On Joe Dever and the Legacy of Lone Wolf

I was up way past my bedtime last night, reading through the Lone Wolf Adventure Game from Cubicle 7. You see, I'll finally be starting an LWAG campaign tomorrow night, a prospect I've been tremendously excited about ever since picking up the box set at Gen Con 2015.

Then this morning, after oversleeping due to the aforementioned late-night reading, I blearily checked my Facebook feed and found it exploding with messages of condolence: Joe Dever, creator of the world of Magnamund and author of the Lone Wolf game books, has passed away. He was only 60.

This one is hitting me hard, folks.

When Gygax passed, I was sad, but in more of an abstract sense on a personal level. I got into the hobby some years after he had been ousted from TSR, so my relationship to his creation was always taken at one remove, or more. My familiarity with the magic of Gygaxian prose and world-building came much later in life.

But, as I suspect for many of my age group (those who got into RPGs during the mid-80s to early-90s), Joe Dever's writing was the gateway to this hobby for me.

I've written before about how I "GM'd" the Lone Wolf books on the playground, reading them aloud to a friend who would make the choices and pick the numbers from the Random Number Table.

I remember attempting to make my first D&D game world and basing off the material in the Magnamund Companion.

My first stab at game design was a manuscript called "The Lone Wolf RPG". I still have my dot-matrix printout. I should scan it and post it at some point, as awful as it is.

I was lucky enough to briefly meet Joe at Gen Con 2015, shake his hand, and thank him for his writing and his inspiration. Today I will mourn, and tomorrow I will, in my infinitesimal way, help carry on the creative vision he first laid down nearly 40 years ago.

For Sommerlund and the Kai!