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Thank you Rob

I've never posted on my account before, but I've been feeling nostalgic recently, so might as well make my first post here.

Thank you Rob. The middle-late 201Xs were a rough time for me, and I didn't really have any hobbies outside of video games. Like many others, I grew into your community through Minecraft and all that, but URealms overshadowed all of that. I remember intense feelings of joy watching seasons 1 and 2, I absolutely loved watching them in my grandparents' house, gave me something to look forwards to. Season 1 was great, but Season 2 awoke something in me that I had only ever considered as a throwaway thought, game design and tabletop roleplay.

Skip towards 2017, and I made up a little tabletop system to play with some online friends, with URealms as my inspiration. Lasted for a couple months (almost daily... had a lot of time in high school), was roughly based on Fire Emblem, and we got through 4 campaigns. It ended sourly, but while it lasted, I finally felt that I had somewhere to belong, something to do. A hobby, and friends.

Skip forwards again to late 2018, after the end of URealms, and I had the idea to do it again. I was in college now. I forgot what kickstarted this train of thought, but I like to think it was the end Season 3. My last campaign in 2017 ended horribly and destroyed connections between my ex-friends and I, but nevertheless, determined, I made another tabletop game (this time based on Etrian Odyssey) and started running campaigns in early 2019. Once again, it collapsed after a few months, but this time, I didn't lose my connections, and I'm still friends with most of this group today.

Then skip to middle 2019, refined the system again, new campaign, same players, got through 2 campaigns and it lasted until the end of summer before collapsing again.

Threw away the system, made a new one, and we were back at it with a new campaign in late 2019. This one ended notoriously poorly, with me leaving the internet entirely for 3 months until the pandemic started and I couldn't do stuff in person anymore.

A mental health crisis and some maturity later, we were back at it again in late Q1 2020.  This time around, I made an entire system from scratch again (on the 5th system now I think?), basing it off of Etrian Odyssey and the Trails series. After years of mistakes and (self declared) failures, it finally happened. We had a successful campaign. We reached the end of our campaign some time in the middle of summer, and it was actually good. It's a memory I treasure greatly, years of effort finally paying off.

While the campaigns after all ended somewhere on a spectrum from poorly (2020 Campaign 2), to horrendously (the 2 campaigns of 2021, the second of which only lasted 4 sessions and led to some severed friendships), I still intend on pushing forwards. The system I made in 2020 was the first one to actually be fun for me to run as a DM, and I haven't thrown it away, instead refining, improving, and redesigning sections of it. It's currently being updated as we switch from Roll20 to Foundry VTT, and I'm planning to heavily update the part I've always been poor at, the actual sessions. While combat's great, I'm not that good of a storyteller, so I'm trying to implement the URealms style of storytelling into my campaigns, giving players time to do stuff on an "Act 1" "Act 2" "Act 3" basis instead of a 4 hour session with one objective in mind. I've always loved how you made your sessions into this format, so hopefully I can do it justice. (There's a lot more stuff I wanna take from URealms like the divine decisions or the anthology style of seasons instead of just 1 party for a campaign but I probably shouldn't keep ranting on myself here.)

Anyways, I've got a presentation in class tomorrow and I've chosen my tabletop game design process as my topic, so it's got me thinking a lot about my roots, and thus, URealms. While I could've been saved a lot of mental distress by never going down this path in life, I can't deny that it's made me a better person than I was going into it, and has made me genuinely interested in game design. I'm grateful that your show was such a crucial part of my adolescence. I don't go by this username anymore, and I can't think of any place to better formally retire it.

Thank you for everything Robert Moran. You'll always be my hero.

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