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tlynch999

In Memoriam

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fojo

Condolences to wife, son, relatives and friends.

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Nightbreed24

Damn... 8O I never knew him and only "talked" to him once, when he wanted to help me with a gaming problem and I have to say, that he was a TRUE game developer. Always helping, always there for somebody. When I saw who wrote back, I was almost speechless from surprise. Definetaly not one of the money-hungry RPG sharks out there. In my country, most of the top RPG developers have mouths as big as a spanish galleon and talk bad about your Mom for criticizing them. Condolences to his family and friends. He will be missed.

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christian

I read the news and went "Oh God no!"

 

Keith came to France years ago, and stayed at our house for a few days of fun and talk and wining and dining and general madness, with Mark Rein Hagen.

 

I had admired his work for years and was so glad to have him "all for me" for a few days. I must find the time and the will to write about those days. Now, I just can't. I feel something has been ripped inside me.

 

Bloody hell!

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glyph

I'd only talked to Keith a little, but he seemed like a hell of a guy and a hell of a writer. He'll be sorely missed.

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hamster

I suppose it's an indication of how much Keith's work has meant to all of us for us to see the outpouring of grief here for a man few of us have met and even fewer actually knew personally.

 

But I know that my memories from my teenage years will be intrinsically linked to reading and playing through the scenarios in Arkham Unveiled and Return to Dunwich and that the excitement that I felt knowing that he was back writing for my favourite game system brought me some of that youthful feeling back!

 

I'm sure that many others feel the same and would like to join everyone in wishing my condolences to his family and friends

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Eryx_UK

Rest in Peace. :cry:

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lordof1

Goodbye, Doc. And thanks for everything.

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StephanieMcAlea

This has saddened me in a perculiar way. I never met the man... but his name is repeated over and over on my book shelf. I enjoyed everything he wrote (that i managed to get) and yet feel strangely happy that even though he's passed on... the sheer amount of gaming luminaries that have posted here and other places in response to his death is perhaps his greatest 'review'.

 

Being an artist for many years and having seen literally thousands of fonts and examples of typography professionally... he's the only guy i know that when i heard his name saw it in a font in the same way that you cant hear 'Coke' without seeing the curly 'C'.

 

So, with fondness, I salute you Mr. Herber and will tonight toast a glass of mead to your memory.

Keith Herber - Writer, creator, Columbus/Beaumarcais (Scriptorium)in 12pt..

 

God bless you and your family at this time.

Steff

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WatsonSE

My God - this can't be real...

 

My condolences to his family.

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Aaron

I only knew Keith through his publications, but his name appeared on so many of them, I knew he was an integral part of the Call of Cthulhu RPG experience, and his input will be missed.

 

My condolences to friends and family.

 

Aaron

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mr_mitts

I did not know Keith personally, but he had a profound impact on a fandom and hobby that few others have had. Rarely did I not check the author of some witty piece of writing or helpful YSDC post to find it was he who wrote it.

 

I don't think I can say much more than offer condolences to Keith's friends and family.

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CthulhuBob

My deep and sincere thanks to Mr. Herber for his excellent and voluminous work, and for helping inspire me to run this great game. Be at peace, sir.

 

My thoughts and prayers to him and his family.

 

Ia!

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Hafwit

My condolences. Thanks, Mr. Herber.

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rylehNC

I hope his family can take some small solace in the folks thinking of them here - myself included.

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DrJohn

That's horribly news; I am deeply shocked.

 

We worked together on the first issues of Worlds of Cthulhu, where he acted as editor in chief, and stayed in contact ever since then. The last thing we talked about was the possibility of publishing his newest works in German.

 

Call of Cthulhu has lost its most important writer and editor of all times. I am deeply saddened.

 

Frank Heller

Editor in Chief, of Call of Cthulhu Germany (Pegasus Spiele)

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sapper-joe

I saw logged on Yog a few minutes ago, just to now hear about this sad news.

 

My deepest sympathies to the family and friends.

 

Joe

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Ereshkigal

This is too bad...

 

My condolences to his family

 

Rest in Peace

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malcojones

Sad and unexpected news.

 

As someone who only knew his CoC work and his humourous posts on this site I can only have an inkling of the impact of his death on those closer to him.

