The Guests of Gary Con

Chris Arneson

Chris Arneson is a freelance illustrator who grew up with a love for Dungeons & Dragons, especially it's art. He spent much of his time in High-School doodling Eddie from Iron Maiden album covers as well as doing colored pencil drawings utilizing Dragonlance characters from some of his favorite Dragonlance artists covers. Somehow he got the idea that he wanted to be an illustrator and graduated from UW Whitewater with a BFA in 1996. As a freelance illustrator he has had the pleasure of working on such CCGs as Wheel of Time, World of Warcraft, Legend of the Five Rings, Legend of the Burning Sands, Doomtown, Rifts, and Warlord.

He has currently been doing much freelancing for Joseph Goodman, of Goodman Games, including work in many of their OARs, Original Adventures Reincarnated, on such iconic titles as The Temple of Elemental Evil, Castle Amber, Isle of Dread, etc. Recently he had the honor of doing three cards for Gary Cons Deck of Many Things. Take a minute to check out some of his work on his Facebook page, Chris Arneson Illustration, and be sure to stop by his booth.

David Baxter

David Baxter has been playing D&D since 1976 and he still loves it!  He is an award winning cosplayer who attends comic cons as Darth Vader, The Hound and Gandalf amonst others.  He plays Zadgra the Strong alongside Luke Gygax, as Bingo Shortwick,  in Stefan Pokorny's Shortwick Chronicles streaming games. He's a senior executive at Legion M, a production company owned by pop culture fans and is always looking for ways to promote gaming and the gaming community.

Ed Bickford

Ed is an award winning illustrator and graphic designer and syndicated cartoonist, as well as a Tabletop game illustrator and artist for both science fiction and fantasy products. He has worked with many publishers familiar to gamers such as; Mudpuppy Games, Skeeter Green Productions, Frog God Games, Necromancer Games, Planet X Games and more.  He studied Illustration at the University of Central Missouri.  Ed has an artist booth in the Exhibit Hall so stop in and say hello!

 Jolly Blackburn

Jolly Blackburn is best known as the creator of the comic strip Knights of the Dinner Table.  He launched a gaming magazine called Shadis when he was still serving in the Army.  Knights of the Dinner Table was a strip in the back of Shadis in the tradition of Finneous Fingers in Dragon Magazine. Of course the Knights have become a force of their own!

Jolly is also the person who helped Luke name Gary Con at the gathering after Gary's funeral.  When someone commented that Luke should hold a gathering every year in honor of his Dad, Jolly offered the name of "GaryCon" based on the fictional event in the KoDT world run by the character Gary Jackson.  Luke liked the name and Gary Con was born!

Jeff Butler

Jeff Butler has worked as an illustrator, cartoonist, comic book and video game artist. Among his comics credits, Jeff co-created The Badger and helped bring back The Green Hornet to comic books. He worked in the TSR, Inc. art department, illustrating D&D, DragonLance and other fantasy game products. He also illustrated TSR’s Marvel Superheroes Role Playing Game. Jeff also did numerous art chores on 11 AAA video game titles, including X-Men Legends I & II and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. He currently teaches Drawing and Making Comics at Madison College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Mike Carr

As a teenager, Mike began gaming with the International Federation of Wargamers (IFW) in the 1960s.  He created the game "Fight in the Skies" (FITS), also known as "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 and then by TSR in 1976, changing the name to Dawn Patrol in 1982.  He also co-authored "Don't Give Up the Ship" with Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax in 1971.

He joined the ranks of TSR in 1976 at the invitation of Gary Gygax.  While at TSR, MIke authored the D&D module "In Search of the Unknown" and served as editor for the Monster Manual, Players Handbook, and Dungeon Master's Guide.

Mike Carr is the only person who's attended every Gen Con.  His FITS game has been run at every one of those Gen Cons.  Mike is still active in the gaming community today though his Aerodrome magazine which he started back in 1969.

Stephen Chenault

Stephen Chenault is the CEO of Troll Lord Games, publishers of Castles & Crusades, the World of Aihrde, Amazing Adventures and other role playing games. He has worked in the table top role playing industry since 1999 and written and published a host of game books, adventures, and fiction. His most notable works include the Codex of Aihrde, The Castles & Crusades Adventurers Backpack, the C series of adventures and Aufstrag. His fiction includes numerous vignettes from the world of Aihrde and three collections of short stories, the Tales of Eurich and Ava. He worked with and was Gary Gygax’s publisher from 2001 to 2008, putting out a wide variety of material by Mr. Gygax. He continues to work actively in the industry today.

Brent Chumley

Brent is a graduate of Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and has produced art for a multitude of media including cover paintings, interior illustrations, collectible card art, cartography (maps), graphic design, page layout, t-shirt designs, miniatures paintings, concept art and commercial photography for a plethora of clients. Some of the gaming brands Brent has produced work for include: Dungeons & Dragons, D&D Dragonfire, Shadowrun, Battletech, Leviathans, Legend of the Five Rings (CCG and RPG), Doomtown: Reloaded CCG, 7th Sea Card Game, Metal Magic & Lore, The Vampire’s Codex, as well as his own DragonVerses® line of art. Brent lives in southern mid-Illinois and is available for commissions.

