John D. Rateliff

John D. Rateliff is an author of roleplaying games and an independent scholar, specializing on the Inklings and in particular Tolkien studies (study of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien).[1]

Early life and educationEdit

Rateliff relocated to Wisconsin in 1981 in order to study original Tolkien manuscripts at Marquette University.[2] Rateliff is an expert in Tolkien studies,[3] and he earned a PhD in 20th-century British literature from Marquette University.[4][5]


John D. Rateliff is an independent scholar who has helped organize several major Tolkien conferences.[6] He has contributed essays to Christopher Tolkien's festschrift (Tolkien's Legendarium) and a volume marking the fiftieth anniversary of The Lord of the Rings, and has published The History of The Hobbit (HarperCollins, 2007), an edition of the original manuscript draft of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit with extensive commentary.[6] Having written his dissertation on Lord Dunsany, he likes to describe his degree as "a Ph.D. in fantasy."[6]

Rateliff worked for TSR, Inc., Wizards of the Coast, and Hasbro for a number of years, contributing to a large number of products of the Dungeons and Dragons line.[7][8] In addition he worked as freelancer for Decipher Inc., Green Ronin, White Wolf, Guardians of Order, and Chaosium on a number of projects . According to his guest speaking session at Merpcon IV in 2008, he stated that he also worked on an internal TSR project to create a Tolkien-based role-playing game, that did not complete release to the public.[9] Rateliff was the co-editor of the third edition D&D Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide (the original d20 System game rules), and has worked on such titles as Mark of Amber, Night Below, Return to the Tomb of Horrors, the Eberron core rulebook, and Decipher's Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game.[6] He is the author of the adventures Standing Stone and Return to the Keep on the Borderlands, as well as co-editor of (and contributor to) d20 Cthulhu.[6]



Tolkien studiesEdit

  • "Early Versions of Farmer Giles of Ham" in Leaves from the Tree: J. R. R. Tolkien's Shorter Fiction, The Tolkien Society (1991)
  • "Rhetorical Strategies in Charles William's Prose Play." in The Rhetoric of Vision: Essays on Charles Williams edited by Charles A. Huttar and Peter J. Schakel (1996)
  • "The Lost Road, The Dark Tower, and The Notion Club Papers: Tolkien and Lewis's Time Travel Triad." in Tolkien's Legendarium: Essays on The History of Middle-earth edited by Verlyn Flieger and Carl F. Hostetter (2000)
  • The History of The Hobbit (2007)[10]


  1. ^ McManus, Kelly (November 24, 2007). "Getting to the bottom of the hobbit's tale". The Globe and Mail. p. D25.
  2. ^ Gillespie, Mike (July 29, 2007). "Hot Type: The History of The Hobbit by John D. Rateliff". Ottawa Citizen. p. C3.
  3. ^ Anderson, Douglas A. (2009). "John D. Rateliff: A Checklist". Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review. 6: 22–26.
  4. ^ "Rings treasures in US library". The Evening Post. January 26, 2002. p. 9.
  5. ^ Antlfinger, Carrie (January 27, 2002). "Marquette University has Tolkien collection: The university bought manuscripts from the British author". Wisconsin State Journal. p. C6.
  6. ^ a b c d e Rateliff, John D. (2007). "Mythos". In Lowder, James (ed.). Hobby Games: The 100 Best. Green Ronin Publishing. pp. 209–212. ISBN 978-1-932442-96-0.
  7. ^ "Books by John Rateliff". Alibris.
  8. ^ "John D. Rateliff". Pen & Paper. Archived from the original on October 4, 2007.
  9. ^ "MerpCon IV (2008) Guest Speakers: John D. Rateliff and Michael Martinez (unedited cam 1 audio) MP3". MerpCon.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Owchar, Nick (December 30, 2007). "Middle-earth evolution". Los Angeles Times. p. R9.

External linksEdit