James Mishler has a sad report to make this morning:
It is with great sadness that I must pass on the news that Robert Bledsaw, founder of Judges Guild, creator of the Wilderlands of High Fantasy, died this morning in Decatur, Illinois.
Bob was at his son's home, surrounded by family and loved ones, and passed on to the Great Adventure peacefully.
Bob was a good man, a creator of worlds, and a great friend.
I knew Bob had terminal cancer, that's what sparked my desire to reread old Judges Guild magazines (see this post from February Judges Guild Magazines Bring Back Memories). However it is still a very sad to lose him. I'll be the first to admit that Judges Guild product quality was quite variable, but it was there when nothing else was. Judge Guild adventures -- not to mention the City-State of the Invincible Overlord and the Wildnerlands of High Fantasy campaign setting -- jump started many Original D&D and AD&D campaigns back in the late 1970s.
Even Gary Gygax and TSR recognized this. Gary said this in the first edition Dungeon Master's Guide:
Bob Bledsaw of Judges Guild must also be given credit. He and his associates have certainly contributed to the overall improvement of fantasy adventure gaming, making the undertaking easier and encouraging still more interest in role playing.
We've lost of two the tabletop roleplaying game founders is less that 60 days. 2008 is shaping up to be a sad year for roleplaying gamers, especially oldtimers like me whose remember the early days of our hobby. My condolences to Bob's family and his many friends.