Chris Arneson is a freelance illustrator who grew up with a love for Dungeons & Dragons, especially its art. 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, The Lost City and currently The Dark Tower. Last year he had the honor of illustrating three cards for Luke Gygax and Gary Con’s Deck of Many Things as well as the high honor of painting Gary Con XV’s 2023 t-shirt design and promotional image. He graduated from UW Whitewater with a BFA in 1996 and 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.
Keith Baker is best known for creating the Eberron Campaign Setting for Dungeons & Dragons and the storytelling card game Gloom. He’s produced a host of games, novels, and TTRPG supplements. He’s recently released Chronicles of Eberron on the DM’s Guild and the second edition of Illimat with his own company, Twogether Studios. Keith can be found online at Twogetherstudios.com, or on Twitter as @HellcowKeith.
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!
Andrew Bishkinskyi is a Toronto-based freelance TTRPG designer of Russian-Ukranian heritage. Since learning to play D&D in 2016, he’s written and published over 20 adventures for the D&D Adventurers League, including for Wizards of the Coast, GameholeCon, and many conventions across North America. His recent freelance work has included work on projects such as Arora for Ghostfire Gaming and Dread Metrol for Keith Baker Presents. Over the last two years he led the design on a pair of successfully crowdfunded independent 5e supplements – Den of Assassins and Deep & Dangerous. In 2021, Andrew took first place in the official D&D Dungeon Master Challenge. He is currently working on new D&D adventures and a brand new TTRPG.
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!
I became involved in wargames in the spring of 1968 when I had been asked by a classmate who had observed my doodles to illustrate a magazine that he helped publish. He was a member of the recently renamed International Federation of Wargaming. That was a wargaming club of about, at that time, 130 members around the nation. The IFW became involved in organizing gaming conventions, most noticeably in Lake Geneva, WI. One of the original members of the IFW was the late E. Gary Gygax. At the time, most wargamers in the IFW could be classified at “board” gamers. That is, they played one of the numerous board games provided by such companies as Avalon Hill. Many people at the conventions played these board games and games such as Diplomacy. However, the highlights of these conventions were the wargames using miniatures. Nothing would draw spectators more than lavish scenery and serried ranks of Napoleonic lead soldiers! I was hooked. While I mostly helped in the refreshment stand with Gary’s eldest daughter Elyssa, I was able to play in some miniature games. Back in Chicago, I was a member of the Chicago Circle Games Committee at the U. of I. in Chicago.
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.
Banana is a Cantonese Canadian game designer, writer and publisher living in the US. Her latest work has been on Deimos Academy, Exquisite Crime, Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall, Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft and Betrayal at House on the Hill: 3rd Edition. They hate Mondays, love lasagna and they have the best dental hygienist, Dora.
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 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. https://brentchumley.com/
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.
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.
Elise Cretel (Virtual Guest)
Elise Cretel is an Ennie nominated writer for the DM’s Guild and DriveThruRPG and the project lead of the Through The Veil, Feywild series, Sea Shanties: A Bardic Guide, and Tartarus: Journey into the Underworld (D&D5e). Elise has freelanced for Wizards of the Coast and is a contributing author of best sellers such as Blackstaff’s Tome of WIzardry, Incredible Creatures, and The Great Dale Campaign Guide. She is published on HitRecord and a contributor to the Emmy-winning Create Together series.
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.
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 is the founder of Solarian Games and co-author of Top Secret: New World Order. He also founded Gygax Magazine and published it with the help of Luke Gygax, Ernie Gygax, and Tim Kask. A gamer since 1982, he found his way back to the tabletop industry in 2010 when he hosted Roll For Initiative, the 1st Edition AD&D podcast.
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/
Matt Everhart (Virtual Guest)
Matt Everhart, who also goes by “KC Rift”, has been playing Dungeons & Dragons (among many other role-playing games) since receiving the Red Box from his uncle back in 1983. Even then he was dreaming up new worlds and new adventures for his characters and those of his friends to journey through. While his family, including his wife and four children, and his military career take priority, Matt is nevertheless constantly writing and creating RPG content in his free time. Matt published his first sourcebook, The Deductionist, for the Pathfinder 1st Edition RPG under Total Party Kill Games, LLC. Since then, he has been publishing several other source books and adventures including: Winter’s Grim Tiding, The Shadow Boys of Telflamm for Forgotten Realms, Long Was the Night, Dance of the Pumpkin King, and The Trouble with Truffles.
