2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017

Indie RPG "Humans of the Year"

The 2003 Indie RPG Human of the Year is NOT



Luke runs a huge session of his breakaway hit game Burning Wheel at GenCon


Luke runs around greeting people and planning his events at his hotel at GenCon at friggin' 8:00 AM.

The man is a not a human, people. This friendly gentleman writes and produces for hours every day, and not only works extensively on his own Burning Wheel game, he has helped others distribute their own games through ventures like the No Press Anthology (www.nopress.net). He responds generously to feedback and questions whenever asked online or off. At GenCon he somehow managed to run about 10 demo games over the course of 4 days for his own and others' games, all while remaining his usual, jovial upbeat self, all without the use of a caffiene IV or Mountain Dew drip. On top of that, he's been spending time organizing other Indie/Self Publishing efforts at conventions on the East Coast. We do not know if Luke is a machine, a force of nature, or an alien or whatever, but for all the energy and time that he spends working, we have come to the logical conclusion that he is definitely not human.

Therefore, Luke Crane will have to accept the Award of:

"2003 Indie Power of the Year"

It's the best we could do.

Why?: More massive effort toward promotion and play of independent games than anyone should actually spend.

Why?: He has championed the efforts of indie publishers by pushing and selling their wares at his own table at conventions. He has spearheaded the "No-Press" Anthology.

Why?: Luke not only promotes his own indie game, but also supports many other indie games at conventions across the East Coast. His efforts are a great boon to indie publishers.

Why?: I'm incredibly impressed with his passion. His Forge East project was a gauntlet thrown at fire-and-forget game publishing.

Why?: Luke has done a great job promoting a variety of games at conventions across the East Coast and his willingness to share information about his own business is a help to everyone.

Why?: He's done a lot of work toward getting small indie games out there in the form of the No Press RPG anthology, and revitalized a tired niche (fantasy RPGs) with his own game, Burning Wheel. Luke is solid and dependable.

Why?: Not merely for the excellence of his design for BURNING WHEEL, but for the professionalism of his production and the slow -- but significant -- dawning of his marketing savvy. I look for Luke to make a long-term mark on the field of RPG design.

Why?: Luke has been an inspiration in the indie feild. Not only is his energy and devotion to his product amazing, he is one of the ONLY people who cares enough to make it to conventions and help out other designers.

Why?: Luke is passionate about roleplaying games and getting them out to people. He's extremely creative, talented and (most important of all) he cares about your game as much as his own.

Why?: Luke supports indie designers like nobody else does providing a sales site at many conventions, and in general providing an infectious enthusiasm that helps propell others to success.

Why?: Burning Wheel is motherfucking everywhere. Luke is also working to compile the No Press Anthology, which will break ground for small-press publishers. Luke is a Godhammer of the Indie game movement.
Note: Jason L. Blair rocks, too.

Role Call: The List of Indie RPG Humans of the Year (in no particular order):

Matt Snyder

Why?: He compiled, edited and released Daedalus. The second issue of Daedalus is the only RPG magazine, in print or online, that I've ever read an issue of cover to cover. It's unfortunate that the project died, but what it produced before it died was as brilliant as a star.

Why?: Editor of the Daedalus e-zine, RPG designer (Dust Devils) and talented graphic artist. Matt has assisted in numerous indie games and should be thanked for his hard work and help.

Cynthia Celeste Miller

Why?: She is the sweetest, kindest, friendliest, most open and creative person I've ever met.

Why?: Although technically not an "indie" RPG designer this year, she has in the past done some phenominal work on the indie scene, and will likely do so again in the future outside of her freelance work and collaboration with Z-Man Games.

Phil Reed

Why?: Demonstrating on a regular basis how different styles of gaming creation all happily coexist under one hat.

Why?: The number of products he puts out and the success he has had at them is an inspiration and to many in the indie publishing business. He gives us all something to strive towards in terms of success and a business model.

Why?: Because he has left the main stream market to deal soley with pdf and the small POD runs. His company Ronin Arts are now putting out small indie games such as Motocaust and vs. Monsters that are fun and quick to learn.

Ron Edwards

Why?: Ron has done more to epitomize the Indie RPG scene than any other person. His continuing advocacy for the independent branch of the "industry" (in quotes, as he'd like it) highlights its best and its potential for even better.

Why?: Sorcerer, Elfs, Trollbabe, need I go on? Ron is constantly on the leading edge of interesting and thought-provoking RPG design.

Why?: Yeah, he won it last year, but like Lance Armstrong he still dominates. None of the rest of us can match the whole package of the Forge booth at GenCon; his insight, diagnosis, and prescriptions for dysfunctional play; and his relentless playtesting and feedback to prospective indie game designers.

Why?: For creating and moderating the Forge, a place where many game designers gain more in-depth knowledge about the hobby and gain exposure to different types of games.

Why?: He continues to explore the many layers of how and why we role-play. His 'papers' on the hobby should be mandatory reading for new designers.

Jay Libby

Why?: Jay convinced me to go into professional production and it was the vest decision I have made in some time. He also does work for charity and helps local artists get exposure.

Why?: Jason is an incredible human, he is the underdog designer who despite all the negative press he gets, keeps putting out quality work.

S. John Ross

Why?: A dark horse, I know, but he is living hte indy dream. He's pro-gone-indy, and cranks out consistently awesome products, both for pay and for free. He's the yardstick for indy success in my eyes.

