Industry Guests

OrcaCon is excited to have the following Guests of Honor and Special Guest for our 2019 show. This list will grow over time, and if you have a suggestion, you can submit it to us on our Guest Suggestion Form or email

Guests of Honor

Katherine Cross

Katherine Cross is a Ph.D. student in Sociology at the CUNY Graduate Centre in New York, and a contributing columnist to Gamasutra. Her work has focused on everything from game design to community management to online harassment. As a social and gaming critic, her work has appeared in numerous publications worldwide, including Rolling Stone, Bitch Magazine, The Baffler, Time, The Verge, Polygon, First Person Scholar, and The Daily Beast. She is also a sought-after thinker on technology whose commentary has appeared on NPR, ABC Radio National, Le Monde, and Dagens Nyheter among others. Recently, she has begun to enter the world of game design, contributing writing and scenarios to games like the Pathfinder RPG and Eclipse Phase. She yearns for the robot uprising and is currently writing a book on the subject.

Jeremy Crawford

Jeremy Crawford is the lead rules developer of Dungeons & Dragons at Wizards of the Coast, as well as the game’s managing editor. He is the co-lead designer of 5th edition, the lead designer of its Player’s Handbook, and the co-lead designer of its Dungeon Master’s Guide. Over the past decade, he has worked on numerous books for the game, spanning all its editions. Before coming to Wizards, he co-designed the Blue Rose roleplaying game and wrote for Mutants & Masterminds and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. He can be reached on Twitter (@JeremyECrawford), where he continues the Sage Advice tradition.

Artist Guest of Honor

Liz Courts

Liz Courts – Liz blames her brother for all of this. An avid gamer for almost thirty years, Liz has worked on over 70 different RPG products, helped organize the first unofficial PaizoCon, started and headed the Wayfinder fanzine for its first four issues, went on to work for Paizo after being a member of its community for five years, and is now a mostly organic, free range freelancer. Liz also likes art, baking, coffee, and all things ninja, but not always in that order. She is not a werewolf.

Special Guests

Shana Bryant

Shana T Bryant – Producer and 15-year industry veteran, Shana T Bryant has successfully completed the Capcom, Midway Games, and Electronic Arts quests. Shana has had a hand in crafting some of your favorite games in the Devil May Cry and Resident Evil series (and might’ve even canceled a few). Shana is currently producing a new round of amazing, soon-to-be-announced coolness at Private Division (Take-Two Interactive) in Seattle.

Shana is a published author and avid comic artist, expounding ideas with a spoonful of charm and a touch of snark. She won’t stop talking about inclusivity in design and mentors on career management for underrepresented professionals. Her 2nd book contribution is Game Devs & Others: Tales from the Margins (2018, edited by Tanya DePass).

For a deeper look, check her blog and her comic at Twitter: @mushrooQueendom and @terribleallies

Sylvia Artiga

Sylvia Artiga is the founder and curator of ¿Cómo Se Dice Nerd? (@comosedicenerd), an online space dedicated to celebrating Latinx nerds and our contributions to art, music, and pop culture. CSDN hosts Twitter chats, panels, maker’s jams, and monthly meet ups to connect Latinxs and build a positive, geeky, innovative community. She’s been featured on blogs, podcasts, and panels, discussing Latinidad, the power of storytelling, and personal development, and writes the “Job Points” series, drawing career advice from video games. She can be found on Twitter (@sylviausedrest), swooning over Poe Dameron or sharing the latest shenanigans of her D&D group

Mike Pondsmith

Mike Pondsmith is an American roleplaying, board, and video game designer. He is best known
for his work for the publisher R. Talsorian Games, where he developed a majority of the
company’s role-playing game lines since the company’s foundation in 1982. Pondsmith is
credited as an author of several RPG lines, including Mekton (1984), Cyberpunk (1988) and
Castle Falkenstein (1994). He also contributed to the Forgotten Realms and Oriental Adventures
lines of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, worked in various capacities on video
games and authored or co-created several board games. Pondsmith also worked as an instructor
at the DigiPen Institute of Technology. For more information, please visit Mike’s wiki page.

