Monte Cook is a professional game designer of great renown in the field of table-top role-playing games.
Cook has been a professional game designer since 1988, working primarily on role-playing games; much of his early work was for Iron Crown Enterprises. During this period, he attracted fan and critical attention with the popular multigenre setting Dark Space. Eventually he took a job at TSR Hobbies, where he was a major contributor to the Planescape product line. Shortly thereafter, TSR encountered financial difficulties and was purchased by Wizards of the Coast. Under Wizards of the Coast, Cook was given the project that is now probably his main claim to fame - working as one of the three primary authors, along with Skip Williams and Jonathan Tweet, of the third edition of Dungeons & Dragons (and thus the d20 System as well). Cook contributed mainly to this edition's Dungeon Master's Guide, of which he is the credited author.
Cook left Wizards of the Coast in 2002 and started Malhavoc Press to write material for the d20 System independently. Malhavoc's first product, The Book of Eldritch Might, was an immediate success and is widely credited with demonstrating the viability of PDF publishing within the role-playing industry. This and other early Malhavoc products were initially released only in electronic format, though print versions of most of them have since been released by White Wolf Publishing.
He caused controversy in mid-2004 by exclusively selling his electronic d20 material with the DriveThruRPG.com store, which then used only the privacy-protected DRM PDF system. He eventually succumbed to pressure from his customers to sell his products in standard-PDF form, and DriveThruRPG has more recently done the same.
Malhavoc released Ptolus, a campaign setting based on his home game which was used as the playtest campaign for the third edition designers, in August of 2006. A huge book (roughly 700 pages, a figure which more than doubles if the accompanying CD-ROM is taken into consideration) featuring some of the highest production values ever seen in the role-playing industry, Ptolus has enjoyed considerable success despite retailing for approximately $120 US, an unheard-of price for a roleplaying product.
Shortly after the release of Ptolus, which Cook has often described as the culmination of his original ambitions for Malhavoc, he announced that he would be focusing on writing fiction and other forms of creative work he has not yet specified, rather than role-playing games, for the foreseeable future.
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