Stephen began working on RPGs in 2000 when he became the RPGA editorial assistant at Wizards of the Coast. Over the years he's administered the Living Greyhawk campaign, aided in the development the D&D 3.5 edition rules, was a developer for D&D 4th edition and Star Wars Saga edition, taught numerous game design classes in the Seattle area, and contributed to the Pathfinder Advanced Player's Guide and Ultimate Magic as a freelance designer. For the past six and a half years he has worked at Paizo Inc. He is the Senior Designer for the Pathfinder RPG and the guy who designs the majority of Pathfinder Flip-Mats, Map Packs, and the upcoming Flip-Tiles. In his free time, he works on a little game called the Delve RPG.
Heidi Gygax grew up around the gaming industry as the third child of Mary Jo and E. Gary Gygax. From a young age, Heidi and her siblings worked concession stands at Horticultural Hall for Gen Con game conventions, and later worked in the TSR booth. In her teens, Heidi began working summers at TSR and later full time in the Gen Con department, at the Dungeon Hobby Shop, and Sales, until being ousted in October, 1985, for being named Gygax. For the last 28 years, Heidi spends her time accumulating and managing a dragon’s wealth in gemstones and jewelry as the General Merchandising Manager for Na Hoku, a large national jewelry retailer and manufacturer based in Honolulu, Hawaii. She makes a pilgrimage to Lake Geneva and her gaming roots once a year to celebrate at Gary Con with her family and friends.
Darlene the Artist
Darlene is an American artist and calligrapher whose artwork appeared in early Dungeons & Dragons works published by TSR. Her best-known piece, the full-colour map of the Flanaess that accompanied the 1980 folio edition of the World of Greyhawk by Gary Gygax, was used as the basis of all subsequent Greyhawk publications and maps until Greyhawk publications were discontinued by Wizards of the Coast in 2008.
In 1982 DARLENE created Jasmine: The Battle for the Mid-Realm card game, the first roleplaying card game in history. She left Lake Geneva (and the RPG world) in 1984 to pursue studies in the graphic arts at Indiana University, where she earned her MFA three years later. She soon settled into a freelance career as a graphic designer and illustrator.
Fast forward to 2005, when Gary Gygax contacted her. Their reunion pulled DARLENE back into RPGs, beginning with the creation of two full-color foldout maps for Gary’s Castle Zagyg series. She resides in the witch-haunted Uwharrie Mountains of North Carolina with sibling cats Mila and Milo in an Addams family style house, complete with ghosts, gargoyles, and portals into other dimensions. But you can visit her at darlenetheartist.com or at StarCatBookDesign.com.
Corporate educator, writer, and game designer James Carpio began his obsession with role-playing games with the Moldvey D&D box set in 1981. Since then James has become obsessed with games of all types. As an avid gamer, James spends most of his free time playing games, toying with game mechanics, and embracing nerd culture. As Chief Games officer of TSR, James was crucial in the development of Top Secret: New World Order as a designer of the Lucky 13 game engine. Next on the list is TSRs upcoming pulp RPG, Pulp Era.
As president Grindhaus Media James has collaborated to publish the 2012 ENnie award nominated Spookybeans the Gothic Comics RPG and the DCC supplement Tales from the Fallen Empire under the Chapter 13 Press label.
Other nerdy endeavors include collaboration with other game companies (Eden Studios, Exile Game Studios, Secret Fire Games and R. Talsorian Games) and host of the Cube of Death podcast (TSR Podcasting Network). You can hear James rant on Twitter @ravenspoe or Facebook @GrindhausMedia
Tracy Hickman is a NYT Best-selling author of novels, best known for the Dragonlance series with Margaret Weis. He is also the designer of such AD&D classic titles as Ravenloft (with his wife Laura). Currently, he is the Director of Story Design for The VOID whose most recently project is the ‘Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire’ hyper-reality experience premiering December of 2017.
Matt is the creator of one of the most well-known of the retro-clones: Swords & Wizardry, a modern take on Original D&D (or OD&D). He was also heavily involved in the genesis of OSRIC, which unleashed a flood of new content and interest in older styles of role-playing. His Swords & Wizardry system won a Silver ENnie in 2009, is possibly the most played retro-clone in existence, with tens of thousands of downloads of the original rule set and a huge amount of supporting material from a growing list of publishers including: Frog God Games, Kobold Press, Silver Bulette, and many more. Matt’s own contributions to gaming besides the S&W rule set are the Tome of Adventure Design (a Three Castles Award finalist); the now-defunct (but fondly remembered) magazine Knockspell; and several instant-classic fantasy adventures including Tomb of the Iron God, Spire of Iron and Crystal, Pod Caverns of the Sinister Shroom, and Demonspore.
During her tenure with TSR, Inc. Penny served as Game Questions Expert and head of the RPGA Network. Later with Wizards of the Coast, she worked in the Managing Editor’s office, lending her expertise to a number of role-playing games, including 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons, Marvel, and Star Wars. Her writing credits include several game adventures plus a few short stories, most of them co-authored with her husband Skip.
Penny still runs two D&D campaigns online, plus occasional face-to-face games—most often at the annual cookie bake held at the ancient crumbling farmhouse she shares with Skip in western Wisconsin. When she is not dispensing her players enough rope to hang themselves, Penny teaches a variety of high school science courses at North Cedar Academy, an international private boarding school in Ladysmith, Wisconsin. She also manages the school’s Game Club, plants/tends/harvests the organic garden, and coordinates the annual Rube Goldberg Machine contest entry.
