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View Full Version : A couple of questions on publishing an RPG



Talakeal
2011-04-27, 04:07 PM
After fifteen years of work I have nearly finished writing up my own homebrew RPG system, and I am seriously starting to think about publication. However I have run into a few technical problems and I was wondering if anyone had any experience publishing and RPG or could point me in the right direction.

1: Format
I need to make a decision on font size before working on the books layout. What is the smallest font size that people can read comfortably? Most RPGs I own seem to be 9 point font 1.5 line spacing. I currently have the book in 8 point font single spaced to save on paper, and although I don't have any problem reading it others seem to, and if I go newspaper style (11 pt font double spaced) the book will be close to a thousand pages long.

2: Art
How do I find illustrators or artists for the book? I can't draw myself, and the book will require a lot of illustration. I have found a few artists who take commissions at conventions, but they all seem to have problems meeting deadlines or following directions, especially with a large workload. I know there are plenty of artists out there, but how do I make contact with the ones who are right for me?

3: Play testers and Proofreaders
Now that the game is finished I need to find a group of people to play it and spot errors. My personal gaming group play tested my game extensively during the design phase, but that group recently broke up, and I need some virgin eyes to spot content problems in the rules, especially in the way they are written. It is very hard to find problems in the RAW when you have the RAI clearly in your mind.

If anyone has any experience or information with any of these problems, or advice in general, I would love to hear it.

Towa
2011-04-27, 04:33 PM
1. 9pt font with 1.5 spacing sounds reasonable to me personally.
2. I can't really help you with that. Maybe someone in the Arts & Crafts section could though, but I dunno.
3. If you feel like putting it up on the internet, the Homebrew section of these forums (and probably other forums like it) could be hugely valuable, there are a lot of pretty smart people that seem to hang out there that would probably be happy to proofread stuff.

Hope that helps.

Tvtyrant
2011-04-27, 06:08 PM
For number three ask a game shop to run it on a game night and see how people react. This will let you see how people play the game and how much they like it/what they like about it. You can also put it on the internet but you can't be sure anyone who says anything about it actually played it.

Finally you could pay some kids in sodas to try it out. Kids will do anything for snacks and they haven't realized the meaning of material value.

Talakeal
2011-05-01, 08:46 PM
Thanks for the help. Good idea about the arts and crafts section, I will check there.

Unfortunately I think I need a more thorough play testing that what I could get running a single session at a game store, although it might be a good way to meet players.

As for children, I think my game is intended for a more mature crowd. Besides, I don't know any children, and might get in trouble trying to recruit some...

Putting the game out on the internet is a good idea in theory, but do you know how to do it safely? Once you have the rules out there for free, how do you control the spread of it? Also the trouble of getting the book to the right play testers, I find that most internet gamers are just out there to flame every system but the one they love.

Knaight
2011-05-01, 08:51 PM
Putting the game out on the internet is a good idea in theory, but do you know how to do it safely? Once you have the rules out there for free, how do you control the spread of it? Also the trouble of getting the book to the right play testers, I find that most internet gamers are just out there to flame every system but the one they love.

If you release a game, piracy options are pretty much inevitable. You are basically counting on people who either a) oppose piracy or b) think your game is good enough that you deserve to be paid despite the option for piracy to pay you. That said, the internet playtesting version doesn't need art.

As for internet gamers flaming every system but the one they love, the vast majority of feed back will be useless. Focus on what little isn't.

ClockShock
2011-05-01, 09:01 PM
On proof readers:
I recall a recent project advertised here wanting proof readers for the final stages of a translated rulebook. There seemed to be reasonable interest.

I believe the project people were issuing the book in chunks - this might help with your worry about people having the rulebook for free.
(note that this is a trade-off though, a proof-reader will be better if they have other parts of the rule to compare with)

Further to the rules for free - it's an issue that plagues everyone trying to publish these kinds of things. Without first-hand experience, i'd recommend clearly stating your intentions (and maybe a watermark or two)
Would it be unreasonable for someone to have a copy of the rules if they help you bring it to publishing stage? If they try and distribute it themselves copyright law is on your side.

As for Artists:
Be clear in your intentions, your deadlines, and the importance of following guidelines. (though on the guidelines, i try to take the artist's opinions on board, i too cannot draw and tend to trust their artistic judgement over mine)
I assume you're paying for this artwork? The clearer you can be from the start the less chance of wasting time and money (for both the artist and you)
Be polite and if they are unable to meet your requirements ask if they can point you towards other potential artists.
Keep asking if people know other potential artists.
Do you know any potential artists?

Tyndmyr
2011-05-02, 08:14 AM
Putting the game out on the internet is a good idea in theory, but do you know how to do it safely? Once you have the rules out there for free, how do you control the spread of it? Also the trouble of getting the book to the right play testers, I find that most internet gamers are just out there to flame every system but the one they love.

The only way to absolutely control the spread of a product is to
A: Not sell it.
or
B: Make it so bad nobody cares about it.

Scanners are inexpensive and common. If it's popular at all, sooner or later, someone will scan it in and toss up a torrent. Technologically, there's no way to stop this. Legally...possibly. If you have the money to pay a giant legal team. I'm no lawyer, but I do know that they don't come cheap. It's not likely practical.

So, embrace it. Put up an SRD-like product. The people who pirate...ignore them. They are unlikely to ever be helpful to you. Pay attention to the people who buy things.

UserClone
2011-05-02, 11:06 AM
As one of the aforementioned proofreaders, I can say we have signed a NDA and have been contracted a free hard copy of the game when it's finished being translated. Therefore, very little motivation exists to just take the unfinished product, even if it weren't in discrete chunks.

Nero24200
2011-05-02, 03:34 PM
For type I'd go with 10-Point minimum. Also it's generally not a good idea to use decimal's when working with type (I.E using a type that's 9.5pt). It may seem fine to begin with but problems usually arise. Sometimes not but why risk it for 0.5pt?

As for artists there are a few things you could do - Try art websites (like deviant art). Find existing art you like and ask to use that. As for commissions - how long are your deadlines? Art can take a while so it's possible your deadlines are too short.

But remember as well that any professional should try their best to meet the deadline, so if you're getting more excuses than finished pieces you might be better off with different artists.

Talakeal
2011-05-02, 03:40 PM
Right now it's looking like either 11 point single spaced or 9 point one and a half spaced fonts are the best choices. Both have some upsides and downsides. I would prefer eleven point 1.5 space, but that would make the book simply too large to publish. The largest RPG book I have ever seen is about 600 pages, and most publishers won't do anything larger than 800.

As for artists, I would prefer to have everything commissioned so I can keep a consistent look and feel to the game, as I believe that is very important for an RPG.

The two artists I have hired so far I met at cons. One of them I hired to do a large piece, and they lost the directions / order form, and when they finally got it back to me it was nothing like what I wanted.
The other I hired to do a collection of smaller pieces and was given a six month time estimate. It is now over 2 years later and still have nothing to show for it, although I am assured it is still being worked on.
In both cases I paid up front.

Knaight
2011-05-02, 03:46 PM
Right now it's looking like either 11 point single spaced or 9 point one and a half spaced fonts are the best choices. Both have some upsides and downsides. I would prefer eleven point 1.5 space, but that would make the book simply too large to publish. The largest RPG book I have ever seen is about 600 pages, and most publishers won't do anything larger than 800.
If you can edit this down without removing content, do so. If that isn't an option, you can always try splitting everything into two books, though that makes it somewhat harder to sell.


