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.