Importing from Blogger

Well, sometimes the right answer is just “chill the heck out.”

Blogger Importer Extended was updated very recently, and is now compatible with WordPress 4.6.1

So if you have the time, you can just click “go” and it’ll bring in what you need without having to resort to a roll-back.

I am currently importing, and while it (with good reason) bypassed the stuff I’d already done, it has made great progress on the images and links. I’ll probably let it run overnight, and hopefully it’ll complete.

So if you’re looking for a solution – now you have one.

One other thing

I have obviously been the recipient of some of Daniel’s efforts, as the site is now looking a heck of a lot more like what it’s supposed to. We’ll be playing a bit more with it, since we’ve got a nice list of categories that we’ll be using.

Continue reading “Importing from Blogger and GB Site Update”

Blogger Wind-down

Well, the time is almost here. I finally resolved the problems that were plaguing me on importing my posts into WordPress – turns out you need to do a few things:

  1. Use Blogger Importer Extended
  2. Roll back your WordPress to 4.5.3 or before
  3. If you’ve imported before, reset your database

That third one can almost certainly be done by navigating to some code line(s) in the database and telling it to “forget” BIE was ever run. But I don’t know how to do that, so resetting it is.

Oh, and by-the-way, that reset takes all your style information with it, so welcome to the OLD version of this site, without my fun themes and whatnot. Hopefully Daniel, my web design guru, kept backups.

In any case, I will be transitioning to this site exclusively as I get busy with the business of business.

I will continue to try and get Blogger Importer Extended to bring in all of the images and links, but honestly, so long as the content and the comments get moved over, I can deal with it.

So, I plan to wind down the Blogger site by the end of October, I hope. All new content will appear here. I’ll probably leave the old site around until the end of the year, and then delist it.

Hopefully y’all will bear with me through the transition, but it should be fairly painless, and I will have a nice new site, retail capability, and a few nifty products to share by then . . . so it should be worth it.

A bit of bullet-point news, because I have a review of Dungeon Fantasy 19 I want to write.

Gaming Ballistic is now Gaming Ballistic, LLC


Anticipating a real product with real sales, and not wanting to lose my house, ever, over a game, I have stood up a company for the purpose of selling the Dragon Heresy RPG, running the Kickstarter, and other commercial transactions. I’ve got an Employee ID number and everything. And a Linkedin posting that had all of my contacts thinking I quit my day job.

This is a big step for me, though the company isn’t terribly important to anyone else until it starts selling something.

Look and Feel


The Gaming Ballistic blog will be undergoing some major changes. 

For one thing, I’m getting a new look, and a new template. It will be responsive, which should help those on mobile devices. It will also be migrating to its own domain, which I secured a while ago.

The masthead and look will be refined, as well. I’m working with a friend and colleague, and we’ve already got at least one thing set up – two versions of the new masthead.

Here’s one of them:

There’s a 3d6 version as well. 

I have plans for both 3d6 and 2d20 versions and how to use them. 


Dragon Heresy Progress


I’ve been doing a lot of blocking and tackling recently, but I’ll admit I hit a willpower bump that’s been a challenge.

Still, I got some good feedback from a new source on The Book of Heroes, and have incorporated that feedback.

All of the core elements – other than the monster fluff-text descriptions – are now first-draft complete, and the monster lead-ins are slowly but surely getting done.

I got near on 20,000 words of text about my fae from one of my playtesters with a passion fr them, and am in the process of editing that to be in my voice and what I think is slightly better presentation of the information.

I’ve reached out to my hopefully-editor with some business conversations and scheduling.

Kickstarter: Later or Sooner


So. The Dungeon Fantasy Kickstarter is on track to probably hit $120-140K by the end, assuming it doesn’t accelerate – which it might. SJG is being very responsive and I’m learning a lot from watching them. I’m in on this one for $155. The Box Set ($50), the PDFs ($35), and a year of Pyramid, which is always useful for me ($70).

