Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Game Over for Gary Gygax, Father of RPG

Milwaukee -- Legions of devoted Dungeons & Dragons fans will roll black d20s tonight to pay their respects to Gary Gygax, co-creator of the hit fantasy game known for its oddly shaped dice.

Gygax, touted as the father of computer role-playing games, hit "game over" due to ill health on Tuesday at his home in Lake Geneva. He was 69.

Best known for developing D&D with Dave Arneson in 1974, Gygax helped formulate a pen-and-pencil role playing ruleset that would become a touchstone for modern gaming across its genres.

Players create fictional characters and carry out their adventures with the help of complicated rules. There was no game board in this interactive, imaginative adventure: just paper, pen, the dungeon master's rule book and a set of multisided dice.

An estimated 20 million people have played D&D since its inception, and many tabletop games, fantasy books and video games owe much of their inspiration to the sword and sorcery platform.

D&D spawned a booming industry and has inspired a generation of writers, video game designers and filmmakers.

Despite his failing health, Gygax continued to host weekly games of Dungeons & Dragons at his home, which is almost always filled with devoted fans.

Gygax also wrote dozens of fantasy books, including the Greyhawk series of adventure novels.

Besides his wife, Gail, Gygax is survived by six children.

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