Question for the writers/ developers/ artists/ cartographers

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DJ LaBoss
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Question for the writers/ developers/ artists/ cartographers

Post by DJ LaBoss » Sat Oct 07, 2006 7:59 am

Hey all,

"So what do you do?"

Do you have a hard time relating what you do to civilians? Do you find yourself explaining what a role-playing game is again and again?

just curious.


Brendan

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Jengenritz
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Post by Jengenritz » Sat Oct 07, 2006 11:08 am

OH YEAH

All the time.

"I'm a freelance game writer."

Normally they somehow refuse to hear "game" and fixate on "writer".

"Oh, a writer! Do you write novels?"

*sigh

If they hear "game," they say, "Oh. (note the lack of exclamation point) Do you write board games?"

This leads to a discussion like, "No, it's like those choose-your-own-adventure books you might have read as a kid, but lots of people can do it at the same time, and one guy 'runs' the book for everybody. I write the scenario for the 'book' and they play it."

Something like that. If they say, "You mean...(always a pause) like D&D?"

They usually follow with, "I used to play that in college. (wait for it...wait for it...) Do people still play that?"

"No, I write these things but nobody buys them. Weird business, huh?"

^ is what I want to say. I actually usually launch into something like how it's still popular and I talk about GenCon.

To which I usually hear, "You mean it's like a Star Trek convention?"

And I cleverly counter with, "No, it's more like a trade show for the industry, more like E3 for video games (oh how prophetic THAT turned out to be) or any of the conventions that CJ (my uber-chemist wife) goes to. Only more fun."

Big laugh, next topic of conversation. I swear and would testify before Congress that I've had that exact conversation no less than three times.
Co-Author: The Almanac of the Endless Traders, DCC #13, DCC #29, DCC #49, DCC #51, DCC #52, DCC #63

Author: DCC #55: Isle of the Sea Drake, DCC #61: Citadel of the Corruptor, more to come....

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Post by gargoyle » Sun Oct 08, 2006 6:55 am

My full time job is as a high school social studies teacher so usually I don't talk about my work because everyone has gone to school and has a pretty good idea about what I do for a living... Funny thing is usually when I tell people I am a high school teacher they are always strangely disappointed or shocked that I would associate on any level with teenagers - let alone volunteer to coach football or run a game club.

When people hear about freelance writing they always ask the same question "How much do you get paid for that?" When i answer they are always strangely disappointed... Funny thing is most people never chase their dreams but have a very good idea of how I should be financially rewarded for chasing mine.

If they are interested I will tell them to google me, or show them a sample. They are always impressed that my name is on an actual book and then they always ask me this question "ooooh did you do the art on the cover?" I explain that i am the writer and that the publisher and editor hire artists to take care of the art work and they are always strangely disappointed...

If they open the book and start to read it they usually cannot understand it and are confused and strangely disappointed. I never understood this because the first time I looked at a D&D module (the red box Keep on the Boarderlands) i thought my heart would burst from wonderment and joy...

Greg
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Author: The Great City Campaign setting, PC Pearls, Sidetrek Adventure Weekly, GM Gems, DCC 48, DCC 49, DCC 43, DCC 32, DCC 29...
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Jengenritz
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Post by Jengenritz » Sun Oct 08, 2006 11:19 am

Funny thing is most people never chase their dreams but have a very good idea of how I should be financially rewarded for chasing mine.
^ Preach on, Greg!
Co-Author: The Almanac of the Endless Traders, DCC #13, DCC #29, DCC #49, DCC #51, DCC #52, DCC #63

Author: DCC #55: Isle of the Sea Drake, DCC #61: Citadel of the Corruptor, more to come....

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Post by Charke » Mon Oct 09, 2006 12:18 pm

Jengenritz, damn you hit the nail on the head. I would have laughed hard but I was trying to decide if I should cry.

A met a buddy from my Vollunteer FireFighting days yesterday and told him I was still working on my writing career.

"So what are you working on?"

"Roleplaying books."

"Huh?"

"Dungeons and Dragons."

"Oh." Painful silence.

"But I want to do novels."

