12 April, 2009
I was shocked to learn yesterday that Dave Arneson had passed away. I was shocked for three reasons: First, it is the death of someone I admire. Second, when someone passes away who created something I grew up with, it gives you that, “Oh, crap, I’m getting old!” feeling.
Finally, it shocked me it took so long to find out. When Gary Gygax passed away, lots of people posted about it and it was all over the blogosphere. But, then again, Dave was the less showy of the two from all the stories I’ve heard.
Some thoughts after the jump.
I had the privilege of hearing Dave talk at Gen Con a few years ago. He was with David Wesely talking about the early days of RPGs, back before D&D. They talked about some more free-form type war games, called “Braunstein”, which inspired Arneson to create Blackmoor. It was fascinating to hear their memories about role-playing before people figured out they were playing RPGs for someone interested in the history of games like myself.
Back when Gygax had passed away, I spent time reminding people that Arneson was still around. Gygax was obviously better at self-promotion and getting his name out there. Once again people should see that “if you build it they will come” is not entirely true; you need to make sure you stand out from the others. I hope others take time to remember the other person who helped bring the games we love so dearly to us.
It’s sad that a person who so greatly influenced my life both directly and indirectly has passed away. I wish his friends and family the best in these times. He will certainly be missed.