Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Daddy Was a Rolling Stone - Another Year's Rolled By

Once again, I've missed my blogging anniversary, which was a few week's ago on February 11th. Missing the actual date is nothing new. Sometimes I've forgotten it altogether.

But I thought I'd take a few moments to talk about why I'm continuing to blog, how the blog has changed since I've started, and say "thanks" to people who have been reading my little corner of the blogosphere here for the past three years (and 14 days).

When I began my blog on February 11th, 2011, I created it specifically as a table-top role-playing game blog, with the intent of  sharing my experiences with D&D and its ilk dating back to my first exposure to the game around 1982 or so. I wanted to illustrate that some of us "old-timers" who still actively participated in face-to-face campaigns (I'm currently involved in two main campaigns and about three other semi-sporadic ones) aren't all just grumpy old guys who complain that thieves suck and should never have been added to the game. Or that thieves are okay but their skills should be based on a D6 instead of D%. Or that thieves are okay but that doesn't mean that other people can't use their skills, too. Or that thieves are okay but they have some skills that only they can use and other characters can't. Or that thieves are okay but people have been misinterpreting what "hear noise" or "find traps" mean.

Seriously. Enough already.

What's Changed?
Over time here at Daddy Rolled a 1, things have changed. Mainly, I feel like I found my "voice." It took quite a while, but blogging more regularly the first year of the blog's existence helped. When I began, some of my words were a little too "gimmicky" and used all-to-common "blogger speak" which just isn't my style, and that's changed over time.

I also stopped trying to cover "interesting news." In my first year, I would often post multiple times a day with short posts about things like the Google Doodle for Wil Eisner or Middle Earth Built from Legos. I even got into memes for a while, such as the "Hot Elf Chick" one. But none of this really was "me." I realized that I should focus a bit more on writing stuff that I wanted to write and that had a bit more substance to it, rather than just redirecting people to another site just because I thought it was cool.

One of the main reasons I keep this blog is really to practice my writing. Some may argue that blogging is not writing, but I don't agree. I think carefully about the structure of my posts, the flow, and I do edit my posts for proper grammar and spelling. So, writing longer, more thought-provoking posts serves that goal much better than short news items with links.

Also, around the beginning of the year last year, I worked on developing a "theme" for each day. This arose from a long Word document I've kept even before I started to blog, that's a list of "blog topics." I began the list before I set up my blog so that I wouldn't run out of things to talk about. I'm not even a quarter of the way through it yet, but one thing I noticed was that my posts were relatively haphazard. Any time a reader visited here, they might see a recap from my latest game, a stream-of-consciousness post about what I did over the weekend, a movie review, or why I like the old Fleischer Studios Superman cartoons. This doesn't necessarily make for a great reader experience, so I borrowed a page from Trey Causey's blog and his "Warlord Wednesday" posts and decided to dedicate each day of the workweek to a specific topic. Mondays are typically reserved for discussing Pulp Noir influences; Tuesdays are Design Decisions, wherein I talk about certain choices I made for my ongoing World of Samoth tabletop role-playing campaign; Wednesdays are about reviewing New Comics (since they come out on Wednesdays); Thursdays are devoted to old 1980s genre TV shows; and Fridays are reviews of books, shows, or games that served as Inspirations for my current campaign.

Also during the past three years, my daughter has obviously gotten older and gained a better appreciation for things aside from Disney Princesses - namely, comics, The Hobbit, homemade geek projects, and Star Wars. That's another big reason I keep this blog - to document my roll as a "geek dad" in sharing the things I love with my daughter and seeing how she responds to them.

On the personal front during the past three years, here are a few things:

  • I lost the main client that I'd had that was the whole reason I'd set up my own agency, put in a ton of time and eventually built my business up to where it's bigger now by a factor of more than double what it was when I had that client
  • My daughter grew from barely being able to walk to almost being ready for Kindergarten
  • My wife lost two jobs but has now found a great new one (knock on wood)
  • I've added new players to my World of Samoth D&D/Pathfinder game, now coming up on its 13th year this May
  • I rediscovered "old-school" D&D and ran a group through S3: The Expedition to the Barrier Peaks (using OSRIC) and am currently running a group through S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (using Labyrinth Lord)
  • I got back into comics with the release of Before Watchmen and then began catching up on DC's New 52, after having taking a bit of a break in the early to mid 2000's
  • My rediscovery of comics also led to me reviewing comics "professionally" for the site ComicAttack.net
  • I played game systems that I'd never played before, including Savage Worlds and the original Twilight 2000
  • I was able to achieve a childhood dream of visiting the Compleat Strategist while on a business trip to New York
  • I lost my mom unexpectedly a year ago, and have been blogging a bit about her support of my non-traditional pass-times like role-playing games and comics

Interesting Posts from the Past
Over the past three years, I've covered a lot of things here at Daddy Rolled a 1. One of my first "series" of posts was a bunch of content for Gamma World / Mutant Future in the form of an Encounter List that I created to fill-in the missing pages of my Encounters pages from my old second-half 1st Edition Gamma World book. I had a lot of fun digging out my 25+ year-old notebooks and reading through those.

I've also been trying to document how, if you don't have a preconceived bias and don't get all up on your high horse, you can have fun playing any edition of D&D. So far, I've documented my games with 4th Edition, 3.5 Edition, 3rd Edition, and 2nd Edition. Next up, I'll be covering 1st Edition.

