Marvel 1991: Darkhawk #1 - By complete coincidence, I'm looking at this a week after Marvel published a Darkhawk 30th anniversary special, which answers one question I had about this...
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Chapter I: Political History - 2 pages - an overview of the action of the previous installments in the series and brief outline of the current status quo.
Chapter II: Geography - 4 pages - describes some of the key places on the map (a separate handout) and what you might encounter at them
Chapter III: Fellowship - 4 pages - outlines each of the eight player character classes in a paragraph or so each
Chapter IV: Mercantile - 4 pages - where to go to spend your gold and what you can buy
Chapter V: Transportation - 3 pages - talks about the usage of horses, ships and moongate transportation, describes the kind of terrains to be traversed
Chapter VI: Weapons and Armor of the Realm - 3 pages - a paragraph for each item of offense and defense available for purchase
Chapter VII: Magical Arts - 2 pages - brief description of the magic system, there's more in a separate booklet just for magic
Chapter VIII: Bestiary - 8 pages - a paragraph describing monsters from Bat to Zorn, with a separate page for those extra wicked dudes, the Balrons and Devils.
Chapter IX: The Skills of Combat - 2 pages - some of this is mechanical (e.g. advising the user to put the armor on before rushing into a fight) but there's also some good stuff on fight-or-flight and the ethics of combat.
Chapter X: Modern Civilization and Our Universe - 3 pages - a discussion of the themes and goals of the game
Afterword - 1 page - put the central quest of the game square on the shoulders of the reader
Not a bad model to follow for a tabletop game, I think. For many systems you could probably squeeze in a chargen section and not run over 48 pages total. Add a map in the center of the book and you're good to go with new players.
Something I can't really share via the internet is the appeal of the tactile experience of handling and paging through this book. The cover is done in a faux leather sort of finish and the interior pages are heavy and with a pebbly feel not completely unlike an original Judges Guild map overland.
And the brown-on-cream color scheme of the insides is pleasing on the eye as well. Here's the first interior page:
Nowadays these sorts of booklets aren't hard to make. All you need is a long arm stapler and a PDF program that will Print to Booklet. Or just take you manuscript to Kinkos and they'll do it for you. I have yet to walk into an office supply store and see paper as awesome as used in The History of Britannia, but it's gotta be out there somewhere.