Gary Gygax

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"Hello Fry, it's a ... (stops mid-sentence, throws two ten-sided dice) pleasure to meet you."

Gary Gygax (voicing himself), Futurama

Ah, good old Ernest Gary Gygax. Where would we be without thee? Probably somewhere else, given the sheer different forms of media (and with them, a very large number of tropes) that originated from his work.

Back in the day, there were no Role Playing Games. None. Only tabletop war games. Gygax didn't like that at all, so he asked his friend Dave Arneson to make one. Arneson rewrote all of the rules to Chainmail, a system that Gygax and the local shop owner Jeff Perren had developed, to create Blackmoor, the first tabletop RPG. Gygax then, along with Arneson, worked to expand this from a simple add-on to Chainmail to its own system entirely. And thus, Dungeons and Dragons was born.

TSR Inc. flourished off of the game, leading to multiple game modules, many many many many alternate universes, and eventually even a cartoon adaptation. However, eventually TSR fell under new management, causing him to leave the company. He continued to work on new tabletop RPGs and write novels afterwards, and remained affiliated with his original creation all his life. In March 2008, Gygax died at the age of 69.

Gygax is considered to be one of three things:

  1. The god of gaming made flesh.
  2. A genius who is effectively the father of modern role playing.
  3. A sadistic and crazy man who liked watching people squirm.

Contrary to decades of gamer oral tradition, his last name is actually pronounced "Gee-gax" (with a hard "G").

Media in which Gygax appears in some form or another include:

Tabletop Games

  • Gary Gygax has been referenced in many Dungeons and Dragons products, with many things named after him as an homage.
    • The Bonus Boss of Baldur's Gate 2 is named Kangaxx.
    • The ring of Gaxx, a recurring artifact.
    • Zagyg, the god of Humor, Ocultism and unpredictability, was named after him.
    • The city of Gryrax in Greyhawk is named for him.

Video Games

Web Comics

Western Animation

Real Life

  • A strain of bacteria was named in honor of Gygax, "Arthronema gygaxiana sp nov UTCC393".