28 March 2014

Dave Trampier RIP

I am very sad to report that it looks as though the legendary artist Dave Trampier has passed away.  Anyone familiar with first edition AD&D will recall many of Trampier’s amazing illustrations.

A few years ago I started posting my ‘top-5’ FRPG artists of all time.  I only got through numbers 5 (Russ Nicholson), 4 (Peter Fenlon), 3 (Erol Otus), and 2 (Angus McBride).  

For some reason, I never posted my #1.  That spot goes to Dave Trampier.  Here are some samples of his work.  

Emirikol the Chaotic.  
I remember gazing at this picture for hours as a teenager, wondering who exactly Emirikol was, why he was going through this town zapping people, etc.

The 1e AD&D Dungeon Master's Screen. 
(I believe that the fighter strongly resembles Trampier himself.)

These guys aren't goody-goody heroes!  They're temple raiders. 
(And here is another Trampier-resembling adventurer.)

 I loved this picture in the Players Handbook when I was a teenager (and still do).  It conveys the mystery and spirit of old school dungeon delving better than any other picture I can think of.

The Tomb of Horrors

Best Lizardman ever!

A magnificent cover!  No flashy heroes 'posing' here.  Just gritty, weathered, and greedy adventurers looting an evil temple.

This cover of Gamma World used to give me chills when I looked at it during the Cold War 1980s. 

Against the Giants!

A Trampier-resembling adventurer, departing a dungeon with some hard-earned loot.

Thanks for all the imagination-expanding artwork, Dave Trampier.  Rest in peace, mighty Emirikol!

Addition: there is a brief tribute at Tor.com.


  1. Wow. So sad. Thanks for posting these reminders of this amazing artist's work. I haven't gamed in years but you've provided perfect examples and great summaries of how important these images were (and are).

  2. Thanks for a well-written post in honor of Tramp!

  3. Wow. I recognize many of those iconic pictures but didnt really pay attention to who was behind them. A sad day, but his work will hopefully go on to inspire other gamers for years to come.

  4. C'est si triste. Un de mes illustrateurs préférés qui nous a quitté trop tôt !

  5. Not to mention he wrote what was probably the first story-driven RPG comic, Wormy. I guess this eliminates any chance of me finding out where the hell it was going.

    I discovered Wormy as a kid reading my Dad's old Dragon Magazines as a kid. One of the first things I did when I got the Dragon Magazine Archive was read all the comics, and was suprised when it ended. Years latter I found out why and was very sad I'd probably not see more, but there was always a CHANCE. Now I find out he was returning to the gaming world, and then died before he did. Damn.


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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who divides his time between Milwaukee and Toronto.