8th Anniversary of the Blog

Today marks the eighth anniversary of this blog. Over 650 posts, almost 320 G+ subscribers, nearly 220 Twitter followers, and about 35 followers on Facebook. I’ve dipped my toes into YouTube this year and have a whopping 21 subscribers.  Last Wednesday I was interviewed on Nerdarchy!

This year I started off with a new social media avatar and blog header by +Satine Phoenix. Recently I added a second blog header by +Del Teigeler. Now there is a rotation of headers. Two styles by Satine and the one by Del. I opened a CafePress store to sell shirts and hoodies with the logo by Satine. She really likes the one I gave her at Gary Con 9.

Satine Phoenix Approves This Shirt
Satine Phoenix Approves This Shirt

I started off writing stories from “back in the day” and then telling about introducing my sons to D&D. I’ve done reviews, interviews, made tables, shared thoughts on settings and more. Most of my focus has been on old school gaming. However, I recently had my first review of a 5e module.

Elsewhere I’ve written that after reading the sentiment somewhere online, that I think I should at least know 5e well enough to run a game, since most people new to D&D will come to it through 5e. I’ll still have an eye to running with an old school style of play. I’m still looking to get into a 5e game to ease into the differences in the rules so I’m clear how to DM it without too much rules consulting.

I’ve been contributing to Multiverse for over a year, and helped promote the TopSecret: NWO Kickstarter, which wraps up in just over a week. I have written in multiple forums, in addition to my blog, that the new TSR has that name because WotC let the Trademark lapse. Some seem to think that owning the TSR trademark makes all the old TSR games that are no longer published under the new TSR. People confuse copyright and trademark for some reason. Owning the name and owning the right to the words on paper are two different things.

I’ve got a set convention schedule for every year: GaryCon, Marmalade Dog, GrandCon, Gamehole Con, and UCon. I may try to add in North Texas RPG Con next year.

Basically I spend a lot of time and money backing Kickstarters, going to conventions, and spending a lot to run a blog and now make videos. Adding in hotel costs, meals, gas, incidentals, web hosting, domain name, blog art, webcam, editing software, Kickstarters, etc. I spend a couple thousand probably about 3.000, but I’m a little afraid to add it up. My only sales on CafePress have been to myself for giving to family and friends.

I’ve made maybe ten cents on YouTube, and enough via DriveThruRPG/RPGNow/DMsGuild affiliate links to help buy products I use & review.

As long as I have my current job, I can easily afford this much spending. I like it and have made some great friends online and added them to real life friends at conventions. However, I should realistically look to at least negate my expenses. I have really slowed down on Kickstarters this year.

If you like what I do with my blog and YouTube, consider using the affiliate links and watching my YouTube to help offset my costs. I had an Amazon affiliate, but no one bought anything, so I lost it. I plan to try again, so things you can buy online will have those links. I might try to do a Patreon, but that won’t happen for awhile. I need to be more consistent in my blogging and videos. I don’t expect to make a living at this, but off setting a large percentage of my expenses would be awesome!

Here’s to more time sharing what I love about RPGs!

Live Interview By Nerdarcy Wednesday at Noon

I will be interviewed by Nerdarchy via live stream on Google Hangouts at Noon EDT on Wednesday, July 12.

It’s an honor to join the likes of David Harbour, Satine Phoenix, and Ruty Rutenberg. and many others on their Live Chat Playlist.

The link to the live hangout will be posted on all my social media channels and the Nerdarchy social media channels the day before. I’ll update this article with the link when it’s available.

UPDATE: Here’s the link to watch the interview live.

You can find Nerdarchy at the following sites:

Nerdarcy Blog

YouTube

Facebook

Twitter

G+

This is my second interview, my first was on the first episode of the third season of Tell Me About Your Character.

Stream of Annihilation – WotC Embraces The New Online World of TTRPGs

The Stream of Annihilation was an epic two twelve hour days of online D&D.  In this case “annihilation” tied in to their new adventure series that was announced, Tomb of Annihilation.  It is both an homage and a continuation of the story of Tomb of Horrors. It is available in Wizards Play Network stores on September 8, and the full release is September 19.

We’re Here!

