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.
The entire Champions and Cryptic family is saddened to hear about the passing of Scott Bennie, aka Thundrax, a long time designer for the pen and paper Champions game and a avid player of CO. Rest in peace, Scott, we'll miss you terribly. pic.twitter.com/wACrE3k3qIMarch 29, 2022
I was saddened to hear that Scott Bennie died today. He was a brilliant writer who worked with us at Interplay on some true classics like Star Trek: Judgment Rites and Starfleet Academy. RIP.https://t.co/fkCSVYDdFIMarch 30, 2022
My friend and former coworker, the game designer Scott Bennie, has died from complications from pneumonia. His Champions work was groundbreaking. I hope he knew the esteem in which people held him.March 29, 2022
My dear friend, Robert "Scott" Bennie, has passed away from a bout 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. A creative genius, we met as contributors to Rogues Gallery, the Hero Games fanzine. But I had already long admired his work. He has struggled for decades with ill health and depression. 1/3 https://t.co/oAicElz034March 29, 2022
Woke to the sad, but expected news of Scott Bennie’s passing. He was a genius RPG creator (tabletop and PC), and a friend for nearly 30 years. Life was cruel to his body, but his words soared like his superhero, Thundrax. His Gestalt-Earth, for Champions is still brilliant. 1/March 29, 2022
I’m sad to hear of the passing of my old friend Scott Bennie, who I met through the wonderful, tight-knit community of Hero Games designers back in the early 1990s. He was a sharp man, full of neat ideas, and bumping into him at a convention was always a highlight of that week.March 29, 2022
It is my sad duty to report - for those who've not yet heard - that RPG and computer game designer great, Scott Bennie, has flown on to the Next Great Adventure.May Thundrax fly forever! Paladin shall miss him... pic.twitter.com/wgnYKn7XxuMarch 29, 2022