Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Shout-Out to Dave Hargrave

It's no secret that, when it comes to RPGs, I have a fairly narrow range of interests. In my younger days, the Holy Trinity consisted of AD&D, Traveller, and Call of Cthulhu (in that order). I played other games, of course, but I played very few of them with the same level of frequency and enthusiasm as I played these three. During the late '80s and throughout much of the '90s, I expanded my interests somewhat, partially because I was trying my hand at professional RPG writing and it only made sense to cast my net as widely as possible, but those years were unusual.

Consequently, I haven't been paying much attention to the development of a fantasy RPG called 13th Age, written by Jonathan Tweet and Rob Heinsoo and published by Pelgrane Press. From what I had gathered, 13th Age is a kinda-sorta clone of D&D IV. Since I wasn't interested in 4e the first time around, I certainly had no interest in its clone version.

The reason I mention 13th Age at all is because of a blog post by Jonathan Tweet, pointed out to me by reader Greg Oakes. In it, Tweet heaps praises upon Dave Hargrave of Arduin Grimoire fame and notes the degree to which his latest game owes to him. It's really gratifying to see this, as I think Hargrave is under-appreciated outside the OSR. Heck, even within the OSR, I think there's less appreciation of him than there ought to be (says the man guilty of this very thing for years). 13th Age doesn't really sound like my kind of game, but knowing that its designers took a page or two from Dave Hargrave -- and aren't shy about saying so -- made me smile nonetheless.


  1. And the nice thing is that it's all available again as reprints from Emperor's Choice []. Plus you can get miniatures of Air Sharks, Phraints, and Saurigs! Yay!

    [Personally I found 13th Age interesting because of how the players get to create a fact about the world as it relates to their character.]

  2. When I saw the Arduin Grimoire at 12 it blew my head off. Seeing at it as adult, I was stunned by the lack of internal consistency. There's something random about it. But when I put that aside, it still blows my head off. I have a theory that that Tomb Of Horrors is Gygax imitating Hargrave (who was imitating him).

  3. Dave Hargrave always seemed to be like the Nikola Tesla of old school gaming

    And I have a theory that Raven McCracken was emulating him when he came up with Synnibarr

  4. From what I've seen of Synnibarr it's much closer to Rifts then it is with Arduin, which if you were to look through the entire Grimoires, only two pages have rules for firearms and techno weapons and less then a handfull of races( mostly of the NPC variety) would have access to them, if at all.

    Also, Jonathan Tweet and Rob Heinsoo refer to the Arduin Adventure as a major influence on 13th Age and was very much Hargrave's version of the Red Box as it focused entirely on basic clases, magic and monsters from his campaign world.

  5. John Harper BrinegarOctober 15, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    Gygax can't be imitating Hargrave with Tomb of Horrors, since it predates AG1 (it was the tournament scenario for Origins 1 in 1975).

  6. Cool. Thank you for pointing that out. Looks like that theory was wrong. :)