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A tribute to E. Gary Gygax

I've been meaning to do a lengthy post on Gygax and what gaming has brought to my life. I've been muchly inspired by the post they put up at Black Gate.

I really liked this quote from John O'Neill, so I'm reproducing it here:



"For myself, I learned a great deal at the gaming table, and it has served me extraordinarily well. I'd been a Dungeon Master for over a dozen years by the time I entered the workforce, which meant that I had copious experience bringing people together around a table, gently guiding an argumentative team to the conclusion I wanted, running meetings and giving presentations with virtually no advance warning, and looking poised and in control when dealing with wildly unexpected situations.

"Years later, sitting in Dave Kenzer's office at Motorola as we worked together on a complex investment scheme, I put my feet on his desk and confided, "You know, I've negotiated to buy companies for a quarter of a billion dollars. I've started a few companies, and been on the Board of Directors of more. I've managed teams of salesmen. I studied English in Canada, and got a Ph.D. in Engineering in Illinois. And none of that — none of it — has prepared me for this job as much as being a Dungeon Master."

"That's the first thing you've said about this deal that's made complete sense," said Dave.


Today's the day for my own tribute. But beware.





At the start, it didn't seem like much





(At least, for those of us old enough to remember the start)





Back before fangirls existed anywhere but our imagination





(for good and bad)





We all got into it for various reaons







Because our friends introduced us to this wonderful world




Or we wanted to escape this one, at least for a couple hours





And let he who never bought a game because of the hot chick on the cover cast the first stone





And yes, times and technology have changed





But we're still doing cool stuff in our imagination that probably wouldn't work out in real life







Yeah, we're the butt of jokes that are often all too true




But as the A-Team taught us, you gotta love it when a plan comes together




And there's the Philip K. Dick style question of whether an imaginary memory of an awesome triumph is any less pleasing than the memory of a real one





RPGs taught us so many lessons




Even if the DMs weren't always the greatest







Or the players had different goals for the party








We learned that life didn't always end up like the cover art








And that what sometimes seemed like an awesome idea





Didn't always turn out





But when you had a great GM







And some players who wanted real roles







You tasted at least one form of alchemy that works in the real world





In other words, fun





With a 100% chance of at least one conversation about boobs








And plenty of laughs





We put a little of ourselves into our characters






Made ourselves better, stronger, faster, and way more badass




Without harming the real world





We put up with different personality types






We stole paid homage to source material great




And questionable




(And I daresay improved on a few)





Making it our own






Dealt with people who always wanted to play hot-assed ninjas





Or booty-seeking pirates





Or even bards









Or those who'd eat ninjas and pirates for breakfast while they smacked around a bard





A little diversity helps a party, after all. Or not.





Sometimes what came out on the tabletop was rather, errr, revealing







Made me wonder, sometimes




But we rolled with it, because there were advantages





We took on noble (and dangerous) creeds






In service of nobles or scoundrels, depending on the paycheck




Dealt with rules lawyers





Backed them up





Or told them to shut the hell up and let us enjoy the experience






Or not




We created unique characters





Because by the Power of Greyskull, even if it doesn't exist, it oughta





Dressed them up in cool costumes.














Well, mostly.








(Of course, there's some outfits you just can't hope to beat)





Don't forget armor!.





Or something we called armor.







But I'd always welcome out-of-the-box thinking, like dispensing with both.





An awesome enough PC doesn't even need a name.






Because, in the end, it's just a game -- or it had better be.





We faced strange adversaries





Bizzare encounters





(frequently with Ninjas)





And learned that the difference between "ridiculous" and "too cool for words" was all in your attitude.





I think the real world could use a little more of that attitude.





On second thought.




But then on the third hand




Oh, now I'm lost in my imagination again, am I at the end or the beginning?





So off we'd go with our players and companions




Allied NPCs who were sometimes even cooler than we were





Into those strange new worlds





We'd unfurl our banners





Take weird or impractical weapon in hand





And go explore an impossibility (or at least an improbability)





Where a failure could often be more exciting than a success





And you'd meet people and things you'd never get a chance to see in real life, and probably wouldn't want to







Sometimes we'd fight




Sometimes we'd run





We'd change things wherever we went





And eat enough junk food to choke a unicorn.





But we usually made it to the end. Sometimes we'd even be shocked.





Even if the GM's description left a little to be desired.





We'd invent way cool stuff






Newbies would learn a few hard lessons





But we'd teach them how the world worked (or how to work the world)











Just when and how to deal with a trap







And more importantly, to expect a trap exactly because it doesn't look like a trap






Improvise your way to victory





By exploiting your opponents' weakness, be it obvious or no





With creative use of the carefully chosen abilities











I said, CAREFUL






We'd accept slightly weird outcomes





Or definitions of a reward





As long as it kept to your character's alignment





We'd cheer on great bits of roleplaying





And laugh in the face of failure.





