Tuesday Chatter: Imagine Yourself as a Dungeons and Dragons Character!

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These Tuesday chatters are about conversations. Two weeks ago, I asked for feedback on the blog. Got some. Last week, I invited people to promote themselves. Many did. Both threads are still open, and you’re welcome to leave comments on them.

This week, I opt for pure silliness. If you ever played Dungeons and Dragons, think honestly about what sort of person you are, and imagine what your character sheet might look like. I’m going first.

ratqueens

 Ability Scores

We all know D&D runs on ability scores and skill points. Here’s my stats.

Most of what I do is Intelligence- and Charisma-based. I’m not assigning my highest stats actual numbers. But I will say, I find it difficult to actually roleplay a character with a 19 Intelligence or a 17 charisma, so my stats probably aren’t all that. Wherever they land, these are my two highest scores.

I wish my Wisdom and Dexterity were higher. My direction sense is so terrible I’m notorious for it among my family and offline friends. I’ve failed at both juggling and various musical instruments so many times, it’s not even funny. I understand music theory and am able to play by ear well enough, but my fingers simply do not cooperate. That said, I have pretty good reflexes.

Whomever rolled me up put the lowest ones in Strength and Constitution. Even when I was in my teens and working out religiously, I was not that strong. And I’m not actually sick that often, but when I miss a CON check, I pay a hard price. My Constitution may be higher than my Wisdom and I just don’t know it because skill points.

Alignment

The Nine Alignments of Batman

The Nine Alignments of Batman by CompGeekDavid.

Chaotic Good is the sexiest alignment, but I am not that. I try to conduct myself as a Neutral Good, but really, if I am honest, I’m Lawful Neutral. Bit of a calculating Stoic here. We can explore the implications of the Utilitarian Principle on the thread if you like, but this is all I’m saying about my personal alignment on the front page of the blog.

Equipment

So, what would I spend my 50 to 200 starting gold pieces on?

Aside from some armor and three serviceable weapons, one of which is designed to be concealed and one of which is made of silver (because D&D is physically PERILOUS, yo’!); spell components (because you KNOW I’m casting some spells, whatever else I do); and food (because starvation is the LAST thing you want to be dealing with if your DM is worth a damn). Aside from those, here are the things I must have in my backpack before setting out on an adventure.

  1. Writing equipment. Scroll case full of paper. Quills, ink, etc. A blank journal if I roll the starting money well.
  2. A small knife. So small, it’s not much better than a fist in combat, but it is not primarily a weapon. Is a tool.
  3. Rope. Rope is just essential.
  4. Chalk. It weighs almost nothing, and one time getting lost in some bizarro dungeon-maze will teach you just how valuable three sticks of chalk can be.
  5. A collapsible pole, if I can afford it. Alternately, a pole with sections that you can screw together and screw apart.
  6. A mirror for looking around corners and identifying vampires and making sure my hair is cinematically correct before every battle.
  7. A 2-lb bag of marbles. You would be surprised just how often you find yourself retreating down a flight of stairs, pursued by a gaggle of large, flat-footed bipeds in this game. Marbles have other uses, too. They’re awesome for voting and gambling, if you pick the colors right.
  8. Handkerchiefs, tobacco, and smoking apparatus. Because Tolkien.
  9. The means to make fire and a couple of flasks of oil.
  10. A holy symbol and some vials of holy water. Even if you aren’t religious, sometimes there be undead. And sometimes you get into a situation where all you can do is pray for divine intervention and hope you live through it.
  11. A change of clothing.

That’s it. Don’t need no stinkin’ bow. (Got Magic Missiles and a lot of even nastier spells for ranged combat. Color Spray. Sleep. Entangle. All very low-level spells. You know what I’m sayin’ 😉 ) Torches and lanterns: Also not required, because Infravision and Continual Light.

hobbit-map

I almost did a section on my skills, but if I do that, we’ll be here all day. All my skills are about the subtle use of words, carefully considered body language, and knowledge.

My D&D characters are pretty frightening when I manage to keep them alive to 10th level.

So, what I am I when I translate myself into the language of D&D? Not a book wizard and not a fighter of any sort, obviously. Also not a cleric because I have no patience for religious discipline. And not a bard, though I’ve worked at the bard skills a bit. Rogue/Sorcerer FTW, I say. More Rogue than Sorcerer.

What sort of D&D character are YOU??? Inquiring minds want to know.

Seems appropriate to include an Imagine Dragons video with this one.

StumbleUpon v. Reddit

I’m looking at StumbleUpon and Reddit as key networks to expand into over the next year. The reason for that is simple: if you’re looking to bring visitors to a website as efficiently as possible, building a viable presence on one or both of those networks is probably a good move. The problem: They require a lot of engagement, and they step on sharing one’s own stuff pretty hard.

This means figuring out how much time you can get by with spending on them and knowing how often to put your own links out there are tricky. I have no idea how either of those networks decide what counts as “affiliation,” and I publish at and promote several blogs I do not own. I don’t want to be demoted before I even get started, and I don’t have a lot of time. So I’m proceeding slowly and cautiously.

But I have been experimenting. I have a StumbleUpon account I don’t use very often and no Reddit account at all. We’ve seen some success with both over the last couple of weeks. I’ll share a few numbers with you today and then explain the differences between these two networks as I understand them.

This spike happened here the weekend of Aug 10. I’ve included the mouseover info for the peak day. This is a good four-day spike from Reddit. It started on Sunday and trailed off on Wednesday. We still got a little from it on Thursday, and continued getting odd views last week.

