James M. Ward
|Born||May 23, 1951|
|Genre||Fantasy, role-playing game|
|Notable works||Deities & Demigods, Greyhawk Adventures, Pool of Radiance, Metamorphosis Alpha, Gamma World|
James M. Ward (born May 23, 1951) is an American game designer and fantasy author who worked for TSR, Inc. for more than 20 years.
Ward was one of the players in Gary Gygax's early Greyhawk games as Gygax developed the Dungeons & Dragons game.:24 The Dungeons & Dragons character Drawmij was named after him; "Drawmij" is simply "Jim Ward" spelled backwards. Rob Kuntz and Ward's Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes (1976) expanded the original D&D game by introducing gods.:8 Ward designed Metamorphosis Alpha (1976), which was the first science-fantasy role-playing game, and published as TSR's fourth role-playing game.:9 Ward co-authored Deities & Demigods (1980) .:382 In the early 1980s, Ward and Rose Estes formed an education department at TSR, intended to sell classroom modules to teachers.:14 Ward ran Kuntz's adventure "The Maze of Xaene" as the D&D tournament module at EastCon in 1983, although the module never saw print at TSR.:240 Ward wrote Greyhawk Adventures (1988), a hardcover volume that presented new rules for the Greyhawk setting.:19 Ward, with David Cook, Steve Winter, and Mike Breault, co-wrote the Ruins of Adventure adventure scenario that was adapted into the game Pool of Radiance.
In 1989 he was inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design Hall of Fame. When TSR produced a second edition of AD&D (1989), Ward instituted changes such as removing assassins and half-orcs from the game, explaining in Dragon #154 (February 1990) that "[a]voiding the Angry Mother Syndrome has become a good, basic guideline for all of the designers and editors at TSR, Inc"; Ward printed many upset readers' replies in Dragon #158.:23 Ward can be glimpsed early in the Dragon Strike tutorial video playing the man who is slapped in the face at the king's party. Ward designed the Spellfire collectible card game. Ward was eventually made the VP for Creative Services, but left TSR over disagreements about how the company's crisis involving book sales in 1996 was handled.:30
Ward designed the Dragon Ball Z Collectible Card Game. Ward founded the d20 company Fast Forward Entertainment with Timothy Brown, Lester Smith, John Danovich, and Sean Everett.:351 From 2000 - 2005, he was President of Fast Forward Entertainment, an independent game development company. Ward wrote Sete-Ka's Dream Quest (2006), an adventure gamebook published by Margaret Weis Productions.:353 He wrote the Halcyon Blithe novel Dragonfrigate Wizard (Tor, 2006), which he considered one of his better and prouder creations. Ward joined Troll Lord Games, writing books such as the Towers of Adventures (2008) boxed set and the Of Gods & Monsters (2009) supplement for Castles & Crusades; Ward also became the editor for Troll Lord's C&C magazine, The Crusader Journal.:382 Ward also wrote the horror fantasy game Tainted Lands (2009), based on C&C's "SIEGE" system.:382
In June 2021, Ernie Gygax with Jeff R. Leason created a new, separate TSR company. The company is based out of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin; they plan to release table top games and operate the Dungeon Hobby Shop Museum, which is located in the first office building of the original TSR. Other original TSR employees contributing to the startup include Ward and Larry Elmore.
James Ward married his wife Janean in the early 1970s, and they have three sons together, Breck, James, and Theon.
In 2010, Ward was diagnosed with a serious neurological disorder that required treatment at the Mayo Clinic. His friend Tim Kask has helped to establish a fund to help Ward offset some of the medical bills.