My 2023 in TTRPG

A year and a few months ago, I wrote about my personal renaissance of pen and paper games. Long story short, I shared how I returned to the hobby after many years without engaging in it at all and how amazed I am by the abundance of amazing games and adventures available nowadays. Back then, I had been running a Mausritter campaign for two people, exploring solo gaming and tentatively venturing into playing with others, whether through PbP (play-by-post), online play via voice/video, and I had hoped to find some people to play in person as well

To provide better context: I live in Berlin, English is my second language, and German is my third, though I am far from fluent in it. I also struggle with social anxiety, which immensely hinders me when it comes to seeking new people and interacting with them (it’s no accident that most of the hobbies captured on this blog are things I can do alone at home). Even playing in Play-by-post was anxiety-inducing and way out of my comfort zone.

For the last year, I decided to use my obsession with TTRPGs as motivation to start overcoming this anxiety. The plan involved repeatedly exposing myself to social interactions until I became more comfortable in those situations. This included playing and even running PbP games at the beginning, then adding online one-shots through StartPlaying and some Discord communities, and eventually joining open table campaigns. The ultimate goal was to start attending in-person games organized by a community here in Berlin.

Looking back, I must say I not only succeeded but even surprised myself with the progress I made. I started keeping a log of games at the end of September (unfortunately, I didn’t have this idea sooner) and, in just the last 3 and a half months, I played in 25 games. Out of those, six were in-person with the Berlin community, three were run by me in-person for my partner and a friend, and one was run by me online. Even the months before were quite intensive. There were weeks when I had 3 or 4 games. I estimate that I must have played at least between 50 and 60 games last year. Apart from that, I had run a PbP of Starforged, I have been running a PbP of Blades in the Dark, and I participated in several other PbP games.

So, what games have I been playing? Here’s a simple list, just from the top of my head.

  • Blades In The Dark
  • Lovercrafesque
  • Electric Bastionland
  • Mausritter
  • Vaults of Vaarn
  • Cairn
  • The mall
  • Mothership
  • Coriolis
  • Mörk Borg
  • Dath in Space
  • Frontire Scum
  • CyBorg
  • Corp Borg
  • System Shutdown
  • Brindlewood Bay
  • Public Access
  • The Between
  • Bump in the dark
  • Apocalypse Keys
  • Wanderhome
  • Troika!
  • Starforged
  • Liminal Horror

Solo play

Thanks to the overwhelming number of games I played with others, I didn’t have as much need or opportunity to play solo. As a result, my Starforged and Ironsworn campaigns were mostly left abandoned. I played Miru towards the end of the year and might write a short review soon. However, things might be changing slightly, as I upgraded my solo setup at the start of this year and began a new character in Starforged, but that’s a topic for another post.

Me as a GM (Conductor, Keeper, Warden, Guide, or whatever)

My small two-player in-person group finished their Mausritter campaign during the first half of the year. We played ‘Liminal Horror - The Mall’ and have recently started a campaign of ‘Brindlewood Bay.’

Additionally, I ran one Starforged session and one Mausritter session online.

I am very interested in running more games. Of course, it is more intimidating and demanding, especially for someone struggling with social anxiety, than simply being a player.

Me as writer.

After digitally publishing a simple addon for Mausritter, ‘The Whites’ (I wrote a devlog about it here), we also created a complete adventure for the ‘Winter has Come Mausritter Jam’ called ‘Chrismous Forever,’ which was published at the beginning of 2023. I really enjoyed developing all the ideas and acquiring the necessary skills to put it together. The only thing I regret is not writing more during the last year.

Plans for 2024

Three pillars in this regard are:

  • Continue playing games, meeting new people, and developing new friendships.
  • Run more games, making it as routine an activity as playing has become for me now.
  • Write more and aim to publish more, mainly focusing on adventures and other supplements.”