Monday, April 25, 2011

Hay Problemas...

Actually I have a couple problemas. The first is that no one seems to believe me. I told my wife that I put the baby to sleep by dancing him to Lady GaGa and she thinks I'm just making it up to be funny. Then I show her and she flips out! Like I've discovered something amazing or something. No...he just likes rhythmic dance music. He digs on Black Sabbath, too (the Ronnie James Dio years), and I'm trying to get him into Wolfmother (the latter depends on his mood, really), but GaGa is always a hit.

Which is good, 'cause I get tired of singing him show tunes.

The OTHER problem (probably a bit more interesting to my blog readers) is the new book. "Which new book, JB? You've got, like, four or five hot irons in the fire!" Right. Got it. Yes, I am as prone to the famous "gamer ADD" as anyone, and the fatigue/sleep deprivation thang doesn't make that any easier.

However, right now I am referring to the new book that is almost ALMOST complete (at least the writing)...the only one I'm currently soliciting (and accepting) artwork for, my little B/X player supplement whose name I am withholding because...well, because I'm a might superstitious if you must know.

The PROBLEM is that it is shaping up to be FRIGGIN' HUGE, on account of the spell lists. Let me break it down in terms of "good/bad news:"

The Good News: I have completed all the spell lists, including the mammoth final spell-caster spell list (170 spells from levels 1 through 10). You think that was easy? No way, Jose. Choosing which spells in the list would over-lap (there are hardly more than 170 spells in all of B/X...and that's counting the B/X Companion) and which would be saved for various "niche protection" consideration was its own ball was deciding on the particular order in which spells would be acquired (what is a 2nd level spell for one class is sometimes 1st or 3rd for another, you know?)...not to mention that I still needed to come up with more than 50 new spells to round out the list (51 in fact, not counting half a dozen or so reversed spells). So, yeah, list complete, even if the writing's not (and I plan on doing some work on that tonight, if I can keep my eyes open).

The Bad News: Even shrinking the font down to 9 and leaving no space for pictures, the spell lists clock in at 21 pages. 21...without fleshing out 170 spell descriptions! I figure to have at least (or close to) 30 pages by the end...and this is a book I wanted to come in at 40 or so TOTAL. The rest of the book is already 23 pages (21 shrinking the font) with at least 6 or so pages left to compile.

Why 40, JB? Isn't "more" better? No, it is NOT. This is supposed to be a slim supplement, not an f'ing huge-ass tome! What's more, this one is going to be "perfect bound" (meaning more cost on my end) and I had hoped to price it cheaper than the B/X Companion. I don't know how I'm going to manage that without shrinking the page count...and right now, I'm not liking where the page count is heading.

SO...I will probably be placing a poll on the blog in the very near future regarding the issue, but does anyone have any suggestions for me? Dare I take the font down to 8? Should I skimp on artwork (*shudder*)? Drop the demi-human classes (who like that "race as class" thing anyway)?

OR...right now, I've got the spell lists in the same format as the B/X Companion. Meaning the same format as B/X: each spell is presented including "range" and "duration" and a brief description...even if that description is "this spell is the same as the 5th level magic-user spell of the same name." Maybe I should just drop all the repeats?

But isn't nice to have them in the book? Even if all it does is tell you where to reference the actual spell description?

Ugh. All right, it's 9:15 and I got too little sleep last night and I've got get up hella' early tomorrow as well. I'm probably just a bit "over-tired." Hasta manana!


  1. Do you have a spell list somewhere in the book? You coukld always list the dupes there with a short description along the lines of "Fireball (as per MU 3)"

  2. If the kid likes to groove, turn him on to some Zeppelin.

  3. I'd advise against taking stuff down to 8 pt font (what font are you using, by the way? That makes a difference). That's one of the things I don't like about the original LotFP ... it's damn small print. Tables at 8pt, sure, but with body text it starts to interfere with information transmission.

    Are you doing the classic two-column format for the spell descriptions? If you made it single column, you might shorten the spell list by removing the white space between the columns.

  4. release a spell compendium as a free pdf? not ideal but all i can think of....

    or maybe but the spells in or something else from this one into your next one...

  5. My suggestion is to simply list the spells either thematically or by level, and include a link for downloading a free .rtf file. Spell descriptions take up way to much space in rpg books. The advantage of an .rtf file is the reader / user can mix and match, accumulate from other sources, create "spell cards," etc.

  6. Reimagine the project as a series of supplements. You're never going to stop having ideas, so think of it as an open ended series.

    I would suggest splitting what you've got and what you're planning into two books. Split it however you want, or however makes sense. Put all the new spell casting classes and spells in one book, and everything else in the other, or figure out some other way to divide up the material so it feels like both books have equivalent value.

  7. That way you don't have to make the font tiny, an you'll have room for even more artwork.

  8. @ Sword: I'd tried Houses of the Holy but he wasn't a big fan...maybe Physical Graffiti?

    @ All: The way I see it, I've got three options (font shrinking ain't one of 'em):

    1. Remove the redundant (i.e. "already published") spell descriptions.
    2. Split the book into two volumes.
    3. Make a bigger book than originally intended.

    Due to considerations regarding cover art (it's already nearing completion and shows both spell-casters and non-spell-casters on it), option #2 isn't a very good option.

    I tried looking at the book with option #1 and found I prefer a book that's a little more "complete."

    I'm starting to seriously consider this thing might need to go into the 50-60 page range. A lot more than I originally intended, but I really want people to be able to get all their info in a one-stop-shopping kind of way.

    But that's me...I'll poll my blog readers sometime in the near future.
    : )

  9. After recently purchasing the Pathfinder core rulebook, 60 pages doesn't seem like a lot to me... :P