Author Topic: Another D&D Notable has passed away  (Read 2261 times)


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Another D&D Notable has passed away
« on: April 07, 2009, 06:46:30 PM »
            This was gleened from the TMP web site.

7 April 2009
Dave Arneson Passes Away

We've received word that Dave Arneson, who has been in poor health in recent months, passed away today.

Dave Arneson

In the early 1970s, Dave co-created the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) role-playing game with Gary Gygax, but has kept a relatively low profile and has been called an "unsung legend" in the early development of role-playing games. In 1984 he was inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Designís Hall of Fame. In 1999, Pyramid magazine named Dave as one of The Millennium's Most Influential Persons "at least in the realm of adventure gaming."

Daveís role-playing game design work grew from his interest in wargames. His parents bought him the Gettysburg game by Avalon Hill in the early 1960s and he soon taught his friends how to play. He and his gaming group began to design their own games. He was especially fond of naval wargames. Exposure to role-playing as a tool also influenced his later designs. In college history classes, he role-played historical events and preferred deviating from the recorded history in a manner similar to "what if" scenarios recreated in wargames.

Dave attended the GenCon gaming convention for the first time in 1969, which was only its second annual meeting (still primarily a wargaming-only convention). It was at this GenCon that he met Gary Gygax, who had founded the Castle & Crusade Society in the International Federation of Wargamers in the 1960s at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, not far from Daveís home in Minnesota. They also shared an interest in sailing ship games that would bear fruit when they collaborated on the book Donít Give Up The Ship! (1971, Guidon Games).

The ideas of wargaming helped define the rules to apply to the acting gaming called "role-playing." Role-playing involves more one-on-one combat than wargaming could allow. And it was this that the group wanted. Originally Arneson played his own mix of rules, using rock, paper, scissors to resolve combat. Later he adapted a set of rules intended for conducting naval combat. These rules had an armor class system like that which would be used later in D&D. In particular, the lower the armor class, the harder the ship (or creature) was to hit.

Dave later dabbled with the Chainmail rules, written by Gygax and Jeff Perren, but found them lacking. He wrote his own rules in his own play, applying his own to his role-playing game scenarios and brought in his own rules. But Chainmail was on a similar track to what Dave had in mind, combining fantasy elements with real-world rules. He thought that Gygax would be interested in role-playing, as he was already a game-maker with similar interests, and he helped to start the game Blackmoor. They then worked together on the game.

In the early 1970s, Arneson's gaming group in Minnesota began the Blackmoor campaign and has continued to play to the present.

After phone and mail design collaboration, Gygax and Arneson wanted to publish the game, but Arneson could not afford to invest in the venture. Don Kaye provided funding to publish D&D in 1974, which became a sold-out success. Blackmoor became one of the two major settings for the game. Differences between the two led to legal actions which were resolved out of court. But Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax went their separate ways.

In the early 1980s Arneson established his own game company, Adventure Games, which produced the miniature games Johnny Reb and Harpoon. He wrote the Adventures in Fantasy RPG (with co-author Richard L. Snider), which can be seen as D&D as he envisioned it. Adventure Games published several games and made money, but Arneson handed it over to Flying Buffalo as the workload became unbearable.

In the 1990s, he began working at Full Sail, a private university that teaches multimedia subjects, as a professor of computer game design. Arneson and Dustin Clingman founded Zeitgeist Games to produce an updated, D20 System version of the Blackmoor setting. Goodman Games published and distributed this new Blackmoor in 2004. Arneson moved back to Minnesota when he learned he had terminal cancer.

                                            Cort N


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Re: Another D&D Notable has passed away
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2009, 12:19:19 PM »

"Friendship is like peeing your pants, everyone can see it, But only you can feel the true warmth"


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Re: Another D&D Notable has passed away
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2009, 04:46:06 PM »
He will be missed very much by both gamers and game developers. With out his ideas I wouldn't be playing or making the games I do today.  :(


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Re: Another D&D Notable has passed away
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2009, 09:45:12 PM »
The work of Gygax and Arneson is the reason I am who I am today.

Thank them, or blame them... that's your choice. :)
"The final word, then, is the game." - Gary Gygax