Thursday, February 11, 2021

10 Years of Daddy Rolled a 1 (Blog Anniversary)


Today marks 11 years since I started blogging,
way back in 2011. I started this little venture after having spent a ton of time reading James Maliszewski's Grognardia blog starting in 2010. When I discovered his blog, he'd already been blogging about the history of role-playing games and waxing nostalgic about classic RPGs for about two years. I dedicated myself to start at the beginning and I read through every post, and all of the comments, that he'd made up until the time I started reading. I even sent him an email letting him know that I'd done this and how his blog had inspired me to revisit the classic RPGs from my youth as well as explore the relatively new (at the time) OSR gaming movement. So, most of the credit for me wanting to start my blog goes to James. 

I'll also say quickly that if it weren't for this blog: 

  • I probably would not have discovered so much great RPG content being published by small independent publishers and bloggers in the old-school gaming space
  • I wouldn't have been asked to be a judge for the One Page Dungeon Contest
  • I wouldn't have developed as much creative content as I have for my own games
  • Most importantly, I would've have met (virtually) so many cool, creative, and kind folks in the gaming community 

INITIAL BLOGGING GOALS
When I began the blog, my goal had been to focus on "all things geek" from the perspective of a dad who was raising a young daughter (my daughter was 2 1/2 at the time - she's in Middle School now) and wanting to teach her about all the things I enjoyed as a kid that she still bring me joy as an adult: Star Wars; Star Trek; the Lord of the Rings; fantasy and science-fiction in general across TV, movies, and fiction; comic books; and of course, role-playing games. In the early days of the blog, my posts did cover a wide variety of these topics as well as sharing news that I came across during the day. 

BLOG POSTING BEGINS to FOCUS
That scatter-shot approach has changed quite a bit over the past 10 years, and while I still post the occasional TV or movie review, the focus of the blog is tightened up a bit to concentrate mainly on three main areas: comic books; D&D content (lately, focusing on content for the B/X version of the game inspired by my acquisition of Old School Essentials and a campaign I'm running for my daughter); and a broad category I call "Inspirations," which are posts about how you can find inspiration for your D&D or other role-playing games from almost anywhere, including history, non-fiction, comic books, and even a customized action figure toy line. 

GROWTH in 2020 and B/X D&D CONTENT
In terms of growth, this past year has been once of the best years I've had overall, and a lot of that is due to the fact that I actually made a dedicated effort to blog more often. I blogged more in 2020 than I have since 2013, at a rate nearly five times as often as I did in 2019 and tripling my total number of blog posts for 2018. A lot of this has to do with momentum, as with a lot of things in life. Often what's needed is to just start doing a thing, and it becomes a habit. Last year, I found that I was often restless at the end of the night and I discovered it was because I had been slacking on my blog post output, so I'd stay up late to work on a post to make sure I didn't fall back into bad habits of not posting. 

Another reason my posting became more frequent was because I began to theme my posts around specific topics, which were mainly around creating content for B/X D&D. That started partly because, as I mentioned in last year's anniversary post, I'd always had this nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I'd spent all this time developing a proposal for a 3.5 era supplement on Experts that I never finished. I'd devoted tens of hours to working on that, and it seemed a real shame to just have it all go to waste. So, I began initially by just posting what I'd written in its original 3.5 format, but I also knew that, as far as the old-school community was concerned, a B/X style conversion would probably be more enticing and useful for people. So, I took a stab at converting my ideas to B/X. I first began by making full classes for experts, such as a Blacksmith. Long-time reader and commenter on my blog, Chris B., mentioned that many of them seemed more like careers from Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play. It was around this time that I stumbled across Dyson Logos' "D12 Subclasses" tables. I loved that idea so much, so inspired by Chris' comment and using Dyson Logos' format, I began developing all kinds of subclasses for B/X D&D by making small tweaks to the existing classes. As opposed to doing one class at a time, like Dyson, I instead created themed lists such as City/Urban, Naval/Sea, Horror, etc. You can find all of the ones I created under the Subclasses tag. A few of them were among my top-read posts over the past year. 

Doing those subclasses helped generate a whole series of new ideas for me, and I created a few customized B/X classes, including a B/X Sorcerer class that people on social media who play B/X or Old School Essentials seem to like, along with a bunch of new spells for B/X. 

COMING on the BLOG in 2021
I'll be continuing my series on new spells for my B/X Sorcerer class. My goal with these is to post them here first to generate discussion and comments, and then fine-tune them to publication as a PDF. 

