Gary Gygax

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A DM only rolls the dice because of the noise they make

Ernest Gary Gygax (27 July 1938 - 4 March 2008) was an American writer and game designer famous for designing the fantasy role playing game, Dungeons & Dragons, with co-creator Dave Arneson.


  • While it is possible to play a single game, unrelated to any other game events past or future, it is the campaign for which these rules are designed. It is relatively simple to set up a fantasy campaign, and better still, it will cost almost nothing. In fact you will not even need miniature figures, although their occasional employment is recommended for real spectacle when battles are fought. A quick glance at the Equipment section of this booklet will reveal just how little is required. The most extensive requirement is time. The campaign referee will have to have sufficient time to meet the demands of his players, he will have to devote a number of hours to laying out the maps of his "dungeons" and upper terrain before the affair begins.
    • Preface of the Original Dungeons & Dragons, (1 November 1973)
  • Hello Fry, it's a ... [stops mid-sentence, throws a twenty sided die] pleasure to meet you.
  • One more thing: don’t spend too much time merely reading. The best part of this work is the play, so play and enjoy!
  • The idea that a game is anything more than a game… You know, there are people who are basically unbalanced who are going to misuse a game and have bad results. If a golfer who insists on playing during a lightning storm gets hit by a stroke of lightning and is killed nobody says, 'There's golfers dying by the droves being hit by lightning!' You can overdo what you really like, and if you're unbalanced you go overboard.
    • GameSpy interview, Pt. 1 (15 August 2004)
  • In many ways I still resent the wretched yellow journalism that was clearly evident in (the media's) treatment of the game — 60 Minutes in particular. I've never watched that show after Ed Bradley's interview with me because they rearranged my answers. When I sent some copies of letters from mothers of those two children who had committed suicide who said the game had nothing to do with it, they refused to do a retraction or even mention it on air. What bothered me is that I was getting death threats, telephone calls, and letters. I was a little nervous. I had a bodyguard for a while.
    • GameSpy interview, Pt. I (15 August 2004)
  • The new D&D is too rule intensive. It's relegated the Dungeon Master to being an entertainer rather than master of the game. It's done away with the archetypes, focused on nothing but combat and character power, lost the group cooperative aspect, bastardized the class-based system, and resembles a comic-book superheroes game more than a fantasy RPG where a player can play any alignment desired, not just lawful good.
  • The books I write because I want to read them, the games because I want to play them, and stories I tell because I find them exciting personally.
    • GameSpy interview, Pt. 2 (16 August 2004)
  • I would like the world to remember me as the guy who really enjoyed playing games and sharing his knowledge and his fun pastimes with everybody else.
    • GameSpy interview, Pt. 2 (16 August 2004)
  • Pen-and-paper role-playing is live theater and computer games are television. People want the convenience and instant gratification of turning on the TV rather than getting dressed up and going out to see a live play. In the same way, the computer is a more immediately accessible way to play games.
  • The essence of a role-playing game is that it is a group, cooperative experience. There is no winning or losing, but rather the value is in the experience of imagining yourself as a character in whatever genre you’re involved in, whether it’s a fantasy game, the Wild West, secret agents or whatever else. You get to sort of vicariously experience those things.
  • There is no intimacy; it’s not live. [he said of online games] It’s being translated through a computer, and your imagination is not there the same way it is when you’re actually together with a group of people. It reminds me of one time where I saw some children talking about whether they liked radio or television, and I asked one little boy why he preferred radio, and he said, "Because the pictures are so much better."
    • Interview in 2006, as quoted in "Gary Gygax, Game Pioneer, Dies at 69" in The New York Times (5 March 2008)


  • A DM only rolls the dice because of the noise they make.
  • Anyway, I am not a fearful person, don't suffer from angst, and game fans don't bother me in the least. Back in the early 80s when there was a lot of sensationalist press about D&D, and the rabid jerks were whipped up to a frenzy against the game thus, I used to get a lot of very nasty letters and phone calls from non-gamers, and even a few death threats.
  • Send anyone claiming that their RPG activity is an art form my way, and I'll gladly stick a pin in their head and deflate it just to have the satisfaction of the popping sound that makes….One might play a game artfully, but that makes neither the game nor its play art.

Quotes about Gygax

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