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D&D Co-Creator Gary Gygax Has Passed Away

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the tip-of-the-hat-roll-of-the-dice dept.

Role Playing (Games) 512

Mearlus writes "In the recent past co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons Gary Gygax has worked with Troll Lord Games, a small tabletop RPG publisher. Their forums have up a post noting that Mr. Gygax has apparently passed away. Gygax was known, along with Dave Arneson, as the Father of Roleplaying." Saddened reactions from well-known designers have already begun to appear online. Consider this is an in-memoriam Ask Slashdot question: How has D&D (and tabletop roleplaying) touched/improved your life? Update: 03/04 23:16 GMT by Z : With more time, official announcements have had time to appear. Many sites are featuring posts on Gygax's impact on gaming, including touching entries on Salon and CNet.

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This sucks. (2, Interesting)

LordZardoz (155141) | more than 6 years ago | (#22638896)

Its too bad, since his influence goes well beyond D&D. The impact on videogames is very far reaching too.


Re:This sucks. (2, Insightful)

Erwos (553607) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639336)

I'd argue otherwise to the videogames, honestly.

Gygax's biggest impact, setting-wise, was Greyhawk. How many video games are based off Greyhawk? None, as far as I know.

He left before AD&D 2E, and AD&D 1E was horrifically broken as a rules system. The gold box games succeeded in spite of the system, not because of it.

The reason that the SSI / Bioware / Black Isle games succeeded was not because of the D&D rules, but because of good writing, good settings, and good programming. The D&D connection is mostly peripheral. Witness Fallout's success even after divorcing itself from GURPS for an example of why this is true.

Re:This sucks. (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639448)

Part of my childhood just failed its save vs death.

Thank you Mr. Gygax, for your role in many enjoyable hours of leisure.

Re:This sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22639560)

It does indeed suck.

That being said, I can only imagine how many vigils are being planned in countless parent's basements all across the world.

FIST SPORT! (4, Funny)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 6 years ago | (#22638906)

What loot did he drop?

Re:FIST SPORT! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22638960)

Obviously not a helm of recovery...that would've given him a chance to save.

How has it improved my life? (5, Funny)

StevenMaurer (115071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22638924)

It kept me from ever being in danger of becoming an unprepared teen father.

Me too, if it wasn't for AD&D (4, Funny)

georgeha (43752) | more than 6 years ago | (#22638980)

I'd have been a debt-ridden teen father driving a 13 year old Japanese subcompact. Now I'm a debt-ridden middle aged father driving a 13 year old Japanese subcompact.

Quick. (5, Funny)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#22638926)

Get the cleric.

Re:Quick. (4, Funny)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639002)

oh you are so going to hell for that one....

Re:Quick. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22639114)

oh you are so going to hell for that one....

Which plane?

Re:Quick. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22639108)

Crap, does anyone have 5,000gps worth of diamonds?

Re:Quick. (4, Funny)

T.E.D. (34228) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639126)

Get the cleric.

That would permanently lower his constitution by one. I don't think Gary would want to live that way.

Re:Quick. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639416)

You think he'd have a hard time finding a wizard to raise it again with a wish? I'm fairly sure there's a lot of wizards who'd fight over the right to do it.

For a favor... I mean, who wouldn't like to be the next Mystra?

Re:Quick. (3, Funny)

Ioldanach (88584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639616)

Are you sure? Start with Speak with Dead and ask!

Unfortunately, I think his death qualifies as Death From Old Age and Raise Dead, Resurrection, and True Resurrection specifically exclude that.

Re:Quick. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22639654)

roll failed. make a new character.

D&D actually a lifeleech spell? (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22638928)

I LOVE D&D ... and everything it has spawned. ESPECIALLY forgotten realms. Drizzt. Bioware videogames. Dice games were cool when computers weren't widespread... but baldurs gate! c'mon ;)

Re:D&D actually a lifeleech spell? (1)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639008)

.. wake of the ravager .. gosh .. pool of radiance .. wow .. there are a lot of things to which d&d has contributed. Including the 'waste' (well, not wasted according to ME) of my teenage years!

In retrospect... (0, Redundant)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#22638932)

He probably shouldn't have made resurrection such a costly spell.

Re:In retrospect... (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22638992)

Well, it also doesn't work when you've died of natural causes.

O'course, "Speak with Dead" is still relatively cheap...

Thank you Gary (4, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 6 years ago | (#22638934)

How has D&D (and tabletop roleplaying) touched/improved your life?

