13 September 2023

State of the Blog (post #500)

Been a chunk of time since we looked at this but a good time - close enough to the end of year for stats to be interesting but not the end of year itself.

On Traffic

Overall its been a decent year - views were cruising along at ~4400 a month until a trifecta of posts around stats - first the 'classes' and 'race/class' posts based on the Dice-Roller 1.2 million character sheet set and then by the comparison from them to the Baldurs Gate 3 stats. Getting an article onto r/rpg (by someone else) tripled last years average for August. No doubt, that will fade off but the long tail of that is still massive. I recognise that was a lightning strike, no point my trying to replicate it so let us see where things bottom out from that surge.

Past six month numbers look like:
United States 20.8K
Singapore 8.51K
United Kingdom 3.44K
Canada 1.93K
Australia 1.24K
Germany 1.22K
France 1.05K
Sweden 718
Austria 566
Russia 389
Ireland 304
Netherlands 228
Belgium 218
Finland 165
Brazil 126
Poland 91
Denmark 79
Argentina 73
Kuwait 37
Other 7.11K

Broadly that is the expected microcosm of where games are played - but it is not the pattern expected - 57% of all that is the anglosphere, 43% is the US alone - but I would expect that to be 75%. That giant block of Singapore views is suspicious; half of those are in the last 30 days and it is way off my usual traffic split. Optimistically, I've picked up a bunch of SEA readers. Pessimistically someone is running som kind of bot or whatever. I have been getting junk comments but no more frequently than usual. Strip out those Singapore stats and it falls back into the long haul pattern - 52% US, 69% with UK, Canada and Oz included. Let us see how it all pans out.

Other socials - Twitter followers hang at 615-ish even as that place gets ragged. My Mastodon (153) and Bluesky (110) accounts have some small traction. Sly Flourish sticking me on the 'D&D Blogs' feed was nice too. One cheery milestone has been that it becomes tricky to spot whether or not I am boosting on the overall blog stats which is nice. It is possible to tell for the top-post, the one I would be flagging on twitter but the long tail of Glatisants, reddit links and other things out there seems to lead people here even when I'm on the road.

And again, I have to thank the following comrade-bloggers as those who bring readers here - both the long-standing Lizardman Diaries, DIY & Dragons, Chaudron Chromatique, Weaver.skepti.ch, Nothics Eye, Ynas Midgard, Uncaring Cosmos, Retired Adventurer, Kelvin Green, Awesome Lies, Spot Hidden, Shuttered Room, Wierd Wonderful Worlds and A Continent of Banalities and the more recent additions Archons March On 3d6 Polar Bears Advanced Mystery and Manners. I appreciate being on your blogrolls - your readers seem to like my stuff too.

On content

The most popular stuff from the past ~ 6 months mostly reflects what has been released. The acceleration of this surge in traffic in August is interesting to me - people appear to be showing up and having a rummage through the archives.

Most popular posts:
Class/Race archetypes in 1.2 million D&DBeyond characters - 5 Aug
Player Class Stability from 1M D&D Beyond Sheets - 12 Jul
Class / Race choices in Baldurs Gate 3 vs tabletop 5e - 29 Aug
d30 Things Above a Mindflayer World - 21 June
Campaign Spin-Up VII - When One-Shots Sprawl - 9 Aug
Still Here: Lizardfolk culture post - 8 April 21
Punnet Squares for Courtly Intrigue - 14 June
Lessons learned on running non-monotonous mazes - 4 March
Review: Where the Wheat Grows Tall - 8 March
Review: Swords of the Serpentine - 10 June
Creating Unlockable Encounter Tables - 1 Feb
Blog Carnival: On creating elements for a setting - 29 Apr
Fading of the r/OSR blogroll - 16 Aug
Review: Historica Arcanum - The City of Crescent - 2 Sep
Smaller slices of a bigger pie - older D&D editions on Roll20 - 12 Jan 22
NPC personality creation workflow - 5 Oct 22
June 2023 RPG Blog Carnival: Travels, by Wave, Cloud or Portal - 3 Jun
Review: Downtime in Zyan - 9 Nov 22
Strange weather from magical terrain (RPG Blog Carnival) - 29 July

I am hugely amused that the old, most popular post is the one about Lizardfolk sticking around for a long, long time. How appropriate.

Favourite less popular stuff - things I was a little surprised did not reach more eyes. Reach of the Roach God - other 1000 1000 Islands stuff caught great interest - did ATTI falling apart crush interest? Similarly for Planebreaker which I thought might be of more interest to folk. Skycrawl, Wilderness Alphabet and Unconquered are more niche or older so fair enough.

Of non-reviews I really enjoyed writing the sub-aquatic stuff - d12 Settlements of the Undercoast, d20 Aquatic powers and dwellers of the deep and lastly d20 things encountered at Deep Sea Mindflayer Colonies.

On Goals

Returning to the question is what is this place for - the 2022 End of Year Review for 2023 I wanted 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

So what else had I said I wanted to get done?

On socials, I tried to comment more on blogs but as mentioned above the main effort was I got onto Bluesky and stood up a Mastodon account.

Data-aggregation and the stacking together of community surveys. As mentioned, 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. People seem to like them and I seem to be the only one doing this for gods unknown reason.

Test out some new systems, particularly GLoG. GLoG specifically has not happened but the big change in my gaming has has been take-off of in-person gaming with RPGVienna, building off a window of opportunity back in February. I ran a Spelljammer mini-campaign and wrote up the interesting chunks. I will do GLoGtober again this year though, the worldbuilding stuff around the GLoG is great.

Reviewvember - using others blogged ideas - I joined in the RPG Blog Carnival as the slightly structured hook for this. That has been going pretty well.

Get everything reviewed - well some reviews got done as mentioned above. Still have tons of physical stuff to get though, never mind the bottomless well of pdfs. Still no idea how to deal with that - significant additional piles of PDFs added were the Shadow of the Demon Lord bundle, Castles & Crusades bundle and RPG Worlds bundle. To quote the stich and knit gang - we are at SABLE - Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy.

Finally I flagged "spin up a #hex23 project" for the land of infinite time and nothing formal for that has happened though I did come up with a bunch of hexes for Southern Reaches. And I have been greatly enjoying others contributions - and even hope to use them at table so I won't quote my favourites here.

All in all, we are hitting 500 posts with some momentum, certainly see a line through to the end of the year.

Topics to watch for:
- More planar stuff! With the arrival of 5e Planescape for good or ill
- More reviews because I have to; maybe just capsule reviews for some. Empires of the Silk Road from Metis Creative and Creatures II from Studio Agate are near top of the heap.
- Table tales and campaign retrospectives - I see Light of Xaryxis wrapping up later this year
- Data! I was graciously given access to the le Thiase '22 survey, work-ups to come. Hopefully we will get some more Baldurs Gate 3 stats too.

Any other requests of things you want to see, let me know in the comments or wherever you might find me on the web. Thanks for reading along!


  1. Did you notice a crazy bot spike last month? I had one of my heaviest trafficked months in a long time but I'm reasonably confident it was mostly bots. Maybe it hits different blogs at different times.

    1. Yep - something is up - there was a big block that I can tie back directly to the r/rpg tagging of my race/class post - and then another a week-ish later that ties back to nothing and is broad-based across lots of different posts.

      It seems to be something coming out of the States this time - same OS, same browser, hundreds of pings all at once.

    2. Ya that's basically what I was seeing as well.

  2. When I see a big spike in traffic from a China-adjacent country I suspect it might be VPNs getting around the great firewall.