back to article Dungeons and Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax dies

Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax rolled a natural one on his fortitude save today, dying at level 69 at his home in Lake Geneva. Best known for developing D&D with Dave Arneson in 1974, Gygax helped formulate a pen-and-pencil role playing ruleset that would become a touchstone for modern gaming across its genres. As …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Help! Cleric!

    With level 7 abilities to "Ressurect", preferably.

    Well - you'd already taken my immediate thought line of the Natural 1...

  2. Ed

    Shamelessly stolen but in good spirit...

    All D&D geeks everywhere shall observe 1D4 + 1 moments of silence.

  3. Scottie Taylor
    Unhappy

    RIP

    Rest In Peace Gary. You will be missed. Your game has brought joy and happiness to untold numbers and your addictive and entertaining ideas have passed days beyond measure.

  4. Andy Bright
    Thumb Up

    Dungeon Master

    "Gygax also published dozens of fantasy books and short stories, including the Greyhawk series and Gord the Rogue adventures."

    Unfortunately this is true. It's a shame really, because his original ideas for D&D and AD&D were not only great for the pen and paper version of the game, but lent themselves perfectly to computer role playing games.

    The Greyhawk series of scenarios for AD&D where particular favourites of mine - especially the City of Greyhawk set. Which is why I find it so unfortunate that he decided to tarnish this series with what I shall generously call books.

    Never mind, the original work was superb, and in honour of his memory I shall do my best to blot out the decision to pick up one of his books and actually read it. Sort of like a terrible road accident, you know it's going to be bad but sometimes you just can't help but look.

  5. Chad H.
    Thumb Up

    rip

    Thais one saveing throw we're all going to fail one day... RIP.

  6. Anton Ivanov
    Thumb Up

    Walk softly and carry a +6/+6 Two Handed Sword

    May he rest in peace proudly as one of the very few people whose creations will outlive them.

  7. k

    Thanks for D&D

    My friends & I enjoyed many hours of D&D in school clubs and our homes.

    He deserves a lot a credit for the industry he spawned, all the offshoots and eventually the role-playing video game industry.

    RIP.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    You encounter: Clogged Artery!

    Clogged Artery casts Restrict Bloodflow VIII!

    You pass your Fort save!

    You cast Exercise and Healthy Diet on Clogged Artery!

    Clogged Artery suffers 83 damage!

    Surgeon casts Coronary Angioplasty on Clogged Artery!

    Surgeon could not overcome Clogged Artery Spell Resistance!

    Clogged Artery casts Restrict Bloodflow IX!

    You failed your Fort save!

    You suffer 239 damage!

    You are dead.

  9. MTT
    Unhappy

    you open the door and see, just beyond... two small lizard-like folk weeping

    I -I'm ... wait .... yes, I'm readying my wand ... and...

    [stop it, George, or we'll all be killed!!]

    Wha..? Well, why should I..err.. RagNar the mystical ... stop what he's doing?

    [ Scott's right, George. The last time you pulled that thing out, we nearly all burned to death in a bugbear den. Put it away, huh? ]

    Hey now, I don't see any of you doing anything positive! Scott's just flicking cheetos across the room at you...

    [DM: HEY! watch the couch... damn screen I can't see a damned thing!]

    ...while you try to stare at his Mom's gobblers while she's hangin' the laundry. We're going to be eaten by those lizard folk, I know it. I ready my wand.

    [DM: Larry! quit having a look at my mom, pervert. George, you're dead. Wand misfires and you go up in flames. Your horrible screams alert the kobold sentries. Larry and Scott, roll for initiative.]

    Wha-what just happened! I readied my wand this time!!

    [DM: Yeeeah... but, see, I just don't like you. Sorry. Go roll another character, though. After all, the party needs another level one wizard. And grab me a drink while your up, if you want to make level 2 this time.]