15_08_10_spike

Most of this traffic went to a Tolkien post and a Batman post that were shared on various subreddits by a friend of mine who is not affiliated with the blog on Sunday, Aug. 9. The Tolkien was shared early and the Batman was shared late. The Batman post generated about 100 views, and they came in over a shorter period of time than the views on the Tolkien post, which brought us visitors for days. I’m assuming the difference is explained by the relative sizes and activity levels of the subrreddits where the posts were shared.

Overall, we received around 240 documented referrals from Reddit from this. That’s two or three days’ worth of traffic for us, depending on time of week and how we’re set for content. So, totally worth the minimal amount of time it took to drop those links.

Just to put those 240 views over a 4-day period into perspective for you. In the last 30 days we’ve received 195 views from the WordPress Reader, 115 from Facebook, and 75 from Twitter. And we’ve only gotten a little over 1,000 from search engines.

As I was putting this post together Friday evening, this happened. These are stats from Part Time Monster. The Friday/Saturday spike represents almost 800 views. A few came from StumbleUpon, but most came from Reddit. The info in the mouseover is for Saturday, which turned into Diana’s best day ever.

PTM spike 15-08-23

This one was a surprise. Diana’s Girls and Gaming post was shared spontaneously on Reddit by a blogger who as far as I know, we’ve never talked to. That post received more than 307 views on Friday and we recorded 168 Reddit referrals that day. I stumbled the post around midnight and it got another 53 views from StumbleUpon between midnight and 2 am on Saturday morning.

The StumbleUpon traffic trailed off, but PTM received another 179 Reddit referrals, and by the end of the day on Saturday, the gaming post had been viewed another 298 times. Out of the total of 780 views at the Monster on these two days, 605 were on the gaming post. We’re sure that 400 of those came from Reddit and StumbleUpon.

Again, just so you have some frame of reference. In the last 30 days, PTM has received 204 views from the reader, 57 from Facebook, 57 from Twitter and 604 from search engines. It’s also worth noting that Part Time Monster’s previous best day was a 400-view day in mid-March, and 85 of those views came from StumbleUpon. Our best day here at Sourcerer is 391 views, and 81 of those came from StumbleUpon. In fact, every time we’ve set a new best-ever record in the last 18 months at either of these blogs, StumbleUpon has been involved.

This is real progress for us for a couple of reasons. We’ve seen handfuls of referrals from Reddit before, but never anything like this, and these numbers are comparable to all the StumbleUpon spikes I’ve ever seen aside from the two or three very best. The 50 views I got for Part Time Monster from StumbleUpon is also the first time I, personally, have had a successful stumble. Up to this point, it’s always been other people stumbling our posts that got the views.

So which is better, Reddit or StumbleUpon? That depends on how you like to play on the internet, and on what you’re looking to get out of it.

Reddit is basically a huge forum with sub-forums (called subreddits) for just about every topic you can think of. People chat and share links related to specific topics. Reddit users can vote things up or down. Enough up votes will land a link on Reddit’s front page. Enough down votes can disappear a link entirely from Reddit.

StumbleUpon is a network for sharing and curating links. Users follow topics (called “Interests”) and can follow up to 100 other Stumblers. StumbleUpon sends content from your interests and from the people you follow into your feed, and you can like/dislike things. StumbleUpon saves all your likes and allows you to build lists of things you like. You can also share pages to StumbleUpon and categorize them for other users to find.

Reddit strikes me as easier to use — I find the StumbleUpon interface difficult. Reddit is also probably a more predictable source of traffic if you can learn to share there effectively, but StumbleUpon probably has higher traffic potential. (I’m saying “probably” here because I’m not well-versed enough to be sure). StumbleUpon was one of our top five referrers here in 2014 and brought us almost as many views from two or three lucky stumbles as Facebook did from every link we shared there.

The value of both to bloggers is simple. If you generate enough views on a single post in a short period of time, that helps the post get into Google searches. I’d say 80 percent of the the search traffic we get here is from people finding posts that were put into those searches originally by StumbleUpon.

I plan to eventually use both of these networks, but I am starting with StumbleUpon because I have more friends who use it than use Reddit, and because I already have a StumbleUpon account set up.

What about you? Do you use either of these networks, and do you have any advice for us newbies?

Happy Monday!

Weekend Coffee Share: Fear the Walking Dead Edition

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If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m thrilled to have Luther starting up another run of blogging here. Fear the Walking Dead starts tomorrow. We’ll have something special tomorrow for that, and Luther will be back here next Saturday with a post about the premiere. Have a trailer and a link to our Walking Dead archive.

Luther recently passed a huge blogging milestone, so when you have a second, bop on over to Infinite Free Time and congratulate him for passing 8,500 WordPress followers.

And I’d tell you I had a passable, but hectic week. Classes started this week an I’m gearing up to open my office to the public on Wednesday. I have a ton of public speaking to do over the next couple of weeks, and just in general, I am going to be busy, busy, busy from now until the last week of September or so.weekendcoffeeshare_2015

This is one of the times of year when I have the most difficulty maintaining the blogging, so I’ve been working frantically in my free time since Thursday trying to get far enough ahead to just keep the blog going until things settle down. I’ve learned to just do what I need to do to keep my hand in through August and September, then start the re-design work and planning for spring in October.

So if you see me around a little less over the next few weeks, rest assured: I ain’t going anywhere. Just doing the jobby thing. I’ll be back up to my usual mayhem before you know it.

And I’d tell you, if we were having coffee, that Serins has been running a blogger party across social media this week, and it’s still on through Monday. Then I’d have to finish my coffee and run, because I have stats to geek out on. I’ll discuss a recent Reddit spike here on Monday.

Don’t forget to add your coffee share post to the linkup at Part Time Monster and share it with #WeekendCoffeeShare on Twitter.