Happy Birthday, Gary! And thanks!

This is still going to be a link-filled post today, but I need to take a moment to acknowledge someone very special.

Today is Gary Gygax’s birthday.  And I can say without hyperbole that his invention of the game Dungeons & Dragons (along with Dave Arneson), changed my life forever.  If I allowed myself, I could certainly ramble out a long post about everything that D&D has ever meant to me.  But I will instead keep to just the first three things that come to mind when I think of D&D and Gary Gygax:

– Okay, very first thing?  One of my biggest regrets in life is not meeting the man before he died, so that I could thank him in person.  By all accounts he was a warm and friendly man, who insisted he was just another gamer and that people should call him Gary, never Mr. Gygax.  Forget any of those other “important” historical figures; Gary Gygax is who I’d build the time-machine to meet.

– Junior high-school in particular was a rough time for me, for various reasons outside my adolescent self’s control.  Dungeons & Dragons is directly responsible for getting me through that time.  Not just the game itself, but the reminder when I sat down at the gaming table that there were people who wanted to be around me, of their own free will.  Those hours around the gaming table carried me through the weeks and months of an other-wise dark time.  And how do you thank a man for creating something that helped you survive?

– With the exception of moments spent in private with members of the opposite sex (and sometimes not even then; you know who you are, ladies) most of my hands-down moments of shear enjoyment have been found around a gaming table.  And while I haven’t always been playing D&D (it’s been 32 years, I needed a little variation), I can never forget that was the game that got me started.  Without it I’m not sure I would have developed the passion I did for the hobby, or even noticed the hobby at all.  Possible, but not probable without D&D’s timely appearance.

So in honour of Gary’s birthday, here are some Gygax and D&D related links for you to enjoy.  And if you feel like playing the original game some time, let me know in the comments; I still have the books.

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– If you are a D&D collector like myself, or if you just wanted to learn a bit about the early days of the RPG hobby, The Acaeum is a very helpful site.  And trolls are surprisingly rare in their forums, which was refreshing for someone relatively new to collecting, like myself.

– Gary was a huge poster on EN World, even up to two weeks before his passing.  A gentleman by the name of Paul Hughes was asked by the Gygax Memorial Fund to compile a book of Gary’s forum entries, and it will be available at Gen Con this year.  I’m really hoping it will be available after, as well. Update: It will be, on the Gygax Memorial Fund site after Gen Con.

The Gygax Memorial Fund works to keep the memory of Gary Gygax alive in the world.  They have been granted land by the city of Milwaukee to build a Gygax monument, which is currently in the design stages.

– I posted this last week, but here it is again: Frank Mentzer talks about the beginning of D&D, RPGs and his friend Gary Gygax.

– My love of dice has gone pretty much hand-in-hand with my love of gaming, so this blog by a dice designer really tickles me.

That’s all for now, folks!  Why not leave me a comment, talk about how you got into gaming, your first game, your favourite game, whatever.  I’d love to hear from you.

Brent Jans took the Hardest Gary Gygax Quiz in the World and got 80%!

You are a Gary Gygax Superhero. If aliens ever invade Earth and challkenge us to a Gary Gygax trivia contest, you will be our champion.

Paladin Code: You completed this quiz without using Google.

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