Around the end of last year, I Twittered:
Just read this on Board Game Geek: "My sword glows blue in the presence of rules lawyers." I kind of want that on a T-shirt.
I figured that it was very unlikely that I was the first person on all of the internet to combine gaming archetypes with Lord of the Rings references, so I went online and searched for what would be my favorite T-shirt, right up until the moment something new was my favorite T-shirt.
I was astonished when I found nothing on all of the Googles, and decided it was a moral imperative that I correct this giant hole in the potential geek wardrobe. I made a Twitter poll about it to be sure, which received a couple thousand affirmative responses. My course was clear: this shirt must be created … but how, exactly? I have lots of design ideas all the time, but I am pretty horrible at making them into actual things that have anything in common with what I see in my head.
This time, though, I knew how to make it happen, so I picked up the phone ...
<Wayne's World Flashback Sound>
A few months earlier, I’d had a lunch meeting with some guys from Jinx, who were interested in collaborating with me to turn some of my crazy ideas into awesome T-shirts. Some of the stuff Jinx makes is just too loud for my taste, on account of me being an old man and everything, but they had made some things I really loved, like Choose Your Weapon, the RPG skeleton, and the Failboat. They also seemed like really nice guys, the kind of people I could feel good about doing business with, which is damn important to me.
I knew that Jinx had already done shirts for The Guild, so I asked Kim and Felicia if they were happy with their experience. They had nothing but good things to say, so I told the guys, “If I come up with some design ideas, I’ll get in touch.”
</Wayne's World Flashback Sound>
Flash forward to the discovery that this combination of Lord of the Rings and fantasy gaming, which delighted me, did not appear to exist in T-shirt form. (If you see where this is going, award yourself 2d6 electrum pieces and 1d4-1 XP.) I called Sean at Jinx and said something like, "Hey, I have a design idea that at least two thousand people agree does not suck. Want to make it?"
I described it to Sean, and he set his team into motion. It took a long time and a lot of back and forth to get exactly what I saw in my head onto a T-shirt I would want to wear. It was a fantastic collaborative process, though, and the end result is certainly better than anything I could have come up with entirely by myself.
I was so happy with the design they produced, I began actively thinking about other things I’d like to see on T-shirts, and a partnership was formed that officially launches today, with this:
My Sword Glows Blue in the Presence of Rules Lawyers, by Wil Wheaton in collaboration with Jinx.
We have developed four different designs together so far, and we’ll release one a week for the next month, until they’re all available. Assuming that people like them as much as I do, we'll make more, including a few short runs that only appeal to the 2% of people who live in the same exact weird slice of the Venn diagram that I do.
Now, I have an idea that I think could be crazy awesome, and a fun way to celebrate the release of this T-shirt: tell me your favorite rules lawyer story in a brief comment, and you’ll be entered into a random drawing to win the shirt I’m wearing in that picture, as well as one in the size of your choice that doesn't contain trace amounts of my dead skin cells, suitable for eventually creating an army of clones. I'll also pick my favorite story, and read it on Radio Free Burrito next Monday.
I'm sure it goes without saying that we'll have a Rules Lawyer T-shirt meetup and group photo at GenCon, but I'm going to say it anyway: we'll have a Rules Lawyer T-shirt meetup and group photo at GenCon.