Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Who wrote the Fiend Folio? The final chapter




Author Notes

Oracle, Underworld


Apparition, Death dog, Enveloper, Gibberling, Huecuva

“Underworld Oracle” is obviously a pseudonym. My guess is that it represents the duo of Lou Nisbet and Phil Alexander, who co-published/co-edited the Scottish zine of the same name before a falling out. Lou Nisbet is otherwise a cipher, but Phil Alexander also has a couple Alarums & Excursion credits and one in the UK wargame mag Phoenix.

Patterson, Mary



Some work in one issue of the zine Illusionist’s Vision.

Pulsipher, Lewis


Bat (giant), Denzelian, Elemental princes of evil [x5], Poltergeist

One of the more prolific article writers in the early days of RPGs, with numerous pieces in Adventure Gaming, Alarums & Excursions, Dragon, White Dwarf, Chimaera, Different Worlds, The Dungeoneer, Dungeoneers Journal, Gameplay, Games International, The Hobbit Hole, Imagine, News from Bree, Pegasus, Sorcerer’s Apprentice, The Space Gamer, Trollcrusher, and probably other mags that I missed. I can’t find any RPG product credits for him beyond articles in periodicals.

Several boardgame design credits include Britannia, Sea Kings, Hyborian Risk, Valley of the Four Winds, Stalingrad Beseiged, and Dragonrage

Author of Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish. Teaches game design at the college level. Has his own youtube channel on the subject. Also has his own webpage.

Reynolds, Colin



Some articles in White Dwarf.

Riggs, Nicholas



No further info available.

Roberts, Mike


Hound of ill omen, Tentamort

No further info available.

Schick, Lawrence


Aarakocra, Kelpie, Khargra, Tabaxi

Former head of development at TSR. Hired Tom Moldvay. Most famous D&D credit is the module S2 White Plume Mountain. Had his hand in several other TSR projects, perhaps most notably the Slavers modules and Star Frontiers. Also wrote the adventure Eternity, Inc for the DC Heroes rpg and Divine Intervention, one half of Double Adventure 6 for Traveller.

Author of Heroic Worlds, A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games, which is my favorite reference book on the early hobby.

Later went into video games. Worked for Coleco during the first video games boom, later went to MicroProse. Former America Online executive. Did work on The Elder Scrolls Online.

Scurfield, Bob



Contributor to Treasure Chest article (ongoing reader submission column for magic items, NPCs, and other small bits and bobs)  in White Dwarf #12.

Shaw, Simon



Contributor to Treasure Chest article in White Dwarf #14.

Shearer, Guy



No further info available.

Shepherd, Rik


Dark creeper, Kenku

One credit in the Call of Cthulhu fanzine Dagon. I cannot confirm that the same Rik Shepherd is responsible for this delightful website.

Stollery, Martin


Mephit [x4]

Contributions in a couple of issues of The Beholder zine.

Stross Charles


Death knight, Githyanki, Githzerai, Slaad [x7]

White Dwarf #33 contains his write-up of Zytra, Demon Lord of Mind Flayers.

Hugo-award winning sci-fi/fantasy author best known for his Merchant Princess and Laundry Files series of novels. The latter was turned into a licensed rpg by Cubicle 7.

Sweet, David


Dragon (oriental)[x6]

A.k.a. Dave Sweet. Article on Chinese undead in Dragon #26. At least one article in e-zine Chaosium Digest. Later did art for the Fading Suns rpg line.

Taylor, David


Ettercap, Goldbug, Hellcat

Created the Mindweb, a gestalt monster appearing in White Dwarf #14.

Tilbrook, Simon


Flail snail, Necrophidius

Also wrote up the Phung, a mantis-headed monster from a Jack Vance novel, in White Dwarf #18. There’s a retired history teacher with this name whose twitter account has a still from Monty Python and the Holy Grail on display, so I’m going to assume that’s our man.

Torchia, Andrew



No further info available.

Waring, Dave



A.k.a. David Waring. Contributor to Alarums & Excursions, Trollcrusher, Demonsblood, and the Diplomacy/postal game zines Gallimaufry and The Tinamou.

Waugh, Ian



Created the Pervert character class published in White Dwarf #1. Another credit in wargame magazine The Phoenix.

Wells, Jean


Caryatid column, Giant (fog)

TSR employee from ‘79 to ‘81, during which time she answered questions in Dragon’s Sage Advice column, among other things. Edited B2 The Keep on the Borderlands. Perhaps best known today as the author of the original version of B3 Palace of the Silver Princess, which WotC published as a free pdf back in 2000. Print copies of this rare item now go for thousands of dollars.

Her PC Ceatitle, a 10th level magic-user, appears in the accessory The Rogues Gallery. Wells did the layout for that work.

Died in 2012.

White, Neville


Qullan, Shadow demon, Stunjelly

A.k.a. Alex White, a.k.a. Neville Alexander White. Article in Trollcrusher. Operates a one man game company called Plane Sailing Games.

Wood, Steve



There are a couple of Steve Woods with credits in the hobby. Not sure if the Fiend Folio author is any of them.

Wormell, David


Mantari, Sheet ghoul, Sheet phantom

No further info available.

Wyndham, Jeff


Dire corby

No further info available.

I'm thinking someone needs to write an adventure where the two-headed Oracle of the Underworld sends the PCs on a quest where they encounter Apparitions, Death dogs, an Enveloper, Gibberlings, and a Huecuva.


  1. Particularly interesting lot this time around. I didn't know Jean Wells had passed away, sorry to hear that. Neville White's got some interesting games over on his site. I note that the Orange monkey website does have a contact email provided if you wanted to confirm that it's the same Rik Shepherd - and I agree, that sight is an absolute treasure. Lew Pulsipher might have written for Nexus and maybe Captain's Log as well, but I may be misremembering. As you said, he was all over the place back in the day.

  2. Neat series of posts.

  3. Jean Wells died?! Ugh!

  4. I had not realized that, by monster count, I was one of the most prolific of the Fiend Folio authors. The Archomentals certainly gained a life of their own, even an entry in Wikipedia.

    1. Apparently Lew is still all over the place. :)

      Was I right about you writing for Nexus too, or am I conflating my profligate 80's gaming authors?

    2. So long ago, I don't recall all the zines I wrote for! Nexus doesn't strike a bell. . . and my list only specifies article title, not magazine.

  5. This thread on ODD74 may be of interest: Fiend Folio: Sources & Uses. It notes all of the original White Dwarf issues and TSR modules in which the monsters appeared, and some subsequent uses by TSR. There is also a post noting the monsters appearing in early White Dwarf issues that did *not* make it into the Fiend Folio.

  6. I wonder if Charles Stross ever had friendly chat with GRRM about the whole githyanki business...