Thursday, December 31, 2015

My New Year's Geekolutions for 2016

Well, 2015 is drawing to a close and 2016 is about to begin. I had been thinking about making a 'Looking Back at 2015' post yesterday to mark the occasion, but as with last year I decided it would be better not to look to the past, and focus on what lies ahead. As such, here's a list of 'geekolutions' I've made for myself to work on achieving in the new year...

1. Figure out what I want to do with this blog.
I haven't posted as regularly on here as I would have liked. Part of that is because I've been struggling with repetitive strain injury in my hands this year, since my job involves a lot of typing over prolonged periods of time with insufficient breaks. It's manageable, but I've allowed it to put me off doing further typing during my free time. But another big part is that I'm not really sure what - if anything - I have to blog about that would be of any interest to anyone. As such, I have trouble coming up with ideas for content to post. Sure, I can post the occasional reviews of whatever I've been reading or watching, actual play reports of roleplaying sessions I've participated in, or even hypothetical character write-ups for different systems. But it just doesn't feel like it's enough. I need to find more to say, whether it's as a roleplayer or a writer, which brings me to my next few geekolutions...

2. Write a novel.
I didn't make much progress on the writing front this year. I had a couple of abortive attempts at one of my current novel ideas, and my attempt at NaNoWriMo in November was abandoned after it had barely begun. The former was due to me not having a strong enough idea of a plot for the novel in question; I had a concept I was interested in exploring, but no direction to take with it. The problem with NaNoWriMo was much the same. Evidently, going forward, I'm going to have to try and invest a bit more time in fleshing out and outlining my story ideas before I start working on them. Another contributing factor to my poor level of writing output is the RSI issue that I mentioned earlier. Well, that's something I'll just need to get over. These ideas that I have aren't going to just materialise as fully formed novels by themselves. I need to put in the work, so that's my top priority for the year ahead.

3. Join a writing group.
Something that I am certain will help improve my productivity as a writer is joining a writing group of some kind, but I'm uncertain where I should go for that. I know of at least one local writing circle which I had previously believed only published authors could attend, but this seems not to be the case. Either that, or they've relaxed their membership requirements since I last checked. All the same, the shame of not having much work to bring along with me, keeps me hesitant to check it out. It doesn't help that their regular meeting time is the same day and time that I would normally be attending my weekly nWoD game at GUGS.

I've also considered trying to build a writing circle with my local writer friends, but never got around to properly discussing it with any of them.

One way or another, I'll need to overcome my timidity to either join a writing group or build my own.

4. Finish and post the first half (at least) of my Doctor Who/Evangelion fanfiction.
While this is a less serious writing project than my own original novel ideas, it is nonetheless one that I can't seem to let go of, no matter how much I tell myself 'it's just fanfiction'. Well, if I can't let it go, then I figure I might as well make use of it as a 'practice project' to improve my writing skills, so I'll be better equipped to tackle the bigger challenge of bringing my own story ideas to the page.

5. Run at least one roleplaying game session every month.
Speaking of practice, in order to keep my GMing skills fresh, I want to try and make sure that I run a game of some kind every month, even if it's just a oneshot. I'm planning to start a campaign of Urban Shadows in mid-January, so that should keep me active as a GM (or MC, in this case) for at least a month or two.

6. Make some custom playsets/playbooks/etc for stuff.
This is something I've meant to do in previous years, without much success. However, with a couple of new PbtA (Powered by the Apocalypse) games on the way next year, among other RPGs of interest to me, I'm going to give it another shot. At the very least, I want to put together a UK-based setting for the upcoming Headspace RPG. I'll see if any other ideas for RP content spring to mind as the year goes on, and work on developing some of them.

7. Continue playing Apocalypse World via Play-by-Post.
So far I'm really enjoying the Apocalypse World Play-by-Post campaign that Rich Rogers has been running for the Gauntlet Hangouts G+ community. The format of it seems to work better than other PbPs I've participated in, and Rich has a couple of great ideas about avoiding the issue of 'posting debt' that often proves fatal for other PbP campaigns.

