You know you’re a geek if this annoucement saddens you. But Dave Arneson has passed away. Along with Gary Gygax, who died last year, he created the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game in the early 1970s.
I have a confession: D&D was never my favorite roleplaying game. It was Tolkien, and I like Tolkien, but I didn’t like him that much. I preferred science-fiction games like Traveller, which I recently tried to run. But that doesn’t take away from the cultural icon that was D&D. Geeky it may have been, but D&D sparked the imagination of a lot of teenagers, some of whom still play it as adults. It was the seed that sprouted literally hundreds of roleplaying games ranging from high fantasy to vampiric horror to science fiction and cyberpunk.
Fantasy roleplaying isn’t what it was in the 1970s and 1980s. It’s become a hobby of 30- and 40-somethings. For many kids today, roleplaying is a computer game. That’s too bad. Nothing will ever beat the immersiveness and excitement of sitting at a table as a dungeonmaster used word and pencil to weave a story of adventure and intrigue. No gorgeous graphics, no voiceovers by Hollywood actors, can match the power of the power of the human imagination to transport itself to a more exciting world.