Dungeon Master Gary Gygax dies at 69

Co-Inventor of Role Playing Game Dungeons and Dragons goes on to his next adventure


Gary Gygax, Co-Inventor of the (arguably first ever) role playing game Dungeons & Dragons died of unspecified causes Tuesday, at his home in Wisconsin. He was 69.

The inventor and rulebook author of multiple games, Gygax began in the game industry in 1972, after co-writing a book of rules titled: Chainmail: Rules for Medieval Miniatures. This book, which he wrote with Jeff Perren, went into multiple editions and inspired Gygax’s 1973 turn to publishing. The directly titled company Tactical Studies Rules, which he began with Donald Kaye, was a game publishing company which, in the early part of 1974, would unveil the first D&D game.

While they are always attached to the hero’s quest, Gygax’s games were not uniformly fantastical. An avid fan of pulp and fantasy, Gygax lists Hugo and Nebula Award winner Jack Vance as the most prominent inspiration for his work. In an interview with the website Gamespy, Gygax listed “Robert E. Howard, L. Sprague DeCamp, and Fritz Leiber” as other central influences. While many fans who share a love of D&D also share a love for Lord of the Rings, the two mythologies are mutually exclusive. Gygax says, “The magic system is based on Vance’s work.” Complimentary as he was of LOTR films, Gygax charmingly quipped, “I still don’t give hoot about Hobbits.”

As D&D grew in popularity, filling an increasing number of the country’s kitchens, garages and basements with clutches of dice rolling players, the game’s appearance in the media grew as well. D&D had a moment of infamy in the late 80’s when it was blamed for the suicides of a small number of teens. Sites can still be found indicting the game as a feeding program for witchcraft, but Gygax ritually stated that such was untrue, and while apologetic to the surviving families, he contended “games have nothing to do with real life.” He told Gamespy, “There are no real dragons, there’s no real magic, no real magic swords, and certainly no real treasure … or I would have retired at home by now.”

Gygax invented and published many games, multiple versions of D&D, Castles and Crusades, and Legendary Adventures, and also produced the D&D cartoon series. The Canadian Broadcasting Center noted though Gygax health was in decline he hosted weekly games of D&D in his home even through January. Ever the Dungeon Master, Gygax has begun his next great adventure.

Canadian Broadcasting Center

UK Gamespy Interview with Gary Gygax

Den of Geek

Tag Cloud

Anna Paquin Esquire Amazon Prime YA Hallmark Oscars kids unscripted dc Rom-Com 24 frames Sundance Now Writers Guild of America X-Men SDCC Countdown Country romance discovery Mary Tyler Moore video toy story See It Skip It Arrowverse DC streaming service composers Star Wars The Arrangement Trivia facebook GoT PBS Cartoon Network Food Network blaxploitation Infographic Western psycho TV CW Seed CMT Warner Bros. zombies First Look zero dark thirty Superheroe PaleyFest TruTV Marvel Acorn TV Disney streaming service HBO cops police drama cars Winter TV boxoffice Winners Rock richard e. Grant golden globes zombie Tarantino LGBTQ Netflix Christmas movies serial killer NYCC natural history sag awards 2020 Mystery FX series Emmys Peacock cancelled television Walt Disney Pictures Lucasfilm National Geographic Pride Month 2017 TCA sitcom Red Carpet comic Bravo CBS social media comiccon President APB Hallmark Christmas movies hispanic TV Land TV renewals WarnerMedia Stephen King spain Fantasy Sci-Fi Thanksgiving anime 2019 psychological thriller Emmy Nominations Best and Worst Amazon Photos cults vampires Drama Paramount Network justice league Apple 2018 Epix docudrama Valentine's Day canceled name the review E3 Adult Swim Schedule ghosts Amazon Prime Video theme song crime cancelled TV shows Kids & Family Christmas IFC Song of Ice and Fire Animation Character Guide technology Disney+ Disney Plus Cosplay Marvel Television tv talk game of thrones spanish language Tumblr dragons indie Awards Tour VICE Dark Horse Comics Year in Review medical drama 2015 Sundance slashers BBC America Nominations doctor who dceu stand-up comedy Election The CW politics game show GLAAD Holidays south america Pirates E! book Nickelodeon DGA finale Martial Arts A&E Spectrum Originals Rocky SundanceTV Pop FXX LGBT screen actors guild Elton John New York Comic Con YouTube Premium romantic comedy HBO Max Paramount YouTube Premiere Dates screenings cats OWN mockumentary TNT Ovation Binge Guide spider-man TCA 2017 Starz Vudu Mudbound foreign Rocketman Avengers true crime Nat Geo talk show 21st Century Fox Reality Competition science fiction Superheroes Polls and Games TCM Comic Book SXSW TLC Certified Fresh Apple TV Plus Crackle Spike based on movie ABC Family teaser period drama festivals Chilling Adventures of Sabrina YouTube Red Horror Family USA CBS All Access Opinion Awards Television Academy political drama christmas movies Disney Plus RT History American Society of Cinematographers Fall TV renewed TV shows witnail television Marathons Brie Larson Toys History versus jamie lee curtis what to watch Universal Comics on TV USA Network Disney Channel halloween historical drama nature IFC Films CNN diversity 007 VH1 quibi Comedy strong female leads Mindy Kaling FOX disaster Shudder Ghostbusters revenge Fox News rotten movies we love DirecTV crossover BBC Masterpiece Cannes elevated horror hist Syfy Trophy Talk harry potter aliens Musical AMC GIFs sequel Reality latino biography Interview Ellie Kemper Super Bowl spinoff Columbia Pictures anthology streaming 2016 cooking Netflix singing competition San Diego Comic-Con thriller Captain marvel Teen DC Universe Shondaland spy thriller Lifetime Endgame WGN A24 Chernobyl Video Games Star Trek cartoon cinemax MTV canceled TV shows Film Festival Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt crime drama miniseries Hulu Lionsgate DC Comics children's TV movies BET Set visit Marvel Studios Biopics The Witch Watching Series Music breaking bad 45 war Turner El Rey blockbuster Turner Classic Movies 71st Emmy Awards werewolf Box Office Showtime 20th Century Fox Sneak Peek animated Quiz joker Lifetime Christmas movies green book Tomatazos Action Logo Holiday Britbox Classic Film Trailer Creative Arts Emmys transformers Musicals Podcast Comedy Central Mary poppins batman space comics Spring TV Black Mirror Mary Poppins Returns ITV crime thriller Film adventure Crunchyroll independent Disney First Reviews award winner Heroines dramedy travel Apple TV+ robots Extras binge The Walking Dead cancelled TV series ratings The Purge supernatural Grammys Sony Pictures MSNBC cancelled TIFF mutant MCU Calendar sports adaptation ESPN free movies RT21 casting TBS NBC Freeform Pet Sematary ABC Women's History Month Pixar Summer