Thursday, December 26, 2019

Ten-Year Anniversary Reflection

Given that 26 December 2019 marks the ten-year anniversary of this blog, I feel it's appropriate to reflect on how things have gone.

Skull & Bones
The first focus of the blog—and the reason why it's called d20 Pirates—was the mostly historical setting for 3rd Edition D&D called Skull & Bones. Indeed, the entirety of the first four years were dedicated to that purpose. In that time the content included a series of nineteen adventures, maps and descriptions of locations, scenes to add as filler, NPCs, magical items, reviews of pirate-themed books and shows, and other elements. 

All in all I was pleased with how that turned out; even though it needed polishing, it provided a good outlet for my creative energies. I ran a number of these scenarios at local game days and private gatherings, mostly for friends, but never played all the way through to the end.

The first change to that early focus came early in 2014, when I published a party of Pathfinder characters for use with the Freeport campaign setting. I was running some scenarios at Con of the North in the Twin Cities, and decided to share them. Eventually this material included a handful of scenarios and some articles, along with a few reviews. I have fond memories of these sessions, both from CotN as well as from MisCon (in Montana) in 2015 and Gen Con in 2016.

Later that year I also shared a couple of scenarios for the Al-Qadim campaign setting, one that I'd loved since it first appeared in 1992. I didn't end up making too much content for it, but it was fun. I still wonder sometimes about running an AQ campaign using D&D 5th Edition.

Space Fantasy—Aetherial Adventures
May of 2014 brought another change of focus, this time on writing rules and scenarios for use with the Pathfinder RPG, ones that emulated the space fantasy style of the old Spelljammer campaign setting. This came to include a setting based on our own solar system that I used for my home campaign, which I eventually ran during the 2017-18 school year and wrote up as the Godsharp Saga. I really enjoyed the process of developing a world and its cultures, something that I'd never done to this extent before. This of all the content for this blog is probably the one thing of which I am the most proud.

Pirates of the Spanish Main
My first delve into the Savage Worlds RPG came in April of 2015. I'd picked up the Pirates of the Spanish Main rulebook at some point, and had played some Savage Worlds in a series that helped playtest the Broken Earth campaign setting with Matthew Hanson. Since I enjoyed the “Fast, Furious, Fun” nature of those rules, I decided to try using them to write a few adventures for PotSM. I loved just how easy it was to do so, especially the process of creating NPCs.

D20 Sidewinder and The Sixth Gun for Savage Worlds
Most recently I've been channeling a lot of my creative energy into material for the RPG based on The Sixth Gun comics. I'd previously dabbled with the Sidewinder rulebook, which uses the (in my opinion) underappreciated D20 Modern rules for Old West adventures and campaigns. While that book is remarkably comprehensive, though, I didn't love the amount of work that went in to writing stats for characters. I'd also started reading The Sixth Gun comic series starting from Free Comic Book Day in 2011, and quite enjoyed it. When Pinnacle Entertainment Group announced that they would be kickstarting an RPG using the Savage Worlds rules, I knew they'd be a good match. This led into setting and scenarios that came to form the Manifested Destinies campaign, which I ran during the 2018-19 school year.

Moving Forward
Currently, of course, I'm running the Return to Freeport campaign for the 2019-20 school year. We're in a bit of a hiatus right now for the holidays, but intend to be back at it in the New Year. I'll include weekly updates once we're back underway, and an overall reflection when we finish. Due to personal reasons, I'm looking to finish this campaign by the middle of March.

Personal Stuff
The past ten years have brought a lot of changes in my life.
  • I have moved five times since I started the blog, due in part to some of the circumstances that I'll mention below.
  • After nearly ten years, I emerged from a challenging and ultimately unhealthy relationship. That's been a very positive change.
  • My mom passed away in July of 2017, and my dad in March of 2019. That was hard for me, of course, but I had the support of family and friends.
  • I've been fortunate to keep the same job for the past ten years, as an English teacher at an alternative high school.
  • In March of 2017 I started dating someone new; we became engaged in November of that year, and were married in that same December. That was a whirlwind, to say the least.
  • Finally, my wife and I are expecting a son in March of 2020. That will be a tremendous adventure in its own right, but I have could people in my life coming along for it.