Thursday, October 1, 2020

Who in the World is Dave Arneson?

Last year, Joseph Goodman asked me to write a pair of articles for the Goodman Games website, celebrating Dave Arneson and his contributions to the roleplaying hobby. Both articles have been republished this year, the first of which is entitled, "Who in the World is Dave Arneson?" 

In that article, I make reference to two things I encountered around roughly the same time (1983) that first drew my attention more seriously to Arneson. The first is an advertisement in the pages of issue #75 of Dragon, announcing that that year's Origins Guest of Honor would be none other than the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons. Apologies for the poor quality of the scan, but the original in Dragon isn't much better, sadly. 

The second is an endorsement from the box bottom of Grenadier Models' line of Dragon Lords miniatures, the successor to their official AD&D minis after TSR terminated their licensing agreement with them.

These are the first two times I'd ever set eyes upon Dave Arneson's likeness. Before then, he was little more than one name among many I'd see referenced in the credits of a D&D book. Otherwise, he was unknown to me and would largely remain so for a few years more. Now, it's hard to imagine that there really was a time when one of the creators of my favorite pastime was a mystery.


  1. He sorta captures my imagination more than the other early designers. When I read the 3.5 Blackmoor adaptation it was just fantastic. You could feel the way it was built over decades of play. There is something magical about Arneson's invention of the role playing part of the game...w/o it we wouldn't have any of the rest of this.

  2. He also created Adventures in Fantasy, but as it did not do well its been ignored from his history, more so as he created it to compete with DnD