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Subject: Article on Gail Gygax and the Fallout of Gary's Death and Legacy rss

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Mark Wilson
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brumcg wrote:
Weird aside...

Quote:
It was the ‘70s, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books had boomed in sales, incubated in part by the decade’s heavy psychedelia. High culture fertilized the soil for high fantasy


I...don't think I've ever heard/read this before. Maybe I'm living under a rock?


Oh yeah. "Frodo Lives" was huge at the time.
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mawilson4 wrote:
Oh yeah. "Frodo Lives" was huge at the time.


I remember that, but I guess I never connected the dots. Huh.
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Clark Timmins
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brumcg wrote:
I remember that, but I guess I never connected the dots.

Too baked?
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mawilson4 wrote:
brumcg wrote:
Weird aside...

Quote:
It was the ‘70s, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books had boomed in sales, incubated in part by the decade’s heavy psychedelia. High culture fertilized the soil for high fantasy


I...don't think I've ever heard/read this before. Maybe I'm living under a rock?


Oh yeah. "Frodo Lives" was huge at the time.


The popularity of LOTR with the 60s counterculture is well documented in most biographies of Tolkien. It is often told that Tolkien used to get phone calls in the middle of the night at his Oxford house from stoned fans in the USA, which forced him to change telephone numbers.
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Phil Dutré
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ctimmins wrote:
bxrrr wrote:
In the article, Frank Mentzer mentions that it was Arneson who had in fact pioneered the concept of cooperative role-playing.


Entirely my US$0.02 follows...

You could argue that. You could argue it really was Dave Wesely. Or, H. G. Wells. Or, even back to Kriegspiele. As Jon Peterson recounts in Playing at the World, the concept of cooperative roleplay has existed... well, apparently forever. Lee Gold has commented that all the pieces and ideas for an RPG were freely circulating in the 60s/70s at places like LASFS and that some games, like REVENGE!, already had added roleplaying aspects to board games - though they didn't call it that. It only needed somebody to put the puzzle together.


That’s indeed what Playing at the World has shown ... many of the ideas were already ‘out there’, and D&D was the result of putting it all together. PatW even gives the examply of Tony Bath’s Hyboria campaign, describing it as ‘same ingredients, different dish’. Jon Peterson’s blog even has unearthed some other proto-rpg’s, although none of them actually made the step towards a commercially published set of rules.
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mawilson4 wrote:
brumcg wrote:
Weird aside...

Quote:
It was the ‘70s, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books had boomed in sales, incubated in part by the decade’s heavy psychedelia. High culture fertilized the soil for high fantasy


I...don't think I've ever heard/read this before. Maybe I'm living under a rock?


Oh yeah. "Frodo Lives" was huge at the time.


And Lenard Nimoy sung a song about it once.
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Jamie Hardy
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dysjunct wrote:
In a way, it's maybe fitting that the last bad business decision he made was to leave his legacy in a mess.

Get your affairs in order, people! No one lives forever, so plan for your exit and make it as easy as possible on your loved ones. Even if you aren't mildly famous like Gygax.


He did, but people ignored it. He established working relationships with two companies he trusted. He designated who he wanted to take control of his last RPG - Lejendary Adventure. He had a will. He left most of the stuff to his wife to ensure financial stability and to take care of their youngest child Alex.

What he did not anticipate was that Gail would be a bad decision maker and that other people he did not know would try to take advantage of his death. In retrospec, he should have established a legal trust and put someone with some business sense and less emotionally invested in charge of it. Either he did not know how ill prepared Gail was for dealing with this, or he lacked the financial tools to put in place stronger safe guards.

In a less dramatic example, I can tell you what happened with my family. My father made it clear to everyone that he did not want a funeral. He made his wishes clear to everyone he knew. There was to be no ceremony. He was to be cremated. He made sure this was in his will.

My brother's wife kept badgering my brother and others over no funeral. He told everyone that a funeral is for those living and not those dead so my father's wishes did not matter. After a couple of days, she and my brother had convinced my mother to have a funeral. A funeral that my mother had to pay for. (To make matters worse with my sister-in-law's father died years later, there was no funeral.)

