A Sample Page Spread

Below the cut you’ll find a sample page spread from the book. This is a draft, so the text, the layout, and the page elements are all still in flux, but it should give you a pretty good idea of where we’re headed. 




We have three key guideposts driving this design, and each of those has led us to some design rules. Here’s the basic list:

  1. Readability
    • No background textures behind text. (The gradient at the edges may need nudging.)
    • Matte or satin pages rather than gloss.
    • “Newspaper” columns rather than loooong lines of text
    • Readable fonts (the thin font used in the tables isn’t right yet)
  2. Utility
    • Border textures and colors will change by section, making it easy to find the section and page you’re looking for.
    • Page numbers and chapter numbers in the corners, again for ease of use.
    • Wherever possible, logically-grouped material will not get widowed or orphaned across page-turns.
    • Stat tables, art, and callouts will be easy to find. We won’t bury stats in blocks of text, and we’ll organize tables consistently.
    • Where appropriate, sidebar callouts will direct the reader to relevant related material.
    • We’ll have an appendix and an index. (This is actually going to be one of the most time consuming parts of the project, and it has to happen last.)
  3. Aesthetics
    • Page elements will have textures and art elements incorporated in them, but only if that doesn’t break Readability and Utility. The borders here are a good example. The CEO note and tables are not.
    • Art on every page spread.
    • Art will be positioned, framed, and/or background-textured in attractive ways. (The Frellenti and Fobott’r pictures here both need work in that regard.)

We arrived at this list through perusal of our vast library of RPG books, and careful examination of the books we loved and the books whose design failed for us. Our goal is to deliver a book which is beautiful, useful, and easy to read. And full of awesome, of course.

This is a Draft

Don’t proofread for us, please. It’s a waste of your time and ours. Every word, picture, page element, and stat on the pages above is subject to change, and more importantly is not being designed by committee, Kickstarter transparency notwithstanding. We’ve updated the image to make it less tempting to the pedants in the audience, and we’ve taken the liberty of deleting the editorial comments so nobody looks like they can’t follow directions.

28 thoughts on “A Sample Page Spread”

  1. Damn that is beautiful! I wish I had the money to participate in the kick-starter but car troubles (and Kick-Starter experience, see below) trump entertainment. As for feedback, the current look (and all the plans you state for improvement) looks like you may have the best RPG book I have ever laid eyes on.

    I am very satisfied with my (Schlock) challenge coins but am leery of kick-starter because of several other projects and how kick-starter (failed to deal) dealt with their creators taking the money and running. I am looking forward to being able to purchase after it comes out.

  2. I finished reading that, and tried to swipe to the next page. A couple of times.

    Back in my graphic designer days, layouts were always my favorite work. Getting to see it in progress, and read your explanations for the how’s and why’s, and reading about the little tweaks that make such a big difference is kind of exciting for me. I really appreciate being able to see the behind the scenes work.

  3. This page layout is, quite frankly, rather beautiful. The callout boxes are eye-catching, and I think I sense a resemblance to the tables from D&D 3.5 in their colors. The chapter border is pleasing without being too eye-catching, and the plan to use both different colors and textures is a great one indeed.

    ….. Is that Fobott’r biting the head off a cornish game hen?

  4. Well, it looks like aliens outside the soft and cuddly world of Mr. Tayler’s art can be a wee bit terrifying. Especially the Frellenti. Reminds me of the Garg from Commander Keen. I am looking forward to the rest.

  5. I have to say, I LOVE the CEO commentary on the side of the Frellenti page. Meta-commentary like that completely fits the universe, and is my favorite part of the entire thing. This is the kind of book I’d read through just for fun, sourcebook status notwithstanding, entirely based on a little detail like that.

  6. ….These guys are much scarier looking “in reality” than Legs and Andy. Makes me interested in what the Amorph is going to look like.

    1. …I say “interested.” I probably should have said “scared.” Possibly “intrigued,” but …No “scared” is best.

      1. When I first held the BH-209 that Doc Nickel made for me I was kind of amazed by how big it was.

        Then I pictured Schlock holding it, and I realized how big he was.

        From that point forward I have known, in my heart of hearts, that any live-action production with Schlock in it would be a monster movie with Schlock in the starring role as the monster. Even if he’s the good guy.

        1. Doc Nickel? Of the Whiteboard?

          Well, it can be handy to have fans with their own machine shops, eh?

          Do you have a picture of you holding the BH-209 somewhere that I missed?