On the other hand, the World of Aetaltis, which is a new setting for 5e, did not get that “Day 1 boost” that seems so critical. I’ve backed this one, and am interested in its progress, for somewhat selfish reasons. The KS goal is about $70K, which as I’ve said before is about right for a hardback book with good art, pro layout and editing, and which pays market rates to writers and editors. I’m in at the “PDF-only” level, for $85.

On the one hand, both Kickstarters seem to confirm that for hardback books or sets, you get some serious cash coming in per backer – about $85-$100. That’s good.

Aetaltis is bringing in about 2,300-3,000 per day, which would get to the goal in time if it’s linearized (which it’s not usually – Kickstarters don’t always work that way). The DF boxed set is bringing in an average of $7500 per day, but a ton of that came in on Day 1 and 2, and since then they’re in the $2,500-4,500 range.

Here’s my worry: DF and Dragon Heresy are both the same basic type of game. Complete RPGs. Aetaltis is a setting-only game, though with high production values. Mine will be 5e/OGL-based (good for me, I think), is a complete game in two volumes, and has a setting as well.

But right off the tail of the DF Kickstarter, when a lot of my user base is, I think, shared?

That makes me think that my planned October launch date would be unwise. November and December aren’t BAD, but January seems much better. Plus, it gets out of the holiday season, which might put a strain on my editor. 

(Did I mention I’m just giddy with who I think I managed to hire? No? Well . . . more on that some other day.)

It would also give a bit of a breather to ensure that the book is as good as it can be before it goes to him. And with all the tasks required to get the Kickstarter stood up, including the very, very terrifying combo of “Kickstarter Video” and “European/non-US shipping”, a bit more time would be good.

I think it’s time for another poll.

The To-Do List


I’m really down to the wire here. I’ve got some rewriting/organization work to do on the NPC motivations section for The Book of Deeds. I have a bunch of monsters to knock down, which involves 250-500 words of fluff text each. I may wind up culling the monster list quite a bit – I’ve got a LOT of types of critters, and a LOT of sub-types, which at 350 words per entry could add an unforgivable 75,000 words to an already-full manuscript.

Culling the list and offering up the balance as a separate add-on later might make sense. I’d not nix any critters crucial to the game, of course, but there are always monsters that really don’t need to be there, and there are monsters and other foes that do.

Then there’s a short list of optional rules that I want to include. I have an option for fighter-types that I really like. I want to include rules for different-size shields as options. I want to include an option to make Dexterity and Strength both matter all the time for combat. One or two more things.

I think I also need to make a few changes to the sea travel rules.

And a real examination of the Domain Management rules that +Alexander Macris gave me permission to borrow and convert to SRD5.1. Got to make sure they’re sensible (and any nonsense is my doing in the conversion, not his).

But it’s starting to look like the monster mash, followed by tweaking, and that’s very good.

I’ve also started to narrow down print options for hardbacks. It really will depend on backer count. It’s also last on the list, or close to it, for funding, but I went from despondent (Lulu wanted $65 per book even at quantities of 1,200), to cautiously optimistic (Drive Thru RPG was a lot better), to very optimistic. PrintNinja and Thomson-Shore both look very strong for smyth-sewn, full-color hardbacks. Thomson-Shore apparently has a partner printer in the UK that might make inside-the-EU printing and shipping cost far less than otherwise. Shipping can run $20-90 per book done unwisely, since it’s shipping, customs, and taxes. If I can get it printed in Europe with a sufficient number of orders, it’s totally win-win. And I WANT to do that.

I’ve initiated conversations with Backerkit, and confirmed reasonable prices (1% of raised funds, plus 5% of any last-minute “upsells” people do for add-ons), but they’re a data management service. Thomson-Shore also does Kickstarter help, and they’re looking very, very promising as a nearly one-stop shop.

Still. That video. Shudder. I do have nice maps, courtesy of Cornelia Yoder. I have a book laid out with art holes, so I can show backers that the risks of not getting a playable game are very low.

