About Ryan Macklin
Hello, I’m Ryan Macklin — a 36-year-old human living in the Seattle, Washington area since 2012. By day, I’m a technical writer, focusing on consumer or end-user documentation. On nights and weekends, I’m frequently either freelanc
ing for others as a writer and editor or working for myself as an indie game publisher.
This blog is where I talk about making tabletop roleplaying games, numerous thoughts on life as a creative professional (which are my most popular posts), and whatever else crosses my mind and seems relevant to my readers. It’s also where I point out awesome stuff you can get, including free stuff. It’s also where I think aloud and post experimental designs, so there’s no set agenda here.
I’ve been a game designer at heart since I can remember, but it was in 2007 when I finally took a stab at making books and games for other people. My first successful endeavor was Finis: A Book of Endings, an anthology to raise money for Hurricane Katrina relief. I started working on games intending to be published at the same time, both making my own designs and editing others’. The publishing bug bit me, so I kept doing it in my off-time. Since 2007, I’ve worked with Evil Hat Productions, Margaret Weis Productions, Onyx Path Publishing, and independent game makers as a game writer, editor, and developer. From late 2012 to early 2015, I was a staff editor at Paizo Inc., makers of the critically acclaimed Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. (See “Major Credits” below or my Books & Games page.)
What is a “developer” in the world of tabletop roleplaying games? That is an excellent question, because it means something far different in the software world (where I was once also a developer), in video games, and everywhere else that title is used.
By and large, a RPG developer is a project architect and manager. I write outlines, contract to and manage writers to write parts of the book (including contracting to myself), work with the editor and publisher to get the book done, and — at the better companies I’ve worked for — worked along with the art director or layout person to make the book’s look match its content. Publicizing books and games is also part of the deal, though that’s not unique to developers.
Along with working on tabletop games, I’ve done a host of other freelancing, including:
- Written technical articles, for end-users and for developers
- Done copywriting for online storefronts; a number of 2012 products on ThinkGeek were written by me
- Drafted design specs and quest trees for video games (sadly, none of those games made it past development)
- Even pleated cloth for a few days in Europe, so I’d have enough money to eat and buy a train ticket
Publishing is my second career. My first was in software development — notably web applications for commercial and government use — which lasted from 1998 to 2011. Nearly five years of that was spent working for the California Department of Food & Agriculture, where I learned (among other things) perhaps too much about the legal consequences of cow STDs.
I’m married to Lillian Cohen-Moore. We have two cats; mine’s the sweet asshole.
I have writing, editing, and development credits in well over a hundred books. You’ll find much of my work available on my Books & Games page. The highlights of these published works (as of the end of 2013):
Many projects for Paizo Inc. Of those with writing and development credits: Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Campaign, Pathfinder RPG Mythic Adventures, Pathfinder Player Companion: Mythic Origins, and Pathfinder Player Companion: Bastards of Golarion.
Margaret Weis Productions as a writer and editor: Leverage RPG (and some supplements) and Cortex Plus Hacker’s Guide (including the Action Roleplaying).
Two things you should know about my blog: First, I sometimes clean up typos, but I don’t particularly spend time self-editing before publishing a post. The process is too rapid for that, and that would take time away from freelancing and indie projects.
Second, I don’t censor myself to be safe for work. I don’t think I’m gratuitous, but neither am I sanitized.
Awards & Nominations
Diana Jones Award — Hillfolk (contributing author)
Diana Jones Award (nominated) — Evil Hat Productions (designer/writer/editor)
Diana Jones Award (nominated) — Paizo Inc. (editor)
Origins Award, Best Roleplaying Game (nominated) — Fate Core System (designer/writer/editor)
Golden Geek Awards, Game of the Year — Fate Core System
Golden Geek Awards, Best Supplement (nominated) — Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Campaign (writer/editor)
ENnie Awards, Best Free Product (Gold) — Pathfinder Module: We Be Goblins Too! (editor)
ENnie Awards, Best Game (Gold) — Fate Core System
ENnie Awards, Best Rules (Gold) — Fate Core System
ENnie Awards, Best Supplement (Gold) — Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Campaign
ENnie Awards, Product of the Year (Silver) — Fate Core System
ENnie Awards, Best Game (nominated) — Hillfolk
Indie RPG Awards, Best Free Game — Mythender (creator-publisher)
Indie RPG Awards, Game of the Year (runner-up) — Mythender
Indie RPG Awards, Best Production (runner-up) — Mythender
Origins Award, Best Roleplaying Game (nominated) — The Leverage Roleplaying Game
Origins Award, Vanguard — Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
ENnie Awards, Best Game (nominated) — Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
ENnie Awards, Best Rules (nominated) — Bulldogs!
ENnie Awards, Judge’s Spotlight — Technoir (additional writing)
Golden Geek Awards, Game of the Year (nominated) — Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
Origins Award, Best Roleplaying Game — The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game
Origins Award, Best Roleplaying Supplement — The Dresden Files RPG: Our World
Diana Jones Award (nominated) — The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game
ENnie Awards, Best Game (Gold) — The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game
ENnie Awards, Best New Game (Gold) — The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game
ENnie Awards, Best Production Values (Silver) — The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game
ENnie Awards, Best Rules (Gold) — The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game
ENnie Awards, Best Writing (Gold) — The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game
ENnie Awards, Product of the Year (Silver) — The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game
Golden Geek Awards, Game of the Year (nominated) – Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
Golden Geek Awards, Game of the Year (nominated) – Bulldogs!
Golden Geek Awards, Best Podcast (nominated) – This Just In…From Gen Con
Indie RPG Awards, Most Innovative Game — Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
Indie RPG Awards, Game of the Year — Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
Lucca Comics and Games, Best Rules — A Penny For My Thoughts (Italian translation)
RPGamer.com Tabletop Game of the Year — Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
Golden Geek Awards, Best Game — The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game
Indie RPG Awards, Most Innovative Game — A Penny For My Thoughts
ENnie Awards, Best Writing (Silver) — Don’t Lose Your Mind
ENnie Awards, Best Podcast (nominated) — The Voice of the Revolution