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dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
3209 Posts

Posted - 07 Mar 2017 :  20:02:41  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
So as some of you know i like to try my own hand at writing homebrew realmslore as do a few of you other scribes.

So my questions are two (and related somewhat).

1 - what is your favourite format for consuming homebrew realmslore (i mean reading it, not chewing on a book). I always prefer reading a pdf and for some reason avoid websites other than candlekeep.

2 - what is your favourite or even suggested format for producing realmslore. As i get to the 11th document i produce im finding that writing in word and converting to pdf is cumbersome and i cannot update the pdfs already out there nor can i remove or alter the pdfs i have already uploaded to here and enworld. So what other options are there (that are free or really cheap). Ive seen a few wikis with scattered realms snippets on there (xaeryuddh's site). Ive even seen a few html pages on the keep itself that arent in the forum. Im just wondering what the options are and how to go about it.

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dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
3209 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2017 :  07:21:46  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well for the time being im gonna mess around with wordpress because its free and easy.

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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
13248 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2017 :  16:22:37  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My favorite is actually the 'Cyclopedia' format, like in the Old Gray Box, or the Volo's Guides (although the VG's are slightly more entertaining).

Not big on 'bland, wall-of-text, history-book style' format. Rather than that, a timeline - I like to digest things in bite-sized chunks (this coming from a guy who's every post is a 'wall-of-text' LOL).

EDIT:
Timelines with sidebars/vingettes is really smoooooooth. It 'keeps the flow' while still going off to the side to further explain things (I'm fairly certain they were invented to counter EG, "the master of the run-on sentence").

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 10 Mar 2017 16:27:38
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4740 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2017 :  21:50:41  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Without tooting my horn too much (well, maybe just a little ... ) I consider myself something of a timeline guru when it comes to the Realms. It is no secret that I had my own consolidated timeline for the Realms when Brian's very excellent work was snapped up by WotC (if only I had the tech savvy to create a webpage back then, I too could have been famous!) and prior to that I had posted the first (for that time) consolidated timeline to the old Realms-L. I love 'em and I have different ones in different stages of completeness on my HD as we speak.

The masterstroke re format came with the publishing of GHotR (the idea I think came from Kim Mohan). We were all told to pick a date and write something up. Of course, practically all of us wrote encyclopedia-type entries "explaining" a particular event or occurrence until we saw Ed's take on how to do it - I remember thinking to myself at the time, "holy crap, I "feel" this historical event now, and btw, I suck at this creative stuff!". I wrote up my Impiltur timeline in this fashion and bar my own writing limitations, I think that style broke up the dry wall of dates/text and gave the reader a break from the monotony - as well as offering up a chance to stash realmslore tidbits and FR Easter eggs into the narrative.

I dream of seeing a revamped GHotR but it's a question of time and well ... time! Also, I have to say that the Spellplague and 100 year jump is a big roadblock. So much blank space to fill in. That's daunting.

Oh and lastly, out of my love for the Appendices in Tolkien's Return of the King, I love lines of rulers/kings. I've been working quite a bit on those lately. Have done Mir, Damara, Illusk/Luskan, Chessagol/Tsurlagol, Felbarr, Calandor/Daggerford, fixed up the Shoon, tweaked a little bit of Tethyr, and made strides with Calimshan. Already "in the bank" are Ammarindar, Delzoun, Eaerlann, Siluvanede, Sharrven, Ardeep, the Kingdom of Man and other smaller human kingdoms of the North as well as the ones in GHotR. I like to put Easter eggs in them and lay lore foundations so they represent more than just a bunch of names and dates.

Anyway, that type of lore has always excited me - which is why I try and replicate it in my musings. And as they say, something is always better than nothing.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
3209 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2017 :  22:19:37  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What i wouldnt give to peek at those dynasty trees (especially damara, delzoun, ammarindar, siluvanede, sharrven, mir, shoon, basically all of them). Im sure you wont keep them to yourself and we will see them in the fullness of time but i just cant wait that long.

By the way what tips did you get froms Eds versions of doing timelines. Id love to know the secret so i can have another go at moonshaes and unther

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Zeromaru X
Learned Scribe

Colombia
235 Posts

Posted - 10 Mar 2017 :  23:01:08  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I like both approaches. A timeline, because (reasons already dettailed in Markustay and George Krashos's post), and a little chunk of text for context when necessary.