Anyway, the next few weeks are nose-to-the-grindstone time for writing, editing, and tweaking. And then it’s making the arrangements to get the thing out the door. 

Things got interesting on the stat counter on Blogger the last few days.

I mean, here’s what happened:

July 18 – 1043 hits.

That’s a solid day. I break 1,000 when I post something interesting, or GURPSDay, or both, typically. My record month ever was about 930 hits per day, though unevenly so.

But then

July 19 – 1471 hits

That’s really good, maybe my best ever to date. Blogger doesn’t really keep archive stats. But 350 of those were a 1-hour spike in hits that is consistent with some sort of automated software, I think. So that’s easily dismissed.

July 20 – 2565 hits

Holy. Crap. This is by far the best day I’ve ever had. The weird thing about it is that while there’s spiky behavior, there’s rather a few spike, plus that section where I hit 100-240 hits per hour for five or six hours. That’s not the usual hit pulse from a bot.

July 21 – as of 8am 1191 hits

If that keeps up I’ll do 2,200 hits today.

Analysis


Well, this is all well and good. Google Analytics tells me my traffic hasn’t changed at all. But then, Google seems to very much undercount traffic, where Blogger overcounts. So there’s that. 

I do hope I’m reaching more people. Given the number of followers I now have on Google+ (over 1,000!) I think more people are seeing my site. Also, my best traffic days have always been when I post about 5e, and my Dragon Heresy SRD5.1 work is getting close to a real thing (I have 9 days left in my writing schedule and made major progress in getting one of the hardest, most sloggy sections significantly advanced) and I hope I’m getting hits from that.

We shall see – I hope it keeps up, obviously. 

Been quiet this week, so I apologize for that. The cause? My wife is in Italy for the annual Hwa Rang Do world tournament and black sash seminars – in addition to being a PhD in Wastewater Treatment, she’s also a martial arts instructor. 

Yes, she’s a badass.

What that means, though, is I have the 2yo and the 6yo for ten nights, and much of the time, I’m keeping them occupied. The eldest has camp from 9a-4p, and the little one gets daycare three days a week, but Tu/Th and the weekends it’s keeping her entertained. And since she dropped both her naps, but still gets cranky as all get out when she’s tired, afternoons get rather interesting. Yes, this is what my wife has to deal with every single day. I get that. We usually trade duties so we can each get some free time. Mine is usually used for blogging, gaming, and working on Dragon Heresy. Hers is training at the dojang at night.

But it does mean that my time is limited, and I am using that time to go nose to the grindstone on Dragon Heresy. I have basically four things left to do.

  1. I need to finish the subclasses. There will be, I think, 37 of them, which of course includes a whole bunch of divine domains, a few flavors of paladin, and less-evil pact lords for Warlocks. Plus four categories of Wizard. The hard part for me is getting the level boosts right. 
  2. Once those are done, I will whip up about a half-dozen “explicit multiclass” options. These will likely look fairly familiar, such as a Fighter/Bard, Fighter/Wizard, Rogue/Wizard. Plus three more. They will be thematic for the game, borrowing from stories and character types common to the legends I’m pulling from.
  3. I need to come up with a short set of rules for spells – one of the “features” of the game rule design for Dragon Heresy is that I’m looking at Wounds and what I’ve called “stress” in a prior post, but has since been renamed as vigor. But some spells go right to wounds, others go to vigor, and wounds are far nastier than vigor because they don’t go up much with level. But once I get the if/then done for how to determine spell effects, my playtesters and I can rip through this. Tedious, but should be very programmatic.
  4. Finally, the fun part – the setting. A lot of worldbuilding has been going on as part of the writing of the subclasses. Who you are is very much a product of where you grew up, after all. But this can just be “Doug writes stuff,” and doesn’t have the rules mechanics “must check to see it’s all not insane” parts of it in the same way. Sure, I can do stupid stuff, but it’s not stupid stuff that will break game play.
Is that all I have to do? No. But other than monsters/foes and a bit of careful selection of magical weapons and effects, and probably a bit on treasure and rewards, the major game stuff will be written.
Then it’s finish the work with the cartographer I hired, and start pulling the Black and White version of the game into shape. I’ve got some donated art, and the rest will be public domain until I kickstart. Then, I’ll pay for editing and indexing, both B/W and Color art will hopefully be commissioned, and depending on interest level, we’ll see about how the book gets to customers. Oh, and I’ll need to spiffy up the website domains I bought, one for this blog’s eventual relocation, and one for the game itself.
But if I’ve been quiet, and very, very non-GURPSy this week, now you know why.

