Greetings folks – long time no see!
It’s been relatively quiet in Animancer-land recently (I have, unfortunately, a great many other things competing for my attention at all times, and only so much attention to spread around), but I’ve been reviewing Animancer’s 2021 and planning for 2022 the past few days, and thought I’d share my thoughts on where we are, and where we’re going.
2021: Where We Are
2021 was…well it wasn’t 2020 but it was still…well it wasn’t brilliant overall, huh? I had grander plans than we accomplished, but with that in mind, I’m still quite happy with what we achieved this year!
Corwyn Catacombs v2
January and February culminated in a revised version of Corwyn, with fresh cover art and layout, massages to the adventure text, the addition of premade characters, and revised monsters, including the debut of our Legendary monster system (which I may rename at some point so it doesn’t get confused with the RAW system)!
I’m really happy with where Corwyn is now in this revised version, and the feedback I’ve seen has been encouragingly favourable. As I mentioned at the time, I’ve no real plans for any other significant revisions or additions to that adventure and the support for it – I’d like to focus on new releases – but we’ll see. People do regularly ask about the other Arcus stones and while my intention is for the stone in Corwyn to spark your own ideas, I am considering polishing and publishing the others down the line. It’s not on my radar right now though, so don’t hold your breath.
Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds
This year also saw us get onto both Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds! This was something I’d been curious about for a while, but the pandemic finally prompted me to sort it out. From a business point of view, the Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds marketplaces have been a great success for us, so you can expect to see continued VTT support and conversions in our future.
Being the platform I personally use, I would like to put my money where my mouth is and get Foundry conversions available in the future, it’s just a somewhat more complex undertaking than Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds (Foundry doesn’t have its own storefront right now, which is basically the crux of the issue). Hopefully 2022!
The Animancer Character Sheet and the Adventuring Company Sheet
Somewhat off the back of Corwyn, we also released the character sheet designed for the Corwyn premades, and its cousin the Adventuring Company sheet for tracking your party! These both seem to quietly see a goodly amount of downloads, suggesting people are hopefully finding them useful, which is great. If you’re using either in your game, I’d love to hear about it!
The Cosmic Characters Playtest
We also shared our first open playtest content, ‘Cosmic Characters‘, which will be appearing as part of our next release. This was a pretty positive pipeline, so I’m hoping open content like this will remain part of our plans going forward.
The How I Stream Our Actual Play Blog Series
I also completed a 5-part blog series breaking down what goes into Chronicles from a production point of view! This really grew arms and legs beyond what I had originally intended, but I’m very pleased with the quality of information it collects and presents for people, and I’ve had a number of positive comments from folks that have found it useful.
Chronicles of Rinn
This year also saw Chronicles cover the final stages of the Citadel of the Moon, and the War for Scale (so far)! The campaign’s had its ups and downs this year, but we saw a lot of great stuff happen and I’m looking forward to seeing how things develop in what’s likely to be the final act both in the War for Scale and Chronicles itself.
2022: Where We’re Going
This time last year, I was about ready to wrap Chronicles up and call it quits on the stream. Ultimately that didn’t happen, as I wanted to give things more of a conclusion than they would have had at the time, so the War for Scale is, I think, going to be that conclusion.
I’ve come to realise that actual play streaming is…it’s a bit of an art, I think, and much as many would like to pretend you don’t have to do anything beyond putting a camera in front of your home game, I don’t think that’s true. I think to do actual play well, you have to adjust the game to fit the streaming format, and you need an actual cast. People handpicked to create an entertaining group, who are there to stream first, and play RPGs second. Chronicles is very much neither of those things – it remains the same game I ran before we started streaming, and will be largely unchanged if/when we stop streaming.
When we started streaming I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t let it change the dynamic of our group, nor would I keep the stream going if it negatively impacted anyone’s enjoyment. After 80 odd episodes now, I’ve realised that having a ‘successful’ stream (by basically any metric of mine, artistic, financial or purely statistical) within the boundaries I set isn’t going to happen, and I don’t want to compromise on the promises I made myself, so when we get to a nice point (probably the conclusion of the War for Scale), the stream’s going to stop. I think we’ll keep playing…just not on camera!
The stream is also an extra timesink and headache for me, so my hope is that without it hanging over me every week, I’ll have more time to dedicate to more…effective Animancer stuff. Who knows. I might have a radical change of heart or stroke of inspiration about the whole thing and change my mind, and it doesn’t mean we’ll never stream anything ever again, we’re just gonna put this one to bed, most likely.
Above all, my main aim in 2022 is…to do more stuff! We’ve a new adventure that’s…I keep saying it’s almost ready to go and then I tack extra stuff on to the release but this time I swear it’s almost ready to go.
You’ll get a proper announcement once the PDF is finalised (art is in progress right now) with a release date and more information, but I’m very pleased with what’s in the oven at the minute. It also marks the first foray into working with a team of artists rather than just one, so assuming its received well enough to finance further releases, my hope is that art will no longer be a bottleneck for Animancer releases as it has been up until now. This adventure also features a lot of experiments, and I’ll be watching carefully to see how they’re received to see if they’ll be part of future releases or not.
Beyond that…I can’t rightly say right now! I’ve another adventure that’s drafted but without art (that’s…a substantial project so we’ll see), and a cover piece without accompanying text, so you might see one or both or neither of those things next year. I’ve set my own personal goal for releases in 2022 but I don’t want to share that publically lest I fail to meet it (people say it keeps you accountable but there’s interesting evidence that it has the opposite effect of giving you premature gratification).
I’ve got…lots of ideas for next year! Loads! Undoubtedly, too many of them. If I had more time, I could probably achieve most of them, but unfortunately the time I have for Animancer is time I have to steal from my other endeavours. How much time I’ll be able to steal is difficult to say right now (I’m pursuing a Masters degree right now and my band’s debut album comes out next year, among other stuff), but I’ll be doing my best to start 2022 with a bang and keep that momentum going.
Thanks for sticking around, folks, your support and engagement with our stuff is tremendously encouraging. I hope you’ve all had a good 2021 and a happy holiday season, and that 2022 will be good to you and to the wider world.
Over and out,