I love the beginning. The weekend started with a very strong kick off by Joe Manganiello. This serves as an announcement by those who play TTRPGs that we aren’t a bunch of odd people living in our parents’ basement. We are everyday people who like to exercise our imaginations with others. [I don’t know who Joe Manganiello is, other than an actor in TV shows and other things I haven’t seen. He’s also been interviewed online indicating interest/involvement in a D&D movie based on the Dragon Lance novels.] All of the actors and others invited to the stream, aren’t people invited just because a potential audience might know them, but because they all play D&D and love the game!

One very interesting thing is that for one person, it was the first time they had rolled physical dice to play D&D, since they had only every played online. The world is changing and WotC is trying to stay current. They have acknowledged the value of making PDFs of old rules, modules, and other resources on OBS (One Book Shelf – DriveThruRPG & RPGNow). There are license agreements with Roll20 & FantasyGrounds. The D&D Beyond Tool is a realization that on official online tool is needed, if it isn’t too late. [I don’t know all the free tools out there for helping with 5e character creation and other such things for 5e DMs. I have seen online discussion saying it may be too little too late, and pointing out other efforts that have faltered. I have not seen any reviews for D&D Beyond, and I have not tried it myself. I’m not sure it is something I will need, but I will look into it.]

Other announcements included partnerships with various companies’ that support online play, Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, and the D&D Beyond tool was announced to have Twitch support.  This last bit sort of surprised me, what will this mean for the use of Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds with Twitch games? (I don’t know enough about actually playing a game that is shared on Twitch, so that is impossible for me to gauge. There were also announcements for all kinds of other products, basically commercials between play sessions.

After the stream of annihilation, six official D&D shows on Twitch were announced. Some of the online roleplayers invited to participate in Stream of Annihilation will now be on the official D&D Twitch channel.

It is clear from this that D&D and RPGs in general are experiencing a revival. The popularity of D&D in its use in various TV shows has done a lot to remove the stigma. Recent years have seen the lack of a concerted nationwide effort to suppress D&D, as happened with the 1980’s.

As I mentioned elsewhere, I am looking to get into D&D 5th edition because it is what most new players will know. Any rules system can be played with an Old School style. After all, the 5e DMG says that the DM makes the rulings, just like the editions I have played. I can’t speak to 2nd, 3rd, or 4th editions, but I assume they have similar statements.

Catch The Re-Runs

For those interested, the Twitch channel only keeps episodes for a certain amount of time. You can see the streams for each day on the D&D YouTube Channel. Day one. Day Two.

Top Secret: NWO Kickstarter Launched!

TSR has brought back a game with an old name and new rules, Top Secret: New World Order.

The Kickstarter for the new TSR’s Top Secret: New World Order launched last Tuesday. It funded in about 20 minutes and is now over 1,000 backers and nearly six times the goal has been pledged. All limited tiers, except the $5,000 tier where Merle Rasmussen runs a game for you and your friends, are gone.

Merle Rasmussen, author of the original Top Secret and Allen Hammack, auditor of the original, were joined by contributing authors James Carpio, Jayson Elliot, module by Chad Parrish, and Administrator’s Screen by A. J. Davenport. Illustrations are by Cory Gelnett, Hanae Ko, +Satine Phoenix, and Kristoffer Stout.

This is a new game system based on a new rule system called Lucky 13. You can experience a demo of the playtest rules at ConnectiCon next week on Saturday, July 8th, by James Carpio, and at Gamehole Con (Nov. 2nd-5th) on  Friday night of the con, by Chad Parrish.

For this Kickstarter the text is done, as is much of the other work, so it should deliver on time in December, 2017.

This Kickstarter is also funding printing box sets for sale in game stores. A retailer pledge level is planned.

NOTE: TSR is a “new” company. They are the ones behind the former Gygax Magazine, the TSR Podcast Network, and Multiverse.world.  Wizards of the Coast let the trademark to TSR lapse. They also let the trademark to Top Secret lapse. However, WotC still owns the copyright to the original Top Secret. I have seen lots of comments on various social media asking if the new TSR will be bringing back other titles from the original TSR. I am not aware of any other old TSR titles planned to be revived with new rules. It would not surprise me if that happens at some point down the road.

FYI – I contribute to Multiverse.world, so am in the know of a few things, but all that I know about Top Secret:NWO and other games is what is available publicly. I don’t have any other answers. If you have specific questions about Top Secret: NWO, submit them on the Top Secret:NWO Kickstarter page.