One year ago, I made my first post to the DMDavid blog. I itched to sound off about a few Dungeons & Dragons topics, such as metagamey mechanics, skill challenges, and a design error that still lurks at the core of D&D Next. Writing the posts proved such a kick, that I’ve kept at it for a year now.
When I started writing I speculated on where the blog might lead. I hoped that a post might garner some attention in the D&D community, but that has never happened. I blame my discomfort with self promotion. No other blog has ever linked to my site, but a tweet called out “Lair Assault: Kill the Wizard – I made a Drowslayer,” earning that page some looks. I wondered if someone at a convention game might sometime recognize me for this blog. That never happened, but a couple of real-world friends stumbled across the blog and recognized me as the author. I worried that I might stir up some of the sort of nasty criticism that comes with the GIFT, but the site’s occasional comments have always added welcome insights.
Most popular post. Every time I searched the web for a gallery of the various dungeon tiles sets, I failed to find even a comprehensive list of tile sets, much less a gallery. Seeing a need, I spent an afternoon snapping shots of my collection, and reassembling some punched sets like jigsaw puzzles. This resulted in my most popular post ever, “A complete list and gallery of Dungeon Tiles sets.” I’m pleased that others find the resource helpful, and hope a few visitors find other items of interest.
Biggest surprise. The early role-playing games that followed D&D always reacted to the “failings” of D&D. The games came with big helpings of the designer’s comments on how their game addressed D&D’s problems—either in magazine-published designer’s notes, or often in the game itself. When I set down to research a retrospective of Chivalry & Sorcery, I uncovered an unexpected treasure of early RPG-play philosophy, which I lovingly ridiculed in “Chivalry & Sorcery: What if Gary and Dave had not found the fun?” I did never intended to write anything so long, but the more I read the rules, the more wonders I uncovered. Still, as the post grew longer, I figured that I was wasting my time exploring overlong, ancient history that would interest no one but me. I’m happy to have been wrong.
Least popular post. In “But how do you win,” I reminisced about the questions people asked about D&D way back when I started playing. No readers cared. Nonetheless, the question “but how do you win” reveals how differently most people understood games in the days before D&D.
Snappy title award. “D&D Next trades to-hit bonuses for enhanced damage” stands as one post buried in a series exploring the evolving D&D combat system. The post goes off in a tangent, and the title summarizes a point made earlier in the series, yet somehow this post garners all the hits. Even though the title doesn’t seem that compelling to me, I started trying to do a better job writing titles that draw interest.
Best of DMDavid. I’m most proud of my three series of articles on D&D design.
- “What does D&D have to do with ironclad ships?” began an exploration how the math behind to-hit and damage rolls changed from original D&D through D&D next.
- “Evolution of the skill challenge” showed how the skill challenge changed quickly after the introduction of fourth edition, and how the original conception of the skill challenge left some baggage which made them harder to use.
- “Spells that can ruin adventures” talked about spells that worked fine with D&D’s original dungeon-bashing play style, but which started ruining adventures as the game matured.
The research and thought that went into each of these series led me to new and unexpected insights into the game.
Thanks for reading!