Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Greatest Living RPG Designer?

There was an interesting topic the other day on Mos Eisley asking who is the best living game (presumably RPG) designer.

That's a tough one. I would probably say someone, change my mind 500 times, and accidentally leave out/forget someone brilliant.

Some of the interesting names brought up in that discussion, listed here only as food for thought:

-Greg Stafford
-clash bowley
-Jonathan Tweet
-S. John Ross
-Zeb Cook
-Kevin Siembieda
-Monte Cook
-Luke Crane

Of course, I had to add one that was an egregious oversight: Marc W. Miller.

This is the sort of thing that could be debated all day and night, with no clear resolution.


DNAphil said...

I like your list, my first thoughts were of Monte and Luke Crane. I think that I would also add Mike Mearls to that list, as I am a fan of both Iron Heroes and D&D 4e (Iron Heroes 2.0).

Very recently I have become a fan of John Wick, I have not read enough of his work to place him on the list, but I am finding myself to be aligned with much of his philosophy.

Matt Finch said...

Marc Miller.
Then Steve Jackson.
But the Shane guy who wrote Deadlands should be in there, too.

lige said...

Ken St. Andre could be added to the list as well.

Free Dice said...

I think we should mention Steve Long.

Zachary The First said...

No arguments with any of these mentions. Remember, too, it wasn't my list, just a compilation from theRPGsite.

Alan said...

Robin Laws deserves a mention as well, IMHO. Feng Shui is still one of my favorite rpgs.

lessthanpleased said...

Greg Stoltze is the bee's knees. Unknown Armies (written with John Tynes) is the game I love the most, and Reign is pretty awesome, too.

clash bowley said...


Please take it off! That's an insult to some truly great designers! Seriously!

Now I have to go to the RPGSite and ask there.

clash bowley said...

OK - I left a message at RPGSite and feel a bit better about it. I thanked those people who mentioned me for their intended compliment, but I still feel weird and twitchy about the whole thing.

Apologies, Zachary! I didn't mean to bite your head off! It was just the shock and horror talking!


Zachary The First said...'s fine, clash, just fine. You're one of my favorite designers, but I was just listing the ones from theRPGsite.

Personally, I’d just take the intended compliment! They dig you! ;)

Like I said, it's the sort of topic that really could rage on for years without resolution. :)

Jon McNally said...

First two in my mind are Greg Costikyan and S. John Ross.

clash bowley said...

Hi Zachary!

The thing I felt was "How could I be above them, or even on a level, when I look up to them? The world would literally have to be upside down for that to happen."

There was no anger in my reaction, just extreme, gut-churning, bowel-clenching fear, like some people experience when they are up too high.


Zachary The First said...

Back in the early aughts, thats the way I felt trading ideas and talking about gameplay with Kevin Siembieda. Even just exchanging ideas with him, and later Erick Wujcik, made me a little nervous at the time.

Christian Lindke said...

Greg Gorden -- Designed the systems for the following games.

1) DC Heroes
2) James Bond 007 RPG
3) Deadlands
5) Brave New World (modified version of Deadlands system)
6) Earthdawn
7) Star Wars d6

Harald said...

I just need to mention Mark Rein•Hagen. Regardless of what one thinks about V:tM, or the World of Darkness, his impact on the industry is undesputable.

Elton said...

Pete Fenlon and Coleman Charlton are still alive. They designed Rolemaster.