Steve Jackson has been playing games for over 40 years, and designing them since 1976. He graduated from Rice University, where a lot of his time went to wargames and the school paper (he spent two years as editor). Now he's a writer and game publisher, proving that college can be very valuable if you don't let classes get in your way.
His first published game was Ogre, released in 1977 by Metagaming. He designed and edited several other games for Metagaming before forming his own company in 1980. An early Steve Jackson Games release, Car Wars, became an instant hit, but not the last.
In 1983, Steve was elected to the Adventure Gaming Hall of Fame. He has received 12 Origins Awards, as well as several other honors, for game design.
In 1990 and 1991, Steve became the “poster child for electronic freedom” after the Secret Service's invasion of his office and confiscation of equipment and manuscripts. SJ Games filed suit against the Secret Service and the U.S. government, and won more than $50,000 in damages. Steve remains intermittently active with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in hopes of preventing further offenses against other computer users. You can read about it at www.sjgames.com/SS/
His current mega-hit is Munchkin, a very silly card game about killing monsters and taking their stuff. Also of note: Zombie Dice, a game where you are the zombies and you try to eat brains, and the upcoming Designer’s Edition of Ogre, which brought in nearly a million dollars on Kickstarter and is now six months late and counting. But he’s got samples here at Origins!
Steve is either a citizen of the Internet, or a Texan, depending on who’s asking. He prefers pirates to ninjas and Kahlua to hard stuff. Deal with it.
He is a longtime SF fan, and gets away to cons when he can. His other hobbies include gardening, dinosaurs, Lego, trains, Lego trains, and tropical fish. In his copious free time, he reads, eats, and sleeps.
Charles Urbach is a writer and artist with 20 years of work in design, publishing, and illustration. He began work in graphic design in 1991, just as the technology of design was moving away from traditional cut and paste techniques into digital technologies. While working nights for regional newspapers across New York State, he earned a bachelor's degree in fine arts illustration. By blending techniques learned in the academic and professional worlds, Charles developed a unique approach to artwork that combines the technology of digital image manipulation with traditional fine arts media and techniques. The result of those explorations is hand drawn artwork that is edited and enhanced digitally, taking full advantage of the effects and versatility afforded by technology, while remaining true to fine arts concerns.
His artwork, like the techniques employed in its making, is a blend of ancient and modern. His work explores fantasy, sci-fi, and surrealistic imagery by drawing on a rich tradition of spiritual, literary, and mythological sources. Like a traveler on a journey, his work ventures into varied territories, not resting for long in any specific genre or subject matter. Everything from humor and children’s illustration, to high fantasy and spiritual symbolism find their way into his work. As a result, his art is recognized for its varied subjects and dynamic, yet detailed visuals that appeal to many different audiences and age groups.
Projects Charles has worked on include miniatures concepts for WizKids, Inc., illustrations for Magic: The Gathering, illustrations for Alderac Entertainment's "Legend of the Five Rings," "Warlord," and "Infinite City," illustrations for Fantasy Flight Games' "Star Wars," "Call of Cthulhu," "Lord of the Rings," and "A Game of Thrones" LCGs, and illustrations for Sony Online Entertainment's "Legends of Norrath" and "Star Wars Galaxies" online games. Charles also illustrated three epic fantasy novels, "Battle Chasers," "Into the Dragon’s Maw," and "Mirror of Opposition," for author, T.S. Robinson. His work in gaming has won awards at Origins, Gen Con, and DragonCon, Marcon, and at regional conventions across the country.
Charles is a frequent guest at gaming tournaments world wide, and at conventions throughout the United States. He is an avid proponent of all forms of creative expression in gaming and fandom. He lives in rural Pennsylvania with his wife, Laura and their feline muses.
For more information on Charles and his artwork visit: www.charlesurbach.com or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/charles.urbach.
Patrick Rothfuss had the good fortune to be born in Wisconsin where long winters and lack of cable television brought about a love of reading and writing. His mother read to him as a child, and his father taught him to build things. If you are looking for the roots of his storytelling, look there.
Growing up, Pat didn't apply himself and failed to live up to his full potential. Despite the fact that he seemed to have no interest doing something productive with himself, Pat's parents continued to love him. They also were encouraging, but in a very general way, as he seemed to have no actual talents to speak of.
Having enjoyed the hard sciences in high school, Pat began college as a chemical engineer. He soon abandoned that, and decided to become a clinical psychologist. He eventually abandoned that as well, admitted he had no idea what he wanted to do with his life, and changed his major to Undeclared despite the fact that he had been in college for over three years.
