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Proviso Probe

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Gary Gygax died

Gary Gygax died yesterday, March 4, 2008. Gygax created Dungeons & Dragons and pioneered role-playing games.

Along with many of my high school friends, I played D&D. It's hard for me to say with certainty what influenced me in life. One of the great influences in my life was my high school friend Dan. D&D was something that caused us to discuss things. I asked Dan questions and he exposed me to ideas. D&D provided reasons to open doors I wouldn't have opened.

Gary Gygax certainly influenced my intellectual growth indirectly. And his ideas and his creation probably directly influenced the person I became in direct ways I can't articulate or even perceive.

Below is a quote from “Monkey Porn”, a short-story I wrote. The protagonist is a U.S. Army adviser to the Philippine army. He has become disallusioned and wants out of the Army.

I contemplated what I would have to do to get out of the Philippines without raising suspicions. The Army is like a magic castle where special words and phrases have the power to open doors. The magic castle had been my home for years. Now, to escape the castle I had to invoke two kinds of magic at once. One magic would open the doors; another magic would hide my feelings and motives. But even after I escaped the castle its sorcerers could conjure demons to search for me, capture me and force me to return. I’d heard stories about private military companies recruiting ex-Special Forces by blackmail. The recruiter would tell a guy, if he didn’t join the company he might face courts-martial for “war crimes” committed on active duty. Once outside the castle I would need help.

I reentered the hotel room. I shut Rambo [the monkey] in the bathroom. The first time he opened the door, I used my voice tone and body language to tell him to stay in the bathroom. He went back in and I shut the door again. I took writing paper from my pack and sat down at the table.

I wrote two letters. In one I cleared my conscience. This took the rest of the San Miguels. Telling the truth enhanced the buzz from the alcohol. The second letter was a request to my best friend, Jeff, to help me find a place to stay when I left the Army. There wouldn’t be much point of getting out only to be drafted as part of the IRR (Individual Ready Reserve). I'd have to hide well to avoid the conjured demons that would conscript me to retun to the castle. Prior planning prevents… undesirable outcomes. I put the two letters in one envelope and addressed it to Jeff.

I would not have chosen the imagery of the castle, sorcery and the demons if Gary Gygax hadn't invented Dungeons & Dragons.

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2 Comments:

  • Wow insight into Nybergs mind. Maybe Gary Gygax shouldn't have invented Dungeons & Dragons after all. Just an observation.

    By Anonymous The Wiz, at 10:12 PM, March 05, 2008  

  • You seem to be a little out of touch from time to time

    By Anonymous dr doolittle, at 2:07 PM, March 09, 2008  

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