John Scott Tynes

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John Scott Tynes (born 1971) is an American writer best known for his work on role-playing games such as Unknown Armies, Delta Green, Puppetland, and for his company, Tynes Cowan Corporation. Under its imprint, Pagan Publishing, Tynes Cowan Corp. produces third-party books for the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game under license from Chaosium as well as fiction and non-fiction books under its imprint, Armitage House.


John Tynes founded Pagan Publishing in 1990 at the age of 19 in Columbia, Missouri with a volunteer staff.[1]:254 Tynes founded Pagan's The Unspeakable Oath magazine.[2] Dennis Detwiller got in touch with Tynes after seeing an issue of The Unspeakable Oath, and then started volunteering with the company.[1]:244 Tynes designed the board game Creatures & Cultists.[2] In May 1994, Tynes took a job with Wizards of the Coast, working under the new Wizards RPG department lead, Jonathan Tweet.[1]:245 Tynes was the first content lead on the Magic: The Gathering trading card game.[2] Tynes decided to move Pagan Publishing to Seattle that year, and the company became incorporated. After the move many of the projects Tynes envisioned for the company materialized.[1]:245 In June 1995, Tynes resigned from Wizards of the Coast, disliking their new corporate ideals of branding, and briefly moved on to Daedalus Games.[1]:246 Daedalus hired him as their RPG line editor.[1]:256 With Dennis Detwiller and Adam Scott Glancy, Tynes developed the Delta Green (1996) supplement to Call of Cthulhu; they expanded their setting in 1999 with "Delta Green: Countdown".[1]:246–247 Tynes continued to work for Daedalus Games until they ceased production in 1997.[1]:248

Tynes met Greg Stolze while they were working on "Wildest Dreams" (1993), a supplement for Over the Edge.[1]:255 Stolze and Tynes co-designed the role-playing game Unknown Armies; Stolze helped write the mechanics for the game which Tynes had been developing for a few years.[1]:255 Although Atlas Games expressed interest in Unknown Armies, Tynes decided to go with Archon Games, but Tynes and Stolze learned that founder Lisa Manns was shutting down Archon and she returned the rights to them. They sought a new publisher, and Atlas Games published the game in January 1999.[1]:255 Atlas officially brought Tynes on as a line editor for Unknown Armies in 1999.[1]:255

Tynes designed Puppetland (1999) for Hogshead Publishing.[1]:306 Tynes and Robin Laws wrote a new version of the Feng Shui role-playing game for Atlas Games, published in 1999.[1]:256 Tynes was the original line editor for Feng Shui.[2] Tynes wrote the adventure "Three Days to Kill" (2000) for the Atlas d20 brand, Penumbra, and the adventure was the first printed d20 product ever offered for sale.[1]:257–258 Tynes designed the board game The Hills Rise Wild![2]

On January 1, 2001, Tynes announced to his partners that he was leaving the role-playing game industry, expecting to be done with the field by 2002, and Adam Scott Glancy was named the new president of Pagan.[1]:248 Wizards of the Coast contacted him with an offer to write the background material for the d20 version of Call of Cthulhu, which he accepted, and he produced the material with the help of writers from Pagan. The book was completed in 2002.[1]:248

Following the end of Unknown Armies in 2003,[3] Tynes withdrew from the tabletop gaming industry in order to pursue other interests, particularly film[4] and video games.[5] He was the producer of Pirates of the Burning Sea, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game developed by Flying Lab Software,[2] and published in 2008 by Sony Online Entertainment. After its launch, he joined Microsoft Game Studios to work on various Xbox Live Arcade titles including South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play!,[6] Toy Soldiers,[7] and Full House Poker[8] as a producer and game designer.

Tynes has written about games for Salon, The Escapist, Pyramid, X360 UK, and The Stranger.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Tynes, John Scott (2007). "Naval War". In Lowder, James. Hobby Games: The 100 Best. Green Ronin Publishing. pp. 217–219. ISBN 978-1-932442-96-0.
  3. ^ "A Brief History of Game #13: Atlas Games: 1990-Present". Retrieved October 13, 2010.
  4. ^ "John Tynes Filmography". Retrieved October 13, 2010.
  5. ^ "Interview with John Tynes". March 17, 2004. Retrieved October 13, 2010.
  6. ^ "Save South Park One Snowball at a Time Panel Recap". Retrieved October 13, 2010.
  7. ^ "Toy Soldiers Credits". Retrieved October 13, 2010.
  8. ^ "Full House Poker preview: Know when to hold 'em". Retrieved March 23, 2012.

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