There was nothing else my father could have done to prevent the situation. He expected, wrongly, that people would respect his wishes. What he did not anticipate was people ignoring them and my mother being so much in grief that she would give in to family members ignoring what my father told people for years and put in writing in his will.
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philip.dutre wrote:
That’s indeed what Playing at the World has shown ... many of the ideas were already ‘out there’,


And that and $5.00 will get you a mocha latte.

Gygax was a man. Saying that he was also imperfect is redundant. The world remembers him as the creator of the roleplaying game, not despite the fact that he did not create the roleplaying game, but because he created the roleplaying game.

That he stood on others' shoulders to do it is a thoroughly predictable historical footnote -- that's how all human achievement works.
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SteamCraft wrote:
dysjunct wrote:
In a way, it's maybe fitting that the last bad business decision he made was to leave his legacy in a mess.

Get your affairs in order, people! No one lives forever, so plan for your exit and make it as easy as possible on your loved ones. Even if you aren't mildly famous like Gygax.


He did, but people ignored it. He established working relationships with two companies he trusted. He designated who he wanted to take control of his last RPG - Lejendary Adventure. He had a will. He left most of the stuff to his wife to ensure financial stability and to take care of their youngest child Alex.

What he did not anticipate was that Gail would be a bad decision maker and that other people he did not know would try to take advantage of his death. In retrospec, he should have established a legal trust and put someone with some business sense and less emotionally invested in charge of it. Either he did not know how ill prepared Gail was for dealing with this, or he lacked the financial tools to put in place stronger safe guards.


I (sort of) disagree. Any business plan for surviving the death of a business partner that puts all the decision making capabilities into the hands of the widow (and effectively makes her a business partner) isn't a good business plan.

Also I understand that one of the law suits against Gail alleges that Gary made an updated will leaving the interest in the items to his children, so I don't think things were particularly clear there either.
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jodokast wrote:
I (sort of) disagree. Any business plan for surviving the death of a business partner that puts all the decision making capabilities into the hands of the widow (and effectively makes her a business partner) isn't a good business plan.

Also I understand that one of the law suits against Gail alleges that Gary made an updated will leaving the interest in the items to his children, so I don't think things were particularly clear there either.


Gary usually had things put under Trigee Enterprises. IIRC, this was a company in which both he and Gail were co-owners. Trigee then made deals. (Trigree meant Gail and Gary Gygax). In fact, Gary's email was/is shared with Gary.

So obviously, there is some murky stuff going on in terms of rights to things given the holding company and then potentially conflicting wills.
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dmz2112 wrote:
philip.dutre wrote:
That’s indeed what Playing at the World has shown ... many of the ideas were already ‘out there’,


And that and $5.00 will get you a mocha latte.

Gygax was a man. Saying that he was also imperfect is redundant. The world remembers him as the creator of the roleplaying game, not despite the fact that he did not create the roleplaying game, but because he created the roleplaying game.

That he stood on others' shoulders to do it is a thoroughly predictable historical footnote -- that's how all human achievement works.


I will never judge EGG as a person, I never met him, I didn’t know him, I have no idea what his character was. Perhaps he was good guy, perhaps he was a terrible person to live with, perhaps he made a lot of unfortunate decisions both in his professional and personal live. I simply don’t know. And it also doesn’t matter.

The only thing I know about him that he published game material that was/is hugely popular, and he was the main person responsible for bringing rpg’s as a game format to a big audience. He deserves big credits for that achievement.

But that’s still something different from saying he has invented or created rpg’s. As the history of the development of rpg’s is reconstructed more carefully during the past years, it has become clear that D&D was not the result of a single genius, but was rather the logical evolution of many different trends that were independently being explored in the hobby scene at the time. EGG ‘understood’ these evolutions and was the first to turn them in a commercially succesful game. Nothing more, nothing less, but still a huge achievement, no one is denying that.
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Mike Welker
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The main takeaway from the article (and others about this situation, etc.) is that when lots of money is on the line, people behave, often times, very badly.
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Rliyen wrote:
mawilson4 wrote:
brumcg wrote:
Weird aside...

