Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Discussion: Who Are Your Favorite RPG Authors?

It has been a rough week in our hobby. From the confusion and flames of WotC's PDFgate to the passing of one of our Founding Fathers in Dave Arneson, we've all seen happier days, that's for sure.

Well, it's Friday, and with the weekend approaching, we can perhaps put all that on hold and engage in a little friendly gamer discussion. Nothing too heavy or serious, just another Friday at RPG Blog 2 talking about the hobby we love.

This week's topic takes in mind how fortunate we are to have so many artists and creators in this hobby:

Who Are Your Favorite RPG Authors and Writers?

From Gygax to Mona to the small press guy next door, whose work do you/did you look forward to? Who deserves more credit? Who would you like to see more from?

Have a great weekend and good gaming, no matter what system gets you your fix! Oh, and Happy Easter!


Phil Menard said...

I would say definitively that Chatty DM guy... oh wait, you mean other than us?

That would be Mike Mearls, Rich Baker and Monte Cook for me. These guys see RPGs pretty much the way I do.

Plus they be cool people too.

Mark Gedak said...

I don't think i have a favourite Rpg author right now. In the past I would have said Bruce Cordell, but he doesn't write for my game anymore. I'm picking up some companies by content theme automatically though...

Paizo - Pathfinder Stuff
Dreamscarred - Any Psionic Stuff
Radiance House - Any Pact Magic
oh! wait...duh

Wolfgang Baur is an obvious choice from Kobold Quarterly to Open Design.

Jeff Rients said...

S. John Ross and James Mishler are the two names that immediately spring to mind as folks currently putting out excellent stuff.

Questing GM said...

Ed Greenwood and any of the FR authors who are not working for Wizards anymore.

Zachary The First said...

@Jeff: We’re simpatico there. James Mishler and S. John are both big in my book. I’d also add the small-press triumvirate of Brett Bernstein, Bill Corrie, and clash bowley, who all write games I want to play.

Others would have to be Atomic Sock Monkey’s ChadU, Jolly Blackburn and crew, and Erik Mona and the folks doing the Pathfinder series.

And, of course, Uncle Gary and Marc Miller, who wrote much of the work that formed a lot of my early experiences. Bill Coffin, too.

Whew! Once I get going, it’s hard to quit!

DNAphil said...

For mechanics...I love Mike Mearls. I think that his ideas on d20 based games, be it in Iron Heroes or 4e have been innovating and exciting.

I have to give some props to Monte Cook, as I enjoy his writing overall.

Also Luke Crane gets my appreciation. I loved reading Burning Wheel and Burning Empires. His use of the 3 voices to provide commentary on the rules text, makes reading his rules quite enjoyable.

trollsmyth said...

I've completely lost track of him, but there was a time when I was a big fan of Colin McComb's work.

JimLotFP said...

Gygax, Mentzer, Moldvay, and Dave Cool for his AD&D + X4/5 stuff.

Nobody since the 80s has made me a fan. I might like something here or there, but if I like one thing by a particular author, it seems I'm just as likely to hate the next thing they do.

linnaeus said...

Rob Donoghue of Evil Hat and One Bad Egg would be my number one, with Fred Hicks and Chad Underkoffler fitting in there somewhere too. Also, Mike Mearls.

Also, I need to give a shout out to Seth Ben Ezra of Dark Omen Games. I'm biased, since I edit his games for him, but I edit his games for him because I loved Dirty Secrets soooooo much.

Mike said...

Len Lakofka.

"The Secret of Bone Hill" and "The Assassin's Knot" are underrated masterpieces of adventure writing.

Tom Moldvay's stuff was genius as well.

Gleichman said...

Interestingly enough, I can't put any name down for this.

Likely for the same reason I couldn't vote in your best RPGs thing (although the problem there was listing 10, I could list one or two...).

