Monday, October 12, 2009

More than Meets the Eye

So readers, those of you who have been with us for a while may remember a rather stellar idea that I've decided to run with: Dust Jacket as GM Screen. If a dust jacket proves to be a feasible, economical addition to the book, you'll see the backside littered with extra information for budding and veteran Game Master's alike.

Of course, let's not kid ourselves. OVA is no Rolemaster, so there's not exactly a bounty of things that have to be kept within eyesight at all times. So then, what would you like to see on such a screen? I think the Difficulty Chart is a shoe-in, and I'm also considering a small multiplication table for those of us less comfortable with the Damage mechanic. But what else? Most of the oddball Ability Endurance costs would've been a nice fit, but now that such things have been done away with...Likewise, what few tables are left are pretty consistent and easy to remember. So what will it be? What do you all wish you had at hand at all times? I'd love to have more nonstandard stuff like the multiplication table, things that have no business in the book proper but nonetheless might prove convenient to gamers.


  1. Maybe just put everything you'd think people would photocopy? It'd be easier on the book's binding to have something relatively flat to photocopy or scan.
    I'm not sure a dustcover as GM screen would hold up. Dust covers are pretty flimsy. What would keep the thing from falling down?
    I could see ya having a player sheet, a combat sheet, and maybe a condensed GM sheet that had room for a couple NPCs.

  2. Well, I'd have to invest in a sturdy dust jacket. *laughs* But again, if you check out the typical Japanese version of this, they're much closer to card stock than what is typical of US books. I'd certainly have to try it out before I commit to it. But I think, with the endflaps as supporting "feet", a cardstock cover should perform nicely.

    A friend of mine, Ewen Cluney of Maid RPG and Yaruki Zero Games, informed me that it's typical of Japanese RPGs to devote the entire back cover (normally obscured by the dust jacket) to a character sheet. This certainly makes it very easy to photo copy. However, I'm not sure my design sensibilities can stomach effectively removing a proper back cover (even IF a dustjacket is normally over it.) So...using the interior dustjacket might be a nice idea if the GM's screen doesn't pan out. But let's be optimistic for now. :)

  3. I not only like the idea of a functional dustcover-to-screen, but think that the back cover could very well be useful as a character sheet. However if the back cover is (god forbid) to ever be accidentally ripped off, the character sheet would be gone. So the sturdiness of the back cover would be in question as well.

    A DC Chart should indeed be included. Perhaps, if nothing else pans out, a quick-guide for making Faceless Minions™ would be a useful thing?

    I as a DM would want the following tables if they still exist; note that I am going off an original PDF of the system here: Trying to Pull Something from Hammerspace, Trying to Invent Something and The Teleporting Table could all be combined with the DC table. The Psychic Table, The Lifting Large Things table, The Collateral Damage table, the Cover table, the Falling table, Collision table and the Speed of Impact table would all be useful in a pinch.

  4. I'm not loving the dust cover GM screen idea . . . or the idea of a dust jacket in general. I've never liked them. Those tables David mentioned -- you should just have an appendix for easy access to the most-referenced tables.

  5. I'll have to doublecheck my copy of Night Wizard to see how heavy the dust jacket is. I like the idea of having necessary tables in one place rather than having to look each one up every time I need it; my only concern is how well the dust jacket will hold up to constant use. (I think Night Wizard's contains copyable forms for combat records and the like rather than GM-screen-style tables, but I would need to recheck that to be sure.)

  6. Whatever is on the dust jacket, it would make it more likely for me to purchase a print copy.

    Are you thinking of printing the book Japanese style (left to right)? Because along with the size and the dust jacket, I think it would be just too cool. :D

  7. Clay, I think it is time to introduce you to a little web site called Kickstarter. I believe your RPG would benefit greatly from this kind of exposure. OVA is worth it, I would definitely back you.

    As for the dust jacket idea, I say go for it. Nonstandard elements would fit nicely alongside conventional ones. Maybe token quotes from the sample characters for added personality? Karis anyone?

  8. Little Shepherd: I guess my rationale here is the same as with the Sample Characters discussion a few entries back. If you like the dust jacket, it's there. If you don't like it, you can take it off. The idea here is that if there's not a dust jacket, you can't poof one. :) Of course, a dust jacket might not happen at all, regardless of how other fans feel about it.

    Kurohawk: I'm assuming there will be an overrun of any dust jackets printed. It's possible I could even specify an amount so that I could sell replacements. :)

    David: I'm assuming you mean "right-to-left" and the very quick answer is "no." Right-to-left is great for preserving the integrity of a Japanese publication, but I find it silly for an English-origin book to copycat the concept. That said, most Japanese RPGs are printed left-to-right, so technically I'd be going against Japanese tradition doing it any other way. :) But I appreciate your enthusiasm. You certainly "get" what I'm trying to do with the size and dust jacket. :)

    Nicholas: Interesting. I'm not a big fan of the "ransom method," but this site looks like a really cool idea. Perhaps I'll consider it as a means to fund the print run of the book and as an excuse to give out nifty goodies. :)

    On the dust jacket, already ahead of you. Hidden art/4 koma strips/ and other little extras will definitely be placed behind the end flaps.

  9. Another brainstorming suggestion for the dust jacket; why not print a sample adventure on there? Nothing fancy of course, but it could have some adventure background, a quick list of characters, and a series of adventure hooks to get things moving, with suggestions for how to proceed as things develop.

    At the very least, it could be a place to put adventure seeds if you don't have room in the main book.

  10. In concurrance with David, I'd like to see some really generic quick-use minions and sample enemies, as well as maybe a few hazards. Maybe a quick reference for some of the more involved abilities.