Over the next six years Pat lived the life of an itinerant student, working three jobs and studying everything that interested him: philosophy, medieval history, eastern theater, anthropology, sociology.... After nine years as an undergraduate Pat was forced by university policy to finally complete his undergraduate degree.... in English.
While wandering through college, Pat learned he had a knack for writing. He wrote poetry for a local literary series, a satirical advice column for the local paper, and scripts for a radio comedy show. Two months before he graduated, Pat finally finished the project he had been working on for over seven years, a mammoth story centering around the life of a man named Kvothe.
After two excruciating years of grad school, Pat returned to teach at the University he had grown to love as a student. During this time his book was rejected by roughly every agent in the known universe. In 2002 a piece of Pat's novel, cleverly disguised as a short story, won first place in the Writers of the Future contest. Pat's story, The Road to Levinshir, was published in Volume 18 of their anthology, and they flew him out to their fabulous writers workshop in LA.
It was at that workshop that Pat met Kevin Anderson, who introduced him to his agent, Matt Bialer. Eventually Matt brought Pat in contact with his current, beloved editor, Betsy Wollheim, president of Daw Books.
And that's how the Name of the Wind came into existence.
Pat continues to live in central Wisconsin. He still lacks cable television, and the long winters force him to stay inside and write. He still teaches at the college he grew to love as a student, and acts as advisor for the College Feminists and the local Fencing Club. When not reading and writing, Pat wastes his time playing video games, holds symposia at his house, and dabbles with alchemy in his basement.
He loves the world and the characters he has created, and he loves that people are getting the chance to meet them. http://www.patrickrothfuss.com/content/author.asp
Steve Kenson - I work for Green Ronin Publishing, a game publisher based in Seattle. I designed the Mutants & Masterminds Superhero RPG and True20 Adventure Roleplaying, both based on the popular d20 System rules. I also do freelance RPG design work and writing, including stuff for Pathfinder and the Icons Superpowered Roleplaying game for Adamant Entertainment. I freelanced full-time in the RPG industry for a number of years (those interested in all the details can see my RPG page or my cover credits on Facebook). My partners and I run Copper Cauldron Publishing, an imprint for neo-pagan and New Age books, and I have Ad Infinitum Adventures to publish my own personal projects. http://stephen.kenson.home.comcast.net/~stephen.kenson/Steve_Kenson/Home.html
Steven S. Long has been involved in the gaming industry for over a dozen years, during which time he’s written, co-written, edited, or developed nearly 150 books. He got his start as a freelancer for Hero Games, writing Dark Champions, The Ultimate Martial Artist, Watchers Of The Dragon, and lots of other books and magazine articles. He soon branched out into working for other game companies, such as White Wolf Game Studios.
In 1997, Steve quit his job — he was a practicing trial lawyer — to try game writing and design full-time as a freelancer. Thanks to skill, determination, and luck, he soon had plenty of work. During this time he wrote for lots of companies, including White Wolf, Pinnacle Entertainment Group, and Last Unicorn Games. His work on Last Unicorn’s Star Trek RPG lines earned him a full-time job with the company as Deep Space Nine RPG Line Developer. He held that job for about fifteen months, until Wizards of the Coast bought LUG. He then became a Designer for WOTC, working on (among other things) the Wheel Of Time RPG.
After leaving WOTC in December 2000, Steve was hired by Decipher, Inc. to work on its new Star Trek and Lord Of The Rings RPGs. He contributed substantial portions of the two Trek core books, but spent most of 2001 writing nearly all of the LOTR RPG, for which he won his second Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Game of the year.
At GenCon 2001, Steve became part of DOJ, Inc., a company that was putting together an offer to buy Hero Games. After several months of fundraising, DOJ bought the Hero Games assets in December, 2001. Since then, Steve’s held his dream job: HERO System Line Developer. That means he’s the chief creative person — the guy in charge of planning, writing, editing, and developing manuscripts for publication — at Hero Games. In addition to doing a lot of writing and design himself (he writes a million or more words per year), he reviews proposals from hopeful writers, contracts freelancers to write books for Hero, drives Hero’s Art Director insane with last-minute changes to books, and things like that. Among the over 100 books Hero’s published under his tenure are the Fifth Edition rulebook (2002 and 2004) and the new Sixth Edition rulebook (2009). It’s a lot of work, since the company publishes up to a dozen books per year, but no one’s heard any complaints out of him.
Steve, who’s in his early 40s, holds down the Hero East office in scenic Greensboro, NC with the help of his cat Osiris. He’s a graduate of Duke University and Duke University School of Law (go Blue Devils!). During those rare moments when he’s not doing something related to gaming, his hobbies include origami, calligraphy, reading, and being a young curmudgeon.
You can reach Steve at SteveL@herogames.com.