Tuesday, February 11, 2020

9th Anniversary of Blogging

Two posts in one day?

Yes, because today is "Inventor's Day" so I wanted to blog about an inventor Expert character concept I originally created for the 3.5 edition of D&D way back in 2004/2005, but it's also my 9th anniversary of starting my blog back in 2011.

A Look Back Over the Past Year
Once again, looking at my "blog year" (not calendar year), for the second year in a row I published more blog posts than the year prior (although it sadly works out to just shy of one post per month). That was actually my goal last year, though (at least one post a month), and I even wrote it down as one of my resolutions, so I got really close. Of course, nearly half of my total posts have come in the past two weeks after a long dry spell between August and January, which is kind of interesting because the same thing happened last year; my last blog post was dating in August until I got into the new year.

Quite a few of my posts in the first half of the past year were about my involvement as a judge for the 6th year in a row for the awesome One Page Dungeon Contest. There were a lot of entries last year, and I blogged about my thoughts on the Top 20 entries overall and compared the final scores to my own individual scores. I also got a bit more involved on social media during the contest last year, tweeting as I read new entries.

As always, I continued to post about comics, particularly with regard to adapting some ideas from different comics into different RPG campaigns or settings, such as a crazy time-traveling comic about Bronze Age barbarians fighting zombies and their dinosaur allies while being supported a 1970's Kung Fu fighter and a female "Blaxploitation" style street fighter, by the Ape Time Traveling Attack Crew (ATTAC), and by a Gogo-boot wearing Golem. Honestly it's an awesome comic and one that I wish got more attention. I also wrote about a few more "standard" comics, including the horror-fantasy of Last God (which is being made into a campaign setting for D&D 5E), a post-apocalyptic comic with a time-traveling theme, Undiscovered Country, and a beautifully illustrated fantasy comic, Isola.

My long-running World of Samoth game continues, albeit at a very slow pace, and I wrote a post about some of our recent sessions last year as well. Our long-running Masks of Nyarlothotep Cthulhu game finally came to an end last year, and one of my friends started a new game of Achtung! Cthulhu shortly after. We've only played twice so far, but I like the time period/setting of the game.

In addition to all of that, lately I've been trying to post more actual game-related content, and over the past few weeks I've slowly been going through my old notes on a follow-up to the book I wrote, published by Mongoose Publishing, back in 2004, the Quintessential Aristocrat. The follow-up was about the Expert NPC class for D&D 3.5, and I wrote nearly 2/3 of the book before it finally fizzled out, and then D&D 4E came around and I never ended up finishing the book. Rather than let all the ideas go to waste, I've been posting them here on the blog, with the original 3.5 mechanics, and also translating many of the ideas into retro-clone OSR games such as Old School Essentials and Lamentations of the Flame Princess.

Aside from blogging, I once again went to the SHUX (Shut Up and Sit Down) game convention in Vancouver last October with a few friends, which was a blast. We didn't get a chance to play any RPGs, but we played quite a few strategic board games, and it was fun to see a bunch of these guys since we all live in different areas now.

I tried to keep up with movies, once again seeing most of the major so-called "geek" tentpole movies like Avengers: End Game and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, along with my family and friends. One of my best friends also held a viewing party for the first episode of "Picard" last month, and my wife and I are excited to continue watching. However, as with last year, I'm woefully behind on my TV viewing. I finally caught up on all of "Young Justice" on DC Universe, but I still haven't seen the second season of "Star Trek: Discovery," nor the second or third seasons of "Stranger Things." It seems like every day, friends are telling me about new series that I should be watching. It's kind of exhausting.

For fiction reading (aside from comics), I'm going through Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View which was a gift from my wife for my birthday last year. I'm also going through a few different non-fiction books on cocktail making (creating your own infusions, bitters, etc.).

I've been spending quite a bit of time working on my mixed drink game at my house. I now have four small barrels (ranging from 1L to 5L in size), and I use them to barrel-aged cocktails, and I've made a few different kinds of bitters, attended a class on how to make Amaros, and made an Ancho Cacao Liqueur and bottled that as Christmas gifts for my friends, and also made some different Egg Nog recipes like one with chamomile-infused Scotch and Averna Amaro instead of the traditional Whiskey, Brandy, and Rum.

