Saturday, December 24, 2022

State of the Blog Year 4

This is the 4th anniversary of A Distant Chime! Time really does fly, I hope you're all having another wonderful Christmas Eve, now onto the year's reflections. 


In keeping with the trend from last year, 2022 saw fewer posts than any previous full year. There's a few reasons for this. I've been balancing school with a part time job this year, I've been dedicating more time to running games than writing about them (the L5R game the last few posts were about is ongoing, I just haven't been good at writing up play reports). The biggest difference is that this year I've started a long-term romantic relationship. That said, there are a few posts I recommend reading:

Books for Dungeon Masters: The Peregrine, by J.A. Baker recommends an excellent nonfiction book, whose prose can be a great aid to DMs learning to narrate

Julius Wavestone Keep Killing! is a short adventure I wrote for Bryce Lynch's Wavestone Keep contest, which got a decent review from him, and which I found gratifying

An Alternative Humanity in Vampire: the Masquerade takes Justin Alexander and Yora's criticisms of VtM's Humanity system and proposes an alternative which lends itself to a quite different playstyle. If I run VtM in the future, I'll do it this way


Blogger tells me that this blog received 60k views this year, more so than any previous year, accounting for a plurality of my all time 150k views. How this occurred in a year when I wrote less often than ever before I'll never know. I suppose this is the strength of a big backlog. Interestingly, the most popular post this year was the Epilogue for my Castle Xyntillan campaign series. 


I occasionally share my posts on the OSR discord, but that's about it, but it doesn't seem to have hurt readership too much. 

The Index

Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level posts stretch far away

Away from the Blog

I've been running fewer games online (only a handful this year so far), and more in person. Still, those were fewer games than in previous years, less than twenty, a far cry from the pandemic days when I would regularly run two online games a week. I don't regret this, since that time is going into things I value more highly, but I am feeling the effects of not having a nearby, stable group a lot of the time. Most of the people in my Ptolus game earlier in the year are also in my current L5R game, but I can't rely on them also being around for more than a couple years out. This is both because it's a university group, and because I move around a lot, I don't live in one place for more than a few years at a time, making cultivating a solid group for long-term in-person play difficult. A couple months ago I tried to recapture some of the magic by gathering players I knew from DMing online during the pandemic for an AD&D 1e game, the world for which I've been prepping for a while now, albeit privately rather than on the blog. I managed to make a session work, but some player fallout after the session heavily demoralized me, and speaking with a couple players it's clear that the environment for online play just isn't what it was a couple years ago. My best players are older, married with kids, and during a time when they were laid off or otherwise had more time on their hands, it was possible to dedicate a lot of time to games. But this is less the case now. 

I intend to take a break from DMing online, and from playing online as well (with the exception of participating in Rick Stump's very occasional sessions and PbP) and focus on in person games, even if those campaigns are shorter term and for shifting groups. 

If there's one thing I'm proud of this year, it's that I introduced my little cousin (10 years old!) to old school D&D. I did that last year actually, but when he visited for the summer he was obsessed, and I wound up running some simplified AD&D 1e for him and my girlfriend. They had a delightful time, and I've now set him up with OSE books and Rich Burlew's color-in monster tokens, which he should be getting... oh right about now. He intends to run games for his friends in school, and I for one can't wait to watch that happen. 


Thus ends another year! I hope you all have an excellent holiday season, spend time with your families, and special thanks again to commenters Sofinho and Spwack!

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