Gary Gygax has passed. RIP beloved father of RPG's. (merged)

It only a fitting end that he passed on March 4th - DMs day.
He was the first of our ilk and by far the greatest. My son was looking forward to meeting him at GenCon to get a letter that Gary had sent him electronically congratulating him on attaining Eagle Scout actually signed, but now that letter will probably mean even more.

I've heard many people slander him and call him a bully when it came to his business dealings, but I for one can say, that every time I ever dealt with him, he nothing but warm and gracious. Gary, you will be truly missed.
 

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boerngrim

First Post
Hi.
First off, my condolences to Gary's family, friends and to all gamers. Many years ago I was checking out a website connected to Gary, I believe it was the Legandary Journeys site. There was an email address to contact Gary. I sent a short email thanking him for the D&D game and the good times and friends that have come from it. Gary replied. His reply caught me off guard, because it was warm, personal, and friendly. I'll never forget that. I got the impression that Gary was just a really good guy. Reading his posts here on ENWorld has only reinforced that impression. I've never before been so sad at the loss of someone I never met in person. Thanks again Gary.
Thanks.
 

Kalitharus

First Post
I've been around D+D since 1981... my older brothers were a major influence on me getting in to Mystara. I owe a lot to Gary, a lot of great times RP'ing thru Greyhawk and Mystara; he really was a unique trailblazer in the publishing business. He'll be sorely missed by a lot of old-school gamers, myself included. :(
 

The_Warlock

First Post
The King is dead.
With laughter and friendship
He taught us
We need no kings
Nor rule
Just imagination.
Long live the memory
of the King.

---
And now to plan some old school gaming with the buddies to toast the creator of the hobby that brings us together.
 
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Storm Raven

First Post
LoneWolf23 said:
Jackson's right. It's thanks to Gary Gygax that Fantasy became more then a small niche in fiction, and has shaped Western culture so much. We owe him a lot.

Well, maybe. While it is important to give Gygax his due, I don't think even he would have denied that D&D followed the rise in popularity of fantasy fiction rather than preceded it. In point of fact, much of D&D wouldn't exist had it not been for the fantasy fiction antecedents: the Dying Earth books, the Newhon books, Moorcock's writings, many of the works of Poul Anderson and so on, from which D&D directly drew many of the tropes that have become regarded now as "D&Disms". In his own writing, Gygax pointed out that the "Tolkienesque" elements placed in the D&D game were done so consciously to try to exploit the already significant popularity of those books.

Gygax brought us a great game, and launched and molded a hobby that without a doubt most of us have loved and enjoyed for many years. He was the right man, in the right place, at the right time, with the right idea. But fantasy fiction would probably have done just fine without him. It would have been different, but it would have flourished just the same.

As an aside, I never heard him talk on this subject, but I wonder if the style of fantasy that has developed since the 1970s, with much of it clearly aping, if not imitating the works of Tolkien, was really something Gygax was fond of. The style of fantasy he appears to have preferred - written by Lieber and Howard and so on, was very different from the epic Tolkienesque tales that litter the genre now.
 
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Thornir Alekeg

Albatross!
My thoughts and condolences go out to his family.

As many others have said, I'm sure my life would be very different if not for the game he helped develop. I have made many friends that I never would have had it not been for Dungeons and Dragons.

Rest in peace, Gary.
 

Drowbane

First Post
rest in peace Gary!

Last night I logged on ENworld to get my fix and am floored with the news of Col_Pladoh's passing. I thought about it quite abit while I was at work. Having never played a game of D&D with him is my newest "great regret". While I never knew him personally, I cannot begin to convey how much joy I've had playing his game.

So, last night I rolled 3d6 in order as a way of "geek tribute" for our beloved Father of the Game. My results... S:10, D: 17, C: 10, I: 13, W: 12, Ch: 10. I think I'll use these as either my first 4e character or to make my first ever OD&D character. Either way, Gary, this ones for you!

edit: I couldn't help but notice that Gygax died on "GM's Day". Strangely appropriate?

~Brew, 3/5/08
 
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TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
I just got the news...not surprising given what I knew of his health, but still deeply sadening.

He will truly be missed.
 




Dextra

Social Justice Wizard
It’s A Wonderful Life As The Son Of The Dungeon Master

I just dug up the following (from the Kids Colouring Book, Ambient Inc. 2002). Ernie Gygax wrote this as the Introduction:

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE AS THE SON OF THE DUNGEON MASTER

It can be truthfully said that I have had the wonderful experience of cutting my teeth on gaming!

