Category: squeeeeee

In Which I Wrote in the Alloy of Law Mistborn Universe.

This is going to be the month of shipping long overdue stuff. Let’s start with one that I am enormously honored to have been a part of.

Mistborn Adventure Game: Alloy of Law Cover

Product Information: 320 pages

Print and PDF release
Author(s): Alex Flagg, John Snead, Stephen Toulouse, Rob Vaux, Filamena Young
Artist(s): Ben McSweeney, Isaac Stewart
Crafty Games Product Number: CFG-7004
ISBN: 978-1-940094-91-5
Release Date: 2014-08-07


MY NAME IS ON THIS! I am a huge Brandon Sanderson/Mistborn fan. So when I got approached by my good friend Logan Bonner and Crafty Games a couple years ago about writing sections of this I flipped out. Then I calmed down. Then I flipped out. Then I flipped out again. I loved Alloy of Law. I loved finding out how the events of the Mistborn Trilogy changed the world of Scadrial.

Then, they told me the sections I would be writing for. I got to describe the Northern and Southern roughs, and develop the stories for Wax and Wayne and Marasi and holy shit! I got to work with some other amazing writers all in a world I was a fan of. And I got to create a little bit in that world.

It was a great experience writing for an RPG, and my first experience writing in someone else’s universe and trying to be bold and creative yet respectful to the fact this wasn’t my playground.

I thank Logan for his patience in helping me navigate some of the elements of writing for an RPG that make it different from pure fiction. The process was fun. I hope players enjoy it!

Everything Old is New Again

In February of 2012 I left Microsoft, a company I had worked for ever since I was 21. It wasn’t a bad break, it was a good break. I wanted to go off and experience all new adventures. And I have. In the past year alone I’ve worked for an *amazing* team of engineers and developers at the HBO Code Labs here in Seattle. I can’t say enough about what an incredible experience that was and what they are doing for the future of providing their customers with HBO’s top notch content.

But I am a gamer first and foremost. Have been since I was five. Will be when I shuffle off this mortal coil at the cyber enhanced ripe old age of 120. And in that moment at age 120 I will *still* remember exactly where I was when I first saw this.

I don’t know a console gamer who doesn’t remember that incredible introduction to the world of Gears of War. I was hooked. I was sold. That was a day one purchase for me.

Since then Gears of War is the only title I have played every release through in coop, with my friend Mark. We’ll put off playing the game until we can set aside a week to play it together. I’ve played multiplayer, and done the entire 50 waves of Horde mode for charity with my friend e.

So when the outstanding team at Black Tusk asked me to help them make the best Gears of War experience to date by representing the community and being their advocate, how could I say no?

As of today I am now the Director of Community Engagement for Black Tusk Studios. I’m not sure there is a word that properly expresses my excitement at the opportunity to represent this community. Gearstastic? Lambentocity? AWESOMES OF WAR? I have time to work on it.

I’ve been hiding, I confess. I’ve been shadowing the Gears forums and looking at people’s thoughts. I don’t just want us to make the best next generation Gears of War game ever, I want to make sure that everyone playing the game today feels just as good today and down the road in their investment into our amazing world as we do. There’s a Gears nation out there. I’m a part of it and it’s amazing.

So now it’s out. So hit me. You can email me directly at or or my twitter at or the official Gears of war social media feeds at @GearsofWar and @BlackTuskStudio.

It’s not like we’re just starting out here, we’ve been passionate about the community from the get go. We’re expanding that commitment from the fine work Jack Felling have been doing and going big.

I want to be flooded with your thoughts. I want to hear everything you like, dislike, want, don’t want and hope for in relation to this rich and amazing world. Spare no detail. All thoughts will be entertained. Depending on volume I cannot promise I can respond to everything, but I do promise this: I will forego sleep to try.

It’s a mad world. Let’s get busy and Jump in.

In Which I Do Some Work for HBO.

I love HBO. I think they are the model for changing the way we think about TV, “Seasons” etc. Netflix and Amazon and Xbox and others are playing catch-up but HBO really sets the mould.

So when I had the opportunity to take a short term contract with them I couldn’t pass it up. Specifically I’m working on HBO Codelabs stuff, and it’s super secret squirrel so I can’t detail it. But I’m incredibly excited at what they are doing and as a subscriber I can’t wait for you guys to get your hands on it.

But I’m super happy to be working on [REDACTED], the team is an amazing group of people and the culture and vibe is fantastic. It may be contract work at the moment but this is stuff that, if you are in Seattle and want to work in a great culture on stuff millions of people use you should send me an email. Open-mouthed smile

Strange Days

[WARNING: This blog post contains minor spoilers regarding the D&D Next module The Mines of Madness. It describes the first portions of a playtest of the module before its release.  Do not proceed if you do not wish some minor spoilers]

A few weeks ago I got to go to Wizards of the Coast (WotC) for a very specific reason. To get eaten by a 15 foot wide poop worm in an outhouse.

