This blog is being reproduced here, as it was part of the original Weekly Design Blogs for Steampunk Musha series that was lost when our information was wiped. The artwork is not fully reproduced. See This Post for more information on that. This blog was originally posted March 1, 2016.
A few weeks ago, I talked about what Ishmael Alvarez ‘brings to the Team’ in a blog-post, and as kind of a follow up to that almost — I have a design question for you all as “the audience” of the Steampunk Musha Player’s Guide.
The specific question would be:
Should we reprint stats and information readily available online or in major, Exhibit B books, like the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Combat and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Equipment in the Steampunk Musha Player’s Guide, OR should we ‘save the space’ and just reference/refer people to look that stuff up?
A specific example comes up in the choice, for instance, to reproduce or not reproduce various “Eastern Armor & Weapons” for instance originally published in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Combat. There, you can find many armors like the various lamellars and even O-yoroi armor iconic to the samurai, but also everything from butterfly sword and tonfa, to naginata and tiger fork, to iconic daisho blades of katana and wakizashi.
For the ‘sword’ bit, I have a specific plan that involves grabbing text worked on with Jeffrey Swank for his Call to Arms: Daisho book, and so some of that stuff will ‘sort of’ be reprinted — but the rest is the tricky question.
An even narrower example would be this — the Japanese yari (槍) translates literally as “spear,” and while a wide variety of yari exist [Sankaku yari (三角槍, ‘triangle spear’) v. Yajiri nari yari(鏃形槍, spade-shaped spear) v. Kama yari (鎌槍, sickle spear) v. etc. etc.], they mostly come down to statistically being various existing spears, polearms, and lances.
So — would you feel the book was ‘lacking’ if we had say a section of “on Rosuto-shima they call it a XXX, but you can use the stats for YYY”? Would you rather we just present each major weapon group, reprinting material as needed (so the yari is a spear, and even if we’re using say the stats for a glaive for a specific yari, we just print the full write up for the “xxx yari” using the glaive stats etc?
There are and aren’t various factors to consider. IF we reprint, we’re ‘padding out’ the word counts and page counts of these books. It means bigger and more expensive to print books, BUT it also means “all-in-one” so you don’t need to look up half the statistics for the various weapons and armor, for instance, online or in a half-dozen other books you may or may not own. On the other side, keeping the book mean and lean keeps it down, in size and cost to print, and lets use focus on just ‘new’ materials. We still plan on having a LOT of new equipment in the book, as there are things that you just don’t find outside of Rosuto-Shima, and also just cool weapons and armor that were never stat’d out in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game yet, but Ishmael is trying to decide — do we pull or not?
Thank you for time and answers,