Jonathan Tweet

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Jonathan Tweet
Tweet in 2015
Born1965 (age 58–59)
Alma materSt. Olaf College
Occupation(s)Game designer, author, blogger, writer
SpouseTracy (d. 2008)

Jonathan Tweet (born 1965[1]) is an American game designer who has been involved in the development of the role-playing games Ars Magica, Everway, Over the Edge, Talislanta, the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons and 13th Age, and the collectible miniatures game Dreamblade. In 2015 Tweet released Grandmother Fish, a full-color, full-sized book about evolution aimed at preschoolers. In 2018 Tweet released Clades and Clades Prehistoric, two card games for children and adults which demonstrate the concept of a clade.

Early life[edit]

Native to Rock Island, Illinois, Tweet is the son of Roald Tweet, an Augustana College professor emeritus and local historian,[2] and Margaret Tweet.[3] Jonathan Tweet started playing D&D in the 1970s, when his father gave him his first Dungeons & Dragons game. He then formed his own gaming group by recruiting classmates.[4] Tweet graduated from Rock Island High School class valedictorian in 1983. He majored in psychology and sociology at his parents' alma mater, St. Olaf College in Minnesota.[2]


Jonathan Tweet and Mark Rein-Hagen founded Lion Rampant in 1987 while students at St. Olaf College. There, they also met Lisa Stevens who later joined the company.[5]: 232  His article "Egyptian Magic for Call of Cthulhu" appeared in Different Worlds #47 (Fall 1987), the magazine's final issue.[5]: 84  In 1987, Tweet and Rein-Hagen designed the game Ars Magica, a game centered around wizards in the Middle Ages.[4][5]: 232–233  Tweet left Lion Rampant and briefly left the RPG industry in 1989 to begin a new career.[5]: 234  Tweet wrote Festival of the Damned (1991), an adventure published by Atlas Games for Ars Magica.[5]: 252  Tweet continued to run an game he created called "Al Amarja" for a group in Rock Island, Illinois, and wrote about the game in articles published in Alarums and Excursions; when John Nephew read these articles he wanted to publish the game, and the result was Over the Edge (1992), the first original game from Atlas Games.[5]: 253  His design on Over the Edge notably involved free-form rules and a subjective approach.[4] Lisa Stevens recommended to Wizards of the Coast to have Tweet work freelance to revise the Talislanta rules for Wizards to publish, and also write the first new adventure for their version of the game; Tweet also wrote a revised version of the Talislanta Guidebook (1992), and the adventure The Scent of the Beast (1992).[5]: 277  Tweet wrote the adventure Apocalypse (1993) for the Role Aids line by Mayfair Games.[5]: 169  Nephew and Tweet also designed On the Edge (1994), a collectible card game based on Over the Edge.[5]: 253  Tweet joined Wizards of the Coast as a full-time employee in June 1994, and brought about new product lines for the company beginning with Ars Magica, which Tweet recommended Wizards to acquire.[5]: 279  Tweet designed Everway, which was first published by Wizards of the Coast in 1995.[5]: 254, 280  After Wizards of the Coast moved away from role-playing games, Tweet worked on Portal, a Magic: The Gathering set designed to help new players learn the game.

Tweet was lead designer on the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons.[5]: 286 [6] Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams all contributed to the 3rd edition Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual, and then each designer wrote one of the books based on those contributions.[7] Tweet oversaw the Chainmail Miniatures Game design team, and Skaff Elias was responsible for the main design work and Chris Pramas created the game world.[5]: 289  Tweet became the head of the miniatures group, and the Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Game (2003) was the result of the work by Tweet, Rob Heinsoo, and Skaff Elias.[5]: 292  On December 2, 2008, Tweet was laid off from Wizards of the Coast.[8][9]

13th Age a d20 System RPG, designed by Heinsoo and Tweet was published by Pelgrane Press on August 3, 2013.[10] The pre-release version was a nominee for the RPG Geek RPG of the Year 2013.[11]

In 2015 Tweet published Grandmother Fish, a Kickstarter-funded book described as "the first book to teach evolution to preschoolers".[12] While criticized by creationist organizations,[13] it has been praised by science educators.[14]

In 2018 Tweet, along with children's science illustrator Karen Lewis, released two card games, Clades and Clades Prehistoric. These animal matching games are intended to be used as tools to teach about evolution.[15] Clades Solo, an app version that includes both prehistoric and modern animals, was released in 2019[16]

The third edition of Over the Edge, with a new setting and new rules, was released June 1, 2019.

Religious views[edit]

An atheist since grade school,[17] Tweet has devoted much of his personal website to his views on religion,[18][19] in particular on the historical Jesus.[20] He also blogs about religion on the Secular Sunday School blog.[21]

My plan was to demonstrate hell to be absurd... One Sunday, I screwed up my courage and announced to the teacher, "I don't believe in Hell."

The teacher responded with "I don't either."

With the initial foray against dogma a total failure, I called off the whole assault. Speaking my mind would have to wait for college.

— Jonathan Tweet[22]

Personal life[edit]

Tweet and his wife Tracy moved to Seattle, Washington, in 1994. Tracy died from multiple sclerosis in 2008.[2] He continues to live in the Seattle area with his daughter.[23]


  1. ^ The Rock Island Argus. September 30, 1965.
  2. ^ a b c Turner, Jonathan (June 28, 2014). "RI native raising money for kids' book on evolution". QConline.
  3. ^ Tweet, Margaret (November 26, 2013). "Margaret Tweet Birthday". QConline.
  4. ^ a b c Kenson, Stephen (August 2000). "ProFiles: Jonathan Tweet". Dragon (#274). Renton, Washington: Wizards of the Coast: 10, 12, 14.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  6. ^ "Wizards of the Coast: Player's Handbook Exclusive Preview!". Archived from the original on July 11, 2000.
  7. ^ "Profiles: Monte Cook". Dragon (#275). Renton, Washington: Wizards of the Coast: 10, 12, 14. September 2000.
  8. ^ "The Wizards Community". Archived from the original on July 17, 2012.
  9. ^ "The Wizards Community". Archived from the original on July 8, 2012.
  10. ^ "Through the Scrying Glass: 13th Age Released". Pelgrane Press. July 30, 2013.
  11. ^ "13th Age".
  12. ^ "Grandmother Fish". Retrieved September 23, 2018.
  13. ^ Cain, Fraser. "Grandmother Fish – An Evolution Book for Preschoolers". Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  14. ^ Meikle, Eric. "Granny, What a Big Extended Family You Have!". National Center for Science Education. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  15. ^ "Clades & Clades Prehistoric Press Release". May 7, 2018. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  16. ^ "Clades Solo". Ideate Games. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  17. ^ Tweet, Jonathan. "Hell and Sunday School". Jonathan Tweet's Personal Blog. Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  18. ^ Tweet, Jonathan. " Religion Hub". Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  19. ^ Tweet, Jonathan. " figment hub". Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  20. ^ Tweet, Jonathan. "Jesus Mortal". Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  21. ^ Tweet, Jonathan. "Secular Sunday School". Retrieved November 22, 2016.
  22. ^ Hell and Sunday School December 2006
  23. ^ Tweet, Jonathan. "Grandmother Fish ● The Kickstarter Video". Vimeo. Retrieved July 12, 2015.

External links[edit]