Happy penultimate GURPSDay of 2017, folks!
It was one heck of a year for the Game Geekery blog and GURPS in general, with a ton of pleasant surprises and milestones. As in 2015 and 2016, today’s end-of-year post is a look back at some of the highlights of 2017. Hopefully you’ll catch a few things you missed the first time around!
The Year in GURPS
Before talking about my gaming and the blog, here’s some of the amazing things that happened with GURPS this year.
Last year, in 2016, I was excited by all the GURPS goings-on: new hardcovers, a successful Kickstarter for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG boxed set (DFRPG), three whole books available as print-on-demand, etc.
2017 blew all that away! In no particular order…
- The DFRPG Kickstarted last year was released and it’s a fantastic product, particularly for newcomers looking to get into GURPS. It doesn’t sound like it’s been hugely profitable, but the reviews and word-of-mouth have been strong. And the physical quality is top-notch! I would love if they could produce similar boxed sets for other genres.
- The three books offered as print-on-demand last year blossomed into 16 books — including my very own “How to Be a GURPS GM”! This has been extremely useful for helping new players get their hands on out of print books at a reasonable price and build their GURPS collections.
- Speaking of getting GURPS books into fans’ hands… in an unprecedented and truly surprising move, Steve Jackson Games now offers more than 75 of their PDFs for sale on DriveThruRPG, the long-dominant online RPG seller. There is no doubt that this has put their products in front of a lot more gamer eyeballs.
- As if all that weren’t enough, there have even been some rumblings of Steve Jackson Games looking at official support for the Fantasy Grounds VTT! Having tinkered around with FG and run my first online game with it, official company support would be great.
Taken together, I feel like all of these things have raised the profile of GURPS quite a bit in the RPG community. It feels like there are more conversations being posted, more questions being asked, and, frankly, more gamers simply aware that GURPS still exists, has never gone anywhere, and is awesome.
My Personal Gaming
As in 2016, I still have not reestablished an ongoing, face-to-face home campaign. However, my one-shot convention games continued to be strong for the fifth year in a row. I GMed all three of the below adventures multiple times at their respective cons and the player feedback was very positive.
Rescue or Bug Hunt? (“Alien/Aliens”), Gamex 2017
A group of Colonial Marines respond to a distress signal from a remote Weyland-Yutani research facility. What could go wrong?
In Defense of House Stark (“Game of Thrones”), Gateway 2017
When a crisis hits Winterfell, Lady Caetlyn Stark commands the loyal PCs to stand by their oaths and pledge themselves to her cause.
Hell to Pay (“Old West/Horror,” 10/21/2017), Online via Fantasy Grounds
After confronting a group of cattle rustlers, the PCs find themselves in a mysterious town where Evil seems to live. (Halloween game!)
Much to my delight, the game was super fun and using Fantasy Grounds was super smooth. Response was overwhelmingly positive, with nearly 300 views of the actual play video.
I look forward to GMing more convention games and more online games in 2018.
How to Be a GURPS GM
“How to Be a GURPS GM” continues to be a steady seller, usually a dozen or two copies a month, and I remain humbled by the community feedback (“I just want to say that ‘How to Be a GURPS GM’ is the best GURPS book I have ever read”). Just recently someone called it “sort of a GM bible for GURPS GMs,” so kind of hard to top that!
Also, I was asked to write up some Designer’s Notes (later included in Pyramid Issue #3/108); it was a stretch goal in the Dungeon Fantasy RPG boxed set; and — the biggest news to me — it is now available in hard copy from Amazon as Print-on-Demand! (And if you enjoyed it, maybe you could leave an Amazon review?)
I spend so much time online that I sometimes forget there are huge swaths of people who still prefer analog products and aren’t part of the online RPG community (including numerous family members for whom a PDF still isn’t a “real” book). Having easy access to hard copies at any time is a huge boon, and this was easily one of my highlights for the year.
Thanks to all who have read, commented, reviewed, and recommended “How to Be a GURPS GM.” It is not overstating to say its publication was a dream come true, one that could not have happened without all of you.
Regarding the Game Geekery blog itself, these were the most popular 2017 posts actually written in 2017:
- GURPS: Grab and Go
- Phoenix Sheet for GURPS Character Assistant
- GURPS Skills: How Do I…
- Handout for New GURPS Players
- Creating a GURPS Character – Modern, Part 1
And these are the most popular in 2017 but written elsewhen. No surprises here… all but one of these (“Printing RPG PDFs…”) were in the top five last year as well:
- My GURPS GM Screen
- New to GURPS — Welcome!
