5 March 2008

In Memoriam

Gary Gygax, author and co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, has died, age 69. I find it difficult to put into words what exactly D&D has meant to me and to the whole world. D&D was the first ever roleplaying game. It was more than a game. It created a phenomenon which evolved into a whole new form of entertainment, even an art form, a way for anyone to enjoy their creativity in the company of good friends.

Sure, roleplaying games have come a long way since the days of the original D&D. Games today, at least for me and most of my friends, are primarily about stories and characters, while the original D&D was a fairly straightforward tactical fighting game. Yet, without that first step we would never have had this wonderful medium to use for our stories.

D&D wasn't the first RPG I had. The first rules set I bought was MERP, me being (possibly) an even bigger Tolkien nut back in my early teens than I am now. However, I never played MERP a whole lot. One of the first longer campaigns I ran was a Dragonlance game run with the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rules. I have no interest in the current incarnation of D&D, though. Other rules are better suited to the games I run now. When I return to D&D these days, it's for the nostalgic feel of good old-fashioned dungeon crawling, not for piles of expensive books filled with details and cumbersome rules I don't need.

I've been wanting to try running a game with the original 70's D&D rules, but I haven't gotten around to it so far. Maybe this loss will inspire me to explore the roots of one of my dearest hobbies.

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