Well, here we go, Last day of the year.

So, where did I go in 2015?

Volume

I wrote 211 posts in the last year, or about one every 1.75 days. That’s about on my dsired pace of 4 posts every 7 days, so mission accomplished there. 

Content

I only got one or two Firing Squad videos out, and those early on. I had made arrangements to get two more and utterly failed to deliver my usual and desired pace of one every month or two. So that was a miss.

I started playing, and blogging about, D&D Fifth Edition in 2015. Unsurprisingly, these posts utterly dominated my “best posts ever” list due to the huge player base in D&D. My post on the probabilities and math behind The Standard Array rose to become my highest-viewed RPG post. The next-best? Exploring the Advantaged/Disadvantaged mechanic. Two more D&D-themed posts, one on grappling and another using my Horcpower calculator, round out my top 10. The rest are Firing Squad interviews, and the top is a comparison of two real-world pistols on a real-world range. Yeah, there are GURPS stats there, but I think I drew in a lot of people deciding between a Walther PPQ and a Springfield XDM. To quote Tony Start: “Is it too much to ask for both?”

I started to get tired in a blog sense in about June, and I even wrote about it. My daughter was just getting over (or in the middle of?) colic about then, I was travelling a lot, and generally having a rough time. So volume started to decline a bit.

I published a few articles in Pyramid this year – only three, though. They’re fun – Dire and Terrible Monsters was co-authored with Peter. On Target might be my favorite rules hack ever. And Schrodinger’s Backpack was a rare “let’s do less with specificity, rather than more.” I’ve got one more article in the slushpile, but nothing after that, though I’m starting to write a novel alternate set of rules for damage and injury, but I suspect it’ll be quite a while before I up my efforts there. 

I did, however, write 13 posts on comparative RPG design that seem to be well thought of. They were a bloody ton of work to complete, but they helped me flesh out my thinking on RPG combat mechanics, to see where rules matter, where they help, where they hinder, and what works for me from both a design and play perspective. 

I still didn’t get around to finding a Fate, Night’s Black Agents, or Savage Worlds game to try out, which means that some of the writing above was just theoretical.

2016


I’m currently either playing in, or about to play in, two GURPS games and one Basic D&D game. 

I would love to get in on another D&D5 game. I enjoy that system, and the Majestic Wilderlands game that +Rob Conley was running was great fun. Real Life killed that one for many of the players, and we’ve not made the effort to restart it.

The GURPS Castle of Horrors game is struggling a bit. The game is very house rule intensive, and some of the mechanics (Path/Book Magic, a new system for determining number of hits for high-rate attacks, Technical Grappling) require a certain amount of mastery to pull off smoothly. Plus the interface (combo of MapTool and Skype) often leaves something to be desired, and a lot of silence due to lack of clues. And we rarely finish a combat – we tend to call it as “the tide has turned.” This can be frustrating, and we’re in the process of figuring that out. 

Plus,  more philosophically, I think I have an issue with “fish out of water” campaigns in general. I designed my own character, of course, but I made a fairly mundane former special ops, SWAT, private investigator type. He’s got some melee skills, is very, very good with a rifle, and he’s one of the few with Tactics (which we always forget to roll). But this makes for very bimodal fights. Three 7d6 attacks against any mundane creature is pretty much “deader than hell in one round.” Any non-mundane creature tends to be immune, and that puts me in the “flailing around with limited armor – though we fixed that recently – and a sword that I’m not great with.” 

The upcoming game will be +Christopher R. Rice running a Supers game, also in GURPS. This is going to be very eye-opening for me. The highest point totals I’ve played or GM’d with in any GURPS 4e game top out in the 250-400 point range. As a player, I think Cadmus the Warrior Saint was the highest. 

My PC in the upcoming game is just shy of 900 points before he straps on a powered armor suit that adds about 300 more. I’ll probably write more about him in the future, but I want to play a few games and let that settle out.

The final Basic D&D game is with +Jonathan Henry, and it’s got a strong nostalgia factor. Basic D&D has few hard-and-fast rules, so there’s a lot of GM arbitrage. Characters are very fragile, which is part of it. So that one’s just like buttered popcorn to me.

I hope to get my daughter into RPGing this year. Maybe a Fate superheroes game, which would give me a chance to play/run Fate, and the rules-light nature of the system should allow her age group to rock out. More boardgames with her as well – she’s taken to Pandemic like a fish to water, and we were gifted with King of Tokyo, Rampage, and Castle Panic for Xmas this year. Maybe get her into X-Wing Miniatures, since she loves Star Wars too.

Looking back at 2015, it feels like it was worse than it was. I mean, +Jeffro Johnson hit me with the #3 spot in his Blog-olympics for the year (I was #1 in 2014 on the strength of the Firing Squad interviews, and #3 for Violent Resolution), so there was something valuable there. I had some of my most widely-read posts as well, thanks to branching out into D&D. 

But with a severe injury setting in for the last quarter (I blew myself up on Oct 6, 2015), sitting at the computer has felt like a chore. I did write 37 posts in that time, or about 2.5 days between posts. But that’s why it seems slow, I guess – that’s a significant slowdown from my usual pace.

I think I need to return to my prior habits. Two gameplay writeups a week, and two or three RPG content articles. The Melee Academy and GURPS 101 (maybe expand that to Gaming 101?) series were quite fun and popular, and those haven’t seen real attention for a while.

So, 2015 felt like a loss of focus. 2016 needs to get it back.

Challenge accepted. Happy New Year!

3 thoughts on “As 2015 fades to 2016

  1. I would love to see "Thursday is GURPS Day" come back across the GURPSian blogosphere. I'm FINALLY going to be able to get back to GMing after the longest hiatus since I was 12 (and I started gaming then).

    Maybe I'll even find time to start a blog myself or help others with guest content!

    1. I've tried to keep up the Thursday as GURPS-day thing ever since Doug foisted that off on us. I don't think I missed one – even yesterday's post was a GURPS game summary.

      Personally I'm glad to hear you're going to GM, and perhaps blog as well! The more the merrier.

  2. You know Doug, when you get a nod for "Blog of the Year" and so on, I always feel like you earned it with a lot of math, clever use of art, good formatting, and hard work. When I get one, it's always highlighting my throwaway posts where I just make some general observation. But you definitely did earn it, even with the somewhat scattered focus this year thanks to failing that IQ roll during the yard cleaning. 😉

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