David “Zeb” Cook
David "Zeb" Cook joined the TSR design staff in 1979, as employee #24 and through the dint of persistence rose employee #2 or 3 (in senority only) the time he left in 1994.In those years he designed such things as X1: The Isle of Dread (with the late Tom Moldvay), the D&D Expert Set, Oriental Adventures, the AD&D 2nd Edition Rules, the Conan RPG, the Indiana Jones RPG, the Escape From New York boardgame (really!), the Planescape Campaign Setting, and what must have been the personal pinnacle of his career the Bullwinkle and Rocky Party Game. After leaving TSR, Zeb entered the world of videogames where he worked on a lot of things that never saw the light of day and a few that did such as Lords of the Realm III and the City of Villains MMO. He currently works as a Content Zone Lead on the successful and entertaining Elder Scrolls Online MMO.
In addition to RPGs and MMOs, he's a big fan of historical and not-so-historical miniatures, welding and laser cutters, bicycling, and good beer.
Marc Miller is an award-winning game designer with experience reaching back some forty years. He playtested John Hill’s original Squad Leader; he once slept overnight in Jim Dunnigan’s office; he (well, his company) published a game by Gary Gygax. He designed one of the Europa Series games. He once won a Hunt For Red October naval miniatures game refereed by Tom Clancy himself. He designed the best-selling science-fiction role-playing game of all time. Marc was the second role-playing game designer inducted into the Adventure Gaming Hall of Fame (Gary Gygax was the first), and his role-playing game Traveller is in the Hall of Fame in its own name. Did we mention he was a founding member of the legendary Game Designers’ Workshop? Marc lives in Illinois with his wife Darlene.
Steve Winter got his start in the RPG industry by answering a help wanted ad from TSR in Dragon magazine in 1980. In the decades since, he's acted as editor, developer, managing editor, creative director, web producer, designer, and author on countless roleplaying games, adventures, boardgames, wargames, novels, magazines, and web articles. His most recent work includes Hoard of the Dragon Queen, The Rise of Tiamat, and Tomb of Annihilation for Wizards of the Coast, and the Tome of Beasts and Midgard Heroes Handbook for Kobold Press. He tweets irregularly (in every sense of the word) as @StvWinter, and blogs on games at HowlingTower.com and KoboldPress.com.
Satine Phoenix is Co-Creator of Maze Arcana, Host of GM Tips on Geek & Sundry, Dungeons and Dragons Guild Adept, Founder of CelebrityChariD20.com & Meetup.com/LATabletopGamers, Co-Author of The Action Heroine's Journey & Co-creator & artist on New Praetorians, Graphic Designer for the Loyal Subjects, Co-Host of Game School Podcast, Jewelry Designer & freelance Illustrator on Burningquill.com, OG Crew of I Hit It with My Axe webseries 2010. You can read about her Gaming Escapades over the years on i09.com, Wired magazine, Maxim & Time Magazine. Artist-Entrepreneur-Entertainer: Satine spends her time surrounded by decadence, doing the things she loves most: Working/Playing D&D with her friends, Illustrating, drinking coffee, working out & traveling to various gaming events around the world with her Maze Arcana Co-Creator, Ruty Rutenberg.
US Army OIF/OEF Veteran, Actor, Writer, Voice Over, and Award Winning Dungeon Master & Creator. Ruty's expertise spans multiple platforms, with work alongside all the major studios on titles such as *Argo, Fury, Finest Hours, Magnificent Seven*, the recently released *Growhouse* by Snoop Dogg & DJ Pooh, and *The Wall* directed by Doug Liman. When not acting, voice acting, or writing for film & television, Ruty is writing content for Dungeons & Dragons, and a host of other RPG publishers and game designers. Somehow, he finds the time to stop for panels on the convention circuit—recently PAX, Gary Con, Emerald City & Los Angeles Comic Cons, Winter Fantasy; you can also catch him next at Gen Con, alongside his Maze Arcana co-creator Satine Phoenix (@SatinePhoenix). When he can, he loves gaming with attendees and is currently planning the future content as Dungeon Master of the amazing Maze Arcana titles, *Fury's Fate, *Fury's Reach *Orphan Echo, Peanut Gallery*… and even an upcoming Stream of Annihilation. Shhhhh….
Allen Hammack has contributed to some 80 products as author, designer, editor, or developer. The “Master of Mythology” most recently was editor of and on the design team for the Top Secret: New World Ordertm espionage RPG by the new TSR. Hired by Gary Gygax in 1978, Allen was Manager of Designers during the “Golden Era” of TSR. He writes often on using myths and legends of the world in gaming: three books on the subject, the Viking Gods boardgame (which some say foretold the Thor: Ragnarok movie…), and was co-editor of Dungeon Masters Guide and Deities & Demigods during the five years he served at TSR. Allen’s most popular module is C2: Ghost Tower of Inverness, which was specifically referenced in the second D&D movie and the TV show The Goldbergs.
Allen also wrote I9 Day of Al-Akbar, and contributed to A1-A4 The Slave Lords and the games Top Secret and Boot Hill. Recently Diecast Games published his module Night of the Black Swords. Allen recently contributed to a Goodman Games book and is working with Game Hole Publishing on a special project.
Allen has degrees in chemistry and computer science and enjoys acting in local theater. He is the emcee for Beer Croquet at an Alabama con…buy him a beer and ask for details!
Elisa Teague is a game and event designer, focusing on board games, RPG, and huge puzzle events. Previously working for Playroom Entertainment and Lone Shark Games and now consulting for both game companies and inventors, she has had a hand in the design, art direction, development and production of over 100 games, including Betrayal at House on the Hill: Widow’s Walk, Apocrypha, and Geek Out!. She was the graphic designer on The Maze of Games and is one of the authors and editor for Girls on Games: A Look at the Fairer Side of the Tabletop Industry. Known as “The Lizard King,” Elisa prides herself on juggling work and family, while taking part in all things games and geeky, from decade-long D&D campaigns to cosplay and more. She can be reached at @geekypinup.
