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JustinMason's Bio

Justin Mason's Obsidian Portal Profile

Hi! I’m Justin Andrew Mason from Hopkinsville, Kentucky. I originally joined Obsidian Portal back in October of 2007 with the account Dungeoncrawlers , but due to some technical changes with the site, I created this second (now my primary) account in March of 2011.

I have been playing Dungeons & Dragons for almost 25 years beginning with the 1980’s “red-box” Basic D&D set, then moving on to various editions of AD&D, and then to D&D/OGL 3.x platforms where I have made my gaming home now with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game by Paizo Publishing.

I have also played in games run on various other platforms including: Rifts, Rolemaster, Mutants & Masterminds, d20 Modern, Traveller, Robotech RPG, UFOP Star Trek (FASA), and Vampire: The Masquerade.

And though not as relevant here, I’m also a big fan of Magic: The Gathering, and old fantasy board games like HeroQuest, Dark World, Dragon Strike, Wizard’s Quest, etc.

Over the years here at Obsidian Portal I have made some really great friends, and watched a fantastic service evolve into one of the industries most useful tools. I have been honored to receive two campaign of the month awards including November 2008 (The Seven Secrets) and June 2011 (Shattered Gateway).

I have also had to opportunity to get involved at various levels here at Obsidian Portal including creating some of the design elements of the original website interface for Micah and Ryan, frequently beta testing new features as well as beta testing the initial ‘reforged’ test server, acting as an emissary for our community and handing out Obsidian Portal swag at conventions, and being accepted into the Obsidian Portal Vanguard Program in 2013.

At GenCon Indy 2011 I had the amazingly fun opportunity to hang out with the minds behind Obsidian Portal; Micah , Ryan and Jerry (see the profile header pic above).

In 2007 I founded my own (short-lived) game design company, Mythic Design, and wrote adventures for the OGL d20 System, including Tribes of Danu. I oversaw publication of several fantasy gaming art books. During the time that Mythic Design existed, I was working full time as senior web application developer for the area’s leading IT firm, and quickly found that my workload there did not allow time for me to seriously pursue game development. So, the company closed its doors.

Since 2007, I have been the technical director at AvatarArt.com which is a service that provides a commerce channel for talented, dedicated artists to create custom artwork for RPG characters and campaigns. For several yeas through Mythic Design and AvatarArt.com, I funded the yearly “Mythic Party” at Gen Con – a charity event that included auctioning off prizes such as seats at the event game-table for an adventure run by Keith Baker (the creator of Eberron).

In 2010 I became involved with the fantastic Adventure-A-Week service as a beta tester, and helped to hone some of the services flagship features. In 2013 I started contributing design to some of the service’s up-coming publications, and in 2014 I won the Adventureaweek.com Map Master contest. For winning, I was awarded a contract with the service’s parent company, AAW Games. This contract evolved into a staff position, and I became a regular writer for the AAW Blog, contributed to several publications, and have since published books and games with cover credit. Many of the publications I have contributed to can be found on DriveThruRPG.com or the Adventureaweek.com website.

In 2014, I was awarded an ENnie Award for best blog, and in 2015 the AAW Blog was nominated again for the same spot.

In 2010, the IT firm I worked for phased out software development (opting to focus on networking and hardware), and so I took over their entire web client workload and founded my own development company, WebDot Studio where I have since developed over 100 websites (including e-commerce, streaming video, and data analysis platforms), a dozen custom mobile applications, and many other web-related products.

While I continue to do some software and web development, I have since made the decision to more seriously pursue a career in game design, and have since done professional work for many gaming companies including: Kobold Press, Rogue Genius Games, EN Publishing, Dreamscarred Press, Legendary Games, and AAW Games / Adventureaweek.com.

In 2014, I was invited to the AetherCon convention to speak on a panel representing tabeltop RPG industry cartographers, and spending time with the convention administration and staff throughout the convention, I was then brought on board as a senior staff member as well as the convention’s web developer for 2015.

I have been involved with (or included as a “stretch goal” in) several Kickstarter campaigns for multiple game publishers, and in early 2015, I ran my own successful Kickstarter campaign (via AAW Games) for my adventure path, Into the Wintery Gale which raised just shy of $20,000 with backing from over 500 gamers! Much of my time since then has been invested preparing the product line for November 2015 fulfillment.

And, that’s my history of gaming… Please, feel free to message me anytime. I always enjoy discussing gaming related topics. Also, if you use Facebook, feel free to add me as a friend (just mention that you are part of the Obsidian Portal community).

May all your rolls be natural 20’s!

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