James M. Ward (born May 23, 1951) is an American game designer and fantasy author from Wisconsin. He began writing and designing games in 1974. He is known for working at TSR for more than 20 years. At TSR he was the their licensing director and "world builder". He is credited with creating the first science fiction role-playing game Metamorphosis Alpha and the first post-apocalyptic role-playing game the award-winning Gamma World. The Dungeons & Dragons character Drawmij was named after him by using the letters of his name spelled backwards. When Gary Gygax left TSR in the 1990s, he became the director of creative development for about ten years. He's also written for companies such as Marvel, DC Comics, Random House, Del Rey, Bantam, and Western Publishing. From around 2001 until 2005, he was president of Fast Forward Entertainment, an independent game development company.
He was one of the four people to speak at Gary Gygax's funeral, saying that he met Gary Gygax in a bookstore when the two of them ended up picking up the same exact seven historical books. After a game of Dungeons & Dragons, Ward told Gygax that there should be a science fiction version whereupon Gary said, "Well, why don't you write it, Jim?" This is how the game Metamorphosis Alpha was created.
- In 1989, he was inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design Hall of Fame.
We're hoping you can help
Jim Ward, author or co-author of the following games: Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes (The 4th Supp. to D&D), Metamorphosis Alpha (The first sci-fi RPG, for TSR), Gamma World (post-apocalyptic RPG, for TSR), Dragon Lairds (a boardgame with Tom Wham), Spellfire and Dragon Ball Z (CCGs), as well as more than a dozen other games and game-aids, former editor of Crusader Magazine for Troll Lord Games, one of the original players in the original Greyhawk campaign, author of The Pool of Radiance and Halcyon Blaithe-Midship Wizard and just all around nice guy and creative madman, is ill. Very ill. He has had to cancel appearances at several cons to which he was invited since last spring.
He has been diagnosed, at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, with a serious neurological disorder. The gaming world came close to saying goodbye to yet another of the pioneers of RPGing several months ago. The experts say that Jim's condition is treatable and manageable, but will remain very serious forever.
Jim is very, very slowly recovering; every day is a new skirmmish with the disorder. He still suffers from acute bouts of dizziness and a pervasive lassitude due to bodily energy issues.
While Jim and his family are fortunate to have some health insurance, the co-pays are mounting at an alarming rate, having hit five digits some while ago and showing no signs of abating any time soon.
While we can't make Jim well, perhaps we can alleviate some of his financial worries and remove some of the burden from his family. I hope you can help my friend of 35 years in his most low-down time.
former TSR, founding editor of Dragon and Adventure Gaming magazines, Jim's friend
Partial source: Wikipedia, "Drawmij", available under the CC-BY-SA License.