On the book was printed: The Arduin Grimoire, by Dave Hargrave. of Doom, which collectively came to be known as “The Arduin Trilogy”. Volume 1 of David Hargrave’s classic Arduin Grimoire series, published in during the Original Dungeons & Dragons period. Old-school D&D at its best!. The Arduin Grimoire – Vol 6 – House of the Rising , , KB. file, The Arduin , , KB. file.
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Back in the ancient days of roleplaying games, Triloggy and Dragons was pretty much the only game in town, a game consisting of three little booklets: On the book was printed: The Arduin Grimoireby Dave Hargrave.
Arduin Products are available through “Emperor’s Choice” games, here. There were third-party adventure packs many from “Judges’ Guild” before their collapsebut I hadn’t seen so comprehensive an addition to the game itself before.
And what an addition it was! Within those pages — printed in a font very nearly microscopic — lay everything from new character classes the Star Powered Mage, the Techno, and others to unique new monsters, magical items, demons, special abilities charts, critical hit charts, and even general musings on the “art” of gamemastering.
Under the Influence: The Arduin Grimoires
The Arduin Grimoire was typical in some ways of its early era: The Arduin books told GMs and players that they should not believe in limits. That of course magic and technology could play in the same game — Welcome to Skull Tower gave rules for firearms, while The Runes of Doom had rules for advanced energy weapons! Dave Hargrave painted Arduin as one of the most complex, amazing worlds ever created, with innumerable species coexisting in a world that had a massive history and mysteries hiding around every corner.
There is little doubt that Arduin strongly influenced my development of Zarathan, especially early on although Zarathan went its own direction as time went on.
The Arduin books gave us material ranging from the hilarious giant ridable Saint Bernards called “Bigglies” to the epic and terrifying the Curse of Tindalos, that called down the Lovecraftian Hounds of Tindalos upon its target and sometimes both at once. Some years later, Dave Hargrave returned to make more in the series, having revamped his own system. Still, there was good material in the volumes that followed, which were: None of these were, quite, as good as the first three volumes — he had, after all, crammed a lot of the best stuff into the original three.
Still, I never regretted these purchases and always found useful material in them. One of the strongest and most powerfully attractive parts of the Arduin series was that, within and around the game mechanics, the statistics for demons and items and spells, Dave Hargrave wove tales and hints of his campaign world, giving us a look at the life of a world that didn’t exist, but … perhaps… could, elsewhere. This was a world in which Multiversal Trading Corporation maintained branch offices in all major cities, allowing an adventurer to browse a selection of goods; a place where on one dark night of the year a horrific god might walk the world in the flesh; where potable liquors might be brewed from the most peculiar ingredients, and some of them might give you more than a buzz; where a laser-rifle armed mercenary might be found hunting a dragon.
I was, thus, somewhat disappointed when I was given a huge Arduin collection re-issue which had much of the personal material edited out of it. The fact is that much of the attraction of The Arduin Grimoire and its sequels was that personal, powerful writing that Dave Hargrave infused into the otherwise dry gaming mechanics — a point of view of a gamer who had thought long and hard on what kind of a world they wanted to run, and what it meant to run a campaign — the responsibilities of the game master as well as their powers.
I also heard later, from some who had gamed with him, that in his own games he was perhaps more a matter of “do as I say, not as I do” — more arbitrary and “killer” a GM than his advice and philosophy implied. But that, really, didn’t change what it was he created, one of the most absolutely concentrated essences of the fun of roleplaying games ever made. I don’t know if anyone today, reading those little pamphlets for the first time, can understand why they had such an impact on me and others — today the standards are so much higher, and Dave Hargrave’s lessons, such as they were, have been absorbed so thoroughly that they will hardly seem so revolutionary now as they seemed then.
But impact they had, and had it across the gaming world; during my first contact with Wizards of the Coast, I reviewed the draft of their first product, The Primal Orderand had to point out some areas where Arduin’s influence was so strong that they might want to consider some judicious editing! Dave Hargrave’s Arduin inspired my games, and was a key tool in them, for decades, and led to many of my decisions in the design of Zarathan itself.
For me, it still holds its magid; even today, I sometimes go downstairs and pick one up, reading it squinting hard now, because the text is so very, very small … and for a moment, I’m fourteen years old again, and seeing Wonder opening up before my eyes once more.
I do remember seeing them but never got to play with any of the material. It sounds like I missed much fun and enjoyment. Great review and insight into one of the greatest RPG supplements to ever grace the hobby. These supplements are still valid today, and any self respecting GM would do well to consider embracing any amount of gaming genius contained within their pages. Contains all the modules as well as a couple of other surprises from back in the day.
Arduin was that first game that I thought really went outside of the box. Was and still is a great inspration.
Once subversive, the Arduin Grimoire’s influence reaches today’s games
He did indeed influence a great number of folk and his ideas and concepts are still in use to this day. Arduin, by its very nature was and remains lethal in the extreme. Words and trilkgy have consequences and thus if the player were ill advised enough to do something.
It was and remains the nature of the world and the game system itself. He would paint the picture for you, tell you in his flowing language what was going on, what he saw in his own mind…and the rest was up to you, Fate, Role Play and the dice. Many characters have died in Arduin, but a great many more have lived and gone down in its very history. At any rate, thanks again for your kind words and thoughts. Ah, such a nice reminder of how it felt to find those Arduin books for the first time… and the odd stares I got the first time I brought them to game.
My own homebrew settings always had Arduin DNA running through them and somewhere there was always a gate that would have led there if players stumbled across it… even in games of Traveller. All of my games for many years took place in the same multiverse, so whether you were playing in a superhero campaign, a high fantasy adventure, Shadowrun, or Space Opera, you could end up running into any of the others. In all the time I knew him he never made that claim, and in due diligence I would have expected such a claim to be asserted.
He did have feuds with several in the early gaming industry, leading to spells and other in-game snipes.
Once subversive, the Arduin Grimoire’s influence reaches today’s games | DMDavid
Some he may have regretted later, but the bottom line was you could reason with Dave, once you got him to respect your position by standing up to him. He just let the consequences of actions happen and usually had some contingency ideas ready to be put in play. When Dave passed I had one character held in a stasis bubble under a tomb we were the first explorers of, waiting to be summoned as an avatar of a minor god. Depending on gameplay by others I might have come back into play…. There are some amazing stories of things Dave was supposed to have said at various times… some may well be true, but documenting the actual instance is tough.
Well, not having known him personally the closest I got was talking to someone from Grimoire Games many years ago I could only go by various secondary sources.
I still have triilogy originals downstairs, battered and falling apart, and the big black hardcover Arduin book as well.
I had the pleasure of being trulogy with Dave for many years and even collaborating with him on a scifi game he was in the middle of developing for awhile. I remember my friendship all too brief with Dave while he was living in Concord, CA and, for an equally brief time, running his own gaming shop just off Todos Santos Plaza.
I can honestly say that Dave was a great friend and AG heavily influenced my own games and later writings. You must be logged in to post a comment.
Spoor, Author, Gamer, Geek God. SpoorWriting Tagged With: November 26, at Log in to Reply. November 27, at 9: November 27, at 7: Well, thanks for the link! December 10, at November 27, at Glad you enjoyed the review. November 30, at December 4, at 5: Depending on gameplay by others I might have come back into play… There are some amazing stories of things Dave was supposed to have said at various times… some may well be true, but documenting the actual instance is tough.
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