Dave Arneson D&D’s Other Founder

arnesenDave Arneson is “The Father of Role-Playing” – it says so on his business card (which I still have). He’s famous but kind of got a raw deal. He was part of the original group who created Dungeons & Dragons. He created the first supplement (Blackmoor – I have an original copy) and the combat board game, Chainmail. Unfortunately he got squeezed out (that’s Gygax’s term), Arneson said “forced otut” to me and there was a decade or two of rivalry and bitterness. I first met Dave Arneson at Gen Con in 2002,  . .

. . . . just a few months before he had a non-fatal stroke.

That explains why a man then in his late 50’s could look so fragile. Honestly, at the time I thought the man was pushing 70. Like a wizard from his games he was wise and still enthusiastic about gaming. He was working a Full Sail College and had plans in software and movies (a bit part, cut from the film, in the Dungeons & Dragons movie). I took his picture which appeared in the original GameSpy article.

I saw him again at the next couple Gen Cons and we remaind friendly.  He said I was the only game journalist who followed him around. Silly me, I just thought he was interesting as hell. So important, mostly forgotten, but plugging along anyway. He died a couple days ago at the age of 61. Old before his time but wise too. You might say he took a critical hit and failed his saving throw. Rest in peace Dave. A man who’s heaven just might be a group of guys, a handful of dice and a couple pizzas.

Here’s that article

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  1. good article, I am kind of a fan of both Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax.

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