E. Gary Gygax: One Year Later.
Wow, has it really been a year since we lost the Father of Role-Playing Games?
I came to RPGs via AD&D (first edition) in my Senior year of high school (Class of '81, Baby). I got hooked into it after seeing a friend reading the Fiend Folio in the Library while he was running the magazine desk (I regularly got The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction there), and we chatted about it. I talked to other nerdy friends and acquantances who played and got into an after-school game in the A/V room (off the Library).
Wow; it opened up whole new vistas to me; the stories I'd read (Le Morte d'Arthur, Conan, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Burroughs' Barsoom, Secret of NIHM -shut up!-, Wizards, and an ass-tonne of others) now became fodder for "adventures", flights of shared fancy and socialization with like-minded geeks. There, Wulfgar had his genesis; loosely based on a blend of Wolverine, Conan and Rutger Hauer, he kicked in lots of doors, fought lots of disgusting critters and wound up wrapped in lots of bandages.
It was great.
After that I went to college and dropped out of the gamer-nerd scene; after Freshman year, I got another taste of it when I found out that my brother and some of his friends played. We did a few sessions, and then I hooked up with my my old gaming buddies again after running into them in line at the theatre. A new Golden Age began; lots of goofy fun was had, but, alas, it ended due to some nerds being unable to play nice with other nerds.
I wound up getting involved with a group on campus, which involved my future wife, whom I never would have gotten to know and fall in love with without Gary's Game. We've been together for over 25 years.
I even had the opportunity to correspond with Gary a few times and interact with him on a prominent gaming message-board, and was able to thank him for sort-of introducing me to my wife; He said it made him feel rather like Cupid.
I never got to meet him in person, which had been one of my cherished, but ghey, dreams, and I envy those who got to play with him at GenCon, the big RPG-nerd gathering.
Now, he's gone.