I’ve been doing a lot of writing this past week.

The Heretical RPG is up to just over 155,000 words. That doesn’t include monsters (that’s 60,000 words and will be ruthlessly hacked) or my setting (that’s only 2,000 words and needs to get ruthlessly expanded).

What have I done?

I finished the backgrounds. I’ve got 18-20 fairly generic backgrounds where I looked at lots of online backgrounds and then consolidated them into a smaller number of themes. So, for example, gladiator,  thug, brute, bouncer . . . all of those fit under “Ruffian,” which isn’t a great nice word, but applies to anyone that uses violence on a fairly 1-1 basis, while the “Combatant” background is for soldiers and other disciplined bodies of troops, with a focus on camp chores, higher likelihood of knowing Animal Handling (for cavalry) etc.

I also tied up the shield rules. That doesn’t sound like much, but if you recall that one of the two or three things that kicked off the entire Heretical project was +James Spahn griping out how lame shields were, tying those up is a good thing.

I also worked to look at how grappling by animals was handled in the draft, and +Luke Campbell did yeoman’s work (oh, that’s a background too) in looking at animals in 5e, and I more or less decided that the simplification we wanted to make will be both easy and awesome. So booyah there.

I worked out a stat-block for monsters. That doesn’t sound like much, but it shows how you can get everything you need to run combat on a 3×5 card, and also how to take the Roll20 character sheet (and presumably the Fantasy Grounds one as well) and modify it to natively accept some of the new information. That will likely be part of a stretch goal, somewhere.

I also secured two domains for myself. The first is www.gamingballistic.com, which will be the new website for this blog when I get finished setting it up. Migrating a blog is non-trivial, and I’d like to take advantage of some of the WordPress features. I don’t really have anything against blogger, but being able to have all that stuff done in one package (blog, website, potential eCommerce site, maybe a Heretical RPG Forum once it goes on the market) with central management is worth it. I’m looking at modifying the Myth template, as a nice three-column format that looks like what I have now, but I’m open to suggestions for something that’s more attractive than what I have but still hits all the information I want. I also probably want to update my fonts, header image, and maybe update my logo in style if not in content. I like the target-and-dice.

Finally, I wrote the heck out of some character classes. I got a second Barbarian subclass done, a new Bard college, and the big one . . . 7,500 words of Cleric. That’s 10 themed domains that are good with my setting, and that means a lot of worldbuilding got folded up inside that writing.

Druid is already done, Fighter and Monk both need their new subclass, as does Paladin, but the cool thing there is I could probably look at different paladins for different domains and gods pretty easily, and that would be quite fun. Ranger is done thanks to help from +George Sutherland Howard, and Rogue is mostly done with a very fun subclass that I like a lot. The spellcasters need a bit of work.

But once the classes are done, it’s lots of worldbuilding, which is nice because I don’t have to hew so rigorously to a fairly well-defined mechanical system. In short, I won’t be writing rules, and that means a lot more writing in a lot less time.

After that, I’ve got a few more imports to do, and then hopefully we’re really into layout. Oh, which is great, because +Rob Muadib is making fantastic progress there. We’d started with something that was very, very similar to a traditional 5e layout. But as the project grew, it began to be very, very clear that we should do our own thing, and it’s really looking promising.

