Friday, August 25, 2017

Freaking Out: My ENnies Award Post! (Seriously, Yikes...)

A few weeks ago I hit another milestone for Age of Ravens: 1200 posts. Assuming an average of 1500-1800 per post, that’s a lot of words. If we accept Sturgeon’s Law, that still leaves a decent total of good work. I’ve reread the first few years of posts looking for what works and what doesn’t. They’re a little more blathery and prescriptive. But there’s still solid stuff, like the campaign postmortems and list-posts. They’re a snapshot of my thinking & gaming at the time.

The other milestone came a week ago today when Age of Ravens won a Silver ENnie for Best Blog. For that to happen, two things had to occur. The ENnie Judges had to deem it worth nominating out of the large field of blogs submitted. Then people had to actually vote for it. I’m still stunned that either occurred. I’d been nominated four years ago. That felt awesome, but this feels most awesome. Most awesomest?

Thank you to everyone who voted for Age of Ravens and everyone who took the time to vote, even if not for me. I faced off with great blogs this year, and I have no regrets taking second to the venerable and excellent Gnome Stew. I honestly didn’t think I would win. I turned off my phone the evening of the announcement and went to the movies. Sherri gave me the news when she saw Rich Rogers tweet to me. He kindly went up to accept for me. The whole process made me super tense. I won’t submit Age of Ravens again, unless something major changes with the blog. It gave me a nice uptick in traffic, but I look forward to seeing the new blood nominated next year.

I have to give other, specific thanks. Sherri’s the one who always asks if I’ve posted. She’s the one I bounce ideas off of. She provides the most cogent insights which I then reword and put up on the Interwebz. At heart I’m writing the blog for her. Rich Rogers has also pushed me to be a better GM and think about things “on the ground.” I also have to thank The Gauntlet community. Rich and Jason pushed me to run online for the group last year and that’s been an absolute pleasure. The players have been amazing, the community supports new things, and the way The Gauntlet schedules means games actually go. I’ve had two cancellations in the year I’ve been running for them, out of just under 60 sessions. And only one of those came from player no-shows. I messed up my knee and had to cancel the others. Overall that’s a far cry from my previous online play experiences.

The Gauntlet’s great: community, online gaming, and podcasts that rock. You should check out their Patreon and the community if you like playing online. In October they’ll be hosting GauntletCon, an online gaming convention. It already looks awesome and I’ll be running games there.

Which brings me to what I’ll be running online in the future. In September I’m running The Veil, Dead Scare, and Pigsmoke. In October I’m running World Wide Wrestling and Legacy: Life Among the Ruins 2e. I haven’t decided for November, I plan to just run one game online. The rest of the time I want to work with GMs looking to run online. I want to workshop and talk one-on-one with them to get comfortable with it. December will be “Retrocember,” more modern settings done with older games (Rolemaster, Marvel Super Heroes, James Bond 007. Next year I’ll be adding Wednesdays as a regular online evening and I have ideas about that. I’d like to get more Fate to the table and I want to revisit Mutant: Year Zero.

I’m running World Wide Wrestling for both GauntletCon and VirtuaCon. For VC I’ve also scheduled a session of Tales from the Loop. When I have the GauntletCon schedule I’ll link to that on the blog.

I know that without the Gauntlet, this blog wouldn’t be nearly as good. In this last year it let me run two dozen new games online. I could then write about them with some knowledge. I’ve become a stronger GM through this process and generated richer content. The History of RPGs Genre posts are nice, but they’re a lot of research, hunting, reading, writing, rewriting when I find errors, and trying to put some context in. I’m glad to have reviews, game concepts, and hacks as parallel material.

OK, enough of that, what do we have coming up for the blog?

Next week I’ll have the next installment of the Cyberpunk History lists. I’ll also have the final wrap up of my #RPGaDay posts. Those have been interesting and generated useful discussions. I’ve been running The Sprawl and Blades in the Dark for several weeks now and I’m working on posts about them. While I’ve written about The Veil and Godbound before, I’m going to revisit those in light of playing another half dozen sessions each. I’ll also be write up my impressions of Dead Scare and PigSmoke after I run those in September.

I’m just finishing up my Fate month at The Gauntlet and I think that’s worth a few posts. I want to talk about supers in Fate and how I modeled Base Raiders in Fate Core. I’ll also have a look at my Reign of Crows experiment—how well did it capture the feel of A Game of Thrones, what elements need tweaking, is Fate the right choice?

On the design and hack front, I have several things ‘in progress.’ I’d like to revisit Crowsmantle to make it better. I’d like to write up Arclight Revelation Tianmar as a Fate setting. I’m also still considering how to model Danger: Unexploded Spell. I picked up MASHED which has some cool mini-game ideas I want to check out for that. I’ve come up with a system for chases in PbtA, and that’s part of my current work reskinning The Sprawl for Night’s Black Agents. Other hacks in development: wuxia-drama PbtA, revisiting my Atelier series game, reworking Lady Blackbird for a wuxia story, a set of add-on tables for Ghost Lines, city travel encounters, and figuring out how to make my Crimson Skies Fate work online.

Outside of the blog I have four big projects that need to get traction. First, I work freelance generally and I want to see about setting up to do freelance editing. Second, I need to get a workable and playable version of Action Cards out there. I just need something simple, but I keep overelaborating it when I work on the (now massive) Scrivener document. Third, I want to get at least one of the RPG Genre lists pulled together, revised, edited, and expanded to release as a pdf volume. To do that I’ll need to figure out how to get and handle cover images. I also want to do some interviews. Fourth, I need to get the last of the assets and details done for Right of Successionso I can get it to Kickstarter.

I have to nebulous ideas that I need to work on. I’d like to learn how to run and stream rpgs with Twitch. It looks more involved that working with Google Hangouts or XSplit. If anyone has suggestions for resources, I'd love to hear them. I also have a podcast idea that we’ve been batting around, but it’s in the starting stages.

Again, thanks to everyone who voted for Age of Ravens in the ENnies!

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