What “Legends” will be attending the Founders & Legends Convention in March 16-18, 2024 at the Grand Geneva? This page lists a few of the more than 20 Special Guests coming to join our salute to the roots of TTRPGs. Read the lore for all of our fantastic Legends below!
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.
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 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.
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.
Kelsey Dionne is a critically-acclaimed new and old-school TTRPG designer who founded The Arcane Library in 2017. Her modernized take on OSR gaming, Shadowdark RPG, launched on Kickstarter in 2023.
Visit The Arcane Library to find out more and explore her work at: https://www.thearcanelibrary.com/
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.
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.”
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.
Legends of Avantris
Legends of Avantris is a group of seven best friends who goof off and play roleplay-heavy D&D on stream every week, sharing their stories and funny moments on Twitch, YouTube, TikTok, and more to a community of hundreds of thousands of fans across the world. They are also the publisher of The Crooked Moon, a folk horror D&D supplement that broke the record for the biggest 5E Kickstarter campaign of all time in October 2023.
Four members of Avantris will be at Founders and Legends AND GaryCon, including: Richie Gilder, Mikey Gilder, Derek Hudson, and Andy Flynn.
Learn more about them and their work at: https://legendsofavantris.com/
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.
Erol Otus is an artist and game designer, best known for his work in the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role playing game. He was a member of TSR’s art department from 1979 to 1981. After TSR, Otus worked on computer games at several studios including MicroProse, Hasbro, and Toys For Bob/Activision; notable titles include Star Control 2 and the Skylanders franchise. He lives in Berkeley, CA, and continues to create artwork for RPGs.
Stefan Pokorny 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!
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.
James M. Ward
Jim Ward is a happily married family man with a wife of fifty plus years, three grown sons, and six grandchildren. He had twenty plus years working at TSR and rising in the ranks after starting off as the Inventory Controller and ending up as Vice President of Production. He is a famous game designer with credits like the first science fiction RPG in METAMORPHOSIS ALPHA and the first apocalyptic RPG in GAMMA WORLD. He has many other game credits and has designed games in seven types of game formats. He is most proud of the Troll Lord products of THE STORYTELLER’S THESARAUS and the STARSHIP WARDEN. He is also a novelist with best selling books: Vatican Gold, Pools of Darkness, and King’s Commission to name a few. He still loves to work every day on various game projects and plans on continuing that work ethic until “the lord says game over and takes me [him] to a new game.”
Bill Webb is a game designer who has worked primarily on role-playing games. He and Clark Peterson formed Necromancer Games in the spring of 2000 to publish role-playing materials using the impending d20 license. Webb is now a co-founder of Frog God Games, which focuses on adventures designed for Pathfinder and Swords & Wizardry. Webb created Frog God Games to do his own publications.
Visit Frog God Games to explore some of his work at: https://www.froggodgames.com/
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.
The following guest is unconfirmed, but is a possible addition to our Legends list:
- Joseph Goodman
Hotel rooms AT THE GRAND are available at special F&LC pricing!