That’s where I am. Now I need a glass of wine.

So things got busy in April, and I have only made piecemeal progress on the Heretical DnD project. 

The draft still stands at roughly 130,000 words, but there has been progress despite no more wordcount increases.

I resolved some longstanding issues with the rules differentiating ranged and melee combat so that they were less differentiated than I had them, which is good. There was starting to be a bit of “a rule for every kind of attack” thing going on, and one of the things I like about D&D5 is that it mostly avoids that sort of trap.

But the new bow rules are at least mathematically sound, though I expect some pointed shots directed my way, and no amount of “the math really does work” will stop that. That’s OK. The tweaks let me unify several other things.

Vague-blogging much? Well, yeah.

This does mean that the monster job I thought I was done with rippling changes through hundreds of damage-dealing spells needs to be done again, though. That’s a job of work, right there. Not that the changes are that extensive – just a word here and a sentence there – but there are a ton of them.

But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel that will mean I have a full draft of the rules that can be productively laid out in a publishable format. At that point, I’ll be ready for the next steps, which will likely include forming a company, Kickstarting to get funding to pay artists, a professional indexer, maybe some custom font work, more art, and to see what my best printing options are. Fortunately, I know a few people that I can turn to for advice.

I’m not going to launch into crowdfunding until I have a playable, complete draft that (theoretically) could go to print. I will use the process to get that draft out into a wider playtest beyond the very capable folks I have looking at it now. Fresh eyes, fresh players, etc.

So, what’s left to do?


The moose in the room: I need a setting history, and a good idea of what’s going on in the kingdom that the limited sandbox that is the field of play and the surroundings. I have some basic seeds, but I need to flesh this out. I will almost certainly use Microscope to execute this, perhaps in several rounds.

I need my team to look over rules changes and tweaks in things like food, water, suffocation, and travel. Those are small but fun.

There are larger but consistent changes to armor and shields, and combat in general, that could use some more fightin’. Some rules and optional rules that have been discussed in the prior year or so on my blog need to be incorporated into the draft (like Everything’s a Ritual if You Have the Time). Some fun tweaks to Reach weapons came up in playtest, too.

There’s a Size Adjustment table that gets a fair bit of use in various rules, such as shoving and grappling, that could use torture testing to ensure that the edge cases really are edge cases.

I want to call out important, universal charts to duplicate in the back of the book, so that all the important stuff can be in one place, and I’m not above duplication here.

I really loved Castles and Chimeras notion of expanded critical threat range, and it sees play in the draft, although not exactly in the way he wrote it up and I tweaked it. But that expansion, plus optional rules for non-standard shields, will probably make it into the appendix.

Because I’m me, I’ve incorporated the grappling rules Peter and I wrote way back when into the main rules. We’ve used them in combat and they’re very, very fun at both 1st level and 6th level, and don’t show signs of strain. Some tweaks for scaling and ensuring a sprite can’t Restrain an ancient black dragon have been finalized, and I like the way they work. I have one more addition I want to make (choke holds!) and that is a very satisfying addition to the 5e rules.

I also have a new, hopefully fun, section on combat fatigue and rest, and combat recovery. I need to add a section on morale and staying power.

The place where I need the most actual new content, other than the setting, is in the characters bit. The SRD is great as a starting point, but it is hard to work with in a few ways:

  • Backgrounds – you get one, Acolyte. I probably need to add, or borrow, perhaps a dozen more. Sorting out that which is OGL from that which is not OGL, as well as which ones I just want to write up myself, is daunting. Plus, backgrounds will be flavored very much by the setting, so that has to happen first.
  • Subraces. Right now, the draft takes the one subrace per main race type and just munges them together. So you get a Dwarf race, but no Hill Dwarf, Mountain Dwarf, Valley Dwarf, Overhang Dwarf, or anything else. I may reverse this once I get a setting done.
  • Sub-classes are tough. You get one per class in the SRD, but the rules reference some of the excised ones. I’ve got some great ideas (so I think) for a few subclasses for my game, but the Wizard will be tough. The schools of magic are given an SRD-compatible treatment, with each type of magic listed, but only one formal school, that of Evocation. A generic treatment for schools is a bit tough, and it may be worthwhile ditching the magic-type based schools and coming up with a small set of my own. Again: setting.
  • Looking at Reddit, it would appear that the Ranger is apparently somewhat problematic in 5e as written, and that discussion is important to carry through. I’m inclined to emphasize rangers as scouts and outdoorsmen. Beast-control stuff might make a better fit as a druid multi-class. We shall see.

