So, seventeen years ago today (Monday October 7th 1991) was my first day of work at TSR, back in the days when there was still a TSR, at Lake Geneva, back in the days when the folks who made D&D were still based in Lake Geneva. There's been a lot of coming and going, a lot of good people I'm glad to have had the chance to work with, a lot of projects I'm proud to have been part of. The hundreds of hours spent commuting in the worst Wisconsin winters had to offer, and only spinning out backwards across four icy lanes of interstate traffic once. All the unofficial overtime, and all the extra work we put in to make projects better. A whole department full of smart, creative, talented people who were in it for the love of the thing, not the money. The most disfunctional upper management I've ever encountered anywhere (far worse than the worst academic politics I came across, worse than government bureaucracy), and the smart, savvy lower management who did the best they could under the radar to help us turn out adventures and sourcebooks, the best of which were the best of their kind in the world.
I started the same month as Rich Baker (10/14-91), Thomas Reid (ibid), and Wolf Baur (10/21); Tim Beach came on in the RPGA about a month later. Of us all, Rich is the only one still at TSR > WotC > Hasbro; he's now been there longer than icons like Zeb Cook or Jeff Grubb had been when we first arrived, and last time I checked was still turning out first-class material that shd have long since ranked him as one of the legends of the industry. Thomas moved up into management, then out into freelance fiction and, later, working on the computer gaming side of the industry. Tim drifted out of the industry, unfortunately, though he had a good run (about five years) and still puts in a good appearance at the occasional con. And Wolf had the savvy to see the writing on the wall and shift from TSR to Wizards of the Coast before the Day of Doom in Lake Geneva, then similarly moved on from Wizards to Microsoft a few years later before WotC became a 'brand' of Hasbro; more recently he's staked out his own territory with the Open Design project and his own magazine, KOBOLD QUARTERLY.
So, here's a cup of tea (Keemun) raised to colleagues past.
fifty years ago next week
14 hours ago