Monday, January 12, 2015

Five Years And Counting (The Gameplan Going Forward)

Around this time in 2010 I had the notion that I had a lot to say about gaming and table top RPGs. I theorized that I could probably go on for years, daily, talking about gaming, what it meant, tricks for doing it better, and all that. Turns out, in a way, I was right. How do I know? Because we're now around this time in 2015 and Reality Refracted is still here.

When I started I read a lot about how most blogs, especially gaming blogs, don't last a year. The thing is, I wasn't so much as looking to start this place for anyone but myself and I think it shows. Reality Refracted has gotten to a decent size. We have 73 subscribers listed through Google on the side, and get a couple hundred to a couple thousand views every couple of weeks depending on whether I miss my deadlines or not. We've never been a "huge presence" in the gaming sphere, and I'm fine with that.

Still, with five years under our belt how much is there to talk about? This is the problem I've been facing the most over the past year or two. I like talking in a system non-specific way because it makes my advice and thoughts more universal and applicable for everyone. It is also just how I think. However, that comes with its own pitfalls too.

Like what? Well, it is kind of like going for a Ph.D. What do I mean by that? When you go for an undergraduate degree you learn 90% of a field. I don't know if that number is right or not (it probably varies by field) but you cover the broad strokes of your area of specialization. Then, when you go for your Master's degree you learn the other 9.9%. When you go for a Ph.D you have to add something to the field you are studying.

As humanity has moved forward in time and knowledge, this has become harder and harder to do. Just about a hundred years ago it was though that we had learned everything there was to learn about the Physical world through Physics, and all that was left was for our ability to maker finer and finer measurements to happen. That person was wrong, but what was left is literally so small that it makes an individual atom look huge.

To bring this badly wandering analogy back to the blog, over the course of five years I've talked about the big points about running a game in broad strokes. This leaves me with a choice: do I rehash old ground, or go further and further into detail.

The answer I've come up with is to stay the course as it is. This means that sometimes I will rehash old ground at times. That has to happen. On the plus side though, I feel I'm better at expressing my thoughts now than I was before, and any shift in experience will also be there.

Now, for the observant of you, you'll also note that my own games prompt my forays into various topics and this is going to continue. However, I am also trying to plan strings of posts that will come up with a dedicated focus.

To begin that, I am intending to start a series in the next week or so on beginning a new game with your group. With it I hope to go over everything from deciding on a game system, to pitching a campaign idea, through character/group creation, and all the way to starting the first session. What comes next? I'm not sure. Hopefully it will work.

Which leaves me with just one question. What would you like to see out of the blog in the new year?


  1. I'd like to see more about the balancing process of learning a new game. I'd also like to read about the balancing process of modifying game rules or house ruling to fit the game style you're going for at the outset of the game.

  2. One thing I'd still like to see is an index of your post topics. Here you have years of posts of gaming wisdom and I'm thinking 2013 posts are getting very little love at this point. That's a shame. Of course, that would be a considerable amount of work, but it would really add to the resource value of what is already a very good blog.

    I would also suggest you dip your toe into system-specific posts, just to mix it up. I forsee the posts being focused on a system/setting that you find interesting enough to write about, but then part of the post would be advice that could be used in any system. Just a thought.

    Keep up the good work!