Monday, April 13, 2009

Dungeons and Dragons Co-Creator Dies

Some of us around the TB HQ in chilly-morninged but nice-afternooned Auburn Hills, MI are mourning the passing of Dungeons and Dragons co-creator Dave Arneson. He now joins his fellow co-creator, Gary Gygax, in an afterlife we hope is full of merry adventuring and the occasional bugbear.

Dungeons and Dragons attracted a lot of attention--mostly negative--in the 70s and 80s, but has since quietly provided many teenagers, and more than a few adults, a welcome respite from the ordinary and everyday. D&D came first in many ways, and its influence is still being felt. How many of your students play Magic? Or Pokemon? Or Warhammer? How many saw or read "The Hobbit" and already had a pretty good idea of what an elf was like?

In schools across America, teachers lament the video-gaming of our young people. Before Atari, D&D supplied kids with their daily recommended allowance of other person fun. And it was all done using books and math!

In truth, D&D has a several applications in today's schools. Why not challenge your students to "quest," in writing, for a famous historical or mythological artifact? Sort of like Indiana Jones in essay form. The more "quests" your students successfully complete, i.e. the more solidly written papers they submit, the more powerful their character becomes. What happens after that is up to you!

Here's the story about Mr. Arenson's passing. Dip your sword out of respect.

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