Friday, December 24, 2021

State of the Blog Year 3

Welcome to the third anniversary of A Distant Chime! I'm glad to be here another year with a great community, and hope to keep writing with you all for a long time! Happy Christmas Eve! Now onto this year's reflections!


I've posted fewer pieces this year than any year prior. I attribute this to my having only a limited time and energy budget for RPGs, especially since I'm back in school now, and that budget is taken up more and more by actually running the game. I not only finished the Castle Xyntillan campaign, but started an Icewind Dale campaign in 5e and brought it to a satisfying conclusion, and started and concluded a Legend of the 5 Rings 4e campaign for most of the same group. 

My notetaking for both these campaigns is terrible compared to that of my CX game. How terrible, you ask? I don't know for sure how many sessions each ran for, that's how bad. I'm not sure why my notetaking degraded so either. By the end of the CX game, I was having great difficulty remembering funny interactions between players, which I could do quite easily at the start. Still, I wager those two games combined totaled around 60 sessions, so I've run an excess of 70 total sessions this year. This means that I'm now well above 100 games run in my career as a GM. It's a big step up from the blog's early days, when my writing was more fiction-like, ungameable, and I had quite little GMing of playing experience. 

That said, I still managed to write a bit. 

The posts which I still recommend reading include:

Finally, my favorite thing I wrote this year was The First Rat Bank, a dungeon which I submitted to JB's Out of the Sewer! contest, and won one of the two top spots. You can find the first draft of it (which has some very notable formatting errors I didn't catch before I sent it in, special thanks to Melan for taking a look at it!) at Actually Making a Dungeon: The First Rat Bank. If you want to see the cleaned-up version, keep an eye on JB's blog for when he publishes the collection. It's for charity!


My stats page tells me that I accumulated some 50 thousand views in the last twelve months, and I no longer trust it in the least. At various times in this same period I've noticed quite strange behavior in my blog views, with various unlikely countries suddenly spiking with hundreds of views in a short period, apparently driven by a single viewer. This explosion in viewership, at the same time that my posting rate has dramatically slowed, was not at all accompanied by an increase in comments or followers. I have no idea what this is, but it's definitely not real readership. Some other bloggers, such as Sofinho, have noticed very similar behavior. I'm just not going to bother looking at these stats going forward unless I can figure out how to separate the real views from... bots? I have no clue.


I've stopped really advertising myself as much, outside of just posting links to the OSR server when I write a post. I no longer trawl the OSR Pit, nor the OSR subreddit. I feel like I'm missing so much there, but can't find the time. Still, I'm having a good time writing here for the followers I already have, so i've little to complain about.

The Index

Has not been updated in... oh my that's a long time. I suppose I'll have to hunker down and work on that, but not today.

Unfinished Drafts

I have... a lot of them. Some are posts which I started writing but got sidetracked on. Others are essays which I've come back to repeatedly, but haven't been able to bring into proper form. Others are less posts on themselves and more reminders to my future self to write something. Some I've just gone ahead and discarded, while others I do intend to one day finish. I list a few here. If any sound especially interesting to read, comment below and I'll prioritize them.

Politics in RPGs: A response to Prismatic Wastelands' post Apolitical RPGs Do Not Exist

Module Doctor: Oni Mother Okawa Part 2, in case you want me to torture myself further in the process of demonstrating how to cut down narration and description.

Parable of Smake-Hands Jimmy: Some dungeon poetry and kooky short fiction of dubious worth.

A post examining the differences in medieval and modern worldviews with regard to magic and fantasy. 

Reflections from my time as a player instead of a GM, and how they contrast,

The many kinds if 'inns' and their implications for your fantasy world. 


Thus ends another year! Stay safe and spend time with your families, and special thanks to frequent commenters Tam├ís Kisbali, Sofinho, Spwack and Melan