A Look Back at 2019 and Looking Forward to 2020

Today is January 1st.

Today a new decade begins.

And today marks me doing a full year of Video Game content.  I wanted to take a moment to look back at my overall progress, both in the positive and negative, and where I hope to go from here.  Be aware, there WILL BE NEGATIVE FEELINGS in here.  If you cannot handle that, then please stop reading.  It has not been a good year overall for me.

In the world of Meatspace, I lost a family member due to cancer in August.  Due to losing said family member, I had to miss the trip to Gen Con.  I have been dealing with apartment issues almost every month since June either with my toilet, my air conditioning, or leaks.  I have had several issues with my car.  My mom has been fighting cancer the entire year along with lung issues.  My day job has gotten more and more insane, and its not paying me anywhere near what my time is worth.

In the online space I have overall lost 25 patrons including my three biggest supporters.  I have lost YouTube subs overall.  I have seen a sharp decline in interaction and views on pretty much every site I run (YouTube, twitch, twitter, my website).  Although YouTube is SLOWLY starting to tick up….slightly.

Overall, things have been on a downswing both in meatspace and online.

But not everything has been bad.

I got new glasses this year, which was needed and got the news that despite being a poorly controlled Type 2 diabetic for 15 years, my eyes are ENTIRELY UNDAMAGED.  My wife has been able to work on her comic full time now (check it out here) for now, as we were able to pay our car off earlier this year.  I have made several connections in the Public Relations / Gaming world with different firms and companies that seen to enjoy what I do.  I started doing those Indie Impressions videos back in April, and have done something like 37 videos on different indie games this year (although a few are not released yet I still count them cause I made em in 2019!)

I have streamed and beaten VTM Bloodlines 1 and Hatoful Boyfriend, and started Pathfinder Kingmaker on Twitch.  I interviewed Matthew Mercer in April.  I started a Podcast and even started doing podcast versions of the indie vids.  I got a Switch.  I have started to realize that maybe, just maybe, I have something of value to offer the world and that the things I was told growing up, about being worthless and pointless, are not true.  Still working on believing that stuff though.

Not everything has been bad.

And despite the downturn in my creative work I am, honestly, happier.  I enjoy doing the videos I do.  I like playing and experimenting with these games.  I treasure the fans I have, both those who support my work through viewing or sharing it, and those who have given me financial support.  I am, overall, in a better place mentally and that means a ton to me.

And in 2020, I have very few “resolutions”.  Really, they are more like goals.

I want to find a new job, that pays better.  I want to find a new apartment that isn’t falling apartment.  And I want to keep making 1 video a week on 1 new indie game, 52 more games.  I have a huge list of games I want to cover, and I already have (At the time of writing this) 4 videos to release in January, and am already working on February 2020.

As far as Streaming, I am going to do something I have wanted to do for a while.  I am going to alternate streams now.  Pathfinder Kingmaker every other week, and on the off weeks it will be the entire Mass Effect Franchise, starting with ME1.  I am debating which to start with for the 1st Sunday in January, but they will alternate.  I want to experience the story of Shepard, start to finish, one more time.  Gonna be an Adept Female who romances Garrus by the way, as this is very important (Also gonna be Paragon because I can’t not be a nice person lol)

Goodbye 2019.  I will not miss you.  Here is hoping 2020 is better for every single one of us.

Happy New Year everyone.

Support is a Verb – A Very Personal Post

Today I am going to be writing something a quite personal really. Its been a little over 6 months since January 2019, when I announced my intentions to move back towards video games and general “nerdy” content and away from pure tabletop stuff. But I have been asked a few times, especially recently with my twitter account having a bunch of “Under Construction” stuff plastered over it as to WHAT is going on.

It all has to do with the concept of Support, and what that term really means. Strap yourselves in because this is a long one as I am going to explain both what Supporting someone REALLY means, and my own trials with this concept / my journey.

First.

Support is a verb. It is an action. It is something you DO. It is not a passive activity.

In order to support someone, you have to give something up. Either your time, your energy, or your money. You have to give of yourself to another to support them. Thats why, for example, you support your friends when you listen to their trouble. You support ME when you read this or watch my videos.

And I was not getting much support at all from the Tabletop Twitter DND community over the past near 3 years of doing Terminally Nerdy. I had a lot of people SAY they supported me, that they wanted me to succeed, that they hoped I was growing and getting more reach. But very few have actually SHOWN me that support. What they were actually doing was encouraging me, but not actually helping to support me.

Now, I want to be clear that NO ONE owes me a damn thing. I write and make things because (now at least) I enjoy it. And I do have the goal of eventually doing this for a living. I would love to be able to spend 100% of my time writing reviews, playing indie games, streaming, and the like for people out there who find me enjoyable. I know they exist too. I got 88 people who pay me every month right now for the things I do. I got people who show up to my streams, I got people who like/share/retweet my stuff on twitter. I know who my SUPPORTERS are right now.

So if you are reading this? If you are a Patron? If you watch my youtube videos or visit my site randomly to see what I have done thats new or you watch me on twitch? You are a SUPPORTER. You are giving up your time OR your money to help me in exchange for the things I do. And I LOVE EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU.

But my issue has always been, and continues to be, those who will tell me to my face “I support you Nerdy” yet never actually read anything I write. Who never share my tweets or my videos or my streams. Who never watch my videos or my streams. And there are a LOT of them. And if I sound a bit bitter, well yea I am a bit bitter. I don’t enjoy having someone lie to my face. I especially don’t enjoy it when people tell me I got 8000 followers so clearly I am popular and people consume my content.