Christopher Clark

I met Gary Gygax when I was 15 at one of their ‘mini-Gen Cons’ at the Horticultural center. He was running a miniatures game of Chainmail (the fantasy supplement) that I played in. We immediately hit it off., so much so that I started running events at Gen Con the very next year. Gary and I saw each other at these conventions, and he always remembered me. He had Harold Johnson offer me a job at TSR in 1979, (which I refused, it was full time and I wanted to finish high school), and we stayed in touch over the years. After we started the Inner City Company, he always made sure that I got an invite to the “TSR Party” at Gen Con, and I got to know several of the crew that way. When the ‘TSR crash’ hit in 1995-1996, and there was zero production of material for the 2nd Edition, I decided to start writing generic adventures that might fill that void, and I thought I would call Gary and see if he was interested in developing these adventures with me (for a paycheck). I don’t know if Gary was desperate, or just liked me that much, but he agreed. He and I wrote “A Challenge of Arm’s” and “The Ritual of the Golden Eyes with Gary doing these as a ‘work for hire’ developer and writer (which is why I think perhaps he liked me, he could have gotten work anywhere) and we got to know one another and became fast friends. When he could find no investors to underwrite the Lejendary Adventure, he called me, asked if I would form a company with him, and Hekaforge Productions, a Limited Partnership, was born.
Then we REALLY started spending a lot of time together.
By the time 2006 rolled around, my ability to continue pushing the Lejendary line forward had about played its part so I suggested to Gary that we find an ‘angel’ and I approached the Troll Lords with the Lejendary License on Gary’s behalf (at the GAMA trade show that year). Gary then cut his own deal with them; we ended HFP, and were good friends up until his death. He and I still wrote a few things together, but mostly along the lines of,” hey could you take a look and give me your $0.02” rather than anything official. Most of the time we just traded e-mails every other day or so.
From the age of 15 until the day he passed from this Earth, Gary taught me a lot: about writing, design, humor, and frankly, life. I miss him, but carry those lessons with me to this day.

Levi Combs

Levi is the owner, creative head and writer at Planet X Games. He’s been roleplaying for over 30 years and is still just as enamored with it as he was when he was 13. In addition to the many titles he has authored at Planet X, Levi has written for Frog God Games, Necromancer Games and several other companies in the hobby. He loves grindhouse flicks, really crappy movies, old comics, horror mags and all things RPG. You can find him on Twitter at @PlanetXGamesCo and on Instagram at @it_came_from_beyond_planet_x.

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.

Michael Curtis

Best known for his work with Goodman Games, Michael has written or contributed to more than 60 projects for the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG line of games. In addition to DCC, he’s also worked on two of the wildest Original Adventures Reincarnated books for Dungeons & Dragons—Expedition to the Barrier Peaks and Castle Amber—where he relished in the opportunity to let his freak flag fly. Since the world ended in 2020, Michael has continued to work as lead writer and project developer for DCC Lankhmar in addition to projects as yet unannounced. He is currently planning an exodus from his home in Suffolk County, NY, so be nice to him or he might move into your neighborhood.

Darlene

DARLENE started her career as a freelance artist in Lake Geneva when TSR was still in its formative years. Along with interior illustrations for various game modules, DARLENE contributed regularly to The Dragon Magazine creating graphics, illustrating articles, but is most remembered for the classic The World of Greyhawk gaming map. In 1982, DARLENE created JASMINE: The Battle for the Mid-Realm® card game-—the first Role-playing card game in history. A few signed and numbered copies from the original run are at this Con.

 

Flint Dille

Flint met Gary in 1982 and worked with TSR, Gary, Ernie and Luke in the early/mid '80's on the Sagard Books, the mysterious 'Sceptre of Seven Souls', Agent 13, Agents of Fortune, The Buck Rogers Strategy Game, novels and RPG, Line In The Sand, the Audio Interactive series (6 or 7 discs), Terror T.R.A.X., Dragonstrike, WildSpace, the well intentioned but Ill-fated Comics Modules and various and sundry other projects, many of which have long faded in memory.

 

Jeff Easley

Jeff graduated from Murray State University with a BFA in Painting. Working briefly as a freelancer, he joined TSR and then Wizards of the Coast from 1982 until 2003, which included the creation of a LOT of cover art with which many of us are familiar.

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.

He's a winner of the E Gary Gygax Lifetime Achievement Award and has done art for Gary Con over the years including the iconic Gary Con Wizard.

