I just heard from a friend that Dave Arneson, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, has died. Damn. I eulogized, if I can call it that, Gary Gygax a while back, and now Dave…
Dave never really got a fair shake, or appropriate credit, or his due as one of the creators of roleplaying, but he never let that get him down, at least not around me. He was one of the sweetest, kindest, humblest guys I ever met. And, man, did he loves games. He was an ace designer, by all reports a creative player (though I was never lucky enough to play with him), a dedicated teacher and a mentor to scads of up-and-coming game developers. He always had time to chat, was always interested in what others were doing, how they were doing, what they were playing….
It’s unlikely the mainstream press will report Dave’s passing the way they noted Gary Gygax’s, which is a real shame. Those who knew him, and those who know the facts behind the legend, will remember Dave with equal, maybe greater, affection. He was one of the Good Guys, an all-around fine fellow, as my wife would say, and he’ll be missed. More important, he’ll be remembered as long as people roll those funny dice and create characters and tell stories together in a way they might never have been able to if Dave hadn’t arrived on the scene.
Dave changed things, but was never changed by them. I can’t think of a better epitaph than that.