Designing a Savage Worlds Setting

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Zadmar
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Designing a Savage Worlds Setting

#1 Postby Zadmar » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:33 am

Over the last few months I've been delving into the subject of setting book design, in an attempt to step up my game, and I've been sharing my thoughts on my blog. I don't want to copy and paste everything here, as it would be a huge wall of text, but I thought it might be worth writing a brief summary with links, in case any other Savage Worlds fans are looking into designing their own settings.

1. Presentation in Savage Worlds Supplements

How I design my fan supplements, the importance of content, layout design, font selection, cover and interior design, title and logo, and artwork.

2. Setting Book Design: Sections and Page Count

A look at the layout of three of Pinnacle's newer settings (ETU, Lankhmar, and the new Rippers), along with a breakdown of the different sections, showing how many pages are allocated to each.

3. Setting Book Design (Part 2): Section Breakdown and Word Count

Some rough guidelines for which chapters and sections to include in a setting book, with an approximate word count range for each.

4. Supplement Pricing

An anonymous pricing comparison of 100 randomly selected Savage Worlds PDFs, with a brief look at the pricing used by Pinnacle.

5. TV Shows as Plot Point Campaigns

Some thoughts about designing Plot Point Campaigns, and the difference between Plot Point Episodes and Savage Tales. I also discuss how to create a Plot Point Campaign by reverse engineering a TV show, and provide an example.

6. Plot Point Episodes vs Savage Tales vs One Sheets

A comparison of Plot Point Episodes, Savage Tales and One Sheets, showing how (if you break it down) a Plot Point Campaign is really just a collection of One Sheets; if you can write a One Sheet, you can write a Plot Point Campaign.

7. Design Overview for a Plot Point Campaign

My third blog post about designing Plot Point Campaigns. This time I talk about choosing the overarching plot, and using it to build a Plot Point Summary. I've also included a detailed example for Drakonheim, showing how I might weave three threads into a central plot, and then break the story down into 10 Plot Point Episodes.

8. Saga of the Goblin Horde: Custom Cover

I briefly discuss the importance of having a good cover, and give an overview of how I went about getting my rough cover concept turned into a reality.

9. CRAP Design and Good Typography

I talk about applying the CRAP Principle (Contrast, Repetition, Alignment and Proximity), and provide some suggestions for improving typography.

10. Designing a One Sheet, Savage Tale, or Plot Point Episode

A detailed description of the process I use for writing One Sheets (which are essentially much the same thing as Savage Tales and Plot Point Episodes).

11. Designing a One Sheet: Step-by-Step Example

I show each step of the process as I transform a one-paragraph adventure overview into a second episode for my fictitious "Prophecy of Drakonheim" Plot Point Campaign.

12. Designing a Gazetteer (and a Map)

I discuss the importance of geography, topography, and a good map.

13. Saga of the Goblin Horde: Past, Present and Future

Those who follow my blog will know that I've been working on Saga of the Goblin Horde since the end of last year. Now my setting has reached a crossroads, its fate resting on a throw of the dice (with no Bennies left to burn) - so I thought I'd take a step back and see where it came from, where it stands now, and where it might go next.

14. Saga of the Goblin Horde: Hex-Based Plot Point Campaign

I discuss a mechanism for grid-based travel, with Savage Tales triggered by points of interest, combined with Plot Point Episodes based on the overarching storyline.

15. Setting Design: Wild Card Symbols

I take a look at different styles and file formats for the Wild Card symbol.

16. Gear Chapter Layout: Item collages

Some musings on creating a gear chapter with multiple item illustrations.

17. Bestiary on a Budget

How to create a nicely illustrated bestiary without breaking the bank.

18. Saga of the Goblin Horde: Evolution of a Setting

A first-hand look at how a setting can evolve throughout the design process, particularly when it isn't fully fleshed-out in advance.

19. Evolution of a Map

Many game settings include a world map, but a map isn't just aesthetic, it's also functional - in fact it's often one of the most important pieces of artwork in the book, and referenced extensively throughout a campaign. But what sort of thought process goes into the creation of a map?

Here's a look at the map in Saga of the Goblin Horde, and the different stages of development it went through, from initial draft to final product.