As a writer and contributor for Gaxx Worx, Matt is currently working with Luke on the Oculus of Senrahbah series and launching his new campaign setting “Strange & Grim” – a new dieselpunk setting compatible with Dungeons & Dragons 5e, using the Everyday Hero RPG engine by Evil Genius Games!
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 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.
Johnny Fraser-Allen is a conceptual world builder and creature designer for movies and tabletop gaming. Having designed for Stephen Spielberg, Peter Jackson, and Guillermo del Toro on The BFG and The Hobbit film series, he has since turned his focus to the world of Dungeons and Dragons, bringing his passion for in-depth fantasy world building to the tabletop with his modular terrain systems: Hagglethorn Hollow and The Gloaming. Additionally, he has sculpted the official miniatures for such fantasy films as Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. Johnny’s tabletop terrain can be seen as a regular feature on popular YouTube channels like Adam Savage’s Tested and Critical Role.
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.
Goober (Virtual Guest)
Goober is one of the lead designers for Everyday Heroes by Evil Genius Games. They have been obsessively homebrewing ever since they picked up their first Dungeons and Dragons books with 3rd edition’s release, and later graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a degree in Interactive Media and Game Development. They began officially publishing their content on the DMs Guild soon after the release of 5th edition D&D. Their Companion System and Planar Bestiary were extremely well received, and their alternate Dramatic Chases system got them noticed by Evil Genius Games. Since then, they have been hard at work bringing Everyday Heroes and its cinematic adventures into existence.
Skeeter Green has been in the freelance rpg publishing business for 20+ years. He was a developer, author, and editor for Frog God Games and Necromancer Games for 10 years, and now leads his own company, SGP (Skeeter Green Productions) going on 5 years.
SGP publishes fantasy rpg titles (including acclaimed Crypt of the SCIENCE-WIZARD and Cryptocodex) under the DCC/MCC, 5th edition, and Swords & Wizardry rulesets, and was the co-author of GaryCon XIV’s Call of Cthulhu scenario, the Dread from Geneva Lake (life goal!). He has recently wrapped up the ‘zine series The Valley Out of Time, a tribute to Frank Frazetta, dinosaurs, and stop motion monster movies.
He and Zach Glazar provide the Zach and Skeeter’s Small Publishing Seminars at various conventions, and Skeeter is a founding member of the Independent Publisher’s Union with several close game industry friends. Skeeter likes to go easy on the rules, have fun, and hang out with good people. Go forth and conquer!
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 in 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 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 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 Garland
Heidi Gygax Garland 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. She introduced several of her high school friends to a life-long love of gaming, including her favorite teacher, now well-known author and game designer, Doug Niles.
After 30 years in Hawaii working in upper management for a large fine jewelry manufacturer and retailer, Heidi returned to Lake Geneva. She currently splits time between Lake Geneva, Wisconsin and Burkesville, Kentucky. Heidi and her newlywed husband Erik Garland have been collaborating on gaming adventures that will soon be released under GAXLAND (www.Gaxland.com). Heidi enjoys creating culinary delights for her new husband Erik and their girls, Amelie and Zoe Gygax, and spending time with their dogs Duncan and Thor, and cats Nikita and Mittens.
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.
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.”
James Hunter is a full-time Inkslinger, a member of SFWA, and the bestselling author of Vigil Bound, Rogue Dungeon, Shadowcroft Academy, Bibliomancer, and the litRPG epic Viridian Gate Online! In addition to writing, James also runs Shadow Alley Press, a publishing company that specializes in LitRRP, Gamelit, and Progression Fantasy.
