News: March 2008 Archives
Two days ago, (Ernest) Gary Gygax, the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, died at the age of 69. If you've ever played a fantasy role-playing game (RPG) -- or any other RPG, for that matter, live or in a videogame -- or enjoyed the recent films of the Lord of the Rings, or (I'd argue) if you are a fan of the Harry Potter franchise... you owe a debt of thanks to Gary.
Gary was known to credit "The Veldt" by Ray Bradbury and Robert E. Howard's "Conan the Conqueror" as early influences that pushed him towards fantasy and science fiction in his work. The disposition of characters into "alignments" of good/neutral/evil and lawful/neutral/chaotic was influenced by Poul Anderson's "Three Hearts and Three Lions." The mythology of D&D was taken from a wide variety of historical and literary sources, including two now famous dragon gods, Tiamat and Bahamut. While the final D&D figures are quite different than their historical namesakes, it is obvious that Gary and Dave Arneson, the game's other co-creator, had done some serious pre-reading for their creation.
Personally, I know I would not have become as involved in reading (and writing) fantasy and science fiction had I not been able to "live" the part of characters (and game masters) in stories. Whether live, around a kitchen table with hex paper and polyhedral dice scattered among pizza remnants, or in email with friends in three states creating play-by-text worlds and adventures or in video game lands like World of Warcraft... lots of time, lots of creativity, lots of friendship, lots of fun... all thanks in part to Gary's work and leadership.
I won't resort to game-linked references for a pithy closing. I'll just say, "Thanks, Gary."
- Gary Gygax's WorldCat Identities page.
- Fantasy game materials in WC
- Role playing materials in WC.
- GURPS Lite and D20, both free (or open source) role playing systems