Monthly Archives: January 2016

Accursed Worldbooks Kickstarter Live!

Ever since we published Accursed in 2013, the most common question I get from fans is, “When can we find out more about the world of Morden?”

We’ve actually been hard at work creating more content for Accursed, including adventures like Fall of the Tower, Grove Point, and Darkest Tides, plus new card decks of NPCs and Monsters. In addition to all that, John Dunn, Jason Marker, and myself put our noses to the grindstone and came up with what fans were asking for: more material discussing the world of Morden, long held beneath the Witches’ conquest and home of the Accursed.

Jason and I wrote Frost and Fang, a book about Valkenholm and Steppengrad. John and Jason collaborated on Science and Sea, which gets into the Discordian Sea and the technologically advanced nation of Manreia.

We are joined by George Zeits and Chris Avellone’s excellent book, Sand and Stone, chronicling Hyphrates and Hebron–the first step down the road that inspired the rest of us. There’s another book, as well — Bone & Barrow, focusing on the Outlands and Cairn Kainen!

We’re excited to bring Frost and Fang, Science and Sea, and Bone and Barrow to our fans, but we need your help. The goal is to make these books to the same level of art and production quality as the rest of the Accursed line, and so we’ve launched a kickstarter to help fund this project.

If you are a fan of Accursed, if you like the idea of a well-developed dark fantasy setting, if you love the concept of “Hellboy meets Solomon Kane,” please take a look at our kickstarter page and consider backing us to bring these great books to life!

Blast from the Past: 2004-2007

Hello readers! I’m continuing a semi-historical look at my career in the gaming industry. I’m inspired by Shannon Appelcline’s excellent Designers & Dragons series, and I’ve already written several blog posts chronicling the earlier years.

In 2003, I got hired by Games Workshop as a copywriter, a position I would hold until 2005. While I was there, I learned the art of editing from my boss–and a fantastic human being, Eric Sarlin.

WOTC offered me an opportunity to put that editing skill to work on Complete Divine under managing editor Gwendolyn Kestrel. I quickly learned that while editing is a great skill to have for a writer, editing was not what I wanted to do full-time… or even part-time.

Fortunately, I used my time at GW wisely, becoming an expert on all their IPs, including Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000, and The Lord of the Rings. I got to try my hand at miniature game design, and I found that I had a talent for it, designing an expansion for the Kill-team rules found in Warhammer 40,000 4th edition.

Unfortunately, 2005 was a very turbulent year for me, involving a serious car crash, unemployment when Games Workshop laid off dozens of employees while decentralizing the HQ in Glen Burnie, and moving house to elsewhere in Maryland. This meant that my actual output of RPG work was at an all-time low since I had started in the business, and would continue until 2008.

Between 2004 and 2007, most of my work was writing articles for various magazines, including Knights of the Dinner Table and Digital Hero. I had a regular column for some time in White Dwarf, writing tactics articles for Warhammer 40,000 4th edition.

What sustained me during this time were my friends. I had a very strong group of friends around me, and we engaged in all kinds of shenanigans. Michael Surbrook and I ran a gaming convention for a few years in Glen Burnie called HeroCon, and I ran a TON of gaming sessions for my own RPG setting of Shadows Angelus.

I had obtained a job that allowed me a lot of free time. I was the office manager and later a consultant at the National Japanese-American Memorial Foundation in Washington, D.C. from 2005-2008. This was rewarding work, and it gave me a good teal of time to myself. In retrospect, I wish I had spent more of that time working on my own projects!

All told, this was the doldrums of my career, and there’s no telling what would have happened if another fantastic opportunity hadn’t opened up for me the very next year…

Until next time!

Blast From the Past: 2003, addendum

Hey readers,

Thanks for sticking with me as I journey through the past and chronicle my history in the gaming industry. 🙂

2003, as I mentioned before in the first part, was a big year. I started the year out as my last one living in Louisville and ended it by moving out to Maryland, where I would stay for the next five years.

I hit some big successes in the d20 industry just as that market was winding down. Fantasy Flight Games, through developer Greg Benage, gave me an opportunity to contribute to Sorcery & Steam, a steampunk sourcebook for D20. I took on writing up all the skills and feats and gear for this book, and my role expanded into writing up some vehicles as well. It turned out that my material was fairly influential, and many of the feats and skills I created ended up shaping the prestige classes for the book.

After that one came Dawnforge. I got to work on Dawnforge once I moved to Maryland, and this was an AMAZING opportunity. Dawnforge came out of the setting competition WOTC had set up a year or two prior, and it had risen to become one of the finalists (alongside Morningstar).

Greg handed me one of my favorite assignments I’ve ever had as a freelance writer: “Take a section of the map, any section, and write it up. Whatever you want. Here’s the basics on the world.”

It was creative bliss! I had received the Icehammer Front, a massive mountain range inhabited by Frost Giants. And that was pretty much all that was known about it! Naturally, my writing needed to fit the tones and themes of Dawnforge’s “ancient golden age” feel, but apart from that, I had an open canvas. I know now that as a developer, this is a big risk to take with a freelancer. In the end, however, I believe I truly appreciated the chance for what it was, and turned in something that I still look back on fondly as one of my first settings published for the industry.

Dawnforge would, in fact, go on to win a Golden ENNie in 2003 for “best campaign setting,” and I was especially proud of contributing towards that recognition.

I spent the rest of 2003 working at Games Workshop, writing up articles for White Dwarf and the web (an online-only publication called Black Gobbo), tweaking some rules for Kill-team and Warbands, and expanding my knowledge as an editor.