Eulogy for a Dungeon Master

I came across this poem that I’d written ten years ago to mark the passing of Gary Gygax – creator of Dungeons & Dragons

Eulogy For A Dungeon Master

Countless the basements
You transformed to caverns;
Nameless the kitchen tables
fabled, formed as tabled taverns
Where a pimply 16 year old
Did his best
to bluff the role
Of rugged half-elf grimly
Assigning the next quest or tale
From o’er the rim
Of a dinted pint of frothy ginger ale.

We saw not the chinks
In our own teen-male armour
Nor did we stop to think
If days of playing roles might harm our
Hold on a real world so much more alarming
Than a hoard of charging orcs.

For in that four foot table space
Of paper, dice and figures made of lead
There thrived a truly magic place
where teenies meek were brave instead.

No slick slew of game designers needed we
No 3-D graphics, LANs or fancy Wiis.
With one hardbound spellbook you made the spark
That filled our teenage years with something more
than boredom and a high school pecking order.

Maybe your DM’s rolled a 20 now
Or just grew up and found
a girl, a job, a better place in whatever
World is real to Him.
And in a box in some cosmic attic
Your long forgotten character sheet
Will fade to dust, crumpled up against
An old SAT study guide.

But know this, Gary Gygax:
In every memory that still persists
In every fighter, cleric, thief or mage
Reborn upon a line-ruled page
A piece of you comes back to life.
And so we say adieu and thanks
Until we meet again as NPCs.