Rob Heinsoo

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Rob Heinsoo
Rob Heinsoo.jpg
Born1964 (age 58–59)
OccupationGame designer
GenreRole-playing games

Rob Heinsoo (born 1964[citation needed]) is an American tabletop game designer. He has been designing and contributing to professional role-playing games, card games, and board games since 1994.[1] Heinsoo was the lead designer on the 4th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons (2008), and is co-designer of the 13th Age roleplaying game along with Jonathan Tweet. He has also designed and contributed to role playing, miniatures and card games, and a computer game.


Heinsoo began playing Dungeons & Dragons in 1974 at age 10, using the original edition.[2] His interest in games informed his interest in science fiction and fantasy, and vice versa.[2] Heinsoo was hired by Jose Garcia for Daedalus Games to work on the RPG Nexus;[3]: 256  some of his work for Daedalus Games' Feng Shui RPG was later published by Atlas Games.[citation needed] Chaosium hired Heinsoo in 1996 to oversee their licenses for Glorantha,[3]: 359  but he was laid off the following year.[3]: 361 

Heinsoo joined Wizards of the Coast (WotC) as part of the "D&D Worlds" team, where he focused on the third-edition version of Forgotten Realms.[3]: 289  With WotC, Heinsoo was involved with a number of Dungeons & Dragons game products. Other Forgotten Realms works include the sourcebook Monsters of Faerûn. He also helped write the third edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, which reached the top 50 of the non-fiction bestsellers in Canada in 2002[4] and won an Origins Award for best roleplaying supplement of 2001.[5] He is the designer of Three-Dragon Ante, a card game.

While at Wizards of the Coast, he also led and contributed to various miniatures gaming projects. Heinsoo playtested the Chainmail game and so he became a member of the Chainmail team, and contributed to the Chainmail column in Dragon magazine writing about tactics and rules.[3]: 289–290  Subsequent to the release of the Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Game, he took over as lead designer on that project.[6] He was also one of three designers of Dreamblade, for which he was nominated for an Origins Award in 2007.[7]

Early in 2005, Bill Slavicsek organized a team to begin some early designs for a fourth edition of D&D, which was headed up by Heinsoo and also included Andy Collins and James Wyatt, with Heinsoo leading the teams working on the design and development in 2005 and 2006.[3]: 297  The Player's Handbook for this edition was nominated for an Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Game in 2009.[8] His teammates referred to his role on the 4th Edition team as the "mad genius".[9] His book Monster Manual 2, co-written with Chris Sims, was a Wall Street Journal bestseller in 2009.[10] Heinsoo was laid off by Wizards in 2009.[3]: 301 

After Wizards, Heinsoo designed the 13th Age RPG.[11] He designed 13th Age with Jonathan Tweet, the lead designer of 3rd Edition D&D.[11] Heinsoo and Tweet are close friends who have played tabletop games together for years.[11]

Rob Heinsoo also contributes to Alarums and Excursions.

Tabletop roleplaying games[edit]

3rd Edition D&D[edit]

4th Edition D&D[edit]

  • Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition (2008) (Lead Designer)
  • Player's Handbook (2008) (Lead Designer)
  • D&D Essentials: Rules Compendium (2010) (Lead Designer)
  • The Plane Above (2010) (Lead Designer)
  • Underdark (2010) (Lead Designer)
  • Primal Power (2009) (Designer)
  • Adventurer's Vault 2 (2009) (Lead Designer)
  • Monster Manual 2 (2009) (Lead Designer)
  • Divine Power (2009) (Lead Designer)
  • Forgotten Realms Player's Guide (2008) (Lead Designer)
  • Martial Power (2008) (Lead Designer)

13th Age[edit]

Card games and board games[edit]

  • Surviving On the Edge players' guide (1995) (Co-Author)
  • Shadowfist trading card game (1995) (Lead Playtester, Editor)
    • Netherworld (1996) (Developer, Additional Design)
    • Shadowfist Player's Guide (1996) (Author)
    • Flashpoint (1997) (Co-designer, Art Direction)
  • Legend of the Five Rings Gold Edition (2000) (Story Lead)
  • Football Champions trading card game (2001–2004) (Designer, seven sets)
  • Three-Dragon Ante card game (2005) (Designer)
  • Inn-Fighting (2007) dice game (Designer)
  • Castle Ravenloft (2010) (Additional Design)
  • Three-Dragon Ante: Emperor's Gambit (2010) (Designer)
  • Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mount Skullzfyre card game (2012) (Game Design)
  • Night Eternal (2013) card game based on True Blood (Game Design)
  • Shadowrun Crossfire (2014)
  • Shadowrun Crossfire: High Caliber Ops (2015)
  • Epic Spell Wars 2: Rumble at Castle Tentakil (2015)
  • Legendary: Big Trouble in Little China (2016)
  • Three-Dragon Ante: Legendary Edition (2019) (Designer)
  • Wrestlenomicon (2020) (Co-Designer)

Miniatures games[edit]

  • Chainmail (2002) (Co-Designer with Jonathan Tweet)
    • Sets 1-4 (2002–2003) (Co-Designer, Developer with Jonathan Tweet)
  • D&D Miniatures Sets 1-9, Harbinger, Dragoneye, Archfiends, Giants of Legend, Aberrations, Deathknell, Angelfire, Underdark, Wardrums (2003–2006) (Designer)
  • Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures (2003) (Lead Designer)
  • Dreamblade (2006) (Co-designer with Jonathan Tweet)

Computer games[edit]


  1. ^ ""Rob Heinsoo" game credits". Pen & Paper. Archived from the original on April 18, 2003.
  2. ^ a b "Interview". Guys Lit Wire. June 23, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  4. ^ (September 2002). "Bestsellers Lists", Books in Canada 31 (6): 11.
  5. ^ "2001 Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design". Archived from the original on March 3, 2008.
  6. ^ "Spotlight interview". Archived from the original on December 20, 2010.
  7. ^ "Google Groups".
  8. ^ "Nominees for 35th Origins Awards announced". April 29, 2009.
  9. ^ "Rob's definitely the mad genius of the group, particularly when it comes to mechanical design." Kobold Quarterly, Summer 2008, page 32.
  10. ^ (May 29, 2009). "Wall Street Journal Best-Sellers", Connecticut Post.
  11. ^ a b c "13th Age: The New Tabletop Game From The Lead Designers Of 3rd And 4th Edition Dungeons And Dragons". Forbes. Retrieved June 9, 2013.

External links[edit]