I am deeply saddened to learn that today we have lost Gary Gygax (via EnWorld), creator of Dungeon's & Dragons, from our company in this world. I did not know him personally, but I can say without a doubt that this man has touched countless people through his games, and his ambitions.
I starting playing role-playing games when I was 13, having been introduced by a family friend to what is now affectionately referred to as "Red Box" D&D. In the 21 years since that time I've played many games, I have lived through the turmoil of the "D&D is satanic" times, but I still to this day play role-playing games on a weekly basis and I recognize that Gary Gygax's games helped me define my personality, my sense of humor, and my style of storytelling. I have in fact just returned from D&D Experience, one of many large gatherings of those who play D&D still and who participate in events run by the RPGA and was learning about the upcoming Fourth Edition of the game.
Gary has not been involved with D&D directly in many years, and the game has moved from being owned by TSR, to Wizards of the Coast, and now corporately Hasbro though still through the Wizards of the Coast brand. I would invite everyone reading to stop and think about the impact this man has had on our world. While not alone, he is one of the pillars who brought about Role Playing Games (RPGs) in the United States. From those games come so much we take for granted, it is from those games we have countless novels, movies, and computer games as direct products, but also indirectly games such as World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings Online cannot help but acknowledge that the systems used to model those virtual worlds stand on the shoulders of D&D, and as such this man.
While I did not know him personally, I believe it is safe to say that Gary Gygax remained a fan of RPGs until his last breath on this planet, and as such I'd like to take a moment and encourage everyone here to block out some time on June 7th or June 21st to try your hand at the game again.
- June 7th, 2008 is the Worldwide Dungeon & Dragon's Game Day where game stores world wide will be opening their doors and running games for any who will be interested for free. This is scheduled for the day after the release of Dungeon & Dragon's Fourth Edition and will be a great chance to see how Wizards of the Coast have stewarded the brand that Gary started so many years ago.
- June 21st, 2008 is Free RPG Day, and many of those same retailers will again be running tables of games, this time from a wide variety of game developers not just Wizards of the Coast. There will be free games, and gaming supplies, being given away in most of those stores that day.
So I raise a toast Gary today, and send my well wishes to his wife, six children and extended family. And, perhaps belatedly, I thank him for what he has done for my life without ever knowing it.