Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Review - Vornheim - Part the First (Impressions)

Vornheim bills itself as "the complete city kit".  I think the keyword here is "kit".  When you buy a "build your own computer kit", the expectation is somewhere between "some assembly required" and "shit, I need some experience and skills to build this shit".  Vornheim is a "kit".  It is not the City of Waterdeep Boxed set.  It is mostly of the "some assembly required" level, but parts may leave you going "shit - do I not understand the instructions or do I just lack the skills?"

First things first.  Do NOT purchase the PDF with any expectation of printing yourself a full copy.  With the black borders on nearly every page, your ink cost will probably surpass the price of buying your own hardcopy.

Zak S. from DnD With Pornstars writes and does the art.  Zak and James Raggi did the graphics design.

As a plus, the PDF mirrors the book.  As a minus, the PDF mirrors the book.  Let me guess... "WTF?!?"

Here's my issues with the layout:

First, the black page borders that I mentioned above.  That should have been ditched in the PDF version.  It looks pretty cool in the book, but for those that want to print out their PDF - they're screwed.

Second, page  5 of the PDF, is a map that is displayed sideways.  While rotating a book is never a big deal, rotating my monitor is.  Why not change the orientation in the PDF?  I can enlarge a PDF page a lot easier then rotating my 28" screen.  Oh, and the map is confusing as all hell, but... its a decent piece of art.  This may become a reoccurring theme.

Most of the book is a font size of 9 - readable in the print version, very nice on the screen.  Mother of God! but they went with a 6.5 font for some of their charts.  What were they thinking?  Maybe it's because I've hit the big 40 and then some, but the print version of these charts is close to unreadable for me.  I don't need  glasses for reading or close work, but I would never be able to use the charts with the 6.5 font at my gaming table without killing the PCs to vent my frustration.  Which is a shame, as I can read them fine (still small tho') on my screen, which I won't have with me at a game.  Or I can read them with my iPad  and just zoom and scroll.  Simple idea... if it needs an excessively small font size to fit, use more pages, edit the text... do anything but make me go blind.  Still, when I can read them they are useful, intriguing and original.  Maybe I'll cut / paste to Pages or Office and print the ones I need.  I shouldn't have to is the point I'm trying to make.

Here's the plusses on the presentation:

Excellent artwork.  Not your normal artwork, it's about as twisted as Zak's blog, but it works in this case.  Vornheim is far from normal and that is reflected in the art.

I'm a sucker for flow charts in gaming books.  Don't ask me why, it must have been high school science. Zak has some sweet ones.

You can print out the "Roll a D4" Charts that are on the inside book cover, especially nice if you didnt get the preorder bonus from LotFP.

Alright, that was more bitching then praise, but it was also more about the wrapping then the meat of Vornheim.  I'll dig deeper in the next part of the review

1 comment:

  1. I realize that I'm a bit late to this post, but why not print out the document at a store like Kinkos or Staples. Sure you're going to pay for the print but it doesn't matter how much black ink you use or how many toner cartridges they go through.

    Just a thought.


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