Wanna know how many hits from twitter I get on this website on a day when I advertise a post? Truthfully? Its 4-6 hits. On a good day I get near 10. Wanna know how many I get just from Google Search? about 350-400 a day.

You can kinda see the difference.

Now, some maybe just want to be encouraging, to do the least amount possible. Thats fine. But in the same time it takes someone tell me (or anyone) that they support me they could also just…share something of mine. Retweet something of mine. LIke something of mine. You have to DO SOMETHING to support someone else.

Hitting the follow button on social media or twitch or youtube is not supporting them. You have to spend time or energy or money to do so. Twitch doesnt care how many followers you have. Twitch cares how many VIEWERS you have. Youtube doesnt care how many Subscribers you have. Youtube cares how much WATCH TIME and VIEWS you have. Twitter doesnt care how many followers I have, it cares how many people interact with my tweets.

These places care about ACTION not Passivity.

Ok now that we have that out of the way, let me tell you a story.

I started Terminally Nerdy in August of 2016. That is when the first Vlog was posted to Youtube. The original idea was to post videos on Nerdy stuff that I love: Video games, Music, Books, and yes Tabletop. Then I created a 5 part video series in a single night titled “Tabletop RPG 101” and suddenly I had people telling me how great I was at Tabletop, and how I should do stuff JUST on that. At the time, nearly 3 years ago now, I had a lot lower self esteem and was a bit of a people pleaser. I wanted people to accept me and like me. And I thought that if I gave the people what THEY wanted, they would watch my stuff and accept me. That unfortunately did not happen.

Part of that was, prior to getting over the 1k Follower mark on twitter, I was very bad with self deprecation. I would tell people NOT to share my stuff. That stopped after about 6 months, but some folks just never got past that (and a few STILL ARE NOT PAST THAT). Additionally, up until December 2018, I would retweet a lot of other creators. This had the side effect of making my own stuff harder to find, but I believed (and I still do believe) that a rising tide would lift everyone up, that if I put into practice what I HOPED others would do for me, then eventually Karma would come back around and I would get back what I had been giving out. That also has not happened.

In fact, those actions on my part quickly gave me a reputation that persists to this day that I am not a content creator, but am in fact a promoter. I am the guy who you go to find other cool stuff, but not the guy who MAKES cool stuff. My biggest audience IS twitter, and people follow me there not for what I make, but for what others make that I will SHOW them. I have run numerous polls, talked to people, ect and the same thing I keep getting back is “I had no idea you created stuff” or “I am just here for your tweets I dont care about the rest”.

The twitter community has been supportive of me at times. Its their donations that are sending me to Gen Con, for example. But its always been the same 100-200 people. A core group who actually SUPPORTS me. I appreciate each and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU, past or present or future, by the way.

A turning point for me in this entire saga was Novermber / December 2018. I was depressed, as I often get during the Holidays, and finally spilled out my feelings regarding the lack of actual support I had been getting overall, and how my reputation had gone to being a Promotions Guy and how I wanted to change it.

What I got back was people telling me to maybe just give up creating and just be a promoter. I also got people telling me I HAD to be the Promoter because eveyrone NEEDED me to be one so I should just embrace that. Prior to this I had a few people refer to me as the DND Town Crier no less, and had been getting more and more Direct Messages and Emails on twitter asking me to just promote peoples products / kickstarters / ect.

I took the entire month of December 2018 off from everything. No creating, no advertising, no twitter. I vanished for a month from all but my Patrons. They got a front row seat to my issues as well, and many of them have stuck it out.

And I want to tell you right here and now, in December 2018…I almost gave up. I almost quit because of this. I was tired of fighting what felt like a losing battle. I had felt that I had damaged my own public perception so badly that there was no fixing it.

However, it was talking to my friends Virus and Saev and my Patrons, that I came to a decision. I wasnt going to quit, oh no. I was going to create what I wanted to create. I was going to make the things I wanted to make. I was going to go back to what Terminally Nerdy SHOULD be and was always meant to be. And in January I started doing that. More video game related media, book reviews, a bit of tabletop when the mood struck me but otherwise more general nerditry. Terminally Nerdy would become what it was always meant to be 3 years ago.

Since January twitter support has mostly gotten worse, which I anticipated. I am essentially starting over, rebuilding an audience who enjoys video games and general nerdy stuff rather then just a specialist audience who wants only one thing – 5th Edition DND. I have lost some patrons (again, expected) because I am no longer doing nothing but tabletop.

But the people who have truly supported me continue, for the most part, to do so.

And I am getting new ones, who like the things I am doing now.

I am working to change how people view me, and how I am treated. Its a hard road, a long road, and I made a ton of mistakes getting here. The issues I have faced are partially of my own doing, and I will not hide that fact. But I am now taking steps to get my name out there on my own. I advertise via Google Words. I have a facebook fan page now. I post my videos on reddit (and they do pretty well honestly). I am networking at conventions (Guardian Con was AMAZING).

Again, I understand that I am owed nothing by anyone. But at the same time, I personally will never tell anyone I support them unless I actually have done something to show it.

Just like in writing and in tabletop RPGS: SHOW, dont TELL.

If you truly support someone, make sure they know it. Tell them, tell the world, what they mean to you. Help them get your their name out there. Otherwise, you might lose them. Just like the tabletop world has lost me.

I am done with Tabletop RPG Creation. I have 2 things left to do, that I promised I would do, then I am done. Oh I will still play tabletop games with my friends, personally. But write about it? Review it? NOPE. I am done. The public has spoken, they do not want me to create for them.

