The Brute Squad

Kevin “Grimthorn F. Redbeard” Stallard –Track Director

Kevin has been speaking on panels at Dragon Con since 2002, when he was (literally) pulled out of the audience to speak about EverQuest.  (You can blame Trevor for that.)  Starting as a MUD developer in the early 90’s (Star Wars MUD, RealmsMUD), continuing as a Guide in EverQuest, taking a bit of time to do some early beta testing on World of Warcraft, and finally winding up as a columnist, Kevin has done a little bit of everything from development to testing to customer service, to high-end raiding.  Occasionally, Kevin appears on podcasts and radio shows as a guest in order to talk about Dragon Con and Video Games in general. (The rest of the team tries to warn the general public in advance of these appearances because 4 days of Kevin at Dragon Con is quite enough, thank you.)

 


Mike Capps- Co-Director and Spiritual Advisor

Mike was President of Epic Games until 2012 when he decided to take on a REAL video game challenge and work with the Video Gaming Track at Dragon Con. I mean, ANYONE could work on titles like Unreal Tournament or Gears of War, but it takes serious talent to work with this crew. Mike works with Kevin, and the rest of the team, throughout the year on our guests and programming and helps us look “respectable” to polite society. (Mike, thank you for all you and Julianne do for us. We’re grateful, but if I didn’t snark, you wouldn’t feel like part of the family. -K)

 


Trevor “Palehorse” Legg – Assistant Track Director

Trevor has been involved in gaming panels at Dragon*Con for nearly a decade. Way back when EverQuest and Ultima Online were the only games in town (at least as far as MMO’s go), Trevor was running MMO panels as part of the EFF track (which still claims to run online gaming, much to our annoyance). In 2002, as part of a panel on EverQuest, he recognized a loud-mouthed smartass in the audience as a classmate of his from high school and convinced him to participate as a panelist for the next couple of years. Who knew that he would be responsible for unleashing Grim on the rest of Dragon*Con? (ed: Yeah, Grim wrote this… consider it incentive to write your own bio. That goes for the rest of you as well!)

 


Amanda “Heisenberg” Howell – Team Lead – Makers Programming

To the people that know her best, Amanda is an avid gamer and has been since she can remember. She first started online gaming with MUDs for around eight years and worked as a Guide and a Guild Administrator. However, she decided it was time to call it quits when she started having nightmares in text. Amanda briefly tried playing World of Warcraft, Everquest, and Eve Online, but after getting used to paragraph long descriptions and roleplay required games nothing could keep her interest for long. Perhaps one day a post-apocalyptic MMO will come around that doesn’t suck quite as hard as Infestation.

 


Dawn “Ruthless” Harvey – Team Lead – Fan Programming

Being the youngest out of nine kids Dawn always had some type of gaming console in her house. Starting her off with classic pc games like Battle Chess Dawn’s father helped her love for gaming grow and when he came home with the PlayStation she was hooked. From there her love for gaming has only gotten bigger. Playing WoW since vanilla, finding her true love with Mass Effect, a Sony fan girl through and through, and meeting her husband who has the same passion for gaming as she does her life mostly revolves around gaming. Her personal love has now carried over into her work life as being a new store manger for GameStop where she gets to talk about gaming with the masses! Still a somewhat noob to Dragon*Con her first year there made her feel at home and vowed than and there to go every year. Being fun, caring, compassionate, and always positive you will never be without a smile when she’s around. (Don’t worry, we’ll fix THAT in a hurry. -Grim)


Jason “Captain ‘Murica” Gonding – Team Lead – Main Programming

Jason boasts a goatee WITH a full head of hair that must be rectified before the next Dragon Con.

(Seriously, one or the other is getting shaved.)

Jason is an avid gamer in multiple arenas, be it a MMO, miniatures wargame or pen & paper RPG. He’s been a volunteer at DragonCon off & on for over the last 10 years working in campaign & board gaming before moving up to the big leagues in the Video Gaming track.

His interests include long walks on the beach, pouring through patch notes to see how Holy Paladins have been nerfed, & building his own Doombot.


Karissa “Cmdr. K Shepard” Barrows – Guest Liaison

Karissa, while living life as a single SuperMom to a 4-year-old God of Thunder (the Asgardian one), occasionally stretches her alter ego legs as a gamer, cosplayer, and chaser of industry gigs. She was a little surprised to find she might be the only video games track volunteer who doesn’t primarily play MMOs (which is *really* ironic if you think about the job she just interviewed for, but moving on). Don’t ask her what her favorite game (or favorite anything) is, though, or her head might explode. At the very least, she’ll start listing off every game she’s ever truly loved (a couple of MMOs included), so be prepared to lose 45 minutes of your life if you dare. To incur her wrath, be a complete hypocrite. To assuage her, bring her a chilled bottle of her favorite moscato (the irony of this statement is lost on no one who paid attention to earlier bits of this bio). Donuts with sprinkles on them are likewise acceptable peace offerings.

