Today, October 1st is Dave Arneson Game Day. He would have been 69 years old today.
Co-Creator of Dungeons & Dragons
Dave Arneson is perhaps best well-known as the Co-Creator of Dungeons & Dragons, along with Gary Gygax. It is said that he first altered the Chainmail miniatures rules and created classes, leveling-up, and the “dungeon” environment as a primary site of adventure. After presenting these changes to Gygax and company in Lake Geneva, WI, and after long hours on the phone and corresponding by mail between the two the Dungeons & Dragons rules were born.
As a young teenager in Pittsburgh, PA I had little knowledge of Dave Arneson not having started with original brown box books and supplements, but the Holmes Basic set instead. It wasn’t until much later in life that I would become more keenly aware of the contributions that Dave made to my hobby.
I was aware of the publication of the DA series of Dungeons & Dragons modules, but I was playing Advanced Dungeons & Dragons by then, and there was little interest in going back to what we called “old” D&D. And of course I was aware when the Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor products were being published shortly after the turn of the century, but we were heavily entrenced in the Forgotten Realms at that point.
Then one day, thirteen months after we lost Gary Gygax, I heard that Dave had died too.
Just like that the visionaries who had created my life long hobby were gone.
To this day I have never played in Blackmoor, but I’m keen to give it a try before too long. I’ll give the DA series modules a try and I may even try to get my hands on the Code Monkey/Goodman/Zeitgeist products and give them a whirl.