Saturday, February 20, 2010

More Figgity Bits

So, besides the Endevour cards, I'm also going to be making placards and placeholders. I've noticed that if I make a handout with character pictures and write ups beside the pictures, the handouts may get glanced at. At most. There are those few players who will take the time to read the handouts, but those are rare. This doesn't concern me the least. It's the old adage of "no one wants to read about your fake world that you built".

Usually, when I write up NPC backgrounds and find a picture for them, it's mainly been for mebecause I forget many times who is doing what and where.

However, in an effort to bring the players into more focus on the campaign and who the movers and shakers are, I'm going to try and create placards for the more prominent and powerful factions.

Case in point - the 6 major Rogue Trader Dynasties in my game. I've created 6 large Rogue Trader Dynasties that will factor into the Koronus Expanse. These factions can be allies or enemies and are a source for NPCs.

However, to get the players more focused on them, I've put their information and symbols on placards which will stand up on the table. Like so...

So, on each card will be written some brief information about the six major Rogue Trader Dynasties along with their house symbol. The symbols you see here are not the final product. They are just some sample graphics I pulled off the web as placeholders until the real house symbols arrive. My buddy Mik is drawing up the real ones as we speak.

Right away, after making these placards I noticed some problems. Problem one, the house symbol is too small. You can barely see it, especially at the other end of the table. Two, the font is also too small. The information gets lost. My players are as likely to read these placards as they are a handout.

So, at launch, my goal is to have the placards much bigger, with the text large enough to take up the whole placard, with a large symbol that will be prominent and easily recognizable. Once that's done, I have a great roleplaying prop. For example, if I have a member of House Ontiverous show up, I can just put down the placard and the players will know immediately which NPC has shown up.

On the placards is the following information:
  • Dynasty Name
  • A brief, one sentence description of the dynasty
  • A brief history
  • A single, memorable accomplishment of the dynasty
  • Edge - which is one dark deed the dynasty has done, or a activities that the dynasty is at least a bit infamous for. This last one is fairly important, since all of these dynasties have the potential to be enemies for the party.
As I sit here and type this, I will probably put the brief history, notable accomplishments, and edge all on the back of the placards. That way, if a player picks up the placard and reads it, great. Otherwise, I can use them as crib notes to myself.

Finally, once all of the placards are done, I will at least get a really neat effect by placing them down on the table. Viola!


  1. I would consider blowing up the image so it take up half of the front side, with the text taking up the other half. With the remainder of the text on the back, you should then be able to get a big image and the relevant info in on the front side.

  2. Looks like you've already got clan crests, I'm guessing you don't need mine anymore?

  3. Kevin, that's not a bad idea.

    Mik, I'd love your clan crests. As I said above, "The symbols you see here are not the final product. They are just some sample graphics I pulled off the web as placeholders until the real house symbols arrive. My buddy Mik is drawing up the real ones as we speak."

    The crest I pulled up are...not very good, IMO. They look too generic and not Rogue Trader-y enough.

  4. What about a set of icons to represent common traits or the most salient points of each Dynasty? In my experience people are sometimes intrigued enough by the little graphics to flip the thing over and read the history on the back. How about this: have the House name in large bold letters at the top, with a large picture of the crest in the middle, surrounded by the icons (a Chaos star, emblazoned shield, clasped hands, etc) to either side? You could have a small legend for the icons horizontally at the bottom, then on the back the full history beside a portrait of the most prominent member of the Dynasty, maybe with a memorable quote or something at the bottom to cap it off? Or you could put the portait on the front, with the coat of arms emblazoned over top and leave more room for flavor text on the back. I love the idea of props and so far everything you've suggested is great.

  5. I like the little graphics idea. The thing is to come up with what the little graphics will be. Hm. One idea, just off of the top of my head - an icon with a number, indicating the size of that Rogue Trader Dynasty's fleet. Another one to show how the Dynasty feels about the PCs. Good, Bad, Neutral, etc. Perhaps small icons on the map to show what territories they have gained or lost.