I'm not sure how I missed this one, but Dave Arneson, co-creator of D&D passed away (kotaku.com) earlier this week. I'm just old and geeky enough to remember Blackmoor and Arneson's much lighter approach to D&D. At the time, I preferred Gygax's more rules bound approach because it was easier for young gamers to use than was Arneson's more seat of the pants approach. Now, I have a much greater appreciation for Arneson's desire for us to just have fun, something that's seemingly lacking in the latest iterations of D&D.
While he doesn't get nearly enough credit, he's another RPG pioneer gone.
Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit. -- Erasmus
All others things being equal, the simplest solution is usually stupidity. -- Darwin Minor
If you're just talking about the Shannara books then I'm right there with you, but if you've never read his Magic Kingdom of Landover books, you should give them a try. They're about a New York lawyer who buys the kingship of a genuine magic land.