... now with 35% more arrogance!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Book Thoughts

So, a number of people left helpful comments on the post about possibly doing an ezine or a monster book. And I now have some more definite plans.

First off, I'm thinking of this as being somewhere in the hazy area of ezine and series of books. You could call it either one, really. The goal is several books, each with about 40 monsters built around a theme and possibly a small bit of supporting material; maybe an adventure that spotlights the monsters, maybe a new class that fits with the theme, maybe a batch of spells related to the theme.

The tentative series title is something like "The Minimal Menagerie", unless a more thorough search shows that this phrase has been used in an RPG context. The title plays on the fact that these will be short, focused monster books and also that they will be using my minimalist two-line stat blocks. Also, for a long time now I have been mulling over a monster-building book called "The Ever-Endless Menagerie of Fantastic Beasts and Monstrosities", so the "Minimal Menagerie" title sort of links into this much-later project.

The stat blocks will be a little different from the ones I've been using. I'm going to include Move for all, which I know goes against my previous goal of only including information that is different. I'm also changing the way I will describe armor; instead of the descending AC number, I'll use non-numeric armor types: No Armor, L Armor, M Armor, H Armor, sometimes with a modifier, with a section that explains how to translate these into different armor schemes (L stands for Light/Leather, M stands for Medium/Metal, H stands for Heavy.) The goal here is to make the monsters less system-specific.

There will be an appendix at the end that includes just the monster stat blocks (and, occasionally, equivalent summary forms for spells or other material.) The appendix, but not the rest of the book, will be under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license, so individual monsters or the entire monster list can be reprinted or modified for appearance in commercial adventure modules or other products, with new descriptions written by that product's author.

The tentative themes of the first three books are:

  • Weird Wilderness (support material may be Chaos Druids + spells)
  • Vice Squad (expansion of the somewhat horrific punishment creatures I described a while back)
  • Infernals and Supernals (support material recaps/expands my astral and ethereal posts)

I'll have some more info later.


  1. Sounds great. You have one customer already lined up.

  2. Make that two, I can't wait for this.

  3. Sounds great, but please use regular AC notation, for the sake of "instant utility"

    1. I don't know, I'm a fan of "AC as plate" and "AC as chain." It seems to work pretty elegantly in the LotFP adventures. It's easier than thinking about the math if you're using the opposite AC system. At least for me.

    2. I would prefer AC: leather to AC: L because I think I might read the second as AC: Large. But really, this is pretty cosmetic to me as I'm likely to be adjusting other more complicated aspects on the fly anyways.

    3. @Blair, Brendan: I prefer descending to ascending, too, but that's an argument I decided to sidestep. Besides, note my intention to also go CC instead of OGL. I figure avoiding AC numbers (and the term "AC" itself) is best.

      I will, however, switch to writing out Light, Medium, and Heavy.

  4. "The Ever-Endless Menagerie of Fantastic Beasts and Monstrosities" sounds way way better than the "The Minimal Menagerie" If it's going to be a series anyway, could you gradually include the monster building stuff along with some number of monsters plus whatever other theme related stuff you want to add? If your talking something subscription based... are you talking something subscription based? then I bet people would rather sign up for something ever-endless than minimal.

    I think this is a great idea.