And fall on the floor and hyperventilate over a truly epic failure




And learn to roll with the punches






Because after midnight you never know what a tired DM might come up with









We assimilated a little bit of our characters, sometimes even took bits of them into the real world















Some of us even ended up with people we met gaming





And saw life in RPG terms. Maybe for the better.





'

















Some might benefit by working a few things out on tabletop where they wouldn't bother the rest of us.





We sometimes wish we had some of the skills our characters do





Or their balls





But even if we don't let out a battle cry and draw sword, we're at least suspicious of stuff that looks or sounds too good to be true







And we're good at forming our own ideas and philosophies, thank you very much





We make sure we've got the right tools and a plan before sitting down to an important task





And have definitions of beauty and possibility that don't come out of a glossy magazine









It all comes down to you and your friends having a good time, not hurting anyone but a few bags of Cheetos.





For all we've learned, for all we've laughed, for all we've won and lost and become.







Thanks, Gary.


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Comments

( 106 comments — Leave a comment )
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ericcoleman
Mar. 8th, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
Being a freak about Everest, I have stolen the pic with the Edmund Hillary stats
geekgrrl_ca
Mar. 15th, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC)
You can find the original on userfriendly.org
(no subject) - repton_infinity - Mar. 26th, 2008 09:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Dec. 8th, 2008 11:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eeknight - Dec. 9th, 2008 12:06 am (UTC) - Expand
liamstliam
Mar. 8th, 2008 10:14 pm (UTC)
OMFGWTFBBQ

My wife and I read this and laughed our butts off together.

Thank you.
eeknight
Mar. 8th, 2008 10:15 pm (UTC)
Glad you like it!
(Deleted comment)
eeknight
Mar. 8th, 2008 10:32 pm (UTC)
No, pleased as anything.
(Deleted comment)
eeknight
Mar. 9th, 2008 12:47 am (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed yourself.
canadiandiamond
Mar. 8th, 2008 11:11 pm (UTC)
This was really great, I'll definitely be linking to it as well if that's alright. Makes me wish I had more people around for some tabletop action now.
eeknight
Mar. 8th, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I could go for a good dungeon crawl myself.
wiredwizard
Mar. 8th, 2008 11:25 pm (UTC)
Ok, that was fantastic! Thanks! (and thanks to onetimeoffer for IM'ing me the link!
eeknight
Mar. 9th, 2008 12:47 am (UTC)
I'm glad you got linked over here.
(no subject) - wiredwizard - Mar. 9th, 2008 01:56 am (UTC) - Expand
meryddian
Mar. 8th, 2008 11:54 pm (UTC)
Ya know, I spent years writing fan fiction but I never did get the whole "let's make these two male leads gay!" thing.

I think some women have issues. ;)

Don't mind me, I'll be off playing my still-hawt-in-full-armor babe over on my fave MMORPG!

eeknight
Mar. 9th, 2008 12:47 am (UTC)
I don't get slash either, but to each her own.
mjolnir1964
Mar. 9th, 2008 12:35 am (UTC)
That was so full of WIN that I don't know what to do with myself. I'm gonna share this with a few friends....I'm wishing I had more friends close by that play- I haven't played for over 15 years. Deffinately going to 'borrow' some of those pics too! ;) Well Done! Awesome!
eeknight
Mar. 9th, 2008 12:46 am (UTC)
I can't take credit for the motivation posters. I got them off the rpg boards. I just waded, selected, and collated.
rosefox
Mar. 9th, 2008 12:53 am (UTC)
Wow, what a trip down memory lane. *grin* Thanks!

And damn, that chick in realistic armor is hot. *fans self*
eeknight
Mar. 9th, 2008 01:05 am (UTC)
You're welcome!
selenite
Mar. 9th, 2008 01:02 am (UTC)
Awesome list. Thanks.
eeknight
Mar. 9th, 2008 01:05 am (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it!
mistervimes
Mar. 9th, 2008 01:19 am (UTC)
This was so full of win, you had win slopping over the edges.
eeknight
Mar. 9th, 2008 01:28 am (UTC)
Thank you very much!
(Deleted comment)
eeknight
Mar. 9th, 2008 02:00 am (UTC)
You're welcome! (Also, thinking about stealing that icon)
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
eeknight
Mar. 9th, 2008 05:15 am (UTC)
You're welcome :)
burger_eater
Mar. 9th, 2008 05:58 am (UTC)
That's just plain awesome.

Good work!
eeknight
Mar. 9th, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks, and thanks for the link.
gavinfox
Mar. 9th, 2008 06:53 am (UTC)
I can never remember -- what was the artist that did the sketchy black and white drawn ones, with the partial nudity? And where does he have webpages?
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( 106 comments — Leave a comment )