Testing Your Wings

I went back to freelancing right after I left Pinnacle at the end of 1999. I worked for a lot of different companies, including the fine people at Atlas Games. I wrote a section of En Route for them, as well as the whole of Seven Cities. Michelle Nephew did a bang-up job editing both books, pushing me to make my work better and better.

While I was working on Seven Cities, Michelle contacted me about a freelancer she was working with on another project. He was a game designer at VR1, a computer game company in Boulder, Colorado. He’d been there a long while without ever seeing anything get published, a frustrating situation for any creative soul. He was thinking about making the jump to full-time freelancing in the adventure game industry. Would I be willing to answer some questions, give him some pointers?

Sure. Why not? Michelle says this guy has talent, I believe her.

His name was Keith Baker.
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Eberron Coming Along

I just turned in the cover order for the first in my trilogy of novels for the Eberron setting due out for Dungeons & Dragons from Wizards of the Coast this August. The first book in my series won’t hit stores until early 2005, a month after the first novel in Keith Baker’s trilogy, but it was a kick describing in detail how each of the characters looks and acts. I don’t know who the cover artist will be yet, but I have high hopes.

Knocked Down, Back Up

If you stopped by this morning, you might have seen that Forbeck.com wasn’t here. My domain registrar failed to renew my domain name on time, despite the fact I paid the fee weeks ago. Still, they made things right and got it ironed out within hours of me noticing it, so we’re back up and running again. Whew!

(Don’t) Quit Your Day Job

Last week, T.S. Luikart (I assume—he’s the only T.S. I know outside of the long-dead poet Eliot) rightfully pointed out that you should examine your potential output before you decide to make the leap to full-time freelancing, if that’s what you’re after. I dug around in my files a bit and found the old article I’d written on just that for my “Gameslinger” column at (the now-dead) www.GamesUnplugged.com. Rather than put it up as another PDF, I’m posting it here.
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Talking ‘Bout a Resolution

The New Year is a time for looking both back and forward, for seeing how you’ve done and making plans for doing better.

One of my resolutions this year (as I mentioned before) is to make regular updates to this site. So far, so good, although the year’s just starting now, so we’ll have to see how it all plays out.

This week, I have something to help some of you out there with a possible resolution: to become a published writer. Earlier this year, Anna M. Dobritt asked me to write an essay about being a freelancer in the adventure games industry. She published it in the apparently short-lived RPG Freelancers Guide, but I’m making it available to you now for free.

I often get asked how to break into the adventure games industry as a freelancer and what you need to do once you’re there. (I wrote a feature article on this once in the early days of InQuest (Gamer) Magazine.) “The Freelancing Life” is a short and sweet answer. Enjoy!

Should Old Acquaintances Be Forgot

A few of the people who stopped by the site were kind enough to post notices about the site’s launch on their own sites. It’s the kind of thing you do for friends, which I then realized I hadn’t bothered to do myself. So, if you look to your right, you should see a new “Friends” link that gives details about the various sites many of my friends have up on the web.

I didn’t include companies owned by friends, just sites that are either blogs or have a certain personal touch. Many such companies appear on the “Links” page, but only the ones I’ve worked with in the past. I’ll try to add the companies I’ve not been fortunate enough to work with (yet) soon.

A Neverland Christmas

The impending release of the new, live-action Peter Pan movie inspired me to dig deep into the darkest parts of my computer’s hard drive. There I found a rough, uncut gem from my past that I thought I’d share with you as a kind of Christmas present.

Once upon a time (back in 1991), a game company by the odd name of Starchilde (publishers of the Justifiers and Guardians roleplaying games) asked me to write a Peter Pan roleplaying game for children. It seems the copyright for J.M. Barrie’s classic novel had finally fallen into the public domain, which meant we could do the game without any licensing fees.

I developed a manuscript for what was to be a lavishly illustrated rulebook that showed adults how to entertain children by way of concocting a story together, one set in Neverland, the home island of Peter Pan. The company folded before it could publish the game, though, and the rights to the manuscript reverted back to me. Ever since, the game has sat untouched on one of the series of computers I’ve used over the past 12 years.

The copyright laws surrounding Peter Pan are fairly complex. Back in 1929, Barrie assigned the copyright to the Great Ormand Street Hospital. The copyright expired in 1987, 50 years after Barrie’s death, but the British Parliament passed an act in 1988 that granted the hospital the Peter Pan copyright permanently. The US followed suit in 1998, extending the hospital’s copyright protection until 2023.

I wrote Neverland: The Imagination Game in 1991, which makes it illegal in the UK but just fine in the US. However, since the copyright laws have since changed, I can’t make any changes to the manuscript without violating the law.

As such, I’m offering up the Neverland manuscript as is, warts and all. It doesn’t have any artwork, nor a proper layout, but hey, the price is right. It’s free.

You can download the game here. Read it, play it, and have fun with it. Be warned that it’s dirt simple. There’s not much “game” to it at all, but it’s fun for what it is.

If you like the game—or just feel like being kind—I suggest making a donation to the Great Ormand Street Hospital Children’s Charity. If this was a properly licensed product, that’s where the money would go, and it’s a worthy cause chosen by Barrie himself.

Merry Christmas to you all, and best wishes throughout the holiday season and beyond!

Let’s Get this Party Started

I’ve been quietly working on this website for a few weeks now, and it’s time to finally pull the thing’s light from under the bushel and let it shine free. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you like what you see and come back often.

As the end of the year creeps up, lots of people like to make New Year’s resolutions. You’re looking at mine. I’ve had lots of requests over the years for an easy way for people who enjoy my work to keep up with what I’m doing. That’s what this site is for.

Of course, just setting up a website isn’t much of a resolution. The real trick is to keep it alive, to make it worthwhile for people to stop back here regularly. To that end, I’m aiming at weekly updates.

Honestly, I’m going to shoot wide of that target sometimes. I’m only human, and other parts of my life may take precedence from time to time. If that happens, feel free to try to keep me honest. If you find you’re missing your weekly fix, I’ll be flattered.

My plan is to have something up every Wednesday. To start things off, I have a fun little PDF I’ll post on the 24th as a Christmas present. Stop by then and have a look.