Who Is This Guy?

No kidding. I’ve had one published adventure and worked for free for about 200 hours on another project. There’s so much talent in adventure design these days that you’d have to be really crazy or extremely arrogant to even try to break through the ranks. Since I don’t (or don’t want to) think of myself as either of these, I’m gonna assume that some of us who want to eat at the Grownup Table don’t possess those qualities, but do need a few others.

So, I choose hard work and humility. Kind of an odd choice given the competitive nature of gaming, but let’s hope I can exhibit those two traits. I want to keep myself in the company of my good friend Nick Logue, but I also want to stand on my own two feats and become known as a nice guy who started from the bottom up, and also who could shell out a lot of good work in a brief amount of time (witness the three-week miracle that was Ascension of the Drow).

So…there’s so many writers crowding the scene..and a lot of them are really good. Just a brief glance at the stable of contributors maintained by Paizo calls to attention the names of many, many talented writers and great gamers. You can’t have a better time than sitting in a room with Logue, Tim Hitchcock, Greg Vaughan, Mike Cortez, Craig Shackleton, Lou Agresta, etc. There are so many names it really isn’t fair to list a few.

What can I do to break beyond them for a few consecutive projects and get the start I want? There’s only so many games people can buy, right? There’s a lot of writers competing for the gaming dollar. With the release of 4th edition DnD, a perceived schism in styles of play might make matters worse, or might help bring WoW dollars (and Warhammer online dollars, etc.) to the pool, but either way, there’s an awful lot of talent out there to satisfy the masses. Even if my goal is to focus on novels after I build a name in design, I’ve got my work cut out for me. Unless…

We build the hobby. Of course, this might launch me straight from humility to pretentiousness in your estimation, but I am a big believer in marketing and building. Owing to my restaurant background, my first thought when I want to sell more pizza is “take sales from the bad pizza guys”. My second thought is “take sales from the sandwhich guys”.

We are fond of pointing out that it’s us against the world, that we’ll always be a minority and a specialty among hobbies. But I believe there’s a ton of people out there who haven’t been exposed to good role-playing, and would eat it up if they did. I believe that if our hobby can be more popular with girls and football players every year than the year before, then it has a general appeal that isn’t being sold enough. I believe we need ambassadors for our game who recruit players in school, in neighborhoods, and in our local hobby shop.

I don’t want to be misunderstood. I believe in economics, and I believe in a free market. As an aspirant competitor in that market, I’ll do the very best I can to break out and write really good adventures, maybe contribute to the next Book of Vile Darkness project. I have ideas for my first two (potential) trilogies of novels that I think are completely unique and will do well on their own. I’m not afraid of the market, and neither should hobby gaming be. We see enough impact that 25,000 people converge in Indianapolis every year to spend four days gaming and building new memories. There’s a great time to be had by all, if we represent it well. We just need new customers.

As my first blog post of any kind (how’d I do?), this is likely a good place to stop until next time. I want into the industry, and I think I have the tools and connections if I work hard and have integrity. But I also believe that these days, Pathfinder (or DnD, et al) can make a push to be more popular with more kinds of people than ever. The question for next time is, what can I do to help make that happen?

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~ by Famine on August 30, 2008.

3 Responses to “Who Is This Guy?”

  1. There’s so much talent in adventure design these days that you’d have to be really crazy or extremely arrogant to even try to break through the ranks.

    You say arrogance, I say Cockiness.

    Writers with talent are a Dime a Dozen.

    Writers with talent with guts… that’s a bit rarer.

    Embrace the second group I say!

  2. Congrats on the new blog! And thanks for all your hard work on Ascension of the Drow.

  3. I’m sure this has already been on digg at least once this week.

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