Sunday, March 2, 2014

Aaron Allston, R. I. P.

The difference between tragedy and comedy: Tragedy is something awful happening to somebody else, while comedy is something awful happening to somebody else.

-- Aaron Allston                           

Rules Cyclopedia

Hollow World

Champions (5th Ed.)

Justice, Inc.

Strike Force

GURPS Fantasy (2nd Ed.)

Mythic Greece: The Age of Heroes

Cugel's Compendium of Indispensable Advantages

This above list is a brief sample of role-playing game material that Aaron Allston authored either solely or in conjunction with others.  On Thursday, he passed away.

For this blog, I post material that is interesting to me; I am gratified that anyone else finds it interesting.  Tedankhamen has an 'Obscure Game Blogging Challenge' of 31 questions to be answered during the month of March.  I am not participating because my responses to these questions would fail to meet even the rather low standards of what I consider interesting.  However, question #4 is appropriate for this post:

“What other roleplaying author besides Gygax impressed you with their writing?

The question presupposes that it is impossible not to be “impressed” by Gygax' writing.  Certainly, Gygax was fundamental to the proliferation of role-playing games but I can't say that I was ever “impressed” by his writing.  Allston, on the other hand, helped shape my experiences in RPGs to a significant degree.  He is associated with many of the RPG products I used when growing up.  Allston's writing certainly impressed me; his death saddens me.

I could drone on about his contributions to various gaming works (Car Wars, Known World, and Paranoia among them) or discuss his writing credits outside of gaming, but – given the news of Allston's demise – I don't feel up to writing today.  I feel old.  However, I will provide an observation to conclude this post.  You know the Dungeon Crawl Classics gimmick of starting at level 0 and getting a class only after the first adventure?  Allston did that a quarter of a century earlier with Treasure Hunt.

Good-bye, Mr. Allston...and thanks.


  1. Yeah, this bummed me out pretty bad. Strike Force was the best rpg book I ever picked up, and its comments on keepingplayers happy go way beyond superhero gaming. No doubt some blOwSR dude would cry that there were railroad tracks in there somewhere, but the fact is Allston understood that roleplaying was about the players as much as the dm.

    And he was a good guy on top of that. Very sad.


  2. Shine on Allston.

    Wrath of the Immortals, Grand Duchy, Rockhome and Dawn of the Emperors all kicked immense amounts of ass. One of the good guys.