New Year Update – Moving Into 2022

As I type, it’s Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve) here in Edinburgh, although in some part of the world it is already 2022. A time for review and for new intentions.

Looking back at my intentions from a year ago, I see my aims for 2021 were:

  • get my app to the point where very early adopters can start using it and helping me shape it. My target for this is by the end of January, but more important to get something usable and useful than hitting the date.
  • develop sufficient background for my campaign that I am not continually getting to session planning and finding myself bereft of ideas. This will probably also result in further development of Akorros which may find its way into the blog.
  • continue to write at least two blog posts per month, ideally aiming for three to four.

Slightly to my surprise, I find I actually have written exactly 24 posts over the last year (not including these updates), although it has been patchy with some months having more and some months having fewer. The series which seemed to get the most response was my evaluation of the different playable races and their balance, starting with The question of Race, or nature versus nurture, and running through to the revised ratings and conclusions following feedback during the series. I have also covered passive vs active skills and the impact of proficiency and several Kickstarters, in particular Calidar “Alfdaín Ascendant” and Level Up – rethinking D&D Fifth Edition. I looked at A Variant Circle of Spores Druid, and a couple of posts on race relations in my view of Akorros, starting with orcs and half orcs. I also started a series of posts trying different mapping tools with a post on Mapping Akorros with Worldographer, although I see the posts on Inkarnate and Campaign Cartographer never actually happened. Maybe next year. Finally there have been some miscellaneous posts developing Akorros further.

The D&D actual play didn’t go the way I expected. After a couple of months, two of my players had to take a extended break because of pressure of work with exams, so I instead started running The Angry GM’s starter module The Fall of Silverpine Watch, first with a mixture of members from my current group and a couple of additional players with different levels of experience, and then with a completely new group of novice D&D players. It was interesting running the same module twice, and also interesting how different the two groups were in both approach and experience.

Then we got into the summer holidays, and I was asked to run a one-off session for a group which turned out to be in Edinburgh for a stag weekend and wanted an evening live-play D&D session. That prompted me to dust off the escape module I had started a couple of years ago, and I have now run it twice – once with that group and once with my usual group. Both groups enjoyed the challenge of breaking free and having to improvise without the normal kit, and it also led to the blog post posing the question of Coping without equipment. I’m planning on updating the module based on my experiences, running it again with a couple more groups, then putting it out for playtest and hopefully publication, probably in The DM’s Guild – though I feel another blog post coming where I talk through the pros and cons of publishing via The DM’s Guild versus DriveThruRPG. Heroic Maps have expressed an interest in doing maps again which would be amazing.

The one thing which really hasn’t progressed is the app. I hit a blocker early in January which completely knocked my confidence and I haven’t managed to get back to it. I’m hoping to get a few days before I return to work when I can get it going again – when working on the module I keep finding myself wishing for it – a tool which doesn’t seem to exist just at the moment…

So time for my hopes for 2022:

  • I have a bit of a backlog of half-written and thought-about blog posts which I hope to get out to you guys, and I’m going to get a bit better at offering them to patrons a bit earlier. I have a follow-up to Developing Akorros: The Tanneries ready to go, and it has already gone out to my patrons tonight; it will go to the wider public in a few days. Again my aim will be to average two posts per month – ideally actually achieving at least two posts each month.
  • I want to get the module published.
  • I want to get the app going again, maybe even in time to help with the module, although I won’t necessarily hold up the module waiting for it depending on how the two progress.
  • And we’ll be back playing, probably using FoundryVTT although maybe face-to-face will become possible again at some point. The poor characters have been hanging on a stair above a shark-filled lake inlet under an island for several months now… Also I have an idea for a new campaign starting in Akorros, and I’m really interested in the Kobold Press adventure Scarlet Citadel (though, while the setting seems well developed and interesting, I’m not quite sure what reason there is for the characters to actually want to go into it other than the classic plunder and pillage).

So there you go. Happy Hogmanay and best wishes for 2022. Do get in touch and let me know if there are any particular blog post topics you would be interested in.

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