James is a former Marine Corps Sergeant, combat veteran, and pirate hunter (seriously). He’s also a member of The Royal Order of the Shellback-’cause that’s totally a real thing. And a spaceship captain, can’t forget that. Okay … the last one probably isn’t true. When not writing or spending time with family, James occasionally finds time to eat and sleep.
Harold Johnson was born in Evanston, Illinois. Johnson attended Northwestern University and got his B.S. in Biology in 1977. Johnson played his first game of Dungeons & Dragons in 1976.
He was hired as an editor by TSR in 1978 and over the years he took on many different roles there.
Johnson was responsible for hiring many new game designers during his tenure with TSR, including Frank Mentzer, Jon Pickens, and Tracy Hickman. His co-creation of the concept for the Dragonlance line is among his credited roles in many projects.
Harold Johnson designed the modules The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan (1980), and Secret of the Slavers Stockade (1981), and also wrote the IJAC1 Judge’s Survival Pack, and IJ4 The Golden Goddess for the Indiana Jones role-playing game. He was part of the design team for several early Dragonlance modules and products. He also worked on other product lines, such as Forgotten Realms, Spelljammer, and Ravenloft, and worked as an editor and project coordinator on numerous D&D products throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and provided some design contributions early in the game’s third edition.
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.
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 formed Kenzer & Company with six other stalwart RPG enthusiasts in 1993, later teaming up with Jolly Blackburn in 1996. He is responsible for publication of “Knights of the Dinner Table” (of which Jolly is editor in chief) as well lead designer of award winning RPG games including HackMaster, Aces and Eights, the Monty Python CCG, and dozens of D&D products (Kingdoms of Kalamar fantasy campaign setting). David is also responsible for starting the retro-clone movement in 2001, with the release of Hackmaster.
David is the proud father and stepfather of four daughters and a stepson and stepdaughter, a loyal Chicago Cubs and Bears fan (Bear Down!) and is dedicated to traveling the world with his wife, Suzanne. He is best known at Gary Con for running numerous pick up sessions of Hackmaster and finding new inventive ways to achieve TPKS.
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.
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.
Terry Kuntz was born on December 25, 1953. This Christmas miracle became involved in miniatures wargaming by the age of 15. He learned much from his brother Rob, who played miniatures and board games with his friend Gary Gygax. All three were members of the Lake Geneva Tactical Studies Association.
In 1970 Terry, Rob, and Don Kaye joined Gary Gygax and his children Ernie and Elise for the second session of Gygax’s new game (at that time) Dungeons & Dragons. In-spired, Terry went on to create and conceive the monster known as the Beholder and the infamous Energy-draining Sword. In 1975 Terry began working at TSR designing rule sets, games, and even managed the Dungeon Hobby Shop.
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 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.
Ross Maker has been gaming for some sixty years and designing games for nearly all that time. He was a member of the Midwest Military Simulation Association (MMSA), a group of wargamers and friends based in St. Paul, MN, that included Dave Arneson, Mike Carr, David Megarry, Maj. David Wesley, and several others that would go on to design a number of popular wargames.
Ross played the original dwarf in Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor campaign, a game that incorporated much of the Fantasy Supplement of Gary Gygax and Jeff Perren’s Chainmail Medieval miniature wargame but innovated with concepts of roleplaying individual characters, experience gains, levels, and most importantly the fantasy dungeon adventure.
In 1978 he was co-designer with David Wesely of Source of the Nile, which won two Charles S. Roberts Awards, two Strategist Club Awards, a Game Designers’ Guild Select Award and was named to the Games Magazine 100.
More recently he was the editor for the unpublished 4th Edition of Don’t Give Up the Ship, and designed the Of Czars and Sultans module for Sergeants Three’s Bring Up the Guns.
Actor, producer, director, published author, & Emmy winning voice actor. Joe holds a BFA in acting from The Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama & is currently directing & producing the Official 50 Year History of Dungeons & Dragons documentary for eOne & Wizards of the Coast set for release in 2024. His star-studded D&D home game in his “dungeon” have been responsible for bringing a host of celebrities back to the game & have been the subject of numerous interviews & videos.
