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David Allen Hargrave (May 25, 1946 - August 29, 1988), known as The Dream Weaver, was a prolific and sometimes controversial game designer and writer of fantasy and science fiction role-playing games (RPGs). He was also an U.S. Army combat veteran of the Vietnam War with a six-year tour of duty (in country). Hargrave's most notable written works were based upon his own mythical world of Arduin.

Role playing games

From the mid-1970s through 1988 David A. Hargrave was very active in the role-playing community. He authored ten books based upon this Arduin game world. Hargrave also produced four Arduin Dungeon Modules and several fantasy item collections, which were published by Grimoire Games.

Hargrave's work was perhaps the first "cross-genre" venture into fantasy role-playing games,[citation needed] and it included everything from interstellar wars to horror and historical drama. His work was, however, based principally upon the traditional (and not so traditional) medieval fantasy genre.

Arduin was one of the earliest challengers to TSR's Dungeons & Dragons, and a leading representative of the high-entropy, multiversal campaigns then prevalent in RPG circles. While Hargrave was considered one of the best of the best of Game Masters, he was also known for having a somewhat volatile personality. The original role-playing community at large was split between love and mere tolerance of Hargrave's passions (his falling-out with Greg Stafford, which resulted in Hargrave naming a spell after him as revenge, is one such example.[1])

Hargrave also frequently contributed to various magazines such as Different Worlds, Alarums and Excursions, and Abyss. As a game designer, he authored various Call of Cthulhu adventures for Chaosium, Inc., and was an integral part of the design team for the sci-fi game Star Rovers, among others.

Arduin works

  • Arduin Dungeon No. 1: Caliban (1979): Featuring a huge mountainous tower, created by an undead sorcerer. The tower, which became known as Caliban, became self-aware and attempted to conquer the world, only to be repelled by elves in a cataclysmic conflict. After its defeat, Caliban became a mindless "ghost of dungeons", appearing in the world at random.
  • Arduin Dungeon No. 2: The Howling Tower (1979): Featuring a howling tower atop a mountain apparently created during a ritual to summon a demon. The tower is said to drive those who hear its howl mad.
  • Arduin Dungeon No. 3: The Citadel of Thunder (1979): Featuring a "Citadel of Thunder", once dedicated to the evil god Aeos, abandoned after an elf spy interrupted a demon-summoning ritual.
  • Arduin Dungeon No. 4: Death Heart (1980): Featuring the tower of the vanished wizard Ardaemus. Notable for being very deadly to characters below level 5.[citation needed]


  • The Arduin Grimoire (Arduin Grimoire Volume 1)
  • Welcome to Skull Tower (Arduin Grimoire Volume 2)
  • The Runes of Doom (Arduin Grimoire Volume 3)
  • The Lost Grimoire (Arduin Grimoire Volume 4)
  • Dark Dreams (Arduin Grimoire Volume 5)
  • The House of the Rising Sun (Arduin Grimoire Volume 6)
  • Shadow Lands (Arduin Grimoire Volume 7)
  • The Winds of Chance (Arduin Grimoire Volume 8)
  • The Arduin Adventure
  • Arduin Dungeon No. 1: Caliban
  • Arduin Dungeon No. 2: The Howling Tower
  • Arduin Dungeon No. 3: The Citadel of Thunder
  • Arduin Dungeon No. 4: Death Heart
  • The Arduin Primer
  • The Compleat Arduin Book 1 The Rules
  • The Compleat Arduin Book 2 Resources
  • The Arduin Map
  • Vaults of the 'Weaver
  • The Black Grimoire
  • End War (Arduin Grimoire Volume 9)
  • World of Khaas the Legendary Lands of Arduin
  • Black Devil Mountain (found in The Asylum and Other Tales from Chaosium)
  • Dark Carnival (found in Curse of the Cthonians from Chaosium)
  • Arduin Bloody Arduin (found in Different Worlds magazine issue #2)
  • All the Worlds Monsters Volumes 1, 2 and 3 (from Chaosium).
  • Star Rovers Module 1 (Sci-Fi RPG from Archive Miniatures and Game Systems, 1981)

Military service

Hargrave served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War for six years, serving from August 28, 1964, through August 20, 1970. While in Vietnam, Hargrave regularly served as a combat cinematographer, very often in the line of fire.

Other information

  • Was known for using the names of people close to him in the titles of various Arduin spells, weapons, artifacts, and taverns. Stafford's Star Bridge is one such example.
  • Added visual references/homage to Clint Eastwood in a majority of his works in the form of a warrior character whose appearance is identical to Eastwood's (during his films the 1970s). Reference: front and back covers of several Arduin Grimoires, AG interior illustrations, the cover of The Citadel of Thunder.
  • In his later years, Hargrave cited his repeated exposure to Agent Orange (while in Vietnam) as the cause of his many debilitating health problems (diabetes and so on).
  • Was a well-known and well-liked Game Master. He was legendary for pulling stunts of great magnitude, such as having multiple Balrogs suddenly run through a door to attack an unsuspecting party.
  • Hargrave was mentioned at the end of the Diablo computer game rules manual, "In memory of".
  • Is buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery.


External links