... now with 35% more arrogance!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Book? eZine?

In a comment on the spectral skull I posted yesterday, Blair says, "Dude, write a monster book already. Seriously." I like the vote of confidence, but on the other hand, the stats say my monster posts are among the least popular.

But on the other other hand, I've been wanting to explore what I can do with the EPUB format or ebooks in general, which are an under-utilized format in the RPG zine. Pretty much everything "ebook" for RPGs is PDF, which everyone then complains about because ereaders don't always handle PDF well. I've got all the tools I need, so I'd like to see what's possible. Plus, someone not too long ago suggested he wanted to see more zines, although I think he was referring solely to the print ones.

I could do an ezine. Each issue would have several monsters, probably themed, and maybe a map or two with encounter areas or other material. I think it would focus more on things you can actually use in play, instead of on rules. I have other plans for rules variants. It would primarily be electronic, but if there's enough interest, there might be hardcopy compilations for sale later.

So, should I?


  1. I'd say "YES" wholeheartedly, as long as there was an option for those of us who are still "sans e-reader."
    But yes. Oh yes. Sign me up.

  2. YES. And why not do both a PDF and an EPUB version?

    If you create a PDF that isn't too fancy (no backgrounds, single column, etc.) it is easy to convert to EPUB using Calibre

  3. If it's electronic, either book or zine, I'd read it. I have an iPad, so downloading ePubs is no problem and I've already converted my magazine subscriptions to digital.

  4. I would be interested, particularly if the maps and encounter areas are lairs or thematically tied to the monsters. I've always though that would be a great way to do a monster book. Isle of the Unknown is close to that, but it is more like hexcrawl + monsters rather than dungeons + monsters.

    Regarding stats: I wouldn't pay too much attention to them, because for a good monster (or magic item, or spell) there is often not much to say other than "awesome" or pointing out an unintended consequence if one is noticed. Opinion pieces and more involved rules variants, however, invite replies like "here is how I do similar things" or "no you're totally wrong and here is why." They are also more likely to get linked in other blog posts, for similar reasons.

    I also like ePub and think it is under-utilized for RPGs; the only problem with it is that the computer screen ePub readers are universally terrible. They are wonderful on an iPad though.

  5. A zine would be cool, or a chapbook.

  6. Yes, bring this on. As someone who still uses hard copies at the table, how print-compatible would your ezine be?

  7. Thanks, guys. Lots of things to think about in the comments. too. I think I'll do a follow-up post in a couple days.

  8. What I like about monster books is that they're a compiled, focused resources.

    I don't carry a bunch of rules options, resources, etc. with me when I DM; but I do bring (digest sized) copies of every monster book I have.

  9. Plus it would need your monster building 1/2-page guidelines, it's crucial for working out # Enc. in some instances...

    I totally support you doing a zine, or something with assorting resources, ....BUT....

    There is an iconic power to a monster book, and they make an excellent focused tool in the arsenal of a DM.

  10. @Blair: I'm not sure what you mean. I include a # Appearing for every monster. Is it insufficient? What am I missing?

  11. I mean it's a handy resources when I'm using monster resources that don't have # appearing and the like.

  12. One of the tragedies of blogging is that - to a first approximation - comments are a sign that you are wrong about something. Case in point, the comments on this post probably indicate that you are wrong about how popular your monster entries are.

    If you produced a book or 'zine of monsters, I'd definitely read it. I think I'd rather have a set of 'zines of themed monsters, given the choice.