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Saturday 1 March 2014

Why Old-Schoolers Should Remember Aaron Allston

I'm very sorry to hear about the death, at 59 years of age, of Aaron Allston.  Who was he? The designer of the best single edition of D&D ever made.

Of course, he was a better compiler and organizer than an idea man in his own right; even so, his influence on Mystara was quite enormous.  He also wrote the first gazetteer (Karameikos), and contributed to the sometimes-good, sometimes-regretable "Poor Wizard's Almanac", as well as Wrath of the Immortals, which a lot of old school gamers disliked but I thought was quite good when I ran it.
Mainly, the big thing I think Allston realized was that you had to make a world where the rules of the game you've got make sense. And that's what he did with Mystara; and that's why the two are indelibly linked: Rules Cyclopedia and Mystara are literally made so that each other can make sense.

It was already a long time since he'd done any RPG work, having apparently moved on to do a series of shitty Star Wars novels.  But for a while, he made my favorite edition of D&D awesome. 

In any case, I'll be pouring one on the curb for Aaron Allston, and if you are a fan of old-school gaming you should be too.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzettie Quiete + Rattray's Accountant's Mixture


  1. Minor nitpick: he was 53, not 59.

  2. My mistake, thank you for the correction!

  3. Aalston also did "Strike Force" for CHAMPIONS, which, back in the 80s, was a HUGE boost to campaigning. All kinds of campaign/GM advice from that module made it into the "Big Blue" 4e Champs book.