Daily Illuminator

April 10, 2009: Dave Arneson

Dave Arneson, co-creator of the original Dungeons & Dragons, died on April 7.

Dave never did get as much attention as the other guy whose name was on the box, and he never will. Sometimes things just work out that way. But it was, from all accounts, Dave who had the original breakthrough idea "What if instead of commanding an army of miniatures, you were just playing a single figure . . . call him 'your character' . . . and that figure could try to do anything you could think of?"

I didn't know Dave as well as I would have liked to, but I never heard him say a grumpy word (an amazing thing, in this often-grumpy hobby), and I always enjoyed his company. He was one of the good guys.

Rick Loomis has written a short but heartfelt tribute to Dave, and the current episode of Rich Burlew's Order of the Stick gives credit where credit is due. (Update: As of the afternoon of April 10, Dave's passing is getting a gratifying amount of media recognition. Here's the AP story as it appeared in the NY Times, and here's the CNN link.)

Dave will be missed.

-- Steve Jackson


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