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From a gaming perspective, 2023 has been a relatively steady year. I’ve been continuing to run the Traveller campaign Deepnight Revelation, and I’ve been playing in the Druids’ Dale saga for Ars Magica. This has probably been the most static we’ve been for RPGs for a long time – normally we have multiple GMs switching between different games in a year, but we have a couple of long running stable campaigns that both look like they will be running long into next year.

Ars Magica has continued to run on Roll20, and Traveller moved to FoundryVTT back to 2022. I’m still using my own implementation of Traveller for Foundry, which has continued to go more or less smoothly. I’ve barely touched the core code this year, apart from a couple of spurts of enthusiasm to add in some support for some extra things which I don’t really currently need (but which were fun to add).

Over the holidays, I’ve been cleaning up the UI, fixing bugs and adding in better support for combat stuff. We don’t do much combat, so it’s not something that’s hugely needed, but it’s been interesting to figure out how to do it. There’s now support for reactions (dodges and parries), stun damage and displaying effects better on the character sheet. I’ve also added tracking of ammunition, though I don’t know how useful that actually is. I do wonder whether I’d have been better off just using the TwoDSix system for Foundry, but I had my reasons at the time for doing my own, and it does mean it works a lot more how I want it to. Plus, learning a new development framework is something I enjoy doing.

In other gaming, we’ve continued to do (mostly) weekly war gaming. Things have been more varied here, with us managing to get in games of:

  • Dirtside II
  • Saga Age of Vikings / Age of Magic
  • Stargrunt II
  • Full Thrust
  • War Cry
  • Pulp Alley
  • Dragon / Lion / Xenos Rampant
  • Babylon 5 Wars

I have started preparing a late Roman army for Saga Age of Invasions, plus have been doing more work on my modern rules for Dirtside. I hope to have these ready for early next year. I also picked up 7TV, but haven’t had a chance to play it. This is mostly because I don’t have much terrain for anything other than wilderness games, whereas 7TV feels like it should be more urban in nature.

The main game publishing activity I’ve worked on this year has been my Ships of Elite for Traveller. This was an interesting side project, but did distract me away from some other projects I had been planning to work on – mostly a collection of trader ship designs for sale on DriveThru, which has now been delayed into next year. What I did publish were:

The last was an experiment in producing world maps and animations, though hasn’t done as well as the others. If it had done well, then I had plans for more (I have several types of world in mind), but I think I’ll shelve those ideas for now. Whether it just doesn’t interest people, isn’t the quality people are looking for, or simply that the price isn’t right I don’t know.

My trade ship designs were partly put on hold due to Mongoose releasing the very similar Adventure Class Ships. Hopefully when I do get around to finishing it, the full deck plans and ship models that it will include (similar to my Ships of Elite series) will be enough of a differentiator.

After that, my thoughts are to create some designs for larger vessels (similar to Marlow Light Freighter). Maybe even some space stations or star ports.

Next year I expect to me more of the same. Traveller should be continuing (though I would like to wrap up the campaign by the end of the year), as will Ars Magica. There is a possibility that we’ll get to play some Call of Cthulhu as well – which might even be face to face. As for the previous few years, the only face to face gaming that we’ve done has been wargaming and a few boardgaming sessions. It would be nice to do some face to face RPGs again if we can.

Samuel Penn