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Help us explore the legacy of Dungeons & Dragons' co-creator, and keep his inspiration alive for generations to come!

Each year since Dave Arneson passed away in 2009, fans have gathered to celebrate his memory by rolling dice, playing role-playing games, and having a great time. With your help, we're ready to expand the scope of the Third Annual NYC event and create stuff to appeal to a range of folks:

  • Old-guard gamers have no doubt heard that Dave was a legendary gamemaster and referee. It wasn't just players in his early '70s Blackmoor campaign who got to experience this first-hand; the most sought reward in many convention charity auctions was a seat at his table. We've assembled NYC's top RPG designers and GMs to carry on that tradition and conduct celebrity gaming sessions for our supporters.  
  • Newcomers to the tabletop might know that Arneson was the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, but do they understand just how awesome that is? We're working with two local businesses that teach kids how to play role-playing games - the Brooklyn Strategist and Adventuring Parties LLC - to conduct day-long open gaming demos in the spirit of Dave's work as a games educator in elementary schools and Full Sail University.
  • Inheritors of Dave's legacy are so widely dispersed in modern culture that they can be hard to see. We've invited a group of journalists, game theorists, and critical thinkers to conduct a panel discussion on Arneson's influence and examine how his work has shaped the world we live in.     
  • People who aren't in NYC - or in Minneapolis, where the annual David L. Arneson Memorial Maritime Miniatures Mayhem similarly keeps the flame alive - have missed out on previous Arneson Gamedays. This year, backers all across the world can check out video footage of the event, get copies of game books that were signed by their creators at the Gameday, and play in Google+ video sessions run by some of our celebrity GMs.

According to Dave's daughter Malia Weinhagen, "The biggest thing about my dad's world is he wanted people to have fun in life. I think we get distracted by the everyday things you have to do in life and we forget to enjoy life and have fun. But my dad never did. He just wanted people to have fun."

October 1, 2011 would have been Dave Arneson's 64th birthday. We hope you'll join us that day in celebrating his life and times by having fun at the Brooklyn Strategist from 9 am until 11 pm. All ages are welcome, and the event is free to the public. A $10 donation to juvenile diabetes research at the door is suggested, as this was the cause the Arneson family chose to support at his memorial service.

Celebrity Gamemasters

The GMs who will be participating in the Third Annual NYC Dave Arneson Memorial Gameday, the games they will be running, and the products they will be signing and contributing as backer rewards, are:

  • Tavis Allison will be judging a mini-campaign in which players attempt to rebuild Blackmoor Castle and clear out its dungeons, using the Adventurer Conqueror King system. Tavis is one of the developers for ACKs, and will have a new "Men and Magic"-style player book of its character creation rules.
  • Joseph Bloch will be running dungeon expeditions using Adventures Dark & Deep, of which he is the designer. Joseph will have a never-before-seen version of the Bestiary at the Gameday.
  • James Carpio will be running demos of the forthcoming Death Race Z. James is the game's designer (as well as one of the Gameday's organizers), and will be contributing works from his company, Chapter 13. 
  • Luke Crane will be running one of his favorite Shadowrun modules, DNA/DOA, which was written by Dave Arneson. Luke's session will use his long-awaited "Mouse Run" hack of his game Mouse Guard, and he'll bring copies of his new Burning Wheel Gold to sign and contribute.  
  • Michael Curtis will be refereeing adventures in Stonehell Dungeon using the Labyrinth Lord rules. Michael is the creator of Stonehell and will be signing copies of its Three Castles award winning first installment, Down Night-Haunted Halls. 
  • Paul Hughes will be running adventures of the latest edition of Dungeons & Dragons, using the wandering monster charts from the original edition Arneson co-authored. Paul will have these posters of these charts illustrated in his inimitable infographic style, instantly recognizable to fans of his posts at Blog of Holding.
  • Jeff LaSala will be running the Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure The Transmuter’s Last Touch he wrote for Goodman Games, which he will specially convert to the latest edition of Dungeons & Dragons as an introduction for new gamers. 

Of special note: Daniel Boggs, perhaps the world's foremost scholar of Arneson's work, won't be able to make it to this year's Gameday. However, because his re-creation of Arneson's original pre-D&D roleplaying rules, Dragons at Dawn, was one of the hits of the Second Annual NYC event, we are pleased to announce that he will be contributing the game in a new single-volume printing together with its first supplement, and returning in NYC to run a celebrity gaming session for backers of the Kickstarter on another night of your choosing!


