Jim Butler knew he was hooked on Dungeons & Dragons the first time he sat in his pickup truck in 1983 writing adventures and world materials for his gaming group. It was about 20-below outside, and the wild Wyoming winds were rocking the truck like a rowboat in the North Atlantic. While he couldn’t do much about the winds, he did run an extension cord from the garage to his truck, allowing him to plug in a portable heater to keep from freezing to death.
Since those glorious frozen days of yesteryear, Jim graduated high school (Go Camels!) and received degrees in both English and Business. While attending Gen Con in 1991, Jim availed himself on Bruce Heard (who was in charge of assigning freelance work for TSR). Shortly after returning to Wyoming, Bruce called him and gave him some ‘emergency freelance work,’ which was just a polite way of saying it needed to be done yesterday. From there, Jim was ultimately hired full-time by TSR and moved to Lake Geneva, WI, where he went on to edit and design a number of products at both TSR and, ultimately, Wizards of the Coast.
While at Wizards of the Coast, Jim served as Brand Manager and Creative Director of both the D&D Worlds (Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Dark Sun, and others) and the science fiction ‘experiment’ known as Alternity. He also plotted out the revised Forgotten Realms campaign setting (along with folks like Ed Greenwood, Richard Baker, Sean Reynolds, Julia Martin, Steven Schend, and others) to match up with the new 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons game. As Director of Licensing, he worked with companies like Interplay and Bioware on titles like Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Icewind Dale, and others.
When Hasbro bought Wizards and transferred licensing operations to their corporate offices in the Pawtucket, RI, Jim talked to some investors and started Bastion Press. From 2001 through much of 2006, Bastion produced gaming products under the d20 system trademark license (part of the Open Gaming License he worked on developing with Ryan Dancey, Cindi Rice, Keith Strohm, David Wise, and others while back at Wizards).
From there, the lure of Dungeons & Dragons called him to Boston where he served as director of product marketing for Dungeons & Dragons Online and The Lord of the Rings Online. Jim is now Sr. Director of Brand Marketing for RIFT (produced by Trion Worlds).He left Wizards of the Coast in 2001 after managing the licensing relationship for Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro for all of the various D&D computer games. From there he established Bastion Press, the name originating from his campaign world he has been writing about since those cold Wyoming winters of so long ago. He currently lives in Seattle, Washington with his dog (Storm) and an assortment of colorful characters he calls good friends.
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