Dave Arneson

By: Joe Alterio
September 30, 2009


“Who am I?”

“You’re DAVE ARNESON (1947-2009), who some claim was the true visionary behind modern role-playing games — though your partner, the more business-minded Gary Gygax, has superceded you in RPG mythology.”

“OK, I try to develop the first fantasy role-playing game.”

“Roll to see if your INT score is high enough. You made it! Using rock-paper-scissors, and later dice, to resolve challenges in the game, you develop Blackmoor, a fantasy RPG which you take to Gygax, whom you’d met at his annual gaming convention. Together, you develop a set of rules that becomes Dungeons & Dragons. In ’74, Gygax incorporates TSR to publish it. Now roll a saving throw against a Spell of Betrayal.”

“Oh, no. I fail!”

“Rough luck. Two years later, you leave TSR, and later sue them for royalties on Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Despite going on to write early computer role-playing games, you’ve garnered only enough XP to level up to Forgotten Cultural Icon.”

— Text and illustration by Joe Alterio. To view a gallery of Alterio’s HiLobrow illustrations, click here.


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What do you think?

  1. Its about time someone paid tribute to the noble and understated genius of Arneson. And who better to helm this ambitious hilobrow ship than the indomitable Joe Alterio? Kudos, sir! Level 20 Bigbys Magic Kudos all around!

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