Jeff continues to do freelance work and you can also buy prints of his work (including the gorgeous, aforementioned cover art) over at his website: https://jeffeasleyart.com/

Jayson Elliot

Jayson’s first publication was a punk / goth music magazine, Permission, from 1992-2001. In 2006, he began podcasting with Permission Radio, and in 2010, co-founded Roll for Initiative, the First Edition AD&D podcast. A gamer since 1982, Jayson’s favorite RPGs are AD&D, Top Secret, and Godlike.

Larry Elmore

Artist and Illustrator, Larry Elmore received a BFA from Western Kentucky, got drafted and after 2 years in the service, became an illustrator at Fort Knox.  He did some freelancing after that which includes work for Heavy Metal and National Lampoon.

In 1981 he went to work for TSR until 1987 where he set the standards for art in the RPG genre.  While there he also created SnarfQuest Tales for Dragon magazine, but is best known for his well-known Dragonlance novel covers.

He has been painting and drawing cover art and interior art for many diverse publications for over 40 years. Fantasy art is my first love, along with sci-fi.  He has done work for comic books, Dungeons and Dragons, many other role playing games, toy packaging, model box covers, many book covers and interior work.

He loves to paint and draw, but not with Photoshop, he does it the old fashion way, pencils, pens, paint and brushes! "I LOVE ART!" Larry exclaims.  You can get autographed prints Larry from his website: https://larryelmore.com/store/

Alyssa Faden

Alyssa Faden has been a professional cartographer and GenCon panelist since 2012. She is best known for her incredible cityscapes and stunning details, often inviting viewers of her creations to see stories-within-stories for years after. Her clientele includes Monte Cook Games, Kobold Press, Profantasy Software, Gygax Magazine, Golden Goblin Press, Troll Lord Games, and Frog God Games. Her style is unique and self-taught, with influences from the lovely ink work from such greats as Jeff Laubenstein and Jeff Easley. She is a long time table-top RPG gamer with a passion for game mastering Call of Cthulhu.

Matt Forbeck

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, which have won dozens of honors. His recent work includes Biomutant, Minecraft Dungeons: The Rise of the Arch-Illager, the new Dungeons & Dragons: Endless Quest books, the Shotguns & Sorcery 5E sourcebook, and the Marvel Multiverse Role-Playing Game. For more about him and his work, visit Forbeck.com.

Zach Glazar

Zach Glazar is the Chief Operating Officer at Frog God Games, and he regularly moonlights at almost eveyone else's job, from game design, editing, and marketing to online store management and KickStarter promotion. Before joining Frog God Games, Zach was the founder and owner of Lesser Gnome, an OSR-focused game company. Two of Lesser Gnome's releases. Death and Taxes (with Edwin Nagy) and Whisper & Venom (with John Hammerle), were nominated for a total of 4 ENnie Awards.

Ed Greenwood

Ed is Elminster.  He was the original creator of the Forgotten Realms, writing about it in Dragon Magazine beginning in 1979.  He’s published over two hundred articles in Dragon Magazine and Polyhedron Newszine, is a lifetime charter member of the Role Playing Game Association (RPGA) network, and has been Gen Con Game Fair guest of honor many times. Greenwood has written over thirty-five novels for TSR, and written, co-written, or contributed to over two hundred books and game products from other publishers.

Greenwood won "best player" at the 1984 Gen Con AD&D Open tournament and several Gamer's Choice Awards and Origins Awards for his game design. He was inducted into the Gamer's Choice Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Academy of Adventure Gaming's Hall of Fame in 2003. Order of Cramahe 2017] He received the Port Hope Civic Awards Arts & Culture Award 2019.

Ed is active in the gaming and design community, and you can catch his efforts in Fate of the Norns, an Andrew Valkauskas published work.

Jeff Grubb

Jeff Grubb is an author who writes novels, short stories, and comics and a computer and role-playing game designer in the fantasy genre. Grubb worked on the Dragonlance campaign setting under Tracy Hickman, and the Forgotten Realms setting with Ed Greenwood. His written works include The Finder's Stone Trilogy, the Spelljammer and Jakandor campaign settings, and contributions to Dragonlance and the computer game Guild Wars Nightfall (2006).

Alex Gygax

Alex is the youngest of Gary's six children.  At the age of five he began his first roleplaing adventure during his father's work breaks.  Before he was old enough to join Gary's Thursday night game group, he enjoyed hanging out under the table begging for snacks.  Eventually, he joined the group and was a playtester for much of Gary's Lejendary Adventure series.

Alex has attended Gen Con and many other conventions throughout his life.  He enjoys playing board games, PC games, console games, RPGs, and card games of all kinds, including Magic the Gathering.

Heidi Gygax

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 Marketing until October, 1985.

It is rumored that more than one of Heidi’s high school romantic interests were lost to gaming when she invited them to play D&D with her and her family, and that, while the infatuation fizzled, their love for gaming burns eternally.

After 30 years in Hawaii working for a large fine-jewelry manufacturer and retailer, Heidi returned to Lake Geneva where she now spends much of her time caring for her two precious granddaughters, a giant puppy named Thor, and two beloved cats.

