One of Raging Swan Press’s intrepid freelancers, Alexander Augunas, writes a blog called Everyman Gaming. Since he started, he’s been posting loads of jolly interesting articles. One that particularly caught my eye was an article entitled “How I Became A Game Designer.” It was fascinating to read about his journey and I was inspired to write a similar post.
My game designing days started back in the dim and distant past of 1999. I’d been gaming since 1983, but in 1999 Living Greyhawk launched. I heard rumours of the campaign for some months and immediately volunteered to be a triad member for the UK (where I live). I got the job and started working on developing the UK portion of the campaign with the rest of the design team. At that time, I had my first module published Shadows Over Scant for RPGA convention play (sadly, my one and only 2nd Edition D&D design credit) which served as a prequel to the UK portion of the campaign.
Later that year, my first 3.0 adventure—Escape from Scant—released and more quickly followed! A few years later, I was lucky enough to snag a position on the Circle of Six and eventually was responsible for the campaign’s Core modules. I held that position until the campaign ended in 2008. During the campaign I wrote in the region of 20 modules and edited well over 100! The Living Greyhawk campaign was a great crucible in which to forge my design, development and organisational skills.
During my time in Living Greyhawk, I snagged my first freelance credits, writing multiple articles for Dragon Magazine and Dungeon Magazine as well as Wizard’s website. I also wrote or contributed to various products for Wizards of the Coast (Monster Manual V, Exemplars of Evil) and Expeditious Retreat Press (Legacy of Darkness).
With the advent of 4th edition I continued freelancing for Wizards of the Coast (Underdark, Madness at Gardmore Abbey, several adventures in Dungeon Magazine) and Expeditious Retreat Press (Plague). I won an ENnie for Madness at Gardmore Abbey, of which I am tremendously proud.
In March 2010 I launched Raging Swan Press. Over the last five years Raging Swan Press has built up a portfolio of over 300 products and is well respected as a Pathfinder 3PP. I’ve also continued to sporadically freelance, writing for Kobold Press (Deep Magic), TPK Games (Laying Waste: A Critical Guide to Combat) and recently finishing some design work for my first Paizo hardback book.
So that’s my journey to date. Freelance game design has been a tremendous amount of fun and I’m looking forward to the future. Looking back at my career it hasn’t been one of overnight success by any means—I’ve been doing this now for 15 years give or take. Rather I’ve taken many small, incremental steps to get where I am today and that’s fine. I’d rather build for the long term than go for the quick and easy win.
If you are a freelance game designer have you had a similar journey? If you have, post it on your own blog and share the link below.