Another topic I'll be working on is posting about my daughter's Old School Essentials game that I'm DM'ing for her and her friends. We have a session coming up this Saturday. Rather than turn the blog into just summaries of each session, my plan is to instead talk about some of the ideas and tips I employed to run the session, and share some of the tools I created for that session. I've got a random encounter table for road encounters (inspired by one from the Dungeon Craft YouTube channel), and I also just created one for hallucinogenic effects that may or may not be relevant to this Saturday's session. For my daughter's game, my intent is to make it a version of "weird fantasy" that takes elements that are strange and fantastical but not gory, gross, or necessarily violent. So, another thing I'll be talking about is how to use something that could potentially be problematic, such as my hallucinogenic effects table, with a group of young players, and getting their understanding and consent before using it. The last thing I want is for these girls' parents to become uncomfortable with them playing the game due to the types of encounters I have planned. 

I have at least one more Subclasses table planned. Once that's published here on the blog, my goal is to collect all of them together into a large supplement with additional content and sell that as a PDF. 

Comic books and reviews will continue to be part of the blog, as I continue to visit my favorite local comic book shop on a weekly basis. One of my comic book reviews from 2020 was one of the top-read posts during the past year, so I've seen that there's still an appetite for it here on the blog, but in a very specific, niche manner - that particular post was about a DC Comic called "Last God" which was based on a D&D campaign, including cartography by one of WotC's cartographers, and which was eventually turned into a 5E Campaign Setting booklet (in comic book form). By contrast, another fantasy comic I reviewed, Isola, received fewer than 1/10 of the views as the post on Last God (despite me personally enjoying both the story, the characters, and the art of Isola a lot more). 

For folks who read the blog, do you like the comic book reviews, or do you just skip past them because your perception is that they aren't related to role-playing games? I've endeavored over the years to always tie my posts back to RPGs, and each comic book review includes a section on how you can adapt the information therein to a tabletop role-playing game, but I suspect many folks never even noticed that because they just saw "comic book review" and skipped past it. 

Another thing I tried last year that was new was asking my daughter to write a guest-review of a book, in this case a graphic novel called "All's Faire in Middle School." I thought it was a good choice for a book as it covered both the idea of a young girl in a brand new school, and also changing from being in Elementary School to Junior High School (which was something my daughter would be doing with the next school year), and also because it included a strong girl character as the protagonist (with whom my daughter could relate), and it included some medieval/fantasy elements due to the protagonist's involvement with her parents in a Renaissance Faire (ticking that particular box for my daughter). My daughter was really excited to be featured on my blog, and I'd always intended to have her write another review, but neither one of us was prepared for the amount of homework that she would have in 6th Grade compared to 5th. My hope is over the summer, she'll have some time to write a few short reviews of books she's reading. Let me know if this is something you'd like to see. 

In years past on my blog anniversary, I've talked about all the related genre stuff I've done over the past year, including board games, conventions, TV and movies, and books. I'm going to skip that for this year's anniversary post. 2020 was a weird year for everyone, and rather than continue to look back, I'd like to focus on looking forward and making 2021 and beyond better than ever. 

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't thank some of my long-time readers and commenters here on the blog, including the aforementioned Chris B., Kelvin Green (who has been reading and commenting almost since Day 1!), Random Wizard (who years ago asked me to be a judge for the One Page Dungeon Contest, something I still do, and immensely enjoy), Timothy S. Brannan, Anthony Simeone, and a relatively new, but insightful, commenter, Timeshadows. To them and everyone else who has read and commented over the past 10 years, thank you! 

As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions. I really enjoy engaging with readers and learning more about what you do or don't want to see on the blog. I can look at numbers and Google Analytics, but I'd rather hear it directly from people in the comments. 

Cheers. Here's to 10 years here at Daddy Rolled a 1, and looking forward to the next 10!

