GMs have competed at game cons all across the realm. Only a select few have had the mettle to prevail and be named an Iron Contender. They have imaginations of steel, creativity of titanium, table management skills of platinum, and nerves of partially depleted uranium. Here they stand.
The Iron GM contenders will vie for the Iron GM World Championship at Gen Con. There are fabulous prizes. Infinite glory. Riches will rain down to the point where the winner will be like, “Ow, could we ease up on the raining of riches a bit? I just caught an electrum piece in the eye.” The gods themselves will affix the victor’s likeness in the firmament.
There is, actually, a pretty amazing prize on the line. Let’s let Lou Agresta, he of the atomic-tangerine-hued tuxedo, explain:
“We’re also giving away a really cool prize to the Iron GM World Champion at Gen Con this year. We raffled it off to a player for the very first time at Dex Con this year, but we’re doing it again for the winner at the World Championship at Gen Con. Get this: the artist Aaron Acevedo (Savage Mojo, Pinnacle) and the Ennie award winning art team for both those companies are going to paint the winner of Iron GM into a high fantasy poster. Imagine the winning Iron GM envisioned and rendered as a paladin or a death knight or whatever they want, slaying a dragon, etc. We’ll take reference photos after the event and then a month or so later — wallah! High fantasy art immortalization!”
Now, let’s meet the contenders (and the reigning champ)!
Name: Joshua Ferraiuolo
GM name: I gave you my name already.
Home realm: Brooklyn, NY
How many years GMing: 12
Special GM talents: I read the manuals cover-to-cover for fun so that I may explore the world and system. Understanding both the game and the players’ needs leads to a tailored game for those I GM.
Why I want to be the next Iron GM: I enjoy making people happy, that is why I like being a GM. A GM gets to weave an experience with the purpose to entertain as well as the chance to explore ideas the way other forms of media do but in a personal way. Winning Iron GM would help me continue doing what I love while being able to share it with more people.
Why I WILL be crowned the next Iron GM: The same reason I won Iron GM Regionals; I still cannot spell the word “not win.”
Reigning Iron GM
Name: Erik Frankhouse
GM Name: Iron GM Necessary Evil
Home realm: Milwaukee
How many years GMing: 21 years
Special GM Talents: I don’t need to prep. I think on my feet and most of all I can read a player in minutes not years.
Why I want to be the next Iron GM: Why not get a perfect score 2 years in a row.
Why I WILL be crowned the next Iron GM: I am THE master storyteller.
Name: Ben Gabriel Mandall
GM name: Gomai
Home realm: Scottsdale, Arizona
How many years GMing: 16
Special GM talents: Improvisation. Flexibility. Creativity. Most of all, a sense of fun.
Why I want to be the next Iron GM: I consider the ability to run a truly excellent RPG a skill, similar to any other. This is a skill that is important to me and which I have dedicated a significant amount of time to improving. Becoming the holder of the Iron GM title would be a true test of and an acknowledgement for those skills.
Why I WILL be crowned the next Iron GM: In addition to my regular gaming groups I have been taking time to train for Iron GM by practicing under similar conditions with different groups of players during the months leading up to this event. I am ready and able to deliver a truly first-class gaming session for the players at my table.
Name: Nik Palmer
GM name: Dr. Nik
Home realm: Enfield, NH
How many years GMing: 33
Special GM talents: Telepathic Empathy. Telekinetic dice manipulation. Psychic suggestion.
Why I want to be the next Iron GM: Join the ranks of the winners. Acquire the loot. Achieve the prestige.
Why I WILL be crowned the next Iron GM: I serve the players and deliver their dream game.