Kevin Siembieda

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Kevin Siembieda
Born Kevin Henry Siembieda
(1956-04-02) April 2, 1956 (age 59)
Detroit, Michigan, USA
Nationality American
Education College for Creative Studies
Occupation Author, designer, illustrator, and publisher of role-playing games at Palladium Books
Years active 1979–present
Notable work Heroes Unlimited
The Mechanoid Invasion
Palladium Fantasy RPG
Spouse(s) Maryann Donald (1985–2004)

Kevin Siembieda (born April 2, 1956) is an American artist, writer, designer, and publisher of role-playing games.


Kevin Siembieda attended the College for Creative Studies in Detroit for four years, from 1974-1977.[1]:155 He wanted to be a comic book artist but found the industry difficult to break into, so he released a small-press comic called A+ Plus (1977-1978) through his own company Megaton Publications.[1]:155 In 1979, Siembieda discovered the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Rulebook, and soon afterward he joined a roleplaying group called the Wayne Street Weregamers that met at Wayne State University in Detroit, where he met and befriended Erick Wujcik, who ran the group.[1]:155 Siembieda ran a game for the group called the Palladium of Desires, which was a mix of AD&D and his own house rules.[1]:155 By 1980 the Wayne Weregamers became known as the Detroit Gaming Centre, with Siembieda becoming Assistant Director for the Centre and Wujcik as Director.[1]:155 Siembieda tried to shop his RPG around to various existing gaming companies, but there was little interest in the game; only Judges Guild made him an offer, which he did not accept, but he did accept a job offer from them.[1]:155–156 He worked as an artist for Judges Guild for four months, and then worked as a freelance artist for other publishers while trying to sell his RPG to them.[1]:156

Kevin Siembieda is the co-founder and president of Palladium Books.[2] He founded the company in April 1981 to self-publish his fantasy role-playing game, but did not have enough funding to publish any books; the mother of Bill Loebs – one of his Palladium campaign players – loaned Siembieda $1,500 to print his first RPG book, The Mechanoid Invasion (1981).[1]:156 By 1983, the company was doing well enough – thanks to weapons and armor books by Matthew Balent, another gamer from the Detroit Gaming Centre – for Siembieda to rent warehouse space and finally release his fantasy RPG, the Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game.[1]:157 By 1984, he extended his Palladium system to the superhero genre with Heroes Unlimited.[1]:156 A freelancer contacted Siembieda about producing a licensed roleplaying game based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book; Siembieda was able to get the rights but he did not approve of the freelancer's final product so he had Erick Wujcik redesign the game in five weeks, and it was published in 1985 as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness.[1]:158 Siembieda next got the license to publish a game based on the Robotech anime series after Steve Jackson Games failed to obtain the license, so Siembieda designed the Robotech roleplaying game, published in 1986.[1]:158–159

Siembieda authored the RPG Rifts (1990) as a trade paperback that he produced in a minimalistic two-column format, which he laid out by hand with waxers.[1]:160 Siembieda supported Wujcik in setting up his own company, Phage Press.[1]:160 In 1992, he sued Wizards of the Coast over their first RPG book, The Primal Order, as it included conversions for many different RPGs; Mike Pondsmith (then-president of GAMA) helped the two parties reach a compromise in March 1993.[1]:161 Siembieda also had an antagonistic relationship with White Wolf magazine and GDW over the way their magazines covered Palladium games.[1]:161 He also demanded that websites devoted to Rifts and Palladium be taken down and claiming they violated his IP, but in 2004 he loosened his restriction to only outlaw conversions between his systems and other games.[1]:161 Siembieda let Bill Coffin go due to editorial differences and general discontent with the Rifts Coalition Wars (which Siembieda and Coffin had co-authored).[1]:162 On April 19, 2006, Siembieda announced that Palladium Books was on the verge of a bankruptcy, which he blamed largely on a former employee who was convicted of embezzlement.[1]:162 Siembieda filed a lawsuit on May 7, 2010 against Trion Worlds for their MMORPG Rift: Planes of Telara, and a settlement was reached in October 2010.[1]:163

