Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Arneson and Gygax

I've only mentioned Arneson and Gygax once in my blog. Time to do so again.

During the past month I've read through the comic Order of the Stick, which I enjoy but only read in spurts because its pace is so slow.

(Tangentially, my absolute favorite OotS comics are this one and this one.)

The comic's author/illustrator, Rich Burlew, wrote commemorative comics when Arneson and Gygax passed away. Dave Arneson invented the whole concept of a storytelling game with one person being the "narrator" and everyone else playing a single character. Gary Gygax was the writer, who took his and Arneson's ideas and brought them to the world.

Gygax will soon have a memorial statue in his hometown. At least that's what the news is reporting. Everyone knows there the main part is underneath, through a secret door.

What would be a fitting memorial for Arneson? Why, an annual adventuring day in his honor.

UPDATE: A bit more detail. Apparently David Wesely was before Arneson and invented polyhedral dice. His gaming was not fantasy storytelling, but playing a miniatures combat scenario with a referee whose job was handling hidden movement, resolving rule ambiguity, and helping spectators participate. Arneson took what Wesely had done and turned it into fantasy storytelling. For more information, go to this link and search the page for "The Secret History of Dungeons & Dragons".

UPDATE: Another long history here, written by David Bowman.

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