Luke Gygax

Luke Gygax is the son of Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax and Founder of Gary Con®. He literally grew up at the gaming table with the designers that built the foundation of the RPG industry many of whom come to Gary Con. He played the iconic character Melf, aka Prince Brightflame, whose name has remained on spells from AD&D to today.

Luke has authored several role-playing game accessories over his lifetime including Legion of Gold, The Lost City of Gaxmoor,  a Call of Cthulhu module set at Gary Con® and recently The Oculus of Senrahbah series in The City of Chentoufi in The Blighted Lands© of the World of Okkorim© fantasy setting. Luke is working on new 5e scenarios for the World of Okkorim© through his new company Gaxx Worx. Look for The Fate of Chentoufi© Kickstarter campaign coming soon. Find out more at gaxxworx.com.  He is active in the Los Angeles gaming community, participating in streaming D&D games, interviews, and is the producer for The Gaxx Pack©, as well as host of Founders & Legends on Gary Con's Twitch (Twitch.tv/GaryConLive). Look for him as a Guest at fine TTRPG Game Conventions as he embraces being a civilian again after 33 years of service in the US Army.

Allen Hammack

Best known for C2: Ghost Tower of Inverness, Allen Hammack has contributed to over 100 products as author, designer, editor, or developer. He writes often on using myths and legends of the world in gaming: three books on the subject, the Viking Gods boardgame, and was a chief editor of Dungeon Masters Guide and Deities & Demigods during the five years he served at TSR. Hired by Gary Gygax, Allen was Manager of Designers during the "Golden Era" of TSR. Tracy Hickman called Allen "the man who taught me how to write."

Alex Kammer

Alex Kammer is a lawyer, a freelance adventure/game designer, and is the Director of Gamehole Con, the largest tabletop gaming convention in the upper Midwest.  Alex has numerous published titles to his credit from an array of publishers. His deeply and profoundly anticipated next book, The End of Everything, will be released from Frog God Games in 2023. His other works include a series of platinum and mithral bestselling titles on the Dungeon Master’s Guild, the most recent being, Thay, Land of the Red Wizards. Alex also is one of the owners of True Dungeon, the magnificent, life-sized, immersive, role-playing experience played in a walk-through dungeon environment. Finally, while Alex has not stolen anything recently, the wise play is to keep an eye on him. One cannot be too careful.

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 The Dreams in Gary’s Basement, a 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 and guest starred in films such as Evolution, Semi-Pro and Day of the Dead.

Tim Kask

Tim was the first employee at TSR, started and edited Dragon and Little Wars Magazines, edited all the supplements from Blackmoor on, contributed to 1st Edition AD&D, published and edited Adventure Gaming Magazine, helped start and edited GYGAX Magazine, has written for several small ‘zines, edited various games and manuscripts and was a founding partner and writer for Eldritch Enterprises and does a weekly video on YouTube called The Curmudgeon in the Cellar. He won the Gygax Award in 2017.

Tim is an avid gamer of all sorts, having started wargaming in 6th grade, and has worked on / written for various miniatures rules, board games and RPG’s. This is evidenced by the wide-ranging nature of his videos.

When not gaming, he most enjoys spending time with his six great grandkids (as in children of my grandchildren), trying to teach them to be gamers. None of this would have been possible without the support of his wife of 51 years, Cheryl.

David Kenzer

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.

Doug Kovacs

Doug Kovacs grew up in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, playing Dungeons and Dragons and other RPGs . He drew his way through High School, avoiding involvement in most things but art class, where he cultivated a love for all forms of painting and drawing. At 16 he thought he invented cubism, but then realized he was wrong. In 1996 he received a BA from Columbia College Chicago, however over four years of school it was never mentioned that the internet and digital media might completely change the world. Then they did. Since then he has adjusted , and has worked on many projects including 3rd and 4th Edition D&D, collectable trading card illustration and concept art for miniatures games. Doug may be best known for having worked with Goodman Games in developing Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG.

Recently Doug as begun conjuring up a series of art/gaming books called the Hobonomicon. and he continues to produce images that he believes would never have come into existence without the application of his own personal gumption.

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.”

Brendan LaSalle

Brendan LaSalle had the good fortune of being introduced to Dungeons and Dragons in 1977, an event which shaped his life forevermore. He graduated from Kennesaw State University in 1996, no mean feat considering how much he gamed during both of his senior years. Brendan is best known as the creator of Xcrawl, first published in 2002 by Pandahead Games. Since then he has authored more than 25 adventures for Goodman Games, Fat Dragon Games, Troll Lord’s Games, Legendsmiths, Savage Mojo, Pandahead Publishing, and Hand Made Games, and more, including the award-winning Age of Cthulhu: A Dream of Japan. Brendan is currently Director of Marketing for Goodman Games, and the chief of the Goodman Games road Crew. He lives in Kennesaw, GA, with his wife, dog, and two cats.

