dave tarneson

I’m reading Dave Arneson’s First Fantasy Campaign, since I plan to DM for Dave Arneson Gameday. Having just read the first Gor novel, I’m catching references I otherwise would have missed. Dave wasn’t running a full Gor campaign, but I think it was probably about as influential as Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Mars was on Gygax.

Take, for example, this price chart, in which Gor’s tarns (riding birds) and pleasure slaves are highlighted:

The mysterious “red silk” and “white silk” slave entries are related to John Norman’s lovingly detailed slave caste system (warning: link not safe for reading).

Also note that on Arneson’s chart, which seems to be ordered by free association, the entry after the slaves is “assassin”. In the first Gor book, the main villain is a member of the caste of assassins.

The Assassin class was first introduced in Arneson’s Blackmoor OD&D supplement. It’s hard to tell how much of that book is Arneson and how much is Tim Kask and other contributors, but I think the Assassin is Dave’s work. If Arneson’s campaign introduced the assassin class, it seems not unlikely that that is another Gor-ism.

Reminder: If you’re in NYC, come to Dave Arneson Memorial Game Day this Saturday! Games all day and a panel at 5! I’ll be DMing at 6.


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