Today’s big news is that Wizards of the Coast is reprinting the three core 1st edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons volumes. They are “premium versions” with new cover art. “Available in limited quantities for a short time only, these are sure to be collectible.”
Any person likely to visit this blog will almost certainly be aware of this information before seeing this post. As such, your humble host did not intend on writing about the announcement of this reprint, but something caught his thoulish eye…
The image above comes from Wizards’ solicitation document. Please note the phrase “Gary Gygax, creator of Dungeons & Dragons®.” Readers of this blog may have heard of Dave Arneson, who has consistently been identified as a co-creator of D&D (at least since the settlement of certain litigation, the exact terms of which have not been disclosed).
Arneson did not have the charisma bonuses Gygax had and any ‘cult of personality’ associated with Dave was extremely minor in comparison to that of Gary. Truly, D&D would not have been a phenomenon were it not for Gygax, but D&D would not exist were it not for Arneson. Yes, there are Arneson detractors who insist his contributions were overstated or even marginal. The fact is, Arneson was the first Dungeon Master; he was the visionary, he was the pioneer. He deserves (and usually receives) recognition and credit. I’m not suggesting that WotC is in violation of any settlement agreement by making the ‘creator’ reference; this is just a solicitation document and not the rules themselves (and, anyway, I don’t know the terms of the settlement). However, I am interested in seeing whether Gygax will be listed as the sole author of these books as he was when they were originally published.
If the document said “co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons®” or even “creator of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons®” I wouldn’t have written this rant. I even accept that Gygax is “the father of roleplaying games.” However, Arneson is the midwife at the very least.