Thursday, January 26, 2023

Smaller Stat Blocks for Savage Worlds

I've been toying around with a point crawl I started working on a few years ago and have been looking at publishing it for Savage Worlds. However, their stat blocks take up a fair amount of space compared to B/X DnD, Labrinth Lord, Old School Essentials, Swords and Wizardry, and ShadowDark so I've been tinkering around with them. Below are two options and I'd love to hear feedback on which may be better, if there is anything I have forgotten, or you just have a better format.

Here is an Orc Warrior

Options A

Parry 6; Toughness 9 (3 chain); Fighting d8 (battle axe d10+d8); Shooting d6 (bow 2d6); Athletics d8; Pace 6; Ag d6; Sm d6; Sp d6; St d10; Vi d8; Skills Intimidation d6, Notice d6, Survival d8; Edges Brute, Mighty Blow

Option B

Parry 6

Toughness 9 (3 chain)

Fighting d8 (battle axe d10+d8)

Shooting d6 (bow 2d6)

Athletics d8

Pace 6;

Ag d6; Sm d6; Sp d6; St d10; Vi d8; 

Skills Intimidation d6, Notice d6, Survival d8; 

Edges Brute, Mighty Blow


Walt said...

While Option B takes up more space, it's a might bit easier to read at a glance.

Cross Planes said...

I agree. Thanks for the input!

Walt said...

My pleasure! Thank you for what you do!

Cross Planes said...

Wow. Thank you for that.

Dunromin University Press said...

I'm with Walt; B is SOOOO much easier to read.
If the concern is the space taken up by the block you could try doing that section in a font that's a point or two smaller than the main text. IMHO this actually helps it to stand out too - certainly I seem to lock onto what I am looking for more quickly.
Are you using two columns? Feedback on various forums suggest two-column layout is much easier to follow.

Jason said...

I'm gonna be the odd man and say Option A. It looks cleaner than the jaggedness of Option B. While yes, "B" appears easier since it's stacked, the use of italics in "A" helps locating the necessary things just as easy. Plus, "A" certainly helps with any space concerns.

Kristian Serrano said...

I've never been a fan of paragraphical stat blocks with comma- or -semicolon separation. It's such a huge cognitive load to parse, especially when you're trying to run things quickly in the middle of a game. Something that is already clearly parsed out is far better (to me) as a user experience than something that saves space for a book, and ultimately, it's the experience we're designing for.

I also don't see how this stat block handles Special Abilities, which often require a sentence or two to describe.

Additionally, I challenge the "saves space" argument. I think you can save space in other places such as more concise writing. D&D-type modules often wasted a lot of space on extra prose that wasn't really necessary to begin with. It often felt like the designer was saying, "Well, I need more room for my amazing words, so shorter stat blocks are critical!" I'd rather give the reader enough info to run with and a better user experience while running it.

But let's say it's a massive module with a ton of stat blocks, and you've already written as concisely as possible. Unless you're printing and shipping books through distributors or through the mail, it shouldn't really be a concern.

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