Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Regarding Gary

Yesterday, we found out Gary Gygax has left the mortal plane--sailed into the West--and I think we've all had some time to collect our thoughts.

For me, this is a man who was the All-Father of the hobby I loved. His DMG advice reads like a letter from an old friend, and indeed, I wouldn't have many of the friends I count today if not for his wonderful, wonderful hobby.

Nearly every major and minor news outlet, it seems, noted his passing--from CNN to to Yahoo to the Guardian, and everyone in between. Those interested in just sharing memories and talking about Gary with other fans can do so over at the Troll Lords forum (where the news broke; they are as of now allowing guests to post) and The RPG Site.

Myself? I feel like I've lost a family member. I had corresponded with Gary in the years before his death, and he was always courteous, gracious, engaging, insightful, and a gentleman. He took solace and comfort in his faith, and seemed comfortable with his place in the world. I was able to meet him in person last year finally, at Gen Con Indy, and had one of my most favorite photos of all time taken:

Now, folks will respond to this in many different ways. Some duly grieve, some make jokes (somehow I think Gary'd approve), some offer their tributes (btw, check out today's Order of the Stick), and others are still processing it all. For my part, our gaming group will be leaving an extra chair out at this week's session, in memoriam.

But I think Jeff Rients has it right--we need to keep the flame burning. Roll those dice, kick some orc butt, explore deep dungeons, and grab swag like there's no tomorrow. Take what time we need to get there, and certainly its ok to be sad--I know I cried off and on most of yesterday--but Gary loved talking with gamers, loved running games, loved writing for his games. This was a life well-lived, and we should honor that by ensuring ours are filled with as much joy, camaraderie, and passion as we can. And my players had better be ready for an awesome dungeon crawl this week, you can bet on that.

Finally, I think Treebore said it best, over at the Troll Lords forum:

I didn't know he had 6 kids. I thought he had millions.

R.I.P., Gary. And I'll be seeing you again some day. Hope you've got a spot at your table. :)

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