Mike Noe stumbled into the miniatures industry in the summer of 1982, when a RPG buddy asked him if he’d be interested in a two week temporary job at Ral Partha hand stamping serial numbers into a limited edition dragon mini, and he never left. He went from temp to caster, then ran the packing department, then became factory manager. He stayed on at Partha through two transfers of ownership and, when Partha was absorbed by WizKids, got the chance to break away with some partners and resurrect the pewter lines as the principal owner and president of Iron Wind Metals, producing minis for BattleTech, Shadowrun, Ral Partha Classic Fantasy, and Chaos Wars, as well as doing contract work for a number of other miniatures lines. In his limited spare time he does informal medieval re-enactment and boffer combat, holds office in a motorcycle rights organization, writes a bit for Chaos Wars, does the occasional wedding as a minister of the Universal Life Church, and wrangles a menagerie of dogs, cats, a tarantula, gecko, snapping turtle, and a wife, one of which is more challenging than the rest, although he’s not saying which.
Alex Kammer has written D&D adventures for a number of publishers. His most recent releases were: Into The Deep Dark, from Gamehole Publishing and The Missing Pin, from Frog God Games Both of these were released in the fall of 2017. Alex is also the Director of Gamehole Con, the largest tabletop gaming convention in the upper Midwest. Alex seems to be an all around okay guy and as far as we know, he has not stolen anything.
Pat Kilbane was bitten by the roleplaying bug in 1979 with the Holmes D&D Basic Set. He is creator of the YouTube channel Dorks of Yore, host of the web series RPG Science, and director of an upcoming documentary about Gary Gygax and the creation of Dungeons & Dragons.
Beginning his career as an actor, Pat spent three years as a series regular on Fox’s Mad TV. He also played the Anti-Kramer in the Seinfeld episode “The Bizarro Jerry” and guest starred in films such as Evolution, Semi-Pro and Day of the Dead.
Now a writer/director, Pat penned the zombie book The Brain Eater’s Bible (St. Martin’s Press) and spent two years under contract with Dreamworks developing science-fiction concepts for television.
Bill Webb is the founder of Frog God Games, one of the largest 3rd party publishers in the gaming industry. Frog God Games produces books for Pathfinder, 5th Edition, and of course, their own home brew rules, Swords and Wizardry.
Some of their well-known titles include The Slumbering Tsar Saga, The Sword of Air, Rappan Athuk Complete, Tome of Horrors Complete and Razor Coast, as well as several dozen other titles. Known worldwide for his difficult adventures, high mortality rate in games and his penchant for literally making it all up as it goes along, Bill still plays the game a few times a month with his "blob" - consisting of his wife, Krista, his Sales Manager, Zach Glazar, his partner in crime Skeeter Green, and 8 kids (4 teenage girls and 4 younger boys).
Bill is a huge proponent of children and women in gaming. Perhaps his best moments have been "when the kids outsmarted me again." Frog God Games, with Bill in the lead, has recently begun significant charity work making donations close to $50,000 to both Extra-Life and the Navy Marine Corps Relief Fund.
I began as an artist inspired by the classic Dungeons and Dragons books. I grew up staring at the art and escaping into the worlds they made possible.
Gary Con V
My career in the RPG industry really began at Gary Con V when I contributed art to the first Lands of Okkorim module. After that first trip to Lake Geneva, I found myself on staff with Lesser Gnome. Soon more and more of the people I admired began requesting work for their products. To date, I have worked with most of the tabletop RPG producers in the industry and contributed to many fine products.
In short order, Fail Squad Games was created and it has grown by leaps and bounds. Lands of Lunacy is my own setting for many FSG adventures. It has been an honor and a privilege to contribute to the hobby we all love. Under the banner of Fail Squad Games we continue to contribute, create art, adventures and supplements for the RPG universe.
I have been creating fantasy and science fiction art for over 40 years.
I was best known for the work I did at TSR Inc., the company that produced the role playing game Dungeons & Dragons,
Since 1987, I’ve been working as a freelance illustrator, creating covers for comics, computer games, magazines, fantasy and science fiction books and many other projects. I have worked for other publishers such as BAEN books, Bantam, Warner Books, ACE/Berkley, Doubleday, and Del Rey. I am also the co-author of Runes of Autumn and creator of the Sovereign Stone series. In the gaming and comic industries, I have freelanced for TSR, Inc, FASA, Mayfair Games, Game Designer’s Workshop, White Wolf, Iron Crown Enterprises, Dragon Magazine, Amazing Magazine, Wizard Press, D. C. Comics, First Comics, Eclipse Comics and Frank Frazetta’s Fantasy Illustrated. Miscellaneous credits include LJN Toys, Mattel, Lucas Films, Tonka, Monogram Models, Western Publishing, Sony Entertainment’s EverQuest, and various computer game covers.
Jason Bulmahn is the Director of Game Design at Paizo Inc. and creator of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. After joining Paizo as the Managing Editor of Dragon Magazine in 2004, Jason went on to take over as the Lead Designer in 2007. His RPG design credits include the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook, Bestiary, Advanced Player's Guide, Beginner Box, and the Advanced Class Guide. Jason has written for Paizo Inc., Wizards of the Coast, and his personal imprint, Minotaur Games. His work has earned one Origins Award and more than twenty-five ENnie Awards, including Best Game and Product of the Year.
Gary’s eldest daughter attended the early Gen Con conventions as a young child, selling “gourmet” hot dogs and sodas to hungry game enthusiasts.
One of the original D&D play testers, and helped collate the original boxed sets in the basement of their 330 Center Street house.
Worked for TSR from 1976 to 1981 starting as a girl Friday, worked various positions; Reception, Sales and Advertising departments and attended Trade Shows and Gaming Conventions. She hesitantly, admits to modeling for various 1970’s gaming advertisements, and the last position she held at TSR was Executive Secretary to the President and CEO, (i.e. Gary Gygax), and was his personal chauffer. She also worked on the first Lanier word processor inputting original Dungeons & Dragons manuscripts, and answering fan mail.
