Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: A Retrospective





While 2016 was a long and challenging year, in may ways, it was a banner year for Cross Planes.

Dungeon and Draongs Fifth Edition's OGL
When Wizards of the Coast launched their OGL, I stepped into the vanity publishing arena and knocked out fourteen releases over several months. I had set a goal of a project a week, but by summer I simply ran out of steam (mostly because I was neglecting my family and the blog). While this project will never allow me to quit my day job (not that I would anyway), their sales have allowed me to back some Kickstarters, purchase every Schwalb Entertainment Release for Shadow of the Demon Lord, and have the money to buy mostly whatever I want from OneBookShelf.com. One thing I quickly learned is that Reviews are your life blood and I began to evolve my layout and content quickly, as that lesson hit.

My OGL product with the most downloads is Character Crucible: Monster Hunter (my Pay What You Want Title), however it's only earned $4 in 234 downloads. 

My OGL product with the largest profit is Deities and Domains: Specialty Priests of the Forgotten Realms Vol. 1, it's been downloaded 109 times and has earned $160.

I also produced a product for the Cypher System, the Antagonist Anthology, which I feel is my best example of my layout skills, due to art support from MCG. It's been downloaded 46 times and has earned $45.

Cross Planes Game Studio
As I watched the percentage that was being taken from OneBookShelf.com, Wizards of the Coast, and Monte Cook Games (I don't begrudge them their take, but as a business person, I decided to do some exploration), I tried my hand at publishing other OGL products outside of 5E. I got lucky because David Black's excellent The Black Hack had just been published and I rushed to support it. The Class Hack, The Race Hack, and The Class Hack 2: Eccletic Boogaloo have been downloaded a total of 1,483 times and have earned over $1000.

While I may support 5E in the future, I will do so purely outside of the DM's Guild, simply because my percentage is better. Again, I have not problem with paying my dues, but most of my products are $1 each and a better percentage is just more money for me. I fully understand that I couldn't do any of this without OneBookShelf.com, WotC, or MCG and am grateful for what they have allowed me to do.

I have contemplated some OSR, Savage Worlds, and Fate Accelerated releases, but with my wife having extra responsibilities at our kid's Home School Co-Op, growing responsibilities at our Store, and trying to be accessible for our children, I don't know when this may happen. Additionally, I want Cross Planes to be forefront in my plans.

The Blog
My most viewed posts of the year were my series of Warhammer's Old World monsters for 13th Age. While I've slowed on those, I'm doing some for Swords and Wizardry.

As most of you know, I try to cover numerous systems here, but the last few months has been focused on the OSR. As much as I love DnD 5E, I'm hoping to explore the OSR with my gaming groups to allow them to add the distinguishing characteristics, instead of lying on game mechanics. We'll see how that goes.

I've hit some milestones this year, easily averaging over 30,000 views a month and even topping 40,000. I share this information because I don't know where Cross Planes fits in the Gaming Blogosphere. I don't know if that's a successful ranking or I'm still just a tiny fish in a small pond. My guess? I'm a little fish in a small pond, better than some, but not a Big Leaguer. I'm okay with that though, because I've experienced growth each year, in audience and skills, and that is what is most important to me.

Gaming
While I've been running two games (one DnD 5E game and another with that has run DnD 5E, Shadow of the Demon Lord, and Numenera) all year, I was playing in a third until early November. Our long time DM got married yesterday and had to step away. I've begun a Castle Whiterock game using DnD 5E, but I don't know if I can continue it. Running three games may be too much and I'm trying to figure out how to proceed as I'm simply becoming burnt out. What I intend to do is see if running two games again will fix it or if I simply need a break after roughly three years as a DM.

I am happy to report that I have now run two different 5E game through to 20th Level and one of those has even morphed into an Epic game using Epic Boons from the DMG.

2016
While there were many challenges this year, it was good one for our family. There were some bumps and bruises, but we're all happy and healthy. 

I don't talk about politics here and I'm not changing that now, my blog is about gaming and escape. What I will say is that too often we ignore the past and the U.S. has had some nasty and wild political times and regimes. History always repeats itself, since we seem loathe to learn from it, and hopefully we will evolve past this moment as we have in the past.

Overall, my family and I have food on the table, a roof over our heads, and a warm bed to sleep in. I'm far more blessed than many within our world, let alone our nation and I never want to lose sight of that.

As always thank you for making me a part of your life and I can't begin to thank your for being a part of mine.

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