Held Action Turns 3!

Yes, it’s been three years since my first post here at Held Action. I’m still merrily chugging along. I’m role-playing way more than I ever have, thanks to Carrion Crown and Skull & Shackles. I’m planning two adventures for Carnage in November, using Ghostbusters and GURPS Cabal.

Was this where I expected to be in three years? Well . . . no, but only by virtue of not coming into this with many expectations. I began knowing I wanted an outlet to share my thoughts and experiences on gaming that wasn’t a long string of forum threads with zero replies. I didn’t decide to become a destination dot com gaming blog, which is good, because it turns out I don’t have the puff for that kind of content stream. I had an early spurt in the beginning where I had something I felt was worth writing about almost every day of the week, save weekends. I suspected that vigor could taper off, and it did.

Now Held Action‘s more of an occasional thing. I keep up mostly with session recaps, updates on my own GMing endeavors — mostly limited to Carnage games since Scions of Time guttered — local events of note and interesting tidbits that float past my field of vision. And that’s okay. This blog serves a more helpful purpose as a repository of my thoughts and the things I find interesting than yet another instance of armchair hobby journalism. No one needs me to paraphrase their press releases.[1] I need me to write a bit now and again about what’s going on in my pursuit of the tabletop hobby.

[1] Unless it’s for something I think is cool.

Held Action Actual Play Index

This weekend, I set up an actual play index for Held Action. It’s a page to collect all the actual play entries scattered through the posts of the blog. Right now it’s a series of lists of entries, linking to each one. I’m undecided about whether to comb through for one-shot write-ups. In general, they’re not as narrative focused as those I write for campaigns.

What would you want to see in a more fleshed out, informative actual play index? Dates when the sessions happened? Brief capsule synopses of the campaigns?

Quiet Drifting

Held Action lapsed into quietude again. The same thing happened about this time last year. I think it’s a combination of my real life job ramping up, prepping for Carnage in November and general blogging fatigue; the charge of blogging comes from the flow between writers and commenters, otherwise it’s typing in the wind.

The current state of things is I have a heap of post ideas in single sentence draft form that I’m not moved to expand upon, a half dozen role-playing sessions of Scions of Time and Masks of Nyarlathotep to write up — though Masks is on hiatus for September as our earnest Keeper commits rites of matrimony with his chosen other — that, while fun, are fading into memory such that I don’t know if I can recreate the energy this far out. And that’s my own bad for filling my days with other activities. I’m taking a class this fall and it’s been long enough since college that I’m readjusting not only to blocking time for class itself, but homework, readings and so on.

It’s been a bit surreal to dig out my last college notebook. In the intervening years since graduation, I filled many of the blank with game-related notes: character creation, adventure outlines, card counts, etc. Then I had to sift through my final semester of classes and years of gaming notes to find a stretch of blank pages to keep me through the middle of December. We’ll see how that goes. I may have to break down and buy a single subject notebook after all.

I don’t want to give up writing here, but the old charge is gone. I need to feel like this is productive or useful to someone. And I know I’m talking about a gaming blog on the internet, so clearly my expectations need to adjust to fit reality. But it’s how my brain feels right now.

In the meantime, I’ve got a few linky-loo posts to clear out of the inbox. They’ll appear in due course here, just to give the appearance of the lights staying on.

Held Action Turns Two

Two years ago today marks the start of the blogging endeavor that shortly thereafter became Held Action. And it’s the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, so it feels a little more momentous.

My enthusiasm for blogging has waxed and waned over the last two years. I started with a predictable burst of over-enthusiasm, having a new post nearly every weekday; reposting old actual play logs helped with that. Then I settled into a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule, which worked for a while.

Recently, I had a multi-week block when I didn’t want to write about anything. Even though I had Scions of Time and Masks of Nyarlathotep sessions to record, I didn’t want to spend the time on it. I wasn’t getting the same charge from posting as I was.

I could think of this as a pure hobby blog and only post when I feel like it. But I know how my brain works. If I don’t feel obligated to do something, I only do it as long as the task interests me. Blogging to please oneself is not inherently interesting to me.

It’s not quite yet time to throw in the towel, though. I’m going to try lowering my expectations first. I’d like to continue posting three times a week, but it doesn’t necessarily have to Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. So we’ll see how that goes for a while before I make any decisions.

