As I work on the various Easy D&D sections that make up the complete package of resources that I am planning on, I will be occasionally adding to this website showing the progress of each module.
This update is centred on Race. My plan, as with all of Easy D&D, was to break Dungeons & Dragons down to its bear essentials; and then break it down some more. So simplicity, easy of use, and being modular in nature were the main themes.
My first pen and paper iteration of the Race module was really simple, maybe too simple. I boiled down the Race to Character Art, Good at, Bad at, Armour Class, Hit Points, Languages & a Descriptor (something to help new players choose a race and with role play).
From pen and paper to Photoshop. I’m well versed in Photoshop, so felt confident I could work my first prototype into a digital version. It went well and slowly a decent proof of concept came to fruition. I started with an A5 size canvas, allowing for an A4 (standard UK size printer paper) print out when the Class module is included.
The Font came really early on, I wanted an easy to read font that looked handwritten and found Patrick Hand SC by Patrick Wagesreiter. It looks and feels just right and saved me from one of the harder design choices. Colours however were not an easy decision and the changes will be plentiful and often nuanced over the next few iterations. A white background with blue was my first thoughts, mixed with Green and Red for any positive or negative sections.
This was the first time I used stand in art from Printable Heroes (check them out!), which works well with the overall concept and child friendly design.
From A5 to A4, creating the image larger to start with was a natural evolution. The stroke (outline) was a ‘stroke‘ of genius! It really makes the whole piece pop, improves readability and adds to the overall ‘cartoonish’ vision I originally had. Colours have changed and are becoming more standardised. The character art popping from the border is a simple but effective touch. I added a banner for a character name. And finally, a long running feud with the ‘Languages’ section began!
This final Photoshop step adds more PrintableHeroes art, adding accessibility to those who struggle reading by giving visual context to Good/Bad At & Languages sections. The colour changes are subtle but altering the shield, descriptor & extending the inventory banner all bring the module together.
This all took approx. a week of slow and arduous minor changes that look rather simple on the surface but that were tough to make. I am super happy with this template and started to think of ways to add the Races and their data. Then the first major stumbling block reared its ugly head. Whenever I saved or exported the files from Photoshop (either as a .png, .tiff or PDF file) and then printed them, ugly artefacts and colour changes would happen. After some serious googling I realised Photoshop wasn’t what I needed. Despite being used to the software, I’d only ever really used it with images. Once you start adding more and more shapes the negatives start outweighing the positives!
So what were the options? Being used to Adobe I figured either Illustrator or InDesign. Again after more googling, Illustrators vector based approach seemed the best for Easy D&D. But boy has it been a struggle to use, despite so many features crossing over from Photoshop it has not been a walk in the park. But I’ll leave that for Update #2!
Any questions or queries please get in touch or leave a comment.