Thursday, July 5, 2012

Layout Experiment Continued

I have to admit that it has been really hard for be to get back into the habit of blogging. I've been spending time with the kids this summer, watching movies, playing, etc. and my actual time spent gaming has been drastically reduced. As such, I haven't had a whole lot to write about and what little time I've gamed has been spent wrestling with actually writing up my version of the Slave Pits.

Last month, I posted a rough draft of a layout that might be used to write up a module. As usually happens in this corner of the internet, some awesome piggybacking occurred, and my original idea was improved upon.

Incorporating these tweaks, I have endeavored to put together an entire spread of how I envision a module might be done using this method. The white column is obvious stuff. The light grey column is detailed stuff. The darker grey column is Referee/DM crunch.

The right hand page is entirely dedicated to the section of the map covered by the descriptions on the left hand page. All exits off the map will have a code and a page number to help direct the end user to find the appropriate page when the players move off the map. I would also include a version of the map with all the pieces and parts stitched together.

I don't know how efficient this will end up being, but it does represent what I have in mind for moving forward on this project.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Criticisms?


  1. Seems like a good way to make things user-friendly for the DM.

  2. Great, I'm likely to adapt this for my own games.

  3. That looks real good. You could probably stand to expand the map a little to more completely cover the page.

    1. ...but then he couldn't fit all the data for everything in the map, because the format is so non-compact.

  4. Something like this was done for the "Islandia" line from "The Companions," some of my favorite products from the early 80s. Each room would have three levels of description, based on what the PCs do: (paraphrasing) "brief glance," "look around," and "thorough search." Very handy.

    Since those were the pre-DTP days, though, they were just three paragraphs of text. I like your layout quite a bit; it should make the information much more easily accessible.

  5. You may want at least portions of the 'exits' extended to show the next item of interest (but in gray), in case players do stuff like "I throw a torch down the dark corridor; what do I see with my eagle eyed sight? Now down the other corridor..."

  6. Since the room numbers on the right are in red, the room numbers on the left should be in red as well.

    Instead of keeping the table to the left, you could break it down by room so that the room descriptions are closest to the room that they each describe.

    You could probably do without complete sentences. "Bone shards. Burial clothing scraps. Stone-etched cross where head goes."

    The off exit maps might be marked with some symbol (eg compass rose, Kuo-Toa head) on this map, and the corresponding exit on the other map would get the same symbol to draw your eye. Mark the page number is good, it should be on all exits.

    The overview is good to include and I heartily endorse the three column division of information. It is far superior to the boxed text that people spent so much time arguing about in the 90s.

  7. Splitting up on-map-descriptions would work on the outdoor maps too: Put the descriptions in the ocean area for the island maps, or on the hillsides for the castle/temple maps.

    New creatures descriptions might go on the first page where they would be encountered, if they were small enough.

    The spidery/branching 3x5 maps leave a bunch of space to put their descriptions close to the rooms. Splitting up the dungeons into parts, and moving the descriptions close to the rooms would enable one-page-dungeon concision without the squarish layouts that they all seem to have.