log in or register to remove this ad

 

Sean K. Reynolds talks RPG salaries, puts his on record.

darjr

I crit!
Are these typical?

Screen Shot 2021-09-27 at 9.08.09 PM.png

 

log in or register to remove this ad

Are these typical?

They don't sound unreasonable. Adjusted for inflation to 2021, these numbers come to:
1995: $50k
1997: $51k
M2003: $60k
S2003: $74k.

Other things to consider would be that location matters a great deal in figuring out if this is "good" or "bad". Cost of living is drastically higher in Seattle, WA than rural Wisconsin. Also, health (and other) benefits typically (hopefully?) account for a larger percentage of your total take-home package today than they did in 1995.

Another data point: In 2014, I asked on these boards "How many TTRPG game devs make over $100k today" and was given the answer of "none".
 






Myrdin Potter

Adventurer
There is no shortage of RPG products coming out these days, and more creators entering the field all the time. Sales are higher as well.

That is a really poor progression, however, especially for the Seattle area. I started about at $12.5K in 1987 at my first auditor job, but my multiple to that is vastly higher. Adjusting for my success (somewhat of an outlier) 20 years into a career I would hope that your salary is around 10x your entry level position.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I don't know how representative it is of the whole industry, but I suspect SKR is making more money than most. He's worked for TSR, WotC, Paizo, and MCG, the biggest TTRPG companies in the world. I don't really have any insight into salaries at various TTRPG companies though. I'm just guessing.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Adjusting for my success (somewhat of an outlier) 20 years into a career I would hope that your salary is around 10x your entry level position.

Um... no.

Data from 2015 - Median income workers see a rise in their income of about 38% from ages 25 to 55, with most of that rise packed in the first decade. From age 35 on, income tends to flatten out for median range workers.

Workers in the top 5% will see a rise of about 250% over the same 30 year span. Those in the top 1% will see a rise of about 1450%.

Most folks don't so much as double their salaries, much less see a 10x increase.
 

Myrdin Potter

Adventurer
Um... no.

Data from 2015 - Median income workers see a rise in their income of about 38% from ages 25 to 55, with most of that rise packed in the first decade. From age 35 on, income tends to flatten out for median range workers.

Workers in the top 5% will see a rise of about 250% over the same 30 year span. Those in the top 1% will see a rise of about 1450%.

Most folks don't so much as double their salaries, much less see a 10x increase.
Professionals, not all workers in general.
 

Depends. Is representative of the industry actually reasonable?

I might not be answering this in the form intended, but my gut instinct is "no" because there's not a large enough sample size to draw reasonable conclusions. I suspect that the number of professional, full time TTRPG game devs may be too low to get any info that is statistically meaningful. To get numbers worthy of a full analysis, you'd probably need to get data from both TTRPG game devs and a number of other similar industries/roles. And honestly, I'm not completely certain what those comparisons would be. Computer games and board games are too different industry-wise to be meaningful. The closest might be fiction writers, with the benefit that you probably have a similar spread of full-timers vs. contract workers.

The numbers are still anecdotally interesting, though.

Professionals, not all workers in general.

10x increase over 20 years is averaging more than a 12% salary increase each year. With current levels of inflation, that's pretty unrealistic for most occupations.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Professionals, not all workers in general.

Even if you are in the top 5% of wage earners, you see about a doubling of your income over the span. Only the very top end of wage-earners see a 10x rise over their careers.

There is an exercise for the reader in unpacking that "professionals" only refers to the top 1% or so - everyone else... isn't professional? They're amateurs?
 


Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Not at all. The reality is that there is a labor glut in the RPG industry, and as long as it exists, it will be very good for the hobby.

I am not convinced that it is great for the industry, largely because I don't believe that the designer's salaries are the bulk of the cost of the product.

Hey, @Morrus ? On your kickstarter work, how much of the overall cost of production is paying the game designers? As opposed to printing, shipping marketing, and the like?
 

Even if you are in the top 5% of wage earners, you see about a doubling of your income over the span. Only the very top end of wage-earners see a 10x rise over their careers.

That's not true. For unskilled and low-skilled labor, and those who choose either mediocre career fields, or are poor performers, sure, a 10x increase is unlikely.

Over the course of my career I exceeded the 10x span.
 

I am not convinced that it is great for the industry, largely because I don't believe that the designer's salaries are the bulk of the cost of the product.

Hey, @Morrus ? On your kickstarter work, how much of the overall cost of production is paying the game designers? As opposed to printing, shipping marketing, and the like?

Note I said hobby, not industry.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Hey, @Morrus ? On your kickstarter work, how much of the overall cost of production is paying the game designers? As opposed to printing, shipping marketing, and the like?
It depends how many units we're printing. That's a ratio that can vary widely.

That said, assuming we don't explode with a million dollar campaign or something, I expect the development cost to be about 5-10 times the manufacturing cost. The shipping costs -- don't even ask at the moment!

Someone like Avatar who are manufacturing and shipping for 80,000 backers, the ratio is assuredly very different.
 

It depends how many units we're printing. That's a ratio that can vary widely.

That said, assuming we don't explode with a million dollar campaign or something, I expect the development cost to be about 5-10 times the manufacturing cost. The shipping costs -- don't even ask at the moment!

Someone like Avatar who are manufacturing and shipping for 80,000 backers, the ratio is assuredly very different.
Wouldn't you ultimately sell more e-books than printed?
 


Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top