Wednesday, December 18, 2019

How Small is Too Small?

So, while in a nostalgic mood I was looking over another of my old editing jobs, the one time I edited Ed Greenwood. The project in question was the Living City compendium THE CITY OF RAVENS BLUFF (1998), the members-created home base for the RPGA, TSR's organized play AD&D setting.*

The turnover came in massively over the planned word count (not an uncommon outcome with Greenwood projects, given his ever-fertile imagination). I consulted with my boss, and rather than cutting the text by 40% we decided to keep all Greenwood's and the fan-generated text.
We made it all fit by reducing the font size to 7-point type.
For 1700 words per page.
For 160 pages.

My memory of the next month is of long hours spent at my keyboard down at the office, both during the weekdays and during all the weekends too until the project was done.

It wd be nice to be able to say that I got extra time to work on this one, given the amount of extra material I had to work on, but alas that was not the case.

Still, folks seemed to like it, which is the important part. And fans of the Living City who bought it certainly got their money's worth.

--John R.

For the sake of comparison, here's a page from the 1st edition PLAYER'S HANDBOOK, which now looks really small to my aging eyes. This is followed by a page from the current PH, which while smallish is much more readable. Lastly comes a page from THE CITY OF RAVENS BLUFF, just to show how small 7-point type is.

*One of the seven projects I edited that first year at WotC --ironically while waiting to begin work editing a project that never came to fruition: the DOMINARIA setting for AD&D. The team members for that one were Lisa Stevens, Jonathan Tweet, Jesper Myrfors, and myself, shortly thereafter joined by Chris Pramas

No comments: