I’ll be at Gen Con! Here’s what my schedule looks light right now.
I come in before noon. I have a few informal things planned, but you might be able to catch me someplace (like the Omni hotel lobby) if you want to.
I’m open most of the day! I might try to Meet and greet hour someplace, if folks express interest (and yes, that would be a good time to have me sign stuff).
I mysterious disappear around 7pm, and likely for the rest of the night.
I’m on several seminar panels!
11am Location: ICC room 212
Introduction to the new Starfinder RPG. Learn the story of the Starfinder universe, what you need to start playing, & where to begin your own character’s legend.
Starfinder Rules Q&A
12pm Location: ICC room 212
An up-close look at the rules of Starfinder, including differences between the Starfinder & Pathfinder rules. Ask questions & discuss the philosophy behind the Starfinder game system.
I’ll be at the ENnie Awards! A great time to meet a lot of your favorite game designers, especially those with products up for awards!
Starfinder Rules Design workshop
10am Location: ICC room 212
Participate in a hands-on workshop focused on rules design in the Starfinder universe & assist in developing original rules from concept to execution.
Designing Starfinder Aliens
12pm Location: ICC room 212
Learn the secrets of monster making & everything that goes into creating a truly terrifying foe.
Secrets of the Pact Worlds
1pm Location: ICC room 212
Come explore the inner region of space in the Starfinder universe. Learn about Absalom Station & discover alien species.
Starfinder – The Digital Tools Horizon
2pm Location: Crowne Plaza Victoria Stn B
What does the digital destiny of Starfinder look like? Leading companies answer your questions & outline their visions of the future!
I mysteriously disappear again in the evening. 😀
Currently wide open!
This is the OTHER day I might schedule an open meet-and-greet, if there was interest.
I fly out in the afternoon, and I suspect I’ll watch the Moon eat the Sun from the airport.
I used to send type-written article proposals to Dragon Magazine via US Postal Service, with a S.A.S.E. (That’s a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope, for those of you who weren’t trying to get published in the 80s and 90s.)
Then I’d wait 4-6 weeks for a response. If there were things he’d like to see some different version of, I had to send ANOTHER written physical piece of mail. If something was approved, or approved with changes, I had to type that out, then mail in the typed article.
When then-Editor of Dragon Dave Gross sent me an email address (sent my US post) I could use to send in magazine proposals and submissions from that point on (with orders it Not Be Shared), around about my third article, it was a HUGE boost to my career. But I began with paper submissions.
By the time I was interviewed for a job at Wizards of the Coast, I could bring files with me on a 3.5″ floppy, in case I stayed someplace with a business center that had a computer I could work on. (A laptop, though they existed, was entirely outside my economic grasp.) So when I was flown out for a in-person interview, I managed to finish a Dragon article between when I left home and when I arrived at the old WotC building to wait an hour or so for my interview, so when a Dragon editor ran down and asked if I knew when the article would be ready, and I gave him the disk, he hugged me and ran back upstairs to begin editing it immediately.
Of course, that meant the people who were about to decide if they wanted to hire me heard about how I brought a much-needed article with me, just before my interview.
Paper. Stamps. Email. Floppy disks. It could be done before filesharing and blogs and Google Docs.
(Looks around. Nods once. Trundles back to dinosaur cave.)
The Modern Era
Now, I can offer material directly to the end-users, with things like My Patreon!
Adventure idea: A community of unusually short-tailed, round-headed ratfolk (an ethnicity called ‘voles’ by other local races) who live in borrows (boroughs?) outside a major city have begun to be assaulted and driven out of local markets by rougher citizens of the city. The settlers accuse the ratfolk of theft, and desecration of several shrines within the city, saying the ratfolk move through the city’s sewers and drains, and have even been seen trying to get at children asleep in their homes.
The ratfolk proclaim their innocence, and point out they warned the city’s leaders weeks ago that wererats had been spotted in the thick brush of a nearby woods. The ratfolk believe the wererats have infected some city dwellers. The city government thinks the ratfolk are making false claims about wererats to protect some ratfolk hooligans, and thus aren’t taking it seriously.
Thus the ratfolk need help, because the wererats (who do indeed walk among them, including a few wererat ratfolk who only have a modest appearance change in hybrid form) are a demon cult who wish to summon agents of their demonic patron, a scavenger lord who spreads disease and uses vrocks as his agents. The wererats have summoned one vrock already, and want two more so they can do a dance of ruin beneath the city streets! So, the rastfolk want to hire some outsiders (the PCs) to fairly investigate.
