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Black Gate 4

He Will Be Missed

Some people light a candle or two in the house of imagination; Gary Gygax fired an immense bonfire, and one which has sparked countless other fires as well.

I know I'm not the only one who called up old gamer friends yesterday to mourn the passing of an age. Even if you haven't played the game in a dog's age, or a couple of dog's ages, if you've gamed, you've been influenced by Gygax. And I don't mean just pencil and paper gaming -- the mindset behind D&D permeated electronic fantasy games and the newer online worlds. I haven't used D&D mechanics for years (mostly because I, as the game master, can't keep all those numbers and charts straight) -- but D&D was the first role-playing game I ever played. Like countless others, if I hadn't played THAT one, and if it had never existed, I would never have played the others. Countless hours of entertainment and inspiration can be traced back to the game Gygax helped create.

Lest we forget, Gygax also introduced gamers  to fantasy literature. Those of you who had that first hardback Dungeon Master's Guide may well remember the suggested reading list, mentioning such names as Howard and Leiber and Moorcock and Vance and so on. I remember heading to the library with that list. Gygax led me to Fritz Leiber's Swords Against Death, which has remained one of my all-time favorite fantasy collections. I was talking with Black Gate's Ryan Harvey just last night, and he told me that list had introduced him to one of his very favorite writers, Clark Ashton Smith.

I never had the opportunity to meet the man, but his friends and family are in my thoughts. E. Gary Gygax  was an opener of the ways. He will be missed.

An especially thoughtful remembrance can be found here at the Paizo blog.

Howard Andrew Jones


Lest we forget, Gygax also introduced gamers to fantasy literature. Those of you who had that first hardback Dungeon Master's Guide may well remember the suggested reading list...

-->There was one in the Player's Handbook as well, and in the older, paperback booklets of the early editions of the game. My bookshelves are full of things I never would have read if not for those lists.


Gygax was a social networker of the strange extraordinaire.

Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, Against the Giants, Tomb of Horrors. The classic list goes ever on.



Social networker of the strange extraordinaire.

That's a great line.

His game writing had a wonderful, unembarrassed exuberance to it. Even if you disagreed with something, he made you want to grab your dice and play.

--Chris Willrich
I'd forgotten about the reading list! I used that to find some stuff, too. :)
I, too, started out down that fateful and thrilling road (in 1975 and still in high school) that Gary and Dave blazed with mystical markers.
I've been collecting some additional related links here and have included a link to your's, Howard.
Yes, the suggested reading pages hooked me up with a lot of stuff that I might not have otherwise read, at least at an early age.

Here's my tribute to Gygax (lots of graphics)



Gary Gygax

I picked up 'Men and Magic' in 1977, aged 11, and ... well, it was like coming home, being able to scratch that itch that Lord of the Rings had given me. Thanks Gary.


The late, great E. Gary Gygax

What can we say about the passing of the man who was, in truth, the father of us all? As a gamer, and as a poet and author, I feel his loss more keenly than I can articulate in these feeble lines. What J. R. R. Tolkien sparked in me as a youth with the revelation of his beloved Middle Earth, E. Gary Gygax stoked and fanned into a roaring flame with the genius of Greyhawk as the platform for what is still the ultimate RPG experience of all time, Dungeons and Dragons. It still moves me to dream, to write, and to release my inner adventurer, now some two or three decades down that winding, dusty road where I first raised a +3 broadsword, first stepped with trepidation into a catacomb, first did in a red dragon and married the king's only daughter. I don't think we will ever truly know how much we are beholden to that gentle fellow from Wisconsin and his creativity and inventiveness that still entertains and inspires us to this day. Rest in Peace, Brother Gary, and thank you!


The late, great E. Gary Gygax, Part II

Please feel free to respond to my remembrance of our friend and mentor, that giant in the world of fantasy gaming and literature whose passing marks the end of an era, but most definitely not the end of the genre that owes him a debt it can never repay. Let us, then, carry on, and honor his memory by reading, by writing, and by taking up our player character sheets and hacking up as many monsters as we can and taking their stuff! Huzzah!

D. W. McMillen


Re: The late, great E. Gary Gygax, Part II


Thank-you for the kind thoughts and words regarding my deceased friend and mentor, E. Gary Gygax. I first met Gary via email correspondence in 2005, sending him a proposal for a project he was seeking freelance talent for. I worked for him on 4 such projects over the next year or so, and then in early 2007 he invited me to be his co-author of the Castle Zagyg project, soon to be published by Troll Lord Games. I came to know Gary pretty well during the few years we worked together, as we were in contact almost every day. He was a patient and instructional mentor who was generous and modest about what he'd accomplished -- creating an invaluable source of entertainment that would spawn derivatives enjoyed by millions all the worls over.

At this past Gen Con, I got to see Gary interact with his many fans, and he smiled and listened to all their stories, signed autographs, and took pictures for hours on end, never ceasing to be flattered by the kind words and wishes expressed by all those fans. He was a big influence in my life, and I'll never forget the opportunities he afforded me, nor the generosity.

Thanks for recognizing him.

Jeff Talanian
ghul at comcast dot net