The artist who defined the look of early Dungeons & Dragons books, David A. Trampier, has passed away this weekend at the age of 59.
Also known as “DAT” or “Tramp”, Trampier’s work can be seen on the original cover of the 1st Edition Dungeons & Dragons Players Handbook, as well as dozens and dozens of monsters both from the 1st Edition Monster Manual and the Gamma World series. Trampier was also the artist and writer behind the D&D comic Wormy, which ran in Dragon magazine for ten years.
Trampier underwent an unusual turn in 1988 when he seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth. Later investigations and rumours pointed to him being upset by events occurring at the time at Dragon Magazine and perhaps undergoing some paranoid delusion. He later turned up driving a taxi in Carbondale, Illinois, and has since politely refused any attempts at publicity or interaction with the gaming community.
Skyland Games has an excellent summary of the strange events surround Trampier, including the tragic note that at the time of his death — and with Trampier suffering from cancer — he was planning to exhibit some of his artwork in public for the first time in decades.
Chris Pramas has posted this interesting piece on his own memories of Trampiers’ artwork, which is also worth reading — or you can catch up through this Wikipedia article.
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