I’m a writer and game designer living just outside Detroit, Michigan. I started at TSR, Inc (the makers of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS), and later designed computer games with Black Isle Studios, the role-playing division of Interplay Productions.
Here’s the long version of my story:
I graduated from Lake Forest College in 1991, with a degree in Philosophy. Here’s a great line that no philosophy major has ever heard, and I encourage you to try it out on every philosophy major you meet: “Repeat after me: Would you like fries with that?”
It turns out that philosophy is a great major for someone who’s naturally inquisitive, and it’s a fantastic way to teach you to think in a lot of different directions – in other words, an ideal mindset for becoming a game designer.
Since I’d been a life-long D&D enthusiast (some might say “geek”), I figured I’d take a shot at the ring, and I dropped a query letter in the mail to TSR, Inc. Much to my surprise, they wrote back and asked me to submit a writing sample. I did. To my even greater surprise, they liked it enough to ask me to come up for an interview and another writing test.
Somehow I got the job. I worked at TSR for five years, during which time I won a couple of Origins Awards for some of my work (specifically, DRAGON MOUNTAIN and the BIRTHRIGHT Campaign Setting). I also worked on some DRAGONLANCE, AD&D, Basic D&D, DARK SUN, RAVENLOFT, and the setting that took full advantage of my philosophy degree: PLANESCAPE, for which I wrote or co-wrote “Well of Worlds”, “Planes of Law”, “Planes of Conflict”, “On Hallowed Ground”, “Hellbound: The Blood War”, “Faces of Evil: The Fiends”, and “The Great Modron March”.
Then I decided it was time for a change. So I took a job at Interplay/Black Isle, and bade farewell to my fine friends at TSR, and packed up my apartment into a UHaul, put my car on a trailer behind it, and drove out to California.
Interplay originally hired me to do a Planescape game for the Playstation. Unfortunately, they were planning about three Planescape games at the time, and they decided to wrap one into Stonekeep 2, and reassigned me onto a game that became much better known: the award-winning, cult classic, critical favorite CRPG, “Planescape: Torment”.
I worked with Black Isle for about 3 ½ years. I met the amazing and brilliant Robin Moulder, and shortly after we met, she was offered a job in Detroit. I had the choice of staying in California or moving to Michigan with her.
It didn’t require much thought.
I kept at the writing, turning out two books in the Oathbreaker series, wrote a bunch of tabletop stuff, did some design on Wasteland 2, and then became creative lead for Torment: Tides of Numenera – like the original Torment, it was a critical success. Then I worked on Wasteland 3, did some work with Larian for Baldur’s Gate 3, and have been working with my own company, 3lb Games, on awesome new virtual reality games like Space Dragon and Vault of Stars. I’m also working as creative lead for the upcoming Australian philosophical post-apocalyptic CRPG Broken Roads.