Kevin Siembieda at Gen Con 2014
Kevin Henry Siembieda
April 2, 1956
|Education||College for Creative Studies|
|Occupation||Author, designer, illustrator, and publisher of role-playing games at Palladium Books|
The Mechanoid Invasion
Palladium Fantasy RPG
|Spouse(s)||Maryann Donald (1985–2004)|
Siembieda is a third-generation Polish American. He attended the College for Creative Studies in Detroit from 1974 to 1977.:155 He wanted to be a comic book artist, but found the industry difficult to break into and published a small-press comic (A+ Plus, 1977-1978) with his company: Megaton Publications.:155 In 1979 Siembieda discovered the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Rulebook and joined a role-playing group, the Wayne Street Weregamers, which met at Wayne State University in Detroit (where he befriended Erick Wujcik, who ran the group).:155 Siembieda ran a game for the group, the Palladium of Desires, a combination of AD&D and his house rules.:155 By 1980 the Wayne Weregamers became the Detroit Gaming Centre, with Siembieda its assistant director and Wujcik its director.:155 Siembieda tried to interest gaming companies in his RPG with little interest; only Judges Guild made him an offer, but he accepted a job offer from them instead.:155–156 He was an artist for Judges Guild for four months before working as a freelance artist for other publishers and trying to sell his RPG to them.:156
Siembieda is the co-founder and president of Palladium Books. He founded the company in April 1981 to publish his fantasy role-playing game, but had insufficient funds to publish any books; the mother of Bill Loebs loaned Siembieda $1,500 to publish his first RPG book, The Mechanoid Invasion (1981).:156 By 1983 the company was successful enough for Siembieda to rent warehouse space and release his fantasy RPG, the Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game:157 with a loan of $10,000 from his friend Thom Bartold who had also loaned him funds to print the other two books in the Mechanoid Trilogy, Journey and Homeworld in 1982. These were not just loans, but investments, and Siembieda established a system of paying royalties not just to the writers and artists, but also to those who lent him the capital needed to print the books: his investors. The following year, he extended his Palladium system to the superhero genre with Heroes Unlimited.:156 A freelancer contacted Siembieda about producing a licensed role-playing game based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book. Siembieda obtained the rights, but was dissatisfied with the freelancer's product. Erick Wujcik redesigned the game in five weeks, and it was published in 1985 as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness.:158 Siembieda next obtained the license to publish a game based on the Robotech anime series, designing the Robotech role-playing game published in 1986.:158–159
Siembieda wrote the RPG Rifts (1990) as a trade paperback in a two-column format which he laid out by hand.:160 He supported Wujcik in founding his own company, Phage Press.:160 In 1992, Siembieda sued Wizards of the Coast over its first RPG book, The Primal Order; GAMA president Mike Pondsmith helped the parties reach a compromise in March 1993.:161 Siembieda also disagreed with White Wolf magazine and GDW over their magazines' coverage of Palladium games.:161 He demanded that websites devoted to Rifts and Palladium be taken down, claiming that they violated his intellectual property, but softened his stance in 2004.:161 Siembieda fired Bill Coffin due to editorial differences and discontent with the Rifts Coalition Wars, which Siembieda and Coffin co-authored.:162 On April 19, 2006 he announced that Palladium Books was on the verge of bankruptcy, which he blamed on a former employee who was convicted of embezzlement.:162 Siembieda filed a lawsuit on May 7, 2010 against Trion Worlds for its MMORPG Rift: Planes of Telara, and a settlement was reached in October 2010.:163 Role-playing games Siembieda has created include Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game (1983), Heroes Unlimited (1984), Robotech (1986), and Rifts (1990). He is also an artist, known for occasionally illustrating Palladium Books products. Siembieda contributed art and cartography to several early Judges Guild products for the Dungeons & Dragons, RuneQuest and Traveller lines.
Siembieda's Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter is one of the largest failures in table-top Kickstarter history. The project failed to deliver on its goals and raised over $1.4M. Despite not making its goal and unable to deliver Wave 2, Palladium did not refund money given to the project.
Early illustration credits
Dungeons & Dragons
- Nevins, Paul & Faust, Bill (October 1979). Verbosh. Dungeons & Dragons (D&D). Decatur, IL: Judges Guild. [JG 108]. - Front cover, interior art; maps (with B. Faust)
- Mayeau, Michael E. (1979). Operation Ogre. D&D. [JG 109]. - Front cover; interior art (with Gerald Busby and Ed L. Perry)
- Hinnen, Bryan (1979). The Mines of Custalcon. D&D. [JG 111]. - Front cover (with Ken Simpson and Rick Houser)
- Karczag, Paul (November 1979). The Maltese Clue. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D). [JG 114]. - Interior art.