Matthew Lillard

Most of us know the actor, comedian, director, producer, and of course RPGer, Matthew Lillard.  He had attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Circle in the Square Theatre School.  His films include his role in SLC Punk, then as Cereal Killer in "Hackers", an actual killer in the Scream franchise (with a new one out here in 2022), and of course as Shaggy in the many incarnations of Scooby-Doo.  He was in She's All That and now again in the remake called He's All That, the plot of which traces back to the Greek myth of Pygmalion.  You can find him in the 4 seasons of Good Girls on Netflix, playing the husband of Christina Hendricks.

A beloved member of the RPG community, Lillard lends his many talents to different enterprises, such as playing in streamed games, series discussions, gaming tournaments, and going to conventions, such as Gary Con to play and enjoy himself and probably getting dragged onto panels.

As one of the partners of Beadle and Grimm, the company that champions old school analog gaming, they produce platinum editions of games.  Using exquisite D&D accessories and game components you won't find elsewhere, these platinum editions are a rich delight to collectors, players, and GMs.

Joe Manganiello

Actor, producer, director, published author, and Emmy winning narrator.  Joe holds a BFA in acting from The Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama.  Recently, he's been in the post-apocalyptic series "Daybreak".

Over the years, Manganiello has wowed and excited audiences with some iconic roles, such as the werewolf Alcide Herveaux on HBO's hit "True Blood", his teaser-role as Deathstroke in "Justice League" (which got a lot of new fans with the Zack Snyder re-release), and in Steven Soderbergh's "Magic Mike" and "Magic Mike XXL".  He financed, produced, and directed the award-winning documentary "La Bare", as well as produced and starred in the film "Bottom of the Ninth" and "Archenemy".

Other roles include Pee Wee Herman's best friend in the comedy "Pee Wee's Big Holiday", the voice of the heroic and lovable Hefty Smurf in the film "Smurfs: The Lost Village", starring alongside Arnold Swarzenegger in the film Sabotage (Open Road), as Flash Thompson in Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man", the ensemble comedy "What to Expect When You're Expecting", and several seasons in the series "How I Met Your Mother".

Aside from his film work, Manganiello also consults to Dungeons & Dragonsand is involved in writing content for their adventure modules and a graphic novel series.  His character, Arkhan the Cruel, is a noted possessor of the Hand of Vecna.

His line of heavy-metal and fantasy-inspired streetwear, Death Saves, is epic.

Mike Mearls

Mike Mearls has spent over 20 years as a game designer, working primarily on tabletop RPGs. He led the creation of 5th edition D&D and played a critical role in the development of 4th edition. Aside from D&D, he designed the Iron Heroes RPG and worked on a variety of other games, including Unknown Armies, Feng Shui, and Hunter: the Reckoning. His board game work includes Castle Ravenloft, Betrayal at Baldur's Gate, Axis & Allies & Zombies, and Dungeon Mayhem.

Anna B. Meyer

Anna B. Meyer is a professional Fantasy Cartographer specializing in visualizing fantasy worlds using the latest digital tools and an artistic eye. Her goal is to create a vision of your world in the form of maps and images that inspires and guides you and your players, or readers, to experience your world in ways beyond what words and and traditional fantasy maps alone can accomplish. She started pursing fantasy cartography as a hobby over twenty years ago, and specializes in large area setting maps. The past decade she has worked full time on both commissioned work for publishers and authors and projects for the Greyhawk community through her patreon.

Jason Charles Miller

Jason Charles Miller is a critically acclaimed and highly accomplished singer/songwriter. His music has been featured on such TV shows as True Blood, The NFL Today, The Deadliest Catch and Critical Role. Jason has written songs with Billy Ray Cyrus, Rickey Medlocke [Lynyrd Skynyrd], Charlie Starr [Blackberry Smoke], Ben Moody [Evanescence], Paul Anka and has been awarded 3 gold records. As a voice actor he has appeared in over 100 cartoons, anime and video games. Jason co-hosts Bardic Inspiration, a live songwriting show for Codename Games, hosts the Geek & Sundry RPG show Starter Kit, and is the DM of The Gaxx Pack on GaryCon Live! He is also widely recognized as the founder of the rock band Godhead.

Mike Mornard

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.

Erol Otus

Erol Otus is an artist and game designer, best known for his work in 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, 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.

 

 

Stefan Pokorny

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 run hugely successful Kickstarter campaigns.  He has run his "Theatrical D&D games at various conventions, including Gary Con, GameHole Con, ConnetiCon, and others.

He has been featured in several documentaries: The Dungeons & 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.  You can also find him as the subject of articles in Forbes, New York Magazine, NY Daily News, The Brooklyn Paper, The Brooklyn Ink, and DNA-Info New York.

