On the Death of Raymond Montgomery

I know a lot of nerds and geeks worship at the temples of Gygax or Arneson, but for me, it was this man who was more important than any of them. I came into actual role-playing in my high school years. But for Choose Your Own Adventure books? Those things have been part of my life for as long as I can remember.

I had dozens of them, all with well-worn and dog-eared pages, often full of obscure little notes or illegible childish scrawl. It was books like this which got me into writing and storytelling. I had binders and notebooks full of my own Choose Your Own Adventure stories, all following their twisty little paths back and forward on the page.

It was writing these tiny adventures with elements of choice for my small circle of friends where I first cut my teeth on pacing and structure, on character and plot. It was as I mapped and plotted on those books that I recreated such tools as flow-charts and indexes and dozens of other useful things all on my own. It was the smiles on the faces of my friends as we shared these notebooks between classes at school that convinced me I could write, if only a little bit.

I owe this man, and people like Ian Livingstone and others in their fields, far more than I will ever owe the much more lauded names of roleplaying history, and the world is a darker place without him.

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