I was traveling when I heard the news that Gary Gygax, the creator (along with Dave Arneson) of roleplaying, is dead. I found myself surprisingly affected. The original Finnish translation of the red box D&D was the game that got me into roleplaying, and I used to joke with a friend that we’d get money together and make a pilgrimage to Lake Geneva, where Gygax lived, to play with the creator of roleplaying before he dies.
Obviously, now its too late.
Gygax’s other contribution to my life, along with roleplaying, was his way of using the English language. All the early D&D and AD&D books written by Gygax himself are quite convoluted and complicated in their use of language, and the vocabulary was very extensive. This tendency to use difficult language continued well into the AD&D Second Edition period, and I learned my English from those books. Thus, I was able to astound my high school English teacher by using words like eldricht and palisade.
I’ll get to work on putting together a little memorial for Gygax in the next issue of Roolipelaaja.