He is the original creator behind the fantasy world of Mythras and the City of Valoria and contributed to the module Tapestry of Deceit for the Mythras setting.  He's also published a book of cartographic maps and dungeons.  He currently is hoping to publish a Mythras Campaign Sourcebook.

Stephen Radney-MacFarland

Currently the Lead Game Designer for GRIPNR LLC, Stephen is a lifelong RPG enthusiast. He began working on tabletop roleplaying games professionally in 2000, when he became the RPGA editorial assistant at Wizards of the Coast, working on Polyhedron magazine and Living Greyhawk Journal. Over the years, he’s administered the Living Greyhawk campaign, aided in the development of 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, painted miniatures professionally, and contributed to the Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player's Guide and Ultimate Magic as a freelance designer. He joined the Paizo team in 2010, where he was the senior designer for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, managing and contributing to a stack of Pathfinder First Edition core books, Pathfinder Flip-Mats, the Starfinder Roleplaying game, and Pathfinder Second Edition. Over the years, his design has won numerous awards, done work for a chunk of companies in the space, brought fun to countless gamers, and spearheaded many innovations in tabletop roleplaying. Now he is working on getting the pleasure of tabletop roleplaying games to Web3 through the 5e-based OGL campaign, The Glimmering. In his dwindling free time, he works on his own tabletop RPG, Delve Roleplaying.

Merle Rasmussen

Merle Rasmussen and Jolly Blackburn have joined forces to create the first “gonzo modern” role-playing game, HackNoia TM : The Game of Conspiracy Theories, the Supernatural, and Espionage. HackNoia TM is to be published by Solarian Games and is licensed by Kenzer & Company.

Rasmussen’s Planetarium by Frog God Games is an upcoming collection of 20 evergreen, system neutral, scientific settings (with Adventure Hooks and Campaign Seeds) for use with science fantasy or science fiction role-playing games. The first seven titles released are CRYOBIOTIC MOON TITAN, PYROBIOTIC MOON EL DORADO, DWARF PLANET DIVOT, THERMOSYNTHETIC CAROUSEL, RADIOSYNTHETIC GEIGER, ICE PLANET RASMUSSEN, and TIDALLY LOCKED PLANET UTOPIA.

Merle and Jared Nielsen have teamed up to create Pixen Intrigue, a future adventure in the Pixen Epics line of AdventureHexes. Merle has written over one hundred 1,000-word building descriptions for Montkelian, a medieval urban setting to be brought to you by World of Game Design.

Merle was recently interviewed on camera by Pastor Derek White. His interview was filmed for a Canadian documentary regarding the Satanic Panic of the 1980’s.

Five photos courtesy of Merle and Jackie Rasmussen, Merle’s wife, appear in Game Wizards: The Epic Battle for Dungeons and Dragons a history by Jon Peterson. Merle’s name is mentioned three times and TOP SECRET is mentioned four times.

Merle’s “Schematic Diagram of Game Plan,” from a draft of Top Secret (c. 1977). appears in The Elusive Shift: How Role-Playing Games Forged Their Identity by Jon Peterson. Merle is also credited with introducing fame and fortune points into role-playing games.

Ben Reese

Ben Reese, son of Mike Reese creator of Tractics, grew up in the gaming world.  Playing and running war games and RPGs for over 25 years now, he is experienced in a variety of systems and genres.  As a martial arts teacher and proud father of 2, Reese is excited to help the next generation of gamers experience the fun, community, and stories that gaming can bring.

Mike Reese

Mike Reese, born 1948, Harvard, IL; Graduated HHS 1966; BSA NIU 1971

Mil Svc:  US Army, Troop F, 2/2 ACR 1971-1974, Resident Madison, WI 1974-1976; Resident Detroit area, 1977- present, Employer:  U.S. Army, TACOM, Warren MI 1977-2005; Retired Feb 2005, Gamed with Gary 1966-1971; GM 1968-Present. TRACTICS 1971; FAST RULES 1971; author FIRE IN KOREA (THW); LITTLE WARS (TSR); THE COURIER; AFV-G2; Editor IABSM!, NUTS!, TW&T,Arc of Fire

Ed Stark

Ed Stark has been working as a game designer for more than thirty years in both the tabletop and computer industries. Ed started his career at West End Games where he worked as the Paranoia Line Editor, lead designer for ShatterZone and MasterBook, and a designer for many TORG and Star Wars projects. He also wrote a few novels and several short stories while at WEG. At TSR/Wizards of the Coast, Ed worked in the D&D Worlds group as a lead designer, focusing primarily on the Birthright RPG line but also contributing to Planescape and Ravenloft designs. Ed became the Creative Director for Dungeons & Dragons before the launch of Third Edition and continued in that role through D&D 3.5. Ed moved into the computer game industry as the Lead Writer for Red 5 Studios and, later, Vigil/THQ, working on FireFall and then Warhammer 40k Online. Currently, Ed is a Zone Lead at ZeniMax Online Studios, where he's been working on Elder Scrolls Online for more than 10 years. Ed enjoys all sorts of games, from RPGs to board games and various computer games. He lives in Maryland with his wife Jill and their two cats, Captain Jimila and Quartermaster Oblan.

