There was a false alarm that Dave was gone the other day. Now, it seems it’s for real. Sources: Monte Cook, Ken Hite, John Kovalic, citing his family. At the age of 61, Dave Arneson has passed away from cancer.
Dave, for those of my readers who do not know, was the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons. Mr Hite’s eulogy above gives a list of some things he brought to the game, and it’s a long-running argument among some circles which one of the two came up with what aspects of D&D. I am not taking a stand on that. What matters today is that it took Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson together to come up with the game, and the hobby, that we love.
Now, both of them are gone, and the hobby is less for it.
By the time I started roleplaying games in the mid-nineties, Dave hadn’t been a prominent figure in it for quite some time. I think I sorta always knew who Gary Gygax was, but I can remember the exact place where I found out about Dave Arneson. It was Dragon, issue 249, the very last page, in one of the author and game designer profile pieces they used to run.
While I must admit I am not deeply familiar with any of Dave’s works – even any edition of D&D before the blue book – his contribution to gaming cannot be measured in rulebooks and modules. Without Dave Arneson, it is doubtful there would ever have been any rulebooks or modules.
Goodbye, Dave, and thanks.