Quote:
It was the ‘70s, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books had boomed in sales, incubated in part by the decade’s heavy psychedelia. High culture fertilized the soil for high fantasy


I...don't think I've ever heard/read this before. Maybe I'm living under a rock?


Oh yeah. "Frodo Lives" was huge at the time.


And Lenard Nimoy sung a song about it once.

Any one posts a link to that song. Well at least you are not going up against the wall. devil
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Mike Welker wrote:
The main takeaway from the article (and others about this situation, etc.) is that when lots of money is on the line, people behave, often times, very badly.

fixed that for you. Insert my rant about me handling my mom's estate. And yes she had a will, a living will, and living trust.
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jasperrdm wrote:
Mike Welker wrote:
The main takeaway from the article (and others about this situation, etc.) is that when lots of money is on the line, people behave, often times, very badly.

fixed that for you. Insert my rant about me handling my mom's estate. And yes she had a will, a living will, and living trust.



I see what you did there. And, you are right. Even low stakes money makes normal people go "deep end."
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Mike Welker wrote:
I see what you did there. And, you are right. Even low stakes money makes normal people go "deep end."


I work in financial services and, unfortunately, see this ALL the time. Siblings who never talk to each other again, etc.

Trusts (etc.) lower the odds of that happening -- if the trust says "distribute the funds XYZ" then the kids can get mad at mom and dad instead of each other. In theory.
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brumcg wrote:
Weird aside...

Quote:
It was the ‘70s, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books had boomed in sales, incubated in part by the decade’s heavy psychedelia. High culture fertilized the soil for high fantasy


I...don't think I've ever heard/read this before. Maybe I'm living under a rock?
You might. I recall that assertion from the late 80's or early 90's (I was single, and it was on a TV show.)
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William Hostman
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dmz2112 wrote:
philip.dutre wrote:
That’s indeed what Playing at the World has shown ... many of the ideas were already ‘out there’,


And that and $5.00 will get you a mocha latte.

Gygax was a man. Saying that he was also imperfect is redundant. The world remembers him as the creator of the roleplaying game, not despite the fact that he did not create the roleplaying game, but because he created the roleplaying game.

That he stood on others' shoulders to do it is a thoroughly predictable historical footnote -- that's how all human achievement works.


Except that he didn't create it. He published Arneson's game, after mutilation thereof.
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aramis wrote:
dmz2112 wrote:
philip.dutre wrote:
That’s indeed what Playing at the World has shown ... many of the ideas were already ‘out there’,


And that and $5.00 will get you a mocha latte.

Gygax was a man. Saying that he was also imperfect is redundant. The world remembers him as the creator of the roleplaying game, not despite the fact that he did not create the roleplaying game, but because he created the roleplaying game.

That he stood on others' shoulders to do it is a thoroughly predictable historical footnote -- that's how all human achievement works.


Except that he didn't create it. He published Arneson's game, after mutilation thereof.


Except that Arneson use Chainmail, which was written by Gygax.
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jasperrdm wrote:
Rliyen wrote:
mawilson4 wrote:
brumcg wrote:
Weird aside...

Quote:
It was the ‘70s, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books had boomed in sales, incubated in part by the decade’s heavy psychedelia. High culture fertilized the soil for high fantasy


I...don't think I've ever heard/read this before. Maybe I'm living under a rock?


Oh yeah. "Frodo Lives" was huge at the time.


And Lenard Nimoy sung a song about it once.

Any one posts a link to that song. Well at least you are not going up against the wall. devil


I was about to, but thought better of it.
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brumcg wrote:
Weird aside...

Quote:
It was the ‘70s, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books had boomed in sales, incubated in part by the decade’s heavy psychedelia. High culture fertilized the soil for high fantasy


I...don't think I've ever heard/read this before. Maybe I'm living under a rock?


If you are, it is definitely not a prog rock. cool

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Works_inspired_by_J._R._R._Tol...

philip.dutre wrote:
I will never judge EGG as a person, I never met him, I didn’t know him, I have no idea what his character was.


I apologize; I am still learning the style and etiquette here, and I went and called you out when I was just trying to clean up the quote history of the discussion. I didn't mean to accuse anyone of anything, just point out an ugly truth of attribution.

