What’s the link to that alternate layout that was done? All I see is the Level One version that has a couple of extra notes in the sidebar.
http://www.autarch.co/system/files/files/Dwimmermount_Layout_Preview_Level_1.pdf - this may be the one you were talking about, though.
Yeah, I get it now; it’s the addition of the sidebar information that differentiates. As presented I’m not sure it helps at all.
It’s easy to pick out that there are monsters in the room, so no need to change that.
Perhaps if you condensed the mechanics/effects of each room in to a terser format and moved them out of the main text and in to the sidebars on a consistent basis. This could be combined, maybe with bolding of the treasure in each room. (That may be too busy.)
The effect would be a = mass of unreadable flavor text that the DM doesn’t need in the center, the monsters in italics underneath as is currently, and the mechanics offset in the sidebar.
I don’t usually comment on layout in my reviews, but … in 260 reviews this may be the worst layout I’ve ever seen. I think it’s a combination of the writing style and the layout being used. They just don’t seem to go together. All I see is a mass blob of text. I don’t think I understand enough about such things to comment more.
I don’t think Autarch is doing the layout? Guy Fullerton (Chaotic Henchmen) and James Kramer (Usherwood Adventures) certainly both understand layout VERY well. They’ve both published fine articles on it and their own products are among the best laid out I’ve ever seen (more exceptions to the ‘I don’t usually comment on layout’ rule.) Perhaps a gentle nudge/recommendation could be applied to disperse some pHAt L00T in their direction for consulting services. Just because you’re creative doesn’t mean you’re good at art, layout, editing, or layout.
The sample layout is by Adam Jury, who’d worked with James on Thousand Suns IIRC; at this point I’ve lost track of what was actually in the original layout vs. what we just talked about doing with sidebars etc. during subsequent conversations. Greg Lincoln did the ACKS core and Player’s Companion, which are different beasts than a dungeon key. I am very interested in presenting information for RPG usability and will check out Fullerton and Kramer’s work - are there specific modules you’d hold up in particular as exemplars?
Guy has a preview of F3-Many Gates of the Gann, on RPGNOW at http://watermark.rpgnow.com/pdf_previews/105975-sample.pdf . His layouts are clean with an emphasis on a avoiding annoying details. He’s published a series of articles on layout, writing style, etc. Generally very good advice. The layout bits are at
Kramer is a designer by education and profession, and it shows. His most recent is: In the Halls of the Mage King. There’s a preview at: http://watermark.rpgnow.com/pdf_previews/108888-sample.pdf . He has clearly though a lot about what should and should not be on the page. In particular, he pays NO homage to the old 1980’s module style. His style embodies the learning that has taken place over the last 30+ years of the hobby. The great CONTENT style of when everything was once fresh and new, married to the technical and professional advances of the last 35 years of layout.
idk what difference you can make here; Good Luck.
Adam Jury, man … You know, Melan is one of the most creative people in the OSR that I’ve been exposed to. His adventures are exciting and fresh and his supporting content is superb. One of the best designers ever. And he just happened to publish the bulk of his work at the same time the greatest designer EVER was active, Sham.
Downloading those now!
I've followed Melan's work enthusiastically - his Tegel Manor is on my list of great lost RPG projects - but kind of missed out on Sham. Where should I start?