Friday, 8 January 2010

a question of format

There's been some thinking lately about adventure module formats.  Whether you want encounter information (maps and monsters) inline or farmed to an appendix.  The issue of hyperlinked PDFs vs. tangible deadwood is still one polarising gamers years after e-books are being shipped ubiquitously by mainstream businesses and Pathfinder's success.  Dungeon-A-Day and produce hyperlinked dungeons with maps and PDF modules are regular visitors to DriveThruRPG.   PDF is not going away.

ChattyDM has mooted there is a business niche if we but look.  I know he's right and would love to try out some mapping tutorials on GIMP provided by Jonathan Roberts at NewbieDM, throw in encounter structures, add form character sheets, multimedia content and assemble the lot into a PDF and put it on Issuu, Zinepal or Lulu.  Open source prototypes may lead to an evolution in modules as we know them - and if it sounds familiar, then yes, this was discussed by Mad Brew Labs back in April last year.  One reason identified by Dave The Game is ease of adoption.  This leads to module design and accessibility, a sentiment raised by gamers who may have different needs and expectations of what is OK at the table.

If you're looking for a killer app to provoke development, it's called the quick start kit.  Imagine you get a new game and you hit their website.  Instead of a PDF which you print out and then run cold, you get a PDF, character sheet forms (pregenerated and blank) and pointers on running encounters (with animations for those ambiguous rules) to show rule technicalities.  If you're going to make it easy, make it easy and if you're going to introduce yourself, then make the very best impression you can.

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