FWIW, I did know Gygax a little, and my experience bears out what appears to be general public consensus. He was unnecessarily kind to me. He also once told me he had never heard of Dave Arneson.

Humans, eh? Can't live with 'em; pass the d20.
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SteamCraft wrote:
aramis wrote:
dmz2112 wrote:
philip.dutre wrote:
That’s indeed what Playing at the World has shown ... many of the ideas were already ‘out there’,


And that and $5.00 will get you a mocha latte.

Gygax was a man. Saying that he was also imperfect is redundant. The world remembers him as the creator of the roleplaying game, not despite the fact that he did not create the roleplaying game, but because he created the roleplaying game.

That he stood on others' shoulders to do it is a thoroughly predictable historical footnote -- that's how all human achievement works.


Except that he didn't create it. He published Arneson's game, after mutilation thereof.


Except that Arneson use Chainmail, which was written by Gygax.


Given the legal established fact that Gygax denied credit to others for work they had done (Arneson v. TSR), there is plenty of ground to doubt that, too.
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aramis wrote:
SteamCraft wrote:
aramis wrote:
dmz2112 wrote:
philip.dutre wrote:
That’s indeed what Playing at the World has shown ... many of the ideas were already ‘out there’,


And that and $5.00 will get you a mocha latte.

Gygax was a man. Saying that he was also imperfect is redundant. The world remembers him as the creator of the roleplaying game, not despite the fact that he did not create the roleplaying game, but because he created the roleplaying game.

That he stood on others' shoulders to do it is a thoroughly predictable historical footnote -- that's how all human achievement works.


Except that he didn't create it. He published Arneson's game, after mutilation thereof.


Except that Arneson use Chainmail, which was written by Gygax.


Given the legal established fact that Gygax denied credit to others for work they had done (Arneson v. TSR), there is plenty of ground to doubt that, too.


Settlements out of court don't establish anything, legal or factual. That's the point.
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The way I’ve understood it:

Gygax formed the Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Association (a wargaming club) to focus on medieval miniatures wargaming. Jeff Perren, a member of the club, came up with a short set of rules for medieval gaming; Gygax expanded them significantly, crucially creating rules for one man vs one man combat, rather than having each miniature represent 10 or 20 men. Even more crucially he added a fantasy supplement to bring in wizards, etc. This was the Chainmail rules set.

Arneson in the meantime was playing in Napoleonic wargames run by Dave Wesely. Called “Braunsteins”, these games had the conceit that players wouldn’t just play their armies but would also take on the role of individual characters (commanders) with personal objectives who could gain experience over time. When Chainmail came out, Arneson used those rules to start running his own medieval Braunsteins set in a fantasy realm called Blackmoor. Eventually the miniatures action shifted to the dungeons under “Castle Blackmoor”, a model castle that Arneson owned.

Arneson and Gygax knew each other through the hobby, and when Arneson demonstrated his Chainmail + Braunsteins mash-up to Gary, Gygax was impressed enough that he proposed that he and Arneson do a significantly expanded rules set - Dungeons & Dragons. Gary did most of the writing, and when Gary, Brian Blume and Don Kaye created TSR to publish the rules (because no existing publisher would), Arneson didn’t have any money to buy in.

So who really deserves the credit for “inventing” the rpg? My view is similar to what someone else said earlier: Gary Gygax, standing on the shoulders of giants (Perren, Wesely, Arneson and others) which allowed him to see farther than other men.
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jodokast wrote:
I find it telling none of Gary's children consented to be interviewed for the piece.

It's a very sad situation.


I can understand why Gary's children did not consent to be interviewed. This is a family matter and they seem to be very private individuals when it comes to familly matters. Things can also easily be distorted especially when it comes to talking to the media.

I sympathize with Gail even if I don't agree with some of the decisions she's made concerning Gygax's legacy but I'm not in her shoes and honestly, I don't know how I would have handled the situation if I had to deal with a famous beloved spouse.

In the end, I believe she is doing what she thinks is best for her late husband and not out of spite or greed.
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