Wednesday, October 7, 2009

David Hargrave

Been looking into magic systems recently. Wanting to blend in some weirder, pulpier, less balanced/mainstreamed/commercialized chaos from before my time. I never had any Arduin stuff back in the day. But, noticed it being mentioned a bit 'round the blogs. So, I checked it out...

Dude. Seriously, dude? David Hargrave was insane (positive meaning) and is the epitome of punk; diy, raw, hard-core, frenetic, in-your-face, stickin it to the man. I totally dig his chaotic, mishmash of creativity. You may not, that's fine, but it shouldn't hinder your recognition of his intrinsic awesomeness. I hold the "Dutch Masters" to be dudes of the highest calibre even though I can't stand their paintings. I'm not talking about his mechanics, which probably suck. (Although, the Special Abilities Charts look cool) I'm talking about his awesome! The Hell Spirals or Tokkrang's Star Bore or gaggle of Prismatic Walls or section on Orc Alchemy or just the fact that Arduin has a Dinosaur Chart!

David Hargrave totally deserves more credit and respect. I've hardly heard of him. Relative to the hobby's other great founders, hardly anyone mentions him.

I can tell he pushed then for what gaming should be today and always; hobbyist, diy, for and by the little guy, done for love. There is no better motto/goal the OSR could adopt than this statement written by David Hargrave in the forward of his first publication.
This supplement is offered in the hopes that it will infuse new life into the amateur side of fantasy role playing games, and stimulate the free idea exchanges so sorely needed to keep this type of gaming alive and viable. This supplement does not seek to replace or denigrate any other fantasy role playing supplement or game, either professional or amateur.
Holy cow, were was that during the 4th Wars of Edition? For which I'm guilty as the next guy. If only Hargrave was around to knock the stupid out of us. For me, more than any particular rule set or method of playing, that attitude is what "old-school" means.


David Hargrave died before I was 18. I'm trying to learn about the man. Grognardia, my usual source for RPG early history, has more or less ignored him. His wikipedia article is way too short. I'm currently reading his "The Arduin Grimoire Vol 1" where I found this.
Special Note: the artwork for this supplement is the sole doing of one fine young artist: Errol Otus. I'm only glad I'll be able to say ten years from now, "I knew him when..."
Man, dude, I wish I could say that about you.



  1. Hargrave always makes me think of the band Monster Magnet--especially this song:

  2. @Jeff I knew you'd dig it the most. Probably one of your posts is what made me go looking for Arduin stuffs.

    @Zak heavy. Because I can never decide on setting and I want to use them all, my campaign features "portals" (ala Judges Guild's Portals series) to other places/settings. One of them is gonna be "ArduinWorld" and I'll play that song as the characters travel through the portal's vortex. Giving a hint of what they've gotten themselves into. :)

  3. Dude:

    See here...

    - PoK

  4. Very cool.

    Lancer's Rest. So interesting. There were so many individual map styles before published modules kind of standaradized the dungeon map look. I very much like how the traps are drawn right on the map. And if you brought an elf or other with ability to detect secret doors you'd never get through that tomb!

  5. Love his Hells. Individual dimensions of shocking terror, chemical atmospheres. Had all the Jack Vance that DnD didnt have. Ral Partha did a line of his miniatures. He also ran a store in Concord I used to haunt. Some real asses in dumb hats hanging out there.

    Someone needs to post those Hells and Critical Hit charts somewhere.

  6. If you want to know more about Dave and possibly acquire some hand made Arduin treasure cards,then email me at Your page made my day and I appreciate you honoring the guy who really taught me to role play. I played RPGs with Dave in his home and at his store in Concord( The Multiversal Trading Post) from '76-'79. I've been gaming, Arduin rules only, for 35 yrs now! Best Wishes, Rus

    PS I previously signed on here as Deodanth, but didn't send a msg 'cuz this page is old.

  7. PS: You might be interested to know that Dave primarily played Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow while we played. He was fond of a few other things, but Rainbow got a LOT of play. Rus/Deodanth.

  8. I recently found a Multiversal Trading Co business card and took a picture of it which I've just added to the Wikipedia page.

    (I was shopping there in '79 when I was 14).

  9. Arduin was the best. A lot of the more hard core older DMs (age 45+) knew of his work. We used a lot of the Arduin Grimoire books in the late 80s.

  10. I have very nostalgic memories of Arduin. Back in the day (er...1977?), we made mish-mash of the first two Arduin books and the original D&D rules. It was great fun!

    My only deepest regret is that I haven't been able to play PnP since then. I'll have to see if I can find an aging gamers PnP forum ;)

    I also feel sad not to see all the D&D paraphernalia in gaming stores anymore. It's all board games now.


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