Ruben Smith-Zempel was made in Oregon. He showed his creativity at an early age, charging his 3rd grade classmates 25 cents for paper and cardboard army vehicles (for the G.I. Joe’s, of course). Thus was born an artist who would never shy away from creating things important to his hobbies.

Now much older and (hopefully) wiser, he has turned his talents and training toward his favorite hobby: board & roleplaying games. When he isn’t playing games, he’s busy turning word documents and paper napkin sketches into fully realized products. And he loves it. Who else can say they regularly use the work in their portfolio?

Today he lives in Portland, OR with his wife and their cats. Too old for Kool-Aid, he is now fueled by coffee and micro-brew.


I believe that functional doesn’t have to mean plain or ugly. There is a beauty in something that performs its function very well. There is an artistry to choosing the proper typeface. It takes skill to combine writing with design elements that compliment the theme of the work. There is joy to be found in the creation of a new book.

I am inspired by the Bauhaus, who taught me to find joy in simplicity. Art Nouveau showed me that intricacy can be beautiful when used correctly. Suprematism taught me the value of color and placement.

And yet I am more than the sum of my education and inspiration. Over a decade of experience has shown me that the RPG industry is a unique beast with unique challenges. Challenges that I enjoy meeting and overcoming. Like any good adventurer.

I smash cars like I smash through deadlines.

I smash cars like I smash through deadlines.