Tales from The Trenches Archive

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Pen and Paper Pirates

When I was in community college a group of friends were impressed by my ability at data entry, copying large swaths from hard copy pen and paper rule books to electronic format for private use in campaigns. They approached me and offered me a chance to work on an RPG they were developing, and I eagerly jumped at the chance. Without having yet signed a contract I did some preliminary work to show that I could produce, and in turn was promised that there would be a contract forthcoming.

This was, of course, in my indiscreet youth and I fully accept it was my mistake to work without a contract but these were friends and why would friends ever lead you wrong? (More on this later) So when the weeks turned to months I had reached a peak: I couldn’t produce more work without input, nor could they it seemed give me more input without work. And this while they were starting to take pre orders presumably in cash. I confided in one of my associates about my doubts in the success of the product. I know now this is also unprofessional behavior, but at the time I was deeply concerned because my eye was on that fat writing credit.

I was never formally informed I was let go until weeks later when I got pushy about why my e-mails and phone calls weren’t being received. Still, knowing I had not a leg to stand on, I decided to be a champ and let them have what I had produced. I wished them luck and moved on to still higher education, eventually going to the state campus. Fast Forward to this year. The head of the company was in a car accident and while he was crashing on a friend’s couch he proceeded to clean the poor guy out of food and money before being thrown out. This entrepreneur then spread disinformation and lies about my friend for no clear reason other than because he could. The RPG supposedly going to be on Kickstarter soon, but somehow I’m glad I’m not working for a thief and liar.

I now work for a small press RPG company with proven product lines under contract.