The two artists I have hired so far I met at cons. One of them I hired to do a large piece, and they lost the directions / order form, and when they finally got it back to me it was nothing like what I wanted. The other I hired to do a collection of smaller pieces and was given a six month time estimate. It is now over 2 years later and still have nothing to show for it, although I am assured it is still being worked on.
In both cases I paid up front.
Don't pay entirely up front if you can avoid it. I'd try art websites, particularly if you can find someone relatively local who does art in the style you need.

FatJose
2011-05-02, 06:59 PM
As for artists, I would prefer to have everything commissioned so I can keep a consistent look and feel to the game, as I believe that is very important for an RPG.

The two artists I have hired so far I met at cons. One of them I hired to do a large piece, and they lost the directions / order form, and when they finally got it back to me it was nothing like what I wanted.
The other I hired to do a collection of smaller pieces and was given a six month time estimate. It is now over 2 years later and still have nothing to show for it, although I am assured it is still being worked on.
In both cases I paid up front.

Ooh, well...I'm an artist! Haven't yet found any work in the field, though. I could do a few pieces on the house. Um, I can pm you my deviantart account...Actually...It's just fatjose.deviantart.com .... >.>

Mutazoia
2011-05-02, 07:29 PM
There is a web forum dedicated to game design and publishing. I can't find my link at the moment ...I'll edit this when I can.

UserClone
2011-05-02, 08:49 PM
The Forge, perhaps?

Or maybe Story Games?

conaniscool
2011-05-02, 10:49 PM
I'm an artist. Here's my GF's char:

http://i65.photobucket.com/albums/h209/chiboyz/gnomimcgnomersoncopy.jpg

I enjoy drawing fantasy characters and creatures of all types. Lemme kno. Peace.

Mark Hall
2011-05-03, 10:36 AM
1: Format
I need to make a decision on font size before working on the books layout. What is the smallest font size that people can read comfortably? Most RPGs I own seem to be 9 point font 1.5 line spacing. I currently have the book in 8 point font single spaced to save on paper, and although I don't have any problem reading it others seem to, and if I go newspaper style (11 pt font double spaced) the book will be close to a thousand pages long.

I'd stick with about 9pt, myself, but I'm horrible at fonts... I tend to find most of the arguments about them incomprehensible.


2: Art
How do I find illustrators or artists for the book? I can't draw myself, and the book will require a lot of illustration. I have found a few artists who take commissions at conventions, but they all seem to have problems meeting deadlines or following directions, especially with a large workload. I know there are plenty of artists out there, but how do I make contact with the ones who are right for me?

I have some names and contact info of freelance professionals, if you're interested, but I'm not sure about their rates. I can also think of one publisher I could ask about his artists. PM me if you're interested; I'll gather some names, and give them your contact information (I prefer to give them your information, and leave the contacting in their court).

You might also try trolling deviantart, looking for the right "style", but I'd talk to some professionals, first, to see what their rates are; I have heard (but do not know) that some folks on deviantart price themselves completely out of the market.


3: Play testers and Proofreaders
Now that the game is finished I need to find a group of people to play it and spot errors. My personal gaming group play tested my game extensively during the design phase, but that group recently broke up, and I need some virgin eyes to spot content problems in the rules, especially in the way they are written. It is very hard to find problems in the RAW when you have the RAI clearly in your mind.

One suggestion, here, is to find someone who is NOT a gamer to give it a once-over. You might try asking around college campuses for proof-reading rates... there's usually an English Major looking for some money, who will go through and edit it for you, and being a non-gamer will catch things that a gamer might take for granted, especially with regards to organization. Some things that gamers will take in stride, others will immediately notice. You'll also want some gamer proof-readers to deal with the RAI v RAW issue, but a lot of people forget basic readability.

Sipex
2011-05-03, 10:41 AM
To be honest, from the sounds of things you have something which is ready to present to a publisher or a game company. Make sure to get it copyrighted first though.

From there they'll review the game, tell you what it needs, possibly offer their own resources if they like the game (for play testing and illustration) and then have you go from there.

edit: This is going with the assumption that you just want your game published and you aren't looking to create an independant company out of it.

randomhero00
2011-05-03, 11:26 AM
I'd like to try out for your artist. I've already published a picture (and poetry if you want any of that) for a fantasy book. I guess PM me and I'll send you my email then send me the details.

PS a cheap and easy way to "copyright" is to send yourself the manuscript in the mail. Since it has a date stamped on it after you send it no one can dispute it in court that they had wrote it first. I am also working on a novel and know a couple authors personally.

EccentricCircle
2011-05-03, 11:27 AM
On the font size issue too large is always going to be preferable to too small.
I am partially sighted and so find tiny font sizes to be a real problem when trying to find stuff quickly in gaming books.

randomhero00
2011-05-03, 11:33 AM
On the font size issue too large is always going to be preferable to too small.
I am partially sighted and so find tiny font sizes to be a real problem when trying to find stuff quickly in gaming books.

I agree, I'd say at least 10 if not 11 or 12. But your publisher (if you can get one) will have a say.

Talakeal
2011-05-03, 01:05 PM
Thank you for all of the help, I really appreciate it. I am really busy right now, I have finals this week and will be moving over the weekend, but I will contact everyone who posted here or PMed me about Art when I get a chance, probably the start of next week. Thank you again.

Tyndmyr
2011-05-03, 01:25 PM
I
PS a cheap and easy way to "copyright" is to send yourself the manuscript in the mail. Since it has a date stamped on it after you send it no one can dispute it in court that they had wrote it first. I am also working on a novel and know a couple authors personally.

This is a common myth. It has no legal standing. You could, after all, send yourself a package at any time, and seal it later. If you want a copyright, contact the US patent office. They have an excellent web site. If you need more detailed advice, seek out a lawyer specializing in patent law.

On the topic of a solid artist...yeah. I occasionally have projects that require art assets, and it's been remarkably hard to find anyone willing to do decent art. I've had significant problems with finding artists with even basic competency. I've had things turned in like random clip-art with pixelated words slapped over them, apparently in paint. There's also the people that just fall out of touch and you never hear from them again. I've yet to find the magic way to get good artists(even when paying reasonable rates), but I'll admit that the respondents in this thread look to be decent.

Mutazoia
2011-05-03, 02:02 PM
The Forge, perhaps?

Or maybe Story Games?

That could be it. (the Forge) I haven't been on there in a while but it looks familiar lol.

Knaight
2011-05-03, 02:07 PM
For art there is a man by the name of Keith Curtis (http://www.kacurtis.com/Commission.html) who does commisions for, among other things, RPGs. I've seen his work elsewhere, and it is both very impressive and in a variety of styles.

Mutazoia
2011-05-03, 07:40 PM
This is a common myth. It has no legal standing. You could, after all, send yourself a package at any time, and seal it later. If you want a copyright, contact the US patent office. They have an excellent web site. If you need more detailed advice, seek out a lawyer specializing in patent law.

I suggest reading this (http://www.copyrightauthority.com/poor-mans-copyright/) site. The only thing a poor man's copy right is good for is a head-ache.

Basically your work is copyrighted the moment you finish it, but proving your time-line should the need arise can be troublesome. This is where the myth of the PMCR came about. It was reasoned that since the envelope had a post mark date on it, that would establish a date of completion for your work. However it is pretty easy to fake a PMCR (the site I linked show's a method or two), making it pretty much a waste of time at best.

Mutazoia
2011-05-03, 08:38 PM
1. 9pt font with 1.5 spacing sounds reasonable to me personally.
2. I can't really help you with that. Maybe someone in the Arts & Crafts section could though, but I dunno.
3. If you feel like putting it up on the internet, the Homebrew section of these forums (and probably other forums like it) could be hugely valuable, there are a lot of pretty smart people that seem to hang out there that would probably be happy to proofread stuff.

