A sad day for DnD players. Dave Arneson past. It sounds like he was the one who said "Let's play a game." Every one else seems to have followed his lead. I wonder if he carved dice by hand and killed a bare when he was three.
|Though Gygax was the the man that gave everyone DnD, it was Arneson
that actually conceptualized the idea of role-playing.
The story is that Arneson was playing a medieval wargame at his house where he was trying to come up with reasons why you wouldn't want specific troops to die. He made a rule that one of the figures on the map was "you". After that, people would get in character and talk smack to each other as if they were the medieval character. Somehow, the rest of the troops were ditched, and people only played their character. Since Arneson was the game judge, he came up with scenarios that pitted people's characters against environmental obstacles and monsters while everyone's character was fighting each other. The players discovered that they enjoyed working as a team against Arneson's obstacles more than they did fighting each other. These environmental obstacles eventually became Blackmoor.
Later, Arneson was running his Blackmoor game at his house and invited Gygax over to play. Gygax went over and immediately realized the potential of this new way of playing games, wrote the game down and published it.
Still, the very first DM ever was Arneson.
I was fortunate enough to talk to him a couple of times. (I wouldn't describe the man as "fun", "crotchety" is more apropos.) I have some stuff signed by him too.
Blackmoor was a land filled with knights, wizards, frogmen, robots and spaceships. It's funny that no one has ever tried to match the creativity of that setting since. (Maybe Darksun). I may have to add a Frog Temple to the current campaign, in his memory.
There are official words about his death and life.
Dave Arneson, one of the co-creators of the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy game and a pioneer of role-playing entertainment, died after a two-year battle with cancer, his family said Thursday. He was 61.
Arneson's daughter, Malia Weinhagen, said her father died peacefully Tuesday in hospice care in St. Paul.
Arneson and Gygax were dedicated tabletop wargamers who recreated historical battles with painted miniature armies and fleets. They met in 1969 at a convention, and their first collaboration, along with Mike Carr, was a set of rules for sailing-ship battles called "Don't Give Up the Ship!"
In later years, Dave published other role-playing games and started his own game-publishing company and computer game company. He also taught classes in game design. He was inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design Hall of Fame in 1984.
Weinhagen said her father enjoyed teaching game design at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Fla., in recent years, where he taught students to make a solid set of rules for their games.
"He said if you have a good foundation and a good set of rules, people would play the game again," Weinhagen said.
Arneson is survived by Weinhagen and two grandchildren
I never met the man. I never cared enough to know he existed while he was alive. I do not morn his passing. I'm glad he was there and did a good job. I move on.