As is tradition, I'll end with some stats, first from Google Analytics, and then from Blogger with regard to specific posts: 

  • Page Views: 11,774 vs 6,138 (+91.2%)
  • Average Pages per Session: 1.61 vs 1.54 (+4.55%)
  • Average Time per Session:  01.25 vs 01.12 (+17.51%)
  • Bounce Rate: 79.43% vs 79.61% (- 0.24%)
  • New Users %: 88.4% 
  • New Users Total: 5,104 vs 3,059 (+66.85%)
  • Location: US (70.44% vs 69.53%), United Kingdom (4.83% vs 4.88%), Canada (4.56% vs 3.97%), Australia (2.14% vs 2.64%), Italy (1.67% vs 1.11%), Germany (1.57% vs 1.73%), Brazil (1.55% vs 1.46%), France (1.30% vs 1.01%), India (0.83% vs 1.04%), and Spain (0.80% vs 1.17%). 
  • Device: 51.63% Desktop (down from 61.31% last year), 43.76% Mobile (up from 32.11% last year), and 4.61% Table (down from 6.58% last year). Of course, due to have many more readers now, all of those raw numbers went up. 
  • Top Referring Sites (from Blogger Data): 
    • Google drove the most page views from any individual source,
    • Facebook was second, driving nearly 81% as much traffic as Google
    • There's a huge drop to the third referral source, Trey Causey's excellent "From the Sorcerer's Skull" blog. After Trey, and (taking out Bing and Duck Duck Go), the next three top-referring sites are all old-school gaming blogs: Jeff Rients, The Other Side by Timothy Brannan, and Gothridge Manor by Tim Shorts. All of these guys have read and commented here in the past as well. 

In terms of the 10 most popular posts over the last year (since February 11th 2020): 

  • Finally: A New Post (Updated Currently Watching) (August 25, 2011)
    • This is, by now, an "ancient" post here on the blog, having first been posted only a few months after I started my blog in 2011. I suspect it's just got to have something to do with keywords and what people are searching for for them to stumble across this post. It does continue to baffle me how this one specific post drives so much traffic every year. It alone received 3.52k page views over the past year. 
  • Two New Campaign Setting Ideas: One Horror Fantasy, One Post Apocalyptic (January 29, 2020)
    • This is fast becoming one of the most popular posts on the blog, having driven in 2.37k views over the past year.
  • New Comics Wednesday: Revisiting my Post About People Who Do or Don't Read Comics (February 10, 2016)
    • Another "legacy" post from about 5 years ago generated 2.35k views last year
  • Latest Projects for B/X D&D and/or Old School Essentials: Classes and Subclasses Genre Books (August 18, 2020) 
    • This is the first post that came out specifically in the time window between February 11th, 2020 and February 10th, 2021 that cracked the top 10. However, it did generate 969 page views, which is more than double the number of page-views that any single post I created in 2019 generated during the same time period the year prior.
  • Open Game Content: D12 Sword & Planet Subclasses for B/X or Old School Essentials Games (June 3, 2020)
    • This was my most-viewed subclasses post from last year, and I think it has a lot to do with two factors: One, it was one of the later posts in the "subclass" theme, so people on social media had begun to get used to me doing these and were waiting for me to post more, and Two, the subject matter, being quite a bit different from standard vanilla fantasy D&D. This one brought in 707 page views so far. 
  • Open Game Content: D12 Fairy Tale Subclasses for B/X or Old School Essentials Games (May 5, 2020)
    • Another "later" entry in my D12 Subclasses series, and one again, something beyond standard types of fantasy. This one generated 664 page views to date. 
  • RPG Reviews: Neurocity (August 2, 2020)
    • This particular game really seems to have taken off; I've seen that the creator is currently (or just recently finished) a kickstarter for a post-apocalyptic game using the game mechanics and it did quite well in terms of funding. Although this post came out halfway through the year, it's still generated 654 page views as of now. This was the first of three RPG reviews I did over the past year. 
  • My Gaming Soft Cover and Boxed Sets Bookshelves (July 9, 2020)
    • This was sort of a creative experiment for me, looking at new and different ways to present data. It was a follow-up to a similar post I did a few years ago about my hardback game collection. This drove in 635 page views over the past year. 
  • RPG Review: Domain Building (Populated Hexcrawl Series) (December 2, 2020)
    • My last RPG review from the past year, but given that it's only been out for a little over two months, it's impressive that this was my #9 most viewed post across all of the past year. Todd Leback's Hexcrawl series is becoming really popular, and he's currently running a kickstarter, so I suspect that interest helps with driving more page views, which currently stand at 621. 
  • Open Game Content: New 1st Level B/X-OSE Spells, and Twists on Existing Spells (January 15, 2021)
    • This post is less than one month old, and yet it's driven in 603 page views to date, which was enough to make it my 10th most viewed post over the past year. That's pretty impressive and while part of me think it speaks to gamers' interest in new magic goodies for their characters, I'm not entirely sure that's the case. Two follow-up posts in the series, for 2nd and 3rd level spells, have not generated anywhere near the same level of interest, so part of me wonders if I somewhat inadvertently used a certain keyword or phrase that's being searched in Google and driving people to this post. As a point of comparison, the post on 2nd level spells, posted exactly one week after this one, has driven in only 222 views to date. 