Hope that helps.

Check out THIS (http://www.ehow.com/how_5555033_submit-book-publisher-read.html) site...pretty basic info. Usually the publisher you submit your work to will have their own format they prefer, if not, then use the format on the link. The publisher will usually track down illustrators (most have some on payroll) unless there is some specific art you wish to include. As for play testers, that's what friends are for. If you are going to outsource the job, run your game through the copyright office first.

Talakeal
2011-05-03, 08:55 PM
I was planning on self publishing actually. I don't think there are many Game Publishing companies that accept outside submissions, atleast if there are I haven't seen any (please correct me if I am wrong).

I am also not interested in selling the rights to my game, rather getting what I wrote published.

Mark Hall
2011-05-03, 08:56 PM
I was planning on self publishing actually. I don't think there are many Game Publishing companies that accept outside submissions, atleast if there are I haven't seen any (please correct me if I am wrong).

I am also not interested in selling the rights to my game, rather getting what I wrote published.

IME, most will not for a full game, but might for supplements for their own games.

Mutazoia
2011-05-04, 06:42 PM
I was planning on self publishing actually. I don't think there are many Game Publishing companies that accept outside submissions, atleast if there are I haven't seen any (please correct me if I am wrong).

I am also not interested in selling the rights to my game, rather getting what I wrote published.

There are a plethora of companies out there that will help you self-publish your material. A simple google search will turn up companies such as The AuthorHouse (http://www.authorhouse.com/), and Xlibris (http://www2.xlibris.com/index.aspx). I work in a print center and have worked with several people who have self-published books. The upside to self publishing is you get to keep all your royalties. The down side is you get to do all the work; Writing, layout, art, etc. Most self-publishing companies will have contacts to help with distribution.

I would suggest going the route of Monte Cook/Malhavic Press (http://www.montecook.com/cgi-bin/page.cgi?malhavoc). They sell most of their stuff off of their web-site in PDF format. Customers can order a hard back copy of a game (such as Iron Heroes) or just the PDF format and then either print it themselves or just lug their laptop to game sessions (I do this frequently).

You would still have to do all the layout/design work as if you were going to print a hard copy, but you would only need to print a limited number of hard copies for the few people who order them. (there are bindery companies in every city that can do small runs for you so you don't have to keep a large stock on hand.)

Plus you have to design and maintain a web site.:smallbiggrin:

UserClone
2011-05-04, 07:18 PM
www.easybookbinding.com may be worth a look to you.

Mutazoia
2011-05-04, 07:43 PM
www.easybookbinding.com may be worth a look to you.

LOL they want you to pay $50 for a book that tells you how to do easy binding. Your local Office Depot can easy bind a book for you for about $6 a book with a nice glossy, color printed cover, and spine printing.

Easy binding is basically printing your book, staking the paper, printing your cover on 11X17 card stock, smearing glue on the left side of your printed stack and wrapping the 11X17 cover around it and waiting for the glue to dry. (its not elmer's glue). It's basically the old tape binding method but uses the 11X17 cover instead of the tape.

It holds up to light use, but for a game book, you would be better off doing coil binding with 10 mil laminated front and back cover than you would the Easy binding. (My PDF copy of Iron Heroes (legally purchased, natch) is done this way.) Coil binding at your local Office Depot will run you about $5 per book (with clear plastic front and back covers), a little more if you go with the laminated covers.

conaniscool
2011-05-04, 07:51 PM
hey, what are the rules for using the d20 system?

i want to make a final fantasy-esque game using a modified version of modern d20. basically, i would add limit break-like attacks, summons and other final fantasy stylings but avoid any copyright infringements. i would also do all the artwork and page design.

Mutazoia
2011-05-04, 08:22 PM
hey, what are the rules for using the d20 system?

i want to make a final fantasy-esque game using a modified version of modern d20. basically, i would add limit break-like attacks, summons and other final fantasy stylings but avoid any copyright infringements. i would also do all the artwork and page design.

D20 is covered by an OGL (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Game_License).

Conners
2011-05-04, 09:18 PM
Now I'm curious about what sort of RPG you have designed, Talakeal. Got any cover/introduction text to share with us :p?

UserClone
2011-05-04, 10:15 PM
hey, what are the rules for using the d20 system?

i want to make a final fantasy-esque game using a modified version of modern d20. basically, i would add limit break-like attacks, summons and other final fantasy stylings but avoid any copyright infringements. i would also do all the artwork and page design.

Also, there is a fellow on these boards who wrote a Final Fantasy X D20 version, but his name escapes me atm...

conaniscool
2011-05-04, 11:18 PM
Also, there is a fellow on these boards who wrote a Final Fantasy X D20 version, but his name escapes me atm...

I've seen various d20 FF RPGS, but what I'm thinkin' is like a generic, JRPG-flavored d20 system. Modern style sensibilities but with some fantasy flair.

Talakeal
2011-05-04, 11:32 PM
Now I'm curious about what sort of RPG you have designed, Talakeal. Got any cover/introduction text to share with us :p?

I don't want to say too much, but in summary:

It's a traditional RPG format (i.e. each player controls a character, GM controls story and arbitrates)
Uses a mechanic similar to a more unified / streamlined version of the d20 system
Skill / Trait based rather than Class / Level.
Original Setting which is an apocalyptic / fantasy / western hybrid set against a backdrop of Arthurian mythology, the closest analogy would be Stephen King's Dark Tower
Primarily grim and gritty low fantasy where characters are still essentially human and resource management is important, but with some very high magic elements
Right now the text is about 90% complete with ~400 pages single spaced, not including illustrations. About 60% fluff 40% crunch.

Shademan
2011-05-05, 12:54 AM
2: Art
How do I find illustrators or artists for the book? I can't draw myself, and the book will require a lot of illustration. I have found a few artists who take commissions at conventions, but they all seem to have problems meeting deadlines or following directions, especially with a large workload. I know there are plenty of artists out there, but how do I make contact with the ones who are right for me?
.

you search for artists on google, ask around on forums, find someone you think has the right style, skill...and price...
as a matter of fact, I happen to be sort of a drawing man meself...

Conners
2011-05-05, 04:22 AM
I don't want to say too much, but in summary:

It's a traditional RPG format (i.e. each player controls a character, GM controls story and arbitrates)
Uses a mechanic similar to a more unified / streamlined version of the d20 system
Skill / Trait based rather than Class / Level.
Original Setting which is an apocalyptic / fantasy / western hybrid set against a backdrop of Arthurian mythology, the closest analogy would be Stephen King's Dark Tower
Primarily grim and gritty low fantasy where characters are still essentially human and resource management is important, but with some very high magic elements
Right now the text is about 90% complete with ~400 pages single spaced, not including illustrations. About 60% fluff 40% crunch. It does sound very interesting. Hope you'll post here when the system is finally released. Hope it gets released soon, too.

Tyndmyr
2011-05-05, 08:11 AM
That could be it. (the Forge) I haven't been on there in a while but it looks familiar lol.

I would avoid the hell out of the forge. The politics don't seem worth it.

Yeah, if you want to self-publish, pdfs are an excellent way to start. You'll need to get it proofread, do the layout, all that sort of thing. It can be a bit of a pain, but it's the same stuff that needs to be done for publishing.

Big cost reducers for publishers are going with soft cover, and black and white on the internals. Some fairly substantial games have done this, such as Call of Cthulhu, so it likely isn't a killer. I would suggest springing for a nice looking color cover, though. A good looking cover tends to pull people in.

Edit: I keep pondering building a metasystem for people to run specifically RPG-minishops in. I should really get on that some time.

