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]


Dancey was part of 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, better-funded company, calling it Five Rings Publishing Group. Robert Abramowitz became the President of the new company, and Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG) and Isomedia each gave over their rights in Legend of the Five Rings for appropriate ownership, with Dancey becoming VP of Product Development and John Zinser of AEG becoming VP of Sales.[2]:263

In early 1997, TSR was on the verge of bankruptcy and looking for a buyer; Abramowitz and Dancey negotiated a deal for the purchase of TSR, which they brought to Peter Adkison at Wizards of the Coast, who purchased Five Rings Publishing along with TSR as part of the deal.[2]:263 At the end of 1998 the Five Rings group was dissolved as a separate entity, and Dancey became the business head of the roleplaying department at Wizards of the Coast (WOTC), where he became involved in the development of the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons.[2]:263 Adkison put Dancey in charge of TSR's business and marketing concerns.[2]:282 Dancey championed Wizards of the Coast's purchase of Last Unicorn Games in 2000, as he saw in them a smaller and more efficient RPG R&D force that he wanted to bring in with Wizards' own 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 back to "consultant" status, and was among those laid off by Wizards toward 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. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  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). Interview with Ryan Dancey. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2008-02-26. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Pyramid: Pyramid Review: Hero Builder's Guidebook (for Dungeons & Dragons)". Sjgames.com. Retrieved 4 January 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  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 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step - Goblinworks". Goblinworks.com. Retrieved 4 January 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Lisa's Community Address - Goblinworks". Goblinworks.com. Retrieved 4 January 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Updated Text of Lisa Stevens' Community Address about the state of Pathfinder..." Plus.google.com. Retrieved 4 January 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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