It's almost cliched now but as a Dungeon Master in my early teen years, Gary Gygax's work helped to refine creativity, learning, communication, strategy and logic in a way that few other tools or experiences (including school) were able to accomplish. The rule sets were were a revolution to me at the time that helped inspire an understanding of how to engineer environments, social interactions and most of all communicate in conventional and unconventional fashions. All of these tools have certainly helped in my personal and academic lives.

I will forever be grateful to Gary Gygax and the team at TSR.

Re:Thank you Gary (1)

frankie (91710) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639434)

Ramen. E Gary Gygax and his party of friends(*) up in Wisconsin pulled together ideas from all of our favorite fantasy novels and turned them into an entire gaming genre that millions of people love. Some of the specific rules they created (HP, AC, spell memorization, etc) turned out to be really bad, but in the grand scheme of things I would place D&D right up there with the Wright brothers' plane.

(*) = Geek History Competition: name the players and their respective characters in the ORIGINAL "Grayhawk" campaign.
I'll start with: EGG was Mordenkainen.

Re:Thank you Gary (1)

iocat (572367) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639588)

I totally don't want to start a debate on this, but... AC, HP and spell memorization are actually pretty sweet conventions, and were awesome for the time. RPing may have move past them, and they have held things up, but in a lot of cases they remain the simplest, best way to handle things.

Anyway, RIP Gary. Here's a link to a newspaper story: RIP [startribune.com].

Best game ever (3, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22638946)

D&D isn't actually my system of choice, but roleplaying games in general were about the only time that my friends and I could get together. It was a way for us to force ourselves to hang out, and I've made several friends that I expect to keep in touch with for many years to come. I've always made up worlds that I play in, so for me D&D was a way to externalize those worlds and allow other people to affect them with me. It also appeals to many nerds' tendency to break down and quantify the world around them.

As a side note, my sister-in-law that's currently in college was struggling with depression and a lack of friends until she started doing RPGs. Now she's got as many friends as she could wish for :D

Re:Best game ever (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639310)

D&D isn't actually my system of choice, but roleplaying games in general were about the only time that my friends and I could get together.

However, like it or no, it's difficult to play any of them without relating them in some way to D&D. It's like fantasy and Tolkein -- you're either like, or unlike, but you can't exist without being compared to it since it's the original frame of reference. (Well, there could have been RPGs before D&D, but my perception is that it's the grand-daddy of them all.)

As a side note, my sister-in-law that's currently in college was struggling with depression and a lack of friends until she started doing RPGs. Now she's got as many friends as she could wish for :D

Not to diminish the situation your sister-in-law was in ... but that seems to be the opposite effect RPGs had on my life in high-school. I seem to remember D&D being an impediment to making friends -- but, that was the 80s and D&D was at the height of its dorkiness. :-P


Re:Best game ever (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639502)

I seem to remember D&D being an impediment to making friends
I don't know what the situation was like when you were going to college, but I've found that my activities never really limited my pool of friends. I was drawn to my activities because of my personality, which I happened to like. It meant that I had a limited pool of friends, but the friends I did get were good friends that I related to. I don't think my participation or lack thereof in D&D would have changed anything.

However, I also have a very thick skin and am pretty oblivious to things, so take what I said with a grain of salt. I also think that I happened to have a high school and college that were significantly better (with regards to the social atmosphere) than most peoples'.

Friends (4, Insightful)

The Aethereal (1160051) | more than 6 years ago | (#22638948)

How has D&D (and tabletop roleplaying) touched/improved your life?
I made some great friends in college that I probably would not have met were it not for D&D (or role playing in general).

Re:Friends (4, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639290)

Same here, but in the military. Dunno about the other branches, but the USAF was packed to the rafters with D&D geeks, my former self among them.

I remember playing a round of D&D once in the cargo bay of a C-141, on the way to a TDY exercise... beat the hell out of playing the same card games over and over again, and you're right - it led to meeting a lot of great people overall.


Same, plus: (3, Interesting)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639522)

I met the woman who would later be (and still is, to be clear) my wife through my gaming friends.

Other friends of mine have changed careers and gotten much better jobs through friends they met gaming.

Clearly D&D is a gift to the world that's touched a lot of lives, and not just those of parents'-basement-dwelling pasty teenagers.

Will be missed (5, Insightful)

wembley fraggle (78346) | more than 6 years ago | (#22638952)

A better question would be what aspect of my life hasn't been influenced by Gygax. Safe travels, Gary.