UserClone
2011-05-05, 10:25 AM
I am currently proofreading an English translation of a French RPG. I would be happy to proofread yours as well, for the cost of putting me in the credits and one free hardcopy. I also have a copy of a simple NDA we were required to fill out, if you are interested.

Tyndmyr
2011-05-05, 10:28 AM
Ditto on everything UserClone just said.

Though, tbh, there's no rush on getting it proof-read. Formatting, images, etc take a bit of time.

I've honestly been just attempting to learn how to draw decently to fix my own image problem. I enjoy the whole sin city style of art, but it's a great deal harder to master than I first imagined.

Talakeal
2011-05-05, 02:30 PM
Thanks for the advice.

I have heard a lot of things about the forge, almost all of it negative, but I haven't actually checked it out yet. I am sure I will get around to checking it out myself in time.

Thank you for the offers to proofread for me. I still need to finish the last 10% of the text, do basic layout, and then give it a once over and revision for consistency (I have been working on this for years, and have changed my mind on several points both rules and storyline). I hope to have that done by the end of the summer, and once I do I will be looking for editors and proofreaders and may well contact you.

Tyndmyr
2011-05-05, 02:40 PM
Don't get me wrong...you might find useful links or what not somewhere in the forums of the forge...not everything there is 100% bad(I've gotten useful things from lurking there), but there is a lot of rampant ego. I mean, I'm a fairly egotistical, sarcastic person, but even I find that place to be much more difficult to handle than most gaming forums.

Talakeal
2011-05-10, 11:01 PM
Ok, I am done with finals and all moved in, I will PM those who posted or PMed me about art tommorrow. Thanks again.

Thinker
2011-05-11, 07:48 AM
I don't want to say too much, but in summary:

It's a traditional RPG format (i.e. each player controls a character, GM controls story and arbitrates)
Uses a mechanic similar to a more unified / streamlined version of the d20 system
Skill / Trait based rather than Class / Level.
Original Setting which is an apocalyptic / fantasy / western hybrid set against a backdrop of Arthurian mythology, the closest analogy would be Stephen King's Dark Tower
Primarily grim and gritty low fantasy where characters are still essentially human and resource management is important, but with some very high magic elements
Right now the text is about 90% complete with ~400 pages single spaced, not including illustrations. About 60% fluff 40% crunch.

Your RPG sounds interesting, but you seem to have an issue with too many pages for your core book. Is there any way for you to pare down the fluff by summarizing some of it? You can use your current material in a future supplement. You could also do the same with some of the crunch if you have anything like feats and spells if it is still a problem after that.

Tyndmyr
2011-05-11, 07:51 AM
60% fluff/40% crunch isn't a bad mix. I would wager than 7th Sea has an even higher fluff/crunch mix(probably around 70/30), but because the fluff is both incredibly important and useful, it works fantastically.

I'll admit that it'd be a remarkably thick book, but hey...word dump everything down, get it working, format and organize later. Splitting into phb/dmg style is quite possible for most systems, and the splatbook idea works too. I enjoy when systems have more support than just the core book.

Talakeal
2011-05-11, 03:26 PM
Basically I have the core rules, monster manual, and campaign setting in one book. There is a lot of it I could edit out and stick in future supplements I suppose, but I would really prefer to keep as much as possible in the main book rather than spread it out over a bunch of supplements that may or may not ever get published.

Talakeal
2011-05-11, 11:29 PM
I would like to say thank you to all the artists who responded, and I am sorry it has taken me a while to get back to you. I hope you are still interested in working with me. The artwork would need to be a collaborative effort; I have a pretty specific idea of what I want. Please pm me or e-mail me at skulmarus@yahoo.com if you are interested in doing a piece for me, including what sort of art you are interested in, what sort of fee you charge, and a sample of your work or a link to your gallery. Or just with any questions you might have.

Here is a list of the artwork I know I will need:

A cover illustration (full color, high detail, I know what I want but am waiting for a skilled artist who can devote a lot of time to it)

A map (again full color. I have a mock up, but need to find an artist who can do a good looking map by hand)

A full page detailed illustration in black and white to open each chapter. Again I need a fairly skilled artist for these.

A number of sample characters. Single figure, black and white, no background. Hopefully I have most of these covered already.

Several landscapes of various fantastic vistas, black and white, a quarter to a third of a page tall.

Numerous simple black and white illustration of weapons and armor, primarily medieval but also including several old west era, classical era, or fantastic magic items.

Several Illustrations of Gods and Demons for the setting. Black and white with limited background, I think I have most of these covered.

Several dozen pictures of the various player races. I need these to be small black and white pictures with matching male and female. I am also not sure how to dress them. Fully clothed hides too much anatomy, fully nude would offend some readers, and the swimsuit style garments most books use just seems tacky. Any ideas?

A couple hundred simple black and white illustrations of various monsters and animals.

A small black and white landscape orientation image for each of the magic schools used to separate the sections and establish the mood. Not sure of the exact content.

And finally lot of the artwork I need will be black and white "filler pieces" used to both establish a mood and fill blank spaces on the page. This artwork will primarily be up to the artist to design based on their impressions of the text, and I can't give specifics until I finish the text and the layout later this summer.

As for overall mood:
I am going for something that is dark but at the same time beautiful. Most scenes should be at night. The objects in the night sky, stars, planets, and especially the moon should be bigger and more visible than reality.
Architecture varies based on the region, but most is overly ambitious gothic or classical architecture now gone to ruin, similar to the 80s-90s batman films.
People should be exaggerated, either very good looking or very bad looking, depending on their role. Most people are attractive, most men are muscular, and women are overly curvy.
The action scenes should be surreal and with a lot of pointless violence and wasted human life. Most should mix elements of medieval fantasy with later 19th early 20th century images. Similar to the "dream" sequences in the recent film Sucker Punch or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAgL11OcoLY

Shademan
2011-05-12, 04:43 AM
Several dozen pictures of the various player races. I need these to be small black and white pictures with matching male and female. I am also not sure how to dress them. Fully clothed hides too much anatomy, fully nude would offend some readers, and the swimsuit style garments most books use just seems tacky. Any ideas?

simple underwear? underwear isnt THAT new of an invention...

potatocubed
2011-05-12, 05:12 AM
I recommend fully-clothed. That way you not only get an illustration of races, but you can use that to flesh out your default campaign world by illustrating modes of dress, jewellery, prevalence of tattoos and piercings, etc.

UserClone
2011-05-12, 08:52 AM
I recommend fully-clothed. That way you not only get an illustration of races, but you can use that to flesh out your default campaign world by illustrating modes of dress, jewellery, prevalence of tattoos and piercings, etc.

This. If you REALLY want to show off some anatomy, you could show a couple burly gladiators or a chick in chainmail bikini, but it's been done. I'm more interested in modes of dress than anatomy, assuming you aren't making a FATAL re-hash.

Talakeal
2011-05-12, 04:03 PM
This isn't for humans, itís for humanoid races whose anatomy is significantly different than humans but would be covered up by full clothing.

If you look at the races chapter in third ed D&D or Pathfinder you will notice all the sample characters are clothed in what equates to modern bikinis and speedos. I assume this is for the same reasons I listed, but it looks kind of out of place.

I am still not sure on what is appropriate for an RPG book; you don't have to go anywhere near FATAL for soft-core nudity. First edition D&D and Vampire had bare breasts all over the place, as does current Exalted, and even war hammer does on occasion. And then if you look at Reaper Miniatures I would say at least 1/10 shows bare breasts or buttocks.