So if you are reading this, if you found this? Thank you for spending your precious time on me and my story. You have supported me, directly, with your actions. And whether or not you wish to continue, that is your choice.

However, your support, your patronage, your viewership are what keep me doing all of this. And now that I am having fun again, well, I hope you stick around for the ride. Got a lot more indie videos planned, more writing I want to do and books I wanna review, more games to do full reviews on, and the Gen con Vlog (I am gonna focus on board games and card games while I am there).

I hope this sheds light on my own personal struggles and what I have learned, and I hope this helps someone understand that you need to do what you love for yourself, otherwise you could end up in the situation I was in.

Peace out and stay nerdy everyone.

Oh, and the under construction stuff on twitter? Saev pointed out my current “branding” is very tabletop centric. I am working on getting some new stuff that is more Neutral done. The website, twitter, twitch, youtube, all of that will be updated once I have it.

I have no idea where I would be without Saev and Virus to be honest. Thanks you two, you are my brothers from another mother, even if you most likely will never see this message. I know neither of you really read my writings, you prefer my vids and streams haha!

State of the Nerd & Patreon Q&A for June 2019 – 2 Months till Gen Con, 1 month till Guardian Con

Dear god its already June.  Halfway through the year, lets go everyone!

Path of Exile Synthesis Releases 3/8/19 – What is it all about?

So I talked about Path of Exile as a whole already, but now I want to talk specifically about the new league releasing on March 8th, called Synthesis.  First and foremost, every 3ish months Path of Exile releases a new league into the world, with a completely fresh start for players who wish to explore it.  Unlike say Diablo 3, these leagues generally offer completely new mechanics added into the game, and Synthesis is one such example.  Let’s start by showing you the trailer for the new league (expansion):

Synthesis is going to see our Exile meeting a man? entity? ghost? known as Cavas along our journey to defeat the evils plaguing Wraeclast, and assisting him with recovering his fractured and broken memories.  Mechanically, it appears we will enter his memories to defeat enemies and stabilize them before the darkness overtakes us, and the memory is lost.  These small events are very similar it seems to Incursion (a previous league), where we would enter the past briefly to defeat a boss and change a room in the Temple.  I had a lot of fun with Incursion so this excites me.

The dark areas tinged in blue are the collapsing edges of the memory, and they will erase you similar I suppose to how the darkness in Delve worked.

Once we have recovered some memories, we will then be heading into the Memory Nexus, and literally building paths using the memory nodes we recovered to lead to bosses, items, and lore.   Each node we place will have modifiers to the entire memory structure, and those modifiers stack, creating both difficulty and reward.  The longer you make your paths through the memories, the harder things become, the better the loot ya get!  Also, the nodes that are always visible apparently houses unique encounters, bosses, and other rewards.  I hope there is lore as well hidden in those nodes.

You can see the permanent memory nodes in this image, plus the list on the right of unlocked memory fragments we can use to build our paths.  However, each placed node only has so many uses before it vanishes, meaning longer paths will take more nodes, which in turn will make things vastly more difficult!

Mechanically it’s like they are combining Incursions customization and personalized Temple with Delves “choose your own path” gameplay, and I am all for this.  Plus I am honestly curious who Cavas is!  Each league usually brings its own lore and storyline that plays out alongside the main game, and after playing the main game for so long, I am ready for some new stuff.  There is a larger untold story in Path of Exile as it is involving the Elder, Shaper, the history of the Delve, the artifacts referenced by Jun in Betrayal, and more!  There is a ton of stuff going on and I am really excited to see where the memories of Cavas lead us.

Beyond the actual mechanics of the league itself of course come a slew of new uniques and a system called “Fractured Items”.  These items have modifiers that cannot be changed, which is a new thing.  Previously, any time you attempt to “reroll” or craft an item you could lose the modifiers you spent a lot of time to gain, but Fractured Items have modifiers that are locked.  Plus, there is now a “synthesis” system using a device found in the Memory Nexus, that lets you combine Fractured Items to create new items with “implicit” modifiers.  There has been some items shown on the POE Subreddit by Bex (the community manager) that are quite fascinating and I am eager to see what kind of weird items and loot we can find and build alongside the exploration aspects of the league.

There are also going to be a ton of balance changes, tweaks, and new skills being added to the game, which are being teased right now.  One thing they have announced is a rework of all SPELL type gems in the game, which is a massive undertaking if you ask me.  Right now, spells are kind of bad when self-cast (or Hand Cast as they are calling it now) and most folks (myself included) do things like using Traps or Totems to maximize their usage, but the developers goal is to make all spells viable when “hand casting”.  Plus some of the new spells released are looking quite good and are themed towards Holy and Chaos damage which is a new style as well.  If you want to keep up with all the new stuff being talked about I would point ya to the POE Reddit Thread that has links to pretty much all the teasers and releases, and will be the MOST up to date place for news and information you can find!  It’s a great resource and that subreddit is a decent place to chat with your fellow POE players and get a ton of information.  Just make sure to use the daily questions thread.

Personally I am super excited and cannot wait to play Synthesis.  I am most likely going to play as a Storm Brand Elementalist as I loved the Brand playstyle in Betrayal, and they are not super dependent on gear to really get going.  I might eventually try one of the new skills, like Purifying Flame, which seems like a fun thing to try out.  Not sure what I would do with that, maybe try a Inquisitor finally and go ham with Consecrated Ground stuff.

Are you going to try Path of Exile Synthesis?  If so, what build are you going to test out?  What has you excited in the upcoming league and for the future of the game?