My earliest memories as a child have me racing around the apartment in my baby walker
reaching up mammoth heights of the kitchen table. As my grubby little paw firmly grasped the cardboard game piece representing a panzer division (in Avalon Hill game company board game Tactics II) triumph was mine as whole armies went down the gullet of the first true wandering monster Gary Gygax ever had to deal with in his then fledgling gaming experience. Since than he has originated more gaming material than any other creator in the industry from board games to the second most popular game of the 20th Century (Dungeons & Dragons - surpassed only by Monopoly), let me share with you though the truly fortunate life for one who is the child of a RPG Master or for that matter any Game Originator. Welcome to the realms of your imagination!

My first shared moments with my father and gaming involved his precious hours he could spend with a buddy away from my mother (who could not truly believe that a anyone could spend 8+ hours pushing game pieces around (their must be another reason for him to be gone so long...). To allow this freedom from his young bride my father had to take me under his wing and keep me occupied for all those hours. The bribes they threw at me and the torture they endured as they tried to concentrate really show the resolve the 60's gamer had to undergo to enjoy their hobby of choice. Oh the Mars bars, Pepsi's and the "music" I literally beat out on the piano might have made Napoleon remove his hand from his coat and cover his ears.

Oh my first command is one I will never forget, the game was Tactics (a World War II miniatures rules box set that three gentlemen had authored, one of whom was Gary). We had just built a huge sand-table in our basement and the 8 hours or so spent on making the landscape for the battle(s) was incredibly artistic even before the game(s) began. I was in control of two tanks and was told to use caution for the German Commander (one Michael Reese - another Tactics game author) was a master of defense as well as a tank commander in the real US Army. Let me just say I charged forward full of bravado and got both my vehicles caught trackless in a minefield while Mike took his time with a small but eventually deadly antitank gun and filled my armor full of holes. Oh but that did not daunt me at all!

Another miniatures game was set with ancient Romans fighting Cartigianians and it came
out to a mutual head on action where no-one actually won and very little was learned except that I must learn how to flank the enemy and rout the foe. The spirit of Conan was coming to the fore.

The most memorable miniatures battle of my youth was a game of Chainmail (vastly different than the game WOC now calls by that name). I was a Viking raider attempting to loot and pillage a Saxon village before the Norman Overlord could rush his Knights in and make short work of my Norsemen. Well I was a we bit greedy (a common fault through-out my gaming life) and did have a run in with the mail clad Lord and his henchmen. In the end the rules said that my remaining troops morale broke and that the Norwegian's were running for the hills. My disbelief at this treachery on my soldiers part was profound! No unit of mine will ever run, we will fight to the bitter end -- no surrender -- only the weak run. On that day my nick name which went into future print runs of Chainmail was established "ERNIE THE BARBARIAN".

In the very early 1970's my father started to keep very strange hours, working his trade by
day and writing most of the night in his den and so started the father of all Role Playing
Games Dungeons & Dragons. This new break from traditional gaming involved imagination and the thrill of the unknown. The very first adventure we had no idea what a Dungeon was let alone what the spells really could do and how to use them. My first choice of spell with the very first Magic User (Tenser) in the Greyhawk universe was the spell "Read Magic". No modern player would ever pick a non-offensive spell to start with but we had no idea what awaited us, just adventure, mystic and opportunity. As it was the spell came in very handy in opening up the knowledge corridors of all three of us first adventures (Elise Gygax, Rob Kuntz and myself), we eventually found a flight of stairs leading down lower than the first floor of the Dungeon with magical inscriptions carved above the archway. When I cast the spell it read, "Beware all who pass downward for as you go ever downward your opportunities with grow as will the adversities you face!" Nobody had any idea of levels and growth progression, we were all rookies and oh how much fun the game is as a beginner. To be able to forget what I know and delve back in those primeval first Dungeon Treks again.

Gaming was not only just fun though, it also meant employment for as TSR grew so did the work of the family members involved. The first thousand copies of the D&D boxed set (brown wood grain box, three books and fold out sheets) where given to us as separate parts and it was all the children of the two families involved who used to go around the table taking each component and placing it within the box and then wetting the two labels and attaching them to the box. The first 1,000 copies took 6 months to sell but that gave us the money to print the next 2,000 copies and the growth spiral grew from there.

