Leaving the Lab

Friday was my last day at Flying Lab. I worked there on Pirates of the Burning Sea for three years and three weeks. I had not been happy in my job for some time. For starters I was tired of working on pirate material. It’s been nine years since I wrote Death in Freeport and I’ve been working on pirate oriented stuff off and on for most of that time. After Pirates of the Burning Sea launched, I hoped to move on to a new game and get a chance to lead the narrative design effort from the ground up (PotBS was several years into development before I came on board). There were many proposals and many meetings with potential publishers, but none of the big projects ever got a green light. So it was just week after week of grinding out new content for the game post-launch. Once you’ve written over five hundred missions that involve a ship combat or a sword fight, it gets a little old.

On top of all that, I had of course been continuing to run Green Ronin and for the last year design the Dragon Age RPG as well. I worked just about every weekend of the last three years on GR and most of my “vacations” were conventions or business trips. At the certain point the weeks just began to blur together. What day was it and did it even matter? And even when I would take a day off for mental health, I just thought about all the work I had to do and usually failed at relaxing anyway.

I hung on and hoped something would break my way. But at Flying Lab the content team was at half its original size a year after launch. Some people left the company and others moved over to work on the kids MMOs the company is doing. We also decided to make the missions less cookie cutter by designing each from scratch instead of using templates. The upshot was we had fewer missions designers creating fewer missions and that meant less and less writing for me to do. At the end of the summer the content team and the design team were combined into one team under a new lead. We finished Black Flags and Dread Saints, an eight month serial story line I had conceived, and then started working on an expansion. With the state of the game and nothing else in the offing, there just wasn’t enough for me to do. So here we are.

In the short term it’s not so bad. I can concentrate on Green Ronin as we launch Dragon Age. I can maybe relax a little and take some weekends off. Health insurance is going to be an issue though and Nicole and I still need to figure out how we can afford to fix the heating system in our house (see her blog for that story). There’s also the larger question of where I want to go from here. There are other forms of writing I’d like to explore, such as fiction and comics, that I simply haven’t had time to consider the last few years. It may be time for that or something else. I’m sure it’s going to make 2010 interesting.

Fund My Hobby!

I want to get my 28mm Norman army painted and I know I’ll never find the time to do it. I’m also on a never ending quest to get stuff out of my house. The solution? You buy stuff I don’t need any more and I use the money to get my army painted. So there’s a big list of stuff below. If you are interested, drop me a line at pramas [at] greenronin [dot] com. I’ll figure out shipping and then you pay me via Paypal. Here we go:

Mutants & Masterminds 2nd Edition, Limited Edition rulebook, $50
Mutants & Masterminds Annual #2, $40
Vampire: Damnation City (White Wolf), $20
Witch Hunter: The Invisible World (Paradigm Concepts), $20
Original Dark Sun boxed set for 2nd edition AD&D; (TSR), $35
Forgotten Realms: Empire of the Shining Sea boxed set for 2nd Edition AD&D; in the shrink, $40

Inquisitor miniatures game (GW), $20
Epic Armageddon miniatures game (GW), $25
The Hills Rise Wild minis game (Pagan Publishing), $25

Blitzkrieg General boardgame, unpunched (UGG), $20
Autumn Mist: The Battle of the Bulge boardgame, unpunched (Fiery Dragon), $15
Tide of Iron boardgame (FFG), $55 (shipping on this may be a bear because it’s huge; if you live in Seattle we could meet for a handoff)

Flames of War 2nd Edition hardback rulebook, $35
FOW D Minus 1 book, $15
FOW D-Day book, $15
FOW Bloody Omaha book, $15
FOW Afrika book, $15
3 FOW American M3 Lee Tanks, $21
1 FOW American Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel Boxed Set, $30

Flames of War American Airborne Lot, $95
* 1 Parachute Rifle Company Boxed Set
* 1 Parachute Rifle Platoon
* 1 Parachute Mortar Platoon
* 1 M1 57mm Gun blister (for Glider anti-tank platoon; 2 guns)

Catachan Imperial Guard Force for Warhammer 40K, $200
The following are metal minis:
* 8 guardsmen with satchel charges
* 8 special weapon and officer minis, including Sly and Straken
* 7 heavy flamers
* 4 autocannon teams
* 3 seated heavy bolter teams
* 2 standing heavy bolter teams with “Ox” from Schaeffer’s Last Chancers
*2 missile launcher teams

Then I have over 60 assembled plastic guardsmen. About half are primed and half have a few colors put on. They are a mix of regular troopers, special/heavy weapon troopers, and sergeants.

Bushido Miniatures (True 25mm), Ral Partha, $40
* 5 blisters of Samurai with Sword (30 minis total)
* 1 blister of Samurai with Naginata (6 minis)

The GR Summit

We had our annual Green Ronin Summit this past weekend. Hal, Steve, Jon, and Bill all flew into Seattle and met up Nicole, Evan, Sparky, and I for several days of meeting, planning, eating, and even a little bit of gaming. We did a debrief on the last year, talking about what went well and not so well. Then we reviewed our various lines, brainstormed new ideas, and banged out a schedule through the end of 2010. After we adjourned the summit proper, some of us recorded new material for the Green Ronin podcast. All in all it was a productive and enjoyable weekend and it’s always nice tohang out with the other ronins away from a convention environment.

I have sometimes pondered handling this stuff via e-mail like we do most of our business, but it’s really worth getting everyone in the same room at least once a year. There’s a spontaneity you don’t get in e-mail and sometimes it’s the little asides that you wouldn’t type that send the conversation off in a direction that proves fruitful. This year we had a particularly large knot to untangle and the solution we came up with was not something I had considered beforehand. It was the back and forth discussion during the brainstorming that led us to something I think will be really cool. That’s the sort of result that makes the summit so worthwhile.