20. Setting Design: Pre-Publication Checklist

Before I release something there are a lot of things to double-check. In the past I would frequently have to make multiple releases to correct stuff I'd forgotten, but over time I've built up a checklist of things to look out for, so I thought I'd share it.
Last edited by Zadmar on Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:54 am, edited 15 times in total.
My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

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Re: Designing a Savage Worlds Setting

#2 Postby kronovan » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:55 pm

Great stuff Zadmar, I'll check it out when I have some time.

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Re: Designing a Savage Worlds Setting

#3 Postby Zombi Bobb » Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:41 pm

This is the most useful index of the most useful articles (with links to the most useful other articles and resources!) that I can recall coming across!

I am completely awed and inspired by this. Kudos is an understatement. I feel like you have laid out the complete battleplan to get my ideas into a coherent form. Thank you for this.

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Re: Designing a Savage Worlds Setting

#4 Postby Zadmar » Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:56 pm

Glad you found it useful! I'll extend the list of links as I write more on the subject.
My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

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Re: Designing a Savage Worlds Setting

#5 Postby Zadmar » Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:08 am

I've added the latest link - Design Overview for a Plot Point Campaign.
My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

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Re: Designing a Savage Worlds Setting

#6 Postby Zadmar » Mon May 02, 2016 1:56 am

I've added the latest link - Saga of the Goblin Horde: Custom Cover.
My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

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Re: Designing a Savage Worlds Setting

#7 Postby Lord Karick » Mon May 02, 2016 3:32 am

How are you enjoying Munich? Did you find a gaming group in the end, or is this your present outlet for not having a group? Greetings from the Wild West (Geltendorf/Kaltenberg).

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Re: Designing a Savage Worlds Setting

#8 Postby Zadmar » Mon May 02, 2016 6:22 am

Lord Karick wrote:How are you enjoying Munich? Did you find a gaming group in the end, or is this your present outlet for not having a group? Greetings from the Wild West (Geltendorf/Kaltenberg).

I've been living in Munich (and Germany) for nearly 15 years, so yeah I love it here, although I still go back to the UK to visit friends and family at least a couple of times a year. SavageDaniel, ManuFS and I met up for a beer, and Manu ran a cool Savage Shadowrun one-shot for us at a doder.org event. Then we formed a new regular group (each bringing a player, so there are six of us), and Daniel is now GMing Sundered Skies, which I'm thoroughly enjoying.

We currently play twice a month. Perhaps when my Little Savage is a bit older I'll be able play more often, but at the moment he's quite a handful, and I don't get much free time after work until he's tucked up in bed. We usually play Sundered Skies every second Tuesday evening, so if you're ever in the area you should think about joining us!

I also play in an awesome Roll20 campaign run by Rexus, as (due to our different time zones) I'm able to play late in the evening when my wife and son are already in bed ;)

However I've been working on fan stuff for a while, even when I was actively running my own campaigns, so this isn't something new for me. I created the first version of my combat simulator over 5 years ago, and released my first fan supplement over 4 years ago, and I haven't slowed down since; I've currently released a total of 30 tools and 20 fan PDFs, and I'm also a fairly prolific poster on these forums as well as on my blog.

But my goal is take it a step further, hopefully becoming a licencee, if I can demonstrate to Pinnacle that my work is good enough - and Saga of the Goblin Horde is going to be my pitch, so I want to make sure I get it right. At the moment I'm still setting the groundwork, researching exactly what I need for a setting book (thus the links at the top of this thread), and honing my skillset. I've also been discussing my work here and on my blog, as well as on Facebook, and Google+, as it helps me draw attention to what I'm doing and gauge public interest in the setting, and may also be of interest to other aspiring publishers.

If you compare my old PDFs with my new ones, you'll see that I've been working on improving my trade dress, but I'm also using my newer PDFs to experiment with different styles. Right now I'm reading through "The Non-Designer's Design Book", which came highly recommended by Eric Simon of Steamscapes, but also I've been getting tips and design advice from a few other licencees.

