Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Thoughts In Loving Memory: Dave Arneson

Sadly, directly from Dave Arneson's family, by way of Grognardia:

Shortly after 11pm on Tuesday, April 7th, Dave Arneson passed away. He was comfortable and with family at the time and his passing was peaceful.

The Arneson family would like to thank everyone for their support over the last few days, and for the support the entire community has shown Dave over the years.

We are in the process of making final arrangements and will provide additional details as we work them out. We will continue to receive cards and letters in Dave's honor. We are planning to hold a public visitation so that anyone wishing to say their goodbye in person has the opportunity to do so.

Cards and letters can continue to be sent:
Dave Arneson
1043 Grand Avenue
Box #257
St. Paul, MN

Visitation will be on April 20th
Time: yet to be determined
Bradshaw Funeral Home
687 Snelling Avenue South
St. Paul, MN 55105

I had originally typed out my thoughts on Professor Arneson when we had erroneously received reports of his passing yesterday. I'll repost them now:

Dave Arneson, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, has passed away. The Quiet Titan has left us.

During his lifetime, he often saw his accomplishments and contributions to the game cast in the shadow of the more prolific Gygax, and perhaps that was partly his choice. But these facts remain: Dave Arneson was a vital part of the founding of the hobby, dating back to Major Wesley's Braunstein. We wouldn't have the D&D we have without him. The jump from Chainmail to OD&D wouldn't have happened as it did without Professor Arneson. Just as you cannot have D&D without Gygax, you cannot have it without Arneson. Whatever their (oft-exagerrated) differences in life, these men were twin titans. They gave birth to a hobby. They gave birth to a million stories. They gave birth to something of meaning and import to so many.

How do you quantify such an impact, such a life, into a single article? The words themselves of his passing seem to carry a great weight to me. It is as if a silent giant on the horizon is suddenly gone. And its only then we realize just what sort of a shadow was cast. Such a statement should be shouted, should tremble and shake the foundations and furthest reaches of our hobby! Hit points, armor class, dungeons--these are part of what we owe to him!

We are poorer for having lost such a rare soul, but what a legacy! To have created that which made so many so happy! To know at the end of your labors, you--you--had created something that was new under the sun. It is only a part of the sum of a life, but such a part as many could not have dreamed of. As for Professor Arneson, he was once asked in an interview how he'd like to be remembered:

"The world in general? That I was a good grandpa -- that's a good one … I don't know, "Father of role-playing games?" I got a sign that says that somewhere".

You should have never needed a sign, Professor Arneson. We knew it all along.

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