Manganiello is best known as an actor for his roles as the werewolf Alcide Herveaux on HBO’s TRUE BLOOD, as Big Dick Richie in Steven Soderbergh’s MAGIC MIKE & MAGIC MIKE XXL, as Pee Wee Herman’s best friend in PEE WEE’S BIG HOLIDAY, as super-villain DEATHSTROKE in Zack Snyder’s JUSTICE LEAGUE, & he currently stars as himself on the third season of the Apple comedy, MYTHIC QUEST.
He financed, produced, & directed the award-winning documentary LA BARE, & produced & starred in the films BOTTOM OF THE 9TH, SHOPLIFTERS OF THE WORLD, & ARCHENEMY.
Other roles include, SABOTAGE, THE SPINE OF NIGHT, SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE, Sam Raimi’s SPIDER-MAN, ONE TREE HILL, WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING, ER, & HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER.
Aside from his film work, Manganiello works as a paid consultant for Dungeons & Dragons & is currently developing one of their properties for TV/streaming as a show-runner. He has travelled the world as an official ambassador for D&D & has written content for their adventure modules. In 2020, he worked with Hasbro as a game designer helping to relaunch the classic board-game, HERO QUEST.
His D&D character, Arkhan the Cruel, is best known for shaking things up on the web series CRITICAL ROLE, but also appears in the video game IDLE CHAMPIONS, & as well as in D&D canon along with several other characters created by Manganiello.
He is CEO & creative director for his line of heavy-metal/fantasy-inspired streetwear called DEATH SAVES, & also serves on the board at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
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.
Mark Meer is known worldwide as the voice of Commander Shepard in Bioware’s Mass Effect Trilogy, and also voices several other characters in the series, including Blasto, the entire Vorcha species, and the “Biotic God” Niftu Cal. He plays multiple roles throughout Bioware’s Dragon Age series, and appears dozens of characters in the original Baldur’s Gate games, Beamdog’s Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition, Baldur’s Gate 2: Enhanced Edition, and Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear. Mark stars as pilot William MacKenzie in the ongoing post-apocalyptic survival game The Long Dark by Hinterland Studio, and his other voice work includes Bioware’s Jade Empire and Neverwinter Nights, ChaosForge’s Jupiter Hell, Starro the Conquerer (and more) in WB Games’ Gotham Knights, and the vampire lord Deadalus in Beamdog’s newest release, MythForce. In the TTRPG sphere, Mark has been a recurring guest on the Vampire: The Masquerade stream L.A. by Night, a frequent player (and Dungeon Master) on Codename Entertainment’s Idle Champions Presents, a regular on Pod By Night’s Stitch of Fate and Cracked Crown, and a core cast member and guest DM on the official Dungeons & Dragons Ravenloft stream, The Black Dice Society. He serves as the Keeper of Arcane Lore on Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu mini-series, Bookshops of Arkham, and its sequel, Graveyards of Arkham. Mark has been honoured to be a guest Dungeon Master at the D&D in a Castle since 2019.
Christopher Vincent Metzen (born November 22, 1973) is an American game designer, artist, voice actor, and author known for his work creating the fictional universes and scripts for Blizzard Entertainment’s three major award-winning media franchises: Warcraft, Diablo and StarCraft. Metzen was hired by Blizzard Entertainment as an animator and an artist; his first work for the company was with the video game Justice League Task Force.
Metzen was the Senior Vice President of Story and Franchise Development at Blizzard Entertainment and assisted the company’s projects by providing voice talent for a number of characters, most notably the orc character Thrall, as well as contributing to artistic character design. Metzen retired in September 2016 to spend more time with his family, but returned to the company as a creative advisor in December 2022.
In his most recent work, Metzen co-authored graphic novels, Transformers: Autocracy and Transformers Monstrosity with author Flint Dille and artist Livio Ramondelli.
TTRPG company: http://warchiefgaming.com/
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.
Roger E. Moore
Roger E. Moore was added to the ranks of TSR, Inc., by Kim Mohan, of blessed memory, in May 1983. From the staff of Dragon Magazine, he wrote articles, novels, short stories, and edited magazines and game products for 17.5 years. His greatest accomplishment was the co-creation of the Giant Space Hamster with Jeff Grubb for the Spelljammer campaign. He currently lives with his wife Diana and 13 cats in upstate South Carolina, tinkering with new materials for the venerable Greyhawk campaign. He wishes you and yours the very best.
