Rolling for Initiative is a weekly column by Scott Thorne, PhD, owner of Castle Perilous Games & Books in Carbondale, Illinois and instructor in marketing at Southeast Missouri State University.  This week, Thorne offers a tribute to Brian Dalrymple, who unexpectedly passed away last week.

"Hope everyone has a great day."—Brian Dalrymple.

The above is one of Brian Dalrymple's favorite farewells.  I was shocked Friday when I opened up my social media and saw he had passed away (see "R.I.P. Brian Dalrymple").  Several people have already posted tributes to his life and expressions of sorrow at his death.  As of this writing there is no word as to the reason, save for “natural causes.”  I had known Brian for a couple of decades, primarily through meeting with him at various GAMA Trade Shows.  I remember the cheerfulness with which he greeted everyone, the smile and especially the hat.  Brian could easily be picked out of any crowd just by his white fedora. He was also well known for the length of time he had spent in the game industry and his willingness to work for the betterment of the industry.

I had the opportunity to work with Brian on a GAMA project a few years ago, which gave me a greater understanding of both his willingness to volunteer on assorted projects, and to work to improve the industry.  At the time, I had been talking about the increasing influence of KS projects on the gaming industry and had asked if GAMA had a position on them (see " Rolling for Initiative--Crowdfunding: The Future of Distribution?").  GAMA responded, ”No we don’t. Would you like to write one?”  Having been neatly outmaneuvered, I said "yes," and Brian almost as quickly volunteered to work on it as well.  Michael Stackpole wound up taking lead on the paper, but Brian did much of the writing.  I have no idea whatever happened to the finished product, but I do remember how quickly and enthusiastically he threw himself into it.

During several years of turmoil at GAMA, Brian remained a calming and steadying influence who never had a bad word to say about anyone and about whom, to my knowledge, no one ever had a bad word to say.  His nearly two decades of service on what could sometimes be a fractious Board of Directors is tribute to that.

Looking over the comments and tributes posted about him on Facebook shows a person who was deeply integrated into the game industry and the Florida gaming community, both as an RPG writer and as a game retailer, co-owner of The Adventure Game Store and Dragon's Lair one of the oldest game-centric stores in the country.  He had spent decades building a community for gamers in central Florida, especially for those who were outcast, whether by school or family.  One writer indicated they knew of at least 10 people who had contemplated suicide who were alive today due to Brian’s intervention.  That is quite a legacy to leave behind.

Brian also loved to talk, rather to converse.  He had that trick of making you think, while you were talking with him, that you were a brilliant conversationalist when much of it was due to the way he would listen and respond to what you said.  A number of people remarked on how easy he was to talk with and how an hour’s worth of conversation felt like only minutes had passed.

Some of the eulogies posted are a couple of sentences long, others are a full page.  Brian Dalrymple will be missed by a lot of people and that is as good a tribute as any.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of