251: Honoring the Man Who Started Everything


Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
Gary Gygax is a legend and influanced the world in ways that will probably be felt to the end of human civilization: I think RPG mechanics in one form or another are here to stay.

On the other hand I can't help but remember a lot of the drama between him and TSR over the years, and how he was kept more or less on a leash even when he got to work with his own creation again with TSR's new owners.

I also remember a lot of the flak he got on message boards/echos and such back in the day, some of it quite justified. I especially remember during his falling out with TSR what happened with his last "Gord The Rogue" book. :/

It's odd because I both support him getting a monument for his contributions, but at the same time I think he's being unjustly lionized in other areas, and gamers should consider that while he was one of those who started it all, he wasn't an unquestioned positive influance on the hobby. To some extent I think him getting booted from TSR actually propelled things forward for a while... but it's all debatable.


Fell off the Alligator.
Jun 24, 2009
We'll miss you, Gary. And while the statue they're gonna use to memorialize you with is going to be tasteless, I promise that I'll always imagine a much simpler one, of a man at a table, behind a screen, rolling some polyhedral dice to see if his players survive the trap, grinning because he's bound to get one of them in his cunning trick. May he DM with glee.


Writer and game designer
Aug 15, 2006
Gary Gygax's widow, Gail, has not seen my article but has asked me to pass along some information about her group, the Gygax Memorial Fund. -- AV
"1. I have gone before the Parks Board to request a site in Library Park. I have requested the section that is under no deed restrictions. At this time the Board is hesitant to put another memorial in the Park and has offered me an alternative site. Last week, I was assured of a site in Lake Geneva.

"2. The only "official" Gygax non-profit charity fund for the building of the memorial and for collecting donations is the "Gygax Memorial Fund"; see: gygaxmemorialfund.com. I started the fund and along with our son, Alexander, are the only Gygax Family members working with the city of Lake Geneva to erect the memorial. Luke Gygax, although he approves of the memorial as planned, has had to step back as his duties for the Army dictate his time. Gary and I discussed what he wanted just before he passed - a stone castle plinth with a bronze bust of him and a fitting memorial plaque. We may ask to incorporate a dragon element as well with reflective seating bench. The design concept is by Gary and Gail, with implementation by landscape designer and former roleplaying gamer JP Robson. JP understood the project and has incoporated some great features.

"I hope this will put the public at ease as to the status of project and the proper fund for getting this accomplished for Gary. It is going to be a long road - with site selection, design approvals and most importantly the cost of the memorial - which will be some $250,000 - $350,000. I anticipate at least two years before groundbreaking. So every $5 donation counts!

"The current board members of the Gygax Memorial Fund are Gail Gygax, Jody Mikkelson (Lake Geneva resident) and Jim Ward.

"I will be selling some of Gary's collection at GenCon 2010 to bring awareness to this most important project.

"My campaign slogan: 'He gave millions of men and women a reason to open a book. He led them on a journey of mutual respect that developed lifelong relationships - all through the guise of a game.'"

- Gail Gygax