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An Important Message From Rustic Dragon Regarding the Future of the Hearth

August 27th, 2016

Hail! As I have recently announced my return to the world of formal employment, many have expressed concerns about the future of The Hearth. Thus, I am here to share with you my plans for The Hearth and myself. Firstly, allow me to say explicitly that The Hearth is not going anywhere. The Hearth has been in a constant state of flux and growth since its (formal) founding in early 2013. The present is no different. While there have been intermittent periods of inactivity from time to time, I have always been working (even if only in my mind) on each next Hearth goal. In this message, I will share with you the planned projects for The Hearth, details about my personal situation and priorities and how they will shape those projects, and how you can help and/or provide input.

While there are always a few miscellaneous housekeeping and side projects, there are two major projects The Hearth will be focusing on for the remainder of 2016 and into 2017: the cookbook and HoBLARP.

The cookbook, The Hearth of Britannia, is the project that started it all and I am eager to return to it. This project has been on hold since January 2014 for several reasons which will not be expounded upon here for the sake of brevity. Suffice it to say that I have not had a suitable living situation for proper cooking experimentation and research (including the funds for ingredients). At present, I have no estimate as to when the project will be completed as I do not yet know when I will be in a living situation conducive to performing controlled cooking experimentation. Having my own space again would also allow the return of the Dragonsmeets.

HoBLARP will be the formal codification and expansion of the basic rule sets implemented for HoBLotH II and III. The present plan is to expand the rules into a full LARP system including classes, advancement, and an online tool to save and track characters. Additionally, HoBLARP is planned to ultimately allow local sub-chapters to form which will help me offset the vetting of attendees to large events (e.g. HoBLotH) to the trusted leaders of these sub-chapters. HoBLotH IV will fall under the auspices of HoBLARP. There is no estimated completion date for this project either, however, work will begin immediately as detailed further in this message.

As I am the sole executive force behind The Hearth of Britannia, it is important for you to understand my current personal situation and priorities to fully understand the proposed future of The Hearth. This includes my return to formal employment, living arrangements, responsibilities to my fiancee, and personal projects and needs.

Firstly, I'm happy to say that after over two years on sabbatical, I am returning to my career as a professional user experience designer in a full time role at a fantastic company in Chicago. To this end, I wrapped up moving from Texas to Illinois just this past weekend. While moving into the city immediately would have been ideal, I did not have the funds left from my sabbatical (or the income required) to secure lodgings in Chicago proper. Thankfully, I am living by the generous graces of friends until I can save enough to secure lodgings. Unfortunately, this subjects me to a hefty daily commute.

From my present lodgings, my daily commute will be two and a half hours each way. This will continue until I am able to move into the city. While this is admittedly going to be rough, it is thankfully almost entirely by train. I plan to use the train time (nearly four hours) daily as dedicated work time for distraction-free, focused work on HoBLARP, which is how work can begin on it immediately. Starting Monday with my new job, there will be little to no public development or news from The Hearth as I transition back into the world of formal employment and adjust to the long commute. I am currently estimating I will be living here for two to three months before I will be financially ready to move into my own place again with my fiancee.

This brings me to my favorite part of this message, my return not only to the Midwest (which I missed more than I ever expected), but to my lovely fiancee. Prior to being offered employment at Portalarium, she and I lived together in Indianapolis. Knowing that working for Lord British was my lifelong dream, she graciously let me move to Austin without her as she continued her education. After I was laid off in mid 2014, she supported me as I took a sabbatical (i.e. quarter-life crisis) and drove all around the country. This time off continued for just over two years, during which I ran HoBLotH II and III. We all owe the existence of those events in part to her support. When my sabbatical funds were exhausted and it was time to seek a return to employment, it was clear to me that I needed to return to my fiancee. It is my turn to support her in reaching her dreams as she as supported me in mine. Thus, while I fully intend to move forward with Hearth projects, she is my top priority in the coming years.

With regard to my personal obligations and goals, there are a few projects and desires that will require my attention in the immediate future. Most importantly, my professional portfolio is severely out of date and requires an overhaul. Additionally, I intend to start a UX blog to supplement said portfolio. In addition to these projects, I have a great deal of socializing I need to catch up due to being "stuck" in Texas without a vehicle. All of this will take a portion of my time.

Ultimately, I am getting back on my feet economically after (financially irresponsibly?) taking two years off for a sabbatical (I wouldn't change a thing!). As my fiancee is my top priority, the bulk of my career income will go toward saving responsibly and providing a stable environment for us while she finishes her education and the leftover will go toward funding Hearth related projects. While I have a clear road map for projects moving forward, I do not yet have a defined timeline as it is largely determined by my finances. To this end, I have set up a Patreon to allow you to accelerate the timeline as well as see the current state of the projects and influence them through input. 100% of Patreon contributions will go directly into Hearth of Britannia projects. Backer benefits are defined on the Patreon.

Thank you for your support, encouragement, and kindness during the past three and a half years (has it really been that long?!). I realized recently that when the Shroud of the Avatar Kickstarter ended and The Hearth of Britannia came into existence, I feel as though I stepped through the moongate I'd longed for my entire life. Every day since March 2013 has been nothing short of a privilege and now I'm coming back through and returning home. It may not have been another world I escaped to, but it certainly was magical and full of adventure. You helped make this possible. Let's open the next moongate together!

Forever at thy service,
Rustic Dragon

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