RIP Dave Arneson
Dave Arneson passed away on Tuesday. It seems that his passing won’t have nearly the same resonance as Gygax’s in the wider gaming culture, which is too bad but not really that surprising. Dave’s tremendous impact on D&D’s formative development has been obscured by time, poor relations with TSR, and other factors. Much of the internet memorial tribute I’ve seen has been from the old-school community that, because of its focus on the historic and esoteric aspects of the game’s earlier iterations, has a deeper respect and appreciation for Arneson’s contributions to and unique vision of the game.
It is only in the past year or so that I have really come to appreciate Arneson’s contributions to D&D. First Fantasy Campaign in particular is a great read, a fascinating document of the early days that has been tremendously inspirational in the development of my home campaigns and houserules. Stories and anecdotes about his freewheeling refereeing style and “gonzo” adventures (such as this one) have also influenced my own ongoing gaming development, and further stoked my enthusiasm for learning about the early days of D&D.
RIP Dave, I hope you’re getting settled at the big gaming table upstairs with Gary, Bob Bledsaw, and the rest of the gang…