Elise moved to Hawaii in 1985 and would send her father Hawaiian shirts for his birthday’s and Holidays. The brighter the shirt the better as far as Gary was concerned, which he would wear to game conventions and enjoy seeing people’s reaction to his attire.
After her father’s passing, she proposed the original Monument plan to the city of Lake Geneva working with Hollywood concept artist, Keith Christensen, (Keith’s works include; X-men, Star Trek, Star Wars, Thor and Dunkirk to name a few, www.artofkc.com), who graciously donated his time and talents for the monument and other design work. The monument project was passed to Gygax Memorial Fund, so Keith worked with Elise on a design for a Memorial Brick which was placed by the Gygax siblings at The Riviera Fountain in their father’s honor.
Inspired by Gary’s love for Hawaiian shirts, Keith and Elise have collaborated on a special edition Aloha shirt design in honor of her father which will be available at Gary Con X.
Erol Otus is an artist and game designer best known for his work on the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role playing game. He was a member of TSR's art department from 1979 to 1981. After TSR, Otus worked on computer games at several studios including Microprose, Spectrum Holobyte, Hasbro, and Toys For Bob/Activision; notable titles include Star Control 2 and the Skylanders franchise. He lives in Berkeley CA and continues to create artwork for RPGs.
I started at TSR in August of 1978, being the 17th employee. The Dungeon Master's Guide was the first editorial project I worked on, and the Gateway To Adventure catalog was the first product I designed. I co-authored the module C1 Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan and either edited/proofed/playtested most products back then.
I worked in many departments from janitorial to editing to Assistant Manager of the Dungeon Hobby Shop.
Those were the best years of my life as I attended virtually every convention and spent my life "living and breathing" games.
Knights of the Dinner Table was accidentally created by Jolly R. Blackburn way back in 1990 as ‘filler’ for his small press magazine, Shadis. It was something of a ‘creative burp’ and Jolly really didn’t give it much thought. Perhaps that’s why he was just as surprised as anyone that soon KODT was overshadowing everything else he’d ever done and that the created was now controlling the creator. Fortunately, writing and drawing KODT strips isn’t the lonely job it was in the past. Hundreds of fans have contributed to the beast over the years and, since joining the ranks of Kenzer and Company and the formation of the KODT Development-Team (Jolly, Steve Johansson, David S. Kenzer and Brian Jelke), the Knights have gone far beyond anything Jolly or Kenzer and Company ever imagined. In 2006, Jolly was inducted into the Origins Awards Hall of Fame.
Jolly Blackburn is a Gulf War Veteran. He proudly served in the US Army, alongside his lovely bride Barbara, from 1984-1991. His tour of duty took him to exciting destinations such as Ft Bliss, TX; the Federal Republic of Germany, Kuwait and Ft Jackson, SC.
Jeff Butler was born in Madison Wisconsin. He is an American illustrator and comic book artist. Butler worked for TSR, in the art department for 5 years, illustrating products for D&D, and Marvel Super Heroes, Dragonlance novels, and other projects.
Notable works after leaving TSR in 1989 include the Green Hornet, Godzilla, Hercules, Xena, Jurassic Park, and his Hercules drawings appeared in 1996 issue of TV guide. Butler joined Raven software art staff in 1997- as the 2d art lead on Heretic 2. He also worked on games such Soldier of Fortune, and Star Trek Elite Force.
Butler, has been part of the Art Team for Star Wars Jedi Knight 2 Jedi outcast, X-men legends, X-men legends 2: Rise of apocalypse, Marvel Ultimate Alliance and has been part of the core team for X-men Origins Wolverine & Wolfenstein.
Began gaming with the international federation of war gamers (IFW) in 1960’s as a teenager. He created the game “Fight In The Skies” (aka Dawn Patrol) and self-published it at the recommendation of Gary Gygax as part of the IFW’s Wargame Inventors Guild (WGIG) in 1968. FITS was later published by Guidon Games in 1974 (4th Edition) and TSR in 1976 (5th Edition), 1979 (6th Edition) and 1982 as “Dawn Patrol” (7th Edition). He also co-authored “Don’t Give Up The Ship” with Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax in 1971. He joined the ranks of TSR, Inc. in 1976 at the invitation of Gary Gygax. While at TSR, Mike authored the D&D module, In Search of the Unknown, served as editor for the Monster Manual, Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide and wrote three children’s novels.
Mike Carr is the only person who has attended every Gen Con, from 1968 to the present. His flight in the skies game is also the only game that has been played at every Gen Con. Mike is still active in the gaming community today through his Aerodrome magazine which he started in 1969.
Born into a world with a bewildering array of worthless “life choices” and meaningless “life options.” As a youth, it was with great insight and eagerness he took to examine those options and pathways, promptly ridiculed them and dumped them into the waste bin that would become other’s lives. Stephen chose the path of the brutal verbal assaults which, on occasion, lead to brutal physical rebuttals. Brittle teeth in hand, Stephen chose an academic path to lengthen what was about to become a shorter than average life span. He wasted years of his life pursuing higher education in history before realizing that we all are, no matter what, doomed to repeat it.
Forsaking those noble causes rife in academia (such as bra burning, speech filtration, self-aggrandizement and longer summer breaks), Stephen foundered for mere moments before, in a dollar bill induced stupor, and he decided to strike it rich by creating a company that sold games. He is presently the CEO and chief partner in Chenault & Gray publishing, doing business as Troll Lord Games. He has written a bundle of adventures, articles and books: chief among them the codex of Aihrde, Monsters & treasures of Aihrde, Lion in the ropes, Shades of Mist, and much more. He is well known for his curt phone conversations and one word emails.
Chris Clark began his “professional” gaming career by running events at Gen Con in 1977. He formed Inner City Games Designs in 1981 to publish the game Inner City RPG while attending the University of Illinois. Since then, Chris has written more than 70 published role-playing, miniature, card and board games, including Fuzzy heroes and War PIG’s and he is still writing them for Inner City Games Designs today. He wrote two generic multi-system adventures with the assistance of Gary Gygax in the late 90s; A Challenge of Arms and The Ritual of Golden Eyes.