Cody Pondsmith

Cody Pondsmith was born into a gaming family and started designing games in elementary school. He
collects swords and other pre-black powder weapons and is competent with a disturbingly large number
of these, although his favorite is the Mongolian recurved bow. All this has come in very handy while
working on the Witcher Table Top Game as well as dealing with any neckers lurking around his

Sarah Gulde

Sarah Gulde is the organizer of NERD CAMP, a Portland mini-con that focuses on diversity and inclusiveness with a healthy dose of fun! She has appeared on panels at Emerald City Comic Con, Rose City Comic Con, GeekGirlCon, Norwescon, and Westercon, and was the recipient of the 2014 John Andrews Memorial Scholarship to attend Worldcon in London. She’s a ginormous Star Trek fan and also enjoys Pokemon GO, room escapes, road trips, and too many other fandoms to list here.


Alex is an artist and game designer who puts together tabletop shows for Twitch

Crystal Frasier

Crystal Frasier is a writer, game developer, and graphic designer with eighteen years’ experience, best known for her work on the Pathfinder line of roleplaying games and adventures. She strives to make games worlds where everyone can see themselves reflected. She is a survivor of both the Art Institute of Seattle and New College of Florida, and pulls heavy inspiration for her work from European, Central American, and African history as well as the works of L. Frank Baum and Lewis Caroll. In her free time, Crystal reads comics, plays with her dog, and obsessively rewatches old cartoons from the 80s and 90s.

Joseph Carriker

Joseph Carriker is a game developer for Green Ronin, having helmed A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying for several years, as well as working on other games such as Fantasy AGE and the Critical Role: Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting books. He has worked in the gaming industry for over fifteen years, including doing work for Wizards of the Coast, White Wolf, and Onyx Path Publishing during that time. He is an outspoken queer gamer, having helped found the annual Queer as a Three-Sided Die panels at Gen Con and other conventions. He is also novelist, having recently published his first novel, Sacred Band, about a team of LGBTQ superheroes. Joseph lives in Portland, Oregon with his fiancé A.J.

Jaym Gates

Jaym Gates is an editor, author, and project manager based in Seattle. She has edited titles including Broken Time Blues, Upside Down, Strange California, Legends of Strategy, Eclipse Phase: After the Fall, Genius Loci, and War Stories. Her fiction has appeared in Goldfish Grimm, Grendelsong, M-Brane SF, and many more, as well as in her short story collection, Shattered Queen. She acquires and develops fiction for Falstaff Books and other clients. She is the Line Manager for Nisaba Press, and Green Ronin’s Editorial Coordinator. You can find out more about her at, or on Twitter as @JaymGates.

Steve Kenson

Steve Kenson has been an RPG author and designer since 1995 and has worked on numerous book and games, including Mutants & Masterminds, Freedom City, and Blue Rose for Green Ronin Publishing. He has written nine RPG tie-in novels and also runs his own imprint, Ad Infinitum Adventures, which publishes material for Icons Superpowered Roleplaying. Steve maintains a website and blog at

Nicole Jekich

Nicole Jekich is a passionate game designer and tabletop community organizer in Seattle, WA. For the past four years, she has shared her tabletop gaming experiences and support of indie games on her site, AcrossTheBoardGames.Net. Food is her other passion and she is always looking to bring people together around gaming and food. Nicole is a co-designer on Food Truck Champion- a competitive card game that includes some of her favorite foods (like lumpia)! You can find Nicole running community events and playtesting local games with playtestNW and collaborating on cool projects and games for her company WhiskeyGinger. Join her at Orca Con and enjoy demos from a curated selection of her favorites games! Twitter: @njekich @board_crossing Websites:

