Scott Bennie, writer, producer and designer of several video games and tabletop role-playing games, has died aged 61 from pneumonia, his Facebook page confirmed.
Although you may not recognize Scott Bennie by name, you probably know some of his work. At Interplay in the 1990s, he was producer and designer of the two-volume adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, as well as strategy simulations Castles and Castles: The Northern Campaign. His other Interplay credits, primarily as a writer, include the Star Trek games Starfleet Academy, Judgment Rites, Star Trek: 25th Anniversary, Starfleet Command, and Starfleet Command 2, as well as Castles 2: Siege and Conquest and the first Fallout.
In an interview posted on Steemit in 2017, Bennie was humbled about his contribution to the classic RPG, saying, “I didn’t have much to do with Fallout. A few maps, a few Hub bits, and a few system messages. And the Mysterious Stranger Perk. And I named Dogmeat — if anything lives on in my writing career, it will be that dog’s name.
Bennie’s other video game credits include Descent, Descent to Undermountain, Stonekeep, Champions of Norrath, and the enhanced CD-ROM edition of the original SimCity. He was also a prolific designer of tabletop RPGs, having written supplements and adventures for Dungeons & Dragons, Champions, Marvel Superheroes, Mutants & Masterminds, and adaptations of The Lord the Rings and World of Warcraft.
As well as working on the tabletop game Champions – for which he created the Gestalt-Earth setting – Bennie was well known in the community from his MMO version, Champions Online, where he played a superhero named Thundrax. In a eulogy posted on Facebook, former Interplay staffer Jesse Heinig wrote that “For many people, role-playing is a chance to try to play, for a little while, like someone else. ‘one different, but to Scott, Thundrax seemed to be ‘What if Scott had superpowers? He was kind, caring and willing to help, all qualities that Scott had in spades.’
On Twitter, game developers who worked with Bennie wrote tributes praising his writing as well as his kindness and intelligence.
The entire Champions and Cryptic family is saddened to learn of the passing of Scott Bennie, aka Thundrax, a longtime Champions pen and paper game designer and avid CO gamer. Rest in peace Scott, we will miss you terribly. pic.twitter.com/wACrE3k3qIMarch 29, 2022
I was saddened to learn that Scott Bennie passed away today. He was a brilliant writer who worked with us at Interplay on true classics like Star Trek: Judgment Rites and Starfleet Academy. RIP.https://t.co/fkCSVYDdFIMarch 30, 2022
My friend and former colleague, game designer Scott Bennie, died of pneumonia. His work on champions was groundbreaking. I hope he knew the esteem in which people held him.March 29, 2022
My dear friend, Robert “Scott” Bennie, died of pneumonia. He was a great game designer and writer. I will miss him.March 29, 2022
Scott Bennie was an old friend of mine. Genius creator, we met as contributors to Rogues Gallery, the Hero Games fanzine. But I had already admired his work for a long time. He struggled for decades with poor health and depression. 1/3 https://t.co/oAicElz034March 29, 2022
I woke up to the sad but long awaited news that Scott Bennie had passed away. He was a genius RPG creator (tabletop and PC), and a friend for almost 30 years. Life was cruel to his body, but his words soared like his superhero, Thundrax. His Gestalt-Terre, for Champions is always brilliant. 1/March 29, 2022
I am saddened to learn of the passing of my old friend Scott Bennie, whom I met through the wonderful, tight-knit community of Hero Games designers in the early 1990s. He was a lively man, full of great ideas, and bumping into him at a convention was always a highlight of that week.March 29, 2022
It’s my sad duty to announce – for those who haven’t heard it yet – that Scott Bennie, great designer of RPGs and computer games, has flown off to the next great adventure. Let Thundrax fly forever! Paladin will be missed… pic.twitter.com/wgnYKn7XxuMarch 29, 2022