Scott Bennie, writer on Interplay's Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Fallout, and others, has died

Image for Scott Bennie, writer on Interplay's Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Fallout, and others, has died
(Image credit: Scott Bennie)

Scott Bennie, writer, producer, and designer of multiple videogames and tabletop roleplaying games, has died at the age 61 due to pneumonia complications, as confirmed on his Facebook page.

While you may not recognize Scott Bennie by name, you likely know some of his work. At Interplay in the 1990s he served as producer and designer on both volumes of its adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, as well as the strategy sims 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 original Fallout.

In an interview published on Steemit in 2017, Bennie was humble about his contribution to the classic RPG, saying, "I didn't have that much to do with Fallout. A few maps, some bits of the Hub, and some system messages. And the Mysterious Stranger Perk. And I named Dogmeat – if anything endures of my writing career, it will be the name of that dog."

Bennie's other videogame 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 tabletop RPG designer, having written supplements and adventures for Dungeons & Dragons, Champions, Marvel Superheroes, Mutants & Masterminds, and adaptations of both The Lord the Rings and World of Warcraft.

In addition to working on the Champions tabletop game—for which he created the Gestalt-Earth setting—Bennie was well-known in the community of its MMO version, Champions Online, where he played a superhero named Thundrax. In a eulogy posted to Facebook, fellow ex-Interplay staffer Jesse Heinig wrote that, "For many people, role-playing is a chance to try to play, for a little while, as someone different, but for Scott, Thundrax seemed like 'What if Scott had superpowers?' He was kind, thoughtful, and ready to help, all qualities that Scott carried in spades."

On Twitter, game developers who worked with Bennie have written tributes praising his writing as well as his kindness and intelligence.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.