"Oh okay."

Its funny how certain kinds of roleplaying, say acting, is totally accepted but dice jockeys are those evil gnomes on the edge of snapping and loosing it with their drugs and satanism. Of course my local hobby store has a Christian section for roleplaying books. I think I should pick one up just to shatter people's world concept. Can you just imagine their expression - no no, I'm a Christian roleplayer, oh and I'm a jock (heart attack).

Of course that doesn't change anything. I'm only finding ways to defend my hobby and justify it.
Funny thing is most people never chase their dreams but have a very good idea of how I should be financially rewarded for chasing mine.
It's good to hear this stuff. Sometimes I think I'm the only broke writer depending on another job and listening to everyone I know telling me exactly how much I SHOULD be making doing a REAL job. Hey, when you have to spend three hours in line to get my book signed - payback baby..... sigh we're all dreamers struggling back towards reality.

Mark Charke

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Re: Question for the writers/ developers/ artists/ cartograp

Post by gideon_thorne » Mon Oct 09, 2006 5:33 pm

Not really. I can always find a common point, sometimes with a bit more work than other times, to explain my proffession to people. Of course, in the area that I live, being an 'artist' as a real job is wierd enough to the local yokels without going into what I do art for. :)
Peter B

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Black Knight
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Post by Black Knight » Sun Dec 24, 2006 6:01 am

This almost feels like an AA meeting :lol:

I'm Jeff, and I am a freelance writer and game designer, when I have the time and energy to do it.

I am a full time father, husband, and manager for an international inventory company. I have to agree with the feelings and experiences that others have expressed here, the public at large just doesn't understand that people can enjoy and make money from a game or even use their own imagination vs. sitting like an oatmeal-brained l33t zombie in front of colorful and flashy video pixels. But, I'm going to add my own little story anyway.

************************

It was the last GenCon in Milwaukee, WI. I had just completed running a demo for Thunderhead Games' Bluffside: City on the Edge setting. One of the players follows me outside for my ritual lung degradation and asks me, "so, you write game books?"

"Sure do."

"How long have you been writing?"

"About a year-and-a-half, but I have gotten quite a few titles under my belt in that time."

"Wow! I wish I could be a writer, but I just don't know what to do."

"Being a writer is easy, just ask anyone of us here and I'm sure you'll hear the same things over and over again."

"Can I buy you dinner?"

Long pause, my cigarette nearly dropping out of my mouth.

"It's my treat. I would love to hear about how to get into game writing. I know this great little place just a few blocks from here."

"Sure, why not. I have to be back in about two hours, though... for the Ennie awards. Two books I wrote are up for awards."

"Oh, okay." We start walking down the street.

I looked at him sideways while we walked, I rarely pay very close attention to what a person's name is at a convention (too many gamers all coming at me at once). I usually just associate the person with character they play at my table. And now I was wracking my brain to figure out this guy's name. "What was your name again? Sorry, terrible with names."

************************

It was a surreal experience, and just the first of many "invitations" for various gamer sponsored events or gifts (I once got a coffee cup made completely out of duct tape from a young lady who wore nothing but a see-through chainmail shirt, a thong, and a cloak... in February!!!) Matter of fact, there is a person on this board, somewhere, that surprised the crap out of me at GenCon 2004 by coming over to the Goodman Games' booth during one of my signings and request that I sign HIM!!!

How do non-gamers relate to me?

They laugh and say, "what a herb! You write games? At your age?" Insert little laugh and a painful pause, then, "oh well, I'm going to go play Guitar Hero (or Animal Crossing, depending on person and their personality)."

Or the authority figures in my life (aka - the folks), "when will you see that these little games of yours will never amount to anything. You are so creative, why not write a detective novel. You loved the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew when you were growing up...." and off to the races for the rest of the "what you liked to read when you were little" speech for the next half-hour. Gotta love the holiday season.

Explaining RPGs? Nope, don't really have to any more. Most everyone knows what roleplaying is, either from video games or the days of bad RPG press. I find that the rare times I do have to explain, those are people who end up gaming with me.

