Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Let's Talk About RPG Module Design

There seems to be 2 schools of though on Module Design, although I maybe wrong, this is how I see it.  There's basically the new school and the old school look/feel.  The Old School look for me harkens back to "Keep On The Borderlands" its straight forward, typed fonts, bold sections, easy to find, the whole damn thing is in black and white(including the limited graphics), and the cover has a very similar vibe to all those great modules that came out in the past (with the little triangle bit on the top left side with the module number or whatever there).

The New School is glossy, digital graphics, parchment type backgrounds for the paper, sexy fonts, easy to read and find certain things.  Some of the graphics almost have a water color feel (inside of some pathfinder books).

Obviously there are variations on the two above, and there is a lot of DIYer's out there that push those boundaries and change things up a bit, which I adore.

For me it never comes down to "Judge a book by its cover", however I'm sure that happens for some people.  Does the look of the book's cover change your view on wether to buy it or not?

I was toying with re-working "Caverns Of Ugard" to be a little more New School looking, and while it is sorta turning out, I am still quite happy with the original old school feel.  I am currently working on my enormity project, and I am quite sure that its going to have the old school feel, B&W everything.  I quite doubt that I will afford any graphics for it, but I do plan to do some pencil drawing's to highlight certain pieces of equipment etc.  I may even draw up a little whispy footer for all the bottoms of the pages.


  1. Maybe it's because I'm old, but I find the "New School" stuff quite difficult to read.

    You usually have black text on some sort of background, which reduces the contrast. You have all sorts of funky columns because they have to flow around artwork, you have bits and pieces just stuck in in the middle of a paragraph, meant to be a tip or note, but just gets in the way.

    And if you want to take notes, you're pretty much screwed. Same with modern maps, as opposed to simple black and white (or blue and white), you can't draw on them to make alterations.

    I mean, seriously, if you ever buy an old used modules, changes are good that the original owner wrote in the thing. Can you say the same about more modern ones?

    1. I agree Jeremy, I find the new school much more difficult to read. I don't think you can say the same thing about new modules, as far as people handwriting in them. I once caught a post someone had bought an old module, and they found a hand drawn map in it, that was pretty bad assed. The guy had planned to use it in his next adventure. My plan for the module I'm working on is to have it look very much old school, minus the cover I think I will go with a glossy black kinda thing rather than the old school module template (they just don't turn me on as much). As I stated I think I will add some graphics, but they will all be hand drawn by me with my medicore skills. As far as the font goes the whole thing is going to be Arial probaly with Aclonica (or however you spell it) which I have fallen in love with. That font will be used for all headers, and sections basically.