Hanging: Home Office (laptop)
Drinking: Toasting my anniversary with some Bully Boy Amaro (a Christmas gift from my wife) and Sparkling Water
Listening: "Run Fay Run," by Isaac Hayes, from the album "Tough Guys" (I'm actually listening to this on vinyl, but the link takes you to Spotify)

13 comments:

  1. Happy blog-birthday!

    I'm very happy to read the comic posts, even when they are not directly related to gaming content. I've discovered a number of interesting titles I wouldn't have known about after reading about them here.

    Here's to another decade! And more!

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    1. Thanks, Kelvin! I'm glad you enjoy the comic posts! I slowed them down a bit last year after noticing that when I looked at my stats, they got far fewer views. I think it's mainly because I kind of "aligned" myself with the old-school RPG community when I started my blog, and so that's the largest part of my followers, and most of them just don't have an interest in comics.

      I plan to keep my comic reviews on here, but I suspect I'll focus much more on non-superhero comics, but you can also check my Twitter account for more comics stuff, and also I plan to get back to reviewing more regularly for ComicAttack. Next up I think I'm getting a review-copy of the new Justice Society animated movie from them to post a review before it is available for general consumption.

      Cheers! Thanks for sticking around all these years!

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    2. I know exactly what you mean. I used to write about comics all the time, but as I became more involved in rpgs again, gaming content became more prevalent on my blog.

      I don't pay a lot of attention to page views because I'm not sure I have that many regular readers anyway (perhaps because I don't pay attention to page views!) but I did miss writing about comics, so I've started a little review project at my blog to scratch that itch, and to provide a bit of variety to the gaming posts.

      Anyway, this is not about me. I enjoy all your posts, and I'm happy that you're not slowing down!

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    3. I like that you're blogging about older issues of Marvel comics, as it takes me back. In the early - late 80's, most of my collection was Marvel, so it's fun to see some of those show up in your reviews. I stopped collecting Marvel with Cable #1 because I really couldn't stand the art and the multiple covers and all that. It was enough to turn me off of Marvel, and comics in general, until about 5 years later when I popped into Golden Apple here in Hollywood during a lunch break at work to give some Star Wars comics from Dark Horse a try.

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    4. For various reasons, I didn't follow comics at all from around 1990 to 1999ish, so that whole infamous period is all new to me, although of course I know it by reputation!

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    5. You missed the generation of pouches, then! Some of the pouches were bigger than the limbs they were attached to! And they were never used for story-telling purposes. It was just a fashion statement: "I need a pouch strapped to my upper thigh. It should be a different color from the rest of my outfit."

      I really got into comics in the mid-80's, after having been away from them since the late 70's (Marvel Star Wars) due to the publication of TSR's Marvel Superheroes RPG. I felt that I didn't know who any of those characters were. A few friends let me borrow some old back-issues from the late 70's and early 80's, and I started buying new issues starting with Uncanny X-Men #197. From there, I got into the Avengers, Iron Man, and New Mutants, and those were my real favorites, but I also liked Alpha Flight and Daredevil, and sometimes Captain America and Fantastic Four, and I remember collecting the Punisher limited series (I specifically recall it initially said it was a 4-issue miniseries on the cover, then it said 5 issues, then later it switched back to 5 issues, but ultimately ended up being 5). I was purchasing pretty much at chain bookstores and sometimes at 7-11's and grocery stores. Then we moved and I got a chance to visit a real comic book store, and this was right around the time that Batman: Year One and Watchmen were published, at the tail-end of Crisis on Infinite Earths and then DC rebooted their universe with a new Justice League, new Superman (John Byrne's Man of Steel) and a new Flash, and I felt like it was a perfect time to jump aboard, so I reduced my Marvel buys and switched to DC. And then X-Force and Cable came out, and also the over hyped Spider-Man with the multiple foil covers, and I just quit cold turkey. It had stopped being about the storylines and the characters and more about the gimmicks and it just turned me off for about a half decade, but I slowly got sucked back in.

      And of course now that I type all this, I realize that since you've been following my blog since I pretty much started it 10 years ago, you've probably read a version of that story at least 3 times by now!

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    6. Ha! It never hurts to reminisce!

      It just shows how cyclical comics are that I was put off by Marvel's gimmicks in a similar way to you, just a couple of decades later!

