On His Birthday (Today), You Can Help the Memory of Gary Gygax Last Forever

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Logo for the Gygax Memorial Fund. Also the Gygax family heraldry, this shield was used by the knight on the cover of the AD&D DM's Guide and was the coat of arms of the city-state Fax in the campaign setting of Greyhawk.

Today (July 27) is the birthday of Gary Gygax, who would have been 73 this year had he not passed from this earth in 2008 to dance forever on the astral plane, which (according to the DM’s Guide) is a realm of thought and memory, and also the place the gods go when they die or have been forgotten.

Gygax, D&D’s co-founder, is gone, but certainly not forgotten. One way he’s being immortalized is in bronze and stone. Previously I wrote for GeekDad about the Gygax Memorial Fund and the increasing likelihood that a monument in his honor will be built in Gary’s hometown of Lake Geneva, WI. The city has granted parkland for the memorial, and the fund has incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Now the next step is to raise money, and the hope is for much of the dough to be croudfunded, with this year’s Gen Con and Gary’s birthday as the impetus.

D&D die-hard and occasional Geek Dad contributor Tavis Allison tells me that at this year’s Gen Con (Aug. 4-7), the fundraising for the monument begins in earnest. Gen Con, you see, was Gary’s baby.

Over at the booth for ye Old School Renaissance Group (booth #1541), a collective of publishers and fans working to carry the torch of Dungeons & Dragons the way Gygax and co-creator Dave Arneson imagined it, Mr. Allison says Gary’s widow, Gail Gygax, will be “talking about conversations she had with her husband before his death about how he wanted to be remembered, the resulting vision for the statue, and the goals of the Memorial Fund.”

And I can’t imagine anyone who stops by to drop some spare change in the bucket will be refused.

This illustration by Erol Otus is the cover of a new book Cheers, Gary a collection of Gary's correspondence with his fans. The image is Gary, as the wizard seen on the front of the original D&D box set.

To encourage you to give, Tavis says that cool donor rewards include T-shirts with the Gygax Memorial logo, and a book called Cheers, Gary “which selects the best of his correspondence with fans at the EN World Q&A threads.” Editor Paul Hughes will be signing books, which have an Erol Otus illustration on the front cover depicting Gary as the wizard seen on the front of the original D&D box set.

The big goal? Raise $500,000 via Kickstarter. Allison thinks it’s doable, with your help, of course.

“I think there is real potential for the Fund to achieve the $500K goal for this campaign through crowdfunding alone. This would be the most ambitious Kickstarter goal in history, but it’s not unprecedented and if Gary doesn’t have ten times the dedication than Robocop does I’ll eat my dice bag,” Tavis says.

To help continue the Fund’s momentum, and in recognition of everything Gary meant to gamers everywhere, Allison asks for your assistance in getting the word out about these efforts. Even if you can’t make it to Gen Con, please pay tribute to Gary’s birthday and the role D&D played in your life by posting news to your blogs, social networks, and communities that the Gygax Memorial Fund will be at Gen Con booth number #1541, and that folks can donate in memory of Gary at Gen Con, or directly on the website, http://www.gygaxmemorialfund.com/.

See you in the dungeon.

Get the Official GeekDad Books!