posted Thursday, October 16th 2008 by
News, Reviews & Culture
In what seems a bid to monopolize the industry’s top talent, Dungeons & Dragons publisher Wizards of the Coast has prohibited several freelance writers from working for the company’s competitors.
This isn’t a new policy – according to my contacts in the Dungeons & Dragons writing community, this has been happening for at least a year and a half. Some writers have been offered a guarantee of a certain amount of continuous work, but not all. The clause seems to be an effort to keep the industry’s best writers out of the hands of competitors like Paizo, who like most RPG publishers rely on the services of freelance contributors.
Wizards of the Coast has always been top dog for RPG writers, paying two to three times the rate of most other publishers and commanding some of the best names in the business as a result. Still, writing in this field is usually a work-for-hire gig, and most full-time writers manage it by writing for third party companies at the same time. With this latest move, writers are being told, “You work for us exclusively, or not at all.”
The company drew criticism earlier this year by by adopting a much more aggressive policy toward third party publishers than they have in the past. First the publication rights to Dragon and Dungeon magazines were withdrawn, then the third party game license was delayed until after the game launch, effectively locking many publishers out of producing fourth edition game supplements until October.