Being old is a problem when writing things like this because old people have done a lot more than young ones. I was born on May 23, 1951; the same year as the release of the fabulous movie FORBIDDEN PLANET. I was lucky enough to marry my high school sweet heart Janean M. Bray in 1973 and we had three fine sons: Breck, Jim, and Theon. In turn they have given me five marvelous grandchildren: Keely, Miriam, Sophia, James Preston, and Teagan.
In 1974 I was lucky again and met E. Gary Gygax and he taught me how to play D&D on the porch of his house in that summer. I made the suggestion that he should do a science fiction version of the game and he was nice enough to say, “Jim I’m too busy right now, why don’t you give it a try.” He didn’t know I could write, but he’d played D&D with me enough to know I was creative. That was the beginning of my successful design career as I put together METAMORPHOSIS ALPHA the first science fiction role-playing game. From there I designed GODS, DEMI-GODS, & HEROES, and lots of other things. In 1980 I started working full time for TSR for the amazing salary of $13,700 dollars. I loved working for TSR and thought I wanted to be there for the rest of my life. In 1984 I was laid off with 55 other TSR employees in the third of five nasty purges that eventually took the company from about 386 people to 86 people.
In 1986 after I had written quite a few products for royalties, TSR wisely decided it would be cheaper to hire me back again. I quickly rose to the Vice President of Product and helped the company have its best year in 1996. I was asked by the then president of the company to fire 30 of my editors and designers and I refused as the president wanted her company books to look better and it had nothing to do with the working ethics of those 30. I left TSR and never looked back. My poor hard working wife had to deal with me going from making a great salary to no salary for awhile.
I worked for lots of different companies after that and did many varied types of design including: DRAGON BALL Z collectible card game, helped with the Tomb Raider, Wheel of Time, and Babylon 5 collectible card games, worked on the JEWELED CHALK product line, a Star Wars computer game, and recently OF GODS AND MONSTERS and TAINTED LANDS products from Troll Lords.
That takes me right up to joining the Eldritch Enterprises group with three old friends. I’m happily designing role-playing product with science fiction, horror, and fantasy elements. At the time of this writing the company just came out with HEROES & MAGIC, a short story anthology.
It’s my hope to do lots more design work in the time I have left on this Earth.