The players must separate fact from fiction, deal with hunting down were rats both in the city sewers and hiding in plain site among the ratfllk, and ultimately deal with the apocalyptic whereat demon cult’s plans.
The name of the adventure?
“Vrock and Vole”
Full-time, on-staff tabletop/pen-and-paper RPG writers with benefits are incredibly rare in the US.
I was told in 2000 there were more full-time astronauts in the US (149 at the time) than full-time, on-staff RPG writers. I suspect that was true at the time. There are fewer US astronauts now, and a lot more small companies with 1 or 2 people running it as full-time jobs, so whether it’s true now is going to depend on how you define things.
Getting on-staff at a game company as a creative of any kind (designer, developer, R&D, writer… titles vary by company) requires you to have a proven track record and a reputation for being someone that is easy to work with. In my opinion, nowadays the easiest way to get those started is by writing things for social media (one of the reasons I have a blog, for example), then work cheaply for small game companies, often for pdf-only or print-in-demand products. Hopefully you’ll get better, get more work, and come to more people’s attention. As your network of contacts spread and more people know about you, the size of company that is interested in working with you goes up.
The leap from that to an on-staff position is still a big one. I worked for Wizards of the Coast from 2000 to 2001, then was a full-time freelancer for most of the next 13 years before I got another staff job here at Paizo. You may have better luck than I did, or you may want to start your own publishing company, or begin a Patreon, or just do freelance work for several different companies, many of them smaller than Paizo.
Good luck to everyone who tries!
I often play with new mythologies when writing up new campaign worlds, and some work out better than others. When making new mythologies, I like to remember that real-world mythology is often much, much weirder and more primal than the neat pantheons we often get in RPGs.
It’s a fantasy world. Have fun with it. And\ example:
“Think you that first came gods in man-form, in the shape of elf or dwarf was born divinity? Now, all these gods are but recent tribes, attested by those who build shrines to the power that look onto them.
Before the god tribes were the Hrimthur, the storm gods, and the Svadilfar, the horse gods. The Hrimthur sought to freeze or drown or shatter with wind and lightning all living things, and of all the first animals, it was the noble horse gods, the Svadilfar, who put the Hrimthur in check. Long were their battles, but in time the Hrumthur were driven back to the mountains and oceans, from where to this day their make their assaults in the storm seasons.
The Svadilfar sought to heal the world damaged by their battles, and the eldest and wisest of them, the mare Sleinyrsa, saw among the animals two that were more clever. She selected them, the female Freafar and her mate the male Wojanan, to aid in rebuilding the world. They were allowed to ride on Sleinyrsa herself, and thus became gods, and selectors of dead animals to also ride upon the Svadilfar. And this god riders became the tribes of tool-using gods, second only to the Svadilfar, and kin to the Raven King gods, who also learned of tools.
And from these tribes later come all the gods of elf, and gnome, and dwarf, and man.”
I had always wondered what the HELL could cause Cthulhu* to give so much side-eye.
I now believe he had read the commends section of the Necronomicon.
“The layout of R’lyeh is so bad it’s hard not to conclude it was intentionally designed to inconvenience visitors.”
“A single read-through and I have already found five runes that would cause you to be ripped apart in the streets by invisible spirits. I am disappointed, as I (very reasonably) expected better editing from my favorite Elder God. No effort went into this.”
“I know Cthulhu may be uncomfortable discussing how chubby his tentacles are getting, but as a fan I feel I have to make sure he understands how dangerous that is for his health.”
(With much love to artist Erol Otus, and the original 1st Edition Deities and Demigods.)
On a warm summer’s eve
On a team bound for nowhere
I met up with the gamer
We were both too tired to sleep
So we took turns a-starin’
At the window with the forums
The boredom overtook us,
And he began to speak
He said, “Son, I’ve made a life
Out of readin’ GM’s faces
Knowin’ which big monsters
Had caught their beady eyes
So if you don’t mind me sayin’
I can see you’re out of d6s
For a sip of some Jolt cola
I’ll give you some advice”
So I handed him my bottle
And he drank down my last swallow
He pulled out a tablet
With a screen with a backlight
And the night got deathly quiet
And his faced lost all expression
He said, “If you’re gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right
You’ve got to know what’s your THACO
Know who to whack-o
Know when to fireball
Or to pull a gun
You never count your gp
When you’re still in an encounter
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dungeon’s done.
(With apologies to Kenny Rogers)