|Timothy J. Kask|
January 14, 1949 |
Moline, Illinois, United States
|Occupation||Game designer, editor|
|Genres||Role-playing games, fantasy, wargames|
Timothy James Kask (born January 14, 1949) is an American editor and writer in the role-playing game industry. Kask became interested in board games in his childhood, and later turned to miniatures wargames. While attending university after a stint in the US Navy, he was part of a group that playtested an early version of the new role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) for game co-designer Gary Gygax. Gygax hired him as the first employee of TSR, Inc. in 1975. After editing some of TSR’s early D&D publications, Kask became editor of The Strategic Review, which later became The Dragon, and then Dragon Magazine.
Kask left TSR in 1980 to start Manzakk Publishing. He left the games industry in 1983, and spent some time as a freelance editor and speechwriter before becoming a teacher. In 2010 he returned to the games industry as one of the co-founders of Eldritch Enterprises.
Tim Kask was born and raised in Moline, Illinois. At age 11, he became interested in Avalon Hill's board wargame D-Day, and played it frequently for three years. During a four-year stint with the US Navy (1967–1971) during the Vietnam war, he often played 1914, another Avalon Hill game. He married his wife Cheryl in 1970, and they have a daughter, and a son.
After leaving the Navy, Kask attended Southern Illinois University’s campus in Carbondale, Illinois. While there, he was introduced to miniature wargaming, including Chainmail. Kask phoned Chainmail author Gary Gygax with some questions about the game, and subsequently met Gygax at the 1974 Gen Con gaming convention in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. At the time, Gygax was co-developing the rules for a new type of role-playing game, and Kask and his friends became one of the first groups of playtesters of what would become Dungeons & Dragons.
In the games industry
In 1975, shortly after the original rules to Dungeons & Dragons were published by Tactical Studies Rules (soon to become TSR, Inc.), Gygax hired Kask as an editor, the first full-time employee of the new company. Kask’s first assignment was editing, developing, and contributing to the Blackmoor rules supplement. Kask became editor of The Strategic Review, starting with Issue #5. Kask authorized Paul Jaquays through a casual license to publish The Dungeoneer as a fanzine to provide adventures for other Games Masters. In 1976 Kask edited the final three supplementary rules booklets for the original D&D rules: Eldritch Wizardry, Gods, Demi-gods & Heroes, and Swords & Spells. Kask’s focus within TSR then changed, as he oversaw the formation of TSR Periodicals. He split The Strategic Review into two new periodicals: The Dragon, devoted to D&D; and Little Wars, devoted to historical board gaming and miniatures play. Kask was the editor of the first 33 issues of The Dragon (soon renamed Dragon Magazine). Kask developed and edited TSR’s historical board game, William the Conqueror, 1066, and was responsible for starting the Days of the Dragon line of calendars. During the development of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and Basic Dungeons & Dragons in the late 1970s, Kask helped Gygax delineate the differences between the two game systems.
Kask resigned from TSR in 1980. He stayed in the games industry for a few years, re-developing Naval War for Avalon Hill in late 1981. He also started up Manzakk Publishing and became publisher and editor of Adventure Gaming magazine.
Kask left the games industry in 1983 to do freelance editing, ghost-writing, and speech-writing. He went back to school in 2002, and after earning a Master’s degree in Education from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, he became a teacher.
Jim Ward, a fellow TSR employee in the early days of the company, who had become managing editor of The Crusader magazine, persuaded Kask to write a monthly column for his magazine.
At the KC Game Fair in November 2010, Kask announced his return to the games industry as one of the founders (with Mentzer, Jim Ward and Chris Clark) of Eldritch Enterprises. The company publishes a variety of general works as well as new creations for role-playing games.
- Kask, Tim (December 1975). "In the Cauldron". The Strategic Review (Lake Geneva WI: TSR, Inc.) (#5): 2.
- Kask, Tim. "GROGNARDIA: Interview: Tim Kask (Part I)". Retrieved 2008-10-19.
- Sacco, Ciro Alessandro. "The Ultimate Interview with Gary Gygax". thekyngdoms.com. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
- Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
- Adkinson, Peter (1999). The Story of TSR 1975-1999. Renton, WA: TSR,Inc. p. 22. ISBN 0-7869-1549-8.
- Jaquet, Jake (May 1980). "Dragon Rumbles". Dragon (Lake Geneva WI: TSR, Inc.) (#37): 2.
- "Q&A with Frank Mentzer, Part 2, p. 82". Dragonsfoot Forums. dragonsfoot.com. 2010-11-05. Retrieved 2010-11-07.