The Blog (and other works) in 2021

Hello all.
This is going to be a short blog post with what is up and coming in 2021 for the blog and my work in general.

A new direction for the blog

The blog was originally created as a way of making myself write regularly. It was more of an accountability tool than anything else. I would talk about books I’d read, D&D DM prep, campaign diaries, pretty much anything as long as I was writing a post once a week.

Since the RPGWW, and specifically the series of reviews that followed it, I’ve decided to try and rationalise the blog and make it more professional in 2021. My aim is to make it into a site primarily about TTRPGs, and specifically reviewing them and their supplements, official or unofficial.

What does this mean in practice?

Firstly this means dropping any content that doesn’t fit the remit. No more book reviews, Nanowrimo writing updates, campaign diaries, etc.

Next, it means re-orientating the current offer into something clearer, more professional. Currently, the plan is to break posts down into 3 main categories:

  • RPG Review: These posts should make up the bulk of the blog (somewhere between 50 and 75% of posts). They will be very much in the same vein as the reviews from the Fall 2020 RPGWW review series, but without the interview section. The aim is to cover a wide range of TTRPGs and their supplements, though obviously there will be limits to how many different systems I can review if I want to maintain a decent quality.
  • Design delves: These posts should be looking at design choices. They’ll be looking at one particular subject and seeing how it can be done within the context of TTRPGs. For example, we might look at “how to run a chase scene in D&D”, and take 4 or 5 examples from different reviewed supplements to see how they deal with it and the advantages and disadvantages of each method. The current interview series will either be integrated into the “design delves” category, or split off into their own “behind the screens” category. This will depend on if the reviews become entirely design focused or remain pretty broad.
  • Think pieces (name TBD, possibilities include: Supplementals, and Wandering Thoughts): I’m pretty sure that I won’t be able to stop myself waxing lyrical about one subject or the other occasionally, such as when I went into the motivations of the villains in Icewind Dale (or future posts I want to write about Gender in NPC metadata, Religion in TTRPGs, and a discussion on Realism, Verisimilitude and Narrative Causality). These might also include tie-ins to books I’ve been reading, if I can find some way of linking them to TTRPGs, but I think that it’s unlikely and that there probably wont me much room for books here. I’ll try to keep these to a minimum (hopefully less than 10% of posts).

The aim is to produce regular blog posts. I’d like to do at least one a week on average, so 52 during the year, with no more than 14 days between 2 of them (to allow for unforeseen circumstances). I’d like to post even more, and the current Fall 2020 RPGWW review series will skew that number upwards automatically anyway as there is a new one every 2 days.

Since I’m going to be dealing with other peoples work, and not just my own confused thoughts, I also want to take this more professionally. That means learning and setting up analytics properly rather than my current vague usage of it. I also want to study the possibility of rebranding the site, as I feel that “dungeon grumbling” doesn’t really fit with the content anymore (if it ever did), and I generally want to just make it look nicer. It also means doing proper accounting for it (not a problem in this case), and also, unfortunately, considering the monetary aspects of it. I’m not quite sure how that is going to work yet, is it a Ko-Fi account, or asking for review copies rather than purchasing them, I don’t know yet, but it’s something that needs to be considered if this is going to be able to last.

Finally, and this is a bit of a nebulous objective, I want to smarten up my language and reviewing technique, to make it sharper and more edifying for readers.

The aim of this reorganisation is to find a balance between customer orientated reviews, which are necessary to help consumers and so that designers can sell products, and design orientated discussions, where we examine how to improve on certain aspects of TTRPGs from a designer and systems point of view. These are two very different needs, and I feel like the current situation of “review + interview” isn’t working to provide the best quality content possible.

If you have any ideas or suggestions about what you would like to see then please do let me know in the comments or on twitter. If you’re a designer with a product coming out in 2021, or that has already come out in 2020, and you would like my opinion on it, then please get in touch through the contact form or on twitter. A page properly explaining the review method should be done during the year as well, but I don’t have a date for that yet.

I’d also like to try branching out, both by building up my presence on Twitter (as there is little point reviewing things if no one know about the review). The aim is least 150 followers on Twitter by the end of 2021 (I’ve just realised that I’m currently just above 100, so this should probably be a higher goal, but I’ll revise that later). I’d also like to experiment in doing something that isn’t writing, possibly a vlog or podcast, or something.

Other goals

While this is mainly about the blog itself, I also intend to keep up on my other works.

TTRPG design wise I hope to write and publish at least the first 2 parts in a series I’ve had in my mind for a while now (currently entitled the “Clerical Error” series). I also want to participate in at least one collab (and currently have one in the works so that is looking good). Also, I’d like to design for something outside of D&D. I’m currently considering a series of adventures in the same arc for Monster of the Week, based around the fay and Arthurian legend.

I’d also like to keep up with novel writing, putting out 50 000 words on my current fantasy novel, and finishing the outline of the sci-fantasy novel by the end of the year.

Reading wise I want to keep up my rate of 2 new books a month, for 24 in total. I’d like at least a quarter of these to be by people that don’t look like me (white, cis, male), and preferably an even higher percent, but I have a lot of classics to catch up on in the fantasy genre and that unfortunately tends to skew the balance. I also intend to start The Great Discworld Re-Read in May, rereading one of the discworld books per month (starting in May so that the Hogfather falls in December, 2022).

I won’t talk about any other more personal goals I have for the year here, but I will end by wishing you all the best for your 2021 objectives! More success to you!

Until next time, be more kind,

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