One of my current favorite things to write about are my "game shop memories" where I review game shops old and new that I've visited throughout the years of my tabletop gaming career. I guess in a way these are purely just nostalgic posts for a me and a lot of people would say they're pointless (they would prefer more stats on what kind of die a thief should use for his skill checks, or pontificate on how you're playing the game incorrectly). That's all fine and good - as I mentioned above, one of the reasons I blog is to practice my writing and writing about my memories of the game and why I play is a way of doing that. It also brings me to another reason I have this blog, which is to serve as a sort of "peak behind the curtain" into the type of person I am, so that one day my daughter might be able to understand why playing these games and reading this kind of material (fantasy and science-fiction, history, comics, etc.) is important to me, in case I never tell her directly.

Early on my blog's history, I also wrote a four-part series on my experiences working on the advertising for Wizards of the Coast, shortly after they acquired D&D from TSR. It's a really interesting (I hope) look into how corporations operate and make decisions (or actually, don't make decisions), all within the context of the world's most popular role-playing game (and also trading card games, etc.).


What's Not Changed
I started out above saying how my primary reason for starting the blog was as an exploration of my tabletop role-playing. While I have expanded a bit in terms of the things I blog about, astute readers will have noted that all of that "additional" stuff - the Pulp Noir posts, the comic book reviews, the 80's TV shows... all of those are written within the context of "is there anything here I can adapt for my games?" I think, as a whole, many tabletop role-players tend to just draw from the same well over and over for their games: Tolkien, Lovecraft, Conan... basically, the good old "Appendix N" from the 1st Edition Dungeon Master's Guide. And while those sources do have their merits, I personally enjoy trying to stretch myself and look for ways to incorporate things that might at first glance look like they have nothing to do with standard fantasy games. I also think it's just good for exercising the brain to read, watch, and listen to different things rather than just going back to what you're comfortable with.

So, I'd encourage you to take a chance and actually read some of those older posts. Maybe you don't like comics (or, more likely, you think you don't like comics) because you have a sense that they're all "men in capes." While I do read a lot of supers comics, they're really not just about that any more. I'll be writing a longer post on this topic in the future, but again, I'd just encourage you not to skip those posts just because "I don't like comics" or "I hated history class."


Some Stats
I haven't done this in a while, so here goes:

  • Top 5 Posts of All Time (based on Page Views)
    • Finally a New Post (Updated Currently Watching)
      • 3,434 views
      • I have no idea why this one is the biggest but it's consistently been the top post pretty much since it came out. I suspect is has more to do with people searching for these particular movie and TV titles than the fact that it's an interesting post (because there's really not a lot of content there)
    • Really Cool Custom Action Figure Site
      • 2,757 views
      • It makes a certain amount of since why this one is so popular - the visuals of the figures are stunning
    • 75th Anniversary of the Hobbit
      • 1,027 views
      • This happens to be one of my favorite posts
    • Grognardia's Bookshelf Meme Thing
      • 835 views
      • One of James' last posts before he quit Grognardia, and one of only two memes (at least, I think it's only two) that I've participated with here at Daddy Rolled a 1
    • Fun With Any Edition: AD&D 2nd Edition
      • 767 views
      • This also wins the post for "most comments" with 16. I was shocked how many people still love talking about this version of the game, considering that it's one that tends to be forgotten - not all that different from 1st Edition, but worlds away from 3rd Edition (which gets vilified way too much)
  • Top 5 Referring Sites
    • Google: 9,413 pageviews
      • Sometime around mid-2012, Google took over as the top traffic source for the blog. Before that, it had always been fellow OSR bloggers.
    • timbrannan.blogspot.com: 1,351 pageviews
    • jrients.blogspot.com: 1,212 pageviews
    • Google UK: 721
    • Google CA: 692
  • Top 5 Search Keywords
    • the hobbit book
    • daddyrolleda1.blogspot.com
    • grognardia
    • the hobbit
    • daddy rolled a 1
  • Top 5 Pageviews by Country
    • United States: 53,948
    • Russia: 4,079
    • United Kingdom: 2,987
    • Ukraine: 2,966
    • Canada: 2,617

What's Coming Up and What Do You Want to See?
So, there's a look at the past three years of Daddy Rolled a 1. I still have plans to someday take my old draft copy of The Quintessential Expert for 3.5 Edition D&D and rework it (probably for Pathfinder) and publish it. I'm also working on a non-standard campaign setting that's maybe like 20% done at this point. I playtested some of the ideas with a group using Savage Worlds but it was written for an old-school RPG. It was cool to see that it could work with old and new game systems, however.

I've got more "Fun With Any Edition" posts planned, more game store memories, more inspirations and design decisions to chat about, and of course more comics to review. 

What I'd really like to know, though, is what you want to see? What content resonates with you the most?

Thanks for reading, and stay frosty.

Hanging: Home office (laptop)
Drinking: Mother Earth Brew Co. Sin Tax Imperial Stout
Listening: "Englishman in New York (The Ben Liebrand Mix)" by Sting

5 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Kelvin! Glad to have you still reading, and that at least some of the content is still of interest to you.

      Delete
  2. I was getting a Bob Dylan vibe when I first read your title. I'm glad you got your voice, keep at it! Also, I'm very jealous about that imperial stout.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Thank you very much" (said in Bob Dylan mumble voice).

      That Stout was AMAZING. I picked it up at Whole Foods (or it might have been BevMo) on a whim. They used an interesting mix of malts, one of which imparted this very distinctive peanut butter flavor, and mixed with the bitter chocolate notes that Stouts usually have anyway, it was essentially akin to drinking a Roasted Reese's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup. I drank it for dessert. :)

      Delete
  3. Congratulations on another year. Keep up the good stuff!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...