Bruce Cordell bigraphy, stories - Science - Other

Bruce Cordell : biography

1968 -

Bruce Robert Cordell (born 1968) is an American author of roleplaying games and fantasy novels. He won the Origins Award for Return to the Tomb of Horrors and has won several ENnies as well. He lives in Seattle.

Roleplaying work

Cordell worked on freelance game design while working in the scientific field, and was eventually hired as a full time game designer by TSR in 1995. He authored the Sea Devils Adventure Trilogy, The Illithiad, the Shattered Circle, Bastion of Faith, the Dungeon Builder's Guidebook, and the adventures Die Vecna Die!, Return to the Tomb of Horrors, and Return to White Plume Mountain for the AD&D game, as well as the Tangents sourcebook and The Killing Jar adventure for the Alternity game. Cordell was also one of the designers working on the first new adventures for the 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons game, beginning with The Sunless Citadel. He also wrote The Gates of Firestorm Peak (which introduced the Far Realm to D&D).

He won the Origins Award for Return to the Tomb of Horrors, and ENnies for Mindscapes, If Thoughts Could Kill, and his work on the Manual of the Planes. Bruce wrote the novels Oath of Nerull, Lady of Poison, Darkvision, Stardeep, and the Abolethic Sovereignty trilogy. Short stories he's written have appeared in various anthologies, including "Black Arrow" in Realms of War.

Bruce Cordell's RPG work includes many scenarios and sourcebooks; many of which are directly or indirectly concerned with monsters of a Lovecraftian bent (particularly mind flayers and psionics).

Cordell frequently references certain characters, ideas, and organizations in his RPG works, creating a private continuity between various supplements. For example, The Illithiad references the character of Strom Wakeman and the organization known as the Arcane Order (an organization detailed heavily in another of Cordell's works, College of Wizardry). Wakeman was quoted occasionally in Planescape books by Cordell, such as A Guide to the Ethereal Plane, and was instrumental to the course of events in the adventure Dawn of the Overmind (books which were themselves also connected through a phenomenon called an ether gap). Meanwhile, the Arcane Order returned in Tome and Blood as a detailed organization and the basis of a prestige class.

Most of Cordell's work for Malhavoc Press has followed similar patterns, creating a sort of story arc across When the Sky Falls, If Thoughts Could Kill, and Hyperconscious, connected by the god-like Dark Plea and, to a lesser extent, the kureshim race. In an interview with Monte Cook, Cordell himself described his style as including "subtle story threads that connect seemingly unrelated projects".A Talk With Bruce R. Cordell,

Cordell designed the 4th Edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide.

Short stories

  • "Wandering Stones", Realms of the Dead, Forgotten Realms Anthology, January 2010
  • "Black Arrow", Realms of War, Forgotten Realms Compilation, March 2008
  • "Not all that Tempts", Dragon's Return, Malhavoc Press, 2005
  • "Hollows of the Heart", Children of the Rune, Malhavoc Press, 2004

Biographical timeline

  • 1968 - born in Watertown, South Dakota
  • 1992 - received Bachelor of Science in Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology from University of Colorado at Boulder, hired as a Research Associate by NeXstar (since bought out by )
  • 1995 - hired by TSR, Inc. (originally Tactical Studies Rules), the Dungeons & Dragons company, relocated to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
  • 1997 - hired by Wizards of the Coast, relocated to Seattle

Role-playing games

Living octopus

Living octopus

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