BLOG!: Good God! What Is It Good For?

How Twitter views blogging

With the recent Twitter turmoil caused by its new owner, there has been a call to return to blogging as a means of communication in the OSR pond I swim in. And I absolutely agree.

WHY BLOG

Slower & more in-depth: To me, one big reason is blogging's slower, cooler, longer form is a good counter-balance to Twitter or TikToks rapid hot-take environment. Blogging allows for a deeper discussion, better dissection, and/or a more balanced review of whatever RPG topic is being looked at.

"Quieter": Blogging too helps muffle the other voices in the same space. Responding on Twitter to trending topics presses you to prioritize rapid response and a bit more group think, but with a super spicy twist, in order to get those likes and reshares. Blogging on the other hand is far quieter- you, your thoughts, and a blank sheet. I find it a relief.

Archival & stable: The last broad reason to blog is that its comparatively more long-lived and archival and therefore paradoxically easier to share than something like Twitter. Less on an individual post level, but its easier to share things from years ago or share like or grouped things-- like all monster posts for the "Sky Castle of Violet Spires" series.

WHAT TO BLOG

Rule Zero- write about what interests you and don't worry about anything else. Seriously. That is the simplest piece of advice I can give. The more you drill into what interests you, the more the blog will develop its own voice. I love reading people's idiosyncratic views on the game.

Like, start A Fist Full of Fighting-Men (great name!) a blog all about fighters and fighter-centric campaigns. Its fine to hyper-specialize because that will lead to more novel posts of even well-worn topics like reviewing B2 again for the 1000th time.

A close second is writing about what you have recently been playing. I still think there is a surprising lack of this sort of content in the RPG space. A lot of theories exist. A lot of ideas about what works, what should work, and what is the correct way. But still few people showing their work. And for new players and DMs, being able to see this work is important because it helps explain the "why" especially in a lot of old-school play cultures. 

This is primarily my reason for blogging all my Nightwick games. To demonstrate that GP = XP, mapping, and rolling a random 3d6-down-the-line magic-user can work. And it had a knock-on effect of generating ideas about how to make the classic d4, one-spell at level 1 MU successful in-game-- resulting in one of my highest read posts and having it featured in KNOCK! Vol 3. But let me say again, this MU advice didn't arise from me theorizing, it was from 20+ sessions of megadungeon play with this PC.

Write about problems, campaign-wise, you are trying to overcome. This is similar to writing about playing, in that its starts with experience first not just an idea about how things should be done without actually attempting it first. Like a house going up in a neighborhood, people often find the process more interesting than the finished product because they can see "inside".

Here at ICL, this is why I started blogging at bit about my "Super Cleric Bros." campaign. I thought it might be useful to describe problems or content that needed to be generated for the game and then just show the "think-through". Nothing is incredibly novel about the campaign, but it generated some good responses. And I think represents more the sorta campaigns/game people are running.

But this also can something as simple as, "I'm running a swamp campaign.  Here is my d6 random encounter table for the next session." Even that is blog-able. Why? Because of Rule Zero, you are interested in it.

GETTING STARTED

  1. I keep a Mead Five-Star grid-rule notebook close at hand for jotting down anything that pops into my head. Its also great for responding to hot takes without responding to hot takes. Occasionally review it just to see what good ideas I've forgotten.

  2. I just use Blogger because its easy for me. But just use whatever platform is low effort. But when blogging, content is king, so I'd not worry about more than just a banner to convey what your blog's "thing" is. Some famous blogs don't even do that.

  3. Then I am trying to post once a week- so 52 times a year. And I do want maybe about 1/3 of those posts to be something from play. So far I am at ~40+ posts and really I think I could do more if I would just relax, post more idiosyncratically, and leaning into posting about whatever I want.

  4. Tags do help! I wish mine were a little better and I think a good way to start might just be to use the OD&D titles as tags themselves (ugh- that IS a good idea):
    • Men
    • Magic
    • Monsters
    • Treasure
    • Underworld
    • Wilderness
    • [Campaign Title]

  5. Here are some topics (from an OSR perspective) that might help: 
    • Last RPG post that lit a fire in your brain and why? 
    • Description of the last session you played in. 
    • What are 6 pieces of "terrain" to add to any dungeon room encounter? 
    • Who are the gods of law, neutrality, & chaos in your campaign and what if my fighter gives an offering to each?
    • What are three illustrations that define some part of your ideal D&D?

  6. Finally after you've built up a good bit of material, try to organize it in your sidebar for ease of reference for yourself and the folks who start dropping by!

1 comment:

  1. Some great advice there! I agree, Tags are it. I've often read a blog with no Tags and it makes their older content just drift off in to past with no easy way to unearth it. Maybe intentional, but it feels like a waste. Like burying treasure and not making a treasure map.

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