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  2. Congrats on hitting the decade mark!

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    1. Thank you very much! When I started my blog, I never really looked forward to think about what I'd be doing in 10 years. Glad to still be here and still blogging, and ideally posting stuff that interests people.

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  3. I don't know how this one flew in under my radar, so I apologize for the belated reply; congratulations on the blog-iversary, Martin! Ten years is quite the milestone!

    I love your content, even if I'm admittedly irregular at leaving comments on it. To be honest, my day job requires me to be hyper-focused and thinking critically 110% of the time, so in my "down time" I usually want to shut off my brain as much as possibe. As a result, I sometimes don't consume your rules-related posts as thoroughly as I could, which is why I don't usually have deep thoughts to share. But I love the ideas - it's all good stuff. :)

    I'm also happy if I inspire you in any way - that's really why I started blogging myself all those ages ago (like you, inspired to do so by James' blog). I just wanted to share the gaming content I've made over the years to inspire and support people in their own gaming. It makes me happy to be able to share the gaming joy.

    To answer your question: I'll confess, I usually skim your new comics posts, as I've been out of the comics scene since the early 2000s. Now, when the yearly comic bug bites me (usually in the spring, as I associate that time of year with my rediscovery of comics in the early '90s - it's also the time of year I started working as the manager of a comics/game store, way back when), I find myself looking to gather old comics that I either once had and lost or that I just never got around to reading. I've been out of the new comics game for some time, so those posts hold less interest for me. But that's just my opinion. My advice is: if you enjoy posting about comics then post about comics! ;)

    I look forward to seeing what 2021 will bring for Daddy Rolled a 1 - especially tales of your games with your daughter (and I'd love to read other tales of gaming in the real world, either current or past). I'd also love to see more of that gaming content you've created over the years. ;)

    Keep up the great work and here's to 2021! Hope it's a great year - for you, your family, *and* your blog!

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    1. Wow - thanks for this very kind and detailed response, Chris! I really appreciate you taking the time!

      I can empathize with not always wanting to focus during non-work time. I have found myself often getting behind on reading blogs that I usually really enjoy and then if I force myself to binge them, it feels almost like "work" and it's less enjoyable. I'm endeavoring to catch up on them when I can, but I, too, am also much less likely to comment because the chances are that I'm reading it on my phone or iPad, and I hate writing out long comments on either device.

      I didn't know that you used to work at a comic book store! That's cool! I'm surprise you were able to get comics out of your system! Every time I've pulled away over the past 20 years, something always coaxes me back in. I'd thought that maybe I might break my habit during quarantine last year when new comics stopped being published, but I continued to support my local shop through an innovative "curated" program they put together of their existing stock, so you could subscribe to a "DC" or "Marvel" or "Independent" (etc.) package, and they'd mail you a few graphic novels that they knew you didn't already have (because they are obsessive about logging every purchase into their database) but that they'd think you'd probably like based on your purchase and reading history. My friends signed up, too, and we exchanged our books and it was a great way to help our shop hang on and stay in business. When they re-opened, I was right there again picking up my books like usual, so I guess the short lapse in new material didn't break my habit.

      I'll probably continue to post about comics here from time to time, but I'm going to return to my old format of only blogging about them when it's something that I think is directly relevant to role-playing games, whether it's an idea for a setting, character, factions, etc. Hopefully that will make it more useful for everyone.

      Thanks for the suggestion on other gaming stories, current or past. I will add those to the queue and sprinkle a few in here and there.

      Thanks again, Chris! All my best to you and your family, and also for your blog! Cheers!

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  4. Thanks!

    And haha - yeah, the comic book store gig was far less glamorous than it sounds. :P Hours of sitting around and watching people play Magic the Gathering, or going through the dozens of long-boxes jam packed with back issues and updating them to the latest Overstreet prices. Tons of fun! And in terms of my relationship with comics, I've always been a casual reader, except for those few years in the early 90s (a great time to get into comics!) and again briefly in the early 2Ks. I was hired for my game knowledge/experience, since they were looking to expand that side of the business.

    Of course, that being said, I still managed to exercise my employee discount on waaay too many comics every New Comics Tuesday... :)

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    1. I unfortunately think that any time a hobby becomes something that you need in order to pay bills, it becomes less fun. You'll recall that I used to do advertising for WotC (at an ad agency I was working at) and I thought it would be a blast, but due to office politics and other factors, I ended up dreading going to work every day at that time, and having nightmares about work, when it should have been the best time of my life.

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