A Terminally Nerdy Update

Hello everyone! I figured I would sit down and post here on my blog my current and future plans for Terminally Nerdy. You all might have seen my Patreon post (it was public) going over things a bit but I wanted to go more in detail about what is coming up and why I am doing all this.

First, you all need to understand I suffer ADHD, or Attention Deficiet Hyperactivity Disorder. In my case, its a chemical imbalance in my brain that effects my attention span and my focus along with my short term memory. I was diagnosed back in 1987 (roughly) before “EVERYONE” had ADD. I was on Ritalin until 1999 when I took myself off of it due to the horrible mood swings and anger it caused me as a side effect. For those unaware, Ritalin is Amphetamines. Its Speed. Literally. Thats why its a controlled substance, and why people back in the day tried to get it to get high. People with chemical ADHD like me, according to studies, are uneffected by drugs in that class the way others are. Has something to do with receptors in my brain or something.

Suffice to say, my attention and focus wander frequently. I describe it as “Living in a Room full of Butterflies. My thoughts flutter, and whichever one lands on my table in my head is what my brain wants to deal with”. XKCD did a comic once showing thoughts as Balloons, and I have also heard it described as a room full of fluttering sticky notes that pop on and off the inner walls of the brain. Basically, I can’t force myself to deal with things if my brain just doesn’t want to. In fact, attempting to do so cause me actual mental stress, and can cause MASSIVE amounts of frustration.

In fact, the only reason Terminally Nerdy as a “thing” still exists is because I shift my focus so often. From Tabletop RPGs, to Video Game reviews, to Streams, to Twitter, and back again, because I have so many outlets available to me I am able to stay “focused” on the broader Terminally Nerdy Brand (I hate that phrase, by the way)

I did go over this briefly on Twitter a few weeks ago as well so that might be old news to some of you. But that is the part of the reason why it might seem like I have shifted my focus around. Because, frankly, I have. Its what my brain wants to do at the moment.

Additionally, work has been extra stressful for me as of late, with a lot of changes and things going on that make it much worse on me. I still have my wonderful 55-60 hour work week (and I still only get paid for 40 hours, thanks commute!) and thus still have limited free time, but now the actual job has become much more of a stress inducer. This causes me to have less drive I suppose you could say. Streaming video games like I have these past few weeks has been a way to both Destress (gaming relaxes me) and provide some content.

For those who want to know, I stream at twitch.tv/terminallynerdy and its generally on Saturdays & Sundays, from 10am EST till 2pm EST or so. The end time varies. However I recognize that not everyone LIKES Video Games!

So here is my plan going forward, schedule wise.

Firstly, my Weekends will be as follows (assuming my wife is working, if she is off work she gets priority):

Saturday – A “Clay” Day or Work Day. This will be me either prepping for upcoming Tabletop Games (see below), reading/writing for Terminally Nerdy the Website, recording a Youtube Video, Streaming a Game of some sort, or just taking a day to relax and recharge. Basically I am giving myself one day a week to just take care of business.

Sunday – A Stream day. I will stream something in the mornings on Sunday. Generally starting at 10am EST and running till 2pm EST. This could be a video game I am working on to review, an RPG I just wanna share, or even a Tabletop RPG One Shot.

Now, one of my Patron rewards, which I admit I have been slacking on, is Patreon One Shots. I have done a couple, but I keep pushing em off. No more. My Patrons will be getting a One Shot at least every 2 months, using the Savage Worlds ruleset. They (my patrons) know my plans, and I hope to have the first one ready by End of October.  These will be streamed publicly on Twitch in my Morning Slot on either Saturday or Sunday depending on my schedule. They will be using the Herald: Lovecraft and Tesla setting created by Ravendesk Games and will be titled “The Order of the Raven”.  If you want to become a Patron, you can visit my Patreon here to learn more.

Additionally, I will soon have an Evening, Once a Month live stream, of PUGMIRE! This will be a Tabletop RPG Campaign featuring my wife, Saevrick, Walking Virus Gaming, MK, and Kraven Gaming. Pugmire, for those unaware, is a variant of DND 5E but instead of traditional fantasy races, you play as Anthropomorphic Dogs (or Cats if you got Monarchies of Mau). This will run once a Month on a Saturday Night, from 530pm EST till about 830pm EST. Yes, I will be GMing a game, that you can watch, at the twitch channel above.

Finally, I intend to have at least one blog post or youtube video posted every month. Preferrably every 2 weeks but I need time to get my head on straight and not go completely mad from stress ya know. My health, both physical and mental, demands I take some time off for me.

So those are the plans for now. But as we always know, plans change, things change, and life changes.

I am currently working on Rune Factory 4 for the Nintendo 2DS/3DS systems, so that is a review that will be on the way. I am also streaming Kingdoms of Amalur Reckoning, which will be reviewed down the road as well. After Amalur I might do Dragon Age Inquisition OR Divinity Original Sin 1 EE (I just picked that up on Sale today!).

So basically more streaming content, still more blog posts, still more stuff in general. Its just gonna be a little random as to what I do. Also I will most likely NOT be taking anything new to review until I catch up on my backlog. I just have to…get my brain to be interested in DOING that.

Also, quick update for my Gen Con 2019 plans: I am at 60% funded, which means I have $800 more to go before I am fully funded for Gen Con. Thats kind of unreal when you think about it really. Of course, in 13 days my personal challenge of being fully funded by End of September will be over, and that means that unless I get the remaining $800 / 40% in 13 days, I will not have to run 2 public Savage Worlds games at Gen Con. If you want to donate to my fund, you can visit my KoFi.

