I've had a couple of people now ask me what I think of Obsidian Portal. Until yesterday's post, it had been a while since I had gone over OP, so now's as good as time as any to share a few of my thoughts on it:
-I think one of the most unsung aspects of Obsidian Portal is the possibility for inspiration and ideas from other campaigns. 4ers, there are over 4900 campaigns running D&D 4e. 3ers, 2200. Even disregarding the abortive attempts and dead ends, there are a plethora of campaigns to draw inspiration from. I love seeing how many various systems are represented there.
-If you're a hardcore worldbuilder or have a really expansive campaign, you might find the $5/month for a premium account totally worth it. You get 10x more upload space, unlimited campaigns, the ability to make your campaign private, and a few more goodies besides. The free version isn't bad to try it out, though--and for some, it'll be the perfect size.
-Your pages are edited using a mixture of html and Textile. Textile is easy to learn, and I use this site for quick formatting.
-As one commenter pointed out, it'd be nice to have automatic "back" buttons on the wiki as a timesaver. Add it to the wishlist, I guess.
-I'm a person who makes a lot of files for his campaign, so a dedicated "Files" page would be another good wishlist add.
-It's really easy to get carried away adding new Wiki pages. I like to keep a setting simple and easily accessible, but I am very quick to add another descriptive wiki entry about something in the last wiki entry. I then have to describe that in another wiki entry, and so on...
-Obsidian Portal has a very high hiatus/abandon rate on campaigns. I think it's easy to have this massive idea in your head, but to quickly get discouraged at the scope you're trying to convey. My advice is to start with the sort of information you'd consider strictly necessary for new players. Then, slowly expand to what you'd put in a 32-page player's guide. Branch out from there. I need to take my own advice.
-I really think the key to Obsidian Portal's future success lies in the sort of community they are able to foster. It's one thing to gather a lot of campaigners and worldbuilders together, but let's face it, as good as OP is at what it does, there are other options out there if people don't feel at home. Have people come for the worldbuilding, but stay for the camaraderie and inspiration.
-The last point is more of a general comment which also applies to Obsidian Portal: if you're apprehensive about putting your homebrew world out there because you think it's silly or unoriginal, don't be! There's nothing new under the sun, but you might present in an intriguing new way, or cause someone to revisit an old standard. Write for your friends and players, write for fun, and write for yourself. If someone else digs the end result, that's just icing on the cake.