These endeavors transformed what was a long term friendship into an ongoing business relationship, when Chris formed Hekaforge Productions with Gary Gygax in 1998, they launched Gary’s newest role playing creations at the time, the Legendary Adventure and the Legendary Earth. Several of the adventures written by Chris for the system were later reproduced by Troll Lord Games for the Legendary Adventures. Chris also worked for Eldritch Enterprises and authored much of the "Dark" series of modules as well as the entire "Forest of Deceit" arc of adventures.
Chris is currently writing the Lands of Igpay adventure series, The Lance RPG, and has plans to finally finish the Castle Wolfmoon series of adventure modules. "It just seems there are never enough hours in the day," he said when asked, "...but that's one rule I have found I can't change!"
Michael Curtis is the fevered mind behind many of Goodman Games’ more popular adventures for the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. He’s also the one responsible for the award-winning The Dungeon Alphabet. When not furiously rushing to meet deadlines, Michael’s mind can be found wandering the Appalachian fantasy setting of the Shudder Mountains, stalking the corridors of the Warden, prowling the foggy streets of Lankhmar, or fleeing for his life in Tegel Manor—all settings he’s lent his talent to. Michael lives in Suffolk County, NY, with the requisite number of books and cats to maintain his writer status.
Born in Nicholasville, Kentucky in 1954. He majored in art at Murray state university, and graduated with a BFA in 1976. After a brief freelance career, he came to TSR in 1982 as a staff artist. He served in that capacity throughout the WOTC merger, before parting ways in 2003. Today he continues to freelance from his home in Wisconsin.
Some of Jeff’s notable works include the cover art of the 1st edition incarnations of the Monster Manual, Monster Manual II, Legends & Lore, Unearthed Arcana, Oriental Adventures, and the Dungeoneer’s survival guide. His artwork is also well represented on the 2nd edition core books: the Player’s handbook, Dungeon Master’s guide, and Monstrous Manual. Jeff is also the unofficial Gary Con staff artist.
Jayson Elliot is the president and creative director of the new TSR Games, publishers of Top Secret: New World Order™.
Their first foray with the new company was Gygax Magazine, published with Luke Gygax, Ernie Gygax, and Tim Kask. In addition to Top Secret: New World Order, TSR Games now has a podcast network, their gaming blog Multiverse.world, a series of digest-sized adventures for various game systems, and for 2018 will be releasing several new products, including Pulp Era.
Jayson’s affinity for spy games began with the first Top Secret game. He first met Top Secret creator Merle Rasmussen as a kid in the 1980s, and was thrilled to bring Merle on board to author the newest edition of Top Secret. Jayson comes from a family of intelligence professionals. With three family members in the NSA (National Security Agency), he was raised by his grandfather, a Naval cryptographer in World War II who went on to a career in the NSA, serving during the time when its existence was still officially classified, leading to its nickname “No Such Agency.”
You can find Jayson at Gary Con this year running Top Secret NWO. He loves to talk about obscure computers, weird microcars, and Terry Pratchett.
Matt Forbeck is an award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author and game designer with over thirty novels and countless games published to date. His recent work includes Halo: Legacy of Onyx, the Star Wars: Rogue One junior novel, Dungeonology, The Marvel Encyclopedia, help with Assassin’s Creed: Origins, and the Shotguns & Sorcery roleplaying game based on his novels. He lives in Beloit, WI, with his wife and five children, including a set of quadruplets. For more about him and his work, visit Forbeck.com.
The eldest son of Gary Gygax, co-creator of D&D, Ernie served as one of the very few original play-testers for Chainmail and Dungeons and Dragons. Ernie helped to shape both games by his ambitious and relentless play. His characters would become legendary to the D&D universe.
He was the manager of TSR’s Dungeon Hobby Shop, and later with Margaret Weis and Don Perrin’s store the Game Guild. Ernie reckons that he has had the pleasure of teaching well over a thousand people of all ages how to enjoy games of all types, but primarily Old School Dungeons and Dragons. Ernie served up his own dungeon for the regular players as well as the many customers of the Dungeon Hobby Shop. Which he is currently publishing with the "GP Adventures" project. New adventures abound. Join him and delve the famed dungeon!
Bruce Heard was born and raised in Nice, France. While attending the Lycée he first developed interest in war games, primarily Avalon Hill games such as Kriegspiel, Luftwaffe, Third Reich, & Panzer Leader – the Classics.
While living in San Francisco he discovered Dungeon’s & Dragon’s Basic Set. Upon his return to France, he joined his first D&D group. Shortly after he began writing articles on D&D and AD&D for French gaming magazine, "Casus Belli." A fortuitous turn of events led him to meet Gary Gygax, and he was hired in 1983 to translate TSR games into French. In 1985, Bruce transferred to the Games Division as an acquisitions coordinator. A few years later, he headed the creative team for the world of Mystara in the D&D basic/expert line.
Game designs include “CM7 Tree of Life,” “M1 Into the Maelstrom,” GAZ3 "Principalities of Glantri," and GAZ10 "Orcs of Thar." Bruce co-authored Dragons of Faith. Bruce also authored the popular “Voyage of the Princess Ark” series for Dragon magazine.
Today, as an indie publisher, his new projects are based on a new fantasy setting of his creation, the World of Calidar, available at DTRPG.com
Tim met Gary Gygax at a Gen Con in 1974 a few months after calling him at home to inquire about some chainmail rules. Tim was introduced to a brand new game called Dungeons & Dragons while at Gen Con. He was instantly enamored and began running it for his gaming group in Carbondale, IL. Gary & Tim stayed in contact and Tim’s group unknowingly served as playtesters for the new game. This relationship eventually lead to Tim being hired by Gary as the first full time employee at fledgling Tactical Studies Rules (later TSR, INC) in 1975.
