Everyone always says “I can’t believe that it’s been a year already”. I hate to be so cliché, but it’s true. I started this blog one year ago today but it sure doesn’t feel like it’s been that long.

I guess it’s traditional to look back over the past year, see how things went, and see what can be improved in the future.

Where I was a Year Ago

A little over a year ago I decided to return to D&D, after having been away from it for some time. Unfortunately, I had previously given away all my D&D stuff. Since I was starting from scratch, I thought it would be interesting to start a blog in order to record my progress.

I also decided to embrace 4e. I knew nothing about it but it was the newest version and I was curious as to what WotC had come up with.

So Many Versions

After amassing quite a library of 4e books, and spending a great deal of time on the 4e forums, analyzing the rules, play-testing, and talking to others (fans and critics alike), I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t want to play 4e. I actually came to that conclusion fairly early on. However, unlike most long-time players, I don’t hate 4e. It has a great many interesting ideas and introduced a number of new concepts that I really like. But taken as a whole, it isn’t a game I’m interested in playing.

When I first started looking into 4e, I began hearing about Pathfinder. I was told that it was “a v3.5/4e hybrid encompassing the best of both worlds”. Since I was evaluating 4e, I decided to completely ignore Pathfinder for the time being so as not to be influenced by another system. Recently, once confident that I had looked at 4e as completely as possible, I started looking into Pathfinder. As I intend to write more fully about my impressions regarding Pathfinder shortly, let me just say now that I was impressed. Everything else aside, they sell inexpensive PDF versions of their printed books as well as making the entire rules system available on their website. This is a huge selling point for me and something that I would like to see all rpg companies begin doing.

During my time on the forums I also learned a great deal more about original D&D. I started playing Dungeons and Dragons with the Holmes boxed set. I always thought of it as being the “original” (although I was aware of Chainmail, a precursor). I then moved on to first edition AD&D when it was released, and added bits and pieces from each following edition as they came out. Reading the forums I discovered that there were a number of variations between OD&D and AD&D. This prompted me to go back and read my Holmes booklets and research these other games. I quickly discovered that these older games, Holmes included, evoked a sense of wonder and mystery that does not exist in later games. I thought I had lost that feeling because the newness of D&D had worn off. Apparently, it was changes in the game, not over-familiarity, that altered my views. Seeing this, I knew that I wanted to put these elements back into my game!

House Rules

The majority of my posts have been in regards to various house rules. At one point I wondered if I should alter that approach. But I concluded that house rules should be at the core of any D&D blog. Otherwise, why read it? The published rules are readily available elsewhere. When I read another blog, it is to see what someone else is doing that I may not have thought of. That’s what’s interesting to me so that’s what I will continue to focus on here.

Resources

There are so many more resources available for DMs today then there were when I started playing. Whenever I find something cool, I try to add it to the links section. What I haven’t been doing is blogging about them. That is going to change. I plan to start writing articles about some of the amazing resources that are available out there. Mapping programs alone have evolved into utilities that allow even the least skilled to create beautiful battlemaps and detailed regional maps.

The Website

There are a number of little things I’ve been meaning to add to the site. But now that I have decided to let go of 4e, it’s time to strip out all the 4e links and images as well. When I do all that I think it would be a good time to change the look as well. It won’t be right away, as I need to give some thought to what sort of changes I want to make, but a facelift is definitely coming.

What I’ve Learned

This last year has caused me to look at every aspect, of every version, of the D&D game and evaluate each portion to see how it can work best in my game. Every change, however, can have repercussions in a great many other aspects of the game. Each of those repercussions must then be evaluated as well. I believe that through all this I have assembled a set of rules that accomplishes what I want to do without weakening or overpowering any aspect of the game. I’m still working out details (re-writing descriptions and stats for monsters, spells, items, etc) but the overall rules are now in place. I intend to continue writing about specific pieces of those rules but I also want to provide them in full. I just need to determine how best to do that. I hesitate to fold it all under WotC’s Open Gaming License but that’s probably how I’ll have to do it.

In any case, I will eventually put all my databases online as well as my modified rules system. That’s still down the road aways but it’s coming.