Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A5/Statement Booklet Analysis Notes: Breaking up Ideas in 5min chunks

I'm currently fascinated by the Statement Sized (half letter) and A5 booklet format. One reason is because it is easy to carry even if it gets up to 200 or so pages. There is some economics about data in a full letter size vs my data upload rate.

So I realize one of the things needed in History RPGs is a fun way to think of the past. Particularly what are the things that are universal when getting into a Medieval or Low Tech setting. This is not just for Medieval RPGs but any RPG. I learned that I need to think in 5 minute Ideas.

By 5 minutes I mean about 1000-1500 words. Words that are ideally in lines 2" long (I have some reading problem when lines are more than 3" long. My eyes get confused what line its looking at; I read much faster in Anime Subtitles even with the distractions of the Animation than in Books).

I have to think in 5 minutes Ideas, spell out these Ideas and look at the most complex or nuanced ideas and think in Info graphics. useful infographics.
In the case of the medieval booklet: Low Tech Life. - One simple Infographic is graphing the people a commoner knows by how they have died. If I illustrated that its easier to get into character of a medieval person and understanding the biases and superstitions they believe - while not downgrading or dehumanizing them. Asking questions: how many close loved ones have died and in what way answers a lot of they psychology of such characters. Then make a comparison to today. 
So 1000-1500 words is about 4 to 8 pages of this, If I broke down major ideas in Flow Charts and InfoGraphics. Ideally Entertaining kinds.

Each Booklet represents 1 game session prep on the Players Side. It represents 5 minutes of personal investment while leaving the Player enough Self Guiding Questions to ruminate about. Like comparing the loss of loved ones of a low tech person vs his own situation. And more questions that help role-play and think in such tech levels.

I dont need to get into Technicalities.
I would love to but should avoid getting into technicalities of medieval life or hard scifi Life. To me the numbers and statistics tell a story which is great for me, but not my players. I have to make the story for them - that is my job as the booklet writer and the GM. The numbers tell a story and I have to fill in the details that make it a story.

The Point of Views.
I will use the a few commoner points of Views. I will also use the Ruling Elite, Educated (typically the Theocratic Elite), Professional Elite, and Fighting Elite. I will have to keep it short and simple, about a paragraph.

The Baron's Heir, is 13 and already his father is pressuring him to marry this girl he hardly knows who was just born. Of a merchant no less. His steward explain him they need the money but he doesnt see how this fits in with the Chivalry or the Warriors way. Doesn't his King provide for his father and family? If we need the money why is the King entitled to a third of the Dowry? etc... 

I'll try to keep it short. TRY

I'd like people to Dive Right in. F*ck reading up on the setting. But the thing is this is enlightening and kinda sets the right Emphatic Frequency while negating much of the miseducation about the past. This would not be needed if history was for everyone but it isnt. Neither is Sci-fi or Science. It should be for everyone but - like me - access to such had a lot of barriers.

I note that even if it will be 5 minutes I can imagine people still struggling to read it. They would want to just scan through it. So I'll accommodate them by just letting them just read the Headings. 

You can imagine I wanted to make this for all sort of settings I've played: 
  • Homebrew Scifi
  • Crusades
  • Warring States
  • Three Kingdoms Era
  • Modern Fantasy Homebrew
  • Public Domain Conan
  • 19C Philippines
But I cant do it all and I have real life to do. So I have to be strategic in what I want to tackle - right now education and the fascinating world of the First Crusade will be my first foray into such. 

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