    *** ahhh ... I still miss those days... RIP Gary Gygax. Or don't , and go on some kick-ass hell raids against Slaads and tiefling wizard overlords! Just don't forget your dice, brother! ***

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    At Last

    At least people might be able to forget the awful Dungeons and Dragons film now.

  11. Kurt Lundqvist

    Hail to the Chief

    I heard this morning .. I'm really saddened, another icon from my youth gone .. some people get a country mourning for them .. a few get the whole world .. this guy has the flags lowered in worlds without number .. RIP Gary ...

  12. Antony Pearce

    Another life he touched

    Not only can I recall spending hours during my youth playing D&D and AD&D, I can also remember some of my early coding attempts such as different sided dice, character generators, random encounter generators etc.

    I guess all I can say is RIP.

  13. stephen pieraldi
    IT Angle

    Thank you Gary

    Gary,

    It was a chance meeting that gave us friendship. It was you who inspired so much and made us Champions. As one of the 4 Steve's I post this to remind us all how much of a friend, creator, mentor and general DM you were. You leave us, but I'll role my constitution and stand for another day. May the lights guide your path and may your family relish the man you were for the time you spent to give so many a childhood that never ended.

  14. James O'Brien
    Paris Hilton

    So with my +2/+2 Black hat

    and this Coffin of Everfrost plus my stunning good looks and natural ability of Communication this will be the best funeral ever.

    P.S Kudos to whoever gets that reference

    /Paris because she fails ALL of her Fort saves

  15. Paul
    Thumb Up

    Thanks Gary

    Thank you Gary for countless hours of fun over the years and the priceless gift of keeping in touch with my inner child.

  16. Bytus
    Unhappy

    Another great man leaves our shores...

    ...is it me or are we slowly but surely loosing all really creative and inventive people?

    In any case...RIP Gary!

  17. Magnus Egilsson

    R.I.P.

    Maybe a small silence across all game spheres would be appropriate for a person that made it all happen with a simple pencil and paper

  18. TeeCee Gold badge

    @Simon Holt.

    Nah, what we need here is either an MU or a Druid with Reincarnation.....

    <evil chuckle>

  19. Andy Costello
    Thumb Up

    Raise a glass.

    As a lifelong gaming geek it's sad to see ya go fella.

    RIP you imaginative fekker.

  20. Matthew
    Unhappy

    And in related news....

    All nerd-dependent industries (IT, science, electrical engineering) shut down today in a sign of respect.

    RIP Gary.

  21. Jared Earle
    Heart

    4d6, pick the best three.

    I owe a lot to Gygax, in a way. I worked for GW in the 80s and Nightfall and WotC in the 90s. Many of us geeks owe our careers and social skills to Gygax and Arneson's work. Our computer games wouldn't be the same and the cultural influences are wider than you'd at first imagine.

    Amazingly, D&D survived MADD, Pardue, teleporting Unicorns and Jeremy Irons. With this much thrown at it, we should be impressed by Gygax's work's longevity.

    I'll hoist a pint in a tavern tonight and see if there are any fellow adventurers looking for a new party.

  22. Slaine
    Heart

    1d4 + 1 minutes of silence

    Thanks for helping me to free my imagination... RIP, amen.

  23. Chris Bamford
    Heart

    Like many others here

    I played a lot of D&D in my youth with my mates and had a great laugh doing it. RIP Gary, thanks for a great game.

  24. Joe K

    If only i could have been part of it....

    .....but on my council estate childhood i could never find anyone geeky enough to play my fine set of Warlock of Firetop Mountain with me, those pre-internet days were hard for us wary of the sun.

    Remember this Dead Alewives D&D sketch, set to the long forgotten PS2 game Summoner: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Hsb4IcKwgEs&feature=related

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    To Gygax

    I will turn my luck D20 on my desk from a 20 to a 1 out of respect for the passing of a man who has brough so much to my life.

  26. Aitor

    Roll a D20 for him..