 


Jason “Jhaer” Pace – Social Media Guy

Jhaer, also called Jason, was formed out of the aether in the mid-1970s, which explains a lot. Raised on a steady diet of BASIC and ROM chips he escaped onto the Internet by modem – 300 baud, which also explains a lot – and wandered the digital wastelands. From the Solar and Barren Realms to Britannia, from Norrath to Azeroth, he survived the Trade Wars, the Global Agenda and the outbreak in the city of Malton, he has puzzled with pirates, freed realms, gone to wizard school and danced until dawn with heroes in spandex. He has seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. He watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain… No, wait, that last part was Roy Batty in Blade Runner. But it could be true. Seriously. Either that or Jason is programmer who has gaming and movie geek issues. But, hey, who doesn’t?  Am I right?

Jason also maintains a blog called Aim for the Head at http://weblog.probablynot.com


Rafe “Cat Herder” Brox – Team Lead – Brute Squad

One-time raid realer. Cat-herder. Lifter of heavy things and runner of obscure errands. They might as well call him NyQuil, because he’s in charge of the giant queues.

When not prowling the halls outside of our track rooms and bellowing helpfully at our guests, Rafe is a record-holding weightlifter, a Knight of Sufferlandria, and spends far too many of his waking hours in a beige cubicle. Nobody likes him when he’s angry.

 


Mark “Dark Lord Tinkerbell” Cogan

I’ve been a gamer since the old 1st Edition Dungeons and Dragons.

Started playing video games in arcades back when pinball was king (and 10 cents a game). Cut my home-gaming teeth on one of the first Atari game systems, and it’s been downhill ever since. Never been hard-core, but rabid might be a better term.

Currently working onbuilding a new gaming computer rig (damn those components are expensive). My first Dragon*Con was, in part, the fault of many of the current Video Gaming Track staff, having been in they very same WoW guild. I promised myself long ago I was done working at conventions. (Ha ha. Neener Neener. You can’t quit me. -Grim)

 


Matthew “Shen” Brincefield

While relatively new to this new-fangled ‘MMO’ gaming, Shen has been entrenched in fantasy gaming and video games since his childhood. He was forever changed in a horrible industrial accident involving an old D&D boxed set and an Atari 2600. His condition evolved when friends convinced him to try out World of Warcraft. Now, he strives to keep his gaming activities social, preferring party games and meeting virtual friends in real life whenever possible.

 


Brandy “Bumble” Parker

Brandy is your typical sweet and innocent, blonde and blue-eyed Louisiana girl. It wasn’t till LSU that she was introduced to the Sci-Fi/Fantasy, role-playing world. What is this “Dungeons & Dragons” of which you speak? Show me more ShadowRun and Vampire! Her psyche began to form another, more masterful side. Myca was formed on a World of Warcraft, wrapping up her stronger traits in Shammy Goodness! With her fist weapons of power, she joined her fellow lemmings of rabidness, leaping from high places and dancing naked in large cities! But there was another metamorphosis to be had…after many trials and tribulations, Myca had to be abandoned in limbo until a more fortuitous time is reached. But the other psyche could not rest! After attending dragoncon a few times, the many pirates, superheroes, zombies, and druggie muffinheads raised The Bumble from the timid recesses of Brandy’s mind! Her main thought? “Butt-kicking for Goodness!”

 


Mike “Dark Lord McGrizzle-Bizzle” McGreevy

Otherwise known as the “Sane One” in the Video Gaming Track braintrust, Mike has the double misfortune of having to work with many of the volunteers here at Dragon Con as well as being their “Guild Lemur” in World of Warcraft. (yeah, Mike isn’t actively playing WoW anymore, but he’ll always be our Guild Lemur.) Mike is an accomplished thespian, and as a result of many positive mentions in his stage reviews has demanded to be introduced as “The Always Magificent, Michael C. McGreevy”. How he convinced Kevin to go along with this idea, nobody is quite certain.

 


Michelle “Cara Mel” Brannon

Michelle has always been a geek and gamer. From following her dad to comic book stores to spending all hours of the day playing the Nintendo and Sega with her cousins, it’s a culture she is quite used to. After graduating high school, she began going to conventions and cosplaying. Michelle was Kitana in a Mortal Kombat skit for the Anime Mid-Atlantic 2011 Masquerade that won Best Novice Performance. Her Mortal Kombat 9 Kitana Kosplay has been published on the official Geek Girls website. Her Bombshell Catwoman has also been published by Geek Girls as well as Project Nerd (DragonCon 2015 shoot). She played Chell in the local fan film “Portal:Origins” in 2013. Michelle has an associate degree in science and is currently working towards a career in acting. She has been volunteering with the Video Game Track since 2014.


