2011 Reflections, 2012 Plans

Here we are a few weeks into the new year, and I am sure I am not the only blogger reviewing 2011 posts and thinking about where to take things in 2012. So let's take a closer look at these things...

Last year was a big year for me personally. My daughter, Eleanor Grey, was born in April, and I was thrust into the wonderful and hectic world of fatherhood. I never expected to ever have children. I am 42, and I just didn't think it was in the cards for me. For the first time in my life, I am so glad I was wrong. As soon as Ellie showed up, I knew life would never the same again. Needless to say, a lot has changed. The biggest change is the amount of free time I now have. Time has become a precious commodity, which is a completely new concept and one I am not liking very much. But it's part of the gig, and I really like the gig!

I am sure my regular readers have noticed a sharp decline in the amount of posts here on the Outer Dark. I even tried to kick start the momentum again with "fluff" like the Music Mondays posts. Yeah, this was a bad idea in hindsight. I mean, I am a huge music lover, and I draw great inspiration from the bands I listen to, but Swords Against the Outer Dark just isn't the place for this kind of thing. I should have known better. These post drew in a large amount of views, but for all the wrong reasons. Unless it somehow is directly linked to Lovecraft, or gaming, or both, don't expect to see these kinds of posts again.

One of the highlights of 2011 was my involvement in last year's One Page Dungeon Contest. As a judge for the contest, I had a lot of fun being a part of the process from behind the scenes. I got to read and critique a bunch of great entries, and I learned a lot about what I wanted from a one page adventure. If asked to judge again I would gladly do so, though I would also enjoy creating my own submission as well.

With the announcement of a new edition of Dungeons & Dragons I am sure I will be tempted to weigh in on all the speculation. As a matter of fact, I have already been compiling a shortlist of things I would like to see from 5th Edition, and how I would like to see Wizards of the Coast release the new game. At this point I am sure all this will be nothing more than wishful thinking, but it might be fun to look at the whole thing from a "what if" perspective. Though I am leery of a new edition, in the end I am still a kid who loves Dungeons & Dragons, and a part of me wants Wizards to succeed in delivering a great game that will appeal to my old-school sensibilities. 

To this day I still receive emails asking me if I still plan to release a SAOD game. The answer is, probably. But I am saying this knowing the game I will most likely release will look quite different than the game I was talking about a year ago. Though it won't be considered a retro-clone, the game will still be rooted in old-school design and philosophy. I can't help it, it's where I come from... it's in my blood. Two rulesets I have really been enamored with this past year are Microlite20 (mainly its Microlite74 variant) and Mini Six. I love how these games give the player just enough rules to get into trouble, and then they get the hell out of the way. It is the same philosophy found in the one page adventure movement, where less is definitely more. I have been tinkering with Sword & Sanity versions of both games, and at this point I am not 100% sure which direction I will settle on. If I can get things coordinated, there is a strong possibility that I will soon begin gaming with a group that seems very interested in a D6 Sword & Sanity campaign, so this may end up being the deciding factor. I strongly believe we should be blogging about the games that we are actually playing, so time will tell on this one. Having said that, D&D often sings its siren's song in my ear when I am playing other games, so a Microlite Sword & Sanity game could also happen (Microlite + Swords Against the Outer Dark = MicroDark). If anyone has a strong opinion on this please yell out in the comments.

Another project that had its beginnings in 2011 (well 2008 if you count the game I first used these ideas and adventures) is an adventure setting I am currently calling "Project: Star-Spore," because I am not quite ready to make an official announcement. The setting will be presented as a hex-crawl sandbox, along with a few supporting adventures. This is a true piece of Yog-Sothothery, and will include my own blasphemous entities and creations that snugly fit within the Cthulhu Mythos framework, without relying on the more famous creations of Lovecraft and other Weird luminaries. Right now I am working on the cartography, as well as refining the writing. Presentation is another major factor I have been tinkering with. I also have one other adventure I would like to include, so that needs to be hammered out as well. Chris Huth has already been commissioned and has delivered a badass cover illustration. Things are moving forward, but I just haven't been talking about it much, because I would like to get closer to the finish line before I start promoting the project. 

Some may have noticed a new header for the blog. I would like to spruce the place up a bit, so I have been playing around with some new graphics. I have a nonexistent budget to hire an artist to come up with something special for me, but I think I pulled together a header that is evocative, even if it is nothing more than freely available vector art and a bit of creativity. I am sure things will change a bit with time, so please ignore anything that doesn't look quite right. Chances are that I am tweaking something at that moment.

I guess that is about it for now. I apologize if I rambled on a bit. In closing, I would just like to thank everyone for stopping by and checking out my dark little corner of the internet. Keep coming back!
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