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Gary Gygax, Dungeons & Dragons creator, dies


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MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (AP) -- Gary Gygax, who co-created the fantasy game Dungeons & Dragons and helped start the role-playing phenomenon, died Tuesday morning at his home in Lake Geneva. He was 69.

He had been suffering from health problems for several years, including an abdominal aneurysm, said his wife, Gail Gygax.

Gygax and Dave Arneson developed Dungeons & Dragons in 1974 using medieval characters and mythical creatures. The game known for its oddly shaped dice became a hit, particularly among teenage boys, and eventually was turned into video games, books and movies.

Gygax always enjoyed hearing from the game's legion of devoted fans, many of whom would stop by the family's home in Lake Geneva, about 55 miles southwest of Milwaukee, his wife said. Despite his declining health, he hosted weekly games of Dungeons & Dragons as recently as January, she said.

"It really meant a lot to him to hear from people from over the years about how he helped them become a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, what he gave them," Gygax said. "He really enjoyed that."

Dungeons & Dragons players create fictional characters and carry out their adventures with the help of complicated rules. The quintessential geek pastime, it spawned a wealth of copycat games and later inspired a whole genre of computer games that's still growing in popularity.

Funeral arrangements are pending. Besides his wife, Gygax is survived by six children.

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Aw, that sucks. :-( I remember starting to play D&D around 1980, which coincided with my interest in fantasy literature, and I have been a RPG fan ever since.

And for the record, it's "geek," not "nerd"!

Thanks for everything, Gary.

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Maybe it's a teenage geek's way of escaping...living the life of a hero or villan. Despite that, what it really gave me was a fun place to go in a social enviroment for a kind of shared social dream or adventure. It's different from sports comraderie of just having a shared goal. It's a game to learn how to imagine, to think beyond limits we routinely take for granted. It was about team work and melding of dreams. For those who have played, could you not see some of the characters in your friends? Heck,I still occassionaly call the best man at my wedding by his D&D name "Bruno."

In a lot of ways the closest thing I've ever felt to it is parenthood...those moments where you work so hard to build up the skills of somebody you come to care about. Now parenthood is lightyears more serious...and in some ways I kind of miss the ability to share a dream with little consequences for failure.

Sad to see him go...happy to see others still play the game.

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I remember getting an AD&D beginner's set that had a board with pieces and a pre-made quest. Once me and my friends and relatives blew through that, I wanted more so I got the player's handbook and Forgotten Realms box set and only then did I realize you're supposed to make this crap up yourself.

Well, I tried, and without linearity, all I got was friends and relatives trying to backstab each other for fun and screwing the girls in town....

That was my failed attempt at AD&D.

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Unfortunate. The world has lost a man of great imagination, for whom fun and enjoyment were a way of life.

My interests in medieval history and fantasy brought me in contact with the Dungeons & Dragons line of products in my high school days. By college I'd moved on to a number of other more advanced role-playing games by other game designers. After college the books got sold and I found the SCA, which provided a very different outlet for my imagination and enjoyment.

Rest in Peace, Gary. I just hope that heaven can live up to your imagination.

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