Robin Laws

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Robin Laws
Born October 14, 1964
Orillia, Ontario, Canada
Occupation Writer, game designer
Nationality Canadian
Genres Role-playing games

Robin D. Laws (born October 14, 1964 in Orillia, Ontario, Canada)[1] is a writer and game designer who lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is the author of a number of novels and role-playing games as well as an anthologist.


Robin D. Laws designed the collectable card game Shadowfist, as well as the role-playing game (RPG) Feng Shui, originally published by Daedalus Entertainment in 1996 and later published by Atlas Games, as well as supplements for Feng Shui.[2] Laws also designed the Rune RPG for Atlas Games, based on the computer game Rune, for which he determined that "the game would need to have a big point of difference to distinguish it from the many other fantasy games available"; in this case, the game would allow players to swap roles with the Game Master (GM): "You can win! And when you're not the GM, it's not boring because the GM can win!"[2] Laws was the senior designer for the Dying Earth Roleplaying Game based on the Jack Vance stories in the Dying Earth setting, and a sourcebook for the setting titled White-Walled Kaiin.[2] Laws also had stories published in Synister Creative's pulp magazine, and in the fiction anthology The Book of All Flesh for the All Flesh Must Be Eaten RPG: "The first is a light-hearted adventure, and the other is really, really dark".[2]

Laws is also known for design work on Over the Edge (with Jonathan Tweet), Hero Wars, GUMSHOE System and Dungeons & Dragons supplements such as Fiendish Codex II: Tyrants of the Nine Hells and Dungeon Master's Guide II. He has also authored or contributed to dozens of supplements for other RPGs, worked as co-designer on the Shadowfist collectible card game, contributed to the King of Dragon Pass computer game, and written several novels, among them Pierced Heart and The Rough and the Smooth. He is currently working on a new version of HeroQuest as well as products for 4th Edition of D&D called Raiders Guild. He writes an irregular advice column for role-players called See Page XX.

Since 2006, several games have been produced using Laws' GUMSHOE System. Laws has written four of these, including the original GUMSHOE game Esoterrorists as well as Fear Itself, Mutant City Blues and Ashen Stars.

In 2012, Laws ran a Kickstarter for his Dramasystem game Hillfolk. The goal was $3,000, but raised over $93,000.[3]


Robin Laws is frequently invited to be a guest speaker at conventions around the world, having made appearances at Gen Con Australia[4] and Ropecon[5][6] in Finland.

Laws attends Gen Con Indy and the Toronto International Film Festival every year. He has stated that he often cannot attend Fan Expo Canada because that convention often takes place too soon after Gen Con and too soon before TIFF, but he likes to attend it whenever he can. He was Fan Expo's gaming guest of honor in 2005 and 2010.[7]

Since 2010, Laws has been a regular guest a Dragonmeet in London as a guest of Pelgrane Press.[citation needed]


A partial bibliography of the work of Robin D Laws:

Role-playing games and supplements[edit]

  • For Dungeons and Dragons
    • Dungeon Master's Guide II
  • Feng Shui: Action Movie Roleplaying
    • Four Bastards
    • Burning Shaolin
  • Hero Wars
    • Thunder Rebels (et al.)
  • Glorantha: the Second Age (for Runequest)
  • The Esoterrorists
    • The Esoterror Factbook
  • Fear Itself
  • Stunning Eldritch Tales for Trail of Cthulhu
  • Mutant City Blues
    • Hard Helix
  • Jack Vance's The Dying Earth Roleplaying Game
    • Kaiin Player's Guide
    • Turjan's Tome of Beauty and Horror (with Ian Thompson)
    • Cugel's Compendium of Indispensable Advantages (et al.)
  • Robin's Laws of Good Gamemastering (ISBN 1-55634-629-8)
  • Pantheon and Other Roleplaying Games
  • GURPS Fantasy 2: Adventures in the Mad Lands
  • Rune
  • Heart of Chaos (Doomstones Campaign Volume 3 for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay)
  • House of Tremere
  • Over the Edge (with Jonathan Tweet)
  • Over the Edge, 2nd Edition (with Jonathan Tweet)
    • Unauthorized Broadcast
    • Weather the Cuckoo Likes
  • Seven Strongholds
  • For the Earthdawn RPG:
    • Throal: The Dwarf Kingdom
    • Infected
    • Horrors
    • Denizens of Earthdawn (Volume 2)
    • The Theran Empire
    • Parlainth Adventures (et al.)
  • Ways and Means (for the Underground RPG)
  • HeroQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha (with Greg Stafford et al.)
  • Shadowfist Players' Guide (Volume 1) (with Rob Heinsoo)
  • Star Trek RPG (et al.)
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation RPG (et al.)
  • Raiders, Renegades, & Rogues (et al.)
  • Monsters, Muties and Misfits (et al.)
  • Nexus: The Infinite City (et al.)
  • The Excellent Prismatic Spray 2 (et al.)
  • Blood Magic: Secrets of Thaumaturgy
  • Pandemonium!: Adventures in Tabloid World (Contributor)
    • Stranger Than Truth: Further Adventures in Tabloid World (Contributor)
  • OG: Unearthed Edition
  • Sub-men Rising, a supplment for Talislanta


  • Pierced Heart
  • The Rough and the Smooth
  • Honour of the Grave
  • Sacred Flesh
  • Liar's Peak
  • Freedom Phalanx
  • Pathfinder Tales: The Worldwound Gambit
  • Pathfinder Tales: Blood of the City


  1. ^ André Jarosch. "Interview with Robin D. Laws". ShattenSeiten der RuneQuest GesellSchaft. Retrieved 2013-01-14. 
  2. ^ a b c d Ryan, Michael G. (January 2002). "Profiles: Robin D. Laws". Dragon (Renton, Washington: Wizards of the Coast) (#291): 18. 
  3. ^ "HillFolk Kickstarter". Retrieved Dec 4, 2012. 
  4. ^ robin_d_laws (robin_d_laws) wrote, 2008-05-30 09:20:00 (2008-05-30). "robin_d_laws: Gen Con Australia". Retrieved 2013-06-09. 
  5. ^ "Robin D. Laws". Retrieved 2013-06-09. 
  6. ^ "Ropecon 2007". Retrieved 2013-06-09. 
  7. ^ Interview on the DiceCast podcast

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Mike Grell
Iron Man writer
(with Mike Grell in early 2003)
Succeeded by
John Jackson Miller