Dear Mr Gygax,
I never had the honor of meeting you in all my years. Growing up in the great state of Wisconsin, I never made the short journey to see the hallowed halls of TSR. I was young and under the illusion that it would last forever. That is one of my deepest regrets.
But this is not a message of sadness or regret. This is a thank you for everything that you in one small way made possible. So very many things came from the love of your game. And if we would have met I would have liked to thank you in person.
I began playing D&D at the age of nine. I was an awkward kid whose parents were going through a divorce. I had few friends and spent many of my days at the local library. Where one day I found the most amazing treasure. My local library stocked a copy of the PHB, MM and DMG. I was instantly swept away and would become hooked for life. I only had one problem. I had to return these magical books. And other people kept checking them out! So in an effort to stop this, I sought them out. And so I found my first gaming group. The books forever after that remained checked out in my name as shortly after I became the Dungeon Master. And I still have those books on my shelf to this day.
(Lets just say the fine was huge and they went light on me)
That awkward kid thanks you.
Year’s later that awkward kid would grow up and become a soldier. Taking those books with him with the ideals that he would now be a real life hero. With those very books in hand from his childhood he would meet his first friends in the service. So many things new and unfamiliar but we all had one common love to draw us together and bond over. Looking back all these years still knowing the names of the soldiers I gamed with. While serving, that soldier met another soldier and she had just discovered her love for gaming. She fell in love with him and just celebrated their 21 anniversary together this week.
That soldier thanks you.
Four years after our son was born we learned he had Autism. It was an uneasy road at first but as the years have gone by, one of his best outlets and socialization with others comes from gaming in one type of another.
This Father thanks you.
Thirty years in the future of the 9-year-old that began the love affair with gaming. He joined with other like-minded gamers and started a convention. That is now going strong into its third consecutive year. The soldier reached out to the friends he served with and asked them to come to his convention to celebrate their reunion.
That conventioner thanks you.
All these things and so very many more are tiny examples of how tremendous of an impact you have had on so very many lives. You sparked the imagination of the world in a way no one ever could have imagined. And you brought so much joy to so many more than you will ever truly have known. For all of the love and joy that gaming has brought me. The friends that I have made over the years.
I thank you.
Runkle Plays Games.