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.
Douglas Niles discovered Dungeons & Dragons in 1979, when he was a high school teacher in Clinton WI and happened to have Heidi Gygax (Gary’s daughter) in his class. She gave him a copy of the D&D Basic Set on a Wednesday and he began DMing his first campaign the very next weekend. In 1982 he joined the TSR game design staff in Lake Geneva, and began a long and prolific career designing roleplaying products and boardgames, and writing novels.
Niles has designed dozens of RPG adventures for all levels of D&D and AD&D players, as well as several game systems, and multiple strategic boardgames on military topics. He is perhaps best known as a writer of adventure fantasy, and has written more than 40 novels in the genre, including the first Forgotten Realms novel and eighteen books in the Dragonlance line. He is currently working on a major alternate history novel set during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
A lifelong cheesehead and Green Bay Packers fan, Niles currently lives in Madison WI with his wife of 45 years, Christine.
Season 3 game master for Dressed to Quest on the GenConTV Twitch channel, Malix is a gamer, game designer and game master who has been involved with the hobby for more than 40 years. During his time as a professional designer he worked in-house for TSR, FASA, and Mayfair Games on lines such as D&D, BattleTech, Shadowrun, DC Heroes, Chill, Underground, and Role Aids. As a freelancer he worked for companies such as White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games, Hero Games, and West End Games on lines such as TORG, GURPS, Champions, Fantasy Hero, and In Nomine. Under the banner of Pariah Press he published The Whispering Vault (an offbeat horror game) and he released NUkED (and even more offbeat post apocalypse game) through Geeks Collaborative Gaming. A friend once estimated that he had over 3 million words in print as a writer and/or designer and many more as an editor, developer and line editor. These days he tinkers with design and social media and can be found doing live plays with the likes of Aabria Iyengar, Travis McElroy, Ivy Nwadiwe, and Todd Stashwick.
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.
Jon Pickens was born in Mishawaka, Indiana. In 1968, he was introduced to miniatures wargaming, and his parents bought him the Blitzkrieg wargame for Christmas that year. A couple of months later, Pickens responded to an ad in Popular Mechanics for a magazine titled Strategy & Tactics. He wrote in for a sample copy, and “spent the rest of the summer mowing lawns to get enough money to buy some wargames advertised in the magazine, and to get all the back issues.” The publishers did not carry back issues, “So I wrote a letter to this collector, whose name was Gary Gygax, and arranged to buy the back issues from him. Gary invited me to attend a gaming convention in Madison. By a coincidence, my father had a speaking engagement in Delavan, which is near Lake Geneva, on the same weekend, so he took me up.” Pickens and Gary Gygax drove up to Madison, and Gygax later invited him to the Gen Con convention; Pickens attended beginning with Gen Con 3 and for many years after that.
Jon Pickens has worked on many game products for the Dungeons & Dragons game since 1978, as an editor, designer, coordinator, and creative director. Some of his works as a game designer include the original Arms & Equipment Guide, and design contributions to the third edition Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Masters Guide. He has edited many Dungeons & Dragons books, including notably the Castle Greyhawk module, and the Rules Cyclopedia.
