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D&D General Dave Arneson: Is He Underrated, or Overrated?

I would assume their names are in the books, but if you don't have the books, or you got them early enough that reading the legal information page wasn't normal... that information can pass you by.
A friend of mine was due to go on holiday to Switzerland a few years ago. He was looking for things to do in the Geneva region, and told me he'd found out there was D&D convention called GaryCon taking place there and he was thinking of going to it. He's been playing D&D for 40 years, so I looked at him in disbelief. The conversation went something like this.

Me: No, GaryCon is held in Lake Geneva
Him: That's where we're going
Me: No, you're going to Geneva in Switzerland. Lake Geneva is in the USA
Him: Really? I've never heard of it
Me: Why don't you get your AD&D 1st edition players handbook down from the shelf behind you, and look at the title page ...
 

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Chaosmancer

Legend
Jonathan Tweet and Monte Cook are both big industry names, who have a wide assortment of influential products both before and after their work in 3e D&D. They have shown up a fair amount in discussions on these forums, including a popular Jonathan Tweet article talking about the 3e design of the Cleric and Monte Cook's Planebreaker Kickstarter within the past few days. Do their names come up? Yep. And I know that you've been using terms coined by them quite a bit in your discussion. Does "LFQW" / "Linear Fighter, Quadratic Wizard" ring any bells? Monte Cook coined that.

I honestly have no idea how one could participate in this forum for as long as you have and not know who they are. It's almost astounding. Flabergasted even. Like I'm gonna have to take a short walk as I process this.

Embarrassed Shame GIF

I didn't know he coined that phrase.

Like I said, I've seen Monte's name, just never directly tied to DnD 3E. That could be entirely on me. I own that, I own the shame. But, I think it also helps to demonstrate that when talking about "does this person get too much credit" that very very rarely is that the case. It is far more often that people get too little credit and recognition by a wide audience, while only a small hardcore group knows the full story and might be giving them too much credit.
 



Aldarc

Legend
I didn't know he coined that phrase.

Like I said, I've seen Monte's name, just never directly tied to DnD 3E. That could be entirely on me. I own that, I own the shame. But, I think it also helps to demonstrate that when talking about "does this person get too much credit" that very very rarely is that the case. It is far more often that people get too little credit and recognition by a wide audience, while only a small hardcore group knows the full story and might be giving them too much credit.
Monte Cook arguably gets more credit for 3e than his co-contributors (i.e., Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet), but a big part of that has to do with him being forthright about the behind-the-scenes design decisions of 3.0 and his public backlash against 3.5. (In short, 3.5 D&D was an intentional WotC cash-grab, with 3.0 being designed to test and prepare for 3.5.)
 

Rune

Once A Fool
I didn't know he coined that phrase.

Like I said, I've seen Monte's name, just never directly tied to DnD 3E. That could be entirely on me. I own that, I own the shame. But, I think it also helps to demonstrate that when talking about "does this person get too much credit" that very very rarely is that the case. It is far more often that people get too little credit and recognition by a wide audience, while only a small hardcore group knows the full story and might be giving them too much credit.
I think part of the reason we don’t talk so much about the developers of 3e as historical figures (within the industry) is that they’re pretty much all still creating things in the industry. They are of course an important part of the history, but it doesn’t feel like history yet. To some of us, at least.

I would include Ryan Dancey in your research, by the way. Without him we never would have gotten an Open Gaming License, which completely changed the industry.
 


GuyBoy

Hero
As an aside, I remember chatting with some friends in late 1970s as to why the game was credited to “Gygax and Arneson” rather than alphabetically if they were co-equal. As UK 14 year olds, we had no idea.

On a more serious note regarding Arneson’s contributions and work ethic, I used to own (and have fond memories of) the JG Blackmoor campaign setting.
Anyone have any knowledge how it came about and how much Arneson contributed to it?
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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Talking about credit, Zeb Cook designed 2nd edition, and he was almost as influential in 1st edition. Arguably he influenced D&D for longer than Arneson or Gygax.
What?

You think I would have forgotten Zeb Cook?



In so many ways, Zeb is the bridge from Gygaxian D&D to 3e. At some point in the future, as the gaze of the community moves from the dawn of D&D and begins to contemplate the next wave (in terms of history), the contributions of David Cook, and the design influences that can be traced from Oriental Adventurers, through 2e, and into Planescape, will make for a fascinating history ...

:)
 


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