Friday, February 28, 2014

Aaron Allston 1960-2014

News shotgunned through the wires last night that designer and novelist Aaron Allston collapsed at a convention, followed shortly by reports of his dead. Unfortunately, those reports were verified on Facebook and by email this morning.

Some may know of Allston's work through his Star Wars novels, or his original Doc Sidhe novel. Some may know of him through his work on Champions, Justice, Inc. or Lands of Mystery. Some may know of him through his revision of the D&D rules published as the Rules Cyclopedia, or the Hollow World setting for that. Some may know of him for his early work at Steve Jackson Games and on Space Gamer. He was all of these things and more.

I never knew Allston, but his work spoke to me, first as a gamer and then as a designer. He was one of a small handful of designers who were authoritative on the genres of comic book super-heroes and the pulps. Both Justice, Inc. and Lands of Mystery had an impact on my pulp gaming, and on my designs for pulp games. I don't know if he ever saw Pulp Fantasy, but he was one of the inspirations to which it was indebted.

His version of the D&D rules have been my definitive version for so long that, outside of my playing Swords & Wizardry, I'm not sure if I will ever have, or need, another version of Dungeons & Dragons.

I went through my game library and took a few photos of the things in it that he produced.

Today in the Daily Illuminator electronic newsletter, Steve Jackson had this to say:
Aaron was also the best GM I've ever known. The Champions campaign he ran for the SJ Games staff was memorable. A couple of us didn't actually know the Champions system at all, but Aaron made it not matter, and we all had a fantastic time.
Over on G+, +Allen Varney crafted this eloquent obtituary and tribute to Allston:

Aaron Allston, 1960 to 2014. You wrote large upon all of our lives, and you will not be forgotten.