Stefan Pokorny is a classically trained painter and sculptor who began running 1st edition D&D games around the age of 14 years old. In 1996, he founded DWARVEN FORGE, a first of its kind modular miniatures terrain company that would go on to fund many hugely successful Kickstarter campaigns. Game Tiles were the FIRST modular 3-D painted tiles and continue to be the gold standard of the modular terrain space. Dwarven Forge’s most recent KS topped 4 million dollars in funding! He has been invited to run his Theatrical D&D games at countless conventions, including Lucca Comics and Games, Essen Spiel, Gen Con, Gary Con, GameHole Con, HawaiiCon, KublaCon, TotalCon, ConnectiCon, and many others. He has run and been a player in countless livestreams including Founders and Legends, Nerdbauchery, Actoroke, Jaspers game day, and others. He has been featured in several documentaries: “The Dungeons and Dragons Experience” by Jesse Spiro and “Enter the Dungeon” by Richard DiNardo. In 2016 he was the subject of Josh Bishop’s Documentary Film: “The Dwarvenaut” (now available on: Amazon, AppleTV, Vudu, Vimeo, Googleplay, YouTube, KinoNow) ). Due to the success of The Dwarvenaut, he has been mentioned or has been the subject of articles in Forbes, New York Magazine, NY Daily News, and The Brooklyn Paper, and has been invited to talk at the Barney School of Business, and AOL talks. He is the original creator of the fantasy world of Mythras and the City of Valoria. He was co-creator of the module: Tapestry of Deceit and has published a book of Cartographic Maps and Dungeons. His latest ongoing endeavors are to release the Mythras Campaign sourcebooks to the world, and to co-produce and star in a TV project called Destination Fantastic!
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 will make a brief appearance in Pat Kilbane’s “The Dreams in Gary’s Basement: A Documentary on Gary Gygax.” He previously appeared in Reverend Derek W. White’s documentary, “The Satanic Panic and the Religious Battle for the Imagination.”
In case Merle’s name seems familiar it could be because he and TOP SECRETTM Espionage Role-Playing Game are mentioned in Ben Rigg’s book, “Slaying the Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons & Dragons.” He is also mentioned in Jon Peterson’s books, “Game Wizards: The Epic Battle for Dungeons & Dragons” and “The Elusive Shift: How Role-Playing Games Forged their Identity.”
When not serving as a footnote in Tabletop Role-Playing Game history, he is researching and writing “Merle’s Worlds,” a sequel to “Rasmussen’s Planetarium.” On March 9, 2022, Frog God Games published his 370-page collection of 20 evergreen, scientific settings (with Adventure Hooks and Campaign Seeds) for use with science fantasy or science fiction role-playing games. You may also see his 1,000-word article about “Rasmussen’s Planetarium” in Issue #5 of “Scientific Barbarian” megazine.
Merle has written and submitted a manuscript based on the Black Plague of Europe with a company known for solo fantasy adventures. He has also written over one hundred 1,000-word building descriptions for Montkelian, a medieval fantasy urban setting, being brought to you by Jared Nielsen’s World of Game Design. Merle is also in negotiations on a fantasy medieval “sandbox” setting.
In case you missed them, Merle is credited with “Rendezvous Oasis (SOL1),” for TOP SECRET: NEW WORLD ORDER(TM) The Espionage Role-Playing Game published by Solarian, LLC, in February 2022. He also wrote STAGECOACH KING: Western Stagecoach Commerce Game published by Kenzer & Company on August 2, 2018.
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, 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
Bill is a writer and game designer who has contributed to some of the largest intellectual properties in science fiction and fantasy, including Star Wars, Dungeons & Dragons, and The Elder Scrolls. He has worked for West End Games, TSR, Inc., Wizards of the Coast, and Zenimax Online Studios, among others, and served as the Director of R&D for the Dungeons & Dragons brand for fourteen years.
His long list of credits includes The Star Wars Sourcebook, A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, Torg: Roleplaying the Possibility Wars, the Alternity Science Fiction Roleplaying Game, D20 Modern, D20 Star Wars, D&D Council of Wyrms, D&D Eberron, and the D&D Castle Ravenloft board game. Bill’s most-recent book, Defining a Galaxy, details the history of the Star Wars Roleplaying Game, and he currently serves as the Lead Writer for The Elder Scrolls Online video roleplaying game. He lives in Maryland with his wife, editor Michele Carter, and his faithful cat, Mouse. Follow Bill @slavicsek on Twitter or on his website at billslavicsek.com.
Best known for the Dragon Dice game and Dark Conspiracy role-playing game, Lester Smith began his game design career in 1985. Since then, he has written or contributed to more game products than he can remember, on project lines from D&D to Star Wars, collecting five Origins Awards, a ZigZag Junior Editors’ award, and a Games 100 Best along the way.
