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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 29 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: My rule book layout. an interesting new concept.  (Read 1853 times)
Necromantis
Member

Posts: 148


« on: August 08, 2010, 08:16:56 PM »

I have been thinking about how to layout my rule book.
I have an interesting concept where the book is basically split into two parts. (not including spells/etc)

I am wanting to get you guys opinions on how well you think it would do?

What if instead of taking the rules and squishing them into the explanations of the rules. What if in the 1st half of the book you put all the information type stuff.
Ex: What is [Game title]  --- Example of play --- how to use a melee bonus -- what is armor value... etc etc.
and the 2nd portion of the book would be what WE as players would look at during play to look up rules.
Ex: Melee bonus is made up of prowess + precision + knowledge
Armor value for chain mail is 37 -- and it can take 3 rips in the mail before lowering that to 33 (until repaired)
a goat cost 33 silver pieces.
A halberd causes 1d12 damage and is considered a heavy weapon - therefore doing extra damage but its harder to hit someone with.

anyway the point of my idea (if its not obvious) is to keep all the "during gameplay" information in one area so that looking things up would be quick.

also the book would keep the exact same format as the front of the book. meaning this.
if the front of the book explains things in this order
Physical Combat then Wrestling then Verbal Combat then Armor thenMagic/etc.
the so shall the 2nd part of the book be the same
Physical Combat then Wrestling then Verbal Combat then Armor thenMagic/etc.

I thought maybe they would even have the same page numbers
for instance.. you can look up Wrestling explanations on page 43a or Wrestling rules and charts on page 43b.

what do you think?
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Jason Pitre
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Posts: 101


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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2010, 04:17:58 PM »

So breaking apart the reference material and the teaching material?  So long as you present examples of some kind in the teaching material, I could see this as somewhat feasible.  They would need to have different page numbers (since they won't be the same length), but they could have the same section numbers.  For instance, you could have Section 12, Melee combat on the top of the page in one colour or style for the teaching material and in a different colour/style in the reference material.

Alternatively, there is the idea of putting the teaching material on the left hand page and reference on the right hand page of each spread.  You could use images to fill in the empty space, but people would be able to flip and find the content relatively easily.  Just an idea.   
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Genesis of Legend Publishing
Telling New Stories around the Digital Fire
www.genesisoflegend.com
Necromantis
Member

Posts: 148


« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2010, 11:57:51 AM »

I am sure I would have soon figured out (the hard way) that the page numbers would have surely been different. Haha.
Good thing I Have not begun my layout. Or even decided how yet.
Perhaps your idea with facing pages is a good way. Of course I'd have to pay my artist (not to mention increase his workload) to fill the empty spots with artwork. Though I admit I like the notion.

A good friend of mine has come up with a another suggestion.
To Create 2 books. I have actually seen something like this. (perhaps this subconsciously spawned my idea)
after talking about cost issues he suggested this.
Since I intend to pay for full color hardback versions of my core rules book
and therefore the cost would nearly double to obtain 2 different versions
Rather write the a standard rulebook. Containing all the information. Use sections to divide them into easy to reference divisions.
(As I am sure is the intent for all people making this type of book)
But In addition to that have a Rules only paperback book.
Perfectbound paperbacks at the printer I am looking at are much cheaper. Especially in black and white. (a consideration depending on how attractive I could make the book in such a color scheme) and have that be the book most players would buy and use at the table.
So at a 5 player game (total of 6 people) there might be a hardback full copy (GM) and 5-6 paperbacks.
This is of course more money, and that is a concern but I still have the layout to do and saving money during that time could make the decision for me.

Any thoughts on this?
So far no one has seen anything like the idea I had with a book divided into two parts?
I know there are quick-play rule books out there. anything else?
Thanks a ton.
Brent "Necromantis" Carroll
[A Time of Steel & Staves]

--- I should mention that on top of the Core Rules book there will be a Disc holder in the rear of the book with a Program that can make NPCs (Classed NPCs) in 4 clicks of the mouse. (printable format)  -- anyone seen this done before?
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Jason Pitre
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Posts: 101


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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2010, 01:35:12 PM »

*I think that the combination of free clipart or creative commons art, creative use of white space and some of your pre-set art could potentially make it workable.