  7. Overall, I like the layout of the pages and your guidelines for the whole book. I’m not even sure you have to tweak with the gradient edges as they are. It’s so light when it reaches the text that I don’t think it makes it harder to read, and I, for one, tend to like it when there is a little overlapping between elements (I find it more… organic, less standardised/mechanical/cold).

    However, I’m not completely convinced by the fact there is only one paragraph of text in the first column of the Frellenti page. Of course, lowering the picture and the table would be problematic, but I’m not really comfortable with having to switch columns so fast.

    Oh, for ShadowDragon8685: I think it’s a grenade, not an animal…

      1. A sandwich?

        Well, we know Uniocs can learn to love proschuttio, so why not.

        (I really did think he was biting the head off some small fowl, Ozzy-style.)

  8. Oh, and I just realised… Do all Fobott’r wear a Mohawk? Is that a trait of their nomads-for-hire culture?

  9. Love the pages.

    I suddenly wonder how many playable races there are in the book right now.

    And which uplifted animals are in the book and/or if there will be an uplift creator system?

  10. I don’t suppose we could twist your arm to get an idea of how much the various sophonts are going to differ, stat-wise? You’ve created a really vibrant universe, and the cultures that various homeworlds produce (and the skills that those cultures value) has always been one of the most fascinating elements of sci-fi for me.

    1. The various racial bonuses and penalties will mean that you’ll have an easier time filling certain roles with certain races, but the character progression system will allow you to build contrary to type, and to have a successful character in spite of that.

      Pulling a number out of thin air, the stat differences between races will put the min/max character (playing race and role to max benefit) between one and four play sessions ahead of the max/min character (playing race and role to minimum benefit.)

      The story is not the stats, however. The fluff provided in the book will give players the opportunity to create interesting characters whose racial differences are a large part of the party dynamic. The RiPP and Mayhem systems are designed to drive the story over the top, well beyond what the basic physics modeling of the numbers can provide.

  11. Is this sample a living document?*

    It seems everytime I come back here, something has been tweaked. Not that I’m complaining! As I said earlier, I love seeing these changes.

    *Naturally, the entire thing is currently a living doc, seeing as it’s a draft. I just meant this sneak peak.

    1. It’s changing because we made the mistake of thinking the larger audience could look at a sample and see a sample, rather than an opportunity to show off their proofreading skills.

      It was very disheartening, and it killed 16 hours that could have been spent productively. We don’t have the time for that. Going forward we will not be showing “in progress” shots because we’re not interested in design-by-committee. This is crowd-funded, but not crowd-sourced. Big difference.

      We might show off “evolution of a page” spreads at a future date.

  12. Out of curiosity, why is the duel-wielding guns rule in the Fobottr racial entry, rather than the combat rules? If I’m playing an Amorph with a half-dozen arms with a different gun in each, am I using different rules to the Fobottr, and would the Gatekeepers use still-different rules to each of them? What about if the Fobottr is coming at me with four one-handed weapons rather than two two-handed weapons, or a human is going John Woo with two pistols?

    1. It may not stay there. Or it may be different from a general dual-wielding rule, or all sophonts that can do it get the rule listed in their entry. We’ll find out when it gets published (or Howard or Alan tells us), and until then, think of it as a cliffhanger.

      Remember that there are still months left in the timeline for them to finish the writing (if I remember correctly). This is just a <10% sample of an unfinished work.

    2. My gut response would be that each sophont treats their specific brand of dual wielding differently.

      It’s specifically mentioned that Andy, and presumably all Fobott’r, have the traditional (for terrans) stereo-articulated eye set up. As such, they can only aim at a single target at a time because that’s how they’re biologically wired.

      An amorph, on the other hand (err… pseudopod?), can have as many eyes as they want looking in different directions if they want with a “brain” that can process all of that at the same time. As such, they can aim every gun they’re currently holding at a different target. Of course, Schlock has admitted that having more than one set of eyes can be a bit distracting, which is why he prefers to stick to just 2-3 “active” eyes.

      F’sherl Ghanni might behave like the Fobott’r but it’s been pretty well explained that they’ve had some serious eugenics going on such that it’s entirely possible that they’ve developed a brain/eye that can actually track multiple targets at one time, even from the same individual eye, so they might not use the same rule as the Fobott’r (or they might use the same rule with a different penalty).

      As such, rather than attempting to make a massive slew of different rules/values for multi-wielding from which the player finds the appropriate one, I’m guessing that Alan is instead just creating the rule for that specific sophont and placing it in the sophont’s entry. If you want to homebrew a new sophont that also has a biological inclination towards wielding multiple weapons, you’d just find the existing sophont that is the most similar to your imagining and use that rule.

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