Tim worked as an editor and game developer for TSR during the formative years of Dungeons & Dragons. His first assignment was editing and developing Dave Arneson's Blackmoor Supplement (OD&D). He later did the same on Eldritch Wizardry, Gods, Demi-Gods and Heroes and Swords & Spells (OD&D Supplements 3,4 &5, respectively). Tim took over The Strategic Review and transitioned it into Dragon Magazine and was Editor for the first 33 issues.
It should be no surprise that Tim is “old school” as they come. He is a proponent of the axiom that “less is more” when it comes to roleplaying games he continues to run his D&D campaign with a free-wheeling, fun first attitude.
Tim Kask served honorably in the United States Navy from 1967-1971 and is a Vietnam Veteran. He resides in the Midwest with his bride of over 48 years, Cheryl. Outside of gaming he enjoys spending time with his grandchildren, bass fishing and flying kites.
Tim is currently looking into getting some of his adventures translated into Portuguese and finding new, unexpected games to take to cons.
David formed Kenzer & Company with six other stalwart RPG enthusiasts in 1993. Since then he has teamed up with Jolly Blackburn and is responsible for the publication of “Knights of the Dinner Table” as well as HackMaster RPG, Aces and Eights RPG, the Monty Python CCG, the Kingdoms of Kalamar fantasy campaign setting to name a few.
David is the proud father of three daughters, a loyal Chicago Bears fan (Bear Down!) and an all-around great American. He is best known at Gary Con for running numerous pick up sessions of Hackmaster and finding new inventive ways to achieve TPK’S.
Dave ‘Diesel’ LaForce
David S. LaForce is one of the first generation artist for Dungeons & Dragons. LaForce started his career in 1979 with TSR where he was initially hired in the shipping department. Catching the eye of David Sutherland, (head of TSR’s art department) who had him submit some sample drawings. Two of the three samples were bought and used for the Dungeon Master’s Guide. LaForce was hired by the art department where he remained until 1998. One of his first assignments was “C1: The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachin.” Many of his illustrations can be seen in the first Dungeons & Dragons manuals. LaForce’s love of historical map cartography can be depicted in the designs he has created in Dragonlance, Birthright and Dark Sun.
Fun Fact: Laforce earned the nickname “Diesel” at TSR. This came about because there was several individuals named David that worked there at that time and Mike Carr happened to notice that LaForce was signing his artwork with his initials “DSL”. Slurring the letters together made the word “Diesel.”
Chris began his love affair with Dungeons & Dragons as a wee lad in the early ‘80s. In 2010 Chris joined the D&D brand team and is currently the product manager for Dungeons & Dragons as well as the head of the D&D Adventurers League and the architect for the Dungeon Masters Guild, and Guild Adept program. Chris has been known to hop in front of a camera now and again, originally for ExtraLife charity events, and more currently on Maze Arcana’s Peanut Gallery, and as a Dungeon Master during the Stream of Annihilation. Chris can also be seen handing out DM advice on Geek & Sundry’s Epic Homebrews episode of GM Tips with Satine Phoenix. You can find him on Twitter under the moniker @Onnatryx.
Greg Marks is an evil mastermind directing his criminal army of precocious felines from the birthplace of gaming: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. He and his cat minions have worked on products for every edition of Dungeons and Dragons and written too many adventures for organized play campaigns to count. He has administered several OP campaigns and is currently the Associate Resource Manager for D&D Adventurers League. Greg and his cats have written for Dragon and Dungeon Magazines, Fantasy Flight Games' Midnight setting, Raging Swan Press, and Kobold Press. When DMing, Greg says he loves to weave a memorable story, whether the players prefer challenging combats or lots of social interaction.
Mike Mearls works as the Senior Manager on the D&D team. He led the development of the fifth edition rules and oversees the development of new campaigns, worlds, and rules for the game. Other RPGs he has worked on include Feng Shui, Unknown Armies, Vampire, and Warhammer FRP. He’s been a D&D player since the early 1980s. His other interests include the fiction of Clark Ashton Smith and Fritz Leiber, the films of Quentin Tarantino, and video games such as Destiny and Halo.
He took part in playing fantasy adventures in Dave Arneson’s original Blackmoor, a game that incorporated much of the Fantasy Supplement of Gary Gygax and Jeff Perren’s Chainmail game. These experiences and codified them in to a much more regular, but still dynamic, board game Dungeon! in 1973. Gary Gygax was the biggest proponent of the game, playtesting, making modifications, creating variants, and shopping is around to various game publishers. At one point, Gary and David made an offering of the game, titled Dungeons of Pasha Cada, to Don Lowry of Guidon Games but it was ultimately decided that it would be too expensive to print the maps. Finally, the game was picked up by TSR who put it into production in 1975.
Since then, Dungeon! has been the most successful board game ever produced by TSR and is still being published to this day! In fact, in August 2012, the game’s current owner, Hasbro, put out a brand new edition of the game and in 2014 revised the game’s presentation to appeal to younger players in yet another release!
Michael first became involved in wargaming back in early 1972. A friend of his in Boy Scouts invited him to join a tabletop battle game at Don Kaye's house. That Saturday they played Chainmail on Gary Gygax's original sand table that had been moved from 330 Center St. into Don's garage. Sometime in late 1972, while outside of Don Kaye's garage, one of the other players, Rob Kuntz, mentioned that Gary Gygax had a new game called Greyhawk and invited him to a game.
During his college days Michael was a member of the University of Minneapolis Conflict Simulation Association. The faculty advisor for this club was none other than Professor Phil Barker. The good professor had long been developing his Far-East/Far-Future world of Tekumel and its languages. Michael introduced Prof. Barker to D&D and eventually to Gary Gygax in 1974. This would ultimately result in TSR's publication of Tekumel as a D&D world.