Re:Will be missed (1)

aredubya74 (266988) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639210)

While I was never a pad-and-paper RPGer, I learned the basics of IP networking, Unix sysadmin'ing and C programming from playing and administering an lpMUD many years ago. I met my wife through that same MUD, so much like the parent here, there's very little professionally and personally in the past 15 years that can't be traced back to that game. Its sword-and-sorcery constructs all derived from D&D, so indeed, Gygax's influence means a lot.

How has it improved my life? (0, Troll)

murrdpirate (944127) | more than 6 years ago | (#22638972)

By letting me know I'm not quite the biggest nerd in the world by not playing it. It's always been the last frontier to me....

Re:How has it improved my life? (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639192)

I was like that once. However, as I thought about it, I realized that there was probably a reason that everyone I knew played those games, so I took the plunge and I've never looked back. If you've got a few hours to spare every week and you can find a good group, it's well worth the effort.

Helped me get through 13 years old (3, Insightful)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639004)

When I was 13 I spent one summer, er, not at home. I only got through it by visiting a 'friend' and his buddies and playing D&D every day. 7 days a week. All summer. That's how I ate. That's where I showered. D&D didn't make me friends with those kids, but it made us close and support one another. Well, it helped them support me.

Re:Helped me get through 13 years old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22639308)

D&D didn't make me friends with those kids, but it made us close and support one another.

Judging by the end of your sentence, I think it did. :)

I don't get it (2)

youngdev (1238812) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639006)

Can some one please explain the fascination with D&D to me? I have been around the block with RPGs (specifically D2) but I never played D&D. Isn't it a card game? Why does being geeky seemingly go hand in hand with a fascination with D&D?

Re:I don't get it (0)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639182)

D&D was pretty much the first RPG. It definitely is NOT a card game. Any RPG you've played takes some influence from D&D.

Are you serious?

Must be a Feign Death spell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22639020)

Otherwise if He comes back as undead, even high level clerics will hesitate to turn him :o7

Rest in Peace (4, Funny)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639048)

"Gary Gygax has passed away? I'm--"
* rolls dice *

"very sad to hear that!"

(With apologies to the writers of Futurama).

Re:Rest in Peace (3, Funny)

ajs (35943) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639408)

"Gary Gygax has passed away? I'm--"
* rolls dice *

"very sad to hear that!"

(With apologies to the writers of Futurama).
I don't think they mind.

From the episode:

Gary Gygax: Hello Fry. It's a (rolls dice) pleasure to meet you.
Gary Gygax: Here, take my +1 mace.

He rolled 00. (1)

grub (11606) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639050)

I first played AD&D in the early 80s. The name "Gygax" was awe-inspiring for me at the time. To this day the whole medieval-style of game is my preference in video games: the Thief series, Oblivion, etc.

Friends. (1)

onion2k (203094) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639072)

I met some people many years ago through playing AD&D who are still friends today. That's testament enough to how much it's affected my life I reckon.

yes. bad taste. (2, Funny)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639138)

Man failed his save roll.


Re:yes. bad taste. (1)

s!lat (975103) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639194)

On the other hand, the modifiers on a Save vs Death Magic roll aren't really good when you've had multiple strokes and a heart attack

He didn't really die (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22639212)

Hasbro killed him... Or at least his legacy

Missed by all his friends and admiers (4, Informative)

IAmAMacOSXAddict (718470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639226)

I'm currently on the play test team with Jeff T. in Gary's current works (Castle Zagyg). Gary was was the Progenitor of all modern gaming. Imagine a world that did not have D&D. Computer games would not have developed in the way they have, they would be 3d versions of Chess etc. Gary's work, and the work of the people that have followed have entertained us for decades, and through Gary's work we will be entertained for decades and centuries more... Bob H.

Farewell Gary, glad I met you. (5, Interesting)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639256)

I had the opportunity to talk with Gary at a GenCon (when it was still hosted in Milwaukee) back in the 90's. I was a teen and full of questions having played rpgs for many of my years growing up.

He was friendly, and a fun guy to talk to. I was actually quite amazed at how interested he was at talking to my friends and I about the game and actually was very interested in what we thought of the 2nd Generation of D&D.

I only had the chance to meet him once, but I was glad I had the opportunity.

Farewell, Gary. Thanks for the great games and entertainment.

Conspiracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22639276)

4th Edition is going to tank hard because gamers feel ripped off by 3rd edition, 3.5 edition, etc...
... Gygax dies, bringing major publicity (and possibly sympathy dollars) to D&D 4th edition.