*I personally don't find the additional costs for hardcopy books as necessary.

*In your case, I would recommend doing something in a smaller perfect bound paperback factor like Burning Wheel. 

*I don't personally know of anyone taking that particular approach, sorry.

*I would recommend that you include any programs such as character generators online.  Much cheaper production and distribution. 
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Genesis of Legend Publishing
Telling New Stories around the Digital Fire
www.genesisoflegend.com
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2010, 06:15:45 AM »

Hi there,

I've been meaning to get to this thread for a while.

My take is that your initial idea is very interesting and could be an excellent 'break' into what we've been talking about for a long time, but not really achieving - making the rulebook both inspiring and helpful, and a complete user-manual. However, I'm also seeing you backtrack away from it into things which are kind of ... well, boring, and have not necessarily worked well for other publishers in the past.

No one knows whether two books vs. one book is necessarily a bad idea, but if we look at it historically, there really isn't much justification for doing so. The closest thing to what you're describing, Christian Aldridge published his full-setting game Maelstrom in 1994, and then a small book called Story Bones which was supposed to be a customizable, system-only form of the rules. The trouble with that is that people tended to think SB was "the real game," when frankly it failed to capture some of the best explanations and usage of the system, which was only coherent in terms of an imagined setting. Today, no one seems to remember Maelstrom, although it was incredibly influential upon many designers.

"Two books" may also be mis-interpreted as GM vs. Player, and although we in the hobby received powerful conditioning early on that such a two-book is a good thing, or even the foundation, there's no reason to be accept that conditioning as true. Burning Wheel is the most successful RPG published on that model, and I don't know whether anyone really thinks those two core books had to be separate. When you see them stacked up at the convention, the two are combined by a paper band. Sure, maybe someone bought one or the other book, I'm not saying no one ever has, but the presentation of the game and discourse about it is all based on those two books really being one text.

Similarly, including a CD in the book may not itself be a bad thing, but the question is whether it's really value added. And that can be split into two things, (i) genuine value as you see it because you know the game and think the CD really helps; vs. (ii) perceived value from someone who neither knows the game nor has any idea of what's on the CD. The sale is made to them, not to you. It may be a better strategy to provide that software online, and later, if people really like it, then making it, or an upgraded version, available on CD. But maybe not - again, if you can reach those people in my (ii) above, then sure, go for it now.

With respect to your good friend, I'm not interested in his viewpoint. I'm very interested in your idea as you explain it:

Quote
What if in the 1st half of the book you put all the information type stuff.
Ex: What is [Game title]  --- Example of play --- how to use a melee bonus -- what is armor value... etc etc.
and the 2nd portion of the book would be what WE as players would look at during play to look up rules.
Ex: Melee bonus is made up of prowess + precision + knowledge
Armor value for chain mail is 37 -- and it can take 3 rips in the mail before lowering that to 33 (until repaired)
a goat cost 33 silver pieces.
A halberd causes 1d12 damage and is considered a heavy weapon - therefore doing extra damage but its harder to hit someone with.

Implementing this is a real challenge. Most of us try to do it with spot-examples through the course of explanations, and I don't mind saying, most of us fail. My examples are the worst part of any game text I have written. They are so bad through most of the hobby that I even have a kind of "free pass" in my head regarding examples, when I think about evaluating a game book.

Overcoming that problem would be a real achievement. I hope you stick to that initial inspiration and not get sidetracked by helpful suggestions from other people who, despite their best intentions, may be detracting from it.

Best, Ron
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Necromantis
Member

Posts: 148


« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2010, 07:50:01 PM »

Ron,
I was actually having a bit of trouble trying to figure out how to lay the book out using my Grand idea. So I think I was trying to take the easy road. Its tough though. I have no real experience with any of this stuff. Unless you consider staring at other peoples RPGs until your eyes hurt - experience
But I find that sometimes inexperience amounts to innovation. Maybe I'll strike gold in my neophytism.
Thanks for the boot in the right direction.
Overwhelmed but Determined,
Brent

Post Script: Somehow I didn't even think of putting the program online. What a major Brain Failure. :/
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