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Blog | Jan Duda

Legacy of Dungeons & Dragons

Gary Gygax died two weeks ago. Maybe not everyone in Czech Republic knows who Gygax was. So, let’s describe him and his contribution a little bit. As I said, he died and what’s more – the world did not collapse. It might be considered as an exaggeration, but I have been quite surprised that almost everything went on.

That was surprising because Gygax helped to build our world in the same way. He co-created the game Dungeons & Dragons, and on that foundation of role-playing, interaction, creation and polyhedral dice, he established the social and intellectual structure for communities and people all over the world. Dungeons & Dragons is a brilliant mixture of all his imagination, combining board games, fantasy tales, books and myths from our world together with history, real events and tincture of magic and mysterious. Its best contribution is a matter of a great concern. Let’s try! Choose your attributes, roll the dice and make your character. You can make it personal or fit it to your ideals. To sum it up, you generate a character, which once might be you in another dimension. Then, you could buy your equipment such as a sword, horse or a magic staff. You also pick your moral alignment. And you solve problems of politics, people’s fear, human relations and other adventures. Maybe once you could meet a dragon. And that is really an exciting moment. But you are still sitting near the table with pen, paper and dice with friends at that time. 

Now, little bit turn over the topic, I must say, that we live in Gygax world. Isn’t our behaviour like acting to others? Aren’t we thinking right and behaving left? Dungeons & Dragons gave us a chance to try all aspects of real life in all consequences. Dungeons & Dragons taught the right lessons to the right people. It’s negligent that this game groves into many various mutations like favourite Czech version Dragons Lair (Dračí doupě). Maybe we like setting rules that should guide our future behaviour. But usually, people consistently act outside the rules, or sets given to them, because its topic is wider. There is no action that you couldn’t try in the same way as you do in your real life? The only difference is that its cost is for nothing. You need only time, pencil, dice and paper. You don’t need to destroy or damage your relationships by trying all aspect of imagination and expressing yourself.

Okay, don’t be so dreamy. I know, that I am not a hero and not schizophrenic and even not living in Matrix. But role- playing, questions and tales are more that only a game. Realization of all challenges, guessing facial expressions, casual phrases, is able to intuit subtext of stuff how and why people behave. What is their motivation and why is the world so complicated… There are some answers like behavioural algorithm and people’s interactions and usual wishes. And that all is not only a gaming culture like The World of Warcraft or Lineage; which consists of time granted to clicking and wining. The Goal is learning, interacting and in its procedure. You are just playing. It is not a competition, it is cooperation.

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And imagine a bit the way of how we behave. Isn’t every email login, every icq nick character alias, blog commentary or facebook profile little playing a real world? Aren’t we all under Gygax concept? As for me, it’s a great idea of contemporary living. And all our life is a great play. So let’s do our best. Every day from getting up you should count your experience by helping your family, friend and improving your dexterity by exercising any sport and your wisdom by learning to school or for work. All consist from small quests. And we shall make them. Every time, it is all a bit quasi-mystical elegant tool from our world which gets us a new insight. And after all it is up to us how we fight our game. Gygax gave us a challenging message. Dungeons & Dragons is a legacy.

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