David A. Trampier, Quintessential Dungeons & Dragons Illustrator, Dead at 59

ADnD Handbookby Lisa M. A. Winters

This past Friday, March 28, Tor.com reported the sad news that David Trampier’s obituary had been printed in The Southern Illinoisan on Mar. 25, 2014. Trampier had died in a Carbondale, Illinois nursing home the day before. He had been diagnosed with cancer previously, and had suffered a stroke within the year before his death as well.

His Advanced Dungeons & Dragons cover and illustrations set the tone for TSR’s signature game; he also created a comic about — reasonably enough — a dragon for Dragon, the gaming magazine. “Wormy” ran through issue 132 of Dragon‘s print run before Trampier abruptly quit both the magazine and TSR both in 1988.

Trampier never discussed with anyone willing to share the information on why he left the gaming industry. Scott Thorne, owner of Castle Perilous Games and Books in Carbondale, had made friendly contact with the artist just recently, and states that Trampier had been upset by a failed “Wormy” publication arrangement.

Trampier had been “rediscovered” by accident, when a photograph of a local reporter’s taxi driver was published and subsequently identified. Since then, he had indicated some willingness to interact with the fan community and possibly even get “Wormy” published in book form. He was to have been a guest at Egypt Wars, a long-running gaming convention local to Carbondale held in April.

“Only as a grown man did I read the great Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka, who said, ‘A tiger does not proclaim his tigritude. He pounces.’ And, Trampier reminds us, ‘a rakshasa doesn’t gnash his teeth — he sits there in his sharp as hell smoking jacket until it’s time for him to feast upon your still-living flesh.’ ” – Saladin Ahmed, Tor.com

So many of us have fond memories of long weekends spent playing AD&D, and Mr. Trampier’s artwork spurred our imaginations. We at Krypton Radio are saddened by his loss.

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