In my teenage years I began to DM myself and the very first game had the players end up in a huge battle with all the townsfolk assisting the PC's as the whole of the assorted creatures of the Dungeon sallied forth in a horrific free-for-all taking many hours and hundreds of lives. Since then I've calmed things down just a wee-bit. I successfully have run a 1st Edition D&D game from 1978 until 2002 and many of the current players have shared the fates of previous adventurers, it is interesting to see how the child of a old campaigner handles a situation and see if he is more able than his sire. The stories from this campaign alone could fill up thousands of pages and millions of campaigns have been created by resourceful GM's all around the World and more are being generated each and every day.

For those who wish a sample of the High Adventure I enjoyed in my youth in a 3rd Edition setting all one has to do is peruse a copy of the Lost City of Gaxmoor (Troll Lord Games). This is an effort shared with my younger brother Luke and a fellow gamer David Moore. My whole purpose in creating this was to bring back the energy the game used to give me in my youth (when sometimes I was forced to go to bed for school before the adventure was over - arrggh!). We mostly ran large groups up to 20 people through the adventure but sometimes we had as few as 4 PC's and each and every time the players would conclude the day’s adventure with, "wow -- I didn't know if we would make it this time, how exciting the game was, the hours flew by like minutes, how about another game in the middle of the week and I wish I would of done this instead of that...

You will never know how enjoyable gaming creation can be until you have a DM come up to you and tell you how he took your guidelines, role-played the NPC's with some guidelines from the text and lead the characters down the path I spent so much time perfecting. The true purpose of a good game designer is not to create "killer encounters", but instead to make better players out of anyone who plays your creation.

All DM's take great pride when a group figures out a way to beat your "Killer Situation" and turns around a PC trap and makes it into a DM's Nightmare. One group when testing the original "Tome of Horrors" took the fake Scepter (which disintegrated anyone it was place upon, at the cost of one PC in the tournament and the use of this to finish the final foe the Demi-Lich when the chips were really down -- well played).

My father freely made use of the playtest sessions he had with all the Greyhawk players to refine the rules, and many a loophole my characters found only to have him seal them shut, sometimes with heavy handed methods trying to keep the game from becoming too much in one players control or dominance.

In conclusion I wish to say that my life has been truly blessed by the wonderful life my father has shared with me and someday I hope to share with one of my own (as a hobby shop manager I have shared much with many young people) what he has given to me, creativity flows through my veins like water and sometimes it is hard to conceive that all people do not share such a common background. Fortunate are those whose parents pass on gaming from generation to generation.

May you always make your saving throw and may the other players take the attention from your character when it is time to beat feet!

Ernie Gygax
 


Jupp

Explorer
Our gaming group will miss you Gary.

You gave me 20 years of fun, excitment and adventure. And this is so much more than I could ask for from someone I never met in my live.

If a person is making others laugh and makes them having fun and being excited for over 30 years, then that person deserves to be remembered for generations to come.

I found a bunch of very dear friends that I am still playing with after those 20 years. You gave me countless hours of reading through books, rolling and re-rolling of new chars just for the fun of it, tinkering around with quests and campaigns, in other words: You filled some good amount of my life with something I loved and still love to do. Some say this is called a "hobby" but I personally think it is a bit more than that. It also changes your life, even if only for a bit, but it does so in a very positive way.
 

Odhanan

First Post
I exiled myself from the RPG community since early January and checked very occasionally what was happening to our hobby. I just learned of Gary's passing.

My deepest, heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, and all of the gamers who, like me, because of the easy-going, friendly nature of the man, considered him as a friend first and the father of the game second.

I remember meeting Gary at the Games Exposition of Paris in 2000 or so. I was awed by the presence of "the father of the game" and remember mumbling a salutation to which he answered a simple, very, "normal", I guessed at the time, "hi". Pure Gary. I was so intimidated I just left and couldn't gather the COURAGE to ask him for an autograph. What a moron I was. This was before my RPG boards days, before I knew Gary better.

This is a sad, sad day. Let us remember the great storyteller, the great innovator, the great man who Gary was. And let's march not to the past, but forward, with the games we all love, D&D, Dangerous Journeys, Lejendary Adventures. Let's make Gary's legacy something he can be proud of. No negativity, no bickering. Just a love for the game and a constant dedication towards the question of how we could make it more enjoyable, more lively for millions of people beside us.

I salute you, Gary Gygax. You are a friend. Forever.
 
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Odhanan

First Post
haakon1 said:
Last night when I was falling asleep, I thought:

Remember the old Einstein quote: "God doesn't play dice?"

Tonight, He does. :)

Dude, you're awesome just having thought of that. This made this day brighter for me. :)
 

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