Rebecca L. Thomas – Director, Lead Game Master

Rebecca (Becky) is the developer of the Abantey System and is the Founder and Director of The Roleplay Workshop.

Becky grew up in Michigan, and received a Bachelors of Sciences in Zoology in 1982 from the University of Michigan. She spent most of the next year in the Philippines as a research assistant studying the reproductive ecology of fruit bats, as well as general jungle ecology. Her experiences with both the ecology and culture of the Philippines provided much of the complexity found in the world of Abantey. In fact, the name Abantey is derived from a Bisayan (a dialect of the Philippines) word and means: “to forge ahead or gain an advantage”.

In 1983, Becky moved to the Bay Area for graduate work in Ecology and Systematics at San Francisco State University, examining the evolutionary relationships of dolphins and whales. During that time, Becky also taught courses in Mammalogy at the California Academy of Sciences, and ultimately decided to pursue a teaching career. She earned teaching credentials from SFSU in Life Sciences, Psychology, as well as General and Physical Sciences, in 1988.

She is a lifelong, avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, police procedural, and tactical military fiction. She has read thousands of books and watched hundreds of films. She studies martial arts and has a black belt in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu. After running The Roleplay Workshop for nearly 30 years, she is uniquely skilled at storytelling and has an intuitive ability to facilitate a symbiotic relationship between her game worlds and her players’ actions.

Steve Kani – Lead Artist and Game Master

Steve Kani is a Principle Game Master, Illustrator and Modeler for the Roleplay Workshop.

Steve grew up right here in the San Francisco Bay Area. He holds a Bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Industrial Arts from San Francisco State University.

He went on to hold a number of positions in television and film. He fabricated wire armatures and as a digital artist for the Saturday morning children’s show Bump In the Night produced by Danger Productions. He also worked as a render wrangler, and technical director for Pixar on films including Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., and Finding Nemo.

Steve draws inspiration from diverse genres of film, novels and graphic novels and is always seeking new ideas, new ways to tell a story and new directions to take his games. He builds many of the models and props for the Roleplay Workshop and his own games. Drawing on his experience working in commercial fabrication, he builds many of the terrain features and other models primarily out of reclaimed and salvaged materials.

Steve has been a player and game master of tabletop roleplaying games for nearly 40 years. He is has mastered a number of different game systems and genres. During that time he has carefully refined his storytelling skills and style. He focuses on encouraging the participants in his game to take an active role in shaping the world in which they play.