    It is a shame that he died.. perhaps due to WOTC's D20 system ?

    Anyway, the world is now a darker place...

    but today I will roll a D20 on his honour.

  27. zappafrank

    Farewell to the King!

    Thanks Gary, to open a whole new world to me and my buddies back then in the eigthies. Filling my weekends with dwarfs, dragons and fire wands. Paving the way for a whole new era of gaming. You made the world a better place...at least for a few hours at the weekends. Farewell...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    RIP Gary Gygax.

    Its a real shame,

    I cant help wondering if he will take the undead template.

    Mines the +5 coat of protection.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Thanks and RIP

    I feel genuinely sad at his passing. I think his influence is still understated. It feels like some part of my childhood died. I doubt I'd be working where I am now if not for his influence on things.

  30. Bruno Girin
    Thumb Up

    Hours of fun

    Thank you Gary for hours of fun!

    RIP

  31. alistair millington
    Thumb Down

    Them were the days

    I think a random number generator was the first thing any coder tries to do for just one reason.

    To work out character stats, I know my entire A level group did back in the day.

    I spent many a saturday night in my teens off the streets in a darkened dungeon or cellar or temple or old castle being hunted by something rather unpleasant because of this man. Kept me sane and off gangs, alcohol, drugs and doing bad things in a hoodie. Or all of the above.

  32. S Watts
    Unhappy

    misspent youth

    I really enjoyed my misspent youth (and not-so-youth) thanks to E. Gary Gygax's legacy, and still play MMORPGs now, though they don't lived up to their tabletop antecedents (but more on that another time...).

    It is a sad day.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sniff

    I will use my +1 hanky to wipe away my tears.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Efros the twice cursed

    RIP Gygax, gave me many late nights toiling with all sorts of unspeakable creations. I still have the paperback rule books along with Greyhawk and Blackmoor kicking about somewhere. My nick is the name of my highest character, a level 12 Evil High Priest with one hand and a nasty disposition. I wonder if I invented Ballmer before Ballmer did?

    Efros

    Mine's the plate armour with fish mail...

  35. John Dow

    Bye, then.

    I think I'll be cracking open the rulebooks and going on a dungeon crawl tonight. It shall be the Gary Gygax Memorial Adventure, and will take place on the 5th of March each year.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    A shame.

    Sad to see such an icon pass.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the horror of reading a preview of 4th Ed finished the job.

    "I owe a lot to Gygax, in a way. I worked for GW in the 80s and Nightfall and WotC in the 90s."

    Long time, no see, Jared :)

    Mike F.

  37. multipharious
    Unhappy

    Basic, Expert, and AD&D

    And as a young kid on Christmas, I ran my Vic-20 out of memory entering attack tables... I scampered out the next day and bought an 8KB memory expander for $85.

    All the sleepless weekends, writing epic campaigns, modules, collecting dice, eating pizza, drinking two liters of coke and throwing candy, snarky comments, passing notes to the DM to make the other players paranoid. Learning that being greedy gets you killed. The tension of saving throws. Rolling to get hold of the pretty red rock just for a little private glance, then rolling to put it back...sometimes forgetting. Nomad's Best Treesap Ale with whole bits of barley still in it. Collecting and painting lead figures. Getting killed because you were annoying the DM. The DM ignoring the fact that you forgot to put the very important piece of rolled up paper with strange scribbles back when it came time for the mage to cast the mega importante spell...since it would have ruined the entire ending...and everyone would have died...and I would have gotten my ass kicked in real life for my impish ways.

    Another world, and it did not need a monitor.

    Thanks Gary! Sad day.

  38. Colin Jackson
    Unhappy

    Cheers Gary

    "Don't flame the dwarf, he's not worth it!"

    For many of us, D&D was our Breakfast Club.

    So long Gary - HP:0.

  39. Matthew Johns
    Boffin

    Roll for surprise!