One of those is just in the way he manages the campaign, treating it like a comic book with each PC being the star of their own comic series, with the occasional crossover between stories and sometimes a big event which brings all of them together in the same place. The other is hosting regular Hangouts on Air sessions, where the group recaps everything that has happened so far in each individual's storyline.

It remains to be seen whether the campaign will be able to avoid the fate of so many other PbPs and reach a satisfying conclusion, but so far it's still going strong and everyone remains enthusiastic about the game's progress.

8. Run a Play-by-Post campaign.
Encouraged by the progress of Rich's PbP campaign, I find myself keen to try running one of my own, using the same method of playing via Google Docs. I haven't decided yet what I'm going to run, though I have a few ideas about which games might be a good fit. Several PbtA games, including Star Wars World and Uncharted Worlds, spring to mind. I would also strongly consider Tenra Bansho Zero, or the recently backed Shinobigami once the beta ruleset is made available to backers. Something with a lighter ruleset would seem the best fit in any case.

9. Play or run/facilitate at least five of the following games: 44 - A Game of Automatic Fear, Apotheosis Drive X, Archipeligo 3, Ashen Stars, Blades in the Dark, Blowback, Bulldogs! (Fate Core Edition), Cheat Your Own Adventure, The Committee for the Exploration of Mysteries, Dogs In The Vineyard, Don't Rest Your Head, Dread, Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, Durance, The End of the World, The Esoterrorists, Fantasy AGE, Feng Shui 2, The Final Girl, Flatpack: Fix the Future, Ghost Lines, Grey Ranks, Headspace, Hell 4 Leather, Heroine, Hillfolk, Inverse World, Kagematsu, Kingdom, Kuro, Lacuna Part 1, Lasers and Feelings, The Last Days of Anglekite, Laundry, Legacy: Life Among the Ruins, Little Fears: Nightmare Edition, Lord Scurlock, Lovecraftesque, Magister Lor, Mars Colony, Mars Colony: 39 Dark, Masks: A New Generation, Microscope, Misspent Youth, Monster of the Week, Monsterhearts, Mortal Coil, Murderland, Murderous Ghosts, Mutant City Blues, Mythic Mortals, Night's Black Agents, Night Witches, Numenara, One Last Job, Our Last Best Hope, OVA: The Anime Roleplaying Game, Primetime Adventures, Psi*Run, The Quiet Year, Remember Tomorrow, Rocket Age, Shinobigami, Shock: Social Science Fiction, The Society of Dreamers, Soth, Star Wars (FFG - Age of Rebellion, Edge of the Empire, Force and Destiny), Star Wars World (Apocalypse World hack), Technoir, Ten Candles, Tenra Bansho Zero, Time Cellist, Timewatch, Titan World (Apocalypse World hack), Trail of Cthulhu, Traveller (Mongoose), Tokyo Brain Pop, Uncharted Worlds, Urban Shadows, Viewscream 2.0, The Warren, Worlds in Peril, Zombie Cinema.

10. Play at least five of these board/card games: Castle Panic, Concept, Coup: Reformation, Dead of Winter, Don't Turn Your Back, Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards: Duel at Mt. Skullzfyre, Formula D, Geek Out, Greenlight, Last Night on Earth, Mad Scientist University, Mysterium, The Resistance: Avalon, Shadows Over Camelot, Sheriff of Nottingham, Smash Up, Space Alert, Star Wars: X-Wing, Sultans of de Karaya, Sushi Go!, Tokaido, Twilight Imperium, Unspeakable Words, Wits & Wagers.

11. Finish the Mass Effect Trilogy.
Nope, still haven't finished it yet. I'll fix that this year, for sure.

12. Read more
With the exception of RPG rulebooks and books about roleplaying or writing, I haven't really done much actual reading. Instead, most of my 'reading' has been in audiobook format. That's partly by necessity, since I need something to listen to while I work, but I still have free time outside of work when I could read stuff as well.

This year, I'll try and make more time for reading actual books, whether it's fiction or non-fiction. Just as long as I'm actually reading and it's something other than an RP rulebook or GM/writer's advice.


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  2. Ooh! Ooh! I vote for you running Ten Candles! I hear it's pretty great. ;)