What’s Going On? 5th of May, 2018

You fine folks who follow Only In Death’s various web presences may have noticed that there haven’t been any new episodes for the last two Fridays. You may have also noticed that the Only In Death Patreon page is currently offline.

You may well be saying to yourself, in the words of 4 Non Blondes, “Hey – what’s going on?”

What’s going on:

Firstly, we’ve had a few scheduling issues, as tends to happen when trying to get five people together on a regular basis. April and May have been fairly laden with conventions and family events, and with Warhammer Fest on in the UK on May 11th, Sim may only be able to do a short session.

In a similar vein, the mighty Scott Doucet, player of the ambitious Blood Angel Assault Marine, Brother Matthias Veinglory, has chosen to step out of the game for the foreseeable future as his business and the recent birth of his and his wife’s first child are understandably taking the lion’s share of his time and energy. (All the best to you and your family, Scott!)

I’ve made some overtures to another friend about possibly joining the campaign and she has expressed an interest; it’s my hope to have hear ready to roll with a level 1 Deathwatch Marine before Saturday!

Secondly, in light of the above franticness and some frustration I’ve had with prepping sessions, I decided to take a brief break from game mastering last week. Working on Only In Death requires exercise of mental muscles that still need strengthening (despite my love of RPGs, I’ve not played or GMed much in the last several years), and I wanted to get a little more experience on the other side of the GM’s screen.

The ever-gracious Rebel stepped in to introduce myself (and Sim, I think) to Dungeon World, the fabulous RPG that used the Powered by the Apocalypse framework to tell thrilling tales of dungeon delving. We decided not to record the session to take the pressure off and let ourselves be as silly as we wanted. Reb gave us an absolute blast and we home to return to the adventures of Chook, the bogan wizard (Sim) and Priscilla, the tropical shirt-clad barbarian (me) again sometime soon! (The aforementioned family schedules prevented Ketch from making it along.)

Thirdly, while the “Final Sanction” module has been great for getting my GM sea legs, I’ve been getting a little tired of the rather generic combats that the players ought to be involved in so that they can secure more PDF Support Units. Jazzing them up is also something I’m not really interested in.

I’m getting the itch to try something of my own, something that gets straight to the stuff the players would like to be doing a bit more often, and have been resurrecting some notes from a previous attempt to run Deathwatch a few years back. I’m also trying to avoid over-planning, especially in terms of creating events that, depending on what the players choose to do, may never happen.

Fourthly and finally, I’ve struggled with burnout lately. GMing Only In Death and publishing the sessions as a podcast have got a little bit much, especially when I’m still building my game master skills and confidence. There are times when I’d rather devote the time required to edit episodes, update the site and social media and provide Patreon content toward really exploring my tastes and skills (Tales From The Loop is a tempting GM option) and getting different perspectives on the hobby.

(I also tend to get up early to work on edits – not to mention play the game / record the sessions – and I’ve discovered I operate better on enough sleep.)

I have been very glad to see Only In Death build a following and make bonds with fellow RPG podcasters (Ulisses North America, the license holders for Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay and publishers of the upcoming Wrath & Glory, even followed the OID Twitter account a few days ago!), but I sometimes wonder whether I should have focused on developing a “GM Radio Rob” brand with the versatility to try anything I want instead of a very Warhammer 40,000-focused branding.

Or just focused on doing the hobby before pushing to make it a public product.

This is why I took the Only In Death Patreon page back down; I didn’t want to make reward promises to funding folks that I wasn’t fully behind fulfilling.

What does that mean for Only In Death?

Well, we’re still on track for another session on Friday, May 11th / Saturday, May 12th. With a new player coming on board, I’m not sure whether we’ll record for publishing; we’ll see how we’re all feeling.

And that, I think, sort of sums it up. I hesitate to speak for my players, but I think that, while we dig the idea of having the podcast as a platform to boost our online presences, if we were forced to choose between playing and podcasting, we’d all rather play.

On that rather non-committal note, I’d like to end by thanking all you fantastic folks who’ve been digging Only In Death so far (especially you legends who backed the show on Patreon), and again to Mike Taylor of Shades of Sorrow for the glorious music that we’ve been opening and closing episodes with lately!

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