I've also started doing freelance work, which has given me some great insight into how different licencees operate, and helped a lot with networking. I'm currently credited in 14 Savage Worlds licensee publications, I've written content for another 5 that will hopefully be released in the next few months, and there are also 2 Brazilian licencees that are planning to use some of my older work in their publications. I've been investing my earnings into artwork, so Saga of the Goblin Horde will actually be financed entirely from freelance work I've done for other Savage Worlds products, which I think is kind of cool :)
Last edited by Zadmar on Fri Aug 19, 2016 6:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

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Re: Designing a Savage Worlds Setting

#9 Postby Zadmar » Mon May 02, 2016 6:38 am

Something I also wanted to mention:

The Simply Savage: Episode 006 – You Down with PPC? podcast was recently released, and Clint Black joined Ron and Kristian to discuss the ins and outs of creating and running Plot Point Campaigns. It's well worth listening to, there's some excellent advice and suggestions, and they even discuss some of my blog posts :)
My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

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Re: Designing a Savage Worlds Setting

#10 Postby Lord Karick » Tue May 03, 2016 2:16 am

Zadmar wrote:We currently play twice a month. Perhaps when my Little Savage is a bit older I'll be able play more often, but at the moment he's quite a handful, and I don't get much free time after work until he's tucked up in bed. We usually play Sundered Skies every second Tuesday evening, so if you're ever in the area you should think about joining us!

Great to hear that SW is alive and kicking in Munich! And have patience with the little one - my kids started when they were about 8, that was 6 years ago and now they are fully-fledged geeks! Great fun.

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Re: Designing a Savage Worlds Setting

#11 Postby Zadmar » Thu May 12, 2016 6:38 am

I've added the latest link - CRAP Design and Good Typography.
My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

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Re: Designing a Savage Worlds Setting

#12 Postby Zadmar » Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:02 pm

I've added the latest link - Designing a One Sheet, Savage Tale, or Plot Point Episode.
My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

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Re: Designing a Savage Worlds Setting

#13 Postby Zadmar » Thu Jun 23, 2016 5:11 am

I've added the latest link - Designing a One Sheet: Step-by-Step Example.
My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

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Re: Designing a Savage Worlds Setting

#14 Postby Chaosmeister » Fri Jul 01, 2016 4:50 am

I am amazed at your constant output of high quality.
Read my Blog about all things Savage: http://www.chaotic-gm.com
Teamwork is essential, it gives 'em someone else to shoot at!

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Re: Designing a Savage Worlds Setting

#15 Postby Zadmar » Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:10 am

Thanks! This is all part of the research I've been doing for designing my own setting, but hopefully others will find it useful as well.
My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

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Re: Designing a Savage Worlds Setting

#16 Postby DMbobby » Fri Jul 01, 2016 7:28 am

Thanks a TON for this Zadmar, I've been finally dipping into commercial supplements now that I have a bit of a budget thanks to selling D&D products through DMsGuile, but what I've really wanted to get into is SW work as it's may favorite system plus the added flexibility it offer. Thanks to all this stuff I think I can work on being much more prepared when submitting my first project to Pinnacle for Licensee status.
New blog up and running, http://gmtable.blogspot.com/ Reviews, adventures, tips and tricks for GMs

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Re: Designing a Savage Worlds Setting

#17 Postby Zadmar » Mon Aug 15, 2016 5:15 pm

I've added the latest link - Designing a Gazetteer (and a Map).
My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

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Re: Designing a Savage Worlds Setting

#18 Postby Zadmar » Thu Aug 18, 2016 8:00 am

I've added the latest link - Saga of the Goblin Horde: Past, Present and Future.
My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.

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Re: Designing a Savage Worlds Setting

#19 Postby Freemage » Fri Aug 19, 2016 11:39 am

Zadmar:

Given the lack of an 'official' PPC for Savage Rifts, I'm pretty much gonna be eating your brain for my home-group. Thanks for laying it out in bite-size nuggets for me. :wink:

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Re: Designing a Savage Worlds Setting

#20 Postby Zadmar » Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:14 pm

Freemage wrote:Zadmar:

Given the lack of an 'official' PPC for Savage Rifts, I'm pretty much gonna be eating your brain for my home-group. Thanks for laying it out in bite-size nuggets for me. :wink:

There may not be a PPC, but there will be at least 10 One Sheets, 2 for each rank - if they're all following the same storyline then you'd have your Plot Point Episodes right there. But even if they're not, you could still use them as Savage Tales. Either way, you should be getting some sort of head start on your PPC :)
My blog: Savage Stuff. I've also written some free tools and supplements.


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