Ward, James M. 1951- (James Michael Ward, Jim Ward)

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Ward, James M. 1951- (James Michael Ward, Jim Ward)


Born May 23, 1951; married; children: three sons.




Writer, role-playing games designer. TSR, Lake Geneva, WI, former role-playing games designer; Fast Forward Entertainment, president, 2002—.


Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design Hall of Fame, 1989.


(With Mary L. Kirchoff) Light on Quests Mountain, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1983.

(With Rob Kuntz) Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Legends & Lore, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1984.

(With Jean Blashfield) Faerie Mound of Dragonkind, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1987.

Greyhawk Adventures: A Compendium of Greyhawk Campaign Ideas for the AD&D Role Playing System, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1988.

(With Anne K. Brown) Pool of Twilight, TSR (Lake Geneva, WI), 1993.

We Three Dragons: A Trio of Dragon Tales for the Holiday Season, edited by Bill Fawcett, Tor (New York, NY), 2005.

Midshipwizard Halcyon Blithe, Tor (New York, NY), 2005.

Dragonfrigate Wizard Halcyon Blithe, Tor (New York, NY), 2006.


James M. Ward began reading at a young age, starting with the adventures of the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift, and moving on to science fiction and fantasy novels. These interests eventually led him to explore the world of role-playing games, and he himself first became a designer of this form of entertainment with Metamorphosis Alpha in the mid-1970s, which was the first role-playing game based in a science fiction story as opposed to the more traditional fantasies, such as Dungeons and Dragons. Over the course of his career, Ward has been held up as one of the standards in the industry. He has written for a number of classic publishers of science fiction and fantasy works, including Marvel, DC Comics, Random House, Del Rey, Bantam, and Western Publishing. He also worked for TSR for approximately twenty years, during part of which time he was head of product development for the company. In the 1990s, he became director of creative development in the wake of Gary Gygax's departure. This position put him in charge of the company's game designs. Only when Wizards of the Coast purchased TSR and moved the firm's headquarters out west did Ward finally decide it was time to move on, as he had no wish to move away from Wisconsin.

In addition to his career in gaming, Ward has written a number of his own books, many published through TSR. In 2005, Ward published Midshipwizard Halcyon Blithe through Tor Books. In this adventure, twelve- and thirteen-year-olds train to steer ships that are mounted on sea-dragons, with an eye toward battling the enemies of their world, shape changers who answer to the evil Maleen. Halcyon, the protagonist of the story, is considered old when only a few years past this age. The book focuses on his struggle against a mysterious villain, as well as the threat of a potential court martial. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly remarked that the book's "eager if plodding midshipwizards … come across as appealing and credible." Matthew L. Moffett, in a review for the School Library Journal, commented that "although the novel is a fairly predictable fantasy adventure at its core, the nautical elements make it just different enough."

Dragonfrigate Wizard Halcyon Blithe, Ward's follow-up effort, finds Halcyon a far more seasoned wizard-warrior who faces numerous battles with enemy dragonships. He is forced to test his courage and his skills, as well as his ability to play the political games necessary for advancement. Roland Green, reviewing for Booklist, dubbed Ward's work as a "lighthearted but not light-headed confection."



Booklist, September 1, 2005, Roland Green, review of Midshipwizard Halcyon Blithe, p. 76; November 15, 2006, Roland Green, review of Dragonfrigate Wizard Halcyon Blithe, p. 38.

Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2006, review of Dragonfrigate Wizard Halcyon Blithe, p. 934.

Publishers Weekly, August 1, 2005, review of Midshipwizard Halcyon Blithe, p. 49; October 23, 2006, review of Dragonfrigate Wizard Halcyon Blithe, p. 36.

School Library Journal, February, 2006, Matthew L. Moffett, review of Midshipwizard Halcyon Blithe, p. 158.

Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 2007, Rachelle Bilz, review of Dragonfrigate Wizard Halcyon Blithe, p. 547.


Moby Games Web site,http://www.mobygames.com/ (February 6, 2008), author profile.

O Love's Home Page,http://www.o-love.net/ (February 6, 2008), author profile.