Gary Gygax

From Academic Kids

Ernest Gary Gygax (born July 27 1938) is best known for co-writing, with Dave Arneson, and co-publishing, with Don Kaye, the well known role-playing game: Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). He is also the author of the Gord the Rogue series.

Gygax and Jeff Perren wrote Chainmail, a miniature wargame from which D&D was developed, in the late 1960s. Gygax and Kaye founded publishing company Tactical Studies Rules (TSR) and published the first version of D&D in 1974. Gygax wrote a new version of D&D, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, which was published in 1977-9. For the spell systems in D&D, Gygax was inspired by Robert E. Howard, L. Sprague de Camp, Fritz Leiber and Jack Vance.

Gygax left TSR in the 1980s during changes in TSR's management. As of 2003, Gygax continues to take an active role in D&D, and writes a section in Dragon Magazine.

Another of his creations was DragonChess, a three-dimensional fantasy chess variant, published in Dragon Magazine #100 (August 1985). It is played on three 8x12 boards stacked on top of each other - the top board represents the sky, the middle is the ground, and the bottom is the underworld. The pieces are characters and monsters inspired by the Dungeons and Dragons setting: King, Mage, Paladin, Cleric, Dragon, Griffin, Oliphant, Hero, Thief, Elemental, Basilisk, Unicorn, Dwarf, Sylph and Warrior.

After leaving TSR Gygax created Dangerous Journeys, an advanced RPG spanning multiple genres. He began work in 1995 on a major new RPG, originally intended for a computer game, but in 1999 released as Lejendary Adventure which some consider to be his best work to date. A key part of its design was to keep the gaming rules as simple as possible, as Gygax felt that RPGs were becoming too complex and discouraged new users.

Gygax's latest project is Gygaxian World Builders (http://www.trolllord.com/gygax.htm). He is now in semi-retirement, having suffered from a mild stroke on May 4 2004.

Gary Gygax appeared on a Futurama episode, "Anthology of Interest 1" (aired in 2000), during which he rolled dice to decide on what greeting to give when introduced to Fry. Later, he gives his "+1 mace" to Fry to fight off the robots of the future. The episode ends with Gary dungeon mastering a D&D game with Fry and the Action Rangers.

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