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Life After Wizards (Again)—Part 1: The Good Stuff

Last week I said I’d write more about the fact that I was no longer working at Wizards of the Coast . . . and mainly I said that because I knew folks would be curious. But truth be told, there really isn’t that much to say on the subject. I guess, though, I could start with an overview of what I’ve been doing for the past year.


In May 2011, I got a call from Chris Perkins, the Lead Producer for D&D at Wizards of the Coast, and someone I’ve been friends with for at least 15 years. He told me that Wizards had an open position for a D&D Producer and he very much wanted me to apply for it. Since I both was in need of a regular paycheck AND thought that working for and with Chris would be great fun, I did.

As it turns out, corporate indecision caused the position to be rescinded before the hiring process could be completed, but it didn’t eliminate the NEED to fill the role. So in October of 2011, Chris got approval to bring a temporary contractor while the company sorted out what it wanted to do about the long-term need. That allowed Chris to flat out offer me the position, which he did … and which I accepted.


The thing was, I wouldn’t be working for Wizards directly. I’d be a temp who worked for a company called TAPFIN (no, I have no idea what it means), that was based crazily enough in Birmingham, AL, but whose sole assignment would be working for Wizards of the Coast in Renton, WA.


I had a desk in the D&D R&D bullpen, I sat near old friends, I was doing a job I knew and understood intimately, and I was getting to be part of D&D again. PLUS the department was working on what has come to be known as D&D Next which, while it wasn’t at all my assignment, I was able to kibitz on and playtest. My JOB was to be the Producer for the ezine versions of Dragon and Dungeon magazines.

Sure, I was getting paid hourly, had no vacation time, and was under the ticking clock of Washington State’s “permatemp” law, but on the other hand I was able to continue working on outside projects, retain my stake in Super Genius Games, and assiduously stick to only 40-hours per week at Wizards. As far as I was concerned, it was pretty much the ideal situation.


The contract was just for 4 months, but with an option to renew. I knew that I was doing a better-than-adequate job, and that they truly NEEDED someone in this position. Producing enough content for two magazines requires A LOT of fiddly management, the kind of thing you can’t just fit in between work on full-sized books, board games, & marketing material, and the development of a whole new iteration of the game. And, as I guessed, I was barely into my third month when I got official notification that Wizards would like to extend my contract for another 4 months.

It was toward the end of that second contract that there started to be buzzing about hiring me on full-time. So I pulled Chris aside and had a conversation with him about the road bumps I KNEW lay ahead in that process. He said we’d cross that bridge when we came to it, and that was good enough for me.

About a week later, a formal job offer appeared on my desk.

It was time to cross that bridge.


Hmmmm … it seems like I had more to say than I’d expected. So in the interest of keeping my blog posts to a reasonable length (and to give me something to write about later in the week), I’ll stop here. But c’mon back for Part 2 tomorrow. In the meanwhile, have you checked out the Kickstarter I’ve got going for The Littlest Shoggoth? I’d be awfully grateful if you’d help spread the word about that to your Cthulhu-loving friends and relations.

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