Ryan Dancey

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Ryan Dancey
OccupationGame designer

Ryan S. Dancey is a businessman who has worked primarily in the collectible card game and role-playing game industries. He was vice president in charge of Dungeons & Dragons at Wizards of the Coast.[1]

When the publisher of Dungeons & Dragons was facing bankruptcy, Dancey helped negotiate sale of the property to Wizards of the Coast.

Dancey promoted the D&D's open gaming license (OGL), which reversed the policy from opposing third-party publications to supporting them.


Dancey was the owner of distributor Isomedia Inc, which was helping to fund Legend of the Five Rings (1995), and he joined in on the project.[2]: 263  In 1996 the principals behind the game created a new company with better funding, calling it Five Rings Publishing Group. Robert Abramowitz became the President of the new company, and Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) and Isomedia gave over their rights to Legend of the Five Rings, with Dancey becoming Vice President of Product Development and John Zinser of AEG becoming VP of Sales.[2]: 263 

In early 1997, TSR was approaching bankruptcy and looking for a buyer; Abramowitz and Dancey negotiated a deal to purchase TSR, which they brought to Peter Adkison at Wizards of the Coast, who purchased Five Rings Publishing along with TSR.[2]: 263  At the end of the next year the Five Rings Publishing Group was dissolved, and Dancey took over as the business head of Wizards of the Coast's roleplaying department, where he became involved in the development of the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons.[2]: 263  Adkison put Dancey in charge of business and marketing for TSR.[2]: 282  Dancey championed Wizards of the Coast's purchase of Last Unicorn Games in 2000, to obtain their more efficient R&D force and bring it in with Wizards' existing RPG staff.[2]: 287  Dancey largely conceived of the Open Gaming License (OGL) and d20 System Trademark License, based on his belief that the true strength of D&D was in its gaming community.[2]: 287  He said that TSR was far too aggressive looking for copyright violations and alienated fans.[1] The OGL was published by WOTC in 2000 to license the System Reference Document (SRD) for D&D in a move spearheaded by Dancey.[3] Dancey also co-authored the Hero Builder's Guidebook (2000).[4] Dancey later moved to "consultant" status, and was among those employees laid off by Wizards before the end of 2002.[2]: 291 

Dancey later worked for Icelandic video game producer CCP Games,[2]: 230  which had purchased White Wolf Publishing.[5]

In 2011, Dancey began working on Goblinworks "Pathfinder Online" Sandbox MMORPG.[6] In August 2015, interim Goblinworks CEO Lisa Stevens announced that Ryan Dancey had left Goblinworks for personal reasons.[7] In a separate letter to players, she indicated that Dancey was still involved, and would continue to consult on the project.[8]


  1. ^ a b Martinez, Michael J. (July 7, 2000). "Dungeons & Dragons Tries To Revive". AP Online. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved May 30, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Appelcline, Shannon (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  3. ^ Noah, Eric (2002-02-28). "The Most Dangerous Column in Gaming". Interview with Ryan Dancey. Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original (Interview) on April 4, 2002. Retrieved 2008-02-26.
  4. ^ "Pyramid: Pyramid Review: Hero Builder's Guidebook (for Dungeons & Dragons)". Sjgames.com. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  5. ^ Gaming Industry Innovators CCP and White Wolf to Merge, CCP, November 11, 2006, archived from the original on January 1, 2010, retrieved November 19, 2009
  6. ^ "A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step - Goblinworks". Goblinworks.com. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Lisa's Community Address - Goblinworks". Goblinworks.com. Archived from the original on 5 January 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Updated Text of Lisa Stevens' Community Address about the state of Pathfinder..." Plus.google.com. Retrieved 4 January 2018.

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