The Mysterious Disappearance of David A. Trampier, TSR Illustrator and Creator of “Wormy”!

The Mysterious Disappearance of David A. Trampier, TSR Illustrator and Creator of “Wormy”!

If this picture has meaning to you it probably means you are an old school RPG geek and it most certainly means we should be hanging out. I have always been quite taken by Trampier’s work in the early Dungeons and Dragon book and his great Dragon magazine featured comic, Wormy. I remember scratching my head at its sudden disappearance back in the day but had not given it any thought until recently when I was thumbing through some back issues. I decided to see what happened to Mr. Trampier (D.A.T) and its kind of interesting.

It seems that in 1988 Trampier just gave it up and stopped working in the gaming industry. In fact, he even stopped cashing checks for Wormy, which of course made the folks at Dragon assume he had passed away, which he had not. He had just moved without a forwarding address.

So for nearly 15 years nothing. Then a picture of a taxi driver appears in a Carbondale, Illinois newspaper and guess who it is? David Trampier.

A lot of people were excited to see him and many tracked him down with letters and phone calls. Mr. Trampier wanted nothing to do with any of them and politely told them to stop trying to contact him. It seems Trampier was just fed up with the industry and moved along with his life.

It’s kind of a shame. I would love to see a Wormy compilation and see Trampier get the geek cred he deserves. But of course, this move just gives him more cred! Well played D.A.T +2000XP.

Updates 3/28/14 – I am sad to report that I just read online that Mr. Trampier passed away.

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Metal Misfit

    Interesting… But I never was an RPG fan outside of video games (and I suck at those).

    I understand wanting to leave it all behind, but the paychecks?! Madness!

  2. Tim

    Obviously on his way to being a Bard….. After a few levels of cab driver he’s ready….

  3. ceabaird

    DAT – damn fine artist. Wish the Wormy Archive had the images from after ’84… seems to be crapping out, & no way to email the webpage owner…

  4. Inherited Tiger

    I wonder what the break point for DAT was? Was it a particular person he worked for, or was it that he was not really making enough money from it to actually survive? Like, did he despair of ever turning pro?

    Would be fascinating if he gave an interview- I mean a proper interview, not a self-serving Ha$bro / Pai$o propaganda piece.

  5. Nighstorm

    If he only knew what his work meant to me as a lonely fat kid. I wish him happiness.

  6. J. McCrackan

    I really wish I could contact him. I’m working with the designer of Divine Right on a new edition, and we’re hoping that Tramp still has the original copy of the map he made for the game.

  7. patriotdan

    Very Watterson-like.

  8. Derek E Smith

    Still love his work,brings back so many happy memories.Wish we all still played D&D,good times! I things are going well for him ,he deserves it.

  9. Derek E Smith

    Still love his work,brings back so many happy memories.Wish we all still played D&D,good times! I hope thing’s are going well for him ,he deserves it.

  10. Jon Pryne

    David Trampier will always be one of my all-time favorite artists. Wishing to express my admiration, I too looked into contacting him years ago. This was when I learned about his “dropping out” & how he preferred to forgo any correspondence, even from his fan-base. Hopefully, he would not be offended that I am including a painted portrait of him (along with some of his characters,) in my upcoming art show comprised of “unsung heroes”.

  11. Keith Monschke

    I have tracked David Trampier down and I just wrote him a letter. I know that no one before me has had any luck with getting him back in the industry but I thought I would ask for a 60 second sketch from him for a as yet unpublished author. I really don’t expect anything from him, but I thought an appreciative letter wouldn’t hurt. He drove a cab and now lives in a “trailer park” with apparent limited means.

    1. The Retroist

      Good luck Keith. Let us know if you get a reply.

  12. Doug Leary

    Hi Keith, did you ever hear from David Trampier? Sure would like to hear what he is up to.

  13. Fan

    Guys! Leave him alone already. Geez.

  14. Agreed

    Well said, Fan. There’s clearly a very strong and personal reason he wants to be left alone and, whatever it is, I think any true fan would honor and respect that decision.

  15. Dano

    Neat photo – he actually kind of looks a little like Ace from Wormy (except he has two eyes of course). I wish him well. A shame he never finished that second story line. Hope he’s happy, whatever he’s up to now.

  16. helvis presley

    mazes and monsters strikes again. i loved that comic back in the day.

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