I'm going to suspend finishing the City's Shadows Alphabet in light of Dave Arneson's passing. I will leave this post here at the top of the page for the rest of the week and through the weekend. We'll return to the Shadows Alphabet on Monday.
When the incorrect news began to spread Tuesday that Dave had passed, I sat down to think long and hard about how I wanted to honor his memory. I considered doing a lengthy post here where I would talk about how Dave had influenced me and of the deep respect that I had for him not only as a game designer but as a man. I ultimately rejected that idea because so many similar posts were appearing and mine would just be another easily lost among the masses.
I then remembered that I had in my notes from my first attempt at a megadungeon a sub-level that was largely influenced by Dave’s Temple of the Frog. I thought that it would be quite an appropriate tribute to his life to dust that sub-level off, polish it up, and dedicate it to him. I was mid way through those preparations when the word began to spread that Dave’s death had been misreported. Although that was a relief to hear, having lost loved ones to cancer, I knew his reprieve might be very short lived.
Knowing this, I continued to work on the sub-level, entitled The Fane of St. Toad, with the hopes that I could turn it from a piece honoring his memory to one that celebrated his life.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time to do that. I was still in the process of readying the Fane when the confirmation that Dave had passed away on Tuesday night came.
I chose to keep working on the Fane throughout the rest of the day because, quite frankly, I didn’t know what else to do. Despite knowing Dave only indirectly through his presence on the OD&D Discussion board, his passing has struck me deeper than I had expected. By finishing the Fane I hoped to achieve some sense of equilibrium between the sadness at his loss and the celebration of his life. Last night, I put the final touches on the Fane and I do feel as if I’ve created something, however insufficient, to honor Dave. I think I’ll set it down and, barring any grave errors, step away from it for good now. It’s a poor substitute for Dave himself, but it’s the only thing in my power to provide.
I won’t dare presume what Dave might have thought of the Fane but I do hope you all might find some enjoyment and perhaps even some solace in it. I want to especially thank both Gabor Lux and Jeff Rients who each allowed me to use one of their creation in the Fane. I hope they’ll agree I treated their babies well. So with that, here it is:
The Fane of St. Toad – Dedicated to the memory of Dave Arneson