MILWAUKEE - Gary Gygax, who co-created the fantasy game Dungeons &
Dragons and helped start the role-playing phenomenon, died Tuesday
morning at his home in Lake Geneva. He was 69.
He had been suffering from health problems for several years,
including an abdominal aneurysm, said his wife, Gail Gygax.
Gygax and Dave Arneson developed Dungeons & Dragons in 1974 using
medieval characters and mythical creatures. The game known for its
oddly shaped dice became a hit, particularly among teenage boys, and
eventually was turned into video games, books and movies.
Gygax always enjoyed hearing from the game's legion of devoted fans,
many of whom would stop by the family's home in Lake Geneva, about 55
miles southwest of Milwaukee, his wife said. Despite his declining
health, he hosted weekly games of Dungeons & Dragons as recently as
January, she said.
"It really meant a lot to him to hear from people from over the years
about how he helped them become a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman, what
he gave them," Gygax said. "He really enjoyed that."
Dungeons & Dragons players create fictional characters and carry out
their adventures with the help of complicated rules. The
quintessential geek pastime, it spawned a wealth of copycat games and
later inspired a whole genre of computer games that's still growing in
Funeral arrangements are pending. Besides his wife, Gygax is survived
by six children.