Gary Gygax died yesterday. I know most people don’t know, or care much, who he was. But it’s frightening for me to realize just how much of a difference he’s made in my life; someone I never even met. (Kevin did, though. Meet him, I mean. At a children’s fair, when he was about nine.) Now, admittedly, I never did much Role-playing in high school… my redneck town didn’t approve of ‘Satan’s Toys’ like AD&D or science fiction, or free thought, or reading, or being smart… (yes, I’m cynical, but I lived in the freaking buckle of the bible belt and got beaten with it rather frequently, so, you know, I’m bitter.) But when I got to college, it started to be a big thing of mine.
I met my best friend, Liz, through a class we had together: Introduction to Mythology. But I wouldn’t ever have talked to her if she hadn’t been reading a fantasy novel during breakfast one morning and I just sat down next to her and started being a pest. I didn’t start reading fantasy novels until after I read The Dragonlance Chronicles when I was 12. The Dragonlance Chronicles were released by TSR (Gygax’s company) as part of a novel and gaming supplement set. Even then, we might not have gotten to be close, except we started gaming together after that.
Through gaming, I got into the Sciffy club (Science Fiction and Fantasy Fan Club). From Sciffy… I met Kevin. I met Matt. I met Jeff. I met Greg. (of course, it’s not all good. I met my ex-husband through gaming. And my ex-boyfriend. But hey, we can’t all have ups, right?) I knew Colleen from other classes, but we mostly stayed friends because of gaming, and through her, I met all her boyfriends, including Jeremy, and then, through Jeremy, I met Elizabeth, who’s now one of my best friends.
I play World of Warcraft…. now if there’s anyone out there who thinks that Gary Gygax and his gaming system didn’t have a huge impact on MMORPGs, please raise your hand so I can shoot you. Through Warcraft, I’ve met a lot of incredibly wonderful people, many of whom have been supportive of me through bouts of depression.
Gary Gygax changed my life. And I’m very, very sorry to see him go.