Here’s something we didn’t expect to see: the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s file on Dungeons & Dragons creator Gary Gygax. C.J. Ciaramella of reason.com received the document in response to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted to the bureau about a year ago. You can take a look at it in its entirety here.
Apparently, the report was generated as part of an investigation into connections between Gygax’s former company, TSR, and an unnamed individual or organization perhaps connected with a bomb threat — one of two directed at TSR during its existence.
Gygax in described by an informant as “eccentric and frightening” person, a known “substance abuser” who carries a weapon and corresponds with prison inmates. The report further notes that Gygax is a member of the Libertarian Party who set up a shell company in Liberia to avoid paying taxes, and would likely not cooperate with an investigation.
The FBI’s description of Gygax doesn’t really match the approachable, nerdy godfather of fantasy role-playing that many fans got to know on gaming message boards and in person during the last years of his life. However, it does match the Gygax of the late eighties and early nineties, as depicted in Michael Witwer’s definitive Gygax biography, Empire of Imagination.
Witwer’s book revealed that Gygax once had a problem with cocaine — with all of the mood problems and impulsive spending normally associated with the drug. Thankfully, Gygax managed to leave all of that behind when he got older, becoming the beloved elder statesman most gamers still remember so fondly.