In pretty much any industry there are a handful of people who are responsible for creating, building and growing that industry. We often call them the “Father of…” and Mr. Arneson was definately one of the Big Daddies of D&D.
Even if you’ve never picked up a 20 sided die, or thumbed through a Monster Manual, all players of the World of Warcraft owe this gentelman a dept of thanks. He was instrumental with the creation of the very basics of role playing games, both table top and digital, that we enjoy today. The idea that each player controls one hero in the game and that hero becomes more powerful through adventure and experience come from Mr. Arneson.
His passing is noted on the D&D website (here’s the link) and the story popped up on CNN.com today as well. As mentioned on CNN.com “What began as a hand-assembled print run of 1,000 games quickly sold out. Young people all over the world started buying up the game. By 1982, sales broke the $20 million mark.” Thats $20 million in 1982! Depending on how you look at it that could be anywhere from $45 to $80 million today (calcualtor at MeasuringWorth.com).
No matter how you look at it…what an impressive legacy. Millions of fans, millions of dollars and countless spinoffs and copies. What started out literally at someones kictchen table with an idea, a couple of dice and a notebook has spawned an industry that is enjoyed by millions around the world.
If you’re an old player of Dungeons and Dragons that has not looked into the game for a few years now might be the time to pick up a new copy. I think I’m going to head out and find a shiney new Players Manual myself. Thank you Mr. Arneson.