Stephen Sullivan

Stephen D. Sullivan is the award-winning author of more than sixty books. But before he turned to writing novels, he worked on DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Basic & Expert, TOP SECRET, and countless other TSR products. He also helped found Pacesetter, creators of CHILL, WABBIT WAMPAGE, and more. He still dabbles in game creation -- DR. CUSHING’S CHAMBER OF HORRORS RPG supplement being his latest -- and comics, while writing new novels and stories. Visit Steve & his work at: www.sdsullivan.com

 

Jeff Talanian

Jeffrey Talanian, publisher for North Wind Adventures, started gaming in 1981, playing Dungeons & Dragons using the Holmes Basic version of the game. 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.).

Since 2008, Jeff’s focus has been on the game he authored, the award-nominated HYPERBOREA, a role-playing game of swords, sorcery, and weird science-fantasy. For more information, please visit www.hyperborea.tv.

 

Elisa Teague

A 20 year veteran in the Tabletop Games Industry, Elisa Teague has worked on well over 100 published card and board games including Geek Out!, Betrayal at House on the Hill, and Kingdom Hearts Talisman, written for various RPGs including Dungeons & Dragons, Wardlings, Kids on Bikes, and more, and is now the Senior Producer of Roleplaying Games at Renegade Game Studios, where she is writing and producing roleplaying books for the Power Rangers, G.I. Joe, and Transformers RPGs as well as Vampire: the Masquerade and the World of Darkness line.

Known for social intrigue, deep mystery plots, and puzzles in her writing, she wrote the chapter on how to use puzzles in your game for D&D’s Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything and has designed puzzle events and ARGs for some of the largest companies and events in the world.  Both a 30 year RPG player and pro Game Master and author, she lives and breathes all things games.

Tom Tullis

Leading the nation in the consumption of both Coke Zero and cows, Tom Tullis hails from Ohio, where the natural terrain was so excruciatingly dull the young artist vowed to one day design and print his own. Tom founded Fat Dragon Games in 2005 and has led the industry in print-and-play terrain and miniatures for over 16 years. He is also the creator of the groundbreaking web series Tomb of 3D Printed Horrors, which teaches newcomers the finer points of creating their own 3D printed terrain and miniatures. Tom is a member of the rumored secret society known as Cow-Con, whose members are a savage pack of carnivores who meet in secret to eat medium-rare steaks to ward off the wrath of the Elder Gods. He currently resides in the uncharted territories of Ohio where he plots his evil machinations for world domination.

Jim Wampler

Jim Wampler is the main guy to blame at Mudpuppy Games, the writer and creator of Mutant Crawl Classics RPG for Goodman Games, and the author of the Marvin the Mage comic strip. Sometimes, Jolly Blackburn even lets him play around with the Knights of the Dinner Table characters on covers. Jim has written adventures for DCC, MCC, and Metamorphosis Alpha, and is the publisher of SCIENTIFIC BARBARIAN magazine. He also co-hosts the Save For Half podcast with some far-more-talented folks.

James M Ward

I'm a happily married family man of fifty years with the kindest wife in the world, three grown, charming sons and six amazing grandchildren. I had twenty plus years working at TSR and rising in the ranks starting off as the Inventory Controller and ending up as Vice President of Production. I'm a famous game designer with credits like the first science fiction rpg in METAMORPHOSIS ALPHA and the first apocalyptic rpg in GAMMA WORLD. I have many other game credits and have designed games in all seven types of game formats. I'm most proud of the Troll Lord products of THE STORYTELLER'S THESARAUS and the STARSHIP WARDEN. Both of these were best sellers. Speaking of best sellers I'm also a novelist with best selling books to my credit: Vatican Gold, Pools of Darkness, and King's Commission to name a new. At seventy I still love to work every day on various game projects. I plan on continuing that work ethic until the lord says game over and takes me to a new game.

Bill Webb

Bill is an industry veteran who has published or written over 200 titles for roleplaying games over the past 17 years. He founded Necromancer Games in 1999 (with Clark Peterson) and released the very first third party publication for 3rd Edition Dungeons and Dragons (The Wizard's Amulet). Subsequently, Necromancer formed one of the main legs of Sword and Sorcery Studios (along with White Wolf, Monte Cook Games and Fiery Dragon) that was one of the largest producers of roleplaying materials during the 3.0-3.5 era. In 2010, Bill started Frog God Games (as CEO), along with Matt Finch and Greg Vaughan. Since its founding, Frog God has produced over 120 high quality titles.

Margaret Weis

Margaret Weis discovered heroic fantasy fiction while studying at the University of Missouri where she earned a degree in Creative Writing and Literature.

