This post was inspired by https://www.neverendingpretending.net/what-i-ran-or-played-in-2021.
In this post I will briefly go through and reflect on my tabletop RPG experiences of last year.
2021 was the year I fully took the step towards embracing the creative part of the hobby. Previously I have mostly run things that others created, only doing slight tweaks to them. Last year I didn't just run a few homebrew games, I even published 6 of my own creations! Let's have a look at what I ran this year.
The Dark of Hot Springs Island (The Black Hack)
Using The Black Hack, we finished up our 24 session long campaign. This was an absolute dream to run. I spent 5 minutes briefly looking through my notes before every session. After that, it was all random tables and improv. We rounded off the campaign with 2 sessions of Planar Compass. If it wasn't for some players leaving the country, we would have probably kept going for a dozen sessions longer. There's still plenty left to explore in Hot Springs Island.
Tales from the Loop
I wrote and ran a homebrew one-shot based in my hometown. A fun little mystery with sentient robots and hard moral decisions.
Ancient Skin (Mörk Borg)
First time giving this game a go. I ran the pamphlet module Ancient Skin. It was short and sweet and showcased what MB could do very well. Will definitely run MB again.
Curse of the Emerald Sea (Knave)
Inspired by Undying Sands, I created a swashbuckling setting for Knave with random hex tiles. We played for 4 sessions and had an absolute blast! I might expand this setting and run it again in the future. Buy it here.
Rolling Thunder (D&D 5e)
An epic multi table adventure for D&D 5e organized by a member of the local community. This train adventure was actually pretty fun to run, despite being (literally) railroaded!
The Frozen Temple of Glacier Peak (Knave)
Being from Sweden, it was so much fun to share a little bit of our folklore and myths with this dungeon I wrote for Knave. I ran two groups through it and both groups seemed to have enjoyed it quite much. This adventure is now available on Itch and in print on Exalted Funeral. It's my first printed book! Huge props to Jarrett Crader at EF for making it a reality.
Seoul 21XX (FKR)
This was an experiment playing FKR (Free Kriegsspiel Revolution) style. I created a setting in the dystopian future of Seoul. Gangs, quadcopter chases, nuclear launches, and a Korean A-team. This game had it all and it was hilarious! I have not published this yet.
Carnival of the Damned (DCC RPG)
My third DCC funnel. This was just crazy and creepy all the way as it should be. I think it's impossible for DCC to be bad. Previously I've run Nebin Pendlebrook's Perilous Pantry and Hole in the Sky. I'm not sure I can pick a favorite among the three. They're all amazing.
Bumpy Ride at Bore IX (Mothership)
I had originally planned to run Vaesen for Halloween, but then I got bit by the Mothership bug. I had planned to run The Haunting of Ypsilon 14, but didn't feel it for the moment. So I made my own pamphlet module! It's about a mining planet with a toxic atmosphere that turns people into mindless wretches. It's available on Itch.
Curse of Strahd (D&D 5e)
Now this was a big one. We gathered a group of people from four continents and played every week for half a year. The last session (before the epilogue), was 12 hours long! I made some really good friends in this campaign and I was pleased to do two sessions in person. How I miss playing with people in the flesh. I am not a huge fan of 5e, but this campaign was really good. Recommended.
Pastel Paradise (Troika!)
The last game I ran in 2021. After so much disappointment and mental health issues during the two pandemic years, I wanted something a bit more lighthearted and relaxing. So I wrote a vacation sphere for Troika! I ran two one-shots, and while it might not have been very exciting combat-wise, I hope the players finished the game feeling a bit more OK than before we started. You can get it here.
This wasn't a game that I ran, but rather a project that I headed and created together with 7 other fantastic people. It was a great experience and I learned a lot about working with others. You can find it on Itch for free and on DrivethruRPG for free or an optional donation to Doctors Without Borders.
2022 and beyond
Now, what are my plans for 2022?
First off I hope to keep writing more content to learn the craft since I find it very fulfilling and I've met a lot of great people in the process. I already released a small booklet adventure for Cairn called Salthaven. I hope to publish something at least every month or two, so hopefully by the end of the year I'll have a collection of things I can be proud of and that people will enjoy. The "blue sky" vision is to publish a hardcover book, but between work, family, and other duties, I doubt that will become a reality this year. But one can dream!
Second, I want to get back into running regular games again. I haven't been in a regular game since we finished Curse of Strahd in November 2021. On top of the list right now is Warlock!, of which I managed to secure a copy of the coveted Black Edition from the author himself. I'd like to run the classic Warhammer campaign, The Enemy Within, using Warlock. In general I would like to play less D&D-centric games since that's almost exclusively what I have been playing up until now. I'm also really excited about getting my hands on all The One Ring books from the Kickstarter last year. I might try to run something for that.
Third, I want to keep applauding and promoting Cairn and the NSR movement for being such a fresh breeze of air in a community that historically has had a lot of gatekeepers and grognards. I'm also excited by the ZineMonth initiative. Their website isn't up yet, but here is a link to the Discord: https://discord.com/invite/KcW3ynHHZB.
Finally, I just hope that this damn plague will end already so we all can get together to play in person. I miss the clattering of dice, grabbing a beer with friends, standing up and waving my arms in combat, roaring laughter, and seeing peoples' faces.
Here is to a splendid 2022 for all of you.