I know, I know. My loyal readership (all one of you) certainly expect today’s entry to be about how the March 4th primary went, or how The Huckster finally bowed out of the race (graceful, thy name is Huckabee) . Or perhaps you expected me to discuss the fact that Hillary Clinton finally broke Obama’s string of 11 straight victories.
WELL YOU’RE WRONG
Geeks, nerds, dweebs everywhere today mourn the passing of their patron saint, Gary Gygax. In 1974, Gygax created the early 80’s rage, and whipping boy of the religiously intolerant, Dungeons and Dragons. I still remember my parents telling me that D&D was of the devil, and that I shouldn’t play it. Sadly, their warnings were lost on a child who they had been reading The Hobbit to since before he could walk. Halflings, wizards, swords, and yes, even fire demons (i.e. the Balrog), were imprinted on my DNA. As well try to hold back the rushing waters of the mighty Snake River as keep me from saving up $10.99 for my first “Dungeons & Dragons Basic” box set, complete with twenty sided dice. I still remember the red cover and picture of a hero, chain mail and shield a flurry, facing down a mighty red dragon. That humble box set led to hours upon hours of free imagination and fun. Here, to the best of my recollection, is a list of the roleplaying games I have played, all of which owe something to Mr. Gygax.
- Dungeons & Dragons Basic (Played mostly behind my parents’ back… I was such a rebel at 10).
- Free-form roleplaying with Vincent Baker. (Sadly came to an end when Vince moved away when I was 14).
- MERP/Rolemaster – Ah, memories of Dave Butler and the Ferrer Middle School library (where us geeks/nerds/dweebs ran to hide when the local bullies came a’ callin).
- Call of Cthulhu (perhaps there was something to my parents’ fear of demons in roleplaying after all…).
- Rune Quest – a reimagined Europe, very cool.
- Mech Warrior – a roleplaying add-on to one of my favorite board games of all time, Battle Tech. (One of my best attempts at GMing was with this game).
- Advanced Dungeons& Dragon, 2nd Edition. I basically lived at Jared Bachelor’s house for 2 years, and most of that time was spent playing AD&D.
- Vampire, The Masquerade – dark, very dark. (See Chtulhu comment).
- Champions – A super hero game in which I had an interesting tendency to always create a super secret agent character… ohh, pop psychology moment! Someone figure me out and email me asap!
- Amber – Based on the brilliant, and probably LSD inspired, works of Roger Zelazney, this was a significant move away from the traditional dice based roleplaying games inspired by Mr. Gygax, may he rest in peace.
- AD&D 3rd Edition
- Dogs in the Vineyard – I’m reunited (in a very round about way) with my old roleplaying buddy Vincent! Vince reimagined the Mormon western settlement and combined it with interesting, story driven gaming mechanics.
- Various “indie” roleplaying games: My Life with Master, Polaris, and In a Wicked Age (another Vincent game).
Ah, memories. All due to the creativity of one man… well, ok, not really. But still, Gygax got things “role”ing in a way no one else had before. So, for all those who have a dice collection that includes more 20 sided dice than 6 sided dice, who collect lead miniatures, who list on their home owner’s insurance “1st Edition Dungeons & Dragons players manual (3),” and who have shed tears over a made savings throw, thank you Mr. Gygax, thank you.