She worked for TSR for many years, where she helped create and co-author with Tracy Hickman the best-selling series "Dragonlance Chronicles" and "Dragonlance Legends".

Weis is the author/co-author of many other best-selling series, including the Deathgate novels.  Weis lives in Wisconsin with four dogs: Dixie, Tike, Joey the Thug, and Clancy the Hooligan.  Weis and her dogs enjoy competing in flyball tournaments with their team, the Barkbarians.

David Wesely

David Wesely is a war gamer, game designer and video game developer.  He has been credited with the idea of the roleplaying game by Dave Arneson.  Wesely earned a BS in Physics at Hamline University and a MS in High-Energy Physics at the University of Kansas.  Wesely joined the Army Reserves and served in active duty in the army, returning to reserve duty in 1977 and 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 and later by Avalon Hill.

Wesely worked for Coleco, porting games from arcade to home console, such as Spy Hunter and Zaxxon.

He's been a regular con-goer at Gen Con and Origins since 1995, speaking there at seminars.

Tom Wham

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 called "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 Monster Manual, and published several games in Dragon magazine.

His game design credits include: Snit Smashing, Snit's Revenge, Awful Green Things from Outer Space, Kings & Things, 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 4 years.  He is a Vietnam War veteran that served aboard a communications vessel in the Gulf of Tonkin.  After many years as an informational technology specialist at the Lake Geneva Library, he retired in 2003.  Tom continues to design games today.

Skip Williams

Skip Williams is a Wisconsin native who hails from Lake Geneva, also the birthplace of the D&D game. As a kid in school. Skip rubbed elbows with many of the people who developed and influenced the original Dungeons & Dragons game, especially Gary Gygax.

After college, Skip did a stint with TSR, Inc. organizing the Gen Con Game Fair. After leaving TSR to become a freelancer, Skip eventually came to pen the Sage Advice column for Dragon magazine. For more than 15 years, Skip applied his unique wit and wisdom to help DMs and players navigate that difficult frontier where the game rules meet the game table.

After a few years on his own, Skip rejoined TSR to work on the RPGA Network and Polyhedron newsine. During his time in the RPGA, Skip undertook some freelance assignments for TSR design department and eventually left the network to become a full-time designer/editor working mainly on TSR's D&D line, but also Planescape, Greyhawk, Ravenloft, and Dragonlance. Skip was part of the team that designed the Dragonlance 5th age card game.

When Wizards of the Coast purchased TSR, Skip briefly moved to Seattle to work on the D&D 3rd edition game. While in Seattle Skip also helped create a new version of the Chainmail miniatures game, worked to transition the Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk lines to the (then) new D&D rules.

Skip has since returned to Wisconsin, where he and his wife, Penny, own a century-old farmhouse and a few surrounding acres. These days, Skip works on some short fiction (publishing several short stories through Daw books), undertakes the occasional commission from small game publishers, serves as co-director of events for Gary Con (held each year in Lake Geneva, and tries to rescue his acreage from the encroaching weeds. Now and then, he finds time to play a game or two or paint some gaming miniatures. A few of Skip’s minis will be available for sale at the auction on Saturday.

Steve Winter

After nun introduced him to the works of J. R. R. Tolkien in high school , Steve had two years of Catholic college before he transferred to Iowa State University at Ames.

In 1978, while attending college, Winter worked part-time at a department store which carried a few wargames in its small games department. He began playing with the wargame The Russian Campaign by Avalon Hill; The Russian Campaign intrigued him, so he bought Tobruk, which was the game that changed his life.

One day, he was proofreading the classified ad column, and came across an ad for the Iowa State Gamers.  He went to their next meeting, and was introduced to the D&D game... From then on, he played all day every Saturday, but never was one of those 5-hour-a-day,7-day-a-week gamers. The newspaper took up most of his time, and he had his heart set on becoming a journalist.

Winter began with TSR in May 1981 as a Games Editor as the editor of both Star Frontiers boxed games, the Gangbusters games, the 1983 World of Greyhawk revision, and the Top Secret Companion.  Winter was promoted to Manager of Game Editors in 1984, and continued working on many different projects in addition to his management duties, including editing half of the book Oriental Adventures.  Jeff Grubb and Winter designed the Marvel Super Heroes RPG.  He has worked on many game products for the Dungeons & Dragons game since 1981, as a designer, editor, coordinator, and creative director.  Some of his works as a game designer include Ruins of Adventure, The Complete Psionics Handbook, the 3rd edition version of Monster Manual II, and Lords of Madness. Winter co-wrote the Dragonlance novel Wanderlust with Mary Kirchoff.

Michael Witwer

Michael Witwer is a New York Times bestselling author known for his work on the Hugo-nominated Dungeons & Dragons: Art & Arcana, the critically acclaimed Empire of Imagination: Gary Gygax and the Birth of Dungeons & Dragons, and the bestselling Heroes' Feast: The Official Dungeons & Dragons Cookbook.