 

Personally, I was very pleased that through creating MRP he was writing for CoC, for us, again and feel his loss is a real loss to the future of the game.

 

His earlier contributions to CoC's development were hugely important and hooked me like many others.

 

My best wishes to all those affected, malcojones.

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Talionis

Keith, you will be sorely missed by those who knew and admired you. Friday the 13th will never be the same for me but will always be memorable for you and the wonderful gifts that you gave us over many years. Requiescat in pace.

 

Mike

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Danharms

The Wikipedia entry publications list could nonetheless use another look - it omitted both Fungi from Yuggoth and Spawn of Azathoth! I'm sure there are other items that didn't make it on...

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billwalsh

I was honored and happy to call Keith Herber my colleague when he, Adam Crossingham, and Frank Heller launched Worlds of Cthulhu. I can't claim to have known him well, but our professional relationship was outstanding and warm. I thought the world of Keith as an editor and as a man.

 

I consider Keith the single most important individual in the history of Call of Cthulhu, and I'm glad I got to tell him so, in so many words. Without Keith, Sandy Petersen's brilliant game would never have become renowned as arguably the greatest role-playing game ever written. Without his stewardship of the game, it might not have flourished and certainly wouldn't have enjoyed the golden age it did under his editorship in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The HPLHS, this forum, and so much else related to the game and the Lovecraft renaissance would simply not exist without the enthusiastic fans Keith seduced into the game with his writing and his superb editing of others'. Others have taken the game and the hobby in a number of different directions, but the trunk of these branches is the classic Call of Cthulhu which was largely a product of two men, Sandy Petersen and Keith Herber. Sandy created the game, brilliantly, and Keith made a great, abiding institution. Si requiris monumentum, circumspice.

 

In so far as I knew Keith, incidentally, he never would have agreed with my estimation of his importance. He was always humble and quick to praise all the great authors with whom he had worked. As Scott Aniolowski, Kevin Ross, and others can attest, his gift for friendship was even greater than his gifts with a pen.

 

Call of Cthulhu fans owe Keith a huge debt of gratitude, and we mourn his passing. Those of us lucky enough to know Keith personally have a greater loss to bear, his old and close friends especially. None our grief, however, can compare to that of his wife Sharon and son Erik, whom he loved surpassingly. Keep them and Keith in your thoughts and prayers.

 

Requiescas in pace, Doc. Ave atque vale.

 

Bill Walsh

 

P.S. I conducted an interview with Keith for Cthulhoide Welten in 2004. I thought it gave a tremendous impression of the man, his mind, and his terrific humor. I believe it has heretofore only appeared in German. I'm posting the entire original interview here (some of which was cut for space in publication), unless Frank objects, in which case I'll remove it. The questions are in a slightly formal style, as is more common in German interviews, but the answers are pure Keith. I hope it makes you wish you'd known him. Enjoy.

 

Thank you for speaking with Cthuloide Welten, Mr. Herber. Before we talk about your well-known career and current projects in Call of Cthulhu, we’d like to ask about Keith Herber, the man. Could you tell us a little about your life?

 

Lessee, I was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1949, to two parents, one male, one female. An only child, I was raised in fairly decent circumstances and attended public schools. I read my first book, All About Dinosaurs by Roy Chapman Andrews at the age of four and have loved "monsters" ever since. By the age of ten I was producing my own stop-motion dinosaur movies filmed on tabletop sets I built in my basement. I loved Ray Harryhausen flicks and would bug my dad to take me to each new one as they were released.

 

By this time I was also reading a lot of science fiction and horror, and grew up on the tales of Bradbury, Dick, Mathieson, and others. It was a Bradbury story, "Pillar of Fire", where I first heard of H.P. Lovecraft. Bradbury used him in a sentence: "Poe and Lovecraft" and I sought out this mysterious author with a very odd name. Surprisingly enough, I found some Arkham House collections in the rather small local library and proceeded to devour them.

 

By this time I'd lost most interest in school and continued my own reading pursuits: Steinbeck, Hemingway, Dostoevsky, as well as the all the sci-fi and horror I could find.

 

And as as a young man?

