From The Desk Of The NPC: Incoming Lag

This is something I’ve been putting off for some time now, but it looks like the world has finally caught up with me.

For the foreseeable future, I will be reducing my reviews to every-other week instead of weekly.

Additionally, there will not be another post from me for the month of January. This new schedule will begin February 7th.

This is not a decision I’ve come to lightly, easily, or quickly. I’ve been trying to find ways to allow me to continue providing reviews for you all at the pace you have seen, but at the moment, it has caught with me and I need to slow down.

At least for a little while.

The reasons for this decision are rather plentiful and range from real-world responsibilities to financial concerns. I’ll touch base on a few of the big ones for you here so you understand why I had to make this decision.

==Tech Issues==

Over the last year, I have been plagued with technology-based issues.

After moving, I’ve been unable to set up my computer due to bad wiring in the house. Because of this, I’ve been using a third- or fourth-hand IBM Thinkpad that is running Ubuntu for the last year and change, and have recently “upgraded” to a secondhand Lenovo Yoga laptop to at least maintain my online presence. Neither one handles image-heavy PDFs well, but I do try to make due.

With the laptops being odd when dealing with rulebooks, I’ve had to rely on my tablet for my e-book reading when on the go. Sadly, that has been slowly giving up the ghost, often requiring a reboot between files (even if the files are local and NOT on the SD card; said SD card slot is officially shot).

This brings me to my last option, which is reading them on the computers in the library during my lunch break via my portable external hard drive. Even that was beginning to show signs of problems with random clicking, bad sectors, and even corrupted PDFs (thank the gods for DriveThruRPG’s library function or else I’d have lost even more when I got a new, temporary drive for the holidays).

As you can see, it’s just been a nightmare of tech problems that have been coming up all at once, and I can’t spring to pay for proper replacements, which of course slows down the reading process.

Which brings us to…

==Finances Are Not Limitless==

As much as I would love to go out and replace all of the aging and failing tech, that sadly cannot happen due to financial pitfalls.

Life has thrown a number of curveballs at me this year, ranging from a number of medical bills (I am still paying for incoming bills from this summer’s issues and scheduling follow-ups), a divorce (paperwork handed to me Christmas weekend), house repairs, and failing parts on my car that cleared my backup funds.

As a kicker: about 90% of the reviews I write here are for items that I have purchased out of my own pocket. It’s a rare day I can swing a review copy from an author or snag a freebie of a full game on DriveThruRPG, so this means I am paying for each reviewed item out of pocket. While some reviews are bonuses for backing Kickstarters, others are purchased at full retail, which creates a bit of a drain on my finances.

To offset this, I have been selling parts of my RPG collection, novels, and have even started to sell my blacksmithing tools. I have also cancelled all appearances of The NPC for 2018 and have taken other drastic steps to ensure general funding of real-life problems so I can try to float costs for reviews, but the world just keeps throwing punches. Now, with the bigger issues coming up, financing reviews is becoming harder, and as my Patreon and Paypal Tip Jar haven’t gained much traction, it’s looking like a challenge to get out of this tailspin.

==General Time==

This is probably the “best” issue on the docket, honestly. Simply put, I just need some time time to read and follow leads.

As I mentioned during the Legacy Games post, there are a plethora of RPGs that are being brought back, and thanks to searching, my network of players/fellow GMs, and awesome steals via Humble Bundle, I’ve been able to get most of the previous editions of games to read so I can do a proper comparison review.

Also, considering that I do legitimately read the books (and do more than just skim a chapter and regurgitate sales pitches), it can be a time consuming process, doubly so when I am reading a previous edition (or two…or three).

==Other Leads==

This is another fun one that I’m not sure will come to fruition, but I can hope!

At this moment, I am working with some indie devs in the RPG field to try to get interviews scheduled, potential playtests of their games, and of course copies of rulebooks so that we can have even more content for all of you here that could include more about the field than reviews.

This is of course just a first step, and if it pans out, could open the doors to much more for us here.

==Real Life==

In all honesty, I am one man working a full time job, reviewing and editing as often as possible, and trying to get other elements of life in order. General appointments, the divorce process, house repair, an upcoming move, keeping a foot in the door with companies via playtests, editing/development gigs, and more all are demands on my time outside of my “jobs,” and I need to get a few things taken care of so I can better focus on things that aren’t pressing and in my face.

==So What’s Going To Happen?==

For the next few months, at least, I’ll be on a bi-weekly schedule. This will hopefully give me some time in the winter months to get some reading and playtests done, allow me time to work on a few projects around the house that are best done at this time of year, build up the connections needed for new ventures, and generally get caught up before the newer releases come out later in the year.

If you’d like to help at all, please consider tossing something into my Tip Jar or by backing my Patreon (which will give you access to reviews as I write them!).

For all of you who have been joining me for this ride: thank you. I’m hoping we’ll have many more years of writing, gaming, and adventuring ahead of us. Just give me a bit to catch my breath and I’ll be right back at it again.

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