|Follow Me, And Die! header art by Del Tiegeler|
Follow Me, And Die! is the wonderfully named blog of veteran gamer Larry Hamilton who loves sharing his experiences and acquired knowledge of the finer points of our great hobby. The blog is a mine of delightfully distracting rabbit holes that it's easy to lose yourself in for hours... and come away with a gem you can use at your own table.
(1) How long have been blogging, and how’d you get into it in the first place?
I started my blog in July, 2009. Initially, I wrote about memories from back in the day and some things about my campaign world when I finally introduced my sons to D&D. I'm what you'd call old school. I like the games I started with. I also play some newer games, but many of them harken back to the day, like DCC or Swords & Wizardry. I do play 5e at conventions, and hope to start a 5e game either in person or online in 2018.
(2) What do you blog about, and how frequently do you post?
Most recently I focus on reviews. I started reviewing things I purchased, and then products from Kickstarters I backed. I have had several people approach me to do reviews. I'm a bit behind on those at the moment. I also write tables and other ideas that I think would be cool.
For two years I participated in the A to Z Challenge held in April. One year, the A to Z topics were focused on various aspects of cities to help me distil what I wanted to have in some ancient abandoned cities in my campaign world.
One year I posted every day until September/October when I ran out of new topics I felt a need to blog about.
I have started a YouTube channel, and try to do companion articles on my blog. I'm approaching 700 articles on my blog.
At Gary Con 8 in 2016, I ran into Jayson Elliot of the new TSR and he invited me to write for Multiverse.world. As a long time gamer, being able to say that I write for TSR is some awesome geek cred.
(3) How does your blog stand out from all the rest?
I share things from my perspective. I think I see things differently from some people. Some ideas that really seem to generate a lot of interest. Unfortunately, I don't have a formula for generating the ideas that others find as interesting as I do.
(4) What’s the best (and worst) thing about blogging?
The best is when someone comes up at a convention and says, "I read your blog!" That is really cool.
Meeting people at conventions and getting to meet people I follow online and playing at the same table. Much of the back and forth that happens online or at conventions sets up a sequence that leads to more neat ideas and blog posts.
I also met Satine Phoenix at Gary Con 8, with no idea who she was. She is a smart and friendly person with a great love for the game. She did the avatar for my social media and redesigned my blog header. I got to play in the first game she ran at a convention at Gary Con 9 this past spring.
Del Teigeler made an image I use in rotation for my blog headers, and is the header I use on Twitter. He is a lot of fun to game with.
Being more in touch with people around the world who love the game is also more valuable. The internet has allowed us to pool so much knowledge about the way we play and run our games. In spite of the different interpretations on rules, and different games, one can see all the commonalities. I marvel at just how big the pool of players is worldwide. The internet has made is so we can share ideas with people we will never meet, but in near real time. For online play, it is only time differences that prevent us from playing with some people.
The worst thing is not knowing what to write about, or when it feels like drudgery. I do it because I love it. Another bad thing is that it is a money pit. I have made a few dollars over the years as an affiliate on the OBS sites (DriveThruRPG and RPGNow). But that has only bought more stuff for me to use and review. I have no illusions that I will break through the crowd and be able to make a living at it.
(5) Do you have any self-imposed rules (or guidelines) for your blog?
I avoid real world politics and other hot button real world issues that are not related to gaming. I want my game discussion to be about games. That being said, my recent article, Table Manners, points out that respect and basic human decency is not politics.
We should be kind and supportive to all who want to play the game. I felt a need to publish my own Table Manners as my own line in the sand for acceptable behaviour in the world of games, and as a springboard for discussion.
My aim is to be positive and look at the fun and enjoyment in gaming. I avoid getting caught up in the latest rant du jour on social media gaming circles. It is a game and supposed to be fun.
While I try to be positive, when I do a review, I try to be honest. Most things I have reviewed have been things that are within my interests. However, if there are spelling, grammar, and formatting issues, I really go to task on a published product. If it is a pre-release copy, I am much more forgiving.
(6) Name one blog everyone should be reading (other than your own).
There are a lot of good ones out there. Alex Schroeder has a lot of cool posts, he also hosts the Campaignwiki site, and the OSR Links to Wisdom. He also has some online tools, like Gridmapper that are fun to play with.
Blog of Holding has an interesting mix of articles, including some for 5e.