Many moons ago, I discovered a great book covering life in the feudal era. The games I run tend to be based on the feudal world (in an SCA sort of way – making allowances for 21st century sensibilities). Thanks to Archive.org and University of Connecticut it is available for free at http://archive.org/details/lifeonmediaevalb00davi
|“A DM only rolls the dice because of the noise they make.”
There has been much interest in E. Gary Gygax Day ever since it was posted on the KOSB events page. We’ve decided to create this page so that other groups can celebrate this holiday.
Gary Gygax Day is celebrated on or near July 27th, Gary’s Birthday. Our group usually celebrates on the closest Saturday.
Setting a Place for Gary
Whether or not you believe that the spirits of those who have passed on are able to visit the living is up to you; however we always set a place of honor for Gary at the head of the table. Here are some essentials that should be laid out:
- A full set of dice
- A drink
- Some Gold & Mild cigars
- A Bic
- An empty Altoids can (for an ashtray, wintergreen preferred)
Gary’s roots are Swiss so we begin with a fondue party. Alternatively you can celebrate with other Swiss cuisine like Raclette, Rösti, Zürigschnätzlet or you could research some of Gary’s favorite foods (you will find melted cheese a recurring theme). If you choose to do fondue you should have no trouble finding the necessary books and equipment for a fondue party (pretty much anyone who was alive in the 70’s has a fondue pot somewhere in their basement). Books and equipment are also common at thrift stores and garage sales. We usually go all out and have the cheese fondue, meat fondue and dessert fondue.
A cask conditioned ale is ideal, being one of Gary’s preferred libations. Others are: Aquavit, vodka, and glug. Also, Gary once referred to Samuel Adams as “well-brewed” non-sarcastically).
There should be a reading from one of Gary’s texts. It could be a passage from a book, module, magazine article, internet posting or anything else scribed by Gary that you deem appropriate (or inappropriate).
Here are the six toasts:
|To [your Role-playing Group].|
|To Role-players Everywhere.|
|To Departed Characters.|
|To Tactical Studies Rules.|
|To Hell with Lorraine Williams!*|
|To E. Gary Gygax!|
(intended to be done in order, but if you ever need a random toast…)
* Lorraine Williams, who despised gamers, took over T$R in 1985 and forced Gary to leave. Other possibilities include: The Blumes (who, according to Gary, grossly mismanaged TSR while he was in Hollywood), and Wizards of the Coast (for those who hate 3rd edition). In any case the 5th toast should be a hostile toast.
The toasts should be done in a traditional style (check the Internet) with yours or Gary’s favorite drink. Here’s how we do the toasts: Everyone raises their glasses (tankards, steins, etc.) and one member of the group proposes the toast; everyone repeats it, drinks, raises their glasses again and slams them down; repeat, taking turns proposing.
The Elephant Joke
Gary had a well rounded sense of humor that included bad puns (the worse the better) and elephant jokes. If you don’t have an elephant joke of your own, go to Google and search for elephant jokes. Some are funny. Many are painful. You’ll find enough jokes to last until the end of time.
The natural choice is an episode of the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, produced by E. Gary Gygax in the 1980’s. The entire series is now available on DVD. Some other alternatives are:
- Futurama episode 29: Anthology of Interest I, starring Gary Gygax
- Dexter’s Laboratory episode 45: D&DD, where Dexter wants to role-play with his 27th level warrior mage: Gygax
|No evening would be complete without a Tactical Study. Dungeons & Dragons would be an excellent choice (1st Edition, Basic, Advanced, Expert or be a real man and get yourself a White Box set, or even better, a Brown Box set). Or you could play Chainmail or Cavaliers and Roundheads, miniatures games created by Gary Gygax and Jeff Perrin. Another possibility is Don’t Give up the Ship, a tabletop game with sailing ships by Gygax and Arneson. Or if you would like something newer, play Lejendary Adventures, Gary’s latest and final RPG.|
We hope that Gary Gygax Day will become an annual tradition for Role-playing groups all over the world. It would be a fitting tribute to celebrate the man who made possible our favorite hobby. If your group celebrates, please drop us a line letting us know how it went and if you did anything different.
If you’ve found your way here, the following links might be useful:
- www.gygax-games.com: The official Website for Gary Gygax products.
- www.garycon.com: It’s the con that’s devoted to Gary!
- www.lejendarylands.org: The Lejendary Adventures Fan Site.
Photos courtesy of the Gygax family, Julien29, 30th Century Fox and Tactical Studies Rules. Other references include the Wikipedia, Charlie Brooks’ History of Dungeons & Dragons, countless internet postings, the guys from Lake Geneva.