Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Quickie: Arts & Crafts

Okay kids, I'm adjusting my writing style slightly. Yes, I like the very long, carefully thought out pieces, but I'm getting too many of those lodged in my backchannel like intestinal chewing gum.

Let's try something a little more off-the-cuff now, shall we?

Dogs in the Inktank

[Image contents: Printer, specialty stapler, stapled booklets, pages wet off the inkjet press... yes, this is about personal arts and crafts. And best yet, it's short.]

On two separate occasions (here and here) I've mentioned the game Dogs in the Vineyard, which is one of those indie games, with a little bit too much system to call simply a story game, but at the same time that system has some intentional vagueness about it... but all that's best saved for another time.

Back on topic, Jason Morningstar (of Fiasco fame) had put together a free thing for DitV: a small booklet called "Wisdom from the Book of Life." It's kind of a supplement to the game, intended to reinforce the tone and give players and GMs alike ideas.

In Gamut, but Out of Bounds

And a fine little booklet it is too, with one small wrinkle: To do it justice, you need some special equipment on hand.

The cover is a lavishly textured replica of a book that has been, for lack of a better turn of phrase, rode hard and put away wet. It prints onto an 8.5"x11" sheet of paper. Most printers, however require margins for the sake of paper handling, and can't print all the way out to the edge. So you get a book-cover that doesn't quite fit the sheet of paper it's printed onto, either because it's shrunk to fit into the printable part of the page or the parts outside the printable part have been cut off.

Second, have you ever made a booklet by folding a stack of letter-size sheets of paper in half? You probably have, but have you ever tried stapling them? Most staplers don't reach more than four inches from hinge to business end, because most documents aren't stapled right in the middle. A letter-size sheet, folded in half, requires at least five and a half inches.

Doesn't slow me down any!

Fortunately I have these things from past endeavors, and am producing three such booklets for the players' perusal during some near future play opportunities.

This isn't so much a complaint about the design of the supplement (though there are things that could be done for that) as a wish for enterprising gamers to have those more interesting tools on hand—borderless printers, saddle and/or specialty staplers, paper cutter with interesting selection of wheels...

If this interests you, press 1 now.

Being a GM (and sometimes a player) means occasionally having to produce maps, figures, or in this case books. If I have to, I can write more on this subject. If you'd like me to, and this means adding to the already bloated backchannel, leave a message and tell me that.

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