Gary Gygax

Today is the Texas Primary and Caucus. I’m told it’s important, but in all honesty it means less than a shit to me. Why? Well, for one I hate politicians. Two, Gary Gygax died today.

If you read the blog of any horror writer this week–hell, any writer–odds are you will see mention of Gary’s passing. See, Gary Gygax created Dungeons and Dragons. This man spent his college years creating a brand new form of entertainment. In essence, he turned a backyard game of fantasy into a creative wellspring for creative types everywhere.
Maybe that sounds ridiculous. It looks a little ridiculous to me, and I just wrote it. If I’m being honest, however, I have to admit that the first real story I ever wrote was a Dungeons and Dragons adventure I took my friends on when I was eleven years old. Well, really it was just my friend George, who I let role play eight characters because we didn’t have anybody else in our gaming group.

See, when I was eight, I played D&D for the first time. A gaming group whose ages ranged between my eight and the dungeon master’s sixteen enlisted me because they needed somebody to play a monk. A week later, I begged my mother to drive me to Children’s Palace in Florence, Kentucky so I could buy a Player’s Handbook. At sixteen dollars, the book was a bit expensive for my third grade pocket, but I just had to know what my bardiche-wielding monk would be capable of in the future.

Long story short, an obsession was born.

These days, I play Dungeons and Dragons every Friday night with my friends. Everything else gets put on hold so I can go spend some quality time with my buddies, hacking and slashing and role playing our way through adventure after adventure. I made my first real friends in Texas because of Dungeons and Dragons. My best friend George became such a good friend because of Dungeons and Dragons. Damn-near every writer I’ve ever met has played Dungeons and Dragons.

Thank you, Gary Gygax. Come Friday, I’ll roll a d20 for you.