- My GM Kit
- GURPS Quick-Start Character Creation
- Printing RPG PDFs to Hardcopy Books
Finally, a couple of posts I think worth noting:
- Advantages, Disadvantages, and Skills Spreadsheet (sortable spreadsheet of all Basic Set traits)
- Dungeon Fantasy RPG Form-Fillable PDFs (fillable versions of the DFRPG Character Sheet, Spell Sheet, and Monster, Traps, Diseases/Poisons sheet)
Looking over the list it’s pretty clear that you, the readers who pop by to check out my ramblings on GURPS and Geekery, love stuff that makes it easier to enjoy GURPS and spread the love to those who are unfamiliar with. Which is a nice coincidence, because that’s also what I most enjoy writing. Win-win!
Apart from the blog itself, the unofficial GURPS Discord server also continues to grow and be a great resource for chatting with other GURPSers, asking questions, setting up games, etc. In the 14 months since its creation, just over 1,000 gamers have passed through our gates, and the daily average of users logged in at any given time is 250-300. I hope you’ll at least check it out, the more the merrier.
The only real downside this year — and it was a big one — was the recent Patreon disaster. You can read the details in the linked post, but basically a rash decision by the company shook the confidence of many users, who abandoned the site in droves (the $1/month pledgers were the hardest hit, and they make up the majority of my supporters). Patreon did quickly reconsider and halt the proposed changes, but the damage was done. Myself, I’m just a tiny little account and I lost 15% of my support. I know that’s nothing compared to the literally hundreds and even thousands of dollars a month other creators saw evaporate, but it definitely hurt. I’m hoping to reach my former level in 2018… and then quickly surpass it!
To all of you who read Game Geekery, use the materials for your own games, tell other gamers about what’s here, comment on posts and give feedback, and support its expansion through Patreon — my sincerest, deepest thanks. Having helped so many find their way to GURPS and customize it to their liking, being able to write about my favorite game and share ideas with the wider community of gamers, really is “living the dream.” Every single time I post somewhere and get “recognized” or have a gamer I don’t know thank me for something I’ve written, it is simultaneously humbling and powerfully affirming. I thank each and every one of you, and hope you’ll stick around for what’s coming in the new year.
Last Year’s Goals for 2017
Before setting goals for 2017, let’s see how I did with the ones from 2016.
- Restart my face-to-face gaming group. Though I did run a couple of one-shots off the convention trail, I still don’t have a regularly meeting home group going. As this is in large part because I’m busy enough with other gaming stuff, it’s hard to call a total failure, so: Partial No.
- Write More! My output in 2017 was close to 2016, despite quite a few insanely busy weeks with no posts. So while I didn’t really write more, I also didn’t write much less: Partial No.
- Continue running convention games. This was an unmitigated success. Not only did I continue GMing at the local conventions, the games I put together were really fun and different from one another: Total Yes.
- Run at least a one-shot online. Finally GMing a full four-hour, start-to-finish adventure online was an important personal milestone. It gave me a better sense of what can and can’t be done with the format, and I’m really looking forward to trying my hand at some more soon: Total Yes.
While 50/50 isn’t great, I would weigh the successes as a little more important than the failures, so… let’s call it 75%, I’m feeling generous!
Goals for 2018
Looking ahead, here’s what I’m shooting for in 2018.
- Continue running convention games. This one is a no-brainer. I love creating fun one-shots, I love GMing them for enthusiastic players, and I love the people I’ve met in the local convention scene. As long as I can keep scraping up the resources to attend, they’re going to have to drag me out of there! Planning for three more convention adventures in 2018.
- Run at least two more online one-shots. My initial experience with GURPS and Fantasy Grounds this year exceeded all expectations. I was a bit wary and anxious about it, but it ended up being a totally fun game. With a possibility of official support down the road, and already having a comfortable backlog of one-shots I could adapt to an online format, I am definitely looking to expand even more into online play.
- Make 52 posts to Game Geekery. I’m going to really try to not miss a single GURPSDay in 2018. 52 weeks, 52 posts is the goal. I may need to expand on the topics I cover, some may be shorter than others, but I really want to post something for every single week of the year! I hope this will grow our little community even more as content becomes more stable.
- Streamline and unify TheMook.Net site. The recent dip in Patreon support dropped the campaign just below the goal for this, but I’m sure we’ll hit it again soon. I did make some headway in cleaning up older content this year, reformatting disparate parts of the site to a more unified look and blowing out some long-standing cobwebs, but there’s still a lot more to be done. This site is my primary public face to the GURPS community, it deserves to be the best I can make it!
So, basically, 2018’s goals are “Keep on gaming and keep on writing about it.” I’m looking forward to a new year filled with fun projects, lots and lots of GURPS games, and even more surprises from Steve Jackson Games! Thank you for being a part of the insanity, and I hope you’ll stick around in 2018.
Do you have suggestions for the site? Post topics? Questions? I would love to hear your feedback on 2017 so next year can be even better!
See you in the New Year.
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