This is the end of Gnome Stew’s second calendar year (we launched on May 12, 2008), so it’s time for another State of the Stew! (Past State of the Stew articles live here.)

In 2008, we surpassed all of the milestones I thought we might approach, and I wasn’t sure what things would look like in 2009. To say that 2009 turned out to be a good year would be an understatement — it’s humbling, flattering, awesome, and gratifying to see how positively Gnome Stew has been received in the GMing community.

  • 1,560+ registered users (2008: 625+)
  • 2,940+ RSS and email subscribers (2008: 1,230+)
  • Over 182,000 unique visitors and 345,000 total visits (2008: 188,000 unique, 316,000 total)
  • …of those 182,000, over 164,000 visited more than once (2008: 128,000 of 188,000)
  • Over 680,000 pageviews (2008: 619,000)
  • The gnomes have posted about 300 articles (560+ total, 260+ as of Dec. ’08)
  • …which have attracted more than 4,800 comments (7,800+ total, 3,000+ as of Dec. ’08)

This is the first time I can look at year-over-year stats, so if numbers make your eyes glaze over (like they usually do for me!), feel free to skip this part.

These are all numbers I want to see go up every year, and with one exception — unique visitors — they all did. The number of subscribers more than doubled, and the number of registered users nearly tripled; visitors increased by 9% (and pageviews by 10%), while unique visitors decreased by 3% — but where 68% of 2008’s visitors returned to the site, 90% of 2009’s visitors came back for a second helping.

The gnomes posted around 300 articles, and there were about 260 weekdays in 2009 — which means we also beat our goal of having a new article for you to read every weekday. (And our biggest competitor? Zero articles in 2009.) As of the end of 2008, the Stew was already one of the largest repositories of GMing material anywhere; that’s doubly true this year. As far as I know, only Johnn Four’s Roleplaying Tips (475 e-zines published since 1999) and my previous GMing blog, Treasure Tables (750+ articles over two years), offer more free GMing content than we do.

On the comment front, holy shit: 4,800 comments in 2009 is insane! Your comments are a large part of what motivates all of us gnomes to keep writing — knowing that GMs read, enjoy, and get mileage out of our work at the gaming table is incredibly cool.

I’d say that there were only two low notes for the Stew this year. The first is Patrick’s departure — he has left the Stew to work on his own FUDGE-based RPG and spend more time with his family, and parted under the best possible circumstances. Patrick rocks, and we’ll miss him — and his GMing perspective — a great deal.

The second is that we didn’t get nominated for an ENnie — but we’ll be going for a nomination in 2010 with gusto, though, and I hope we make it this time.

Also significant in 2009 is that since July, the gnomes have been working on a secret project. This is the first time it’s been officially mentioned, and I can’t share any details just yet. I’m not just being a tease, though — we want to have plenty to show you, so we’ll announce it with a bang as soon as we’re a bit closer to completion. Suffice to say that while it’s involved a tremendous amount of work, it’s one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever been involved with, and I cannot wait to share it with you.

In closing I want to say thank you! for another awesome year here at the Stew. You’ve made this the most widely read game mastering blog on the planet, which is not something I ever would have expected when we launched in 2008.

That’s it from me for this year — Happy New Year!