Since his “retirement,” Les has published a few dozen other titles as Lester Smith Games, 16 of them DriveThruRPG and DriveThruCards Best Sellers, including the D13, D6xD6, and Bookmark
HP RPGs. He also served two terms as President of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, gained a few poetry awards, and published an irreverent novel in sonnets, The Pastime Machine: A Literary Turducken.
Les currently lives in rural Nebraska, five miles from blacktop in every direction, with his spouse, second daughter, 4 Chihuahua’s, 6 Chihuahua mixes, 1 MinPin, 1 black Lab, and a white cat the family literally glued back together.
He keeps a blog with contact info, specialty items, and some freebies at lestersmith.com.
T. Alexander Stangroom is the Chief Operations Officer at Kobold Press, where he toils in the warrens overseeing everything from convention attendance to recruitment to coordinated kazoo fanfares. When he’s not herding kobolds, Alexander is a tabletop roleplaying Dungeon Master, player, designer, and writer whose publication credits include Wizards of the Coast. Alexander splits his time between the United Kingdom and Seattle, and is waiting patiently for a magical cure for jet lag. He would like you to know that his scales are naturally shiny, thank you very much. You can find him on Twitter at @TA_Stangroom
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.
Todd Stashwick is an actor, writer, improvisor, TTRPG player and Dungeon Master, who hails from Chicago Ill. An alumnus of the Second City comedy theatre, he’s known for his television roles as Dale on the Riches, Dracula on Supernatural, Dr. Drakken on the Live action Kim Possible film and most recently Deacon on the Syfy channel series 12 Monkeys. He’s also done other roles that don’t start with the letter D. He’s written comics, pilots, screenplays and video games. Most recently he co-wrote the game Forspoken for Square Enix, and is co-writing the Marvel/Skydance New Media Black Panther/Captain America game. Todd also kickstarted and published, with his friend “Trader Brandon” Kleyla, a Fantasy TTRPG themed Tiki Cocktail book called Mystic Libations: Critical Cocktails for the Thirsty Adventurer available on Todd’s geeky merch website thenerdcircus.com. He lives and games in LA with his wife, two children and way too many pets.
Stephen Sullivan (Virtual Guest)
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
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.
Sigfried Trent (Virtual Guest)
Sig is Lead Game Designer for Evil Genius Games and co-author of the Everyday Heroes RPG. He is the lead designer for Escape from New York, Kong: Skull Island, and Highlander Cinematic Adventures. Sig is also known for his Advanced Feats series with Kobold Press and the venerable Netbook of Feats. He also has a number of travel and gaming blogs, a small Youtube channel and a Twitch streaming channel. Sig lives with his lovely wife on the coast of Washington State where he walks the beaches and dreams of new game mechanics.
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.
Charles Urbach is an award-winning writer and colored pencil illustrator with 30 years experience in design, publishing, and illustration. His hand drawn Prismacolor pencil artwork pushes the boundaries of what’s possible with colored pencil, resulting in drawn artwork that has the visual depth and sophistication of traditional paintings. Like a traveler on a journey, his work ventures into varied territories, not resting for long in any single genre or subject matter. As a result, his art is recognized for its diversity and dynamic visuals that appeal to many different audiences and age groups.
Charles’ published work includes hundreds of illustrations for tabletop gaming, book covers for authors including Timothy Zahn, cover/marketing art for international conventions including the Gary Con XI “Pirate Queen” artwork, Origins Game Fair, GameHole Con, and graphic design/concept work for the corporate world. Projects have included miniatures designs for Wizkids’ Heroclix, illustrations for “Magic: The Gathering,” “Star Wars,” “Legend of the Five Rings,” “Das Schwarze Auge,” “7th Sea: City of Five Sails,” “Doomtown,” “Infinite City,” “Lord of the Rings,” “The Call of Cthulhu TCG,” “A Game of Thrones CCG” and artwork for many other games and properties. Clients have included Wizards of the Coast, Fantasy Flight Games, NECA, Sony Online, Alderac Entertainment Group, AT&T and many other game publishers and independent clients. Among his accomplishments, he’s won multiple Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (ASFA) Chesley Awards and his work has won convention awards at Gen Con, Dragon Con, Origins Game Fair, PhilCon, and many other events around the U.S. Charles is a frequent Guest of Honor, panelist, and teacher at conventions and gaming tournaments throughout North America and Europe.