Coincidence? I think NOT!

RIP Gary, thank you so much (2, Insightful)

Brazilian Geek (25299) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639278)

Thank you so, so, so much.

D&D helped me through my timid teens, made me friends, made me love reading (introduced me to Tolkien) and led me to Rogue, Hack and Nethack - which, in a way, helped me fall in love with computers.

I'll be sure to break out my old, old, old D&D books and read them over for old time's sake.

Thanks Gary and rest in peace.

In related news... (1)

retech (1228598) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639286)

Senior citizens across the world are shocked to find their middle aged children finally leaving their basements en masse. One 87 year old woman is quoted as saying: "I thought my son had run away 35 years ago. If I'd had known he was in the damn basement all this time I'd have made him pay rent. This would explain why I ran out of cheetos and mt. dew so fast. I just kept thinking it was my failing memory and I only imagined buying all that junk food..."

Sad irony in my life on this (1)

Like2Byte (542992) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639324)

Ugh, I *just* cancelled my DDO subscription this morning, too - before I found out about his passing.

For those who don't know Gary Gygax performed the narrator sequences for a few quests in DDO.

Tips an ale to Gary Gygax.

Cheers, mate!!

Damn (1)

Paranatural (661514) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639326)

I suppose it had to happen at some point.

Though they do not appear to have done much, RPGs, especially D&D, influenced my life and, despite the jokes, they actually were directly responsible for forming a lot of my social skills, as well as teaching me the importance of communication and teaching me good problem-solving skills, all of which I use every day and I rely on to get me through life. Even still they greatly impact my life; my big 'vacations' of the year are to go to DragonCon and Frolicon, each of which would not have existed without D&D.

I am truly saddened.

I'm new... (1)

Lovedumplingx (245300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639364)

...to the game of D&D. I've only played for the past 3 years or so (got into it after college...go figure). But I can say that because of him I've met some really good friends and have also been able to buck the whole "D&D players are complete nerds idea" with some of my other friends.

It's sad to hear this. Especially when he was a pretty young guy.

Neverwinter Nights (4, Interesting)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639384)

While I wasn't a big D&D fan, I loved the idea and always enjoyed tinkering and making up stories. When Bioware put out Neverwinter Nights, I started my own campaign [adamandjamie.com], which was received quite well. When Neverwinter Nights 2 came along, I started yet another [adamandjamie.com] and don't plan on stopping.

At one level, it's simply a hobby that combines a lot of skills I enjoy practicing. The scripting language is C-like, which probably helped me get over a long habit of programming in Basic-like languages. Modding is also something I can share with my kids, as my son enjoys tinkering around with the toolset and putting together simple modules.

On another level, I'm in awe of the people who have played my modules and how I've touched their lives. I remember getting an e-mail from a woman who was dying of cancer and how a particular moment in my game made her husband laugh for the first time in a long while. I got another letter from a young man in the Israeli army, talking about how my games were a bright moment in an otherwise terrifying life.

I think Dungeons and Dragons has ended up being something larger than it was originally envisioned. My kids make up these elaborate "playing pretend" stories. D&D has turned this instinct for adventure into something adults can do without too many funny looks. We all need to play the hero and live a life bigger than ourselves. Gary helped give that to us, and for that I am most grateful.

Thank You Gary! (1)

sckeener (137243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639388)

I picked up Deities and Demigods when I was in the 3rd grade or 27 years ago. I wasn't a reader until then. It got me hooked on reading specifically Fantasy and Science Fiction. The undertones of math in D&D probably helped too.

Basically Gary, thank you for influencing me for 27 years and going. I probably would be as smart, but you opened worlds to me.

Re:Thank You Gary! (1)

FuzzyDaddy (584528) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639540)

I played D&D extensively as a teen. My friends and I eventually moved on to RuneQuest, then Call of Cthulu. But D&D was the first. I think the Player's Handbook was the first thing I every bought that cost more than $10.

I haven't thought about playing those games in many years - but I have a ton of fond memories. Thanks, Gary.

Dangerous Journey (1)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639438)

I guess he's on the most Dangerous Journey of them all. We'll see him around the Multiverse, I expect...

remembered not through D&D (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639454)

the main impact upon me that D&D has had really hasn't been through D&D as a game in and of itself, but instead through nethack. I seem to spend so much of my life playing that game now and it just wouldn't be possible without D&D having existed.

