Tribute to Gary

I read a great tribute in Wired magazine on-line today to the late Gary Gygax, one of the inventors of Dungeons & Dragons. It was neat reading about the man who invented the tools of my budding creativity. I started out playing with my brothers, and have to admit that my older brother was a lousy Dungeon Master. We usually started our adventures with the phrase: “pick a page, any page” (which was a reference to the Monster Manual and we’d basically pick a random page number and fight whatever was in it). Of course, that led to deviousness and sneaking peeks at the book and finding out what the page number was for some of the cool things we wanted to face – like a Pegasus we could capture and fly around on [‘Clash of the Titans’ was all the rage back then] or some of the less deadly dragons where we use inventive rule-breaking to gain the advantage (stuff like tying daggers to your boots and jumping down on a sleeping dragon).

Dungeon Master: The Life and Legacy of Gary Gygax 

For me, the benefits of the imagination came when my best friend Jeremy introduced me to finer art of playing and I rolled up my first character, Jared Ray Blackman. Fans of Landmoor will recognize him as Jaerod. What I enjoyed the most about playing D&D was the limitless possibilities for stories to tell. As much as I’m amazed at the quality of computer graphics today, the games you play on computers can’t re-write the story half-way through because there is a better idea. Or you are limited in what you do based on what a programmer has written into the code. For me, D&D was an infrastructure to tell stories. So I appreciate Gary Gygax as someone who helped me discover my inner muse.

On the writing front – I received another rejection letter from an agent I contacted in December. Still waiting to hear from the agent who was interested in reading the first few chapters of Muirwood.

As Inigo Montoya said in The Princess Bride: “I hate waiting.”

Jeff Wheeler

Jeff Wheeler

Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over forty epic fantasy novels.

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