Tabletop RPG Workers Say Their Jobs Are Not Fantasy


It’s also a challenging industry where you can always make money. TTRPG’s high-quality, hard-hitting adventure books rely on teams of professionals including writers, editors, illustrators, designers, actors, and of course, people who can advise on the business side of things. . Once done, physical copies of the books will go through a provider, with an incalculable percentage. And not everyone who plays TTRPGs is a paying customer. Out of six or seven people playing like D&D together, it’s possible only one will buy official materials. Then, of course, there is piracy.

“It’s more difficult for publishers to make money, which means it’s harder for them to keep the business going and give everyone what they deserve,” said Hal Greenberg, who runs the Fund to Rescue RPG Creators, a charity for TTRPG workers. “It’s the hardest part of both making a quality product and making a profit.”

For some large employers, full-time industry jobs are rare-and scarcity, sources say, encourages people to accept poor working conditions. One worker said getting the Wizards of the Coast seemed like “winning the lotto,” but now, after years of low pay and many hours, they view the initial enthusiasm as “useless. . ” Three sources recalled Lisa Stevens, CEO and cofounder of Paizo, saying she didn’t understand why employees were complaining about poor working conditions. In fact, they remember what he said, they should be honored to work on Pathfinder because there are others out there who will do it for free.

Sources say Paizo has offered $ 35,000 for full-time jobs based in the Seattle suburb of Renton for the last three years, where the average monthly rent for an apartment is $ 1,768. (MIT calculates that the wage tax for a childless adult in King County, Washington, $ 40,705.) One man said he recently left the company in a leadership role after seven years doing the equivalent $ 39,000 a year per hourly wage. Other people who spoke to WIRED plan to make the same amount over the past decade, and two sources say the company’s benefits have worsened over the years.

Paizo’s low salary leads many employees to also take freelance jobs from the company, just to make a living. “One of the jokes about Paizo is that the real benefit is the first choice of all freelance contracts,” said Crystal Frasier, who earned less than $ 40,000 on her departure in 2018 after nine year in the company. “You can’t really afford to work there if you don’t come home after work and write 5,000 to 10,000 words per week freelance, just to get a break.” In my first year at the company, says Jason Tondro, a senior developer at Paizo, “if I didn’t get freelance gigs, I didn’t have a food budget.”

Freelancers and contractors form the backbone of the industry and are constantly tapped to write, illustrate, and design products for leading publishers. Current employees at Paizo and Wizards of the Coast say many, if not most, of their products are written by freelancers, and then booked in -house by staff or contractors. Their rates, according to more than a dozen sources, are not good. Freelancer writers TTRPG say 5 to 12 cents a word is an average rate, which, depending on the project and speed of the writer, can cost anything from $ 10 to $ 50 an hour of work.



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