D&D General Dave Arneson’s Pitch for the future of TSR and D&D in ‘97 to Peter Adkison

Following his 1997 application for a job at WotC, D&D co-creator Dave Arneson wrote a second letter to WoTC founder Peter Adkison and made a pitch about how he'd run TSR and D&D.

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Despite his excitement his plans seem underwhelming.

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My heart already bleeds for Arneson. The man has never received his due as D&D’s co-creator. He never made CEO. He wasn’t on Futurama. TSR and Gary Gygax did him dirty. (This has been explored in my prior post and in Game Wizards by Jon Peterson.)

This letter is Arneson’s moment. If he wants to make D&D for a living again, he has to put points on the board, and he has to do it with this letter. Now. But he hasn’t even bothered to check his punctuation!

Six pages of his research and plans follow. Here’s a summary, but I’m pasting the letter below if you want to thrill to every misspelled word.

In the main, Arneson’s thoughts are nothing you wouldn’t have heard hanging around a game store in the spring of 1997. He said that all of TSR’s projects were “dead in the water,” which the whole world knew as the company hadn’t published anything for months.


See Ben Riggs article for the full letter and more of his observations.

 
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I wouldn't call them terrible in the same way his first letter was, no. I would say that he mostly either states the obvious (like relocating to Seattle or trimming back on D&D's many worlds) or is too vague (Computer Stuff - is he talking about play aids, videogames, online forums?).

Interesting find!

I don't think his observations were nearly as terrible as the author makes them out to be though.
 

darjr

I crit!
Synnibar creator Raven McCracken chimes in with a very unflattering anecdote about Peter Adkison. One I find rather difficult to believe, IMHO. Still I boggle at the possibility that there could have been a WotC Synnibar edition.
 



Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Synnibar creator Raven McCracken chimes in with a very unflattering anecdote about Peter Adkison. One I find rather difficult to believe, IMHO. Still I boggle at the possibility that there could have been a WotC Synnibar edition.
I can't speak to what McCracken says, mostly because I can't find the comment of his that you're referencing, but it's worth noting that John Tynes confirms that McCracken did interview for a job with WotC:

The first thing I noticed about my new employer was how the halls of the offices ran rampant with representatives of alt culture. Up to that point managers' hiring practices seemingly consisted of recruiting anyone they gamed, partied or slept with, and preferably all three. If you were a Seattle gamer in 1994-95, you had to be willfully incompetent to not get a job at Wizards. (That happened, of course. One guy interviewing for a customer service position expressed enthusiasm at the anything-goes dress code, since it meant he could wear his "Star Trek" uniform to work every day. I myself interviewed Raven C.S. McCracken, who was already a legendary industry boob for his terrible self-published role-playing game, the World of Synnibarr. When Raven told me that if I didn't hire him his next job interview would be at Burger King, I thanked him for his time and politely showed him the door. The aspiring Enterprise crewman suffered the same fate.)
 


darjr

I crit!
I can't speak to what McCracken says, mostly because I can't find the comment of his that you're referencing, but it's worth noting that John Tynes confirms that McCracken did interview for a job with WotC:
Thank you for that!

Duplicating it here goes against my policy of generally not posting Facebook quotes cause of the nature of their privacy protocols. Unless it’s obviously for public consumption. I think I’ll ask him.
 


Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
Thank you for that!

Duplicating it here goes against my policy of generally not posting Facebook quotes cause of the nature of their privacy protocols. Unless it’s obviously for public consumption. I think I’ll ask him.
Is it OK to post that screenshot? All the comments are on apublic post, but I've erased the other names now.
 

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