Zagyg is dead

Yesterday, Mr Ernest Gary Gygax died. If you don’t know who Gary was, he was the co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons.

My Auntie Viv, who quite recently passed away, bought me a basic D&D rule set many years ago, I guess I was nine or ten, and I guess at the age of 11 I bought my first AD&D (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons) rule books, second hand. I always read a lot as a kid, and a lot of science fiction and fantasy, and these games were a revelation to me. AD&D is no more, since the basic game has vanished and now there is just D&D, which is just about to publish its fourth edition.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere lots of people regard role playing as anything between childish and devil worship. I don’t get that, because anyone who has actually looked at those first precious first edition rule books will see uncompromising vocabulary, descriptions of forms of government, siege warfare, and lots of distinctly un-childish challenging material. Personally, I always thought it was about, despite the image to the contrary, actually being together with friends, enjoying laughter both about the game and other things, this slashdot comment could have been written by me. There is also a great tribute on the absolutely excellent webcomic The Order of the Stick.

I’ve seen a fair few people talking about dusting off their 1st edition (or otherwise rulebooks), but the truth is, I still use mine probably twice a month, and it’s always been that way. Many of my dearest friends still play these games now, and we get as much pleasure as ever. Many times, if we haven’t seen each other for a long time, we get little or nothing done in the game, as we are too busy catching up with each other, but it doesn’t matter.

So, thanks Gary for all the great memories, for opening up new worlds, imagination and opening the doorway to new games. We’ll get the cleric to cast “rest in peace”.

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