|Occupation||Writer, game designer|
Michael Mearls is a writer and designer of fantasy role-playing games (RPGs) and related fiction. He was the senior manager for the Dungeons & Dragons research and design team. He co-led design for the 5th edition of the game. He also worked on the Castle Ravenloft board game, and various compendium books for 3rd, 4th, and 5th editions Dungeons & Dragons.
Mearls is an alumnus of Dartmouth College. While at Dartmouth he was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity, and became known for a satiric letter to the campus paper.
Mearls wrote the adventure To Stand on Hallowed Ground/Swords Against Deception (2001) for Fiery Dragon Productions:226 and the last product from Hogshead Publishing, a Warhammer adventure titled Fear the Worst (2002) that Hogshead released for free on the internet.:307 He also designed the game Iron Heroes (2005) for Malhavoc Press.:226
In June 2005, Mearls was hired as a designer by Wizards of the Coast; he came to Wizards through the community of third-party d20 designers.:301 At Wizards, he served as a lead developer for Dungeons & Dragons R&D working on the new 4th Edition. Between the "Orcus I" and "Orcus II" design phases for fourth edition, Mearls spliced the encounter-power mechanics of fourth edition into Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords (2006), which was in process during development of the new edition.:298
Along with Andy Collins, David Noonan, and Jesse Decker, Mearls was part of Rob Heinsoo's "Flywheel" design team for the fourth edition of Dungeons & Dragons, and did the final concept work from May 2006 to September 2006, before the first books for the edition were written and playtested.:297 After Heinsoo was laid off in 2009, Mearls stepped up to become the new D&D Lead Designer.:301 He co-designed the Castle Ravenloft Board Game (2010) with Bill Slavicsek.:302
In 2014, Mearls was a senior manager for Dungeons & Dragons research and development. Mearls was, together with Jeremy Crawford, Co-Lead Designer for the Fifth Edition of Dungeons & Dragons.  By 2018, Mearls had become the franchise's Creative Director. He left the Wizards of the Coast tabletop RPG team in 2019 and was replaced by Ray Winninger as the Executive Producer in charge of the Dungeons & Dragons studio in 2020.