Brian Blume

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Brian J. Blume
Born (1950-01-12) January 12, 1950 (age 68)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
OccupationWriter, game designer
NationalityUnited States
GenreRole-playing games, fantasy, wargames

Brian J. Blume (born January 12, 1950)[1] is a game designer and writer, principally known as a former business partner of Gary Gygax in TSR, Inc., producers of the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. He later worked as a cartographer on numerous White Wolf supplements.[2]


Early life[edit]

Brian Blume was born January 12, 1950, in Chicago, Illinois.[3] Blume began playing chess at age seven, and Gettysburg at age nine. He was fascinated by history in junior high school and was involved in miniature wargaming in high school. Blume married, but later divorced. He worked as a tool and die maker's apprentice for his father's company for five years.[3][4]

Dungeons & Dragons and TSR[edit]

Blume met Gary Gygax at the Gen Con game convention in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and later became a partner, with Gygax and Donald R. Kaye, in Tactical Studies Rules (TSR). Blume's father, Melvin Blume, providing the funding to publish the original Dungeons & Dragons boxed set.[5][6][7][8]:7 Blume received a blind mailing in 1975 of the first issue of the monthly newsletter Owl and Weasel from Games Workshop, and he sent Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson a copy of Dungeons & Dragons in return. Livingstone and Jackson felt that this game was more imaginative than anything being produced in the UK at the time, so they worked out an arrangement with Blume for a three-year exclusive deal to sell D&D in Europe.[8]:43

After Kaye's death in 1976, his widow sold her shares to Gygax. Gygax – now controlling the whole of Tactical Studies Rules – created TSR Hobbies, Inc., with himself as company president. After encountering financial difficulties, Gygax sold TSR Hobbies to Brian Blume and his brother Kevin, whom Brian got nominated to TSR's board.[5] Gygax originally held 60% ownership of the new TSR, but as part of the reorganization, the new partners had to buy out Kaye's widow and pay other fees; as Gygax was unable to contribute a fair share of these costs, his ownership eventually dropped to 30% of the company, leaving him a minority stockholder.[8]:8

Blume authored the Dungeons & Dragons supplement Eldritch Wizardry with Gygax in 1976,[9] naming the character Vecna as an anagram of Jack Vance. Blume also worked on The Rogues Gallery.[10] With Gygax, Blume also coauthored the Warriors of Mars miniatures wargame adaptation in 1974, and the Boot Hill role-playing game in 1975.[5][11] Blume also authored the Panzer Warfare miniatures wargame in 1975.

Power struggle within TSR[edit]

The Blumes expanded into the book trade with series such as Endless Quest.[8]:14 The Blumes also expanded TSR into industries such as toy manufacturing, miniature manufacturing, and even the needlecraft business, and finally worked on expanding into the wider entertainment industry as well.[8]:15 The Blumes expanded the company's role-playing lines with Dragonlance and Marvel Super Heroes.[8]:16

Bank creditors insisted on the appointment of three independent directors with business experience from the American Management Association – a lawyer from a large Milwaukee firm, a personnel officer from a Milwaukee area company, and an owner of a company that made medical equipment – to enlarge the Board of Directors to six people.[5][12]

By 1984, the company was $1.5 million in debt. At the behest of the independent directors Kevin Blume ‘removed himself’ from executive duties.[12] Gygax asked Lorraine Williams to invest in TSR, and hired her to manage the company.[5] Williams dismissed the three independent directors, who had been in place for about two years by that time.[13]

After being severed from the board the Blumes notified Gygax and the boadd of their intention to sell their stocks but neither accepted the price the Blumes asked for. The Blumes claimed Gygax promised to buy their shares with his own funds; Gygax denied this and claimed he merely promised to find a group of individuals or a consortium to purchase their shares.[12] So the Blumes sold their stock to Williams, removing Gygax's controlling stake in the company. Brian Blume left TSR after a bitter struggle with Gary Gygax.[5] Gygax sold his remaining stock and left TSR in 1985.[14]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Pen & Paper listing for Brian Blume". Archived from the original on April 26, 2005.
  3. ^ a b Kask, Tim (December 1975). "In the Cauldron". The Strategic Review. Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: TSR, Inc. (#5): 2, 8.
  4. ^ Stewart Alsop II (1982-02-01). "TSR Hobbies Mixes Fact and Fantasy".
  5. ^ a b c d e f La Farge, Paul (September 2006). "Destroy All Monsters". The Believer Magazine. Archived from the original on 2008-10-04.
  6. ^ "Dungeons & Dragons FAQ". Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2008-10-03. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
  7. ^ "The History of TSR". Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2008-10-04. Retrieved 2005-08-20.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  9. ^ Gygax, Gary and Brian Blume. Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry (TSR, 1976)
  10. ^ Blume, Brian, David Cook, and Jean Wells. The Rogues Gallery. (TSR, 1980)
  11. ^ Blume, Brian, and Gary Gygax. Boot Hill (TSR, 1975)
  12. ^ a b c Peterson, Jon (2014-07-28). "The Ambush at Sheridan Springs". Retrieved 2018-11-15.
  13. ^ Sacco, Ciro Alessandro. "The Ultimate Interview with Gary Gygax". Retrieved 2008-10-24.
  14. ^ Kushner, David (2008-03-10). "Dungeon Master: The Life and Legacy of Gary Gygax". Archived from the original on 2012-11-13. Retrieved 2008-10-16.