S. John Ross (game designer)

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S. John Ross
BornSamuel John Ross Jr.
(1971-07-15) July 15, 1971 (age 47)
Cumberland, Maryland, U.S.
OccupationWriter, game designer, graphic artist
NationalityUnited States
GenreDiscordianism, Role-playing games, fantasy, wargames
SpouseSandra Ross

Samuel John Ross Jr. (born July 15, 1971),[citation needed] known as S. John Ross, is a game designer and owner of Cumberland Games & Diversions. He wrote the early Indie role-playing game Risus.


Ross began writing professionally in 1990 writing role-playing material for Avalon Hill, Flying Buffalo, Guardians of Order, Last Unicorn Games, Steve Jackson Games, TSR, West End Games, White Wolf, and Wizards of the Coast in addition to his own company, Cumberland Games & Diversions.[1][2][3]

Ross' Uresia: Grave of Heaven (2003) was an original setting published for the Big Eyes, Small Mouth role-playing game; it was reminiscent of Swords & Sorcery anime.[4] Ross created Risus: The Anything RPG[5] and Sparks paper miniatures. He also created the retro-science fiction-fantasy role-playing game Encounter Critical, and maintains the All-Systems Library.[3]

His fonts have appeared on television, books and billboards.[6] They have been used by Anheuser-Busch, Atheist Bus Campaign,[7] Comedy Central, Disney Italy, Office Depot, Penguin Books and Ariane Sherine.[7][8]

In Discordianism, he wrote Novus Ordo Discordia, the Gospel of St. Pesher the Gardener, which was included in Apocrypha Discordia,[9] and the "foreplay" or foreword for Ek-sen-trik-kuh Discordia: The Tales of Shamlicht.,[10] both under the name Patriarch Wilhelm Leonardo Pesher-Principle.[9][10]

He was nominated for an Origins Award for a short stint as editor of Pyramid magazine,[11] and was named to the Order of the Pineapple along with author Adam Gorightly in 2013.[12] Risus 1.5 was named Best Free RPG at RPGnet in 2001[13] and he contributed to Pulp Hero which received a Silver ENnie for Best Writing in 2006.[1]

Ross has been a named guest at several conventions including Technicon in 1995, 1997, and 1998; A-Kon in 2004[14] and 2009;[15] and Starland Gamefest in 2013. Ross was a special guest at GameFest held in May 2014.[3]

Personal life[edit]

S. John Ross was born as Samuel John Ross Jr., in Cumberland, Maryland on July 15, 1971. He is the son of Sam and Donna Ross. While he lived in various parts of the United States and in Japan, as of early 2014 he lived in Denver, Colorado, with his wife Sandra Ross.[8]


S. John Ross wrote these works:[16]

He was editor and developer of The Silicon Valley Tarot, and the 2nd Edition of Murphy's Rules.

Ross is the owner and creator of Cumberland Games and Diversions, a web-based electronic publishing company specializing in game-related documents and TrueType fonts.


  1. ^ a b "S. John Ross". Pen & Paper. 2003. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  2. ^ "S. John Ross". Steve Jackson Games. Retrieved Feb 11, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Special Guests". Starland. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  4. ^ Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. p. 337. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  5. ^ http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/wetpaint-launches-free-service-which-lets-anyone-start-their-own-click-and-type-website-70736777.html
  6. ^ Luc Devroye. "Cumberland Fontworks [Samuel John Ross]". Luc Devroye. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Someone Once Told Me World Tour 28 Sept". Someone Once Told Me. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  8. ^ a b "S. John Ross: a brief bio". Cumberland Games & Diversions. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Apocrypha Discordia". Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  10. ^ a b Loveshade, Reverend (2012). Ek-sen-trik-kuh Discordia: The Tales of Shamlicht. Anaphora Literary Press. ISBN 978-1937536183.
  11. ^ "Awards for Steve Jackson Games". Steve Jackson Games. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  12. ^ "Order of the Pineapple 2013". Order of the Pineapple. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  13. ^ "RPGnet 2001 Award Results". RPGnet. Retrieved 2007-09-30.
  14. ^ "Information on A-Kon 2004: Guests". AnimeCons.com. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  15. ^ "Information on A-Kon 2009: Guests". AnimeCons.com. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  16. ^ "Index contributor Search: S. John Ross". rpg.net. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
  17. ^ Treasures of a Slaver's Kingdom on ifdb.tads.org

External links[edit]