In the nearly a year since I started this blog -- hard to believe it's been that long! -- I've tried very hard to get information from a variety of sources regarding the history of the hobby in general and of D&D in particular. It's been a fascinating, if regularly frustrating, endeavor and I'm very glad I've undertaken it.
One of the great difficulties I've encountered is that far fewer things about the early days have been documented than I would like. That means having to rely upon the often-incomplete memories of the people involved. Those memories are further cast into some doubt because they've been colored by decades of squabbles, disputes, and rivalries. Anyone who's read the Q&A threads on Dragonsfoot, for example, knows that, while it's been 35 years since the publication of OD&D, many of those associated with its genesis and growth still have decidedly strong feelings about some of the other people associated with them and aren't afraid to make their opinions known.
I'm not surprised by such behavior nor do I find it notably distasteful. Rather, I find it typically human, which is to say, I don't find carrying grudges for decades to be praiseworthy but neither do I condemn anyone who finds it hard to forgive past slights. Being someone who's borne a few grudges well past their sell-by date myself, I understand this phenomenon, even if I am trying very hard to overcome my own participation in it.
Which brings me to Brian Blume. Mere mention of his name is usually enough to send some grognards into fits of apoplexy, as he and his brother, Kevin, are frequently cast in the role of serpents in the Garden of Gygax, the source of all that is evil in the history of TSR. And, to be, fair, the Brothers Blume are responsible for selling their controlling stake in the company to Lorraine Williams in 1985, a vengeful act that had many negative consequences for the hobby and the industry well into the 21st century.
Yet, despite that, I find Brian Blume an intriguing figure. This is the guy who convinced his father to cough up the money necessary to publish OD&D in 1974. This is also the guy who co-authored Eldritch Wizardry, Boot Hill -- a highly underrated RPG -- and Warriors of Mars with Gary Gygax. By some accounts, he's also the creator of Vecna, an anagrammatic homage to Jack Vance. Indeed, Blume was reputedly an even bigger aficionado of pulp fantasy than was Gygax, whose own tastes in fantasy were obviously a bit more catholic.
And yet, so far as I can tell, no one has tracked him down to talk to him about the old days or to attempt to get his perspective on the story of TSR. Maybe someone has and I've just missed it, but, from what I have gathered, Brian Blume remains something of an enigma. Some, no doubt, are happy for him to remain so. He's clearly -- and rightly -- a controversial figure, but I can see no reason to treat him as a pariah, regardless of the bad business decisions he and his brother may have made or what Gary Gygax felt about him. I hold Gary's memory in high regard. Even so, that doesn't mean I shared his estimation of everything and everyone, particularly when, as is the case with Brian Blume, we don't have the other side of the story.
Maybe I take this history stuff too seriously, but one day I'd really like to talk to Brian Blume.