Pretty sure that won’t be happening hehe.

Anyway, thanks for reading, let me know in the comments if any of this catches your fancy, and remember to Stay Nerdy everyone!

Clay vs Cons Part 3: What on Earth is Happening?!

Read PART 1 HERE, to understand where this all started.  Read PART 2 HERE to understand my plan and budget concerns.  On to Part 3.

48 Hours since I started this Gen Con 2019 Fundraising.

– 43 Donations
– $451.78 Raised out of $2000
– Total Percent Achieved: 23%

Thats done in 48 hours. Thats…mind boggling

But it gets crazier.

First Squid Kittens decided to give dice away to the first 5 people who sent her proof of a donation. No idea if she ever sent 5 or not.

Then, Mithril Punk decided to dive in, stating that once I hit 100% funding, they would provide one of their adventures for FREE for a week!

Out of nowhere following this, Shimmerwind decided he wanted to run a Giveaway for when I hit 60% funding, offering up his Wyrmgear Dragon to someone who likes / retweets his tweet!

Then I made a comment about how I might try to figure out how to Cosplay, as my Twitter Icon. One of my followers / Patrons Aras Sivad decides to chime in with the promise that once I meet my goal of 100% funding, SHE WILL MAKE THIS COSPLAY HAPPEN! Complete with Greg the Red Dragon!

After that I got a DM from Dungeons and Diapers offering a copy of his book, A Parents Guide to Classes, once I hit 30% to someone at random.

Following that, I decided to jump in, and posted a CHALLENGE where if I hit my goal by 9/30/18, I would run 2 Public Games at GenCon, using Savage Worlds. (I later amended it would be most likely in the morning, not night)

But we are STILL not done! Later in the afternoon the Savage Worlds Brand Manager decided to, in support of all this, created a Custom Edge for Savage Worlds NAMED AFTER ME!!?!?

And then, just a bit ago, Meditating Munky, a fantastic Roll20 map creator, decided to tell me that once I hit 100% funding, he will run a contest to give away 1 Custom Roll20 Dungeon Map created by him for free, with the requirements that it fits in Roll20 and is under 10mb in size, so no MegaDungeons.

And right before I go to bed, Tales of a New DM decides they want to give away one of their Custom Dice Trays once I hit 50% of my goal!  Along with Kanthos deciding to offer a drawing for a full 15 Printed Custom Monster Codex created once I hit 100%!

The outpouring of support for one random dude on the internet just astounds me. ASTOUNDS ME. The number of people who are cheering me on, sharing this nonsense, telling me I have to run a meetup one night if I go so people can find me its just…

Its unreal.

ITS UNREAL.

DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW UNREAL THIS ALL IS FOR ME?!

Even if this fails. Even if I dont make the goals, if I never reach 100%, if I dont go to Gen Con in 2019, this has shown me something. This has shown me the power people really have to make a difference in other peoples lives. And apparently, I make a difference in some folks lives because, well, they are sure as hell showing it here.

CURRENT STATUS: 26%. 494 Ko-Fi donations to go as of 8/9

Can I make it? I dunno.

But its gonna be a hell of a ride. Click the Goal Link to join the madness.  And below that will be a handy InfoGraphic showing the current status of giveaways, and amount raised!

Introspective: Another Trip Around the Sun Done

This past weekend was my birthday.

It was also my wifes birthday.

It was also our anniversary.

Yes all 3 are on the same day.  I am a year older then my wife.

Every year when my birthday passes I get introspective.  I look at where my life has been, where it seems to be going, and if I have become a better person or accomplished something worthwhile beyond just surviving another year on this planet.  Get ready cause this post might get a little depressing at the start.

I don’t like my birthday very much.  I never have.  As a kid I didn’t have friends so I never had the classic “birthday party”.  We would usually go out to eat somewhere I picked and that was about it.  As I got older, I found people just didn’t know what to gift me as my family are nothing like me and couldn’t understand my interests.  Similar shit happened at Christmas frequently which is prolly why I am not a huge fan of that day either.  At this point in my adult life they are just another day for me.  For my birthday my usual hope is to spend it with my wife.  For Christmas it’s to just survive.

This last birthday was little different.  I managed to avoid thinking about it too much by spending our weekend together playing Final Fantasy 14, and our Planescape DND Game (with Saevrick, Walking Virus, Shelbutt, Brax, and a guest named Jasmine) on Saturday evening.  As I write this on Monday though, sitting at work with my mind allowed to wander, I started to think again, about everything.

Like many creative folk I suffer from Imposter Syndrome, worried that eventually everyone out there will figure out just how much of a fraud I am, and how I don’t belong ect ect.  I can’t help it, I can only deal with it.  I especially feel that way because as much as I want to believe I have done something worthwhile its hard to see it.

Sure I have a lot of supporters, yes.  Plenty of twitter followers and patrons and views on the blog and all that jazz.  But all I can think about is “I wonder how long it will be till I anger them, or fail them, or run them off?”  Logically I don’t think I will be there will always be this little asshole voice in the back of my head yelling that at me.  Sometimes he gets so loud its hard to think of anything else.  Other times, its barely there.  My birthday is when its especially loud.

And its loud because no matter how hard I want to slice it I never seem to make much headway in life.  Its a constant struggle to push forward and try to get somewhere.  In fact, I am 36 now and its ONLY in these last two years of my life really that I can really say I have achieved much of anything.  And that which I have achieved has really not effected me in any major way because every time I make a little headway something else seems to come along to smack me down.

