Gary Gygax, the creator of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, died Tuesday morning at his home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Ever wonder why Gen Con was held there?
Gygax designed the original D&D game with partner, Dave Arneson in 1974, and went on to create the Dangerous Journeys and Legendary Adventure RPGs, as well as a number of board games. He also wrote several fantasy novels.
"I don't think I've really grokked it yet," said Mike Mearls, the lead developer of the upcoming 4th edition of Dungeons and Dragons. "He was like the cool uncle that every gamer had. He shaped an entire generation of gamers."
Gygax was not directly involved with Dungeons & Dragons after 1985, and his relationship with his former company, TSR Inc., was not friendly at first. The company sued him over his competing game Dangerous Journeys, and in a 2004 interview with GameSpy he stated that he was "pleased to say" that he thought the cost of the suit and settlement drove TSR to sell the rights to the game to WotC.
While reportedly unimpressed with the current edition of the Dungeons and Dragons game, he created adventures and settings that could be used with it, which were published by Troll Lord Games.
Gygax went well beyond the role of game developer and became an icon to gamers, appearing as himself in episodes of Futurama and Code Monkeys and participating in discussions on roleplaying-related message boards.
Gygax had been in poor health for some time, according to his wife Gail. Chenault says he will publish more information, including funeral arrangements, on the Troll Lord message board as it becomes available. Besides his wife Gygax is survived by six children.