RPG Evolution: My Gaming Goals for 2024

It's 2024, the year of the wood dragon and a new version of D&D.


Picture courtesy of Pixabay.

The Year of the Wood Dragon​

According to the Chinese zodiac, the wood dragon comes once every 60 years. It's the first time a wood dragon year has happened since the birth of Dungeons & Dragons (the last wood dragon was 1964); incidentally, 2024 will be the game's 50th anniversary (Jon Peterson believes it's January 26). The wood dragon is associated with creativity and new ideas, which makes it an appropriate time to release a new version of D&D.

Keep Building the RPG Community​

As the chair of the Committee for the Advancement of Role-Playing Games (CAR-PGA) I'm always on the lookout for new members. I plan to continue hosting guests throughout the year on our YouTube channel and growing our Facebook page. We hope to increase the CAR-PGA's members by at least 12 members a year. If you're interested, join us!

Teach Myself Layout Software (Again)​

I completely whiffed this goal last year. I get persistent feedback from my customers that they want books in print-on-demand format. My goal is to invest in layout software, refamiliarize myself with it (in college, I regularly used these programs), and then release POD versions on DriveThruRPG.

Train an AI DM​

I've been testing out the various free-access Large Language Models (LLM) to see how they can help, and it turns out each of them have their own personalities and bring different skillsets and flaws. Claude.ai has a limited number of chat turns but is surprisingly nuanced; of all the Artificial Intelligence (AI), it's the most thoughtful. Microsoft's Bing (powered by ChatGPT 4) now has "eyes and ears" through Copilot, meaning it's integrated into Windows and the Edge browser. Most important, the Edge Dev browser allows Bing to read PDFs, which means it can read documents. I've had Bing read adventure summaries of our recent D&D sessions and then write songs for an in-game NPC bard (no, not Google's Bard) with great success. Like Claude, Bing has a limited number of turns (30 per chat), and while it has both a Precise and Creative Mode, the Creative Mode tends to hallucinate quite a bit. Then there's Google's Bard (powered by Gemini), a Shakespearean character in its own right. It's helped me flesh out descriptions and encounters and has the most personality, but has difficulty with D&D rules (Bing in Precise mode is best for that). Add this all up and all three have greatly accelerated my ability to write D&D content on the fly for my game. These AIs will only get better over time, and at some point I'll probably have to invest in just one for a monthly fee as my main assistant.

Find the Perfect Player Number​

Every time we finish a game I open it up to a small circle of friends-of-friends. We tried six players, but we still had enough cancellations that we often couldn't play. We've added two new players, for a total of seven. I could easily open it up to even more, ten total, but I'm trying to strike a balance between enough players without impacting our limited time (most games are three hours at most) while having enough to keep the game going when enough players are available. If I have enough players to keep gaming whenever we have time to play, I'll consider that a success.

Publish the Next Adventure in Welstar​

We're now playtesting the fourth adventure in the Welstar series: 5E Quest: Hellspire Peak. The plan is to publish an epic campaign from 1st through 18th level, six adventures in all (three have been published so far). It takes about 30 sessions to finish these adventures; I start out with an outline, but with time off for holidays and vacations, I tend to write it as we go. We've started playtesting this month, so we'll see if I can wrap it up in one year.

Finish Our Podcast​

Last year we launched Fifty Date Night Screams (50 DNS), a podcast in which my wife and I review old public domain horror and drama movies and provide 5E stats for each villain inspired by the film, compiled into 5E Foes: Gothic Villains. There's just one caveat, which is that we probably need to release all 50 episodes in the first half of this year to ensure the stat blocks are still relevant. We just finished recording episode 30 and we release one episode a week. With breaks, we anticipate finishing probably by June. Hopefully that's close enough!

Open Game License?​

The new version of Dungeons & Dragons is coming. It's an open question in how Wizards of the Coast manages it. Will it need a new Open Game License? If it's not sufficiently different, we may be able to use the old one. How much the new version differs affects every small publisher. Even the release date is an open question. We'll see, but determining how to update products to match the new edition to make it still worth buying will be critical. I'll be watching carefully to see just how compatible the final product is with everything we've published so far. Good luck to all the small publishers!

Your Turn: What are your gaming goals for 2024?
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Michael Tresca

Michael Tresca


Community Supporter
My 2024 resolutions:
  • Slash my gaming budget by half. My shelves are full and I don't want to sell any of the games.
  • Only buy books for RPGs I already own. No new RPGs
  • Keep playing RPGs solo as often as I can.
  • Play board games in person with my group.
  • Try to paint more miniatures, that is a hard one.
Heheh, paint miniatures is on this resolution too.

Noble Knight Games is wonderful for repurposing old games. Also, it can generate store credit to buy new games!

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My goal is to keep my weekly gaming group going through this summer. My youngest child leaves for college this fall and then I am going to take a break. I have been running a weekly game pretty much since the release of 3rd edition D&D. The last eighteen years of having my kids involved has kept me motivated. I am blessed my four children have enjoyed gaming, especially my oldest and youngest sons.

However, the second of my gaming goals is to really take a break from gaming this fall. I want to completely step away from all of it for at least a couple of months. No message boards, social media, rules, kickstarters, painting, modelling, wargaming, I want to really leave gaming fully for a few weeks.

I want to use the time to re-evaluate and consider and even be bored. This is not a negative about the gaming hobby at all. It's just an individual experiment for me. What happens if I just work, exercise, cook, run errands, spend more time with my wife, work on our house, etc.? I'm excited to have the experience.
True story: I sat for eight hours in jury duty selection and was not allowed to bring any device, including my phone. I took a notepad and pencil with me and that was it.

It was one of the most creative eight hours I've had in years. It made me seriously consider a ... "life sabbatical"? I dunno, but it was amazing and I'm trying to figure out how to recapture it without having to be potentially selected as a juror in a murder trial.

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