Terry was first published at age 14 by TSR. Graduated
from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design with BFA’s
in Illustration, Graphic Design, and Advertising.
Freelances as Haus of Design, undertaking Illustration
and Graphic Design, in comics, RPG, logos, etc.
He has created works for the likes of in RPG/CCG work for Wizards of the Coast, Fantasy Flight Games, White Wolf, Frog God Games, TPK Games, comics for DC, Image, Disney.
Sketch cards for Cypozonic Entertainment (Adventure Time), TOPPS (Star Wars), Cult Stuff Cards (Dracula, War of the Worlds, Sherlock Holmes) book publishers for Ballentine Books, Baen Books, and Silver Warrior Books.
tshirts for LucasFilms, Warner Brothers, Hanna Barbera/MGM and toy manufactures for Mattel and Astonishing Toys.
Currently working on a new series "Strange Detective Mysteries, DeadWorld Source Book, DeadWorld Soda labels and Zelda's Zombie Zoo" from Caliber Comics, "Pathfinder" source books for TPK Games, and "Da'kota" (creator/artist) and covers for REH: Two Gun Raconteur and doing a line of pulp style covers for Pro Se Productions.
Here are a few notable publications as Print Magazine,
The Society of Illustrators Annual, and The Art of H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Clients include Disney, Image comics, Wizard of the Coast, Miller Brewing, Ballentine Books.
Lives in Wisconsin with his wife and two daughters, a Siamese Black cat, Jack and still loves what he does for a living.
Some nuggets on my work:
* Nominated @ PULP WORLD AWARDS for best cover (2010, 201215), best interiors (201215)
* Nominated @ GHOULIES AWARDS for best horror interiors (201315)
* Cocreated, plotted and cover art for "Strange Detective Mysteries," a steampunk murder mystery series trade paperback for Caliber Comics. Nominated @ AMERICAN MYSTERIES AWARDS for best trade / graphic novel series
Stefan Pokorny is a fine artist and former art teacher who began running 1st edition D&D games around the tender age of 14 years old. In 1996, he founded Dwarven Forge, a Miniatures Terrain company that started slowly but would go on to fund 4 hugely successful Kickstarter campaigns. He has run his “Theatrical” D&D games at various conventions, including GaryCon, GameHole Con, ConnectiCon, and others.
He has been featured in several documentaries: The Dungeons and Dragons Experience by Jesse Spiro and Enter the Dungeon by Richard DiNardo. In 2016 he was the subject of Josh Bishop’s Documentary Film: The Dwarvenaut (now available on Netflix). Due to the success of The Dwarvenaut, he has been mentioned or has been the subject of articles in Forbes, New York Magazine, NY Daily News, The Brooklyn Paper, The Brooklyn Ink, DNA-info New York and has been invited to talk at the Barney School of business, and AOL talks.
He is the original creator of the fantasy world of Mythras and the City of Valoria. With the help of others, he has put forth the module: Tapestry of Deceit and published a book of Cartographic Maps and Dungeons. His latest dream is to release the Mythras Campaign sourcebook to the world!
Merle “The Administrator” Rasmussen is the author of TOP SECRET: NEW WORLD ORDERTM The Espionage Role-Playing Game, by TSR, Inc. Recently, he wrote two game accessories: “Isle Beebak in Lake Nessumsar,” an entry in Legends of Adventure (NTX3), by Pacesetter, and “Encounter: Shipwrecked on Lay-Goh Island,” an entry in How to Write Adventure Modules That Don’t Suck, by Goodman Games. His published works include two articles: “Merle Rasmussen’s 7 of the Best,” an entry filed under movies in Multiverse: A blog from TSR®, Inc., and “LEGO® Building Toy Maps,” an entry in How to Write Adventure Modules That Don’t Suck, by Goodman Games.
He started wargaming in 1962 and was soon subscribing to The General magazine by Avalon Hill. When reading that magazine shortly after graduating high school in 1966 he saw a classified ad for board wargaming with a fellow by the name of Gary Gygax who lived in Lake Geneva. Mike responded to the call for opponents and was soon playing Afrika Korps and other board and miniature wargames with the local crowd. Soon they formed themselves into the Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Association (LGTSA) and in no time Mike found himself helping set up a wargaming sand table in the basement of Gary Gygax’s house at 330 Center St. where they began pooling funds to amass miniatures for their games.
All the while Mike was developing skirmish rules for WWII and moderns. With Gary’s support and encouragement and the aid of Leon Tucker the three began developing a set of WWII and modern rules for armored warfare. This work led to the publication of Fast Rules (by Reese and Tucker) and ultimately Tractics (by Reese, Tucker, and Gygax). During this time Mike also enlisted into the Army’s Armored Cavalry. Just prior to shipping out for Germany he was given seven days leave and was able to make it to Lake Geneva for the Gen Con premier of Tractics!
Robert J. Schwalb
Robert J. Schwalb has worked in tabletop games for over fifteen years as a designer, writer, and developer. Having started work in the heady days of the d20 boom, Schwalb
went on to develop Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and design A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying based on George R. R. Martin’s popular book and television series. Schwalb then worked as a contract designer for Wizards of the Coast, contributing to the 3rd and 4th editions of that game before joining the design team behind 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons.
In 2014, Rob started his own imprint, Schwalb Entertainment, to publish unsettling games for tabletop play. Shadow of the Demon Lord, a wildly popular horror fantasy RPG, appeared first after a successful Kickstarter campaign and has been supported by over one hundred sourcebooks, card decks, and digital accessories since its release in 2015. Rob lives in Murfreesboro, TN, where he spends far too much time working on the next big thing.