Though, I'm spending a good deal of my "free time" lately inducting my 7-yo son into gaming and creative writing (he's written and published 2 books in the last year). He calls himself a "geek" and a "nerd" (we don't find those words offensive, but funny). His friends are getting interested too, but they can't get past the lack of a controller or video screen to stare at (and some of them actually smell like they are burning a greasy pudding when they attempt to think).

We'll see what the new generation has in store for gaming.

Happy Holidays!!!!
JP Quinn
Owner, Dolmen Creative
Giving dice to your imagination!
Goodman Games Writing Credits: A few 3E DCCs, a Complete Guide, and a few books for Blackmoor.

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Post by Charke » Sun Dec 24, 2006 12:25 pm

It was the last GenCon in Milwaukee, WI. I had just completed running a demo for Thunderhead Games' Bluffside: City on the Edge setting.
Ah, poor old Bluffside. They went through a short resurgence and I beleive they were planning on publishing 3 new manuals for that setting and then the company suddenly folded. I wrote one of the expansions, a classic case of pouring my heart and soul into a product - I did about 2-3 times the amount of work they asked for. Bards and Sages, which was part of the Bluffside projects, is interested in publishing Kobolds of Frostwind Forest as a stand alone so it'll probably see publication but all the Bluffside material will be removed.

Mark Charke

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Re: Question for the writers/ developers/ artists/ cartograp

Post by Mike_Ferguson » Thu Jan 04, 2007 2:15 pm

DJ LaBoss wrote:Do you have a hard time relating what you do to civilians? Do you find yourself explaining what a role-playing game is again and again?
I don't find it hard to explain what a role-playing game is - most people, I've found, at least understand the basic concept, even if that concept is "oh, that game where kids pretend to be wizards and kill monsters with spells". Ummm ... sure. Close enough.

I've noticed, though, that the reaction to "Mike writes roleplaying games" usually gets met with "oh ... OK" indifference until I drop an actual adventure module/sourcebook that I've written in somebody's hands. Then the reaction becomes "Wow, you wrote this? That's a lot!" - followed, of course, by "So when are you going to write something serious, like a novel?" :roll:

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Post by Charke » Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:33 pm

So when are you going to write something serious, like a novel?"
It's about that time that I reach for my lightsaber, realize it's a masterwork's replica and reach for the bloody wooden sword instead!Wooden swords are a lot cheaper and because they won't just shatter, much more capable of inflicting the kind of damage I'm looking for at this point. (I'm sure is possile to shatter a masterwork's replica although I never seen it acheived.)

Its funny because I'm an aspiring novelist. I just got into d20 freelancing because there was publication opportunities but I like the work. The pay vs hours is worse than what those monkeys typing sheakspear are getting. (Disclaimer: My best paying work has always been from Goodman Games - it's even true.)

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Post by ynnen » Fri Jan 05, 2007 7:20 am

I jump back and forth between the freelance work and a more traditional role as an Internet Strategist and Consultant - helping clients map out short- and long-term web goals, as well as helping them optimize their online presence through e-marketing, email campaigns and CMS integration like DotNetNuke and stuff... Yeah, pretty boring drek compared to game development.
Crypt of the Devil Lich, Dungeon Interludes, The Mask of Death, Adventure Begins, Vault of the Dragon Kings, the Power Gamers Wizard Strategy Guide, The Adventure Continues, Palace in the Wastes and PhoenixCrawl Open

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Post by The Deceiver » Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:14 am

OK, time to divulge myself... :lol:
I'm Artem, hailing all the way from Moscow, Russia, and, apart from being a student of Spanish and French in the Moscow State University, a translator of poetry, and a fledgling scholar with a couple of articles in scientific journals under my belt, I do sometimes dabble into game design, out of sheer passion for D&D.
The game design side of my personality
:lol: is little known outside "people in the know" (that is, the Russian gaming community). When I tried explaining RPGs and game design to "laymen", the closest reply I got was, "Okay, so it's a cross between a boardgame and amateur drama, right? And you write what, scenarios for it? Weird stuff".
Artem Serebrennikov
Author of DCC #37

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