I think a lot of information can be conveyed on a map visually. I'm not talking glossy, glitzy, colorful maps you want to frame. Just isometric. Something like this:
I know this idea isn't new, the example pic is from '79, but imagine the room contents were monster silhouettes and below the map you have a visual key-- no room numbers, no room letters-- just a spider silhouette with its stats that your eyes can quickly flick to. Treasure items could be handled in a similar way, if not by silhouette, than by small image-- look below and the ring's magical power is right there next to its image.
Wandering monster chart could be just as simple, a set of silhouettes similar to the monsters in rooms. If they duplicate a room monster you don't even have to add a new entry for stats, maybe just a new "# appearing" in the encounter chart.
I just can't draw the isometric part to my liking and my gimp skills always seem to be just shy of what I want to accomplish. Pretty bad when you can't even produce a proof of concept.
I'm pretty bad at revising or even finishing things in general. I know I've got a lot of unrealized posts here (like just yesterday). I always hoped that ideas would be a valuable thing to share with a community but as I blog on I realize implementation is more valuable because it's just as hard as the initial idea if not more. It's kind of a bummer because I always wanted to provide tools to help others make things, to provide the spark, the innovation, not just make products. But the making is the hard part.
I think I need to take a break.
I apologize for the drama. And I hope it didn't seem like I was fishing for compliments. I went and had a super fun and funny D&D session on Friday, chilled a bit building some rail line in Minecraft and recharged my batteries.
As always, it's more complicated than I first lay out. Some thoughts for me:
- Even if my ideas are sometimes too undeveloped to be usable in game, I enjoy the process of coming up with them, and
- I can't revise these, push them forward, and make them workable if I don't get at least a kernel of an idea down. So, quit worrying about having a pristine professional product before sharing it (I know this but have to keep re-learning it). And,
- It's not just about me (this is really interesting point for a Do It Yourselfer): someone else make take the idea and run with it in a direction I never saw, with an implementation better than I could have ever done. And,
- Hell, I probably enjoy the conversation more than the idea generation anyway, so even if an unworkable idea gets a bunch of comments saying how it won't work in your game, that's enjoyable for me.
- I do still need to try and explain the ideas enough so that people know what I'm getting at, and be willing to learn new stuff like drafting and more complicated photo editing.