- Emigh, Dave (1980). The Sword of Hope. D&D. [JG 118]. - Interior art (with Aaron Arocho, Michael D. Reagan and Paul Jaquays)
- Emigh, D. (1980). Tower of Ulission. D&D. [JG 119]. - Interior art (with A. Arocho, Bob Bingham and P. Jaquays)
- Pruehs, Allen V. & Pruehs, Ree Moorhead (1980). Escape from Astigar's Lair. AD&D. [JG 124]. - Front cover; interior art (with P. Jaquays)
- Bledsaw, Bob & Hippenhammer, Creighton (1980). City State of the World Emperor. D&D. [JG 150]. - Interior art (with P. Jaquays)
- Bledsaw, B.; Hippenhammer, C.; Kraft, Rudy & Miner, Clayton (1980). City State of the World Emperor—Book I: Map Guide. D&D. [JG 155]. - Interior art (with P. Jaquays)
- Bledsaw, B.; Hippenhammer, C.; Kraft, R.; Miner, C. & Holmer, Mark (1980). City State of the World Emperor—Book II: Shops. D&D. [JG 156]. - Interior art
- Bledsaw, B.; Hippenhammer, C.; Kraft, R.; Miner, C.; Holmer, M. & Hinnen, B. (1980). City State of the World Emperor—Book III: City. D&D. [JG 157]. - Interior art (with P. Jaquays)
- Dale, Geoffrey O. (March 1980). The Treasure Vaults of Lindoran. AD&D. [JG 190]. - Front cover (with Bill Hadley); interior art (with P. Jaquays).
- Kraft, R. (1980). Portals of Torsh. AD&D. [JG 260]. - Interior art (with Brian Wagner, David Allen, Robert Bledsaw, Jr., and Carol Lind).
- Hinnen, B. (1980). Spies of Lightelf. D&D. [JG 270]. - Interior art (with P. Jaquays)
- Jaquays, P. (1980). Wilderlands of the Fantastic Reaches. D&D. [JG 300]. - Interior art (with P. Jaquays)
- Bledsaw, B. & Adams, Gary (1980). Modron. D&D (5th printing, 2nd ed.). [JG 34]. - Interior art (with Pixie Bledsaw, E. L. Perry, and K. Simpson)
- Mayeau, M. E. (1980). The Dragon Crown. D&D (2nd printing, 1st ed.). [JG 76]. - Interior art (with P. Jaquays)
- Blake, R. J. (1980). Of Skulls and Scrapfaggot Green. D&D (4th printing, 2nd ed.). [JG 80]. - Interior art (with P. Jaquays)
- Kraft, R. (1981). Portals of Irontooth. AD&D. [JG 560]. - Interior art (with K. Simpson, Erin McKee, A. Arocho and E. L. Perry)
- Mattson, John (1981). House on Hangman's Hill. AD&D. [JG 670]. - Front cover; interior art (with E. McKee, E. L. Perry and K. Simpson)
- Kraft, R. (1981). Portals of Twilight. AD&D. [JG 770]. - Interior art (with E. McKee, R. Houser, K. Simpson, Paul W. Vinton and the Sorceror's Guild)
- Kraft, R. (1979). Broken Tree Inn. RuneQuest. [JG 107]. - Interior art (with P. Jaquays and A. Arocho)
- Nevins, P. & Faust, B. (1980). City of Lei Tabor. RuneQuest. [JG 310]. - Front cover; interior art (with A. Arocho and B. Faust)
- Kraft, R. (1980). Duck Pond. RuneQuest. [JG 380]. - Front cover
- Nevins, P. & Faust, B. (1979). Dra'k'ne Station. Traveller. [JG 105]. - Front cover; interior art (with P. Jaquays)
- Sering, Dave (1980). Tancred. Traveller. [JG 330]. - Interior art (with A. Arocho and Peter Jenkins)
- Harm, Ray; Reagan, M. D. & Hauffe, Dan (1980). Darthanon Queen. Traveller. [JG 340]. - Interior art (with P. Jenkins)
- Wilson, Charles M. (1981). Masters of Mind. [JG 690]. - Interior art (with K. Simpson and E. L. Perry)
- Mortimer, Edward R. G.; Mortimer, Diane & Mortimer, John (1982). Prey of Darkness. [JG 840]. - Front cover; interior art (with R. Houser, P. Jaquays and J. Mortimer)
- Hinnen, B. (1982). Shield Maidens of Sea Rune. [JG 1010]. - Interior art (with K. Simpson, J. Mortimer and P. W. Vinton)
- Hinnen, B. & Hauffe, D. (1982). Pirates of Hagrost. [JG 1030]. - Back cover
Judges Guild Journal
- Anshell, Charles; Gooding, Penny, eds. (August–September 1979). "Judges Guild Journal" (16). Decatur, IL: Judges Guild. [JG 103]
- Anshell, C.; Gooding, P., eds. (October–November 1979). "Judges Guild Journal" (17). [JG 110] - Front cover, interior art.