As for the format, I'm familiar with PDF. I also tend to avoid websites, unless is a well-referenced wiki.

Toward the cobalt, there is a shining Earth. That is where sadness begins. All that we love is returning there...
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4740 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2017 :  00:12:29  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

What i wouldnt give to peek at those dynasty trees (especially damara, delzoun, ammarindar, siluvanede, sharrven, mir, shoon, basically all of them). Im sure you wont keep them to yourself and we will see them in the fullness of time but i just cant wait that long.

By the way what tips did you get froms Eds versions of doing timelines. Id love to know the secret so i can have another go at moonshaes and unther



The pointer was in relation to the "story vignettes" peppered through GHotR - how to make them "pop" as it were. In terms of the date entries themselves, other than making sure they were consistent in "voice" (i.e. tense), they mostly came from Brian's excellent web timeline.

As for the various lineages, I'm sure they'll make an appearance. Eventually.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4740 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2017 :  00:24:02  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

I'd love to know the secret so i can have another go at moonshaes and unther



From my perspective, I think the secret is to look at a region in both a broad and narrow context at the same time. How does it interact with other places around it? What bits of existing lore need to be fleshed out? For example, in terms of Unther, we know from the sources that they warred with the dwarves of the Great Rift but have next to no information regarding that conflict. That would be a key event/series of events to flesh out. Then you look internally. How was it ruled? Who were the movers and shakers and why? Have there been any events that affect the whole realm (i.e. invasions, dynastic squabbling, plague, civil war/revolt, plagues et. al.)? Once you come up with a bunch of those ideas, the rest usually falls into place.

If you use my Impiltur timeline as an example, I had a couple of pivotal events that I had already inserted in the lore like the invasion of the orc horde which removed one dynasty and the attack of the Scaled Horde. I had the original settlers of Impiltur coming from the Vilhon/Jhaamdath. I had a throwaway line from "Cormyr: A Novel" where Ondeth describes plague and dynastic squabbling "back home". I then had the published lore on Impiltur from the time of Imphras which Eric Boyd and I fleshed out for Champions of Ruin and Valor. Once the skeleton is in place, you add the flesh. I decide that certain kings are ambitious and look to expand. Others are weak and exploited externally and internally. I account for things that we know happen in the Realms (Rages of Dragons, orc hordes, plagues). Before you know it, the timeline has good shape and detail and you can add little things for nuance. Of course, the smaller the subject, the easier that is. Translating my Impiltur Timeline into an Unapproachable East Timeline has been a work in progress for years now - and it's still going! Fun to do though. If you are secretly a masochist.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
5117 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2017 :  00:47:22  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

Without tooting my horn too much (well, maybe just a little ... ) I consider myself something of a timeline guru when it comes to the Realms. It is no secret that I had my own consolidated timeline for the Realms when Brian's very excellent work was snapped up by WotC (if only I had the tech savvy to create a webpage back then, I too could have been famous!) and prior to that I had posted the first (for that time) consolidated timeline to the old Realms-L. I love 'em and I have different ones in different stages of completeness on my HD as we speak.

The masterstroke re format came with the publishing of GHotR (the idea I think came from Kim Mohan). We were all told to pick a date and write something up. Of course, practically all of us wrote encyclopedia-type entries "explaining" a particular event or occurrence until we saw Ed's take on how to do it - I remember thinking to myself at the time, "holy crap, I "feel" this historical event now, and btw, I suck at this creative stuff!". I wrote up my Impiltur timeline in this fashion and bar my own writing limitations, I think that style broke up the dry wall of dates/text and gave the reader a break from the monotony - as well as offering up a chance to stash realmslore tidbits and FR Easter eggs into the narrative.

I dream of seeing a revamped GHotR but it's a question of time and well ... time! Also, I have to say that the Spellplague and 100 year jump is a big roadblock. So much blank space to fill in. That's daunting.

