Pickens met Gary Gygax as a teenager in 1968, and the latter introduced the former to gaming conventions.
Pickens received his bachelor's degree in English and Economics from Valparaiso University in 1976.
After college, Pickens wrote articles for Dragon magazine before eventually applying for a job at TSR. He was hired as an editor. During his time with TSR, he contributed to a large number of Dungeons & Dragons sourcebooks and assisted many other authors on their research for gaming products.
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