Saturday, March 08, 2008

R.I.P. Gary Gygax

I got my first D&D set (Basic Set 1) at Spencer Gifts in the Southgate Mall in Missoula, Montana. The year was 1981 -- I was eight years old.

I took the set home to our comfortable house in Stevensville (population 900), opened it up, and read about character classes. Oh, the wonder! Oh, the fabulous fantasy to pull me out of the drudgery of school that was too easy, and away from the harsh reality of children that were too cruel!

I convinced my best friend Angie, who lived across the street, to play with me, but my woeful misunderstanding of the rules, combined with the fact that I was the only one of us who was weird enough to actually care what a Kobold was, made this a short-lived experience. But hey -- I was an only child, and able to entertain myself. So character generation became my new hobby, even if I had no one to actual campaign with.

I wish my memory was clearer, or I could have said that this was why I purchased, and became obsessed with, the D&D games available for my Intellivision I system. I still have Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: The Treasure of Tarmin, and yes, I still play it. I also enjoyed Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cloudy Mountain but Treasure of Tarmin was the best by far; 27 years later and it's still my favorite game.

So, upon the passing of Gary Gygax, I felt the need to make tribute -- to discuss my personal relationship with D&D as a Christian would with Christ, or a NASCAR fan would with Richard Petty. We Americans idolize our heroes, and their mortality at once frightens and enlightens us. If they can pass on, then so can we.

I leave you with this awesome "Seventh Seal" parody from XKCD...a truly fitting bon voyage for the great Gary Gygax.

Rest in Peace, Gary.

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