    Thirty years ago EGG sold me the tools that helped me to where I am today...sitting in a 10'x10' room with some troglodytes trying to get them to understand the problems they face and work out a solution.

    The debt that the world owes him is vast, his legacy is all around us and will continue long after he is forgotten.

  40. Andy Pellew

    Shame ...

    I met my closest friends thanks to Dungeons and Dragons, and I met my wife thanks to the game.

    He may have created a fantasy world, but it's all the people he brought together in the real world that is probably the best tribute anyone could ever want.

  41. Tim Jenkins

    Has anyone checked

    it isn't just paralysis caused by the touch of a ghoul?

    I seem to remember some unfortunate mistakes from my dungeon-crawling days ; )

    In memory of many happy afternoons avoiding rugby, cross-country runs and other 'healthier' pursuits...

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alas...

    He had the wrong DM.

    Get on their good side, and they'd never truly let you die, something suspiciously convenient would turn up at the last minute.

    RIP.

  43. teacake

    "Funeral arrangement are pending"

    Are they trying to find him a portable hole?

    Thank, E. Gary, for a youth spent not caring I was a geek.

  44. bambi
    Unhappy

    Black Box Time

    Another hero progressed beyond the realms of the Black Box rules.

    A sad day for geekdom in general,.

  45. Chris Williams
    Unhappy

    Very sad

    The text adventure that descended directly from D&D was what got me into computers many years ago so I add my voice to the lamenting collected of geekdom.

    R.I.P. Gary

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Tangine Dream: The Bootleg Box Vol. One

    "Despite his ill health, Gygax had still hosted weekly D&D games at his home until this January."

    Part of me wonders about the "despite his ill health" bit, because D&D isn't the most physically taxing pastime. But then again, given the amount of stress involved, and the shouting, and the nature of his illness, perhaps it's entirely appropriate.

  47. John Foo

    Funeral rites

    1D4 backups have been lost due to network congestion provoked by ettercaps

    1D6+2 strange mail have been sent to random users, from random users

    2D8 + 1 users have been disconnected from their session

    1D12 pints will be dropped on ground

    and 1D20 minutes of silence is to be observed

    rest easily mister Gygax, us nerds won't be forgetting you soon

    *wants weeping red dragon icon

  48. simon
    Thumb Up

    Sad to see him go ....

    His work has touched 20 million people, who else can say that ?

  49. Jamie
    Linux

    Ashamed

    I was ashamed to be a geek until I found that other people in my school also liked D&D. Wasted a lot of my youth playing and have not stopped even with time passing.

    I thinnk with this event it is time that THEREGISTER create a Geek Hall of Fame. And in here put the people who helped twist reality to allow geeks to prosper.

  50. Alan Paice
    IT Angle

    I.T angle?

    Nah just kidding.

    R.I.P

  51. Rusty D

    They are all leaving us ...

    Robert Jordon last year, now Gary Gygax this year. I'm just hoping that Terry Pratchet can fight his illness for a good long time. I don't want to be left without any heroes at all :-(

  52. Lol Whibley

    rip Mr Gygax

    i must second all the positive sentiment today. i've spent far too long away from the dice but it still makes me smile when i think back to the hours of dungeon crawling and creation i put in to the invisible-force-walled-maze (now with added random-teleport features!). and the other tricks and traps i had groups think their way through..

    for myself, i'll dig up my old Half-elven bard and go kick a few trog's butts and down an ale or two..

    RIP Mr Gygax, you'll be missed.

  53. John O'Grady
    Unhappy

    Condolences

    I loved the game and got more back in return than I can ever repay.

    Here's your weeping red dragon icon John Foo...

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/03/04

  54. alan
    Thumb Up

    Go and sit in the other room...

    What a great time I had in the mid 80's rolling those fantastic dice and sorting through the AD&D DM and Monsters guidebooks...

