The Original DM – A Birthday Tribute to Gary Gygax

Today is the first official day NerdAtlas Blog! Our posting schedule will begin as of Monday!

Along with that, today is a very special day! It’s my birthday, and I am spending it playing games and eating cake. But because it’s poor form to talk about yourself on your own birthday, I wanted to write about a very influential influential nerd who was born today.

Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons was born on July 27th & he would have been 74 years old this year.

In many ways, nerds have Gary Gygax and his fellow creator Dave Arneson to thank for slowly, but surely, making nerd culture a legitimate thing. Their pen and paper RPG , first published in 1974, is one of the most prolific games in popular (nerd) culture to date.

Why was Dungeons and Dragons so successful? When you look at the bare bones of gameplay, it’s only rolling dice, doing a little bit of math and then moving some figures around a board- nothing special. What was it about this story game that appealed to over 4 million players in America alone? Gygax’s grandson said it best:

“It’s written in every man’s heart — we want to feel like warriors. That’s what Gramps let people do.”

Gary and Dave gave all of us an opportunity to escape reality and through the power of communal story telling become our own heroes. I know I have been so grateful for D&D in my life and many celebrities like Stephen Colbert or Joss Whedon would say the same. In honor of Gary Gygax’s birthday I want to do a little giveaway.

As a D&D player, I have loved ThinkGeek’s Critical Hit LED d20. It’s a reliable die, and they made sure it is weighted evenly so you have to earn every natural 20. However, there is no greater joy in D&D then rolling a Crit on a boss, and the LED lights add a nice sense of drama too it. And now you can have one of your own!

How to Win: All you have to do is follow and tweet @NerdAtlasBlog – tell me your favorite D&D dice roll story (for example- when I rolled three 20’s in a row!) The winner will be randomly selected next Friday, and I’ll purchase and ship the dice to you (free!)

-E.B.

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