Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel

Gwendolyn Kestrel’s passion is gaming. She started working in the gaming industry in the mid-90s running small, regional conventions with a group of other avid gamers. She’d been to dozens of regional conventions to game. One of the most memorable during this time was a Historicon. She was the only woman at the convention that year. She showed up to a Napoleonics game she eagerly anticipated after having played a variety of battles over the years in home games. The game moderator looked at her curiously and asked “Can I help you? Are you looking for your boyfriend?” “No, I’ve a ticket for this game.” “No, you don’t understand. This is a historic wargame.” Gwen’s very happy the gaming community has changed a great deal since then.

Her first real employment in the industry was as the events and promotions person for Mayfair Games. After a brief time at Wargames West, she went to work at Andon as the Event Manager for Origins and GenCon. Andon’s parent company, Wizards of the Coast, shifted the team from Ohio to Seattle.

Not long after, Gwen shifted to a role as an RPG editor for Dungeons & Dragons game books. While growing and developing in her editing role at Wizards, she regularly freelanced design work for companies in the evening and on weekends. She wrote D&D website articles, Magic: The Gathering short stories, and The Book of Erotic Fantasy for Valar Project.

Eventually, she joined the design team at Wizards. On her first day as a professional game designer, she sported a false mustache because there had been the running joke in the office that “Game Designers have facial hair; Game Developers are clean shaven.” She’s quick to stomp on sexism and gender role assumptions (just ask her what bothered her the most about the recent Wonder Woman movie).

After leaving Wizards of the Coast, she continued to be active with freelance work in the industry.

Last year, she and her husband, Andy Collins, collaborated on a haunt for the Betrayal at House on the Hill expansion "Widow’s Walk". She also wrote an adventure for Frog God Games published in The Lost Lands: Adventures in the Borderland Provinces.

This year, she did a bit of editing for Undead Lab’s State of Decay.