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Old 07-02-2012, 08:35 PM   #41
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Default Re: Bestiary 4e

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Originally Posted by Rasputin View Post
I think, "I want a fox. Where are his stats?" I want them to be between "falcon" and "frog." Why? Because I automatically know to look there.
And that's why you don't need the animals listed by clime. You can get a list somewhere of all arctic animals and, click, it takes me to "polar bear" at the letter "P."
That is only useful if your looking for a specific animal.
By Biome you get all the stuff in a typical region and it would liekly be orgnainzed within the biome alphabetically. And you always have the index.

Lets be clear about something though because we may be talking apples and oranges.
The Biome people want a book by biome and your wanting a series of books based on the alphabet?
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Old 07-02-2012, 08:45 PM   #42
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Default Re: Bestiary 4e

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Originally Posted by Rasputin View Post
I think, "I want a fox. Where are his stats?" I want them to be between "falcon" and "frog." Why? Because I automatically know to look there.
And that's why you don't need the animals listed by clime. You can get a list somewhere of all arctic animals and, click, it takes me to "polar bear" at the letter "P."
I may look for a fox between falcon and frog, but I don't want a separate book for cow and horse; they should both be in the book about domestic animals.
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Old 07-02-2012, 11:15 PM   #43
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Default Re: Bestiary 4e

Yeah, the point is we're unlikely to get a single book to rule them all, AFAIK. SJGames has said in the past that they want Bestiary to be a series. If that's the case, I think the single most useful organization pattern would be "what terrain is this player from/are the players moving through."
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Old 07-03-2012, 11:02 AM   #44
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Default Re: Bestiary 4e

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Originally Posted by Rasputin View Post
I think, "I want a fox. Where are his stats?" I want them to be between "falcon" and "frog." Why? Because I automatically know to look there.
"Trivial" is to the difficulty of finding a PDF entry by name as Alexander's conquest is to the tying of a shoe.

The order of organization within a PDF is less important that what is grouped together in the same PDF:

If you would like to alphabetize the creatures in the "Dry Places" PDF, fine as long as it's not the only way to navigate among them. When I'm looking up about a Sidewinder's prey and want to click through to Pocket Mouse, it's all good.

If you want to put the creatures in an "A-F" PDF, that would not be fine. When I am reading about an Arctic Fox's prey, I'm out of luck trying to click through to Hares, Lemmings, Owls, or Voles.
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Old 07-03-2012, 11:08 AM   #45
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Default Re: Bestiary 4e

You forget, SJGames layout even for PDFs is design with the assumtion it will be printed. So any thing that only works in the non-print will not be used for layout conserns
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Old 07-03-2012, 11:20 AM   #46
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Default Re: Bestiary 4e

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Originally Posted by jeff_wilson View Post
If you want to put the creatures in an "A-F" PDF, that would not be fine. When I am reading about an Arctic Fox's prey, I'm out of luck trying to click through to Hares, Lemmings, Owls, or Voles.
Really? Because inter-PDF links have been "a thing" for over a decade, and they work on all my readers.
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Old 07-03-2012, 12:14 PM   #47
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Default Re: Bestiary 4e

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Really? Because inter-PDF links have been "a thing" for over a decade, and they work on all my readers.
Less helpful if you only have the A-F PDF.
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Old 07-03-2012, 12:16 PM   #48
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Default Re: Bestiary 4e

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Less helpful if you only have the A-F PDF.
Yes, and sorting by Biome doesn't help if I'm looking at Bear, Black and want to see how it compares to Bear, Polar. Not Having All The Books is going to suck one way or another.

But neither group can complain that they can't have PDF links between PDFs, because they totally can :)

I have no dog in this race, I'm just shooting down arguments based on bad technical claims :)

EDIT: For what it's worth, my preferred format is a folder full of loose HTML files, and a little browser-based app that does database lookups base on tags in those HTML files to generate your "book" on the fly. Search by GURPS Standard Survival Specialty (tm), name, etc.
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Old 07-03-2012, 12:16 PM   #49
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Default Re: Bestiary 4e

This is why I think the groupings should be by general category of animal: felines, rodents, canines, bears, birds, 'gators, etc.

It's nice to be able to construct wilderness encounter tables, but I don't see a point to organizing a book around something that would be perfectly adequate as an appendix. It's the kind of thing that GMs would print out and have by their side when running a desert travel scene, for example.

Meanwhile, if I'm a GM thinking, "I want to create a fantasy-style Dire Wolf for my campaign," I'd just flip to the Predators chapter, skip to the canines, and start with the Wolf template. That's rather than trying to figure out if Wolves belong in temperate plains, coniferous forest or the tundra biomes.

Similarly, if the players run into a cave to get out of the rain, and I decide there's a bear in it, it's still clear what page to flip to. My wilderness encounter table lists cougars as being felines, and again, the grouping feels natural.

The big upside of doing it this way, of course, is that by hitting all the bears in one section, I can reduce redundancy. There's a listing for bears in general, and when I get to European cave bears, some notes on what makes these different from other bears. It gives us room to have a fairly detailed entry.

I do see the point of carving away the Sea creatures into their own section, since their rules are so unique. But that's just another case of putting like with like. The biomes approach, not to mention listing it alphabetically, seems like a recipe for confusion to me.

This is a guidebook not just with stats, but behavior, rules for animal handling, etc. In a low tech setting, the Wild is every bit as much of a character in the game as your NPC mooks, if not more. You want GMs to be able to use the book as a seed for adventures, not just a reference.
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Old 07-03-2012, 12:23 PM   #50
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Default Re: Bestiary 4e

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Except the DF5 is stated for the reality of DF. what's good for DF is often not good for any other genre
Too true. I find myself attempting to work out the correction factor between DF 5 and similar beasties in more realistic sources fairly often. Frex, had to guestimate what a real panther would be like based on the difference between a DF5 lion and a Basic Set Lion.

The main reason I initially suggested by Mammal, Bird, Reptile/Amphibion, and Arthropod is because those seem to be the most used in games and because it's moderately easy to lens one general set of stats into many species from different biomes. Give me one Sheep stat and lens that into Ibex, Ram, etc. much the way GURPS Horror lensed a basic monster into a variety of varients (e.g., Vampire into a bazzillion differnet vampires). That plus some text explaining the basic creature and varient creatures should cover the most ground with the least pages, I'd think.

[EDIT] I'm kind of with wellspring's thinking. I'd go with Mammals book and subdivide into Acquatic Mammals (Whales, Dolphins, Manatees, etc.), Bats (potentially dumpd in miscellaneous), Carnivores (Bears, Cats, Dogs, Civets, Hyenas, Mongooses, Weasels, Badgers, Skunks, Seals, Walruses, Racoons, etc.), Large Herbivores (Pigs, Hippos, Camels, Giraffe, Deer, Antelope, Cattle, Sheep, Goats, Horses, Donkeys, Zebras, Rhinos, etc.), Small Mammals (Lagomorphs, Rodents, Shrews, Moles, etc.), Primates, Miscellaneous (Elephants, Sloths, Aardvarks, Pangolins, etc.).

Looking at that, you've got a pretty big book right there. I'd be worried it'd outshadow most other potential books. Can you find that many useful and interesting birds? or reptiles? Arthropods could fill a similar book, since they'd incorporate insects and spiders and crabs and so on. Fish, perhaps, but that'd carry the same risk as birds.
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