Monday, October 3, 2011

My Feeble Skills

One of the projects I want to complete and get out there fairly soon is the first part of my Dwimmermount house rules document. Lots of people ask me about this, but, until recently, I didn't actually have anything I could give people that'd make sense if you weren't me. So, today, I've been playing around in OpenOffice with the document, trying to whip into something intelligible to normal human beings. Here's a capture of one of the pages:
It's nothing brilliant, but it's legible and I did it myself, so I'm not going to complain. And, yes, before anyone asks: it is an ape of the Holmes Blue Book layout. I am nothing if not a hypocrite.

27 comments:

  1. You did a great job with the layout. Very clean looking. I sent an email with a image of the only changes I would have made.

    Eliminate the blank line under Cleric, Cultists, and Druids. And left justify Cultists and Druids like you did Cleric.

    Again looks good, especially the tables.

    Looks like you were going for the Holmes look.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Even if you are starting with a known style, like Holmes. You find that you will develop your own spin on it to accommodate the type of work you are doing and the resources you have available.

    Then you have the Grognardia style and people will be imitating you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Looks fine. And it achieves the layout you're trying to ape.

    If you do left-justify the sub-classes, I would recommend distinguishing the main classes in some manner. Whether with larger font size, or bolding, or whatever.

    ReplyDelete
  4. ...are no match for the powers of the Dark Side.

    Sorry. Had to be said.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looks great! Try LibreOffice instead. OpenOffice won't have the updates or development anymore. Also, try Scribus, free desktop publishing. Inkscape and GIMP can help you design art.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "I am nothing if not a hypocrite."

    Or, you could go with "I contain multitudes!"

    ReplyDelete
  7. In all seriousness, the page does look great James. If Holmes is the vibe you want to recapture, then I say go with it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Don't you mean only the "race" of men worship dieties. The way you wrote it (before I read the 2nd sentence) that chicks can't be clerics, only dudes...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hypocrite or not (aren't we all, really, at times), I like the look, readable and yes, a little whiff of nostalgia.

    If you don't mind my asking, are you releasing all your Dwimmermount house rules as a booklet?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Why does this make you a hypocrite?

    It looks good, and more importantly, it looks like D&D to me.

    And isn't that important?

    ReplyDelete
  11. It looks fine to me, and remember that content is king.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Looks nice, but might the font be a trifle small for aging eyes?

    Thanks for not using unusual or 'medieval' fonts, even just for headings, or adding art that doesn't illustrate anything and just takes up space on the page and increases ink usage. Two of my pet peeves.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Pretty!

    No offense, but there are SO many worse things (especially in RPGs) that you could crib layout from than Holmes. And I'm not just saying that as a Holmes Basic fanboy since 1977. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  14. This looks very legible and clean. I also like the Holmes look - it gives the feeling of *D&D* right away. There are places for fancier pagesetting, but mostly roleplaying games are not that.

    Also, I like the black-white colour scheme. Of course it's the easiest one to use and read, but not all professional pagesetters remember that. For example, White Wolf has been a repeat offender - the worst for me have been Werewolf: the Forsaken and Mage: the Awakening. Their headings are in a light colour on a page which has background graphichs, making them very hard to read.

    Also, can I ask that you'd provide an index and a contents listing for the book? It makes roleplaying books much easier to use as usually when playing one needs to look up some tidbit in the book?

    ReplyDelete
  15. James this looks great. I'm incredibly impressed you did it in OpenOffice. When I tried something similar I found it quite painful when I tried to add to / edit the text afterward, as others I think mentioned in the previous post. Since ongoing edits are seemingly embedded in the way I work this was an huge deal for me.
    I'll be extremely interested to hear if you have similar challenges, and if so any strategies you find to deal with them.
    Great job.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Charles, I haven't done many products which have needed a layout stage, but I much prefer writing first and laying the final product out after that. Otherwise it gets messy as you've noticed.

    I wouldn't write even a short book straight into OpenOffice - nowadays I'd probably just do it in plain text with a text editor and then lay it out in a proper program for that.

    I wrote a LaTeX class for my Master's, but that was somewhat involved and I'd probably not do it again without a very good reason. At least I know one person who used it after me so it was of use to somebody else, too.

    ReplyDelete
  17. My only comment would be that justified text is actually harder to read than left-aligned text. I would suggest testing and seeing which is easier for you to read and going with that. It won't mirror Holmes, but then again, comprehension may be more important.

    OpenOffice is a good program for this type of thing. It handles many things well (such as columns, and page references).

    ReplyDelete
  18. Well done, James. My comment (I think some else also said it) is that your headers should be closer to their associated content. E.g., "CLERICS" is actually closer to the preceding paragraph than it is to the section for which it is a header.

    I would also highly recommend using something like alternating shaded rows for your tables; it makes them easier to read and helps define the surrounding space.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This looks really good to me. What font did you use to get the Holmes look? On a related note, does anyone know what font Chaosium used for the text in their 80's stuff?

    ReplyDelete
  20. If you can pull the kerning tighter so the dangling two lines of text at the top move back to the previous page and bump the Druid text to the top of the next page, it'll look a little sharper.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Looks fine to me. I use plainTeX for all my serious typesetting stuff but I'm aware of how hard it can be to put together a format, even if the rewards are high. If you're able to do what you want with what you've got then I'd not worry about finding an alternative, I'd get on with the work!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I think this looks fine, but I like the Holmes look, it's simple, rugged, and gets the point across.

    ReplyDelete
  23. If you don't mind my asking, are you releasing all your Dwimmermount house rules as a booklet?

    Yes, but in three separate booklets. The first one covers characters, magic, and combat. The second one covers monsters and treasures. The third one is almost entirely setting material, including the first level of Dwimmermount itself.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Why does this make you a hypocrite?

    Well, I've been very vocal over the last few years about my dislike of OSR products that explicitly imitate the look of old TSR products and now, here and I am, doing the exact same thing. Even if I've softened in my stance on the matter, I still think it makes me a bit of a hypocrite.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Also, can I ask that you'd provide an index and a contents listing for the book?

    There will definitely be a table of contents. Index, I'm not so sure about, because creating a decent one takes a lot of work and I'm not sure I'm up for the task, especially since these house rules documents will only be about 32 pages each.

    ReplyDelete
  26. What font did you use to get the Holmes look?

    I'm using Futura and its variations.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.