Fantasy’s Widow: The Fight Over The Legacy Of Dungeons & Dragons

A strange, sad story over at Kotaku about E. Gary’s legacy, archive material, and the relationship between Gail Gygax and the rest of the Gygax family, with occasional additions of some dubious behavior on the part of 3rd parties trying to capitalize on Gygax’s legacy.

What in large part it is, however, is the latest in a series of cautionary tales about Gygax’s lack of business sense, inability to handle sudden success, being clear about one’s goals, desires and legacy, and acknowledging and using the expertise of others in situations where one is out of their depth. The history of TSR – from Gygax’s relationship with Dave Arneson, through inability to capitalize on D&D’s success, to indulging one’s whims at the expense of the business, through Lorraine Williams and the TSR takeover, and finally this – is one of (admittedly, through the crystalline lens of hindsight) of poor decisions, bad communication, inability to deal with the realities of the business, and missed opportunities. Even as we see D&D find a resurgence and new-found respect and players, it only throws the problems that Gygax and TSR had into higher relief. Someday, this will all get sorted out and we may indeed get to view the archive of material that Gygax left behind, but today is not that day, sadly.