Appendix D: Design & Development

Melissa and I are a two-man operation: we do everything in house. While Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book featured a lot of original art (I fucking love the cover), we weren't sure how people would respond to it what with all the other d20 games out there, so we used art we already had where we could (though we didn't use the same art more than once in the same book). Turns out it's been really popular, so of course we wanted to support it directly with adventures and more content.

But since we do everything on our own, and we don't like cutting corners (especially when we're charging money for it), this means that it can take us quite awhile to get things done. While we wrote, playtested, and did art for our various adventures like Krampus Run (in between more Dungeon World stuff and the Dice Pool version of Dungeons & Delvers) I kept releasing these little "zine" style PDFs that I just titled Appendix D Issue 2, Appendix D Issue 2, etc.

These included new classes, monsters, magic items, talents, and so on. Much of it was unplaytested; mostly we wanted to see what people thought, iron out obvious issues and kinks sooner than later, and get suggestions for more stuff. We kept the production quality pretty low (only doing the occasional new illustration and recycling art from other stuff we'd already done), so we just released them for free (or rather, added them to the Black Book product page without increasing the price).

Was surprised that despite the lack of production quality people also really liked them, too, and kept demanding an actual, physical book with all the Appendix D content. So we decided that every six or so issues we'd compile them into a single volume to avoid constantly updating a single book, and also avoid having people re-purchasse a brand new dead-tree volume every so often (at increasingly higher prices due to the increasing page count) just to get more stuff.

Now, we considered making it print-at-cost. DriveThru always charges you something for a print copy, but you can set it up so that you the creator get nothing, and the customer only pays the bare minimum necessary to print and ship the book. This is what we normally do for PDF and print bundles, as opposed to charging you for the PDF and even more for the I guess "privilege" of buying a physical book.

Problem is we felt that lumping all the PDFs together and calling it good was kind of lazy. Also we didn't like the way it looked. So we dumped all of the content into a single document, and then went about adding a shitload of art to it (currently over 40 original illustrations, not counting ones we scrapped for whatever reason). We also took the time to spruce up the layout a bit. Downside is that we're going to actually charge something for it, upside is that we think it's going to look really nice.

But, hey, see for yourself. Here's the first page for the cleric class as seen in Black Book:

The illustration is actually the invoker class from A Sundered World, but I figured it looked cleric-y enough so we stuck it in the corner so there wouldn't be a glaring white space. Melissa also erased a lot of the black around the edge to make it look a bit nicer (this was back when the black backgrounds were part of the line art, so we couldn't just disable that layer: we now do things way differently).

Compare it to the new cleric page in Appendix D:

First off, hey, it's actually the cleric from the Black Book cover (which was based on the cover for the Dungeon World cleric class, which was in turn based on Aleena from the D&D "red box")! I'd say that's already an improvement. Some people like our earlier art, but I dunno: I just feel that our more recent stuff has a better, cleaner look.

The margins aren't wide enough to add in tabs on the side (which is what I wanted to do, maybe if we do a letter-sized book: let us know if you want to see that), so we added some text at the bottom to help with navigation (though in this particular page her foot partially covers it up). We also changed whatever you call the page number graphic: I think it looks nicer and much clearer. Finally as a small touch we added a border around the text content.

For another comparison, here's the old ranger page from one of the Appendix D zines:

And here's what she looks like, now:

Oh the paladin also finally makes an appearance:

And just for the (heh) hell of it, the gluttonous ishim monster entry:

Hopefully it's worth the wait and price (Black Book customers will get a discount link for the first Appendix D volume as a way of saying thanks).

We're also going to update Black Book with new art, layout, and any changes and errata that's cropped up over the past year (probably in the next month or two), so please please please email us if you've noticed anything, or have any suggestions or criticisms. Also what you want to see us release in the future (especially Appendix D "zine" content).

We'll keep the old Black Book PDF in the product in case people prefer that one, but the new one will get added to the existing product page so all you'll need to do is check our DriveThru library and download the updated zip file. If you already bought a physical book, we'll also be sending out print-at-cost links if you want to pick up the updated version.

You can now get a physical copy of Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book in whatever format you want!

After months of doing other things, we turned our attention to and released The Warden. It's based on the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons class of the same name, but judging by the responses we did an excellent job converting it over.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

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