Thursday, December 15, 2022


When I was re-reading the Dungeons & Dragons Companion Rules before writing yesterday's retrospective post, I was surprised by the final paragraph of the set's preface, which reads:

This game is like a huge tree, grown from the seeds planted in 1972 and even earlier. But as a plant needs water and sun, so does a game need proper "backing" – a company to make it. As the saying goes, "for want of a nail, the war was lost"; and for want of a company the D&D game might have been lost amidst the lean and turbulent years of the last decade. This set is therefore dedicated to an oft-neglected leader of TSR, Inc; who, with Gary Gygax, founded this company and made it grow. The D&D Companion Set is dedicated to 


Brian Blume is a figure from the early days of the hobby who, when he's remembered at all, is usually demonized, in large part, I suppose, because of the roles he and his brother, Kevin, played in the "exile" of Gary Gygax to California (to head up TSR Entertainment) and in facilitating the takeover of the company by the even more demonized Lorraine Williams. Leaving aside my own feelings on the matter, I nevertheless find it remarkable that Frank Mentzer, who often talks about "my friend, Gary" in reference to Gygax, would, at this late a date, write so glowingly about Blume. 

At the time the D&D Companion was published (1984), tensions between Gygax and Blumes were already well past the boiling point. Indeed, Gygax would soon begin his Cent-Jours, returning from Hollywood, replacing Blue as president and CEO of TSR, and attempting to right the company's direction by a whirlwind program of publishing books like Unearthed Arcana and Oriental Adventures, among many others. Ultimately, this attempt failed and Blume and his brother were instrumental in assuring that failure. 

Given all of this, why did Mentzer go out of his way to include this dedication? The cynic in me wants to believe that this was mere flattery of the boss, since Blume was still in charge of TSR at the time the Companion was in production. Equally plausible is that Mentzer simply felt, as I do too, that, whatever else you may think of him, Brian Blume did play an important and indeed pivotal role in ensuring that TSR and, more significantly, Dungeons & Dragons, came into existence. For that, he deserved genuine thanks and appreciation, hence the dedication.


  1. please note that wherever Gary went, people were unreasonable jerks, and he could not possibly work with them. Brian, Dave, Rob, and others. no amount of old-friendship could get in the way of Gary's Divine Right....

    1. Yeah, funny how that worked out, isn't it?

      But whatever anyone thinks of Gygax, one thing's for sure - it's not his Divine Right. That credit belongs to Glenn and Kenneth Rahman with the assistance of Sutherland and Trampier's artwork. :)

    2. someone, I think on here, commented that they joined a game at a convention, and the guy next to them was brian blume, and it kind of blew them away. seemed nice, but mostly, we just have no idea about the guy, he stayed out of my view...

  2. I think you are correct and that I too wish that the dedication is genuine. Those first two sentences are true, and it is now clear how many contributed to the game and its success. As much as I admire and am grateful for his energy and direction, adult me now believes that it wasn't just down to Gary Gygax.