Oh and lastly, out of my love for the Appendices in Tolkien's Return of the King, I love lines of rulers/kings. I've been working quite a bit on those lately. Have done Mir, Damara, Illusk/Luskan, Chessagol/Tsurlagol, Felbarr, Calandor/Daggerford, fixed up the Shoon, tweaked a little bit of Tethyr, and made strides with Calimshan. Already "in the bank" are Ammarindar, Delzoun, Eaerlann, Siluvanede, Sharrven, Ardeep, the Kingdom of Man and other smaller human kingdoms of the North as well as the ones in GHotR. I like to put Easter eggs in them and lay lore foundations so they represent more than just a bunch of names and dates.

Anyway, that type of lore has always excited me - which is why I try and replicate it in my musings. And as they say, something is always better than nothing.

-- George Krashos




I will say that some of my favorite pieces of the GHotR was the section detailing the timeline history of the different countries ruling lines, and yes, they were full of fun little easter eggs.

I also like it when there are timelines at the front of a product that give you a crunched version of the more in-depth history that will follow later. It helps to give you an idea of where things "went", such that as you read through the history you have an inkling in the background of where its going.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 11 Mar 2017 00:49:53
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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
13248 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2017 :  03:58:12  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I believe Steven Schend was 'the master' - if not the creator - of that format.

In fact, most of the timelines that went into the GHotR came from books he did (and yet his name didn't appear on the product... even though he technically wrote most of it).

I could have lived without all the Seros stuff, though - don't really care whats going on under the water, and that space could ave gone to things 'topside', but whatever.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 11 Mar 2017 03:58:34
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dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
3209 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2017 :  07:18:45  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

What i wouldnt give to peek at those dynasty trees (especially damara, delzoun, ammarindar, siluvanede, sharrven, mir, shoon, basically all of them). Im sure you wont keep them to yourself and we will see them in the fullness of time but i just cant wait that long.

By the way what tips did you get froms Eds versions of doing timelines. Id love to know the secret so i can have another go at moonshaes and unther



The pointer was in relation to the "story vignettes" peppered through GHotR - how to make them "pop" as it were. In terms of the date entries themselves, other than making sure they were consistent in "voice" (i.e. tense), they mostly came from Brian's excellent web timeline.

As for the various lineages, I'm sure they'll make an appearance. Eventually.

-- George Krashos




Im just glad gencon is every year (damara lineage pretty please).

I do hope you have a will in place with an instruction for all works to be released on the keep, just in case.

As for the approach i hope im starting to follow it. My moonshaes timeline i did on a similar vein but with how eventa affected the other islands.

I think ill go with a website mostly because its easier to edit and there is only one version. Not sure if html allows textboxes though.

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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
4740 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2017 :  07:25:57  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal
Im just glad gencon is every year (damara lineage pretty please).

I do hope you have a will in place with an instruction for all works to be released on the keep, just in case.



Damara lineage isn't very exciting - it's only 300 years worth of monarchs.

I must mention to my wife that if I get hit by a truck, she should send my FR files to Ed so he can disseminate what is there.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
3209 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2017 :  07:47:24  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Im not looking for exciting and sensationalist lineages, thats more wotc forte.

Im looking for names and dates and the odd hook i can run with for miles. Thats what you're best at and thats what i want to get better at. Plus in order to flesh out damara a lineage is mandatory

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dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
3209 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2017 :  07:51:26  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal
Im just glad gencon is every year (damara lineage pretty please).

I do hope you have a will in place with an instruction for all works to be released on the keep, just in case.



Damara lineage isn't very exciting - it's only 300 years worth of monarchs.

I must mention to my wife that if I get hit by a truck, she should send my FR files to Ed so he can disseminate what is there.

-- George Krashos




We also need ed to establish a similar clause for his trove of realmslore. Just in case.

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Wrigley
Senior Scribe

Czech Republic
418 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2017 :  12:06:49  Show Profile  Visit Wrigley's Homepage Send Wrigley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As for your original question - pdf is most convinient format as it is already edited into readable style - thing that most web pages lack. Also I consider a feature that it cannot be edited as I do not have time to check every homebrew page for updates so this is a kind of assurance that it is already done. Also it is a linear list of pages that you can read in predermined order to get all the information there is about it. Web pages tend to have their content split between multiple pages with problematic linkage so you have to remember what have you already read and what links did you want to visit from that page and you easily miss some. Shared douments and similar stuff are usualy considered waste of my time unless I know exactly what I am going for as they are also kind of "work in progress, messy stuff".

