May 2, 2011 by Jeff
So Temporary Hit Points is almost a whole year old and I wanted to speak a bit about the state of the site for this One Shot and talk to you guys about where the site is, where it’s going, and where you’d like it to go.
My goal in creating this site was pretty focused. Create a website for the D&D (4e) player. There is a TON of advice sites for DMs out there, but relatively little for players. On on hand that seems proper…DMing is hard. On the other hand, there are a lot more players (by the nature of the game) than there are DMs, so I saw a niche there that needed filling and rather than hold varied conversations about it I thought, no, let’s just do it. So in the course of about a week TemporaryHitPoints.com was born.
I then realized that in order to make the site successful I wanted it to post new articles on a regular basis, weekly even. More content means more likely to find content that someone wants to read. On that front, the site has been pretty darn successful. In a year’s time I think there has been about 2 total weeks there hasn’t been an article. Luckily I was able to find a stable of regular contributors as well as some less regular contributors. They’ve been great and covered a completely different perspective of being a gamer, which is essential, I think. I have a specific playing experience that comes with it’s own biases and preferences and having others on board has helped drive the points of view in a way that hope makes the site more interesting to a wider audience. Beyond that…if it was all just me writing everything on the site there’s no way I would have pulled it off, I have too many other projects on my plate.
I also, early on decided that I wanted a look for the site, a cohesive theme. Thus our little dwarven character was born (commissioned by Kyle Ferrin) with the site BLASTING him from a weakling to a stud and my buddy from Fist Full of Comics and Games, Victor Cantu, turned that one little image into a ton of great images to use for each article type that has it’s own flavor but ties in with the theme of the site. I’m curious what you guys think, leave a comment to let me know.
This led to me coming up with the organization of the site. With the varied featured images I also started to brainstorm types of articles we might have. I wanted a Feature every month. Tracy Hurley was convinced to become the Player’s Guide to help out new players to the game with a growing archive of articles on how to do things when you’re otherwise unlearned. We’ve had 11 Polls of the Month (although they weren’t all called that at the start) in the year which have told me a lot about our audience and D&D players in general (and was inspired by Critical-Hits). Monthly Mechanics started out good and…monthly…but has waned with time. I’m curious if you want to see more of that back, leave a comment!
I’ve been pleased with the variety of Features including my own Personality Styles (which I’m rather fond of myself) to the series of new Shifter types and the series on being an evil PC. At one point I decided that the structure, while fun, provides guidance, and make a good signpost, was limiting…so I came up with the One Shot idea. It would be a catch all for people to write about whatever they wanted to write about, which would be perfect considering I was trying to bring in one-time special guests and I didn’t want to tell them that their articles had to fit into a specific mold.
And speaking of special guests. This first year included the likes of: Ed Greenwood (creator of the Forgotten Realms), Wolfgang Baur (former TSR/WotC employee and current ruler of Open Design Publishing/Kobold Quarterly), Robert J. Schwalb (WotC designer of extraordinary talent), and the most popular article ever published on the site came from Andy Collins (co-creator of 4e D&D). I mean seriously…that article continues to get hits each week like it’s a new article and for good reason, it’s fantastic.
So overall, I’m going to say that the first year of Temporary Hit Points has laid a solid foundation for the site. Did it all go perfectly? Of course not. There were a few dropped balls along the way, but considering that the fact that we have hardly missed a single week and had such great content, I’m going to call it a win.
So where’s the site going? Answer: more of the same, and more! I have new special guests that I’ve been talking to that I’m quite excited about. I’m also thinking about ways to present the site in different formats to try and bring a wider audience (and possibly allow me to offer at least some minor compensation to some writers). And I’d really like to bring in more contributors. If you play 4e D&D and want a chance to write articles for D&D players, please let me know either in the comments or through email, all comers welcome at this point.
So, that’s a lot of feedback I’m asking for. What do you think about what we’ve done so far this year? What do you want to see more of? What sort of things should we ditch? What aren’t we doing that we could that would get you excited? And would you like to write an article (or two, or a series)? This is 1 Year at Temporary Hit Points and I want to hear it all!