My name is Jason Owen Black, and I’m a writer and freelance game designer with a master’s degree in American history and a graduate certificate in gender studies. I’ve been playing RPGs since about 1995, and have been freelancing off and on since 2004 (mostly off before 2014). I grew up near Detroit and live in Seattle now.
I think that my training has given me some extra tools to develop settings that are well rounded and unique(ish). I know how to do research and I’m invested in diversity, so I’m willing to look beyond “traditional” sources of inspiration.
A selection of my publications (gaming and otherwise) can be found here.
I enjoy every aspect of game design, but world-building is my favorite. I love the “fluff” of RPGs and think it’s one of the most interesting to read and develop parts of any product. I find myself coming up with a lot of stuff for settings that I often never end up using, which is why I set up Words Upon Worlds. Here I can have a place to develop setting material that isn’t for a freelance project or a campaign that I’m running or some other project I’m working on, and have the opportunity to share it with others. Just because I’m not going to use it (any time soon, at any rate) doesn’t mean that nobody else will!
The site is pretty simple, every Monday I post a 500 word setting article, usually system neutral, for people to use in their tabletop RPGs.Any time I post an article that does contain rules content, I’ll tag it with the rules system I used.
Some articles might be connected to others, like if I feel like dedicating several posts to one city, but for the most part they’ll stand alone. Sometimes I’ll post a bonus setting article in addition to the Monday post. Other times I’ll post a blog entry about something I’ve published, or I might post a free PDF of something I made for The Black Hack or another rule system.
I’m also an affiliate with One Book Shelf, which means that if you follow links on my site to DriveThruRPG and make a purchase, I get a bit of money in my account. It helps cover the costs of games and the cost of this site.
Artwork: “For Food or Play“, by Gerald Fenwick Metcalfe, from The Poems of Coleridge by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1907.