In addition to his published work, Charles’ personal artwork is published through his in-house studio and is available via conventions and art exhibits throughout the country. Contact information and galleries of his work are available on his retail site, www.charlesurbach.com and on his personal Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/charles.urbach
Andrew Valkauskas is a Viking, father, husband, author, game designer and publisher. His current project is a collaboration with Ed Greenwood on a city-centric RPG called “Ath-Cliath”, scheduled to be released in early 2023. Andrew’s latest published work, “Children of Eriu” is an RPG set in the Celtic lands and myths. Previously he researched, translated and wrote the critically acclaimed Norse mythology book “The Illuminated Edda”, a modern retelling of the classic Prose and Poetic Eddas. Andrew was also one of the authors behind “Creatures from Fairy-Tale and Myth”, a book exploring the most iconic creatures from various European fairy tales. He is the lead game designer and author of the acclaimed rune-based role-playing game “Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok” (celebrating 30 years in 2023!) as well as the fast-paced card game “Gulveig”.
Andrew will be hosting panels and running games throughout the weekend – sign up for some Viking mayhem!
Andrew’s 14th Kickstarter will be the “Chronicle of Kings” boardgame, where you play a lineage of Viking nobles seeking the most renown after generations of conflict and drama.
Vivid Vivka is a humanoid-adjacent creature named Vivka, who has very bright vivid hair. She is an award winning cosplayer and costumer, an avid LARPer/role player, and has been dabbling in the D&D world for nearly a decade. She was Ghost on Sirens of the Realms, created many memorable characters for one-shots and charity streams, and currently plays Snax the Kobold Barbarian on The Gaxx Pack. Vivka has worked with D&D to help bring the official NPC “The Black Viper” to life, creating the costume and playing her at official events. She has also helped in bringing The Black Viper to the video game Idle Champions, where she is a playable character. She is always bringing new characters to life on her TikTok. Vivka also has a small ancient chihuahua named Tesla, whom she claims is a “perfect sentient burrito”.
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.
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.
A long time ago, in the mythical land of Ohio, a nerdy young woman named Penny played role-playing games and dreamed of working for the company that made them. She helped out at conventions and made many friends, both famous and not. Eventually her dream came true, with an offer to work for TSR, Inc. as their Games Questions Expert. So she lived the dream for several years at TSR, where she became a Marvel superhero and head of the RPGA Network, among other achievements. Eventually she moved on to New Infinities Productions, Inc., and then to Wizards of the Coast, where she continued to work on Marvel games, as well as D&D, Star Wars, D20 Modern, and many more. During her tenure at these companies, she found her primary joy as an editor, and was honored to work alongside the legendary Kim Mohan at all three companies, and the one and only Gary Gygax at two of them. In addition, she occasionally co-authored adventures and short stories with the love of her life, Skip Williams. After they moved back to Wisconsin, she pursued her other passion-teaching high school science. Of course, she still games, attends game conventions, edits RPG material, and shares her love of gaming with new generations by serving as Game Club advisor at her school. Say hello to Penny and her favorite playtesters-the kids from the Adams-Friendship High School Game Club-if you see them.
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.
Jim Zub is a writer, artist and art instructor based in Toronto, Canada. Over the past twenty years he’s worked for a variety of different comic and gaming companies including Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, White Wolf, and Steve Jackson Games.
In tabletop gaming circles he’s best known for the Dungeons & Dragons Young Adventurer’s Guide series for new players, the chaotic crossover Rick and Morty VS Dungeons & Dragons, and playing Minsc on the main stage game at D&D Live in 2019.
His current comic projects include Conan the Barbarian, the ongoing monthly adventures of Robert E. Howard’s legendary sword & sorcery hero and Fortune Finder, a new Planescape-themed D&D mini-series.