Case in point: Got a bunch of patrons, but now dealing with increased costs from work commute and insurance for work.  One thing caused a positive gain, the other a negative gain, thus almost perfectly balancing out.

I will say that the future looks brighter.  I am not as sad or annoyed or anything this year as I have been in past years.  Things are going better, every day it seems.  It’s just a long uphill climb and it’s not easy.  It’s never going to BE easy.  It feels at times with my 60 hour work weeks (9 hour work days + 3 hours of commute total x 5 = 60) that this blog, the patron, everything I am doing is a second job.  Anyone who claims this sort of thing is easy is lying their ass off to you.  I also think I really need a vacation from my day job, but sadly our work has a policy of taking your PTO if you miss work, and my health conditions cause me to miss work enough that I literally NEVER have Vacation Time.

But at the same time hard work does, slowly but surely, pay off.  I like to think that maybe down the line I will do something that people love, that helps others.  That makes the world a better place in some fashion, that brings light to others.  Even if that light never reaches me.

I still have to work on my Project but frankly I have been demotivated for it.  I don’t know why.  My brain doesn’t want to think about it.  I still need to find time this weekend to prep and setup a Patron one shot for my patrons.  I know some of them signed up specifically FOR a chance at this.  I managed to setup a custom dice bag with Greyed Out, I got a TeePublic Storefront with a design on it along with another one in the works (eventually) so I mean there is positive motion in my life.

And I am excited to see where things go from here.  I have to say my life has been improving, slowly but surely, these last few years.  I have friends, I have fans, I have a few people I call family now as well.  And eventually I have to believe that the good will outweigh the bad.  Because right now, slowly but surely, I think it is.

Happy Birthday to Me I suppose.  I survived another year, and the future is finally starting to look truly bright for me.  In some fashion or another.  Hopefully I can continue to do whatever it is I do for all you guys who read this stuff.  All like 20 of ya.

Thanks for reading and remember: Get those Crits, Take those Hits, Keep Pushing Through and Stay Nerdy!

State of the Nerd – March 2018

I figured I would take a minute and update all my readers (I have readers? Thats weird) about where things are going and how I am doing.

So far, personally, 2018 has been extremely unpleasant. My hands are starting to have issues yet again (the pain comes and goes), which makes my day job very difficult (I write all day for a job, appeal letters to insurance companies).

Additionally my work commute went from 15 minutes one way to an hour and a half one way, which basically makes my work day nearly 12 hours+. I wake up every day at 5am, leave the house at 630am, and I am not back home till 6pm most nights. Assuming I dont have to stop to get gas or shop or anything. Then I am in bed by 830pm.

Not a lot of time to work on really anything. I am usually too brainfried to try.

Further still, my wifes hours are getting mucked about with at work which puts a further financial strain on my life. We still have to get dental work done for her, plus I have to do a $250 car maintenance job (good ol 15000 factory maintenance!) this month.

Thats a LOT of bad all at once.

But there has been some good I suppose.

First, I was able to get in contact with the creator of the game Gleaner Heights, which is best described as Twin Peaks meets Harvest Moon. I will be doing a video review on that once I get a good ways into the game. Prolly once I finish Year 1 so I can see as many of the in game events as possible.

Second, my wife and I got Legion Flying in WoW and unlocked the Highmountain and Nightborne Allied races, which may not seem like much to non WoW players but it was a big deal for us. I like Cow People what can I say!

Third, the blog has been pretty consistent traffic wise. I am getting usually 120 – 160 hits a day. Almost ALL of those hits however are on a single post, the Divine Soul Sorcerer post. Seriously, that thing gets nearly 100 a day. Guess no one cares about the rest but at least I did something good!

Finally, I am working on reading 1897 by FASA Games to review that, and this Saturday 3/10 I got a “DND Creators Meetup” in Orlando to go to, which honestly kinda terrifies me. Oh and I am gonna try to get another one of the PDFs I got reviewed this month as well.

So there ya have it. 3 months roughly into 2018 and….eh. Its pretty much a wash. I only hope things get better going forward from here.

I HOPE.

Oh yea I also started writing a Mech RPG. Thats gonna take a while though.

Future Plans, Updates, and More!

EDIT: THE PATRON CHANGES HAVE BEEN CANCELED!  Still doesnt change how much cash I am bring in from it due to what I changed, but still, this will be here now as an Archive of what Patreon tried to do here.

This is going to be a long post so strap yourselves in! This post is part of my whole “Transparency” value, where I make clear my plans going forward and the reasoning behind them.

Its time for a small update to everyone who has been reading my little corner of the net here. Hello readers, how are you doing on this fine day? Or whatever day you are reading this. I do hope its a good day.

First up, I wanna talk Patreon. For those unaware, I do have one. You can find a link at the top of the site as well as over on the sidebar if you care to go look. Currently, Patreon is planning to unleash some changes come 12/18/17 and these changes are quite a major pain in the ass.

Basically, the way Patreon used to work was as follows: You would pledge an amount of money to a creator (lets say $1). The creator would have their Patreon setup to either charge per creation or per month. At the first of the month, you would be charged your pledge (lets again say $1) and then the Creator would get that money after Patreon took 5% and any payment processing fees. Usually the creators got about 65 cents to the dollar. The vast majority of creators as well was fine with this. It makes sense. Customers generally dont pay the fees, the business does. You dont go to Walmart and pay the credit card processing fees for example.

However, the current plan come 12/18 is to change all this. The Creators will still get charged a 5% fee from Patreon, which is how Patreon itself makes its money. However, Supports will now pay a 2.9% + 35 cent fee on EACH pledge they have.