Jess Hartley

Jess Hartley – For the last 15 years, Jess Hartley has been an avid novelist/writer/editor/game creator in the tabletop game industry. She helped create the award-winning Changeling: The Lost for Onyx Path, as well as other game lines in the World of Darkness (PrometheanMage, WerewolfHunter and more). She has also had the pleasure of working for Margaret Weis Productions, John Wick Presents, and Magpie Games, as well as other industry giants. Jess is an enthusiastic LARPer and board/card game player, with a particular fondness for silly games as well as those that involve cooperation, collaboration, and deep moral conundrums (much like life!)
Jess makes her home in the Pacific Northwest, where she dwells with her husband/technical support Viking, Valkyrie-daughter, and a veritable menagerie of other interesting animals. In her copious (LOL!) spare time, she enjoys crafting, cooking, watching very polite people bake competitively, and reading a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction genres. Her favorite color is green, and her favorite number is 3.
Gabriel de los Angeles
Gabriel de los Angeles is a Snoqualmie tribal member and PhC in Learning Science and Human Development at the University of Washington. His research interests are development across the life course through play and learning in informal environments. His life combines his love of popular culture, fandom, and games with nearly two decades of experience with fan-made events and community organizations around the world. He examines these things through equity, equality and indigenous philosophies.
Amanda Hamon-Kunz
Amanda Hamon Kunz is the Development Coordinator at Paizo Inc. and an ENnie award-winning tabletop game developer and editor. At Paizo, she works on the Pathfinder RPG is co-designer of the Starfinder RPG.  Her freelance writing, development, editing, and game design has appeared in products from publishers including Paizo, Kobold Press, Hammerdog Games, Zombie Sky Press, and others. In addition to waxing nerdy about fantasy worldbuilding traditions and theory, she has spoken extensively about the intersectionality of feminism and gaming. You can find Amanda on Twitter at @amandahamon.

Lynne Hardy

Lynne Hardy – Although I trained as a biomedical research scientist and spent many years as a lecturer at a local further education college, I am now a full time freelance writer, editor, games designer & educator.
Over the years I’ve worked on many games, including SLA Industries, Dying Earth, Victoriana 3e, Achtung! Cthulhu (where I was the lead designer, writer & editor on their Kickstarter project), Katanas & Trenchcoats, 13th Age, and my own steampunk game, Cogs, Cakes & Swordsticks.

I’ve been gaming (tabletop and LARP) for more years than I care to admit, and I also teach embroidery and crafts to community groups of all ages!

Wes Schneider

F. Wesley Schneider is co-creator of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, and author of dozens of Pathfinder and Dungeons & Dragons adventures and accessories. Beyond roleplaying games, he’s written a variety of short stories, video game dialog, and tabletop game designs.

Wes has strong opinions about horror, world-building, and storytelling, and has spoken at length on inclusivity and LGBTQ topics in gaming—most notably at Gen Con’s annual Queer as a Three-Sided Die series.

His novel, Bloodbound, released in December 2015, while his most recent major roleplaying offerings include The Hellfire Compact and In Search of Sanity from Paizo Inc. Wes lives outside Seattle with his husband and a particularly unlucky black cat.

Eric Starker

Eric Starker is one of the founders and the community manager of Queer Geek! Seattle (, an organization centered around LGBTQ social activities and networking around geeky topics, operating since 2012. He’s organized monthly arcade and board game meetups for several years and helped out with the annual Pink Party during PAX. In his spare time, he also writes freelance for Queerspace Magazine (formerly Jetspace) around LGBTQ geek and kink topics. He’s also worked a bit in the games space, as a community manager for Orbyt Play (streaming games festival) and for Promethium Marketing for various video games. His current day job is as a community manager for Microsoft for the Tech Community (an IT Pro community). He’s attended OrcaCon every year as a member and is excited to be here for the first time as a guest!

Jordan Bouray

Jordan Bouray is a relative newcomer to the writing side of the gaming world, with an upcoming project on the 7th Sea line through John Wick Presents, but has been gaming for years and years untold.  They bring a somewhat unusual approach to gaming, with lived experiences as a disabled, agender person of Asian decent.

Bianca Anderson is a writer, gamer, and unapologetic angry black lady. She spent six years in the AAA gaming industry in talent acquisition and user experience, before choosing to leave a pursue a new path. Bianca is vocal and passionate about about the intersection of marginalized identities and the representation thereof in geekdom – both in media and in broader geek culture. She believes in the power of a bold lip, cute clothes, strong words, and unbridled enthusiasm.

Kiva Maginn – Kiva is the Lead Designer for BattleTech at Harebrained Schemes, where she’s making giant robots fight and making their pilots kiss. She’s been in the video game industry for 15 years, doing game system design and battling her impostor syndrome. She’s worked on large-scale MMOs and tiny mobile games and all the stuff in between, and been an engineer, a designer, and for a brief and terrible few months, an artist. She collects old and obscure RPG systems like other people collect comics. You can follow her at @HBS_thratchen, or follow her game at She is friendly, has had her shots, and does not bite.