I know many other people on /. will feel the same here, and that seems like a good way to remember the people who made it possible

The Master of The Dungeon (0)

Sir_Eptishous (873977) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639488)

Gygax is the king!

His adventures were the most interesting of all the stuff TSR put out, and he set the bar. Not only good at writing and adding color to the game, he was good at the bigger picture of a campaign.

Long live the king!

Thank you Gary (1)

Garrick68 (1165999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639512)

I played D&D from the time I was about 10 until I was 25. In that time D&D got me into being creative. It helped explore my self, helped me learn how to work in a team, how to think fast, how to act in almost any given situation. It allowed my to explore and expand my knowledge in a safe environment. How to ad lib off the cuff. The time I spent playing D&D formed one of the core foundations of who I am today. Gary. Thank you for helping me become who I am. Thank you for everything. See you on the other side!

Developing A Role-Playing Game Titled (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22639514)

Fi2 ( Fucked In Iraq ) [whitehouse.org].

Coming to a home mortgage company near you.

Filipino Monkey.

Well (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639552)

What did Gary do? Besides promote playing a single character? Hit points? Magic systems to a level never before seen in gaming? Levels? Experience points? The list goes on...

Kinda weird that this happens today. 3/4. Right before 3rd edition was about to transfer to 4.0.

As silly as it might seem (3, Interesting)

sjvn (11568) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639584)

I might not have been become a computer journalism without his influence. Some of the first stories I ever published were 'tech analysis' D&D stories. You wouldn't believe how much a volume a D&D fireball actually takes up in an enclosed area. Well, not until you've been fried by one anyway, or the fine art of bouncing lighting bolts off obstacles.

Beyond that, I can't begin to count the number of hours I spend enjoying first D&D in 1975 and then all the other RPGs that followed it.

Good-bye Gary.


D&D is IRL software (4, Interesting)

graveyhead (210996) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639612)

I've made a similar post once before, but it seems appropriate now.

D&D was my entire reason for becoming interested in programming computers. In the early 80's what I realized is that D&D is the "software" of games. Modules expand the original game in new ways that nobody thought of before. They expand the core system in new and interesting ways.

Sure, software was already doing this on computers at the time, but it really helped my brain make that leap at a young age - software is extraordinarily powerful.

It also seemed to foster a healthy (or unhealthy of you believe Jack Thompson ;) love of video games and computer graphics.

Thank you Mr. Gygax. You will be missed.

Not just YASD (2, Funny)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639618)

It says he died of health problems, but we all know his passing was the result of the most classic of roleplaying deaths, the Nethack death "touching the edge of the universe". That's a death worthy of the father of roleplaying... thanks for helping me and friends through our early teens, GG!

Fear of the Imagination (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22639632)

I guess it about 1980 or so that I began my D&D phase. For years, a small group of friends happily whiled away many, many hours with only a stack of papers and bags o' dice. I can distinctly remember one night, thinking it must be a total eclipse or something because it was dark during the day. Only...it was no longer day... we had been at it for 12 hrs or so and comPLETEly lost track of time.

Inevitably, the people who seemed the most threatened and afraid of D&D ('oh, you're worshiping Satan?' ... 'oh, wasn't that one killer a kid who played that?' etc etc) were people who appeared to inherently lack ANY shred of imagination of their own. As much as I tried to explain it, they just could NOT comprehend how we could spend sooo many hours with only a stack of papers, "making stuff up." I still don't understand why that threatened them sooo, so much.

I don't really play RPG any more... I've drifted into duplicate bridge as a way of socializing, as well as mentally challenging myself and 'conquering' opponents.
But I would be a LOT more introverted, and even LESS social (? seems ironic in a way somehow....) if I hadn't spent that time gaming.


Interview in Uber Goober (1)

WSaure (1250740) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639636)

I got to interview Gary for a documentary I did on gaming (Uber Goober). I'm glad I got to meet him and get him on DVD before he went. Awesome guy.

Gosh (1)

MrDoh! (71235) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639642)

My friends and crazy amount of time in my youth were spent playing theses games. We did all sorts of systems, but it was AD&D that was the main campaign we played variations of for years.
If it wasn't for EQ, we'd all probably STILL be sat around a table on tuesday nights with character sheets in front of us.
Fare thee well sir in whichever higher plane you eventually end up.

Actually, he pretty much shaped my life (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#22639650)

Indirectly. A lot of important events revolve around me joining a local RPG club. I met my first girlfriend there. I got a job, again indirectly, from there. I met a fair deal of the friends I have today there, or as friends of people I met there.
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