Though I usually talk about Moebius Adventures-specific publishing plans, decisions, and conundrums in this column I’m going to write about something slightly different this week. Thursday saw the publication of my first paid freelance RPG project. We’ll get to what that project was in a minute, but I want to talk about the significance of the milestone and how I got there first.
When I started playing 2nd edition D&D in 1982, I did tons of writing and drawing, plotting and scheming. Everything was brand new. On paper we built heroes, saved realms, and killed more than our fair share of monsters. It was a glorious time. As age and responsibilities crept in, time for such things ebbed and flowed after those first few years. It wasn’t until college when my dice remained in motion long enough to avoid the inevitable dust bunny, which led to more writing, plotting, and scheming, as well as the playing of many different RPG rules systems – including (but not limited to) Call of Cthulhu, Cyberpunk 2020, MechWarrior, TOON, Palladium Fantasy, and many more.
It wasn’t until after college when I started writing with my friend Sean Bindel that I actually pondered writing for games and getting paid for it. What a startling idea! And that kicked off the whole Moebius Adventures journey of working towards publishing our own games and supplements. A journey I’m still on today.
This past August, I got involved with Brent Newhall’s Dungeon Delvers project after a chat in the Gamer Assembly chat room. If you don’t know Brent, he’s a prolific designer and writer and a great guy to boot. I volunteered to write a one-page adventure, which became the “Realm of the Rat King” – my first design credit not of my own devising. 🙂 I was very excited and happy with the results. Delvers is fast, fun, and easy to write about!
Then, back in September, I was talking with Brian Liberge – another one of the gang over at Gamer Assembly and a published designer with products for Kobold Press, Raging Swan Press, and his own company Beer Star Games. He mentioned that Creighton Broadhurst of Raging Swan might be looking for some other folks to help out with the Urban Dressing series and suggested I reach out to him. Creighton and I started chatting via e-mail and by mid-September I had a contract for Urban Dressing: Sages. 4,000 words to be done by the first part of November.
I had a great time working through the process of coming up with content for Sages. Every day or two I’d write a bit more, chat with Creighton now and then, and eventually I had a draft ready to go. On December 12, that product released to the world. And it has my name on it!
Even though I’ve been playing with publishing for years (almost two decades now), it’s been largely my own stuff under my own company name. Though I talked a few times with some folks about collaborative projects over the years, none of them have really gone past the planning stages. And freelancing for someone else never entered my mind in all that time. I’m honestly not sure why beyond the fact that I may have had blinders on for a while. So seeing a product release with my name on it as designer for another company is strangely… validating. Sure, I put out what I think are great products for Moebius Adventures all the time. But getting something published by another company means that what I write has proven that my writing has value in other contexts as well!
Hopefully I can work with Creighton more in the future on other Urban Dressing or similar projects for Raging Swan. I learned a lot and had a good time doing it!
Let this be a bit of a lesson to those of you who haven’t pondered writing for publication yourselves yet. Or maybe you have and dismissed it. Don’t give up on yourself. Get experience writing every way you can. If you have an idea for a product for an existing line, talk to the company. As I’ve found with Game Knight Reviews and now in my own (albeit limited) freelance career, it never hurts to ask. And everybody I’ve met in the RPG industry so far has been extremely pleasant. So give it a try!
You never know what you can do until you ask – so ASK!
Speaking of asking… Do you have an idea for a Moebius Adventures product? Let’s talk! 🙂