I recommend fully-clothed. That way you not only get an illustration of races, but you can use that to flesh out your default campaign world by illustrating modes of dress, jewellery, prevalence of tattoos and piercings, etc.

That's a good idea, but there are a couple problems with that. First, people don't dress the same by species, social class and region have a lot more to do with it. Second, a lot of the more savage races would probably not wear much clothing at all unless they are going into battle, for example lizard folk have no concept of modesty and live in hot arid climates. Third, I really haven't thought out a unique style of dress for most of the races, most just mimick the local human culture or wear whatever they can scrounge together. I actually don't know if I have seen an RPG where different races have a concept of fashion beyond elves wear green, bad guys wear spikes, and gnomes where pointy hats.

conaniscool
2011-05-12, 10:03 PM
im cool wit drawin' tits

Shademan
2011-05-14, 03:38 PM
im cool wit drawin' tits

I think its more a question of the publisher being cool with it.
or even if he just publishes it online you might have age restrictions apply to it because of the mammaries.
I'm just guessing here, I wouldnt know

FatJose
2011-05-14, 11:27 PM
When you say "I think I have most of these covered." Do you mean that most of the art's been taken care of or that you already have planned out exactly what you want?
As for anatomy, there are many middle ground options of clothing that could work. I have to agree with the underwear thing. I liked the 3.5 character art but for some reason there was something that always kind of squicked me out about the Pathfinder race art. I would suggest having a basic drawing in races section but also reveal more of the racial traits through the example of the other illustrations. Haflings are small and agile and while the race section gives you a comparison, the art with Lidda gives a better example while also being rogue.
It also took a page from Leonardo and Grey's Anatomy, throwing in illustrations that looked like something from a medical book; head shapes, sizes, basic skeletal structure. In many cases the illustrations are faded and placed behind text so it wont get in the way of the book's flow...Of course, you probably don't want to just mimic another book and the design choice might not match the setting.

conaniscool
2011-05-15, 02:09 AM
Well, I'm more than happy to draw some naked tits and vag. If the publishers aren't happy with it, then I can easily edit some undies on 'em.

Kislath
2011-05-15, 09:28 AM
Good luck with all this! I'm very jealous that you are so close to finally reaching fruition. I have two games that have been halfway done for years, and they'll probably stay that way forever. Such a shame.

UserClone
2011-05-16, 01:33 PM
Well, I'm more than happy to draw some naked tits and vag. If the publishers aren't happy with it, then I can easily edit some undies on 'em.

You forgot the naked dong and knuts.

Oracle_Hunter
2011-05-16, 02:04 PM
Several dozen pictures of the various player races. I need these to be small black and white pictures with matching male and female. I am also not sure how to dress them. Fully clothed hides too much anatomy, fully nude would offend some readers, and the swimsuit style garments most books use just seems tacky. Any ideas?
Unless the anatomy is really eccentric, I'm not sure it is worth worrying about mammalian creatures hiding anatomy under clothing. Much RL clothing exists to emphasize anatomic features even under cloth. Dresden Codak (http://dresdencodak.tumblr.com/post/3583964949/figures-they-speak-for-themselves-mildly-nsfw) has an interesting article (mildly NSFW) in regards to the role of anatomy and art.

And, of course, if the creatures have anatomy that is that bizarre then it probably won't offend any readers if it is visible. Reference for the lulz (http://www.airshipentertainment.com/buckcomic.php?date=20071117). To be honest, the real problem with drawing costumes is in making believable clothing. Particularly if D&D is your main reference for this sort of thing, you might not have noticed that the clothes in WotC-era art is ludicrous. And I don't mean "chainmail bikinis" here, I mean "how does that even work?" sort of ludicrous. The "swimsuit" outfit as you describe them is the equivalent of a Form Fitting Wardrobe (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FormFittingWardrobe) which is easier to draw than realistic clothing.

So, some food for thought, I guess :smallsmile:

conaniscool
2011-05-16, 03:56 PM
You forgot the naked dong and knuts.

I don't mind drawing those either... I'll use myself for reference when drawing the half-orc's stuff.

Shademan
2011-05-19, 06:23 AM
so when are we getting lists of what ya need drawn? I mean... in a wee bit more details

Talakeal
2011-05-19, 05:02 PM
Soon, I have been kind of overwhelmed with applicants and am having trouble keeping everyone straight. I didn't actually expect to start seriously looking for artists until I had finished the text later this summer, so all the interest kind of caught me unprepared.

Fenrisnorth
2011-05-21, 07:14 PM
When are you hoping to publish by?

Talakeal
2011-05-23, 05:37 PM
Ok, bad news for all the potential artists. I hate to say this, especially after saying how flaky artists were, but I need to delay getting back to all of you about artwork for a while.

When I posted this I wasn't actually looking for any specific artists, just asking how to find them, and then when I saw there was interest right here I decided to pursue that option, but the response has been somewhat overwhelming, rather than a couple artists this forum has produced several dozen, and I don't have time to look at your samples (when provided) and delegate work right now.

Right now I have a couple of issues which is preventing me from getting back to you:

1: I am really working hard to finish the text before classes start again in August, and don't have the time to work on art.

2: I won't know exactly how much art or what art I will need until I can mock up the books formatting, which of course requires a completed text.

3: I need to resolve the issue with the artists I have previously contacted before I know how much art I have already and how much money I have to free to commission more.

So, it might be several weeks or months before I can get back to you. Still, THANK YOU very much for your interest and your patience, and I will get back to you eventually, and I hope you will still be interested in working with me.

I have taken down the names and e-mail of all the applicants I have gotten so far and will respond to you when I am ready. If anyone sees this and would like to apply, send me a PM or an e-mail and I will add you to the list.

Also, if anyone feels inspired by what I have already posted and would like to do some freeform work and send it to me as a sample I might just buy it from you, I do need a lot of "filler" art to break up the monotony of the text and develop he feel of the game.

I am not sure about publication date, hopefully I can get the text done in the next couple of months and the layout / art / playtesting done within the following year. Then I might just be able to get the thing printed just before the end of the world in 2012.

Doc Roc
2011-05-23, 05:55 PM
Putting the game out on the internet is a good idea in theory, but do you know how to do it safely? Once you have the rules out there for free, how do you control the spread of it? Also the trouble of getting the book to the right play testers, I find that most internet gamers are just out there to flame every system but the one they love.

You can never control it. And if you aren't prepared for a harsh critique now and then, you're best off not publishing it.

conaniscool
2011-05-23, 06:20 PM
I'm only interested in drawing the naked people. I'll do that for free.

Shademan
2011-05-24, 08:16 AM
Ok, bad news for all the potential artists. I hate to say this, especially after saying how flaky artists were, but I need to delay getting back to all of you about artwork for a while.

When I posted this I wasn't actually looking for any specific artists, just asking how to find them, and then when I saw there was interest right here I decided to pursue that option, but the response has been somewhat overwhelming, rather than a couple artists this forum has produced several dozen, and I don't have time to look at your samples (when provided) and delegate work right now.

Right now I have a couple of issues which is preventing me from getting back to you:

1: I am really working hard to finish the text before classes start again in August, and don't have the time to work on art.

2: I won't know exactly how much art or what art I will need until I can mock up the books formatting, which of course requires a completed text.

3: I need to resolve the issue with the artists I have previously contacted before I know how much art I have already and how much money I have to free to commission more.

So, it might be several weeks or months before I can get back to you. Still, THANK YOU very much for your interest and your patience, and I will get back to you eventually, and I hope you will still be interested in working with me.

I have taken down the names and e-mail of all the applicants I have gotten so far and will respond to you when I am ready. If anyone sees this and would like to apply, send me a PM or an e-mail and I will add you to the list.

