Today is Gary Gygax Day.
The influence he had on my life is difficult to quantify. I can pretty much attribute my interest in fantasy to a little game he created, Dungeons & Dragons. From that, sprang a love of writing. Through the games I played, I acquired the vast majority of my friends. From D&D, I cultivated a greater interest in science-fiction than I already had.
It’s not inaccurate to say with D&D and the influences and opportunities it brought, my life would be unrecognizable.
I had the great fortune of meeting him in 2008 (I think) at the last Gen Con he was able to attend. I don’t remember if I told him what a far-reaching influence his game had on my life, but I was sure to tell his son, Luke, whom I’ve gotten to know over the last several years. One of his other sons, Ernie, sold me my very first issue of Knights of the Dinner Table magazine (issue 10) in the ’90s in a game shop owned by Margaret Weis (co-author of many Dragonlance novels). Through that, I was introduced to the Blackburns, both very fine people in their own right.
And on it goes.