I haven't yet produced any final "product" that I would be willing to share as I do not have enough interesting stuff to put into all that boring editing stuff needed for release. I am mostly jumping across topics and focusing/clearing my version of Realms. Part of it goes towards preparing our game sessions and the rest is delving for deeper stuff. One topic I would like to prepare for sharing is the whole creation myth as it is too complex for mentioning in discussions and it hide it's beauty if only mentioned by pieces.
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dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
3209 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2017 :  16:31:29  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well I'm just going to have to go with the internet for now as PDFs are so damned difficult to make.

I got the textbox vignettes sorted though and I'll probably turn it into a wiki like site for all things alternate realms.

Can't do much about ordered reading though, or citations since I'm making changes to the realms.


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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
29705 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2017 :  18:26:13  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

Well I'm just going to have to go with the internet for now as PDFs are so damned difficult to make.



What's difficult about them? Later versions of Microsoft Office have that functionality built in, and there's a lot of relatively inexpensive software for doing the same.

I'd imagine there may be shareware or freeware that can do it, and some of the free Office clones may have the capability, as well.

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dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
3209 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2017 :  19:06:39  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah I can't afford Microsoft office. I use Libre Office but its contents construction is baffling and the background image placement sucks and the export does weird things to some formatting. Plus it takes ages getting it all ready and if its wrong on the PDF you have to do it all again.

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Markustay
Realms Explorer extraordinaire

USA
13248 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2017 :  19:30:22  Show Profile Send Markustay a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I used to have Creative Suite, which includes Acrobat (full version). I never got around to making my own pdf's, but I did convert a few files using it to that format. I miss having that.

I use OpenOffice now, which works great; it has a bit of trouble (S L O W) opening adobe and MS documents the first time, so I usually resave them in its native format. In fact, its SO damn slow doing that (sometimes taking up to 15 minutes!) that Eric Boyd starting sending me them already converted, because he was waiting back to hear from me, and I was just sitting here, twiddling my thumbs, waiting for a file he Emailed me to open!). I'm pretty sure that's a problem particular to my computer, because I have similar issues when I try to save stuff for the 1st time in a day (each time I reboot, I have a 30-60 minute wait to save the very first file I am trying to save, but after that, no problems... weird - I'm think its having trouble saving an 'Image' of my HD and has to rebuild it every time).

ANYWAY... There is an option to 'save as pdf', and I think I've used it once or twice, but I think I've only done so with bare-bones text documents, not anything complicated with cells/pictures/etc., so i couldn't even tell you how well it handle those. If I ever get around to completing my current (conversion) project, and get back to my main one, I plan to do them all as layered pdf's, so I guess I'll find out then how well it works.

"I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me" --- Dudley Field Malone


Edited by - Markustay on 11 Mar 2017 19:32:41
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Wrigley
Senior Scribe

Czech Republic
418 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2017 :  21:21:18  Show Profile  Visit Wrigley's Homepage Send Wrigley a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dazzlerdal

Well I'm just going to have to go with the internet for now as PDFs are so damned difficult to make.

I got the textbox vignettes sorted though and I'll probably turn it into a wiki like site for all things alternate realms.

Can't do much about ordered reading though, or citations since I'm making changes to the realms.





That is exactly what I am talking about - you need to change things and that means you do not have final version ready. Wiki is great for sorting notes for your research and creating database of sort for characters, places, items, ...

I enjoy discussions with you and I would like to read your theory once you will have it formed.

@Markustay - Commodor or Atari ? ;-)
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dazzlerdal
Great Reader

United Kingdom
3209 Posts

Posted - 11 Mar 2017 :  22:09:29  Show Profile Send dazzlerdal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well its going to be work in progress for a long time. Hopefully it will be impossible to fully map and categorise the realms.

I looked into the wikis but the only free ones i found were really advert heavy which i personally hate using myself (one wiki is so slow i have to go and make a cup of tea every time i want to view a page.

Plus im enjoying messing round with html again. The div style code to get a wordwrap around text box was fun to research. Now i just need yo decide on how to structure it and i can start writing again (open/libre office to pdf put me off so much i havent typed a word in months)

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