25 January 2023

State of the Blog (post #401)

Have kind of tread close to this recently with the end of year but hey, 400 is a milestone.

Overall its been a decent year - views punched up from ~3000 a month to ~4400 a month which is a good bump. There was definitely a solid chunk of Russian bots and cyberwar scouts in there but apart from hollow numbers they did no damage here. Oddly comments have dropped off (but it felt like they bumped up recently). Twitter followers has plateaued - got up to 608 or so and stabilised about there which is pretty much flat from 100 posts ago. I have spun up on Mastodon as a back up should the bluebird go away.

I was originally going to replicate the template of the 300th blog post with stats and so on but you've seen all those recently on the end of year post so lets not waste your time. I think a more interesting question is what is this place for?

First what it is not - I am not one of your great game design innovators and I have no yen to write my own fantasy heart-breaker - there are others far better at that than I. Second, while I do like my world-building I am also not going to flatter myself that I am one of the great originalists capable of throwing out a Stygian Library or a Veins of the Earth.

I think the best service I can provide here is basically to make every day a 'Reviewvember' day - pulling in the content that others out there in the blog-o-sphere are generating and testing it at table where I can. The Splinters series last year was a decent example of that, hopefully the Southern Reaches game this year will too. Lots of folk are out there writing about the big name publications, a faithful few are out there writing about the OSR and other niche products and there are a handful of cryptid-rare bloggers picking up and looking at the works of others and testing them at table. From the point of view of enhancing play at your table there are some truly great pieces of wisdom out there in 'how-to's' on the blogs and these should be seen more widely.

The one other niche I seem to have all to myself is data-aggregation and the stacking together of community surveys. For all that these are noisy, questionable and to be taken with a grain of salt I think we can still derive some use from looking at them.

One of the things I did this year was standardise the formating for my Shiny weekly links posts with some brutal but effective Excel work - not glamorous but probably the single best thing I did as it gave me back an hours worth time ever week from formatting shovel-work. Perhaps it is a little more samey but it is also a lot more sustainable now. I want to keep this place going for a few years more at least so making it as un-burdensome as possible is a priority. Calling back to d20 Small Viable Blogging Tasks a good chunk of keeping this place going is elbow-grease and keeping that manageable is the trick.

As mentioned on the End of Year Review, for the coming year I want to:
- be more interactive on blogs, esp. since the bird site may be going away
- continue to push reviews, people seem to like them
- play more and document what is working well

Play more, that such in-game art might be inspired. By the bard.

I have the great good fortune to DM for a new group of folk in this Southern Reaches campaign, hopefully pass on some of the tricks of the trade to them, hopefully that some of them might feel better equipped to get out there and run their own tables. I think my theme for this year is going to be testing things in the handful of campaigns I am running, seeing what works, what breaks and then passing that back to you here.


  1. Congratulations on the milestone!

    1. Thanks very much! Here's hoping the place lasts another bit longer...

  2. Congratulations! I went to check my stats and I'm barely past 100 but it feels like I must have posted more than that over the years! It's hard to find the time and motivation these days, but dungeon23 is helping and interactivity is one of my goals too. I am definitely going to make my own list of Small Viable Blogging Tasks to keep me moving, thanks for the inspiration.

    1. I think short term, do-able chunks is the key to keeping things going - staring down the timeline at 'blog forever' is not helpful I have found. I think the RPG Carnival is a good example of this - looking forward to participating this month on your Procedures prompt!

    2. I shall look forward to it also! I think the carnival is flagging this year to be frank, but hopefully it just needs some TLC and maybe some fresh blood. I don't think it ever fully recovered from the G+ days whereas the blogging scene arguably has? It's ridiculously easy to host though, and an easy prompt for posts and interactivity, so trying to be more active in it is one of my goals this year.