Also, if anyone feels inspired by what I have already posted and would like to do some freeform work and send it to me as a sample I might just buy it from you, I do need a lot of "filler" art to break up the monotony of the text and develop he feel of the game.

I am not sure about publication date, hopefully I can get the text done in the next couple of months and the layout / art / playtesting done within the following year. Then I might just be able to get the thing printed just before the end of the world in 2012.

fair enuff'. until then, filler it is! haha!

Jubal_Barca
2011-05-24, 11:00 AM
Some useful comments here (I'm also thinking of self-publishing at some stage, I'd say I'm about on beta 0.5 of my rules at the moment.)

What do people usually charge for commissioned artwork, does anyone know? And what would you guys guess was the reasonable capital requirement for trying to self-publish?

Shademan
2011-05-24, 01:09 PM
Some useful comments here (I'm also thinking of self-publishing at some stage, I'd say I'm about on beta 0.5 of my rules at the moment.)

What do people usually charge for commissioned artwork, does anyone know? And what would you guys guess was the reasonable capital requirement for trying to self-publish?

depends on how good the artist is most of the time and how long they've been doing it.
Art students is usually a good start since they tend to be just starting out and thus they will be a bit lenient on price.

but don't quote me on that. my knowledge does not extend further than me and my friends and the commissions i've bought from pros (80quid, yikes!)

Talakeal
2011-05-24, 03:49 PM
Some useful comments here (I'm also thinking of self-publishing at some stage, I'd say I'm about on beta 0.5 of my rules at the moment.)

What do people usually charge for commissioned artwork, does anyone know? And what would you guys guess was the reasonable capital requirement for trying to self-publish?

So far proffesionals have charged me between 25 and 50 dollars for a single black and white character on 8.5 by 11 or 11 x 14 paper, depending on the level of detail and whether or not a background was needed.

conaniscool
2011-05-24, 11:23 PM
I'll do it for $10... but I guess I'm not good 'nuff for Talakael, 'cuz he hasn't replied to me.

Talakeal
2011-05-25, 01:54 AM
I'll do it for $10... but I guess I'm not good 'nuff for Talakael, 'cuz he hasn't replied to me.

I have sent you PMs and email, as well as explaining my situation here, I don't know how much more reply you want. As I said, your work is fine, I just need a while to figure out what all I need before I start assigning work to specific artists.

Tyndmyr
2011-05-26, 11:02 AM
You can never control it. And if you aren't prepared for a harsh critique now and then, you're best off not publishing it.

This.

If it's on the internet, it can't be controlled as such. Companies spend millions and billions of dollars on trying...and it doesn't get them a great deal.

It's just something you're best off not worrying about. Complete control isn't a thing you need for most stuff anyhow.

sana
2011-05-27, 01:40 PM
I might have some pointers for you about the publishing part.

First Layout will depend heavy on the question publisher or self publishing.

In any case you will have to use a good program for the layout.

Don't even worry about font sizes before you know the page size, bleeds, slugs and margins.

In any case a good PDF is needed to create a printed version.
That means you will need the right tools for the job. Open source software that could do the trick is for example Scribus.
One of the most used tools for the job is Adobe InDesign but it has an enormous price tag.

And my mantra is layout comes after everything else. Focus on content first.

Talakeal
2011-05-31, 01:21 AM
Thanks for the information Sana. I actually have family who work at Adobe, so I can get their products for next to nothing, the bigger problem is learning how to use them, I am still working with Word here, and am not sure when I am going to find time to learn a new program with school and RPG design.

The reason I need to know about font size and layout is I need to see how the pages will look so I know what art I am going to need.

Garwain
2011-05-31, 05:30 AM
I am still working with Word here, and am not sure when I am going to find time to learn a new program with school and RPG design.
Your book will not ever get printed from a word document.

Also, 600 pages? The first thing a publisher will say is: "Cut the size in half". Leave out what is redundant. Rephrase your sentences to hold more information. Use key words and definitions. Art is a necessity, so allocate sufficient space for that.

Draft a Non disclosure agreement stating version and date, and distribute for proof reading. RAW and RAI are 2 very different things. Good luck!

Conners
2011-05-31, 06:48 AM
How many pages do most rule books have? DnD and Warhammer and etc.. I can't remember, ATM.... Of course, DnD is split into three books, you should note.

Talakeal
2011-05-31, 01:00 PM
Pathfinder is just under 600, although the monster manual is separate and another 300. The Warhammer core rules are 525, although you will also need two of the 100 page army books to actually play the game, and D&D 3.5 is about 320 pages for each of the three core books, just under 1,000 in total.

Most RPG Core books are between 300-400, but most systems have 2-4 such books. I remember hearing that Mage revised edition was supposed to be well over 600 but the decided it would be more cost efficient to publish a 400 page core book and then 2 200 page player's / GM guides.

The biggest gaming books I have seen are the Games Workshop catalogs, which are 1000 pages full color hardback but still only retailed for 40 dollars or so, so it is doable if you aren't concerned with making a huge profit.

Of course, there are many novels and text books which are well over a thousand pages, so I am sure that many printers can handle it, the only question is cost.

Most printers I have seen have a limit of 800 pages, which I should be able to do no problem, but it's just not possible to cut much below 600 pages without leaving out massive amounts of content which is required to play the game, such as the monster section (like pathfinder), or removing all illustrations / flavor text which would make it dry and no fun to read, or making it single space 8 point font which most people find uncomfortable to read.

Also, I am aware that you don't print directly from Word, however word documents can be saved as .pdf files, which is the standard for printing, so once I have the formatting complete in Word I should be able to then convert it to a .pdf and dress it up with some .pdf editing software, although I could be wrong.

Doc Roc
2011-05-31, 02:27 PM
Legend is going to end up well under 200 pages, Tak. That's a vast over-simplification of things.

Knaight
2011-05-31, 02:46 PM
And in the case of assuming 2-4 necessary books, flat out wrong. 1 book is conventional.

Doc Roc
2011-05-31, 02:55 PM
Also, I read about a book a day, and the chances of me reading your 600 page rulebook limit to zero. I'm sure it's lovely, but unless it's digitized, I know I'm never going to find anything in that morass ever again.

Talakeal
2011-05-31, 03:22 PM
Pathfinder is almost exactly 600 pages, and I understand it is one of, if not the best, selling RPG currently on the market, so I really don't think a large percentage of the gaming community objects to a 600 page book.

It was my understanding that people liked games with a lot of content and liked games with a single book.

Most of the big name RPGs have between 600-1,000 pages of core rules, although most do it in 2-3 books. I hear people complain about the three book model all the time, and I have heard a lot of people praise pathfinder for dropping the three book model of D&D down to two. I have also heard a lot of criticize War hammer Fantasy Role-play second edition because it removed most of the Bestiary and Setting Information from the core book and put them into supplements.

Are you saying you would rather pay 80$ for two 300 page books than 50$ for one 600 page book, and would rather have to carry around and keep track of two books than one slightly larger book?

Although yes, I would imagine there would be a digital version, and I have heard that a lot of RPGs are actually including a .pdf copy along with the printed book.

