Monte Cook on August 17, 2007 at the Gen Con Ennies awards show
January 29, 1968 |
Watertown, South Dakota, United States
|Occupation||Writer, game designer|
|Genres||Role-playing games, fantasy|
|Spouse(s)||Sue Weinlein (divorced)|
Monte Cook is an American professional table-top role-playing game designer and writer, best known for his work on Dungeons & Dragons. He was married to Sue Weinlein Cook, although they are now divorced.
Cook has been a professional game designer since 1988, working primarily on role-playing games. Much of his early work was for Iron Crown Enterprises as an editor and writer for the Rolemaster and Champions lines. Cook worked for Iron Crown Enterprises for four years; two as a freelancer and two as a full-time designer. During this period, he attracted fan and critical attention with the popular multi-genre setting Dark Space.
Cook began working for TSR in 1992 as a freelancer, "writing a whole slew of stuff for the old Marvel game that never came out because the game got canceled". In 1994 Cook came to work at TSR as a game designer. Cook designed Dungeons & Dragons modules such as Labyrinth of Madness (1995) and A Paladin in Hell (1998), and dozens of supplements to the Planescape line including The Planewalker's Handbook (1996) and Dead Gods (1998). Cook also designed the conspiracy game Dark•Matter (1999). After TSR was purchased by Wizards of the Coast, Cook became a Senior Designer, and was part of the team working on the D&D game's third edition. Cook, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams all contributed to the 3rd edition Players Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual, and then each designer wrote one of the books based on those contributions. Cook was proud of the work he did on the new Dungeon Master's Guide, especially after Gary Gygax gave his comments to the team as feedback on the book: "He said that the material in the new DMG would help him become a better DM... That was really cool–and satisfying in a 'completion of the circle' sort of way." Cook said in 2000 of his involvement with Wizards of the Coast and Dungeons & Dragons, "It's a great time to be working here... because every product is big, important, and innovative." Cook also worked on Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, and the d20 Call of Cthulhu (February 2002).
Cook left Wizards of the Coast in 2001 and started Malhavoc Press to write material for the d20 System independently. Malhavoc's first product, The Book of Eldritch Might, was an immediate success and is widely credited with demonstrating the viability of PDF publishing within the role-playing industry. This and other early Malhavoc products were initially released only in electronic format, though print versions of most of them have since been released by White Wolf, Inc. His most notable work under the Malhavoc banner is probably Arcana Unearthed, a product he describes as a "variant Player's Handbook".
He caused controversy in mid-2004 by exclusively selling his electronic d20 material with the DriveThruRPG.com store, which then used only a proprietary digital rights management-encrypted PDF system. He eventually succumbed to pressure from his customers to sell his products in standard-PDF form, and DriveThruRPG has more recently done the same.
Cook returned to Wizards of the Coast in 2011. On September 20, 2011, Mike Mearls announced that Cook would be taking over his "Legends & Lore" column for the Wizards of the Coast website. In January 2012, it was revealed that Cook was to be the lead designer for the next edition of Dungeons & Dragons. In April 2012, Cook announced his departure from Wizards of the Coast due to "differences of opinion with the company" but not "with [his] fellow designers". His departure came as a surprise to Mike Mearls, whom he was working with initially on the D&D project.
Cook graduated from the 1999 Clarion West writer's workshop, and has published the novels The Glass Prison and Of Aged Angels. He has also published short stories like "Born in Secrets" (in Amazing Stories), "The Rose Window" (in Realms of Mystery), and "A Narrowed Gaze" (in Realms of the Arcane). He also writes a continuing Call of Cthulhu fiction series, "The Shandler Chronicles," in Game Trade Magazine.
In the non-fiction genre, Cook has written The Skeptic's Guide to Conspiracies.
Malhavoc released Ptolus, a campaign setting based on Monte Cook's home game which was used as the playtest campaign for the third edition D&D designers, in August 2006.
Further material from Malhavoc
Shortly after the release of Ptolus, which Cook has often described as the culmination of his original ambitions for Malhavoc, he announced that he would be focusing on writing fiction and other forms of creative work he has not yet specified, rather than role-playing games, for the foreseeable future. White Wolf and Goodman Games announced his final RPG books. Monte Cook's World of Darkness, his own take on White Wolf's modern horror setting, was released at Gen Con 2007. From Goodman Games is Dungeon Crawl Classics: #50, "Vault of the Iron Overlord", which was also targeted for the same Gen Con release.
However, due to demand by fans reading his livejournal and posting their desires on the Malhavoc message boards, Monte Cook released one more RPG product in early 2008, The Book of Experimental Might. This was quickly followed by The Book of Experimental Might II: Bloody, Bold and Resolute.
Numenera is a Kickstarter-funded table-top RPG created by Cook, set a billion years in the future in a science fantasy and post-apocalyptic setting with streamlined rules that prioritize the story, the action, and the wild ideas. It raised over $500,000 dollars (more than 25 times its goal of $20,000). System playtesting started in November 2012, and it is scheduled for release in 2013.
Numenera will also be the setting for a 2013 release of the Thunderstone Advance deck-building game by Alderac Entertainment Group, as well as the video game Torment: Tides of Numenera which is being developed by inXile Entertainment.
- Pen & Paper listing
- "Profiles: Monte Cook". Dragon (Renton, Washington: Wizards of the Coast) (#275): 10, 12, 14. September 2000.
- "Monte Cook". Archived from the original on Feb 24, 2009.
- Appelcline, Shannon (2006-11-21), A Brief History of Game #8, RPGnet, retrieved 2013-03-13
- Mike Mearls (2011-09-20). "Dungeons & Dragons Roleplaying Game Official Home Page - Article (DM Rules and Exciting News)". Wizards.com. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
- "The Wizards Community > DnD Next > Blog > Welcome to the Group". Community.wizards.com. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
- Monte Cook (montecook) wrote, 2012-04-25 12:30:00 (2012-04-25). "montecook: Change of Plans". Montecook.livejournal.com. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
- Mike Mearls (April 25, 2012). "News on D&D Next".
- Cook, Monte (2009). The Skeptic's Guide to Conspiracies. Avon, Massachusetts: Adams Media. ISBN 9781605501130. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- [dead link]
- [dead link]
- by Template:Creator.name (2012-08-09). "Numenera: A new roleplaying game from Monte Cook by Monte Cook — Kickstarter". Kickstarter.com. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
- by Template:Creator.name (2013-03-06). "Torment: Tides of Numenera by inXile entertainment — Kickstarter". Kickstarter.com. Retrieved 2013-04-30.
- Official site
- Numenera's Official Site
- Flames Rising interview
- Monte Cook at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database