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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Gary Gygax, RIP

posted by on March 4 at 12:00 PM


Gary Gygax, co-creator of groundbreaking role playing game Dungeons & Dragons, passed away today at the age of 69.

A small testimonial: As a pre-adolescent nerd, Gygax’s work had a pretty profound impact on me. My step-dad bought me the Basic Edition D&D boxed set (the red one) for my birthday one year (or maybe for Christmas); he had been an avid D&D player while stationed with the Army in Germany. He was still a relative new-jack in the step-dad department, and playing D&D with him, then learning to run campaigns of my own, was a great bonding experience. In grade school, a lot of the friends I made were through D&D; we would camp out in the library at recess, rolling up characters, getting together on the weekends to play. We kept at it through junior high, until I discovered punk rock, girls, and pot. Still, D&D had a tremendous effect on my creativity, my social-skills, and my story-telling abilities, probably as valuable to me today as anything I learned from punk.

RIP, Gary.

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Gygax taught a whole generation to gratuitously add the Latin abbreviations et al, ie and eg to everything they write, including shopping lists and their own signatures.

Posted by elenchos | March 4, 2008 12:07 PM

Where would Harry Potter be without Gary Gygax?

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 4, 2008 12:20 PM

I am in shock, Owlbears across the globe are crying, none of us ever imagined Gary Gygax could have failed his saving throw.

+5 RIP

Posted by josh bomb | March 4, 2008 12:25 PM

When I was 4, a trucker who lived with me and my dad taught me to play the original Chainmail rules for gaming with lead figures. Then a few years later I got into the original Basic set -- then Expert and so on.

Dude had a huge impact on my life, mostly surprisingly good, considering what a douche he was.

Ah well.

Posted by Judah | March 4, 2008 12:27 PM

Goodnight, Funnyman.

Posted by wisepunk | March 4, 2008 12:28 PM

Raise Dead! Somebody cast Raise Dead!...

Posted by nabob | March 4, 2008 12:29 PM

Farewell to a true original. Haven't played in 20 years or so, but I still crack open my Player's Handbook once in a while. Gave me something great to do with my mates until if figured out how to talk to girls.

Posted by Westside forever | March 4, 2008 12:38 PM

Brett Favre retires.

Gary Gygax dies.

It's a sad, sad day in Dairyland.

pg--(Cheesehead, born & bred)

Posted by pgreyy | March 4, 2008 12:39 PM

Shit, there's never a high-level cleric around when you really, really need one.

A big chunk of our generation's imagination died today. I think I'll go get drunk on mead and start a bar fight with half orcs.

RIP Gary.

Posted by Providence | March 4, 2008 12:40 PM

Gary Gygax saved my whole family from freezing, that one winter when my mother burned all of my D&D books...

Posted by nabob | March 4, 2008 12:46 PM

Gary Gygax saved my whole family from freezing, that one winter when my mother burned all of my D&D books...

Posted by nabob | March 4, 2008 12:47 PM

Oops. Too much coffee today.

Posted by nabob | March 4, 2008 12:53 PM


He actually was a nice guy in person. And a great guy to have on gaming panels. I still have some signed copies of games from him.

He'll be missed.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 4, 2008 12:53 PM

Good night, sweet wizard.

Posted by Morgan | March 4, 2008 12:55 PM

Oh, sad.
Safe voyage.

Posted by Beguine | March 4, 2008 12:59 PM

Damn this day Gary botched his Save vs. Death. I'm going to have a few drinks in memory and look over some old books.

Posted by Sven | March 4, 2008 1:10 PM

I couldn't care less about D&D, but I think it's cool that he invented polyhedral dice (other than six, that is). According to Troll Lord Games, quoted in Boing Boing, "I found sets of the five platonic solids for sale in a school supply catalog back in 1972".

Posted by Fnarf | March 4, 2008 1:17 PM

This man had a more profound, over-arcing and powerful influence on pop culture than anyone who has died in many many years.

He will never get credit for it, but without gygax, we wouldn't have george lucas, stephen colbert or neil gaiman.

Posted by Joh | March 4, 2008 1:21 PM

I played D&D one time. My friend said he knew how to play. My character was a thief. I had like 4 hit points.

3 rolls into the game there was a lake with a fisherman sitting in front of the lake. I killed him. Turns out the fisherman was frikking Zeus. I got 10,000 hit points and an armada - after 3 rolls of playing.

I was invincible that day. Till my brother told me it was bullshit.

RIP, Gary.

Posted by trent moorman | March 4, 2008 1:21 PM

Hm. Even aftere I figured out how to talk to girls, I still played games like D&D. I just got some of those girls to play with me. :)

Posted by Toby | March 4, 2008 1:39 PM

Mind Flayers and Drows celebrate... those elusive bastards.

Expedition to the Barrier Peaks was my favorite AD&D module. I used to spend hours reading them at Waldenbooks

Posted by bobcat | March 4, 2008 2:17 PM

Man, that must have been an Epic drop. When they posting teh lewts?

Posted by Colton | March 4, 2008 2:26 PM

Paul La Farge did a great piece on Gygax in The Believer a while back.

Posted by Chris McCann | March 4, 2008 2:29 PM


without gygax, we wouldn't have george lucas, stephen colbert or neil gaiman.

That's a risk I'd have been willing to take.

Posted by Wolf | March 4, 2008 2:52 PM

I used to sit alone, reading the campaigns and pretending to play, because none of my friends were into it.

viva Black Pudding!

Posted by Paulus | March 4, 2008 3:10 PM


I don't mind being a geek.

Gygax, while being a bit of a tool on the few occasions I met him, created something that would chnage the lives of millions upon millions of people. He leaves a pretty good legacy behind.

Posted by Joh | March 4, 2008 3:11 PM

The game genre he created led me to my longest term group of friends. It gave us a reason to get together through decades. The gaming culture that rose around D&D lead to me having a variety of jobs, bought me a car and paid for a nine week European vacation. Most importantly it gave me a wife and kids.

Rest in peace E.G.G.

Posted by Jim | March 4, 2008 4:56 PM

I remember turning to Punk rock in the hopes that it would save my social life from the nerd-dom D&D had brought me to. Other teenagers do stop laughing at you quite as much when you spike your hair and draw lots of skulls on things, but I found that singing the praises of the Circle Jerks and the Butthole Surfers didn't really get me laid any better than the chromatic dragons and the rare and valuable magic items did. But it did give me good tunes to roll up new characters by.

It's good to know that punk rock worked out for someone else though.

RIP Gary.

Posted by Anonymous Tard | March 5, 2008 5:16 PM

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