John D. Rateliff

John D. Rateliff is an author of roleplaying games and an independent scholar, specializing in the Inklings, especially Tolkien studies (study of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, particularly his Middle-earth fantasy writings).[1]

Early life and educationEdit

Rateliff moved to Wisconsin in 1981 to study Tolkien's manuscripts at Marquette University.[2] Rateliff is an expert in Tolkien studies,[3] and he earned a Ph.D in 20th-century British literature from Marquette.[4][5]


Rateliff has helped organize several major conferences on Tolkien.[6] He contributed essays to Tolkien's Legendarium (2000) and to a volume marking the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of The Lord of the Rings, and edited The History of The Hobbit (HarperCollins, 2007), an edition of the drafting of Tolkien's The Hobbit with extensive commentary.[6] Having written his dissertation on Lord Dunsany, Rateliff likes to describe his degree as "a Ph.D in fantasy."[6]

He worked for the game companies TSR, Wizards of the Coast, and Hasbro for a number of years, contributing to a large number of products in the Dungeons and Dragons line.[7][8] In addition he worked as a freelancer for Decipher Inc., Green Ronin, White Wolf, Guardians of Order, and Chaosium on a number of projects. At his guest-speaking session at Merpcon IV in 2008, he said that he also worked on an internal TSR project to create a role-playing game based on Tolkien's writings, but it was not completed or released.[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 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]


Children's booksEdit

  • Egypt (Children of the World) (with Valerie Weber and Julie Brown; Gareth Stevens Publishing) (1992)


Studies of works by the InklingsEdit


  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. doi:10.1353/tks.0.0061. S2CID 170130503.
  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 4 October 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