A moment of silence for one of the greats … Gary Gygax — co-inventor of Dungeons & Dragons

gygaxHe and the game became true badges of nerdidty (that’s him between Stephan Hawking and Nichelle Nichols as part of Al Gore’s uber nerd squad on Futurama). I discovered D&D long enough ago that I once looked suspiciously on the advent of Advance D&D. It was and is a game that managed to be collaborative and competitive. Mostly D&D taught me that games are really just long periods of laughter punctuated by periodic bouts of dice rolling. When I was in high school, Bill Kenower, Peter Kang, Evan Schrier, Dave Gray and the other members of the Birds of Prey even put together a session so my mom could find out what this was all about. I don’t remember if she was an elf or a hobbit, but I do remember she had fun. (I was a half-orc with impressive personality issues. Like you had to ask?) Someone needs to write a cultural history of the impact of D&D, for it is truly huge.

Also at some other time I will tell you the story of how Mrs. Collateral Damage got me to come out of the geek closet. The punch line, though, “How many Friday nights do the you have to spend playing D&D with the guys from Worcester Poly before you admit you’re a nerd?”

In the words of one of my favorite t-shirts: I am not a nerd. I am a 12th level paladin.

Go with grace Gary. You always rolled 20s in my book.

UPDATE: Just because he helped invent D&D doesn’t mean Gygax knew from dice.  BoingBoing has this from an interview with the man:

Q. As far as you know, what was the basic evolution of polyhedral dice? If they existed prior to the creation of Dungeons & Dragons, what were they used for?To the best of my knowledge I introduced them to gaming, en masse, with D&D in 1974. I found sets of the five platonic solids for sale in a school supply catalog back in 1972, and of course ordered them, used them in creating the D&D game.

D20Actually 20-sided dice were being used by the ancient Egyptians. I got a copy of one at the Louvre gift shop.

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2 thoughts on “A moment of silence for one of the greats … Gary Gygax — co-inventor of Dungeons & Dragons

  1. Everything he says is true. But I was never a nerd, I swear to you. I did not know at the time my father handed me the game that playing it would make me a nerd. Little did I know, my father was the king of nerds. The things you learn to late.

    Here’s to Bad Craziness, Con.

  2. Regarding the Egyptian clay dice, is the photo yours? Or do you know the source? I’d like to use it in a program to prevent problem gambling among young people. Would greatly appreciate your reply. Thank you!

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