As for page counts; looking at what I have on my shelf at hand I have:

D&D 2 320 phb 192 dmg 384 mm 896 total
D&D 3.0 304 phb 224 dmg 224 mm 752 total
D&D 3.5 320 phb 320 dmg 320 mm 960 total
D&D 4 320 phb 224 dmg 288 mm 822 total
Pathfinder 576 core 320 mm - 896 total
Mage Revised 309 core 224 player 72 story 608 Total
Werewolf Revised 309 Core 236 player 72 Story 620 Total
Vampire Revised 312 Core 224 Player 224 Story 760 Total
Exalted 400 Core 224 Player 160 Story 784 Total

Warhammer RPG 2 256 Core 127 Setting 127 Bestiary 512 Total
Warhammer (Tabletop) 520 Two Army Books (96x2) 712 Total
Warhammer Roleplay First 480 Core
Call of Cthulhu 320 Core
Shadowrun 373 Core
Riddle of Steel 270 Core
Aces and Eights 400 Core


This backs up my statement that most multi book systems are between 600 and 1,000 pages of core rules (although I suppose you could argue about what constitutes "core") and that most books are 300-400 pages. If this is not your experiance then I guess you guys are just playing different sorts of games than I am.

Also, note that at almost 600 pages the Pathfinder core rules are the biggest single book on the list, which does mark it as unusual for a core rule book, however I was under the impression that most people considered that a very good thing, especially considering it is full color and you can get a copy on Amazon for under 40$.

Doc Roc
2011-05-31, 05:38 PM
Do you know why Pathfinder is a best selling game?
It's not much to do with the game, it's the fact that Paizo made some very fine promises that they've begun to keep, did some great marketing, and produced something playable.

Do all three of those, and we can talk about your 600 page love child.

Knaight
2011-05-31, 05:58 PM
Do you know why Pathfinder is a best selling game?
It's not much to do with the game, it's the fact that Paizo made some very fine promises that they've begun to keep, did some great marketing, and produced something playable.

Moreover, they were basically riding on the brand name they established through decades of work with D&D magazines, as well as riding on the D&D brand name itself by producing a development on 3.5 D&D.

In general, if you want something to compare your new game to, look at the first edition of a game. One without any brand name, one without an established fan base, another new entry. Then, notice the lack of 600 page rule books, or multiple required books.

Talakeal
2011-05-31, 06:12 PM
Someone asked me how many pages most RPGs have. I counted up what I own, and answered the question. I was called a liar, and so I posted my sources to back up my statement. I was then told that I "haven't earned" what other RPGs have.

You are the first person I have ever seen say they object to too much content or to a company not trying to make a quick buck by releasing supplementary material that should be in the core book. I have seen many reviews praising Pathfinder for combining the PHB and the DMG into one affordable book, I have never seen anyone criticizing that decision, longing for the good old three book days of D&D, or saying that they should have cut content.

If that is the majority opinion and I have somehow missed it I might be willing to change, but saying that people ignore such obvious flaws because Paizo has "earned it" is just insulting to both me and to Paizo.

Many people on this thread, yourself included I believe, have said that you can't please everyone and if you can't handle internet criticism don't bother releasing anything. I think I am going to take that advice and stop wasting my time trying to appeal to a vocal minority who have short attention spans or can't stand rules heavy / setting heavy systems. If you don't want to buy a copy fine, but I am not going to sabotage what I feel as quality without a damn good reason. Now if you will excuse me I have 600 pages to edit.

Talakeal
2011-05-31, 06:21 PM
Moreover, they were basically riding on the brand name they established through decades of work with D&D magazines, as well as riding on the D&D brand name itself by producing a development on 3.5 D&D.

In general, if you want something to compare your new game to, look at the first edition of a game. One without any brand name, one without an established fan base, another new entry. Then, notice the lack of 600 page rule books, or multiple required books.

I can't imagine that is because large books are inferior though, I would assume it is because they had limited time to write them, and limited money for artists and publishing costs, or even a larger shelf space requirement.

The games which I do have multiple editions of are usually almost the same length, but do get about 20-60 pages longer each edition.

What you are implying is that players hate large books, but gaming companies are just using their name recognition as an excuse to push them on their consumers even though it costs them fan support and revenue. This approach just doesn't make sense from a business standpoint.

Doc Roc
2011-05-31, 07:08 PM
I would say that they're using long-earned trust to allow them to continue to build larger, more ambitious games, in turn earning trust all over again. Further, I didn't call you a liar, and I'm getting a little bit frustrated here. I'm not trying to antagonize you, I'm just horribly tactless. And I don't trust you.

Mostly tactless.

Talakeal
2011-05-31, 07:30 PM
I would say that they're using long-earned trust to allow them to continue to build larger, more ambitious games, in turn earning trust all over again. Further, I didn't call you a liar, and I'm getting a little bit frustrated here. I'm not trying to antagonize you, I'm just horribly tactless. And I don't trust you.

Mostly tactless.

Knaight said I was flat out wrong, I suppose that is not the same thing as being a liar, but I did actually look at the books I own, it wasn't just a baseless assumption.

Likewise, used said RPGs that I own to determine how much content an RPG should have which I don't see as unreasonable. I am trying to publish it all in one volume, which is a bit unconventional, but I really thought this was a favor to players instead of an imposition.

I agree that they are building up trust and making more ambitious games, but I really think the need to build up comes in the forms of development time and money rather than in the amount of pages the readers will accept.

Not trying to antagonize people but doing so by being tactless sums up about 90% of all internet conversations, so don't worry about it too much.

Knaight
2011-05-31, 07:36 PM
I can't imagine that is because large books are inferior though, I would assume it is because they had limited time to write them, and limited money for artists and publishing costs, or even a larger shelf space requirement.

The games which I do have multiple editions of are usually almost the same length, but do get about 20-60 pages longer each edition.

What you are implying is that players hate large books, but gaming companies are just using their name recognition as an excuse to push them on their consumers even though it costs them fan support and revenue. This approach just doesn't make sense from a business standpoint.

The issue is primarily one of cost to the consumer, and how much they know about the product before hand. A first edition book from an unknown author is something that people are buying with fairly minimal information, a subsequent edition by a known company is something that has a reputation to work off of. Moreover, the amount of expenditure of both time and money is drastically higher in the second case.

As an example, I mostly play Fudge, produced by Grey Ghost Games. If Grey Ghost Games produces 600 pages of optional rules, settings, etc. for Fudge, I'd happily shell out 50 dollars for it. Its a system I know made by a company I trust, 50 dollars is reasonable given the expected return. For a complete unknown, 50 dollars isn't going to happen. However a smaller book which costs less represents much less of a potential loss, if I spend ten dollars on a system and it turns out I don't like it and have no use for it, its not really that big of a deal. It sucks, but it happens, so be it.

Right now, you represent an unknown to pretty much everyone. As such, your book will be evaluated as an unknown, and if it is 600 pages, the amount you need to sell it for to turn a profit will be a major deterrent to buying it.

Talakeal
2011-05-31, 07:45 PM
Stuff

Ok, this I agree with you on. Yes it is an ambitious product, and it might ultimatly be impossible for me to publish it for a reasonable cost, in which case I would have to look at splitting it into several smaller books or as an ebook.

I do however have several full color full size hard back books on my shelf with between 500 and a 1,000 pages which a cover price of 40$ or less, which leads me to believe I can still print an affordable book of relative size if I cut out such extras.

Knaight
2011-05-31, 11:22 PM
I do however have several full color full size hard back books on my shelf with between 500 and a 1,000 pages which a cover price of 40$ or less, which leads me to believe I can still print an affordable book of relative size if I cut out such extras.

Even 40$ is rather a lot for a complete unknown. Look at Savage Worlds or Burning Wheel, which require a grand total of 10$ or 20$ to get all the rules to play, or Fudge, which has a free .pdf of the core rules which built enough trust to later release several longer books which actually sold.

Talakeal
2011-06-01, 12:52 AM
I don't really know what to say to that, even my second edition PHB from around 1990 cost 30 dollars. I haven't personally haven't read any of those 10-20 dollar games you listed, but from what I have heard they seem to be extremely rules light storytelling games rather than what I consider a true RPG, so you probably aren't an audience I would be targeting anyway.