- Anshell, C.; Gooding, P., eds. (December 1979 – January 1980). "Judges Guild Journal" (18). [JG 121] - Interior art
- Anshell, C.; Gooding, P., eds. (February–March 1980). "Judges Guild Journal" (19). [JG 160] - Front cover, interior art
- Anshell, C.; Bledsaw, Bob, eds. (April–May 1980). "Judges Guild Journal" (20). [JG 200] - Interior art
- Anshell, C.; Reagan, Michael D., eds. (October–November 1980). "Dungeoneer Journal" (23). Decatur, IL: Judges Guild. [JG 390] - Interior art.
- Anshell, C.; Reagan, M. D., eds. (December 1980 – January 1981). "Dungeoneer Journal" (24). [JG 450] - Front cover, interior art
- Anshell, C.; Reagan, M. D., eds. (February–March 1981). "Dungeoneer Journal" (25). [JG 470] - Front cover, interior art
- Reagan, M. D.; Anshell, C., eds. (June–July 1981). "Pegasus" (2). Decatur, IL: Judges Guild. [JG 610] - Interior art
- Reagan, M. D.; Anshell, C., eds. (August–September 1981). "Pegasus" (3). [JG 620] - Interior art
- Vinton, Paul W.; Mortimer, Edward R. G., eds. (February–March 1982). "Pegasus" (6). [JG 870] - Interior art
- Homer, Mark S., ed. (December 1982 – January 1983). "Pegasus" (11). [JG 1190] - Interior art
- Maddin, Mike, ed. (February–March 1983). "Pegasus" (12). [JG 1210] - Interior art
- Paley, Bill (1981). Action Aboard: Adventures on the "King Richard". Traveller. Chicago, IL: FASA. - Interior art (with William H. Keith, Jr.)
- Fox, Gardner F. (August 1980). "Out of the Eons". In Mohan, Kim (ed.). Dragontales: An Anthology of All-New Fantasy Fiction. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR / Dragon Publishing. pp. 21–30. ISBN 978-0-394-52271-5. (interior art)
Palladium role-playing games
- The Mechanoid Invasion (April 1981)
- Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game (July 1983)
- Heroes Unlimited (August 1984)
- Robotech (November 1986)
- Beyond the Supernatural (October 1987), with Randy McCall
- Robotech II: The Sentinels (September 1988)
- Rifts (August 1990)
- Macross II (July 1993)
- Rifts Chaos Earth (June 2003)
- Dead Reign (November 2008), with Josh Hilden and Joshua Sanford
- "Likewise, though I am of Polish descent, I am third generation American and can speak virtually none of the Polish language and know little about "traditional" Polish customs." Kevin Siembieda, Rifts Conversion Book, 1991.
- Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
- "Palladium Books Personalities: In-House Staff". Westland, MI: Palladium Books. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
- Houghton, Z. (July 13, 2009). "Mega-Interview with Kevin Siembieda". RPG Blog II. Mountain View, CA: Google / Blogger. Retrieved January 15, 2010.
- "Judges Guild Booty List". The Acaeum. Chicago, IL: HostForWeb. Retrieved February 15, 2011.
- "RRT Kickstarter".
- "RRT Kickstarter is a Disaster".
- Fawcett, W. (December 1980). Jacquet, J (ed.). "The Dragon's Augury: Here Comes the Judges Guild". Dragon. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR (44): 75. ISSN 0279-6848.
The art by Kevin Siembieda is excellent and adds to the text in several places