What a wild ride the past decade has been.
Todd Gamble and I both live in Snoqualmie, a small Washington State city that has grown over the years into a sizable suburb of Seattle and Bellevue. When I was a kid this town was home to just 950 people, now there are tens of thousands, but that’s another story. Todd and I were both into similar things, he loved maps and making model scenery (mostly for train layouts) and I loved tabletop gaming and writing. We were both active in the community and even scheduled some model scenery workshops, teaching kids at the local gaming shop (RIP Cascade Comics & Games).
In December of 2010, I sent Todd an email which I have saved after all these years. This email would go on to change my entire life. It went like this:
Jonathan Nelson to Todd Gamble
A light bulb just lit up above my head so I pulled it down to eye level and looked inside and saw the following:
A website with a simple domain name about Adventures like AdventureAweek.com or AdventureQuest.com.
You sign up for an account with the website and once per week you get a short adventure written for any role-playing system. It could be loosely based on D&D 3.5 but could have information on how to adopt the game for any system and recommend different monsters or NPCs to use in place of the ones in the adventure.
Each week you and I create a custom PDF file that goes out to everyone on the email list. They pay a monthly subscription fee of say $8-$10 per person to belong. I would write the adventure with ideas from your illustrations. Then you could make some interesting maps with my ideas and I would write the adventure around that. It could be anything from a simple adventure up to something much more complex. Some of the adventures could tie together, but we would leave them loose enough that you could enter and exit any adventure just in that one PDF file.
There was more to the email but you get the idea. It was a spark, a spark that grew into an entire tabletop roleplaying game publishing company with many successes, nominations, awards, and opportunities that I never could have dreamed were possible. It really does show what you can do if you truly love something and are passionate about it. Anyone can find success doing what they love, you just have to get a plan together and never give up, even when bad stuff happens, because it does, you just get back up, dust yourself off, bandage those wounds, and continue on your way. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.