Peter Adkison is a serial entrepreneur. His first business was Wizards of the Coast, which he founded in 1990. While CEO, from 1990 – 2001, Adkison published Magic: The Gathering, 3rd Edition D&D, and Pokémon. In 2002, Adkison acquired the Gen Con tabletop games convention which he still owns. After finishing film school in 2012, Adkison began developing a fantasy web series called Chaldea. Chaldea combines live action film with comic art and is scheduled to release as a YouTube channel in fall, 2020. Peter is married to Dee Fenton.
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.
Jason Azevedo is a professional Dungeon Master, acclaimed miniature painter, and the President & Founder of RealmSmith - a Toronto-based channel that offers immersive and interactive D&D 5th-Edition Content. He’s best known as the DM for RealmSmith’s official Curse of Strahd campaign 'Into the Mist', 'Tides of Wildemount', and most recently the much anticipated D&D and Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms series 'Champions of the Realm' (https://youtube.com/realmsmith).
You may also have seen him at a variety of conventions partnering with WizKids and Vallejo to teach miniature painting seminars to the masses.
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 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 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. Og 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 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.
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 is the CEO of Troll Lord Games, publishers of Castles & Crusades, the World of Aihrde, Amazing Adventures and other RPGs. 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.
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 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.
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 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 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 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/
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 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 Finch is generally credited as the inventor of the \"retro-clone\" method of reproducing early-edition rules directly using the Open Game License. He is the author of a host of RPG books, including The Tome of Adventure Design (Frog God Games), Pod Caverns of the Sinister Shroom (Expeditious Retreat Press), The Borderland Provinces (Necromancer Games and Frog God Games), Swords & Wizardry, OSRIC (initial author), Spire of Iron and Crystal, the Quick Primer for Old School Gaming, Demonspore, Rogues in Remballo, Tomb of the Iron God, and Grimmsgate. Matt has also contributed to Rappan Athuk (Frog God Games and Necromancer Games), Quests of Doom, Fifth Edition Foes, written numerous articles for Knockspell Magazine, and edited several published products such as Razor Coast, Fane of the Fallen, and The Northlands Saga.
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 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.
Hi, my name is Skeeter Green, and I have been in the freelance rpg publishing business for 20 years. I have been a developer, author, and editor for Frog God Games and Necromancer Games for 10 years, and now I’ve got my own company, SGP (Skeeter Green Productions) going on 3 years. I'm also one of the founders of the Independent Publisher's Union, along with several well-known friends in the industry.
SGP publishes fantasy rpg titles (including acclaimed Crypt of the SCIENCE-WIZARD and Cryptocodex) under the DCC/MCC, 5th edition, and Swords & Wizardry rulesets. I like to go easy on the rules, have fun, and hang out with good people. Go forth and conquer!
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.
Ernie served as one of the very few original play-tests for Chaninmail and Dungeons & Dragons. Ernie helpfed to shape both games by his ambitious and relentless play. His characters would become the canon of the D&D universe. He was the manager of TSR's Dungeon Hobby Shop and later 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 & Dragons.
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 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, The Blighted Lands© series in his World of Okkorim© and a brand new Call of Cthulhu module with Skeeter Green for this year's Gary Con®. Luke is working on new 5e scenarios for the World of Okkorim© through his Gaxx Worx® imprint. Look for The Heart of Chentoufi© Kickstarter campaign coming soon. 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).
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."
Bill has been gaming since 1966 and was there for some of the early times. He knew both Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax and was instrumental in getting Professor Barker's Empire of the Petal Throne over to TSR. He was at the founding of the Castle and Crusade Society.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jeff Perren was an early member of the Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Association along with Gary Gygax, Terry and Rob Kuntz, Ernie Gygax, Mike Reese, Leon Tucker, and Don Kaye.
Perren developed his own rules for Siege of Bodenburg, and shared them with Gary Gygax. Early in 1970, the LGTSA purchased a considerable number of Elastolin figures, which motivated Perren to develop four pages of his own rules for these miniatures which focused on mass combat.
Perren and Gygax put together this set of medieval miniatures rules and called it Chainmail for publication in a Castle & Crusade Society fanzine called The Domesday Book. Perren and Gygax also designed the miniatures game Cavaliers and Roundheads (1973), the first game published by Gygax's company TSR.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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
Tony Szczudlo graduated in 1989 from the American Academy of Art in Chicago. In 1992 he started his career in the studio of the FASA Corporation helping to conceptualize their Earthdawn campaign setting and started his first RPG cover work.
In October of 1994 he was asked to join the legendary studio of TSR to conceptualize their Birthright campaign setting. He moved on to be the main cover artist for Birthright and did cover, and interior work for other products which was the norm for the TSR stable of artists.
In 1999 Tony moved on to do art for Magic the Gathering, Harry Potter, and Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time.
Tony continues to work as a Illustrator in his studio home in Woodstock Illinois, with his son Dovahkiin. With a full schedule of art for Erik Olofsson's
SORCERY Contested Realm, squeezing in commission work, fan art, and Convention time, Life is GOOD!!!
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.
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.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
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 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.
Louis Zocchi, Adventure Gaming Hall of Fame, 1987.
Zocchi served in the Air Force until 1975 and retired as an E-6 Technical Sergeant, later joining the Alabama State Defense Force and held the rank of Colonel.
He started selling adventure games in 1965, by mail and Zocchi Distributors became a full-time business. Lou Zocchi was one of the first editors for Avalon Hill's magazine, The General, and a regular contributor during its first 11 years of publication. He also playtested such early wargames as Bismark, Afrika Korps, Jutland, Stalingrad, and a number of titles Avalon Hill did not publish. Zocchi was the first U.S. distributor to sell nothing but adventure games. As a wargame designer, his credits include Luftwaffe, The Battle of Britain, Alien Space, and Flying Tigers, as well as the 3, 5, 14, 24, and 100-sided die. Zocchi contributed to the series of books by Guidon Games that began in 1971 with Chainmail. He also produced the superhero RPG Superhero: 2044 in 1977.
Zocchi and his company GameScience have published a number of games over the years (many designed by Zocchi), but are best known for making dice, and inventing the Zocchihedron (100-sided) die. Zocchi is a well-known figure at gaming conventions like Gen Con and Origins Game Fair, where he demonstrates the various inconsistencies in most mass-produced gaming dice.
Zocchi is also a professional magician, ventriloquist, clown, musician, singer, comedian, lecturer, author and inventor.