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This week it’s this website’s birthday. Twice, if you can believe that.
I started this site on July 22nd, 2015. I hadn’t played D&D for a long time, but I’d been feeling the itch for a while. I’d been watching Titansgrave on Geek & Sundry and really wanting to get back into RPGs, and was starting to think about getting a game together. Then along came a little show called Critical Role, and I was introduced to 5th edition D&D. I hadn’t played since 3.5, but as I got hooked on Critical Role I knew that I had to start playing again. So I did.
Then, through a series of events I can’t quite remember, I saw that the Critters RPG fansite (sadly no longer being updated) were looking for writers. I decided to throw my hat in the ring, and wrote a post about creating characters. Previously I’d only really written fiction and academic work; I wasn’t really sure if I’d be suited to blog style writing, but it turned out I both really enjoyed it and wasn’t entirely terrible at it.
I wrote a few posts for Critters RPG and started drawing maps again after years of not doing it, and I decided that I was going to set up a website.
This website. Obviously.
Then, as often happens with projects that I start, I fell behind and gave up rather than carry on. The first ‘year’ of Loot The Room consisted of 10 posts – roughly 5,000 words, or about the same as one of my assignments for my MA – and 5 maps.
In July 2016 I got an email reminding me that it was time to renew my domain, and I had to have a long discussion with myself about whether or not I was going to make a go of this thing. Eventually I decided that I’d enjoyed it and missed working on it, and that this was a good excuse to throw myself back into it again. So I renewed the domain, redesigned things a little, and on July 16th 2016 I rebooted the site.
The next month or two followed roughly the same pattern as when I initially launched the site. Then I found out about Miska Fredman‘s Mapvember mapping challenge, and I decided to throw myself into it. I told myself that if I couldn’t commit to producing a month of content that I would let the site die and write it off as a bad idea.
It was a little hit or miss, but I got through Mapvember. I’d enjoyed it a lot, and I could see my maps beginning to improve, so in mid-December 2016 I sat down and figured out a thrice-weekly schedule of content that I thought I could stick to. And here we are now.
In the past 365 days I’ve produced 83 maps for the site and written roughly 130,000 words. I’ve published 7 supplements on DMs Guild, taken on numerous comissions for maps, started a Patreon campaign that so far hasn’t failed horribly (thank you!), and been nominated for an ENnie for Best Blog. I’d say it’s been a pretty good 12 months.
Honestly, I only realised in the past couple of days that this anniversary was coming up, so I haven’t really got anything special planned. I’ll be streaming on Twitch tonight from 20:00 BST/12:00 PST, since it’s Sunday, and there might be cake involved, but other than that this post is about all I’m going to do to celebrate.
Thank you to everybody who has supported me over the past 12 months, whether you’re a Patron, somebody who’s bought my stuff on DMs Guild, or somebody who’s reading the site. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working on Loot The Room for the past year, and I never could have imagined that it would do as well as it has done. In particular, thank you to Matt Abernathy, Kimmy Davis, Jeff Stevens, and Phil Beckwith. You were all instrumental in helping me find my feet while I was starting this, and in encouraging me to keep going. I really appreciate it. And, of course, huge thanks to those of you who like the site enough to support me through Patreon. You keep the lights on here, and I’m eternally grateful for that.
In doing my rough wordcount of the site, I ended up looking at everything I’ve ever posted here. Since I have a lot more readers now than I did a year ago – or even two months ago – I thought I’d link a few of the posts that I’m particularly happy with, in case you haven’t seen them. If you’ve got a minute spare, give them a read. I think you’ll enjoy them.
And thanks again.