On the work front, as someone who runs his own business, things are always a bit anxiety-inducing as I'm looking to acquire new clients to keep my income stable while enabling me the flexibility to continue taking care of my daughter and support her at her school and extracurricular activities.

For the upcoming year, be on the lookout for more posts about the Expert/Specialist class concepts, with stats for 3.5 as well as a couple OSR games. I also recently came across an old recipe card box that was full of index cards on which I'd put a bunch of NPCs for a "proto-Samoth" campaign world I was working on back in High School. For each NPC, I gave them a "History/Aims" section, and it's in this writing that I found a lot of really creative stuff. Just reading those little sections started to pain the picture of a campaign world, so I've been thinking of ways of using the blog to develop a sort of fun crowd-sourced campaign world; I'll post the NPCs I created some 30+ years ago and their History/Aims, and then readers can grab onto any of those sections you like and flesh out that part of the campaign world. I think it could be fun and collaborative.

As I mentioned last year as well, I've been working on an RPG supplement to self-publish. I actually spent quite a bit of down-time over the past year tightening it up, and the first five chapters are pretty much done at this point, and I have a solid foundation on two other chapters. I've been trying to figure out how to do layouts to make it look good, and I'll eventually seek out some original art, and then figure out how to publish it.

That's a look at the past year as well as a glimpse at the year ahead. I welcome your comments on the content I'm publishing here on the blog, what you want to see more of, whether the "crowd-sourced campaign setting" sounds fun and if you'd participate. Thanks for reading, and cheers to another year!

  • Page Views: 6,096 versus 5,867 (+3.9%)
  • Average Pages per Session: 1.54 versus 1.48 (+3.67%)
  • Average Time per Session: 1:12 versus 1:05 (+10.52%; interestingly, when I look at last year's anniversary post, I had my time per session at 2:13, so I'm not sure why it's not reporting that way now)
  • Bounce Rate: 79.60% versus 80.11% (-0.64%, so at least people aren't jumping ship quite as often)
  • New Users Percent: 91.6%
  • New Users Total: 3,030
  • Location: 69.62% of my visitors are from the U.S., up +25% points from 55.57% last year. The U.K. has the second highest % of visitors at 4.89%, followed by Canada at 3.89% (down from 5.91% last year), and then Australia at 2.62%. German and Brazil each have roughly 1.5%, and then Spain, Italy, India, and France all have roughly 1% each. 
  • Device: 61.42% of the users were on Desktop, down from 65.74% last year; that's not a huge surprise. I tend to do most of my blog reading on my phone or tablet these days. 
In terms of the most popular posts of all-time here on the blog:

All of those are what I'd call "Legacy Posts" and all but one of them was in the Top 5 last year as well. By contrast, none of the posts I made from the last year, individually, seem to have cracked even 500 views each. I attribute a lot of that to my general lack of consistency in posting with any kind of frequency. 

Lastly, the lion's share of my traffic source is from Google, but in terms of old-school blogs, both Jeff Rients and Tim Brannan continue to drive the most traffic (from the OSR community) to my blog. 

Hanging: Home Office (laptop)
Drinking: Tap water
Listening: "Introduce (SLAP Mix)" from "Mushroom Jazz 7" by Tony Green & Charlie Tate


  1. Congratulations on nine years of blogging! It's always an interesting read.

    1. Thank you! Always glad to see that you're continuing to read despite my sometimes long lapses in posting.

  2. Congrats, Martin! It's hard to keep something like this going for so long when there are so many interests competing for attention/time, not to mention the occasional bout of real life interference. (I'm deep in the throes of one of the latter, at the moment.) Keep up the good work - I'm looking forward to your posts this coming blog year and to see the supplement you've been working on!

    1. Thanks again, Chris! I look forward to your posts as well, but I definitely understand the impact of real life on blogging and gaming in general. Hang in there!


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