The 2003 Award

The WinnerThe NomineesThe Award Ceremony

The Diana Jones Award committee is proud to announce that its third annual award is given to both Noblis, Second Edition, and Jordan Weisman.

NOBILIS, SECOND EDITION

game_nobilisBy R. Sean Borgstrom
Published by Hogshead Publishing/Guardians of Order

The last game published under James Wallis’s incarnation of Hogshead Publishing, the second edition of Nobilisset new standards for roleplaying games by marrying cutting-edge game design and superb prose style with top-notch product design. It expanded typical game concerns to deal forthrightly with love, loyalty, and morality. It also shattered the $40 price barrier for single-book roleplaying games, declaring that if you want quality work you should be prepared to pay a fair rate for it.

JORDAN WEISMAN

As one of the founders of both FASA and FASA Interactive, Jordan has long been a successful, driving force in the adventure game industry. After selling FASA Interactive to Microsoft, Jordan moved from Chicago to Seattle to work for Microsoft’s entertainment software division. He reentered adventure gaming in 2001 with Mage Knight, which altered miniatures gaming as we knew it. In 2002, his new company, WizKids, released more of their patent-pending clicky-base games, taking the industry by storm. Recently, Jordan helped sell WizKids to Topps, ensuring even more mass-market exposure for his company’s creations.

The committee considered a list of almost twenty nominations for the third annual Diana Jones Award. The following seven (shown in alphabetical order) make up this year’s shortlist:

JORDAN WEISMAN

As one of the founders of both FASA and FASA Interactive, Jordan has long been a successful, driving force in the adventure game industry. After selling FASA Interactive to Microsoft, Jordan moved from Chicago to Seattle to work for Microsoft’s entertainment software division. He reentered adventure gaming in 2001 with Mage Knight, which altered miniatures gaming as we knew it. In 2002, his new company, WizKids, released more of their patent-pending clicky-base games, taking the industry by storm. Recently, Jordan helped sell WizKids to Topps, ensuring even more mass-market exposure for his company’s creations.

MONTE COOK

Monte has worked in the adventure games industry since 1990, when he started as an editor for Iron Crown Enterprises. After years of overseeing their Hero Games line, he moved to Wisconsin to take a job with TSR. After Wizards of the Coast bought TSR, Monte relocated to Seattle, where he was put on the team charged with creating Dungeons & Dragons, Third Edition. Monte left Wizards in 2001 to start up a new publishing company, Malhavoc Press. Starting out as a PDF publisher, he quickly signed an agreement with Sword & Sorcery Studios to bring his work into print. His work for Wizards and Malhavoc has placed him squarely at the top of the d20 System heap.

NEVERWINTER NIGHTS

By Bioware Corp.
Published by Atari

Over the years, many computer and platform-based roleplaying games have claimed to be like the real thing, but none has succeeded so well as Neverwinter Nights. The fact that it uses the Dungeons & Dragons, Third Edition, rules firmly plants its feet in the adventure gaming industry, but its real innovation is how it grants players the ability to not only design their own adventures but also moderate them as a Dungeon Master.

NOBILIS, SECOND EDITION

By R. Sean Borgstrom
Published by Hogshead Publishing/Guardians of Order

The last game published under James Wallis’s incarnation of Hogshead Publishing, the second edition of Nobilis set new standards for roleplaying games by marrying cutting-edge game design and superb prose style with top-notch product design. It expanded typical game concerns to deal forthrightly with love, loyalty, and morality. It also shattered the $40 price barrier for single-book roleplaying games, declaring that if you want quality work you should be prepared to pay a fair rate for it.

NYAMBE

By Chris Dolunt
Published by Atlas Games

Arguably the finest of the d20 System sourcebooks released last year, this book brought a mythic version of Africa directly to your fantasy roleplaying game, finally dragging it out of medieval Europe. In doing so, it highlighted the best part of the d20 System/Open Game License: the ability to bring fresh and original settings to a large audience.

THE RIDDLE OF STEEL

By Jake Norwood, et al
Published by Driftwood Publishing

Starting with a grassroots, internet-based marketing campaign, The Riddle of Steel is a stellar example of how a rookie designer with little publishing experience can enter the roleplaying game industry with a splash. The mechanics are notable for their extremely realistic take on combat, but the most innovative part of the game is how players can use their characters’ spiritual attributes to directly and emphatically affect how well they fight.

UNKNOWN ARMIES, SECOND EDITION

By Greg Stolze and John Tynes
Published by Atlas Games

In its first edition, Unknown Armies relentless concentration on individual, personal responsibility and consequences, married to its inventive, original, and wholly American occult background, created an alchemical blend that energized personal horror gaming for the 21st century. The second edition is cleaner and sleeker than ever, making it even more accessible for players new to this gem.

The third annual Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming was presented to its two winners: Nobilis, Second Edition, and Jordan Weisman, founder of both FASA and WizKids. The ceremony was held on 23rd July 2003, the evening before the Gen Con convention (‘the four best days in gaming’) opened in Indianapolis for the first time.

The ceremony took place at the high point of the Diana Jones Industry and Freelancer Party. The DJA committee made the arrangements and lined up sponsorships from Adept PressFast Forward EntertainmentGen Con LLCGreen Ronin PublishingHolistic Design Inc.Human Head StudiosSacred Cheese Productions, and WizKids. A hearty thanks also to the fine folks at ProFantasy who bought a round for the entire bar midway through the evening.

Since Nobilis was up for the award this year, DJA chair James Wallis (former head of Hogshead Publishing, the first publisher of Nobilis, Second Edition) had long since recused himself from the process. As one of the few known members of the committee, Matt Forbeck handled the duties of the master of ceremonies. Last year’s winner, Ron Edwards, presented the award first to Jordan Weisman, who accepted it graciously, adding it to the many accolades he and his company have received this year.

Ron then announced the award for Nobilis, Second Edition. Since neither James nor the game’s author, R. Sean Borgstrom, were able to attend the ceremony, Ken Hite stood up and read a short speech prepared by each of them. Afterward, Mark MacKinnon (president of Guardians of Order, the current publisher of Nobilis) made a few kind remarks too.

Thanks to all who attended, to the event staff at Jillian’s, and to the ceremony’s sponsors, who paid for all the ‘free’ drinks.