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2006-11-28 Downloading Books

How weird. My renewed interested in roleplaying games (RPG) has led me to a few sites, and it’s amazing to see how much material is offered either for download – either free (specially “light” versions of the rules) or for a few dollars.

Examples: GURPS Lite is free on e23 and the D&D Rules Cyclopedia is $5.95 from RPG Now.

And if you start reading EN World reviews you’ll notice that many of them review PDF files instead of actual books. How amazing! And as far as I can tell, these PDF files are not burdened with evil DRM! At least the D&D Rules Cyclopedia I bought was an ordinary PDF file. (2006-11-09 Nostalgia for Rolplaying Games) Well, I didn’t really care for all the backgrounds blowing the file size up to over 70MB, but it’s still nice to see that you can get old stuff as well. I mean, you can download the AD&D 2nd Ed. Dungeon Masters Guide for $4.95 from RPG Now!

As I said – I’m stunned!

Yes, I admit it. I spent most of my gaming in AD&D 2nd Ed. :)

As for the price tag: I think CHF 5 would be fair, which is about USD 3. Why are the PDF files I mentioned about twice as expensive? I guess I have to consider the alternative scenario of getting a printed book and doing the scanning and OCR myself. Even if I share it with a large group of people, I’d still be spending a lot of time on it. That’s why I’m still willing to pay the price.

Other products such as a four page character class description is much cheaper. Lost Classes: Sword of Khonsu costs $1.29, for example. Cool!

On the upper end, something as cool as the about 350 page MonkeyGod Presents: From Stone to Steel costs $18.00 and the nearly 200 page Kitsunemori Campaign Setting costs $13.95 and there’s a twenty page free preview available for download! (Read the raving review!) And there’s both print and PDF releases, eg. The Asian Bestiary, Vol. I - PDF and The Asian Bestiary, Vol. II - PDF are available for download at $16.99 each, where as the print edition costs $24.99. (Reviews at EN World [1] [2].)

Maybe I should buy the Kitsunemori instead of trying to write something up myself. I wonder how much a professional printing would cost. I gave SauterCopy a call and they told me it would cost about CHF 200, ie. about USD 160 to print. Ugh!! Who said anything about eBooks being cheap and cool!? I guess I’ll have to get used to using my laptop when running a game. Or use black & white when printing.

Too late.

I bought it. :)

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Comments

I’ve found the best solution is to use something like Fine Print (or psbook in Linux) to produce A5 sized booklets. That works very well, and keeps the costs down.

The price of .pdfs is wonderful right now; I don’t mind paying $6 for a classic adventure or new supplement, especially as the quality (especially of the new stuff) is so good. Role-players never had it so good. As you said, there’s a lot of great free stuff out there too.

If you’re looking for an good campaign setting, the Mahasarpa Campaign is a terrific one based on Indian and Asian mythology. It’s a web enhancement for Oriental Adventures (which I’ve just finished re-reading), but that isn’t really needed to get the feel of the setting. I ran a campaign using this setting a while back and loved it.

I’m thinking about starting a new campaign myself, and plan to use the city of Ptolus as an entry point into the World's Largest Dungeon. That should sort my gaming needs for years! :)

The Platyer's Guide to Ptolus is a free download, and it’s probably the best city-based/urban campaign setting ever made. I’d troughing through it now.

GreyWulf 2006-11-28 17:11 UTC


Thanks for the pointers! I will look into it.

AlexSchroeder 2006-11-28 17:53 UTC


Kitsunemori tönt sehr gut, z. B. der Höfling (spielt es in der Zeit von Genji oder Heike? Ah, beides wäre für diesen Charakter ein Fest) oder Shinto-Priester (der vielleicht mit Kaligraphien Demönen beschwört oder Schutzzauber wirkt) oder natürlich der Bogeschützte…

– Chris 2006-11-28 22:09 UTC


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