And that’s not to say that any decision I make would affect what’s already here on Held Action. Whatever I decided, I certainly wouldn’t take the blog down. One of the things I like about watching the page views is learning which entries become lasting resources. The Arkham Horror Expansion Guide gets hits daily because, I hope, people find the information useful.

Regardless of what happens from here on out, happy birthday to Held Action! Who would have thought I’d keep up blogging this long?

Happy Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in the United States. Yesterday was the big day of giving thanks and celebrating the harvest — which I guess is a little nonsensical now, since global transportation allows us to take advantage of growing seasons all around the world — so Friday is, for me, a day of recovery and rest. Others have their own shopping traditions. Good luck to ’em.

See you all on Monday!

Back in Business

After a month off, I return to the blogging hobby. And I do need to remind myself it’s a hobby. It’s too easy to let myself slip into amateur journalist mode, which is more time intensive than I’m interested in getting into.

August was an atypical gaming month for me. I went to Tuesday night board games a few times — it’s been quiet lately because it’s summer, which is a very special three months in Vermont when people spend as much time outdoors as possible; cases in point are Alex and Houser, who went off to hike the Long Trail.

I’ve got an actual play report or two coming up, on the role-playing games I played. Yes, I actually got some role-playing. I’m shocked too. One was a FATE variant and the other All Flesh Must Be Eaten. I even joined an on-going fantasy campaign. Astounding. More on those in the coming weeks.

Other than that, I mostly spent August thinking only tangentially about games. I read Christian’s print zine Destination Unknown. I watched the glorious DVD version of Gold. I contributed to planning this year’s Carnage convention.

For September, I predict I will finally write out Pumpkin Jack with time for playtesting in October, buy the Back to the Future card game, think longingly on the still too far off Betrayal at House on the Hill release, do my due diligence for the fantasy campaign — primarily explaining why my character has a badger for an animal companion — and probably still not get any further in my Read ‘Em ‘Cause You Got ‘Em effort.

Happy Birthday, Held Action!

Today marks the one year anniversary of Held Action‘s first publication, from the day I made my post of introduction and reported on local Free RPG Day activities. Those posts actually date from the brief period of time when I blogged on Dreamwidth. A couple weeks later, I got tired of the limitations of the cloned LiveJournal interface and crossed over to WordPress. That also pushed me to think of a name for the blog, and it wasn’t until I had thought of something I liked better than “Tyler’s Game Blog” that I bought the domain and set up this blog on WordPress.com.

What a year it’s been. First I chose a schedule to keep myself to, then I had an enormous spike in things I wanted to say, then I fell back into the more comfortable schedule I’d originally chosen. I’ve run through most of the material I wrote in other times and contexts, so now it’s all fresh, usually sparked by something I’ve read or heard elsewhere. And that’s what I wanted in a gaming blog: a place to publish the thoughts and ideas I had that I didn’t feel like putting in someone else’s discussion forum, but still wanted to make public.

According to WordPress.com, here are the top ten most popular posts of the last year, least to most. It’s amazing what the viral bump can do to hit counts, isn’t it?

  1. National Library Week 2010 Drumming up enthusiasm for an endeavor that inspired Saturday gaming at the local library.
  2. The Art of Board Game Storage When I get a game room of my own, I’ll use this technique.
  3. Game Master Mistakes: Not Really Listening I know enough to fess up when I make mistakes.
  4. A Screen for Every Game Promoting my favorite GM screen, the customizable sort.
  5. Physical Evidence Extolling my enjoyment of Propnomicon‘s Lovecraft-inspired creations.
  6. Labyrinth Lord: Downward to Adventure! My actual play report for International Traditional Gaming Week.
  7. The Lurker at the Threshold Expands Arkham Horror One of my inconsistent moments of pseudo-journalism.
  8. Scouting and Dungeons & Dragons Most mind-boggling is this one posted last week and it’s already number three in terms of hits.
  9. The Arkham Horror Expansion Guide One of those wonderful moments of blogging came when I saw someone else recommending this post on Boardgamegeek.com. Ah, gratification.
  10. How to Make a Pamphlet Prop I really do intend to get back to making that Ghostbusters proper suitable for download. Honest.