Monday, May 24, 2021

OSR Observations of Dave Hargrave - Just Some Thoughts & Commentaries On The Man

 It two thirty in the morning and I'm finally home from what seems like a very long day. My Arduin books are cracked around me. There's still thoughts in my head about rereading 'The In The Cities' wordpress that hasn't been updated since 2014.. But the author hits the high points about Dave Hargrave & Arduin quite nicely; "Hargrave was definitely not a “frustrated novelist.” Like the best of the OSR people he manages to convey a lot with very little. His brief descriptions of the “Shadowlands” (in the eponymous supplement VII) could serve as a model of how to write great game material. It’s less than two tiny pages long – just a few paragraphs really – but I read it and thought: “This could take years and years to flesh out and play.” How many writers can provide so much inspiration in such a short space?" 

There's something about Hargrave's  writing & design work that seems raw in places, polished in others, & comes across as genuine. Believe me Dave Hargrave for me isn't up on a pedastal far from it.
 He was a figure that controversy followed & this is even reflected on his wiki entry; "While Hargrave was considered one of the best Gamemasters, he was also known for having a somewhat volatile personality. The original role-playing community at large was split between love and mere tolerance of Hargrave's passions (his falling-out with Greg Stafford, which resulted in Hargrave naming a spell after him as revenge, is one such example" 
Dave Hargrave was a product of 
 the Vietnam War for six years & many of the guys that over the years I've gamed with were as well. This war shaped his health throughout the rest of his life after serving as a combat photographer. And this was right in the front line of fire during 
the Vietnam War. I think that the mind set of Mr.Hargrave was one of many vets who came back state side.This includes my uncle & my own father. The war let these veterans down in many ways & its reflective in the hand that many of these gentlemen were dealt. Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson, & David Hargrave along with  many others were brilliant writers & designers. Men whose names appeared on the inside covers of the books that we played with. But as I've gotten older these were brilliant but flawed men. Flawed men & women like so many of us. The sort of dedication that it takes to pump book after book out is no small feat. Dave Hargrave continued to write right until the end of his life. There's no Dave Hargrave week for me. Because there's really never really a week that goes by that at some point the Arduin Grimoire isn't in my hands. That's no small feat for a designer whose passed in Eighty Eight. But whose works continue to inspire generations of dungeon masters, players, & rpg table top designers. Was Dave Hargrave perfect? No but he was brilliant with a vivid imagination way ahead of the curve with regards to what we call the OSR these days. Had he been alive now I have no doubt in my mind that Dave Hargrave would be a corner stone of the OSR as publisher & designer today. 

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