Mike “Kyng Llama” Parker

Mike. Kyng of all Llamas. The PiEfather. I am all these things, and more. I love long walks on the beaches of Kalimdor. The wastelands of both D.C. and Las Vegas know me as The Vault Dweller. I have been Commander Shepard a number of times. There is no corner of Pandora or its moon that I have not shot to hell. Even in the dim and distant past, I have made the wakka-wakka sound while chasing and eating ghosts. Tremble before me for I am a GAMER. Now I am tired and in need of apple flavored alcoholic beverage. And a Hot Pocket.

 


Sean “Professor Haggus” Hagler

Forged in the age of arcade machines he grew with the birth of the internet, was molded by it. Text dungeons were his realm at 57k speeds. He didn’t see Broadband until he was a man. Decades spent toying with the elder Gods of coffee he took a brief hiatus to become the undisputed king of geek trivia while managing Battle and Brew for 6 years. They call of the coffee gods were strong, and he is back within their black embrace. When he is not roaming the wastelands with Dogmeat, he can sometimes be found in the worlds of Azeroth, Hyrule, or Tyria. He also likes cats.

 


Heather “Torrie” Vinson

One day, when she was a small child, Heather snuck into her brother’s room to play her first video game; a little game called Final Fantasy. As soon as her hands embraced the controller, she realized it was her destiny to conquer evil and protect the innocent. Heather is new to Dragon Con yet far from new when it comes to comics and gaming. Since being introduced to video games at a young age, she has made it her goal to further her gaming knowledge while giving the boys a little competition.Comics, Video Games, SCI-FI, Fantasy, Roleplaying, coffee, books, and music are all at the top of her list of interests and ways to while away the hours. At one time she masqueraded as a well known druid nicknamed Torrie on World of Warcraft. Though she no longer plays World of Warcraft, visiting her Guild and keeping in touch with them is always a must. However, Guild Wars and League of Legends continue to remain pleasant pastimes. Though shy at first,she is very warm, friendly, and always willing to help someone in need. Her nights are often spent kicking evil’s butt, partying with elves , and toying with videos that she hopes will one day air on a gaming review channel.

 


Kendall “Blipt” Butner

Yet another tragic example of leaving a volunteer bio to the tender mercies of our fearless leader. Kendall was originally a hardcore gamer, notorious in games such as EVE Online or other hardcore PvP games for his relentless aggression and willingness to play dirty to win. He was the kind of player that made entire guilds stop and think before engaging in battle. He was an online version of Genghis Khan.

Then he met a girl…

His blossoming love brought out his tender and sensitive side, which, unfortunately for him, was as huge and impressive as his competitive streak. Now he limits himself to games like Puzzle Pirates and Wizard 101. If he is feeling particularly frisky, he might tackle Candy Crush or have a rousing game of Papa Pear Saga on Facebook. His girlfriend, who shall remain nameless as SHE was at least nice enough to submit her volunteer bio, is desperate for him to get some of his former edge back. Seriously, “Wii Resort” is starting to get a little old on “Date Night”.

 


Monique “Rodel” Williams

Monique is a dedicated video game enthusiastic, wants to create video games and be near them in general. Monique first found myself in Dragon*con when going to work for Six Flags in 2009 and has collected money to go to the convention every year since. Graduating in 2012 from DeVry University practiced animation in video games every since looking for game.

 


Kip “FNG 9000” McRainey

Kip McRainey has worked in the tech industry over the last 10 years as a Quality Assurance professional. The majority of his roles have been in the video game sector, where he somehow convinced a handful of gaming studios to give him American currency in exchange for playing their games. He has performed QA development tasks for such companies as Telltale Games, Cyan Worlds and Turner Gaming Network. Kip was once given the honor of being an official industry judge for the Independent Gaming Festival. He currently performs Diagnostic Engineering duties for Panasonic.

 


Ben “Zudaru” Curtis

I’m not an OG gamer, though I know some who were. I remember Kevin hacking games like Darklands with a Norton Hex editing tool. I don’t really have the patience and zen meditation to truly play at the next level, but I have fun with games. Having said that , Darklands was cutting edge in 1990 , so I have been near games for a long time. I have also been around many of the gaming track long enough to know that in fact bodies are not burned as is commonly believed, but disposed of in a variety of interesting ways that usually involve a sawzall, quick drying cement , and a suspiciously fast gazelle.

 


Clayton “Philbert” Fraser

Clayton has always had a passion for gaming. Starting at the age of four with the Super Nintendo, he’s always been an avid gamer. His love for gaming led him to eagerly try new genres of gaming. His enthusiasm in video games ultimately led him to working at GameStop in 2010, where he is currently a Store Leader. His first convention was Mega Con in Orlando, Fl. in 2013, and then Dragon Con that same year, and has been going to at least one Con a year since. Aside from gaming, his hobbies include computer building, science, and most recently working out.

