My RPG History Books
This is Free Trader Beowulf
Mongoose Publishing: 2024

A system history of Traveller, beginning with the game’s influences and continuing through all the major publishers: GDW, DGP, Imperium, QLI, Steve Jackson Games, ComStar, and finally Mongoose. Heavily illustrated with covers, interior artwork, and new pieces. Also includes maps depicting the many Traveller adventures.
Buy at DTRPG (PDF)
Buy at Mongoose (Book or PDF)
Author’s Notes (blog)
The Science Fiction in Traveller
Far Future: 2016

From 2009-2011 I wrote a series of 23 articles reviewing Traveller fiction. Some of the reviews covered inspirational fiction that influenced Traveller while others discussed official fiction set in Charted Space. Marc Miller asked if he could make them into a book overviewing Traveller fiction, and I agreed. Five more reviews and a few appendices closed out the volume at the time.

Since 2022, I’ve begun writing new reviews for a second edition.
Buy at Amazon (Kindle or POD)
Buy at DTRPG (PDF or POD)
Original Reviews (rpgnet)
Designers & Dragons 2e
Evil Hat: 2014

The second and edition of my history of the RPG industry. It was expanded to 535,000 words and covered about 100 companies. It was also divided into four books that cover companies that began work in the industry in the '70s, '80s, '90s, and '00s.

The hardcopy versions of these books are now largely out of print, but they remain available as PDFs or PODs from DTRPG.
Buy at DTRPG (PDFs)
Buy at DTRPG (PODs)
Previewing Designers & Dragons 2e (blog)
Designers & Dragons 1e
Mongoose Publishing: 2011

My original history of the roleplaying industry, covering 60 different companies. This book was in process for somewhere in excess of 5 years and it took obsessive work over two different time periods to get it done. The book kicks off in 1974, with the printing of Dungeons & Dragons, but also traces wargaming, PBM, and other trends backward. It continues on to the modern day (circa spring of 2011) with the downfall of 4e and the continued influence of indy games on the hobby. My biggest book ever at about 360,000 words.
Buy at Used Book Marketplaces


Article Index (blog)
Interview with Michael Tresca (archive)
Introduction to Designers & Dragons (blog)
๐Ÿ“š More information on roleplaying history appears in the Designers & Dragons blog. ๐Ÿ“š

My Game Design Books
Meeples Together
Gameplaywright: 2019

Meeples Together is a book about the design of cooperative boardgames that was a collaboration between myself and Christopher Allen. I think it’s a fine, if niche, book looking at the many possibilities for co-op game design, but it’s also intended as the first book in a series on 'collaborative choice' that looks at many different sorts of design.

Out-of-print for the moment as Gameplaywright has handed rights back to Chris. There will be an updated version.
Buy at Amazon (used)
Buy at DTRPG (PDF)
Meeples Together (blog)
Gameplaywright Page (info)
My Major RPG Work
Elfs: A Guide to the Aldryami
Mongoose Publishing: 2007

I worked on and off for a decade writing short bits about the Aldryami in Glorantha, with the intention of ultimately writing an ElfPack. I’ve now written three books for three different game systems and three different publishers, but this is the only one published to date: a book on elfs for Mongoose’s RuneQuest game.

After I wrote it, I regularly contributed supplementary articles to Signs & Portents.
Tales of Chivalry & Romance
Green Knight Publishing: 1999

I edited a weekly online fanzine for Chaosium games for several years called the Chaosium Digest. There I published lots of great content that I thought deserved wider publication. That included a number of Pendragon adventures that were originally planned as one book called Tales of Valor from Chaosium but instead ended up being two books from Green Knight. (I just had to do some quick editing work, slightly changing the organization to divide things up.) 'The Golden Rose' in this volume is my own work.
Tales of Magic & Miracles
Green Knight Publishing: 1999

This is the companion to Tales of Chivalry & Romance. Besides contributing my initial vision and my editing, I also wrote numerous short adventure ideas, some topical sidebars, and two full adventures for this volume, 'The Deceitful Faerie' and 'The Holy Sword'. I liked 'The Holy Sword' the best because it drove my players to distraction when I ran it for them
Nephlim Gamemaster's Companion
Chaosium: 1996

This was another Chaosium book that I edited based largely on content from Chaosium Digest writers (plus a few Chaosium regulars). It contains a pretty scattered collection of material, but I suppose that wasn't too unusual for Chaosium's 'Companions' -- which were more common in earlier years. I mostly wrote in this book to fill in the gaps, including outlining a setup for a Nephilim campaign with my friend Eric Rowe. Sadly, the product line was already doomed, because this sort of material hadn't been out there at release.
Taint of Madness
Chaosium: 1995

This was my first work for Chaosium, which I co-authored with Eric Rowe (who I worked with closely) and Michael Tice (who I didn't), all under the editorial eye of Lynn Willis. I wrote 'Insanity, Society & the Law' section, which took some heavy research at the UC Berkeley libraries. Eric and I together wrote the three asylums (Bethlem, Arkham, Bellevue), though I can't remember who wrote what any more. Many of our gaming friends show up in the asylums.
The Broken Council Guidebook
Self-published: 1995, 1997

After attending RQ-Con I, my friend Eric Rowe and I decided to run a second incarnation of the convention. Besides running the convention (really, Eric mostly ran it), we also decided to create a LARP (alongside another friend, Stephen Martin). This Guidebook was the background for the LARP, detailing First Age Glorantha in pretty extensive detail, with lots of help from Greg Stafford. Within the Guidebook I coauthored the History of the First Age with Stephen and wrote about 14 pages detailing all the lands of First Age Genertela. This is a rarity and unlikely to ever be back in print.
Tribunals of Hermes: Rome
White Wolf: 1993

This was my first published book. It's background for the Roman Tribunal in Ars Magica's Mythic Europe, coauthored by myself and friend Chris Frerking, largely inspired by a Ars Magica campaign set in the area. At the time, White Wolf had just taken over Ars Magica and they were 'darkening' it. Thus, when editor Ken Cliffe received the book, he sent it back with a note saying (essentially) 'add more demons'. I did. Reviewers then said it had too many demons. Redcap and Mythic Perspectives articles slightly expand the content.