Gary Con

March 8th - 11th, 2018

Categories Archives: Special Guest

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.

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    Matt Finch

    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.

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      James Carpio

      James CarpioCorporate 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

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        Heidi Gygax

        Heidi GygaxHeidi 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.

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          Jeff Leason

          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.

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            Elise’ Gygax-Cousino

            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,, 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.

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              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.

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                Larry Elmore

                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.

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                  Pat Kilbane

                  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.

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