Thursday, April 09, 2009

R.I.P., Dave Arneson

Just a little over a year ago, Gary Gygax died. And now we learn, via BoingBoing, that Dave Arneson, the other co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons, has passed away as well. Arneson wasn't as famous as Gygax and didn't popularize the game the way he did, but from all reports he was just as instrumental in developing the basic rules of D&D as Gygax was. That's understating things, though: he was just as instrumental in developing the entire concept of role-playing games as Gygax was. That's a pretty remarkable feat, if you think about it. Here's a nice cartoon tribute.

Another tribute to Arneson is that back in 2007 when I was collecting old D&D products off of eBay, I never did manage to win an auction for the DA ("Dave Arneson") series of modules; they were consistently some of the most sought-after (and, hence, expensive) titles out there.


At Monday, April 13, 2009 at 7:13:00 AM PDT, Blogger Richard Mason said...

I'm truly surprised to see how many modules, like the DA modules, were apparently published for Basic/Expert Dungeons and Dragons.

I would have said that Basic/Expert D&D was an evolutionary dead end and few people played it as compared to AD&D.

At Monday, April 13, 2009 at 11:04:00 AM PDT, Blogger Adam Villani said...

I've often wondered that, too. How many people played non-Advanced D&D beyond Expert level? At the "Companion" level they started having weird stuff about your characters building strongholds and having hordes of henchmen, and then if you ever looked at the Immortals rules, it's like an entirely different game. The whole "quick and dirty" aspect of Basic and Expert D&D gets lost when they start introducing all of those new concepts at higher levels.

I think I started off playing regular D&D but quickly moved to AD&D, though I think I still played Basic or Advanced D&D from time to time if I just wanted something low-level and quick, or if I was playing with inexperienced players.

The two parallel systems sure seemed like a weird way of doing business... I'm surprised they kept it up for so long.


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