D&D General When D&D Co-Creator Dave Arneson Asked WotC For A Job!

Back in 1997, after WotC had purchased the failing TSR (and D&D), and just prior to the launch of D&D 3E, Dave Arneson -- who co-created D&D in the 1970s along with Gary Gygax -- wrote to WotC president Peter Adkison asking to be put in charge of TSR.

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Ben Riggs -- author of Slaying the Dragon -- discovered Arneson's letter to Adkison while researching his history of D&D.

The letter was full of typos -- Arneson even got Adkison's name wrong! According to Riggs, Adkison did not reply, and Arneson wrote to him a second time.

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Blue Orange

Gone to Texas
"How the mighty of fallen and the lowly have risen."

"My relations were never good, through no fault of my own, BUT I know their product line. And I have a pretty darn good idea what TSR should be doing with it."

"So what does Dave want? Well I would like to run TSR for you."

Sad thing is in a couple of years he could have gotten a sinecure out of them riding the OSR boom. "We've got Dave Arneson on staff!" Let him make one mod "by the original creator of D&D" and boom, everyone wins.

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I think bringing in Arneson could have been great for WOTC D&D. They didn’t have to give the guy a leadership role, bringing him to put out a campaign setting, to work on modules, that could have worked. Especially at that time when one big hurdle was undoing the bad feelings that had grown towards TSR by the end of the 90s.


Other than the fact that by 1997, they were going in a different direction, there is a pretty long history with Arneson not being helpful to companies. Even the four modules he did for TSR in the 80s (the DA series), three of them were basically his old notes "co-written" by David Ritchie, and the fourth (of new material) was just written by Ritchie.

Arneson was an amazing improviser, DM, and creative person ... but he had a long and documented history of burning people and businesses that depended on him.

ETA- I am sure that if he was hired, he would have promised stuff, never done it, and then started publicly complaining about how 3e was a terrible game.

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