Why?: For his enduring good attitude towards gamers, his polite yet determined presence in forums (fora?) and on boards, and the continuing pleasure I get from playing Risus.

Jason L Blair

Why?: Jason is great - he runs Key20 well, he's extremely creative, and he does a good job of staying out of industry politics to focus on what's important.

Why?: Jason has published some very nice material. I thoroughly enjoy reading his products. When at cons, his booth is manned by people who know the product, people who are nice, and people who are helpfull. It's nice to see the "little guys" doing what the big boys should be doing.

Paul Czege

Why?: Paul's game, My Life With Master, breaks the RPG mold, and Paul represents himself earnestly. He is an exemplar or the indie game designer and game publisher. Pauls is "doing it right."

Why?: Because, more than any other indie release in 2003, My Life With Master made me want to write new RPGs.

Why?: My Life with Master is a triumph of game design, introducing many new concepts into a crowded field whilst remaining playable. And it looks great! If that weren't enough Paul also designed a coupple of other RPGs this year.

Why?: Paul is the complete designer and a visionary in the field, as far as I'm concerned. His non-traditional approach to game design has brought the RPG, as an art form, to a new level.


Why?: He brought along My Life With Master _and_ his now legendary, self-made Indie-RPG-Display-Rack-Of-Doom to GenCon. 'Nuff said.

Why?: For continuing to push the boundaries of creativity and gaming when it comes to new concepts in rpgs.

Why?: My Life With Master takes the indie ethic and doesn't just run with it, it takes the gold. He's been doing this kind of design for years now, but this past year really crystallized it.

Mike Holmes

Why?: For his dedication to helping independent game designers on the Forge forums and in his own design. And also for inspiring people to get out there and design by hosting the Iron Game Chef competitions. This man should be bronzed.

Why?: Thought his work at the Forge and through the Indie Netgaming Yahooo group, Mike does a lot ot make sure indie games are published and played... and that these games don't suck or just repeat something that's gone before.

Andy Kitkowski

(Me? Huh.)

Why?: Andy is not only a fantastic guy, but he has made a huge impact with the Indie RPG Awards. Independent/small press designers now have something to aim for without having to compete against industry giants with massive budgets... and they all have Andy to thank for it.

Why?: "Speaker to Gamers", relentlessly good-natured advocate of the cause in an appealing and enjoyable way.

Why?: You know, he started that Indie RPG Awards thingy in 2003...

Why?: For providing the valuable service of actively building RPG community feeling.

Why?: For organizing the Indie game awards!

Samantha Downing

Why?: For getting the job done even when under the weather.

Why?: For being the backbone of Deep7, performing the duties of editor, layout artist, business director and designer, as well as a wife and mother of two - all while engaged in her own battle with cancer.

Todd Downing

Why?: More of a personal one - for being a continual mentor and guru in the pdf world, and for helping this young padawan make it in the world of rp design.

Steve Darlington

Why?: For his tireless work in raising the profile of indie games through popular RPGNet threads and popular RPGNet reviews!

Paul Tucker

Why?: Still the best damn game company manager the industry's ever seen.

Marco Chacon

Why?: He's given us a solid game and superb settings, all of professional quality, for free.

Jared Sorenson

Why?: The man is constantly coming up with cool, quirky games with intriguing mechanics. That's enough for me.

Matt Forbeck

Why?: Kept the Diana Jones Award alive

Mike Rennaker

Why?: He is my friend after knowing me for more than 10 years. I cannot imagine a greater sacrifice! ;)

Jay Carpio AKA Carpio Dregg

Why?: He did a fantastic job at ICON 23 this year. His work enabled both STUDiO187 and DGBGs crews to attend the Con this year along with many others. His work at the Con was incredible and unending.

Why?: He goes out of his way to do cons and organize games. He also wrote Basic Pulp. The guy has a big heart.

Jeremy McHugh

Why?: The single greatest freelance artist I have ever worked with. A damned friendly guy with a great attitude who always delivers more than he promises, even when he promises a lot.

Sandy Antunes

Why?: Because I'm a fanboy. Sue me.

Justin Dagna

Why?: Besides publishing his own game, He's made myself available to help many others get their own games going, by giving advice, promoting their products and sharing information like mailing lists and contacts.

Dan Bayn

Why?: Wushu has done more to raise the awareness of indie RPGs than anything else that I have ever been exposed too.

Chad UnderKoffler

Why?: Dead inside is a very close second to Wushu.

Nicole Lindross

Why?: for trying to give life and respectability to the Origins Awards.

Ann Dupius

Why?: for being an excellent example of a good peer and honest helpful publisher. she is always there for advise for newbies and very respected.

Otto Blix

Why?: The Studio 187 guy. More than willing to help out gamers.

Andrew Kenrick

Why?: For being one of the busiest designers last year, working on Red Dwarf, Promised Sands, and a host of d20 material, as well as re-launching his own publishing company and executing a really great licensed Arrowflight product, despite the pressures of his father's decline from cancer (a decline which would prove fatal this year). As a writer, he's on time and on word count, and never loses his sense of humor.

James Mathe

Why?: James runs RPGNow.com and RPGMall.com, along with numerous other online RPG sites. The above two, however, are two of the main sites that can put indie publishers on the map.