    One time the thief decided very early on to split from the rest of the party to grab some treasure and got killed in the process.

    Poor chap had to sit in the front room for about 3 hours solid until a wizard could be 'found' to bring him back from the dead. The party divvied up his newly-found treasure amongst themselves as payment. Lovely.

    RIP Mr Gygax "...in the distance you see a tavern..."

  55. Robbie

    Rest in peace.

    Thank you Gary.

    Imagine beyond Infinity.

  56. Michael Jolly

    D&D my start

    I played D&D with my cousin many years but it was not until 2001 when i met a few like minded work mates we played long in to the night every thursday solidly for several years, I have to thank Mr Gygax for his creation and my he rest in peace,

  57. Craig Barrowman Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    @slaine

    You stole my thoughts... I couldn't have said it better.

    Rest in peace Gary. I hope the next level of life is exciting and fulfilling for you.

  58. MARC FRANCIS
    Stop

    We'll remember you

    I'm still playing with the same fellowship after 10 years.

    Almost all of us are married and some have children but once a month, we are playing our very long campaign. Still in ADD2. Yes. The DM is a conservative and after so long, we know the rules by heart. And who cares about rules version as long as we have fun.

    Thanks a lot Mr Gygax.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    An idea...

    All of you who have stopped Roleplaying, get some friends together and run a session, those of you who never have, get yourself a copy of the Open Game licence rules (Its avalable for free online). Have a go, etc... From what I know of Mr Gygax he would be happy to know his game is still bringing people together to have fun..

  60. Ash

    Appropriate

    http://xkcd.com/391/

  61. Craig Vaughton
    Thumb Up

    Passwall to the other side

    So many enjoyable hours spent, so many good friends made,

    Bourbon the cleric (named after a biscuit, not the drink),

    Mendip the Megalomaniac Monk, where are you now Mick?

    Rudyard the Dwarf, she's still here, it's the wife!

    Thanks Mr Gygax, for the imagination to fire our imaginations.

    RIP

  62. John Boyarsky
    Joke

    He....he...hee..hee

    He died at age 69...

    Cue the requesite giggling from the immature nerdy-geekboys playing D&D right now.

    (Yes I include myself in there somewhere)

  63. Mike Crawshaw
    Unhappy

    Never played D&D

    But played a lot of RPGs inspired by it as a kid, everything from Dragon Warriors to Maelstrom to Paranoia. Still read the GW novels to this day, despite not having the time to play any more.

    RIP Gary, and thanks for inspiring so many.

  64. Danny

    This affects the animal world too

    http://icanhascheezburger.com/2008/03/04/dnd-kitteh-morns-loss-of-gary-gygax/

    RIP GG

  65. Simon Mills
    Pirate

    Fare thee well

    It's twenty years now since I rolled my first d20 and there's been nought but a few months break in my game playing since... RIP Mr Gygax and thanks for all the happy hours of gaming in far off lands where we can all be heroes.

    His Holiness, Lord Kopic "Trollchopper" Bloodaxe, The Immortal Lord of The Sea, Vampire Slaying Bane of All Undead, Peer of Veluna, Wielder of The Flame, Destroyer of Chaos...awaits the day that he will meet Gary Gygax in The Demon Web Pits!

  66. Kevikus Mordren D'lonzo III
    Pirate

    Gary is not dead!

    He's just play-testing the celestrial realms for 4th edition.

  67. Donald Best
    Alert

    Go in Peace and know you will live on in our campaigns

    RIP from one weekender/week long gamer.. tis a sad day indeed...

    My thoughts on free time and opportunities:

    http://xkcd.com/244/

  68. Andy Brown

    Rest In Peace

    I've been playing RPGs now for more than 25 years, starting with the 1st Edition of AD&D back in the early 80s and progressing through a host of other RPG systems.

