Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Labyrinth Lord Campaign Setting in the Works

So I've been considering for a little while now putting out a free PDF or two of game content for people to take a peek at. After all, I've got whole binders of the stuff lying around, I figure I might as well share some of it, right? Problem being, for the last couple of years I've been doing most of my gaming using Castles & Crusades, and since TLG is a commercial game company I don't think I can actually put out material "for Castles & Crusades". Actually, if anyone knows for sure regarding putting out a free PDF (as opposed to just tossing random tidbits up on this here blog), I'd appreciate hearing from you.

Anyhow, this led me to look at Labyrinth Lord. I'd had a download of it for a while now and I've breezed through it a couple of times, but hadn't seriously considered it because I always fell back on C&C. But if LL is designed for the "basement publisher", I might as well put it to use and see what I can hammer out. Yesterday I printed it out here at work (yay "free" good paper and laser printers), but those covers...those hideous, ugly, loathsome covers. I couldn't bear to spend the money at Staples to have someone bind LL while staring at either of those abominations.

So I fire up Photoshop, do a little web surfing, and I came up with this:

That's the original "Tankards & Broadswords" font at the top. I got it printed in under an hour at a Staples Copy & Print center. Acetate cover and a black vinyl backing with a plastic coil bind for $3.14 after tax. The coil bind is a little tight and causes the pages to mis-align a little when closed because the paper is fairly thick and the textured surface makes it a little harder to keep neat, but the heavier stock means pages aren't going to start popping out any time soon.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with it. I know I could just keep a PDF open on my computer while working on my projects, but for some reason I prefer to look things up in hard copy. I've always found trying to read any length of text on a computer screen tiring, especially something designed originally for print and then "digitized". Hard copy is just plain easier on the eyes for me, and it's nice to have something flipped open to the right page so I don't have to keep jumping from Google Docs to Acrobat and back again.

Anyhow, I'll be nibbling away at this LL setting project for the next couple of months. When I've got something more substantial to pass along, I'll provide some updates. In the meantime, I urge all of you who own a copy of LL to, well, do yourselves a favor and make another cover. I mean, assuming you don't like those other two...erm...things.

Oh, and one little side-note. I'm always loathe to get PDFs bound if they are gaming products, mostly because I just feel a little (hah) dorky walking into a place like Staples to get a retro-clone RPG or some other gaming product bound. I've only had one amused smirk - I'm sure what I get done there is a lot more interesting than yet another business proposal or somesuch - but a small part of me still loathes walking up to a complete stranger and asking them to bind "Mazes and Minotaurs" or somesuch.

Anyhow, I handed the folder off to some girl who barely even looked at it, but when I picked it up, the clerk was some younger bespectacled fellow. Something in his demeanor made me think "He's not going to think it's dumb, I'm guessing". He had "the look" about him, and sure enough, when he pulled the job out of its project envelope and took a look at the cover, he paused and asked "Hey, umm, do you mind if I ask - is this a D&D thing?" He explained that he had played Magic: the Gathering for years and wanted to get into Warhammer Fantasy Battles (he read the novels), but had never played D&D.

I took about 30 seconds to explain about the OGL and how it let older versions of D&D get "republished" for people who want a fresh version of the old rules for play or publishing. He took a two-minute look through the book and thought it was pretty cool, but I couldn't stay and talk because there were other customers lining up. But if this guy is a regular, I think I might have a go-to for my printing...

11 comments:

Ben Overmyer said...

I agree, the original LL covers could use a little revamp. Kudos on the Frazetta cover, heh.

If you're interested in increasing the distribution of your gaming-related writings and creations, we could use some more guest content for our free PDF magazine, Silver Gryphon Monthly. It's a step up from just blogging, anyway.

Atom Kid said...

The cover looks great, Frazetta's always been my favorite! However, I actually really like the LL cover with the orcs on it. It just has that 1981 feel to it.

Badelaire said...

@ Ben:
I'll have to take a look at your 'zine. Sounds interesting to me. Does your site have any publishing guidelines?

@ Atom:
Eh, I'm not super huge on a lot of "retro" art. For me, a guy like Frank Frazetta is the true meaning of "Old School Fantasy Artwork".

BTW, I added a few paragraphs to the end of the article. Some people just reply too damn quickly around here...

taichara said...

That's pretty nifty *grins*

I think I can survive a little while longer with the cover that's on mine, though; I just don't look at it often enough to be bothered, I think ;3

And now I have a project of yours to stalk peiodically. Good times.

sirlarkins said...

Oooh, I really like the alternate cover idea. Not a huge fan of the two versions, either. Although the orange version is at least palatable compared to the purple.

I totally agree on the difference between PDFs and print. Something else I've noticed is that printed books are easier to skim/browse; I tend to notice things in printed volumes that I've missed in their PDF counterparts.

And yes, I too have felt the sting of embarassment when bringing in PDFs to print at Kinko's. In my case, it was due to the fact that one of the PDFs in question--and the one on top of the stack--was Beyond the Wall for Pendragon. You know, the one with the screaming, naked Pict on it...

http://tinyurl.com/bvuq4s

Yeesh.

Samuel Van Der Wall said...

Dang, looks like you might have a good hookup for printing!

trollsmyth said...

I'll be watching with interest. I haven't printed out my LL yet. I should, but I'd rather first incorporate my hacks into the rules, and that's a project that will probably take more time than I have.

Christopher B said...

I usually submit my Staples projects online - saves on having to deal with people until I pick up and pay for the printout...

Badelaire said...

Christopher - I'd consider it, but since I've got free color laser printing at work, all I wind up paying for is the $3 or so t get the printout bound, as opposed to $0.30 or so per page that they charge on top of the binding.

Cole said...

You should invite him to play!

ancientvaults said...

Very slick cover! I bought the pod version with the orange cover because it is snazzier than the purple, but I wish I had a cover a nd setup like yours. Too bad that Pete Mullen didn't do all of the covers for oldschool games, his S&W covers are awesome.