Some years later, a friend of mine introduced me to a game called Dungeons and Dragons. Clearly, I thought, this Gary Gygax fellow who created this game shares my obsession with Tolkien.
Soon, I had a new obsession, and I found myself playing D&D for hours - even days - at a time. Along with a small, tight-knit circle of friends, I hunched over a large wooden table and rolled the dice, over and over, with vivid visions of the fantasy world ever present in my head.
Without exaggeration, I can credit Gygax and his creations with helping my young mind develop, and helping me to become a better thinker.
Prior to getting into playing D&D, math was something I regarded as an unavoidable nuisance imposed on me in the interests of providing me a "well-rounded education." As I eventually moved into the role of Dungeon Master for my small group of D&D enthusiasts, the constant calculating of small numbers contributed to improved math skills, and an fostered an interest in math that I likely never would have developed otherwise.
D&D also cemented for me the idea that fantasies are an important part of being human. The very act of creating something, whether it be art, literature, or a body of science, is rooted it fantasy, rooted in the question “what if?” Few people have inspired more young minds to ask “what if” than did Gary Gygax.
Here’s hoping the fruits of his creativity continue to inspire, enthrall and enlighten future generations for decades to come.
May you rest in peace, Dungeon Master.