Posted by billward on Oct 1, 2022
Who in the World is Dave Arneson?
Our Appendix N Archeology and Adventures in Fiction series are meant to take a look at the writers and creators behind the genre(s) that helped to forge not only our favorite hobby but our lives. We invite you to explore the entirety of the series on our Adventures In Fiction home page. “Who in the World is Dave Arneson?” A Dave Arneson Homage, Part 1 of 2 by James Maliszewski David Arneson, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, was born on October 1, 1947, and passed away in 2009. In honor of his contributions to the hobby, we present this two-part essay. Here is the first part, and the second part will appear later today. Like many my age, I was introduced to roleplaying games through the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set whose rulebook was edited by Dr. J. Eric Holmes. Upon reading it, I was immediately enthralled and soon acquired the Monster Manual, the first of many TSR products that I would seek out over the weeks and months to come. What most of these later purchases had in common is that they proudly bore the byline of Gary Gygax on their covers, their spines, and/or their title pages. Being young and wholly ignorant of the history of this strange new hobby I was undertaking, I subconsciously started to associate Gygax’s name with Dungeons & Dragons, to the point that I could scarcely think of one without the other. This habit of thought only became more pronounced as I began to read Dragon regularly, since Mr. Gygax usually had one or more columns or articles in each issue. Through the pages of the magazine, he was the game’s greatest advocate and promoter – and why not? He was the creator of D&D, after all, and, by extension, of the very concept of roleplaying games, this remarkable new form of entertainment to which I devoted so much of my free time. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I hung on every word that Gygax penned in Dragon and looked forward to reading them each month. I very distinctly recall receiving issue #75 in the mail in July 1983 and tore into it with vigor, for it contained a lengthy preview of the forthcoming Monster Manual II. As I read the issue, I came across a – to my mind anyway – very strange advertisement announcing the Special Guest of...