Friendship is Dragons Is Ending, Here’s Why

I still remember when FireEsper improved my incredibly crappy initial logo. Thanks, FireEsper.

The short version:

  • Friendship is Dragons will be ending sometime mid-2024, or in roughly 6-7 months. That’s a rough estimate since the rest of the comic isn’t written yet at this time, and the ending could arrive sooner or later than that.
  • I know that I could have chosen to continue the story into Epic tier and the source material would have made that more or less feasible, but I’ve chosen not to.
  • Mental health, waning interest in both webcomics and tabletop gaming, and desires to explore new projects are the main reasons why I’ve chosen to plan the ending.
  • When FiD ends, I will probably temporarily suspend the Patreon for a month or two, either restructuring and coming back after or finding a crowdsourcing alternative that suits me better.

The long version:

Friendship is Dragons has been going on for over 12 years now, and it’s been a wonderful experience. I couldn’t ask for a better project to keep my writing instincts sharp and prove to myself that I have a semi-decent work ethic. It’s been balanced right on that perfect edge between simple and challenging, taking a small amount of time three days a week each week while still pushing me to handle some narrative curveballs. It’s been a crutch of stability during some of the worst parts of my life so far, giving me something to do and focus on while other parts of my life collapse around my ears.

If you’ve followed Friendship is Dragons for a very long time – or just me, Newbiespud, in particular – you’ve probably been around for a good chunk of my mental health journey. But just to recap: I’ve got crippling social anxiety and self-care issues stemming from lifelong repressed PTSD, and my current living situation is more keeping me in stasis than actually giving me space and time to heal.

As part of what little I’ve been able to do during my healing process, I’ve tried to commit to the path of a recovering workaholic. And that’s meant cutting down on the overload of projects I’ve subjected myself to – podcasting, streaming, video editing, writing for webcomics, writing for novels, building a social media brand, game design and development, all that jazz. For a huge chunk of my life, work has been a form of martyrdom, sacrificing myself for the sake of trying to build works that will eclipse me and stand worthy on their own, separate from me. Part of my healing process has turned out to be cutting down the amount of work I do and reestablishing boundaries with myself, trying to put the human being here first.

If I WASN’T honest with myself, I could keep the comic going. I could come up with a half-baked idea for an arc to take the characters into Epic tier and arrive at a major climax at Level 30. I had a few such ideas kicking around. This would allow me to keep using Friendship is Dragons as my creative, professional, and financial crutch for many more years.

But if I AM honest with myself, the spark’s not just there anymore. I haven’t played tabletop roleplaying games like D&D since I put Spudventures on hiatus nearly two years ago. I don’t have a lot more to say authentically about TTRPGs, whether as jokes or as dramatic themes. I’m still not in a safe place emotionally where I can responsibly and reliably share the spotlight with my fellow players and DMs, so I haven’t gained any new tabletop experiences lately. And just on a practical level, the thought of spending another 8-10 years clipping screencaps three times a week fills me with the kind of dread that makes you feel like your body is turning into dust.

And thanks to modding projects like Arint’s Last Day and Grift the Spire, I’ve rediscovered my love for other kinds of projects and have learned how to establish the kind of work-life balance that allows larger solo projects to get done. My capabilities have changed, and I want to keep exploring and adapting further. Heck, there’s a self-insert Kingdom Hearts fanfiction series that could use some real love after all this time…

All of that together means that, for me, the time has come. Friendship is Dragons has been a great project, but it’s time to end it on its own terms and reclaim my three days a week.

My current estimates put the ending sometime mid-2024, but the truth is that, as ever, “it’ll be done when it’s done.” The ending will arrive at the pace I write it at, and it’s not written yet, so I can’t know with total confidence. It could arrive sooner… though given the languid pace of the comic so far, it seems far more likely the ending is actually further away than I realize.

When Friendship is Dragons finally does officially end, I’ll also probably be suspending my Patreon for a month or two, since FiD is the main source of content-per-month that really justifies it. I want to give everyone an off-ramp if that’s the main reason they’ve been supporting me. I will be continuing to work on other narrative projects (gaming and storytelling are my lifeblood, y’all), and I’d love it if people still want to support me through those processes, but considering that I tend to keep to myself when I’m working and I find it socially difficult to share things that aren’t finished, I’m not sure what kind of crowdfunding will really work for me going forward.

I know it kind of feels a bit sudden. It was a bit of a sudden realization for me, too, to realize that I’d rather reach an ending than keep going forever. Heck, when it comes to webcomics, you either fizzle out in three months or keep going until the end of time, and very few webcomics seem to reach an ending on their own terms.

Well, I’ve come this far but I don’t want to keep doing it forever, so I guess Actual Ending it is. I feel like I’ve more than completed my bucket-list desire to make a webcomic like my dad did back in the day.

Thank you all for supporting Friendship is Dragons and me, Newbiespud, for so many years, and I hope you’ll continue to stick around for these last few months.