"Every time I’m out, they pull me back in."
Actually, not true. I was out for a long time. Out of writing and designing for tabletop games, that is. Sure, I kept writing stuff after I left White Wolf for video games (“You leveled”, the head of another company told me at Origins after I announced I was changing jobs). Kithbook: Redcaps. The intro fiction to Orpheus
. Some Hunter material, some other things. But I wrapped it up with bits in Abyssals
for Exalted and The Book of Changing Breeds
for Werewolf. Those were the goodbyes to the stuff I’d worked on and that I identified with most strongly.
Over the years, I occasionally got asked to contribute to projects. I always said no. No because I’d moved on, no because my sparse-on-the-ground spare time was needed for trying to get my fiction career going, no because it felt like going backwards.
Last year, I got offers I couldn’t refuse. James Wallis, whose work I have the utmost respect (and space in my game closet) for asked me to do a stretch goal piece for a project he was working on. And old friend Rich Thomas asked if I’d be willing to helm the 20th Anniversary Edition of Wraith: The Oblivion
My response to Rich was literally unprintable, but it ended with the word “yes”. Because it was Wraith, and I’d have been kicking myself forever if I’d let someone else do it when I had the chance to do it myself.
Wraith was, after all, where I got my start. My first paid writing was 2 chapters in the Haunts
sourcebook, contracted by original developer Jen Hartshorn. (I overwrote. Some things never change.) I wrote on Wraith for Inphobia. I wrote a big chunk of the Wraith Players’ Guide
, and then I got hired as the developer and moved to Atlanta and got a phone call from Harlan Ellison and became, professionally speaking, who I am.
Because of Wraith.
So really it was no choice at all, despite the fact that I was signing up for a part-time gig doing what used to be my full-time gig on top of my current full-time gig which is frequently a more-than-full-time gig. And yes, it feels weird slipping back into the old role, flexing old muscles that haven’t been used for a long while and melding them with the things i’ve learned in 15 years in pixel-land. At the same time, though, it feels good - good to be doing those things my mental muscles remember, good to be doing them better with the help of all those years of experience. I remarked to a friend tonight that I was running my writing staff like a dev team; I hadn’t realized it until I said it.
Which leaves me roughly where I am, which is to say adrift on a sea of manuscripts, juggling social media stuff for the Kickstarter, coordinating a staff of ridiculously smart and talented writer-types and trying to remember what I was thinking and why I was thinking it all those years ago.
It’s going to be very interesting seeing where it all leads. And I, for one, am looking forward to seeing how I get there. In the meantime, however, I’ve got manuscripts on the grill.
*pours a finger of scotch*
Back to work. See you on the other side.
(And if you feel like checking out the Wraith kickstarter, you can find it here