The panel discussion, "The World Dave Made: Arneson’s Legacy in Modern Culture," will explore all the things we owe to Dave Arneson's life and work, from his seminal involvement in the original roleplaying games Braunstein and Blackmoor to his co-creation of Dungeons & Dragons and his later career teaching game design at Full Sail University. Panelists will present key aspects of Arneson’s legacy, including the concept of having a character that represents you in an imagined realm and is described by statistics that reflect your advancement as a result of experience, and talk about how these ideas continue to shape progress in their own fields. Tavis Allison will moderate the discussion among the panelists:

  • Luke Crane is one of the most influential role-playing game designers working today and an outspoken advocate of self-publishing. His participation as  panelist and game-master affords a chance to see both theory and practice.
  • Brian Droitcour is a staff writer at Rhizome--an organization supporting art that engages emerging technologies based at the New Museum--and a regular contributor to Artforum. He is currently organizing an exhibition titled “Big Reality” that takes role-playing games as a starting point for considering how consumer technologies have integrated fantasy and play in everyday life. He will offer some thoughts on the place of role-playing games in contemporary culture, and examples of how it is reflected in the work of some artists.
  • David Ewalt is a senior editor at Forbes Magazine, where he reports on the game industry, and is writing a book about Dungeons & Dragons, which will be published by Scribner. David will be sharing insights from his interviews with people in all walks of life who were influenced by roleplaying games.
  • Nicholas Fortugno teaches the Game Design and Interactive Narrative program at Parsons New School for Design and is the co-founder of the NYC game design studio Playmatics LLC. Nicholas will be talking about why learning to play Dungeons & Dragons was simply the most influential element of my childhood and has profoundly shaped his career, his identity, and his life.
  • Ethan Gilsdorf is the author of the award-winning book Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms, his travel memoir investigation into fantasy and gaming subcultures. He also blogs for’s Geek Dad, and writes about movies, books, and pop and geek culture for, The Boston Globe, and The New York Times. 


If you can make it out to Brooklyn, we hope we'll see you for the Third Annual NYC Dave Arneson Memorial Gameday. If you can support the event by becoming a backer of our Kickstarter effort, your contribution will help cover the costs of putting on this event, offering the donor rewards, and planning to keep make next year's Gameday even better.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask by emailing Tavis - - or calling the Brooklyn Strategist, (646) 470-3556.

And no matter what, we hope you'll spend Saturday, October 1st playing games, having fun, and remembering Dave!


  • With the Kickstarter for Adventurer Conqueror King that I was part of, I saw that doing an event often causes it to reach people who didn't hear about the Kickstarter and are sad if it's already ended! Having the project end later allows people who attend the Gameday to become part of the Kickstarter effort and enjoy the donor rewards.

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  • The show must go on; we'll cover the costs of the Gameday out of pocket, as was the case in previous years. The only difference will be that we won't provide the donor rewards.

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  • There will be gaming from 9-5 and from 6:30 to 11. We will be posting updates to the times specific GMs will be present. Our goal is to make the daytime games open to casual and walk-in players; we may use sign-in sheets to organize the evening games, which will be more focused.

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    Follower: We'll list you on the website for the Arneson Memorial Gameday, and send you electronic versions of everything we create for the event, including Scott LeMien's awesome flag logo seen above!

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    Hero: Choose one of the following products created by our celebrity GMs, and we'll hook you up with a PDF or e-book: Adventurer Conqueror King, Adventures Dark & Deep, a Chapter 13 Press product, Dragons at Dawn + its Supplement I, Lucha Libre, or Stonehell Dungeon: Down Night-Haunted Halls. You'll also get all the benefits of a Supporter.

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    Superhero: You'll get a signed print copy of one of the books or posters created by our celebrity GMs, as well as its PDF or e-book version (when available). Choose from the Adventurer Conqueror King player manual, the Adventures Dark & Deep bestiary, the single-volume Dragons at Dawn compendium, Lucha Libre, the OD&D wandering monsters poster, or Stonehell Dungeon: Down Night-Haunted Halls. You'll also get all the benefits listed above! If you know you'll need your reward mailed to you, please increase your contribution to cover shipping: add $5 for US media mail , $8 for Canada, or $12 for overseas.

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    Master Strategist: You get a certificate for three free sessions at the Brooklyn Strategist, where you can play the games you love from their well-stocked library or have the staff teach you a new one! This certificate is usable by you or whoever you want to gift it to within the next year.

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    Immortal: After the fun of the Gameday is over for everyone else, you'll return to the Brooklyn Strategist on another night for a special gaming session with the celebrity GM of your choice! You and up to four other Immortals will work out the timing and theme of this session to your mutual satisfaction - you could also choose a different location, although after seeing what the Brooklyn Strategist has to offer we don't know why you'd want to. You'll also get all the above rewards, including a personally signed copy of your GM's book, the PDF where available, and recognition on the website.

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    Google+ Video Hangout: If you can't make it to NYC, this backer reward offers you the chance to play with one of the Gameday's celebrity GMs in a special G+ session. Note that some GMs prefer to only play face-to-face, and others are still trying to get enough video hangout experience to decide; if you're interested in this reward because you're a fan of a specific GM, email to see if they'll be available. (This reward level gets free shipping!)

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