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The year of 2022 hasn’t been as different from the previous couple of years as we might have thought. Though things are returning to normal, our gaming continues to be online in order to keep remote friends at the games.

We finally finished our Pathfinder game of Strange Aeons in February, which was I think a relief for several of us, including the GM. I’m at the end of my patience for D&D-like games at the moment, and though I might gain interest again in the future I’d like to take a break for a few years. There’s still plenty of Pathfinder adventure paths I’d like to play/run, but there are also other games on my list as well. The whole class/level thing gets tiring after a while, as does the general theme of needing to kill monsters in order to move the plot forward.

After Pathfinder we had a short game of the Aliens RPG. This was our first real game on FoundryVTT (last year I did a quick one player game to try things out), and it worked well. It was definitely an improvement over Roll20, and the full adventure and rules were all available as a (paid for) system and module for Foundry.

This short game gave another GM long enough to prep a new Ars Magica saga, which is still running and going well. We’re running this on Roll20, but it’s mostly theatre of the mind so the platform doesn’t matter as much. Soon after we started, I discovered that there was an Ars Magica system being worked on for Foundry, but by that point it was too late. Also, I think the free and simple nature of getting a Roll20 game running was probably a better choice for a non-technical GM, as much as I might like to fiddle with the more technically complicated Foundry system. Since this is our weekly Monday game, we could have moved back to playing face to face, but one player is in Scotland and we didn’t want to lose him.

My online Traveller game of Deepnight Revelation has continued, though we lost a number of players. We gained two and lost three, so I’m down to just two players. I think an extra player or two would improve things, but it’s running fine as is. It’s difficult to judge how far through we are, but I think there’s a reasonable chance of finishing things by the end of 2023. At least, that’s my goal.

I continued to publish some Traveller TAS supplements to DriveThruRPG over the course of the year. I had planned to release part 2 of my Travellers’ Dozen supplement about six months ago, but things got sidetracked.

I wanted to include some ship deck plans this time, which allowed me to procrastinate until the new High Guard came out. Then I realised I wanted to draw my own Dungeondraft assets, which took a few months. I eventually finished things this week, and it went out today. So A Travellers’ Dozen 2 is now available for sale. It’s considerably larger than the first, and now includes deck plans as well as renders of the various ships.

The use of deck plans was partly a practice run since I have plans for a product that will consist of wholly new ship designs for small (sub-1000t) trading vessels. That’s a plan for next year, though it’s not my only one. My other products have continued to sell, bringing in a small income. I do have plans to grow my library of products over the next few years, but currently it’s still at the hobby stage. The other two products that got released were in my Wonders of a Solar System series:

Another distraction was FoundryVTT. I decided I wanted to move my Traveller campaign from Roll20 across to Foundry, but the only Traveller system was TwoDSix, which is more suited to the Cepheus engine rather than Mongoose. It also had some ways of doing things that I wasn’t a fan of. Highly flexible, but not what I was looking for. So I’ve spent quite a bit of time learning to program Foundry. I’ve got things to the point where I have my own implementation of Mongoose Traveller running, well enough to run my game with. It’s currently a private project though, and not something I can release to the public without the permission of Mongoose.

As a side effect of this work, I also produced two Foundry modules:

Both are free, and both seem to be well received. They are system agnostic, so work with any Foundry system, including TwoDSix. So even if my work on the Mongoose system goes nowhere, then something publicly useful has come out of it.

Finally, the big change this year was that we started attending a local Wargames club. This has given us an excuse to start playing wargames again – mostly Saga and Full Thrust, but some other games as well as we explore our mostly unused collection. The club is mostly into historical, but I’m hoping to find people willing to try other things.

Part of a Saga Irish warband

This has meant more time is being spent painting, but at least it’s directed at specific armies which are actually going to be used. Viking, Irish and Anglo-Saxon armies are at the core of what we’re using for Saga, but I also have an Undead and Great Kingdoms army for Saga Age of Magic.

I’m currently prepping for a return to Stargrunt and Dirtside as well, hopefully within the next week or so. I have way too many things I want to spend time on at the moment, which I suppose is better than being bored (the concept of people having nothing to do and being bored is one that I find very alien).

I haven’t spent nearly as much time as I’d like on WorldGen, with most programming time being spent on the Foundry side of things. I have managed to read a total of 7 books this year, which is considerably fewer than I’d prefer.

Gaming wise though, it’s been a lot busier than previously. We’ve also started getting back into board gaming sessions, though have only managed a few this year. With three regular gaming nights a week, I’m expecting things to be just as busy, and I still have plenty of things I want to program, publish and paint to fit around my day job. With more games working under Linux on Steam, I’d also finding other distractions.

I don’t expect 2023 to be much different.

Samuel Penn