 

As military duty was all but compulsory for young males graduating high school in 1967, I joined a Naval Air Force reserve unit several months before I got out of school, determined to avoid the draft and the almost certain duty in Vietnam that came with it. I hated the military and, in return, the military hated me. Actual active duty time was less than a year.

 

And after your service?

 

When I returned home I quickly found an automotive factory job so I could buy a fast car and a fast motorcycle. Not only did I enjoy the speed and the bit of danger they provided, it was also the best way to meet chicks. I eventually won the "Quarternational" drag race title down at old Detroit Dragway, and met a chick named Sharon. We've been married 34 years now. We settled down, and a couple years later had a son we named Erik.

 

At 24, I was released from the military, grew a beard, sold the motorcycle, bought a Fender bass and taught myself how to play. A few years later, I quit my job and became a full-time musician. Without a doubt the most rewarding years of my life, I played all over the Midwest and much of the East Coast, at first on the rock and roll circuit but soon after the blues circuit where both musicians and audiences were much more serious about the music itself. I had the good fortune to perform at various times with such luminaries as Dr. John, Bonnie Raitt, Mitch Ryder, The Thunderbirds, and many others, as well as opening shows for The Temptations, John Mayall, etc.[span class=Apple-converted-space] [/span]

 

So you were hardly a typical gamer! How did that connection come about?

 

Around the age of thirty I started hearing rumors about some strange game called Dungeons & Dragons, and eventually located a store that sold this odd thing. This was prior to AD&D and the rules were almost incomprehensible, at least to a novice. But I slugged away at it and eventually my wife and I, and a few friends, were playing on a weekly basis. It was great fun, and unlike anything else we'd ever done. Still a fan of Lovecraft, when Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu appeared a few years later I passed on it, sure that a roleplaying game couldn't capture that Lovecraft horror feel. When I finally decided to part with $20 to buy the game I was pleasantly surprised. On a gray afternoon I ran the original Haunted House scenario for my son and managed to scare the crap out of him. I was hooked.

 

About the same time, I soon got the urge to write. I tried a little fiction but then, after the appearance of Shadows of Yog-Sothoth, I decided to write up some of my homegrown CoC scenarios into a campaign which Chaosium soon after published it under the title Fungi from Yuggoth. Encouraged, I quickly followed up with Trail of Tsathoggua and Spawn of Azathoth.

 

There’s a break in your bibliography after Spawn of Azathoth. What happened?

 

Chaosium, as always, ran into financial problems and, with no royalty checks coming in, I stopped writing for them for a couple years. Once they got back on their feet, Lynn Willis called me about doing some more work and I responded with Arkham Unveiledâ€â€possibly my favorite among all the CoC books I did. Less than a year later, Chaosium offered me a job so Sharon and I packed up and moved to San Francisco. Erik, then 17, preferred to stay in Michigan, so we said goodbye and headed west.

 

What was it like working for Chaosium?

 

Sharon and I loved living in downtown San Francisco and, for a couple years, working at Chaosium was great fun. I amassed a crew of truly splendid, dedicated writers that included Kevin Ross, Scott Aniolowski, Fred Behrendt, and many others, and managed to produce a number of very good products, along with introducing the Cycle series of Cthulhu fiction.

 

The works you edited and wrote are widely considered the best CoC publications of all time. Do you have any of them of which you’re particularly proud?

 

I think my favorite accomplishment was the creation of the Lovecraft Country series of books. I wrote the first volume, Arkham Unveiled, as a free lancer in 1988. It seems almost any roleplaying game needs a city setting, and I'd waited years for something to appear for Call of Cthulhu. With nothing forthcoming, I took the task on myself, though at the time I doubted if I knew enough about the subject to pull it off. A trip to Massachusetts, with visits to Salem, Marblehead, Gloucester, and Newburyport filled in some of the blanks, and the book was published the following year. By then I'd been hired by Chaosium and was in the office to put on some of the finishing touches to the project. I followed with Return to Dunwich, then roped in Kevin Ross, who wrote the Kingsport book, and then headed up the Escape from Innsmouth project. Innsmouth was fun to watch happen. I had laid out most of the major ideas for the book, including the outline for the Raid on Innsmouth scenario, then stepped out of the picture and let the crew of writers, under Kevin Ross's direction, go to town. It was great to see a project of that scope come to lifeâ€â€and without having to do too much work myself.