I’d also like to include a character sheet, derived from the basic one, that includes the concepts added for the project. I can sketch one out myself, but I’m happy to have suggestions.

It was OGL anyway, but I got permission to incorporate Fifth Edition Feats from Total Party Kill games into my work. They have been very encouraging, and I hope to deal with them some more. I’ve had to tweak out some of them, and replace others . . . but editing is almost always easier than starting from scratch.

But that’s really “it,” and once I’m there – though the setting, spell tweaks, and character background/class content are no small set of tasks – that should give me something ready to start with layout (Rob M has a great basic look, we have a wonderful draft cover concept, and I think it’ll look great once it’s done) and put me in a good place to start the machinery around crowdfunding.

And if it’s not going to be ready, most likely, by GenCon, then perhaps it’ll be MetaCon here in the Twin Cities in September (though that’s only a month later). Gamehole Con in Madison might be a better bet!

Travel Time for Long Distances

So I’m on a bit of international travel at the moment, which saw me taking an unusually tortuous route to cover the distance between Minneapolis and Penang, Malaysia. That’s 8,850 miles as the crow flies (tired, cranky, dehydrated crow), and rather longer by the route I took.

  • Minneapolis to LA – 1524 miles
  • LA to Tokyo – 5489 miles
  • Tokyo to Singapore – 3300 miles
  • Singapore to Penang – 375 miles

Total Distance Covered: 10,688 miles


Note that’s a 20% increase in distance covered. My total travel time for this trip, including layovers and highly stressful delays due to weather and booking, was . . . hmm. 

  • I left the house at 4:45am Minneapolis time on Friday.
  • I arrived at the hotel in Malaysia at about 10:30am Singapore time on Sunday, which is 9:30pm Minneapolis time on Saturday.

Total travel time: 29 hours, more or less


It seemed like longer than that. Average speed was thus roughly 300mph to cover the crow-flies distance over the real-world time elapsed. That’s roughly half what you’d calculate looking at a crow-flies distance divided by the typical quoted speed of a large jet, which varies from 550-650mph.

In short, it takes twice as long to get where you want to go than you’d think. That’s gameable information right there, obtained at the cost of no small amount of exhaustion and irritation. It turns out I wrote about this before,  so yay for consistency.

It would have been worse except for some excellent work by a travel agent and Japan Airlines, and if Delta had their way, I’d still be in LAX.

Jet Lag

One of the tougher bits of such long distance travel is jet lag. Being on the go for so long, with poor or zero sleep (in my case, I think I slept perhaps 4-5 hours). 

Upon arrival, you’re tired. A lot of that is oxygen deprivation, dehydration (not helped if you’re quaffing booze the entire trip), and sleep deprivation. 

All of these are fixable. If you drink water like the proverbial fish while you’re in the air – probably something like 1.5 ml of water per hour per kg of body weight. So for a 10-hour flight for someone of 80kg, you want to down 1.2L of water, minimum. Honestly, that doesn’t even sound like enough by a factor of 2.

Another big factor seems to be humidity level. The humidity of the outside air at 40,000 feet is something like 1%. Passengers are rather substantially more comfortable at 15-25%. New planes (A350, B787) will attempt to manage this better. 

But once you get there, well, you tend to be tired when you arrive, and often you find yourself doing email at 2-4am, because you just can’t fall asleep. Or you can fall asleep, but you can’t stay there. 