Pledge to 1 person, at $1 a month? Your new monthly bill will be $1.38.
Pledge to 10 people at $1 a month? Its not $10 anymore, its now $13.80.

This is a massive increase and the reaction has been completely negative across the board. I myself used to do “Per Creation”, and those get that fee on EACH creation as well! In essence, Patreon is treating each Creation that a Creator charges for as a new pledge. Normally, for example, if I posted 4 things, a supporter would get charged their pledge 4 times ($1 per creation x 4 creations = $4 at the end of the month). However, now a supporter would get charged their pledge PLUS the fee PER CREATION ($1 per creation + fee = $1.38 x 4 = $5.52).

Massive differences. Because of this, I changed my Patreon to a Per Month charge so my supporters only get charged once for that bloody fee. To be honest its also easier to budget with that change as well for everyone involved.

However, making this changed also did quite the number of my possible income. Originally, I had quite a few Supporters who gave me $1 per creation, but would set the monthly limit to like $5 a month max. This meant as long as I did weekly posts I would get about $4 – $5 a month from them. However, once I switched to monthly Patreon automatically set every one of those pledges to $1 a month flat and many of them have not updated to reflect the change, either because the fee hurts them too much or they just havent realized what happened (despite my multiple notifications). After taking out the 5% fee and my own Support to other creators, I am going to be getting about $35 a month now. Before it was around $70. BIG change.

Still, I dont live on that money, so its not a huge hurt. In fact, I really don’t know what to do with that money most of the time. Admittedly, I created a Patreon back in April 2017 because several people suggested I do so, so they could throw money at me in exchange for the content I was providing, and they have supported me ever since. Along with more.

I love each of my Supporters no matter how much they give. Its why I only have 1 reward tier. I treat every person the same no matter how large or small their support of me is.

Originally when I focused on Video Content the money was going to funnel into PC upgrades, camera upgrades, and new tabletop products. Since I have now switched to MOSTLY written, and I am adding monthly Video Game RPG reviews, the plan for that cash has changed a bit. First up, I need to make sure that I save at least $100 a year from my Patreon funds to cover the cost of Webhosting. That is how much this site + domain name will run me a year, and I aim to keep it. Second, I currently plan to get a game console of some sort to expand my options when it comes to RPG Video Games.

Since I have gotten quite a few contacts in the Tabletop RPG world its become fairly easy for me to get new books, adventures, and products to review. In fact, I got yet another one called Michtim coming to me from a creator which looks like it will be a fun and cute book. I am pretty sure I will never run out of Tabletop stuff to review or talk about, especially since a couple of creators are now just going to be sending me copies of their stuff every time they come up with something new.

So where does that leave the extra Patron money? And thus came the idea of a console for Console Exclusive RPGs.

I have done quite a bit of research and originally had the idea of purchasing either a PS4 Pro, a Nintendo Switch, or a Nintendo New 3DS XL or New 2DS XL. My research focused on RPG Library (Exclusives), and Cost mostly.

The PS4 Pro, after taking a look, went right out the window. Since I am going to be using Patreon funds for this, I had to look at how long it would take to save up for the system and at least one game to get started. The PS4 Pro runs $350-$400 depending on model. Then I would want to get a Capture Device for it, which is another $100. Each game would generally run $40-$60 as well. Additionally, many of the RPGs on here are also found on the PC. The only exclusives I can really think of off hand are Persona 5 and Horizon Zero Dawn. And I would want the PS4 Pro so I could possibly eventually do VR RPGs on it. If you are going to grab a system like this you want to future proof as much as you can.

The Switch was up next but the biggest issue here is simple library. Its too new, and doesn’t have an expansive library. While that MAY change in the future, the fact remains that many of the games that are not Nintendo exclusive may very well appear on PC as well. Plus finding one can be a bit of a chore. On the plus side it is portable and is the newest system, but then I gotta factor in cost. $300 for the system + $60 for each new game. I would also need that $100 capture device for this as well if I wanted to do Video Reviews.

That left the New 3DS XL or New 2DS XL. Cost wise, this is the cheapest option at $150 for the New 2DS and $199 for the new 3DS. After research, there is no difference in hardware between the two beyond lack of 3D on the New 2DS XL. Additionally, being backwards compatiable with many DS Games means the available library of games is massive, and most of them brand new run $40, and drop in price if you get em used. Also the system is portable meaning I can take it with me and play games on breaks and lunch at work which helps speed up playtime. The negative here is that doing video capture of 3DS games is nearly impossible without heavy modifications to the system.

After careful consideration and discussion I have decided to go with a New 2DS XL. So right now, my plan is to save my Patreon funds till I get enough to purchase both a system and a game to go with it (So around $200), and then review that game asap for the site. Sadly it will be a written review rather then video unless I get really creative with camera use (I do have a Camera Arm so its not like I couldnt figure a way to do it) but then again Nintendo HATES video of its products it seems. At least I can take in game Screenshots. I already know what game I am going to grab as well: Xenoblade Chronicles 3D. Its a nice meaty JRPG and should provide quite a bit to talk about, especially since its a port of a Wii game that I dabbled it back when it released. Couldnt stand the Wii controls though (in general I am not a fan of the Wii and its wierd ass controllers)

Finally lets talk about the rest of December and how the blog has been doing. Beyond a spike on the Elex review, which was because I posted links on Reddit, the blog has been doing about what I expected. I am getting around 10-30 views a day, sometimes a few more if I post something, and slowly but surely I seem to be gaining a readership I THINK. Its hard to tell. However, I am not beholden to anything like Youtube and trying to fight for space there, no metrics I have to worry about, so thats a huge load off my mind.

