Gary Gygax, who died earlier this month, is said to be rolling d20’s in heaven. I’m sure he’d hate it if he is.
Who is Gary Gygax and what am I talking about? Glad you asked.
Dear readers, Gary Gygax was the creator of the world…well, a world (Greyhawk)…and the rules to live by. As creator of the system that became Dungeons and Dragons and co-founder of TSR he influenced all gaming systems especially digital RPG gaming. Ideas such as HP (Hit or Health Points) many spell names and results, armour and weapon rankings, turn based gaming all stem from the pen and paper D&D format Gary created.
When D&D was first thought up in the late 60’s Gary looked for a way to bring a true random element into the game while at the same time providing some control into what outcomes could be achieved. This resulted in the use of mutisided dice which have from 4 (d4) to 20 (d20) sides each.
A d20 is used for most major actions. If you were striking with a sword or other weapon you’d roll a d20 to see if you were sucessful in hitting your target. If you were trying to defend yourself against an attack, especially magical in nature you would roll a d20 to make a saving throw. To roll a 1 or a critical miss is very bad and can result in all sort of nasty things happening. Conversly, to roll a 20 (critical hit) on the dice is very good and often means that your weapon can work at ultimate efficiency (vorpal weapons are always fun on a critical hit).
So, in memory of the late Gary Gygax, I suggest that from now on, whenever a 20 is rolled naturally without modifier in a D&D game that it be called a Gygax. It seems only fitting that we remember the creator of D&D with its most powerful weapon.