Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Death Announcement - Jim Ward Has Passed

James "Jim" Ward passed on March 18th, 2024 from heart complications and long-term diabetes complications. He was 72 years old.

You can read Jim's Wikipedia entry to see a list of his accomplishments in the gaming field and beyond. There are many.

Below is what Michael "Bad Mike" Badolato shared about Jim via Facebook:

Word has come down tonight that one of the greats in our hobby and a past guest of the con, James Ward, passed away tonight.  Jim was to attend our 2nd con and had to cancel due to having the first of what would be several heart attacks brought on my complications of diabetes. He attended our 3rd year and we had him every year until his health began to make travel impossible. James was a great guy, and excellent guest, and very down to earth. At NTRPG con #4 he sat at my booth for a few hours with me helping me take money, signing parts of my collection, and telling stories about gaming. His Metamorphosis Alpha games were always full and of course the boast was he never killed you, you killed yourselves by your actions, but dammit I think we all thought Jim had it out for us.

There are so many things I could say about Jim, not only the author of Metamorphosis Alpha but many other classicc TSR products. I'll tell you my favorite James Ward interaction. Doug Rhea had gotten word that Jim was going to be a special guest at Rose City Con in Tyler many years ago, Jim had called him and asked if we could meet him there. So Doug decided we were going to go to hang out with Jim, that weekend I jumped in the car with him, my brother, and Zach Glazar and we drove to Tyler. Jim was delighted to see us and invited us to play in his Metamorphosis Alpha game.  First, the con was woefully overbooked and we took one look at the table Jim was supposed to run the game at and Doug said no way, packed in a small room and surrounded on all sides, hot and stuffy and jammed full of humanity. Doug went to the front desk and rented a board room overlooking the lobby, a huge room with a mini fridge and bathroom, that was our headquarters the entire weekend and Jim was our personal DM! He ran his games in the luxury of the room and all of us played with the lucky attendees. 

Now Jim had made known at the beginning of the game (we were space marines exploring an abandoned spaceship) that if you survived three hours in his adventure you got a signed photo card of his, so we all had motivation not to die early. We were extra careful exploring an abandoned spaceship, and I will swear to you Jim was picking on me and trying to kill me, he kept making suggestions to my character (a medic) to enter combat when I only had a pistol and I kept rebuffing him despite Jim (with a twinkle in his eye) suggesting I was a coward and letting my fellow space marines down. I was taking no bullshit from the old man and dodged all his feeble attempts to lure me to my doom and deprive me of the signed card! Soon the entire party was dead except for Zach, Doug, and my characters. I looked at my watch and had 15 minutes to go. I whispered to Zach to follow my lead and asked Jim to tell us some stories about the old days running MA for Gary and friends. So Jim told tales to all three of us until I marked the 15 minutes as up, then said something like "Thanks for the stories, Jim, the three hours are up and we want our signed cards!!!" He started laughing and knew I had conned him but he was magnanimous and gave us all a card.  Then, of course, he killed us all 5 min later with an unescapable trap and we took him to dinner. 

That Rose City Con is to this day one of the best con weekends of my life thanks to Mr. Ward. If you never had the chance to meet him you really missed a nice guy and a great game master. Another piece of our hobby's history is gone and we are all poorer for it. Bad Mike

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