|Not Pete's, but you get the idea...|
A long time ago, in a land far, far away, some friends got together to play a miniatures battle. On the one side, there was the formidible Roman legions and their brand-new war elephant; on the other, the doughty Britons defending their homes and hearths from the invaders. There wasn't much else to say about this game, as it was a pretty typical one for the time and place, with one exception.
The guy running the game was Dave Arneson, and he had a surprise planned for the Romans. During the game, as the Britons fought desperately to stave off the relentless war machine that were the legions, he took the Briton's druid out of the room and slipped him a card that said "You have a device of the gods - a phaser." Not too long after, as the mighty war elephant thrashed away against the Britons - played by Ken Fletcher and Cliff Olilla - the druid, Dave Megarry, vaporized the beast and turned the tide of battle.
Yes, that Dave Arneson. And that Dave Megarry.
They were playing what may very well have been the very first 'fantasy' game in the Twin Cities, and what may have been the very first step on the path to what later was called "Dungeons and Dragons", a game of which you may have heard.
Their opponent was Pete Gaylord, one of the local gamers who was one of the people who set the tone and standards for gaming hereabouts, back in the day, and who was one of the people I started gaming with back in 1975 at The Little Tin Soldier Shoppe on Lake Street. Pete was also one of the original players in Dave Arneson's 'Blackmoor' campaign, playing the Wizard of the Woods - so called, because he was the one and only wizard in the campaign, and he lived in a house in the woods.
Pete was the one who set the pace and tone for what would be generations of wizards, sorcerers, and magic-users to come in role-playing games; many of his concepts and ideas can still be found in games today. He was a lot of fun to game with, being both a formidable opponent and a gentleman; gaming with him was always a pleasure and a joy. He was a good friend, too.
Pete passed away last week after a month-long illness; he was 73.
I will be going to the visitation today, and the funeral tomorrow. It's going to be a very, very tough couple of days.
(I had planned on doing an essay about how I paint figures. I'll still have that for you, just later on as I have the chance. Thanks for your understanding.)