Stephen D. Sullivan
Stephen D. Sullivan is one of the original Dungeons & Dragons crew (joining TSR in 1980) and helped found Pacesetter, Ltd. (CHILL). He is also the award-winning author of dozens of novels and stories, including trilogies for Legend of the Five Rings, Spider Riders, and Dragonlance. Other cool stuff he’s worked on includes Star Wars (game), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Simpsons (comics), and Iron Man (the junior novel). His latest projects include Dr. Cushing’s Chamber of Horrors (a classic monster novel), Tournament of Death 4, and his award-winning novelization of the “Worst Film Ever Made”—Manos: The Hands of Fate. www.cushinghorrors.com - www.stephendsullivan.com
Fun Fact: In the late 1970s, Steve taught a course in Dungeons & Dragons at MIT. He and teaching partner Marty Sirkin were the first to teach D&D at a university.
Graduated from the American Academy of Art in 1989. From there, I stippled my way into the commercial field working for a few Chicago agencies. I’ve been doing my fantasy art since 1990 and started freelancing for FASA in 1991. My first painting for publication was in 1992 for FASA’s Jake Falcon Sourcebook. I was hired as a full time illustrator for FASA in the fall of 1992. My work can be found in Shadowrun, MechWarrior, and EarthDawn. I was hired as a full-time artist with TSR as well. Later, was hired by the Wizards of the Coast as an artist for Magic and the Potter cards. And, I have done artwork for the D&D Birthright covers as well.
Jeffrey P. Talanian
Jeffrey Talanian, designer for North Wind Adventures, started playing Dungeons & Dragons in 1981. From 2005 to 2008, Jeff had the opportunity to develop several Castle Zagyg projects under the guidance of his friend and mentor, E. Gary Gygax (R.I.P.). These days, Jeff’s focus is on the RPG he authored, the ENnie nominated Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea™, now in Second Edition hardback format.
Jim Wampler is the creator of the Marvin the Mage comic and is a game writer, designer, and artist. Jim’s art and articles first appeared in Tim Kask’s Adventure Gaming magazine and Judges Guild’s Pegasus magazine in the 1980s. In 2006 he formed Mudpuppy Games and published Metamorphosis Alpha 4th edition, and he wrote and illustrated the GALACTA•3 science fiction miniatures game. More recently, he has contributed cover art and comics to the Knights of the Dinner Table magazine, a Metamorphosis Alpha adventure for Goodman Games, and is writing an old school-themed post-apocalyptic RPG for publication in 2015.
James M. Ward
Obviously, he was born, and not quite as obviously, he has lived a pleasantly long time. He married his high school sweetheart and she’s put up with him for 45 years. He has three unusually charming sons, Breck, James, and Theon. They in turn have given him six startlingly charming grandchildren, Keely, Miriam, Sophie, James Preston, Teagan, Noah.
In that same stretch of time he managed to write the first science fiction roleplaying game, Metamorphosis Alpha; he worked for TSR and did lots of D&D and AD&D things; and designed the bestselling Spell Fire and Dragon Ball Z CCGs.
He has written all manner of things that he is unusually proud of - the DRAGON LAIRDS board game, the novel Halcyon Blithe: Midshipwizard, the My Precious Present card game; and the RPG supplement Of Gods & Monsters.
Currently he is the lead architect of Irradiated Death and Destruction at Eldritch Enterprises and the go-to-guy when his sons need a babysitter.
Margaret Weis worked for TSR for many years, where she helped create and co-authored with Tracy Hickman the best-selling series, Dragonlance Chronicles and Dragonlance Legends. She is the author/co-author of many other best-selling series, including the Deathgate novels. Weis lives in Wisconsin with four dogs, Dixie, Tika, Joey the Thug, Clancy the Hooligan. Weis and her dogs enjoy competing in flyball tournaments with their team, the Barkbarians.
Wesely earned a BS in Physics at Hamline University in 1967and a MS in High energy Physics at the University of Kansas in 1969.
Wesely joined the Army reserves in 1968, he served on active duty in the army from 1970-1977. Wesely continued to serve in the reserves until 1990 rising to the rank of major. In 1976 TSR Published Valley Forge a set of miniature war gaming rules. Wesely’s board game “source of the Nile” was published by Discovery Games & later By Avalon hill. Wesely worked for Coleco porting games from arcade to home console, such as Spy Hunter & Zaxxon. Wesely has been a regular at Gen Con and Origins since 1995 speaking at seminars.
Tom Wham is best known for creating whimsical board games that feature his unique artwork. However his first design credit is actually a miniatures wargame titled “Ironclad” with Don Lowry in 1973. Tom worked for Guidon Games when Gary Gygax asked him to run the auction at Gen Con IV. A few years later, in 1977 Tom came to work at TSR, Inc. Tom held many positions with TSR over the years from general office support to manager of the Dungeon Hobby Shop. He contributed to many projects, including artwork for the AD&D Monsters manual and published several games in The Dragon magazine.
His game design credits include; Snit Smashing, Snit’s Revenge, Awful green things from outer space, King’s & thing’s , Dragon Lairds with James M. Ward (a game much enjoyed by Gary, Ernie, and Luke Gygax) and most recently Feudality.
Tom Wham served honorably in the United States navy for four years. He is a Vietnam veteran that served aboard a communications vessel in the gulf of Tonkin. After many years as informational technology specialist at the Lake Geneva library, he retired in 2003. Tom continues to design games today.
Skip Williams is happy to return once again to his hometown of Lake Geneva for Gary Con.
Skip has numerous role-playing game credits, most notably as co-author of the D&D 3rd Edition game. He’s recently published work through Goodman Games, Schwalb Entertainment, and Hammerdog Games. When not contriving dire plots to bedevil role-players, Skip putters in his vegetable garden and orchard (which keep many deer and rabbits fed), and works to reclaim the fields around the farmhouse he shares with Penny, his wife, from the obstinate weeds that blanket them. He also paints miniature figures.
These days, the Williams house is located in western Wisconsin, where it remains the site of an annual Christmas cookie bake that draws friends from both sides of the Atlantic; it’s also the permanent home to an ever-growing pride of unruly house cats.