Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hello, My Name Is

+J.R. Blackwell 's blog post today inspired me to write one of my own. It seemed a little weird to introduce myself back when this blog began. But now I have links, I have works, I have, as Niska might say, reputation. So it's time to introduce myself. Though, like so many other entries in this blog, it will double as a sign post and probably make me laugh when I come across is in a few year's time.

My name is Rob Wieland. I write. My clever response to anyone who asks me "Oh, what do you write?" is "Whatever pays." I split my time between a corporate copywriting job that pays my mortgage and freelance assignments that let me write what I want. Walking the middle path is hard. There are times when I'm envious of my colleagues who can freelance full-time and of those who have full-time jobs writing the stuff I do on nights and weekends.

I struggled with calling myself a writer for a long time.  I'm not Stephen King, J.K. Rowling or anyone like that. I knew far too many people in writing programs who were already writing their poet laureate acceptance speeches. Or who spent years working on novels that only they could see and hear. That was not my path. Writing is a career like any other. You start out at the bottom and work your way up. I was afraid to call myself a writer for a long time, throwing words like "freelance" and "aspiring" in front of it. Even now, a part of me thinks I'm jinxing myself by putting these words out there.

My first paid gig was a short story for a fiction anthology related to an RPG. I was never paid and the anthology was never released. My second paid gig was winning an open submission contest for my favorite RPG company. The line developer left shortly after the contest and I never got a chance to write for that line. Heartbreaking developments, but they taught me important lessons about professional writing. 

I'm best known for my work in tabletop RPGs. My hobby which became my passion which became my workspace. I'm best known for my work on licensed RPGs. Shadowrun, which was a game I grew up playing. Star Wars Saga Edition, which got me a Wookiepedia page. Firefly, which let me work with some people I grew up reading. Playing in these sandboxes is an honor and I love doing it. 

I've also contributed to some big world anthologies over the past few years for games like Hillfolk and Fate Core. Camelot Trigger has been an amazing experience. Save Game is shaping up to be the same. Mafia Century allowed me to address one of the big holes in tabletop RPGs. Encore was a shout out to my days as a theater kid.

Right now, I'm looking to expand my horizons. I'm in a good place but I want to be in a better one. I want to write comics. I want to write TV shows. I want to write articles for magazines. The days where writers define themselves by categories are over. I still feel like the sky is the limit even after doing this for over a decade.

Now you know who I am. I'd like to know who you are. Please introduce yourself in the comments.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Why We Write

Today is Memorial Day in America. Social media feeds will be full of flag pictures and tributes to veterans. As you can see by the picture, I'm no different. That handsome gent is Louis Wieland, Jr. He is the namesake of my gaming library. He was my grandfather and he served. But, most importantly, he knew how to tell a goddamn story and he passed that love down to me.

He didn't have heroic war stories. He talked about the mundane stuff that happened where he was stationed. He understood that people are the important part of stories. You get the people right, you get the story right. It was my first, most important lesson as a storyteller. I'm as grateful for that as I am grateful for his time as a soldier. All of this is his fault.

So, if you have the opportunity, listen to a war story from a veteran today. They want to tell one and you'll want to hear one. That's the best way we can honor their service and remember their sacrifice.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Save Game - First Save Point Reached!

I just submitted my first draft of Save Game to the heads under the Evil Hat. A playtest this weekend really helped tighten up the manuscript and the focus of the game. I'd also like to thank everyone for their support and enthusiasm in working on the game.

After the jump, there's an except for the random aspect generation I use to give each character flavor. My playtesters giggled with evil glee picking the words for their fellows to use while creating their aspects. I thought it was a clever twist to the phase trio from Fate Core.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Save Game - The Really Real World

Save Game is a fairy-tale land based on video game source material. It’s not the first tale to be told using these stories as a basis. Many other tales feature some connection to the real world, like a person trapped inside a computer or being able to look through a screen out into the real world. How important is a connection to the real world for your game?

Games that end with the rescue (or destruction) of Cartridge Gardens likely don’t need much thought about the subject. For games that proceed to other islands, some consideration about the effects on the real world can give the game more texture. Is the Glitch a virus looking to overtake all systems to gain sentience? Is it a local virus eating through the computer of one family that could wreck their daughter’s paper?

How important is the Real World to you in Save Game?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Echoes of War - Bucking the Tiger

Today is a pretty exciting day for me. The newest Echoes of War adventure is out. I'm always excited on release day, but it's a double dose because it's the adventure I wrote for the line. Bucking the Tiger features a murder mystery set at a Wild West themed casino, as an old friend of the Crew gets killed just before she's able to make good on a marker.

You can download Bucking the Tiger here.

My friends over at Plot Points Podcast asked me to come on and discuss the adventure and the Firefly RPG. The episode is split into two parts. The first part is primarily a discussion of the show and the RPG. The second focuses on the adventure. There are spoilers in the discussion, but a neat thing about the adventure is that is plays differently every time.

If you'd like to get the podcast on iTunes, click here.

If you'd like to listen in your browser, click here.