Almost a year to the day (June 28, 2019), I announced a new Professional Writing course had been approved at Taylor University, the Tabletop Game Writing Lab. Little did I know then that a group of seven students and I were embarking on a creative journey that would culminate in winning a Judges’ Spotlight ENnie at the 2020 ENNIE Tabletop RPG Awards.
This course came about from the passionate requests of a small group of students from the two previous Writing & Editing for Gaming courses I had taught. Those students desired a follow-up course that delved deeply into the creative process of game writing. For three years they diligently and passionately requested that the Communication Department consider offering this follow-up course, and in the Spring of 2019 they agreed to offer it in the Fall of 2019.
We started with simple goals for this course.
COURSE GOALS: At the end of this course, students will have experienced the unique elements and skills required for writing, editing, layout, and self-publishing in the tabletop game industry.
Knowing we had a challenging process ahead (researching, writing, editing, layout, and publishing an RPG product in less than four months), I reached out to my friends at Chaosium to see if they would be interested in partnering in this inaugural Tabletop Game Writing course. I could use their professional mentoring to help guide and inspire these students. Mike Mason and Lynne Hardy of Chaosium agreed to partner with Taylor University and me on this course by hosting video conferences and providing feedback along the writing process.
That Chaosium partnership blessed this course more than expected when I had to teach some remotely and take a week off to recover from a back injury and subsequent surgery. We rescheduled some video conferences to cover my time away from the course, and the students stepped up professionally, showing how passionate and serious they were about this project. They ran the class locally while I Zoomed into the class to meet with the students. The meetings felt like business meetings with publishers, so it was a great experience for the students.
Over a single semester, these students went from being unpublished in the game industry and throwing ideas at a whiteboard…
Elias Taylor Winters, the CEO of TWJ Co., discovered a secret to the glass-making process that finally put him above his long-standing competition: Ball Glass. Shattering expectations for such a small company in rural Indiana, Winters has put Glasston on the map. The town and its economy are booming. But not everything in Glasston is as it should be…
Refractions of Glasston is a standalone scenario for Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition. It takes place in a rural town in northwest Indiana, set in the 1920s. Inside you’ll find:
* A thrilling mystery surrounding the town of Glasston, fueled by intrigue and disturbing encounters.
* A history of Indiana that will prepare Keepers for running a scenario in such an atypical setting.
* Hooks for incorporating local cryptids or real-life occurrences into the scenario.
* Multiple endings and ways to continue the adventure for investigation addicts.
Refractions of Glasston is the result of a creative collaboration between the Professional Writing major at Taylor University, Upland IN and Chaosium Inc. The creators are all students at Taylor University. Though many of the team are members of the professional writing major, this is their first foray into the world of RPG writing. With help and advice provided by Chaosium’s Mike Mason and Lynne Hardy, these writers, editors, and RPG enthusiasts set out to create a unique adventure for Call of Cthulhu fans to enjoy.
This first semester of Tabletop Game Writing Lab students at Taylor University showed amazing passion and professionalism, well beyond a semester course. Their passion got this course approved, their creativity designed the scenario, and their hard work produced this award-winning scenario. I am honored and proud to have taught this course and been a developer on this project.