    Without that start, my life would have been very different. AD&D got me interested in computer games, and led ultimately to me getting a job in programming (yes - my first programs were stat generators for AD&D). I met my wife through people I played RPGs with (she's now also an avid gamer), and I still run a weekly campaign.

    D&D spawned an entire industry. It gave us a simple set of rules that sparked our imaginations and let us go out and explore, taking us away from the humdrum everyday world and into the brighter places of our shared imagination. It taught us many things useful in real life - planning, teamwork, effective use of abilities, research skills - and that a 10-foot pole won't fit into a backpack (unless its a very special bag). It kept us off the streets and out of trouble and gave us geeks something we could truly excel in.

    Without D&D, much of the modern RPG and MMORPG genre just wouldn't exist. That spark led to a whole range of other games covering the entire spectrum of genres. Many players went on to turn their adventures into books and computer games, without which a large part of the PC and console industries would never have taken off the way it has. He was a trailblazer for the many that have followed in his footsteps over the years.

    RIP Mr Gygax, you will be missed.

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I failed my disbelieve roll

    RIP Great Gygaxian and I hope your initiative rolls are always great in the great beyond.

  70. Ben Parkinson
    Happy

    I've never played D&D

    But i now feel i must try it... 28 going on 14!

    :-)

    R.I.P Mr Gygax

  71. Harold D. Cowden II

    Wow. This one hurts...

    I am 42 years old, and began playing AD&D when I was about 14 or 15. Back then, all that was available was the Dungeon Masters guide. 15 bucks in the early 80's. I saved my butt off to buy that thing... still have it. Met Gary several times and got to know him a little at GenCon and I-Con... a great guy who will be sorely missed. Feels like a part of my childhood just died with him... RIP Gary, you will be missed, but never forgotten. You were a big part of a lot of lives.

  72. Wil Risenhoover
    Unhappy

    Thank you, Mr. Gygax

    We will miss you.

    RIP...until your next adventure.

  73. Jsmoran
    Thumb Up

    He has reached Epic Level

    Or, better, he passed from 36th level into the Planes of the Immortal.

    Our hats (and helmets) off to Sir Gygax.

    - John Sebastian Moran, jr.

    Earl of Corran Keep

    Kingdom of Ierendi's National Hero

    Captain of the Royal Guards of Ierendi

    Member of DDC for Darokin Embassy in Ierendi

  74. Echowitch

    Thanks Gary

    Gary Gygax and those who followed in his wake have brought pleasure to millions, and affected those same lives in unexpected ways.

    As I see it, if I hadn't started playing D&D at School/College, then I'd never have progressed on to playing an online anime rpg and thus would not have met my wife and us currently have a beautiful little boy.

    Thanks Gary =)

  75. tommy enryd

    Your voice will be heard tonight!

    It's been a while since I played the Pen & paper version Dungeons & Dragons. Until I take it up again (which I'm sure I will) I will settle for the second best - Dungeons & Dragons Online. In this game there is a quest, Delera's Tomb, where the voice of the Dungeon Master belongs to Gary Gygax himself!

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A little magic lasts forever.

    One day after spending the day fighting at an SCA tournament, as I took off my armor, my little boy came running up to tell me about this really cool game one of the 12 year old big kids had taught him and his friends. It was called "D&D" and he jabbered on and on about it all evening and all the way home three hours in the van the next day. When we got in the house I went to my book shelf and took down three books. I handed him my copies of the dungeon masters guide, the players hand book, and my monster manual. I became the coolest dad in the world right at that moment. Someday I hope he hands those books to my grandson.

    Thank you Mr. Gygax. You helped us all open the door and walk down those dark steps into that uncomfortable space known as a dungeon.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thanks and RIP

    He spawned a genre, providing humour and entertainment to so many. With a huge grin, I still recall forcing ILREK the Glutunous Dwarf to consult the Potion Miscibility Table (you can look up for yourself in the DMG what the 00 did). ILREK, buy Gary a drink for me.

    CAERBANNOG

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