 

Any others?

 

I'm also proud of designing and launching the Cthulhu Cycle fiction series books. It seemed there were too many Mythos stories by other authors too long out of print, and the impetus for the series was to get these stories back in print, and in the hands of readers and players. I contacted Bob Price and arranged for him to edit the series, and he and I began laying out the contents for the first half-dozen books. Unfortunately, I was fired before the first book got to print, and since then the editorial direction of the series seems to have occasionally wandered off track. I've often wondered how well these books have sold, but have no access to the sales figures. They must have done all right, I guess, as the series is still in publication.

 

But the good times didn’t last?

 

The first couple years I worked at Chaosium were pretty good times. I was close friends with Charlie Krank. Then, when the money started drying up, it wasn't so much fun. At one time I owed practically $17,000 to my free lancers. And then the bookkeeper started acting up. After she one day threatened to "start hitting and kicking people" (specifically, meâ€â€and she was a black-belt karate student), I told management I would prefer to work at home and I would not commission any more freelance work until current bills were paid. I went home and wrote the two original 1920s Investigators Companions, the Keeper's Compendium, and then was summarily fired. After a month, Greg Stafford ordered me back into the office. As he refused to do anything about the bookkeeper's behavior, I declined. I was soon after fired. I think it kept the bookkeeper happy, though.

 

What happened after you left Chaosium?

 

Sharon and I moved to Chicago where I took a short-lived designer job with a video game company Not to be Named, then found work as a graphic designer, then a website news editor with Cinescape magazine, and eventually editor of a trade magazine for the tombstone business. With all these companies going under for one reason or another, we eventually headed south to Florida where we now dwell in a "retirement community" with a great home on the side of a lake filled with alligators and water moccasins. We love it here.

 

What do you read there in the tropics? The classics, as when you were younger? Horror?

 

After a ten-year hiatus, I've started reading Lovecraft again. Despite his flaws, I still love the guy's work. The last ten years I've drifted away from horror authors. I don't find as much to like as I did in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, and the genre has stretched out in other directions. In lieu of horror, I started reading more from classic literature, finding much to like among Russian and French authors. These days I read mostly history, long a favorite topic.

 

And you’re back in the world of Cthulhu, it seems. Tell us about Worlds of Cthulhu.

 

Worlds of Cthulhu is an English-language magazine based on the award-winning Cthuloide Welten published by Pegasus Spiele and edited by Frank Heller. My title is Editor in Chief, and my partner is Editor Adam Crossingham, best known for his CoC magazine, The Black Seal. Frank Heller is Publisher. We will be presenting the best of the original German magazine with lots of new material from a variety of authors, many well known to CoC fans. WoC is centered in the classic 1920's milieu, but will cover all aspects of CoC including Gaslight, Now, Delta Green, d20, Dark Ages, and more. At 128 pages per issue, we have the space to provide broad coverage of the game. The theme of the premiere issue will be the new Dark Ages world of CoC.

 

Also, rumor has it you're working with Chaosium again? Is that true?

 

Yes, there is a rumor. A couple different publishers, including Pegasus Spiele, had asked if I would edit and produce Call of Cthulhu supplements if they could get a license from Chaosium. Both, unfortunately, were turned down. Charlie Krank then contacted me, expressing a desire to have me do some work for Chaosium. Ideas were discussed, and a project designated. However, it's been a couple months since I've heard from them and emails have gone unanswered. Whether there's any future to the relationship remains to be seen.

 

Well, we will certainly hope that the effort bears fruit. Thank you very much for your time, Mr. Herber.

 

Thank you.

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Paradroid

I'm speechless. We just e-mailed about a question concerning the translation of "Arkham". Keith, friendly and helpful to a complete stranger. I rank his scenario "The Sanatorium" among the best ever written for CoC. He was just a great writer. Thanks for everything you left behind. I'll hold your memory dear, every time I'll run your great stuff. I feel for all of Keith's friends and family, it's hard to imagine how hard it must be for them.

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phobia

Condolences from myself and Shoggoth.net.

 

His family is in our prayers.

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