R.I.P. Gary Gygax

Memento homo, quod cinis es, et in cinerem reverteris.

Gary Gygax, co-creator of D&D, died today. Appropriately, his death was announced first to the world in a post on a rinky-dink Internet forum for Troll Lord Games. Those in mourning should probably visit the Slashdot post where fellow grieving geeks are congregating to leave their regards.

Just a couple of days ago, I copped to D&D’s importance to my formative years, and I often wonder what percentage of working medievalists aged 25-45 cut their teeth on D&D’s polyhedral dice. I suspect it’s rather substantial.

In memoriam, here’s a clip from YouTube that medievalists might enjoy. It’s from a D&D documentary, and in it, Mr. Gygax explains the etymology of his name. It’s Swedish, he says, for giant, and his family lore holds that he is descended from Goliath. Truly, he looms like a giant over my teenage years.

If the news has left you in need of cheering up, visit this article detailing some of the more bizarre creatures that Gygax’s D&D inspired.

[UPDATE] Penny Arcade’s tribute deserves a link.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • pilgrimchick

    Whoa, no kidding. Here’s a guy who literally created a world with this stuff. Amazing.

  • theswain

    I actually think that I am alone in saying that D&D did NOT serve as something formative on me, my imagination, or on my interest in things medieval. I have played a couple times, so I know what it is, but other than that….

  • Epacris

    I’m quite fond of the xkcd comment on this – at http://www.xkcd.com/393

  • My medieval masters has renaissance bits…

    I think my medieval obsession was started by my mother but it was definitely fueled by roleplaying. I was never as much a D and D man but what rp could you play that wasn’t touched by him? Definitely roleplaying shaped my fascination with the more occult, theological, folklorish and conspiratorial in history and literature.

    Even now my friend’s biggest hope for my Masters (aside from me becoming a Giles figure in our desired occult investigative agency…) is that I’ll write an insane adventure using everything I’ve learnt.

  • Diane

    The man was a genius. He created a game where you HAVE to use your imagination to play. Even today when there are so many options to create the scene in front of you, you still have to use your imagination to play the game right. And people call D&Der’s geeks. That is sad to me.


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