Monday, February 14, 2011

Crazy Ideas I Have

While editing a chart down from 30 to 20 entries, I got to thinking... These "community projects" rock but the participants don't get stuff out of it. d30 charts are cool but very few people have a d30.

So I had a flash of an idea. Not something I'm moving forward on, but just an idea.

A book of d30 charts.

128 page book. Table of contents and introduction 3 pages. So 125 one-page d30 charts (or some number of 2-page spread charts).

OSR group-think generated. You submit a table that's used, you get a physical copy of the book.

Here's the nutty part - I'd want to actually include a d30 in the book.

How to do this?

If it was just available through direct order, no problem. Throw a d30 into the envelope when packing the order. But I have a distribution network, and they're not going to deal with that. What to do?

Both things I could think of involve shrink wrap.

  1. Just shrink-wrap a d30 to the outside of the book. Downside: Piling the books up would be impossible so storage would be a total bitch. And if it's done, every damn d30 that ends up on a store shelf is going to be shoplifted about 30 seconds after being put there.
  2. Have a hole cut into the book itself so the d30 rests inside the book. It'll create a minor layout obstacle and turning individual pages with a hole in it might be a bit odd, but it'll solve a lot of the problems involved in the first step.

Yeah, happy morning to you too. :D


  1. Great idea. I doubt that in average FLGS in Finland shoplifting is such a big problem.

    Though it would really suck to be buying the last copy that is missing it's d30 after semi-mythologicall roaming catpissman has pocketed it.

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  3. You've never heard of Bob Liddil's(Yes, the Griswald Grimm guy) 30-sided Adventure, I take it? Distributed by the Armory in 1990, it came with a D30(that's how I got my first!), an included short adventure and Strange Lands background[a monster-ridden place where only werewolves could sail the seas without becoming fatally ill) and had 3 'sequels'(the latter being tables only, iirc), the last released just a couple years ago. The latest available off Jeff also blogged on this here:

    That said, great idea! I love the D30, and charts, so the two together are a match made for grinding players into the bloody dust... I'd say go for it! ;-)

  4. Sir Larkins is already working on a book of d30 tables so be aware of potential toe-treading.

  5. Yes, number 2 is obviously the best answer. Now you just need to make a book that is as thick as a d30.

  6. You could make it a mini-book and put it inside a plastic bag with the folded over and stapled cardboard top -- that was the format for the d100 I bought in the 80s.

  7. You could drill a hole in one corner of the book, and attach the d30 in a small bag, tied to the book through the hole.

  8. I like the idea of cutting a hole in the book; maybe in one of the corners to avoid messing up the layout; either that, or dead-centre.

  9. Yeah, clearly great minds think alike. My project is going to be an open-source PDF, but I like the idea of doing a print version with a free d30 included.

    Drop me a line if you want to collaborate. If you'd prefer to hoe your own row, no problem.

  10. Or roll the book like a tube, and put the die inside.

  11. I like Joseph's idea of drilling a hole and placing the dice in a bag. I'd recomend organza bags. They can be bought in bluk for pretty cheap, and they are quite durable. I used them for part of my wedding favors and they worked great. As a bonus they make nice little dice bags.

  12. Terrific idea!

    word verification: wighti

  13. I approve.

    I suggest including a cross-reference table so you can use percentile dice instead if you don't have a d30, which adds a lot of utility without using a lot of extra page-space.

    And drilling a hole all the way through the book and putting a d30 in the hole would be awesome. You could shrinkwrap it and glue the extra shrinkwrap fringe to the front OR back cover on the inside. That would make it so people could still open the book and flip through it before buying (something I think is kind of important). Of course this means you need to include a d30 that's small enough to fit inside.

  14. I bought the latest Savage Sword reprint (they're up to Volume 9 already... I have 'em all!) at the game store on the way to business classes today (because you all deeply care about my daily activities...!), and I couldn't resist picking up a d30.

    It's my first.

    ... those things are pretty thick. 256 charts then maybe. :P

  15. While I have no ideas about your packaging dilemma, a couple of 80s gamebooks addressed the idea of a reader not having the correct dice which might be helpful.

    Lone Wolf used what was clearly a disguised d10 system but refered to a random number chart which was a grid on the last page full of digits 0-9 on which the reader was supposed to blindly stab down the blunt end of a pencil to generate a pseudo-random number. Obviously I never used this (having access to d10) but the recent Lone Wolf Multiplayer Gamebook from Mongoose includes the chart for old times sake even when the book is only really stocked by real game shops that actually sell d10s. You could include a similar matrix on the back page - easy way of filling up a page!

    The Sorcery! series included pictures of 2d6 on the bottom on each right-hand page and you could flip through the book, stopping at a random page to get a result of 2d6 (IIRC the book told you to only look at the rightmost if you needed a 1d6 result). The modern reprints of Fighting Fantasy have adopted the same approach but I would assume that you need a lot of pages to do this.

    You could point out that in the book that if you don't have access to a d30, an alternate method is roll d20+a control die (any with an even number of faces). If the control die comes up "top of the die" add 10 to the d20 result.

  16. While the random page flip thing is a good workaround, somehow the entire project loses all luster if there isn't actually a d30 included with it.

  17. I would’ve thought a large percentage of gamers would already have a d30. Not that that matters much. Most of us are always happy to get more dice, right?

    Maybe the question isn’t how to bundle a d30 with a book but how to bundle a booklet with a d30.

    I’m specifically thinking about how Gamescience currently sells dice in blister packs. You could probably fit a small booklet into the flat part. Plus, the problems of mass packaging and stuff have already been figured out.

    But other options might come up when looking at it from that perspective. I seem to recall my Fudge dice coming with a little booklet as well.

    You might have to scale back the book some, though. Maybe 30 tables. Maybe create a line instead of just a single product. A different booklet with each product in the line. Maybe themed to the color of the d30 it comes with.

  18. If you can get the book small enough, you might be able to put it in that format Microlite20 used, which would allow it to slip into a bag with the d30.

  19. I'd say make the front/back cover a bit larger than the size of a d30 and put it in a small, concealed, hole in it.

  20. d30 mail in coupon would be cool/cheeaaaap

  21. Here's two suggestions:

    1) Print random numbers 1-30 on bottom right corner of each page of the book. The user generates a random number by slightly bending the corner of the book and rifles/flips through those pages and stops. Sort of like the method people used to draw stick figures in corners of notebooks and watch the animation and the corners were flipped through.

    2) Include a page that has a template and instructions to assemble an origami paper 1d30.

  22. Yes it would be cool to sell a d30 with the book, but then one color of d30? A variety?

    In the meantime, folks can just do it the old school way with d6 and d10. Roll them both and then if the d6 is 1-2 you add nothing to the d10, 3-4 you add 10, 5-6 you add 20. Again, maybe it's a Finnish problem, but I didn't think it was hard to get a hold of d30s in the US anyway (or is it?).

  23. Just use a folded-over cardboard flap on top. We sell children's books are work that are done that way with crayons or other things attached. Just create a J channel out of cardboard and shrink-wrap it at the top of the book with the die inside.

  24. Will the Grindhouse Edition come as a book or as a box?

    If it comes as a box, you could include both, the booklet and the d30. Or, include it with another boxed gaming product, say, a very large dungeon complex or campaign setting.