 


Shawn “Thunder” Moore

Gaming has been apart of my life very early on- whether it be card games and the NES as a kid, to PlayStation and XBOX now as an adult. I love a game that pushes me to think critically… and allows me to shoot up some zombies (a huge Resident Evil fan… DUH). One quote sums up my view on gaming is one from Andy Serkis, “Every age has its storytelling form, and video gaming is a huge part of our culture. You can ignore or embrace video games and imbue them with the best artistic quality. People are enthralled with video games in the same way as other people love the cinema or theatre.”

I am currently working at SCAD as Assistant Director for Student Life and pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. This will be my first Dragon Con volunteering and I am ecstatic to be apart of such an awesome event!

 


Daniel “Lightning” Edwards

It all started with a race for the emerald in Sonic the Hedgehog. The gaming bug bit me and I was never the same. Since then I’ve become a fighter in games like Super Smash Bros, Marvel Nemesis and Soul Caliber. Also an adventurer in Legend of Zelda and Diablo. Currently I work in public health doing prevention work at AID Atlanta where (among other things) I host a monthly game night for my fellow nerds. I also make it rain with “Thunder.” This is my first year volunteering for DragonCon and I’m super excited!

 


Laynea “Shaw” Allen

Laynea spent her college years slugging through Sanctuary instead of studying and her post-grad years in Azeroth instead of sleeping. Actually, she created her first World of Warcraft character to see her sister’s brand new mount that she was so proud of earning (back in the day when you had to be level 60).

From that point on, she could be found playing her many alts on the worst server in all of WoW – Haomarush. She left WoW, to try other MMOs – Rift, Aion, Secret World – but today she spends her free time in Skyrim amassing her undead army or replaying Dragon Age. Or obsessing over her other geeky past times (manga, anime, comic books). The rest of the time she saves kittens. She has been coming to Dragon Con since 2002.

 


Xander “Do Your Worst” Melnick

When bodybuilding didn’t work out for Xander, (see picture) he decided that his future lay in video gaming. While boasting an excellent nerd bloodline through his father, step mother, and cousin, all of whom are Dragon Con volunteers in their own right, Xander decided to stay in the shallow end of the pool in his first year as a volunteer. Now considering himself a “grizzled veteran” of Dragon Con, he has taken the plunge into the deep DEEP end and joined the Video Gaming Volunteer Corps.

…and then he introduced himself to the rest of the team by saying “Do your worst”.

“Uncle Grimmy” is looking forward to completing his training… He is looking forward to it VERY much.

Lesson #1: Don’t dangle bait in front of this crew.

Favorite Games: Hatoful Boyfriend, Hello Kitty’s Online Adventure, Mystery Date Online, and Chat Roulette

Sarah “Swiggity Swesbian” Cheimis

Early days of stealing her brother’s gameboy to play pokemon turned into a lifelong addiction for which there is no cure. Sarah has been going to cons since age 12 and attended her first Dragon*con at age 16 where she was pulled head first into the Bioware cosplay community. Incidentally, this is how she fell in with Karissa and eventually Video Game track. Given her costuming obsession, there are several games she’s started playing purely because of a character design which caught her attention. A lover of both all things soft, cute, and squishy in addition to those shiny, pointy, and bloody Sarah can be found playing any game ranging from Harvest Moon to Hakuoki to Dragon Age.

A lover of consoles and handhelds(being one of the rare owners of a psvita) she spends most of her time replaying games she’s already beaten a half dozen times. Is a bioware fan of the hardcore variety, who can’t manage a renegade run in mass effect without feeling bad or make mean decisions in any dragon age game unless she’s playing an elf. To ask her about visual novels is to be willing to receive a dissertation about the finer points of otome and horror. However, remember not to ask her why none of them are being localized in the US unless you’ve got two hours of your day you don’t mind spending listening to why smartphones and micro-transactions are ruining the chances for otome games to get full US releases.

James “Afro’thulu” Margwarth

Born on Friday the 13th and possessed by C’thulu, he first came to Dragon’con in 2004 along with the rest of his family where he then proceeded to get Con funk every year for 5 years before developing an immunity to it. Then, in 2010, something happened.

An afro happened.

Drawn from its host and drained of power, the once mighty C’thulu has been reduced to a fuzzy hat, sealed in its current form by the sacred afro. Now know as Afro’thulu, it awaits the day when some poor fool would remove its hairpiece so that it may terrorize the world once more. Until that day though, we are both satisfied to roam the world of Azaroth, punch trees, snipe space ninjas, quest for dragons, and get hammered.

And now it seems that we want to make ourselves useful by being a volunteer. I am insane, am I not?