I just don't think any of them are that good. The original authors of Champions would be ok, but I think they've done all the good that they could do (proven by the first edition of Fantasy Hero in my mind)

So put me down as none. All I have is authors I wouldn't consider. No one can sell me anything just with their name.

MountZionRyan said...

As much I love certain games, none really stick out for excellent writing (although I can think of some example of the bad stuff).
That said, I'll name Rebecca Bogstrom aka Jenna Moran for Weapons of the Gods.

Stephen said...

Two names spring to mind: Aaron Allston and Jeff Grubb.

Allston has written a variety of supplements for the HERO System, AD&D, the D&D Cyclopedia and others, although today he's best known as a fiction author; he's written a slew of Star Wars books.

Aaron Allston's Strike Force is my favourite all-time supplement for any game. It's got some invaluable advice for GMs - specifically for superhero games, but it's applicable to other games as well.

Jeff Grubb, on the other hand, wrote Marvel Super Heroes, and for that I put him on my all-time pantheon of great writers/designers.

I really like Greg Costikyan's work too. I'm not 100 percent sure but I'm fairly sure he takes credit on games like Ghostbusters and Toon.

I would probably say I've got a soft spot for whoever wrote the D&D BECMI series too; I guess that'd be Frank Mentzer?

MJ Harnish said...

I have a lot but the most influential authors for me are: Robin Laws, Vincent Baker, Fred Hicks, and Jason Morningstar (who comes up with some of the wildest games I've ever seen).

Mad Brew said...

Stephen Kenson: Designer of M&M

Matt Wilson: The creator & artist behind Iron Kingdoms (and Warmachine/Hordes).

Shane Lacy Hensley: Deadlands & Savage Worlds

Gary Gygax
Eric Mona
David Cook
Mark Rein•Hagen
Wolfgang Bauer
Jonathan Tweet
Monte Cook

Consonant Dude said...

Top of the list for me is Jonathan Tweet. I'd buy roleplaying games from him sight unseen.

Others I have really enjoyed, whether it's for the writing style, the mechanics or just cool concepts include:

Aaron Allston
Gary Gygax
David Pulver
John Tynes
Chad Underkuffler
James Wallis

Robert Saint John said...

S. John Ross, James Maliszewski and Richard Iorio II (Rogue Games), Greg Costikyan, Steve Jackson, Guy McLimore and Greg Poehlein (FASA Trek) and Sandy Petersen.

Consonant Dude said...

Sorry, forgot an important name: Greg Porter.

I wish he had more projects going.

Zachary The First said...

Rich and Jamie Mal for Rogue Games did a tremendous job with Thousand Suns. I'd definitely tack them on there.

HinterWelt said...

Clash is my designer of choice. I do not follow designers very closely. I have hundreds of games and I would be hard pressed to name more than a handful of designers.

I have such high respect for Clash because of his clear writing and self balancing systems. He also has a knack for seeing a an old mechanic in new and interesting ways. He also is not shy about helping a brother out. All around a class act and good solid systems design.

Now, Brett I love his designs but I was always, from the first time I saw one of his books, impressed with his graphic designs and layout. Not just clean but really beautiful to behold.

Those are the two at the top of my list. I imagine there are more famous designers but, like I said, I seldom follow such things.

Mr Baron said...

Let me throw out my thoughts:

Gary G has to get a special mention.

To list out some of the newer writers:

1) Monte
2) W. D. B. Kenower
2) Ari
3) Greg Vaughan
4) Rich Pett
5) Nick Logue

MountZionRyan said...

Interstingly, two of the bad examples of writing I would cite have been named by others as favorite RPG authors. Funny.

Underminer said...

Hmmmm, other than the obvious ones, Gygax, Arneson, I'd add M.A.R. Barker, Mark Miller, Ed Simbalist and the whole FGU crowd, Sandy Peterson and Steven Long.

Scott said...

I would add my vote for Jeff Grubb and throw in another name no one else has mentioned -- Allen Varney.