That means that you’re just off kilter. All day. And at some point, your body just gives up the ghost on focus.

HT Rolls are a Real Thing

At that point, the sensation is like having your head being stuffed with cotton. Or being drunk but without the pleasant sensations of getting that way in the first place. It’s hard to think, your coordination goes down, and your judgement and perception are impaired. Oh, perhaps your visual and sensory acuity is fine (but perhaps not), but your processing power is far lower.

For me, at least, it’s not a creeping thing. I find it the closest real-world analogy to the game-mechanical equivalent of failing a HT roll or a Saving Throw. One moment, I’m fine. The next, I’m at -5 to CON, DEX, INT, WIS, and maybe even CHA (or -2 to IQ, DX, and HT in GURPS). 

This is modeled best by an affliction or condition. You (or at least I) must eat right, force myself on to the right circadian rhythm, and also exercise. I’m not sure why exactly the exercise helps, but it does. 

But boy you can feel it when you fail a roll. It might also be well represented by Long-Term Fatigue from After the End 1 and 2.

Parting Shot

Things have been busy over here. Work has been long and constant, and my HT roll seems to be failed beween 5pm and 7pm each night – which is either right as work ends, or before. Which sucks. So I missed the Sunday Review and Reloading Press (though I will probably throw down a retroactive Reloading Press later today).

But travel? It can be hard, especially if you’re stressed out at the same time. It’s nearly always slower than you think it will be, especially over long distances, and the disruption to sleep cycles when you invert your day/night rhythm abruptly (over the course of a day or two) is a tangible thing. 

I’ll try and get back to some more regular posting, but they don’t send me over here for vacation, so I’m still pretty busy. Expect some level of disruption for the next two weeks, but I should be able to do more fun stuff on the weekend.

Thursday is GURPSDay, a tradition I started in early February of 2013, shortly after I started Gaming Ballistic. I always did better writing to a schedule, and having a GURPS-themed post always go up on release day was fun.

Earlier this year, my little tradition got noticed by +Phil Reed, and he was sufficiently enthusiastic that I volunteered to try and collect posts published on Thursday that had GURPS material.

Enter +Jeffro Johnson and PERL. I don’t know PERL, but he does. And he rapidly took the idea and ran with it hard, writing for me a script that pulled every GURPS post form a blog. We even came up with a format that would allow summaries of each post, so long as they were embedded in the HTML and formatted correctly.

Each week, there usually wind up being on the order of 40-60 posts from just shy of 40 blogs. I have no doubt that with proper social networking, both of those numbers could easily double. We’ve gotten great participation, and the blog roll keeps increasing, though the pace has slowed.

Navelgazing


So, GURPSDay went more-or-less live in late January or early February. This has been, in a word, fantastic for my site. My blog started out getting about 3,300 pageviews in January, or about 100 views per day. As I kept at it, my traffic increased steadily, doubling by June, and then hitting a stability point. Each month, I’d get about 6000-8,000 page views, but if I did something particularly interesting, such as a good interview, it would spike to 9,000-10,000. It only went over 10,000 views twice, and I suspect those were particularly notable interviews.

Then in June or July 2014, D&D5e was released, and I did a series of posts on the game mechanics of dice rolling, as well as making and posting a 6th level 5e character for every class. Shattered my prior records, hitting 12,000 views, or about 400 per day. When that stopped, I dropped back down to 7,000-9,000, though I did blow myself up during that period of time.

The new year saw me return to regularly scheduled posting, and playing more games. The Reloading Press has been very popular, as have my writeups of the Aeon supers campaign. But when GURPSDay started in mid-January, things shot up and stayed there. January I hit over 14,000 views . . . and my worst month since then has been as good as my record up to then.

Looking Outward


One of the neat things about the GURPS blogs is that we’d often cross-pollinate anyway. Whether it was just someone riffing off of a post, or a purposeful collaboration or coincidence (like Melee Academy and GURPS 101), we were pretty good about sharing ideas.