Knaight
2011-06-01, 01:18 AM
I don't really know what to say to that, even my second edition PHB from around 1990 cost 30 dollars. I haven't personally haven't read any of those 10-20 dollar games you listed, but from what I have heard they seem to be extremely rules light storytelling games rather than what I consider a true RPG, so you probably aren't an audience I would be targeting anyway.

I could see this argument made for Fudge, Fate or Savage Worlds. It would be wrong in all cases (The current core Fate rules book is a solid four hundred odd pages of rules, and it is easily the most narrative of the bunch), but it could be made. Burning Wheel is at least as heavy as HERO, if not Rolemaster, and the argument is patently absurd to anyone who knows the game.

In any case, 30 dollars is still pretty reasonable*, 30$-40$ being a pretty typical range. 10$ is very low, and 20$ undercuts the norm significantly, meaning that it is easier to sell stuff.

*Its also about what you pay for the various FATE adaptations, that being one of the games which is free other than these.

Talakeal
2011-06-01, 02:04 AM
I looked for a copy of burning wheel as I have been told it is the best RPG ever written and the only game that is impossible to break or find something not covered by the rules and wanted to see it for myself, but can't find a copy for sale anywhere in my area (which is admittedly devoid of good gaming stores).

I have been told it is somewhat like FATE, which I have tried (or at least spirit of the century, which I am told uses the FATE engine), and couldn't stand as a GM it ties my hands too much to do what I want to do and as a player it gives me so many responsibilities outside of simply controlling my character that I just don't care about.

Is it actually 400 pages long for 20 dollars or less? I don't see how that is possible, unless they printed it in novel format (i.e. few to no illustrations and 5 1/2 by 8''), but I would love to hear how they pull it off.

Knaight
2011-06-01, 02:14 AM
I have been told it is somewhat like FATE, which I have tried (or at least spirit of the century, which I am told uses the FATE engine), and couldn't stand as a GM it ties my hands too much to do what I want to do and as a player it gives me so many responsibilities outside of simply controlling my character that I just don't care about.

Is it actually 400 pages long for 20 dollars or less? I don't see how that is possible, unless they printed it in novel format (i.e. few to no illustrations and 5 1/2 by 8''), but I would love to hear how they pull it off.

Point 1) Burning Wheel and FATE are two very, very different games. I deliberately listed 4 different games in my post, two of which I disliked personally (FATE and Savage Worlds). I suppose one could point at a few similarities, for instance, both involve dice, but there aren't very many.

Point 2) Burning Wheel has the Character Burner and the actual rules. One can play with just the actual rules and pre gens, which are maybe 180 pages, and written very concisely -a more languorous approach to rules could easily pad this to hundreds. This places a 20 dollar entry fee.

Talakeal
2011-06-01, 02:27 AM
I have never been able to get ahold of burning wheel but I have been told that it is like FATE, so that is all I have to go on.

I could probably split the Fluff / Crunch / and Bestiary into three seperate books at under 200 pages each and publish them seperately, but that just seems like more work and expense for everyone involved.

I probably will end up giving a free character builder or rules summary on the web, and I might even release a playtest version of the whole game as a free ebook, which I think would work as a better introductory offer than selling the game piece meal.

Knaight
2011-06-01, 02:37 AM
I probably will end up giving a free character builder or rules summary on the web, and I might even release a playtest version of the whole game as a free ebook, which I think would work as a better introductory offer than selling the game piece meal.

This, right here, is enough to bypass the unknown quantity problem on its own. Best luck to you.

Garwain
2011-06-01, 04:55 AM
I probably will end up giving a free character builder or rules summary on the web, and I might even release a playtest version of the whole game as a free ebook, which I think would work as a better introductory offer than selling the game piece meal.
Serving the hungry crowd an appetizer is good way to create expectations. Good luck with you project.

Conners
2011-06-01, 07:56 AM
Out of curiosity, Talakeal, how interested in your game system in realism (combat, wounds, etc.)? Lately, I'm interested in realism game systems, so I was just wondering if I could ask.

Talakeal
2011-06-01, 02:01 PM
Out of curiosity, Talakeal, how interested in your game system in realism (combat, wounds, etc.)? Lately, I'm interested in realism game systems, so I was just wondering if I could ask.
I try and create a balance between realism and ease of play.

Everything that is blatantly impossible has an in character explanation for why it is that way, for example dragons are descended from spirits and gold is on the same spiritual resonance as their ancestors, and thus they absorb energy from their hoard which allows them to fly and breathe fire when the laws of physics say they shouldn't be able to.

The rules do make abstractions, but there is nothing that makes you stop and say "what the heck is going on here?" like, for example, 4th ed's daily uses for martial powers or marking system.

Combat does have a realistic wound system where every hit represents a real body wound and your overall health degrades as you take damage, and in the right circumstances a single hit can easily be fatal. There is also an optional system which allows for wounds to have effects beyond damage that hinder or disable the opponents abilities.

The combat is not as detailed and complex as say, Riddle of Steel or Fatal, but it is more or less realistic, and it is up to the Game Master to decide the level of detail.

For example the player might declare they are attacking a bandit with their sword. They roll some dice to find that they have inflicted 3 damage out of the bandits 5 vitality by striking his arm, and the injury will provide him a penalty of -2 to all roles using that arm until he recovers.
Then the Game Master would narrate that, describing the combat and how the player's swing went, and then describing exactly what injuries the bandit received with as much detail as they feel is necessary to set the mood while still keeping the game flowing.

Conners
2011-06-01, 08:18 PM
Ooh! Sounds good. Please PM me a link to the E-Book when it is available :smallsmile:!

Talakeal
2011-06-01, 10:03 PM
Ooh! Sounds good. Please PM me a link to the E-Book when it is available :smallsmile:!

Sure thing, but its going to be atleast a year before publication, although I might have a playtest version online in the next 3-6 months.

Conners
2011-06-01, 10:05 PM
Okeydokey. Hmm... may want to consider releasing near to a holiday, like Christmas? That mightn't apply to RPGs like it does for video games, of course--you'll know better than me I expect.

Talakeal
2011-06-01, 10:07 PM
Okeydokey. Hmm... may want to consider releasing near to a holiday, like Christmas? That mightn't apply to RPGs like it does for video games, of course--you'll know better than me I expect.


I am shooting to publish near the end of 2012, just in time for the Christmas holiday and, if they Mayans are correct, before the end of the world :) Hopefully I will have a playtest version out by the end of this year in some capacity.

Conners
2011-06-01, 10:55 PM
Ooh, if I could apply for play-testing, that'd be good. I'm not terribly experienced with RPGs, but I have played and read a few. Shadow Run a bit, DnD 3.5 and 4e, Riddle of Steel an amount, read the Mutants and Masterminds book but didn't play it, read the Serenity RPG book too, started on Pokemon Tabletop (a fan RPG).

Also have been studying reality's combat an amount -- not like practising martial arts, like reading accounts of knife fights from police men -- so I might be some help with the realism side.

Hoping I can help out closer to the time.

conaniscool
2011-06-01, 11:00 PM
If you have carnal rules I'd be willing to test them out. I'm guessing you'll apply the same realism as you did for the combat rules? Will you be taking creature size into account, as well? I imagine there would be some penalties when dealing with a gnome and ogre...

Conners
2011-06-01, 11:07 PM
I don't think he's making a sequel to FATAL (haven't read that book, come to think of it... better that way, I guess?). You probably were joking when you said that though, anyways.