Some of the role-playing games that Siembieda has created include Palladium Fantasy Role-Playing Game (1983), Heroes Unlimited (1984), Robotech (1986), and Rifts (1990).[3]

Siembieda is also an artist, best known for occasionally illustrating Palladium Books' products. He also contributed art and cartography to several early Judges Guild products for the Dungeons & Dragons, RuneQuest, and Traveller lines.[4]

Early illustration credits[edit]

Judges Guild[edit]

Adventure modules[edit]

Dungeons & Dragons[edit]
Front cover of Dungeons & Dragons adventure module Verbosh (Nevins & Faust 1979, 2nd printing).
  • 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).[5]
  • 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).
Front cover of RuneQuest adventure module City of Lei Tabor (Nevins & Faust 1980).
  • 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).
Universal Fantasy[edit]
  • 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[edit]
  • Anshell, Charles; Gooding, Penny, eds. (August–September 1979). Judges Guild Journal (Decatur, IL: Judges Guild) (16).  Missing or empty |title= (help) [JG 103]
  • Anshell, C.; Gooding, P., eds. (October–November 1979). Judges Guild Journal (17).  Missing or empty |title= (help) [JG 110] - Front cover, interior art.
  • Anshell, C.; Gooding, P., eds. (December 1979 – January 1980). Judges Guild Journal (18).  Missing or empty |title= (help) [JG 121] - Interior art.
  • Anshell, C.; Gooding, P., eds. (February–March 1980). Judges Guild Journal (19).  Missing or empty |title= (help) [JG 160] - Front cover, interior art.
  • Anshell, C.; Bledsaw, Bob, eds. (April–May 1980). Judges Guild Journal (20).  Missing or empty |title= (help) [JG 200] - Interior art.
Dungeoneer Journal[edit]
  • Anshell, C.; Reagan, Michael D., eds. (October–November 1980). Dungeoneer Journal (Decatur, IL: Judges Guild) (23).  Missing or empty |title= (help) [JG 390] - Interior art.
  • Anshell, C.; Reagan, M. D., eds. (December 1980 – January 1981). Dungeoneer Journal (24).  Missing or empty |title= (help) [JG 450] - Front cover, interior art.
  • Anshell, C.; Reagan, M. D., eds. (February–March 1981). Dungeoneer Journal (25).  Missing or empty |title= (help) [JG 470] - Front cover, interior art.
  • Reagan, M. D.; Anshell, C., eds. (June–July 1981). Pegasus (Decatur, IL: Judges Guild) (2).  Missing or empty |title= (help) [JG 610] - Interior art.
  • Reagan, M. D.; Anshell, C., eds. (August–September 1981). Pegasus (3).  Missing or empty |title= (help) [JG 620] - Interior art.
  • Vinton, Paul W.; Mortimer, Edward R. G., eds. (February–March 1982). Pegasus (6).  Missing or empty |title= (help) [JG 870] - Interior art.
  • Homer, Mark S., ed. (December 1982 – January 1983). Pegasus (11).  Missing or empty |title= (help) [JG 1190] - Interior art.
  • Maddin, Mike, ed. (February–March 1983). Pegasus (12).  Missing or empty |title= (help) [JG 1210] - Interior art.



Palladium role-playing game credits[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7. 
  2. ^ "Palladium Books Personalities: In-House Staff". Westland, MI: Palladium Books. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  3. ^ Houghton, Z. (July 13, 2009). "Mega-Interview with Kevin Siembieda". RPG Blog II. Mountain View, CA: Google / Blogger. Retrieved January 15, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Judges Guild Booty List". The Acaeum. Chicago, IL: HostForWeb. Retrieved February 15, 2011. 
  5. ^ 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 

External links[edit]