That only got better with GURPSDay, as “I had no idea there were so many GURPS blogs” was pretty common. So there’s always something worth reading, which leads to always something worth writing about.

And I know that GURPSDay actually started a few people blogging – some of our most prolific writers are newbies, relatively, to at least the blogging scene, and it’s great to see things expand.

Stop, Collaborate, and Listen


Ultimately, what makes a community is communication and shared interest. If you blog about GURPS, write up your adventures and campaigns, or tinker with rules, there’s a community that contains some cool people, many of whom are among the more prolific of the GURPS author set, who are happy to engage in constructive conversation. (You will, however, get ignored if you’re a twit.) There’s even a GURPS writer’s help group that is on a bit of hiatus, but while it was going strong generated over 100,000 words of submitted GURPS content to Pyramid magazine.

So . . . overall, the GURPSDay experiment feels like both a personal and community success story thus far. I hope it grows. Of course, that required more brains!

I’ve been spending more time this past week getting the Heretical DnD project a bit farther down field.

I went through about three or four different playtest reports and a complete edit of the Adventuring chapter. I have a few things I still need to work out, but by and large, I feel like if I can put this part – which is shorter by far than the rest of the manuscript – D&D5 really is a compact ruleset from an in-play perspective.

The things still to be resolved?

Things that you’ll recognize if you’ve been following either the Heretical posts or some of the other noodlings I’ve done.

I’m undecided on which of a few variants of ranged weapon rules to use. DnD rounds being six seconds gives time to draw, aim, and loose at least one, if not more, arrows per round. The interaction with the existing rules isn’t bad, per se, but it still feels like there’s something missing here.

The grappling rules are getting better and better, and thanks to  good poke about an ancient black dragon fighting Tinkerbell, I think I’ve come up with a pretty elegant way to handle things that deals with the issues of edge cases organically.

I think the new shield rules are good. But they didn’t see any use in the playtests since they were rewritten from the first concept. As noted here in Hit, Miss, Armor, Shield I had originally wanted to have shields giving what would effectively be more hit points – stress points in the concept in the prior post. This worked mechanically very well in playtest! But the narrative unification that I was looking for didn’t. What do you do when you’re down HP after a fight? Re-ready your shield? Does that cost you hit dice? Why not, or why so? Ultimately, having shields be a reserve of hit points worked on a mechanics level but not as a unification of narrative and mechanics. So it had to go. A better brainstorm came up with an alternate concept that I like. It’s elegant and unified, and hopefully it’ll play well – and how it play with the bow rules above is crucial.

Finally, I really want to make use of the expanded critical hit range that I posted about after +Fabio Milito Pagliara inspired me with the concept. Not doing that right away was a miss, but without the rules that I’ve got now, that would just be a spin cycle. With the rules almost settled, adding this in should be friendlier.

There’s still much to do.  I’ve got a lot done on spells – revising them is a huge task, and the amount of editing and formatting that goes into them is not small. I’ve got equipment done, bu there are revisions and concepts that will be added there as well (shields and armor both go there, for example).

I dread adding the monsters. Yeeeargh that’s going to be an ugly edit. So. Much. Reformatting.

And some setting work. I’ve decided what it’s going to be, and now I need to write it. I may wind up soliciting help from the peanut gallery for this. 

The file in MS Word format is 125,000 words long now, over 300 pages. This consolidates down by about 40% when it’s laid out in PDF format with a 2-column layout. I really like the look of what my layout guy has done, too. One day I’ll get him a final draft and then we can start making holes for artwork, and at that point, I have to consider how I take it over the goal-line. Probably Kickstarter, but I’ll have to study how they’ve been used well (and +Erik Tenkar will keep me honest about how they are used badly). 

Until then, this is what is denying me sleep a lot, and when a weekend goes by without a review post or a Friday-Saturday pair of Gaming Ballistic content posts, this is why.