penalized multi-class characters were relative to single-class. I realize they can’t advance as fast because they’re more powerful, but I think it’s imbalanced.. having three classes doesn’t make you three times as powerful, but does mean you need about three times as much experience to get to the next level.

  5. You have to keep in mind that it’s just fantasy though. I had a ‘bag of holding’ that could hold up to 100 items! But in reality, it turned out that the SIZE of the stuff mattered more than I was lead to believe. Also, my vorpal sword (which was +5 against undead, I might add) ripped right through it like it was a WalMart bag. UPDATE: I’ve been informed that in reality, it WAS in fact a WalMart bag. Never trust traveling salesmen, people.

  6. Kevin – Not to go all geek on you – but any true D&D fan knows a Vorpal sword is all but useless against undead. Does the mean old zombie care about losing his head? Go for the +5 mace of disruption instead. D&D and zombie invasions who would of thunk it.