Gary Gygax died earlier today at his home in Lake Geneva, apparently of an abdominal aneurysm.
Gary Gygax was the man who more than any others inspired me to read history, mythology, folklore, anthropology (the traditional stuff, not the new anthropology that encourages partition into identity groups and tribes), to write imaginative and analytical pieces daily, to empathize and identify with others of all types, to analyze things for myself to determine how the world really worked, and eventually to remake my life and become the man I’ve since become.
I started with the three little tan books in the white box and quickly went on to AD&D and its Monster Manual, Player’s Handbook, and Dungeon Master’s Guide. I played D&D with friends for years, then in college at Swarthmore went on to a huge assortment of other tabletop roleplaying games, though Runequest (often called Rulequest in honor of its detailed rules) was the one that captured my interest the most for its wonderful world of Glorantha. But that is another story.
In this article, Paul La Farge captures some of the magic in Dungeons and Dragons. For those who have never played tabletop roleplaying games, they are utterly different from computer roleplaying games. The most obvious difference is that they involve actual face-to-face interaction with other living, breathing people. The second difference, which La Farge mentions, is that the way to “win” was to cooperate, not compete.
God bless you, Gary Gygax, the original Dungeon Master. You and your work were an inspiration to many.
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