Wait, wait.  I’m getting ahead of myself.

Scott Kurtz called me a few weeks ago to follow up an an email that Greg, Producer of Dungeons and Dragons at WotC had sent me. Would I like to participate in a recorded play through of the D&D Next (think next edition rule set) module Mines of Madness, written by Scott and Chris Perkins. It would be me, Scott, my friends Kris Straub and Molly Lewis, with Greg being our DM and Chris as a…well I can’t say any more about that at the moment.

I got my red box illicitly at the age of 12.  I was raised southern baptist and my family was firmly in the realm that Dungeons and Dragons taught children to love Satan, support marriage equality, think women deserve equal pay for equal work, and basically believe that the default position of humans should be to treat them well while not trying to threaten them with eternal damnation. The first part was the only fallacy.

This is all Tom Hanks fault.

As an aside there’s no saving throw against a 15 foot wide poop worm if you poke your head down the outhouse hole.


My friend Antonio bought the set, dice, and associated modules for us. I rolled wizard class generally, and D&D was a part of my life for a long long time.

When Scott called me, I had not played a formal game in ten years. That wasn’t due to any lack of love or “outgrowing” the game (I had played Neverwinter on PC and Delves of course) it was just that so many other games and real life had taken up my time.

But now I was being invited to play an unreleased module at Wizards of the Coast with my friends and record it for the Internet.

I picked up the phone and called 12 year old me.

“Dude.” I said.

“DUDE!” 12 year old me replied.

“Dude.” I agreed.

“DUDE!” 12 year old me argued.

“I gotta do this right?  I mean I would be an idiot not to do this right?” I asked.

12 year old me farted into the phone in agreement.

When I got there the D&D folks were happy to meet *me*. We all got a nice little setup with dice and a moleskin notebook.



EDIT: Yes I know I’m drawing big here.  I tend to draw twice, a close-up of the immediate room then a smaller version aligning to the individual squares. Good lord nerds.

If this sounds amazing (and even writing it is making me freak out at the things I sometimes get to do in my life) then you should listen to the fact that we recorded the whole thing.  We played for 4 or 5 hours, and they will be releasing the podcasts throughout the month of April.

I can’t thank my friends Scott and Kris and Molly and Greg enough for the opportunity.

The subsequent episodes will post 4/5, 4/12, 4/19 and the 5th and final one, 4/26. (note, subject to change based on editing or other things etc etc)

The Mines of Madness module is available TODAY to all D&D Next Playtesters, you can signup here:

Have a good reason when turning down your first actual offer of payment for your writing from a Hugo award winning author.

There’s a moment that every writer hits eventually if they wish to persist in doing it for the rest of their lives.  Like rolling a 20 for the first time or bowling a strike, on a long enough timeline if you stick with the enjoyment of what you are doing, and ignore actually trying to to achieve it, it will occur.

I have a number of different irons in the fire on this front, but I’ve officially been offered payment for something I wrote for the first time.  Not just been offered payment, but offered payment by John Scalzi, Hugo award winning sci fi author. I’ve come to the very edge of being offered payment, something I will write about soon, but not crossed the actual finish line of “I need to know where to send the check”.

I’m more than a bit flipped out and humbled to have been chosen as a “special guest star” entry for the result of this. I submitted my entry outside the contest as a lark.  I specifically noted that I did not want to be included in the actual contest to win the prize (meaning the entry would be featured and paid 10 cents a word in an online charity chapbook.) The winners were recently announced and I congratulate them as I cannot wait to read their stories.

Imagine my surprise however when John Scalzi contacted me yesterday to note that my entry would be featured in the chapbook as a special guest star entry and that they wished to pay me the contest winners rate for the work, could I please provide them with PayPal or physical address information for the payment.

I’d just woken up, reading email on my iPhone while Remington took my stirring as a sign that it was time to do his puppy thing of being incredibly fucking cheerful in the morning just because it was morning. I lay there for a second fending off his attempts to wriggle all over me and processed.  Then I put the phone down and tickled him. I sat up and grinned. There was no way I was going to accept the payment, the entire point of the contest was for charity. I would gladly forego the payment.

But someone…wait that’s not even close to describing it… an author I respected and admired, had wanted to pay me for my work. I squeed.

I tapped out a quick response declining payment but saying I was honored to be included in the chapbook.  John (I feel weird calling him John Scalzi now, but part of me wants to call him Mr. Scalzi) mailed back to say that was great and details on the book would be forthcoming.  As soon as I have them I will post them here to promote it.