gary_gygaxWhat, exactly, is Gygaxian? Other than a reference to the most-venered father of role-playing, Gary Gygax?

According to Grognardia, Gygaxian is a rich writing-style that serves to illustrate how a DM is supposed to imbue his players with a sense of wonder on the one hand, while making rulebooks somewhat difficult to navigate on the other. He calls this “High Gygaxian”. From Vault of the Drow:

The true splendor of the Vault can be appreciated only by those with infravision, or by use of the roseate lenses or a gem of seeing. The Vault is a strange anomaly, a hemispherical cyst in the crust of the earth, an incredibly huge domed fault over 6 miles long and nearly as broad. The dome overhead is a hundred feet high at the walls, arching to several thousand feet height in the center. When properly viewed, the radiation from certain unique minerals give the visual effect of a starry heaven, while near the zenith of this black stone bowl is a huge mass of tumkeoite — which in its slow decay and transformation to lacofcite sheds a lurid gleam, a ghostly plum-colored light to human eyes, but with ultravision a wholly different sight.

According to this RPG Net thread, Gygaxian refers to a certain RPG-style: DM vs players, illogically placed monsters, kill traps, arbitrary treasures.

A thread on Gleemax notes the use of puns and weirdness, such as floors, stalagmites, and chests that beat you up, homages to Lewis Carrol and King Kong, and creatures that work as meta-jokes about other creatures, such as the Gas Spore.

mr_orgue cites these, and adds the encyclopediac treasure lists and the infamous alignment system.

In the end, to me Gygaxian means: stop referring to the rules, and follow the fun.

RIP, Gary.