I have had a few guest posts which people seem to enjoy. The Darksun ones by Saevrick seem to be my most popular blog posts in general actually. Tells me that boy should be writing on his own really but for now I will be his host.

Going forward for the rest of December, I have the Mass Effect Andromeda review planned, a Plot Hook post, and a video review of the book Lost Artifacts of Greyghast which is just a singularly massive tome of magic items for 5E. Also my January Game Review is going to be of Okami HD. I wanted something different for the new year, and given that the game released yesterday (and I already have my copy installed!) I was like why not!

So there you have it. A indepth review of how things are going, where they are going, and my current plans going forward. I hope you all enjoy my site. You can find me on twitter by clicking over there in the Sidebar, or just leave a comment here if you feel like chatting.

Oh, and my Discord server is now open to the public. There is still a special super hidden Patron only room, but the rest of you can join, chat, and generally run amuk. Just dont be a dick and we will be fine.

The Past Revisited – Actual Play Streams/Podcasts: Perception vs Reality

So, my first Patreon Supported post.  Feels good!  This is for the Blog Carnival I found thanks to Chris (HI CHRIS!) and the idea was to write a sequel about a previous blog post you had done (The Topic is called “The Past Revisited” after all!).  Well, considering I had not done any blog posts yet, but HAVE done videos, I figured I would write about one of those.  I chose my literal most popular video, “Actual Plays: Perception vs Reality” where I basically criticized shows like Critical Role for having a possible negative impact on the D&D Community at large, by creating a skewed idea of how D&D works out.  How do I think about it now?  Well read on!

Firstly, lets link the original video from way back in January 2017:

When I originally did that video, it was a spur of the moment event.  I had been in a twitter conversation with Matt Mercer and a gent named Goblin Stomper about the idea of professional D&D players / actual play streams.  I went home after work, recorded that, posted it, and got quite a bit of flak.  Some deserved, and some undeserved (no one seemed to get that I knew the issues involved self esteem were my own!)

Now, at the time I had been doing D&D related content for a grand total of 4 months.  That’s not very long in the grand scheme of things at all.  At this point in my online life, I have been doing D&D related stuff for nearly 15 months!  And I have learned a great deal and changed a surprisingly amount since then.  The biggest question is: Do I still feel the same way about Actual Plays?

The answer is no, and here is why.

“Perception is Everything”

Originally, I felt that the idea of professional D&D players was rather absurd.  I mean, how could you “BE” a professional Roleplayer!  Further, I was kind of against the idea of being paid to DM at that time.  Obviously my ideals have since changed.  I have been involved in a long running online game since then, run one myself, and I have seen the positive impact things like Critical Role, the C Team, Hyper RPG, EncounterRP, and others have had on the community.

I realized that I don’t NEED to be like Matt Mercer or Will or Grant Ellis or Askren or any of these fantastic DMs.  I have my own style, for one, and people seem to like playing with me.  Further, the sheer popularity of these online streams and podcasts have expanded the audience for both content like this AND more supplements from indie companies to heights I have never seen before.  Sure, you might get the occasional instance of someone seeing one of these professional produced shows and after playing realize that a home game isn’t anything like these, but I don’t think that really hurts the hobby as whole like I originally did.

When I posted that video, I had seen a single episode of a single Critical Role, and had not watched nor really listened to any Actual Plays before then.  I simply hadn’t bothered.  I was basically being an uninformed opinionated idiot (Oh hey, a common person on the net!).  I have since watched 2 episodes of Crit Role (the very first, and the climax), and jumped in here and there when I could watching some other shows and listening when I can to podcasts.

Some of them are professionally produced sure.  Our home games will never be like them simply due to budget.  I mean I can’t afford that much Dwarven Forge!  But they don’t have to be either.  Because what things like Crit Role / C Team / Others show is the utter passion that D&D can bring out in a person.  Watching Sam Reigel tear up because he could not save his friend as Scanlan shows just the kind of impact this silly game we play can have on a person.  Watching the expression on Matt Mercers face when the events unfolded at the table.  The emotion on Liam’s face when he realized just what Sam had done.  It was beautiful.

Further, its inspired me rather then upset me.  I want to achieve the level of emotion that Crit Role has achieved in my own games.  I want to see my players get wrapped up into the story and their characters.  Its given me a goal to aim for now, rather then made me feel inferior.

Additionally, the mainstream appeal of shows like the C Team and Crit Role, and their prominence in cons like Pax Unplugged shows that more and more people are embracing our hobby.  Just look on twitter and reddit and you will see people asking how to get started with Dungeons and Dragons, how to setup their own streams and podcasts.  You will see artists appearing showing off amazing work, and you will see people helping each other to understand how the game is played.  More indie authors are finding work and creating amazing adventures for others to use.  The industry is booming with opportunities!

And frankly, I want to see MORE!  I want to see more people post their games, talk about their games, write about their games.  I want to see more stories out there shared.  I want D&D to become more mainstream, where we can see people like Vin Diesel play online and show off their nerd side (No joke, Vin played in a special episode of Crit Role to promote the Witch Hunter).  I want to see friends of mine realize their dream of becoming published adventure writers and creators.  I want to see my fellow bloggers achieve notoriety.  I want to see Dungeons and Dragons, and the Tabletop community at large, GROW!

Dungeons and Dragons is coming out into the spotlight and I am happy to be here to see it, and more so to be a part of it.

Maybe one day I will see you play your game reader.

Anyway, that’s all I have for today.  Thank you for reading and always remember: STAY NERDY!