Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Gary Gygax & How I Spent Much of My Youth in His Dungeons

For those unawares, Ernest Gary Gygax is the name of the man who created Dungeons & Dragons. Well technically, he co-created it with David Arneson. But since this is G-Day in the ole A to Z Challenge (click on the big G over there to find out more about that) and since the books of D&D (Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual, and such) had Gygax's name and only Gygax's name, this is a post about Gary Gygax. So there.

It was waaay back in 1974 that D&D first hit the world, via TSR Games. For those who are already lost, and are asking themselves, what the hell is this D&D thing he keeps mentioning? Well, D&D, or Dungeons & Dragons, if you will, was one of the very first role playing games on the market. basically we nerds would get together and take on an adventure. You could be a Ranger, a Dwarf, a Halfling, a Paladin, an Elf (yeah, it's pretty much based on the mythology of J.R.R. Tolkien)...or, like me, you could be the Dungeon Master. He's the one that creates each adventure, and leads his players down the road to possible destruction. Insert maniacal laughter here. Like I said, I always enjoyed being the creator of the adventure. With my graph paper, my polyhedron dice, and Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual at my side, I spent many a day and night creating adventures for all of my equally geeky friends. Yeah, I didn't date much in high school.

Anyhoo, eventually D&D became AD&D (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons), which caused a rift between Gygax and Arneson (Gygax claimed this newer, advanced version was his creative baby, and no one else's) and the game became a smash hit. Gygax had created role-playing games before D&D, most notably a game called Chainmail, which was the obvious precursor to D&D (and hence, something that cemented his creative prowess over his partner), but it is D&D (or AD&D, if you will) that has put the man, the Gygax, on the map. Eventually, as it does to most men, death eventually came for Ernest Gary Gygax, as he passed away in 2008, at the age of 69. Yeah, D&D caused a stir and all back in its hey day (parents calling for its banishment due to the so-called corruption of their children), and perhaps it did delay a lot of teenage boys from touching their first booby, but I quite enjoyed creating and running adventures. I never killed myself over the game, and I did touch boobies before I graduated high school. So there. That's it gang. See ya 'round the web. Here's a pic of some of those famed polyhedron dice. Ooh, I can almost feel them in my hand right now.


  1. I always wanted to but never did play Dungeons and day maybe:)

  2. Great writer and great man. RIP Gary.