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Tabletop RPG Rule Books Can Be Beautiful and Accessible

Dungeons & Dragons
Beyond the Rift
Lone Archivist
the Storytelling Collective
the RPG Writer Workshop
The Academy of Games
the teambuilding Dungeons & Dragons
Honey Heist
Condé Nast
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Pearse AndersonTo
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Adira Slattery
Basil Wright
Amber Seger
Dai Shugars
Ashley Warren
Joe DeSimo’s



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The New York Times
Write a review: Wired

As TTRPG rule books become more experimental and artistic, there is a legion of designers, consultants, and playtesters fighting for good design, not of fantastical worlds or campaigns, but of the pages those stories are printed on.A TTRPG rule book can be designed with accessibility in mind in every aspect. Her favorite games for colorblind accessibility include Dream Askew / Dream Apart, which uses colors in ways that don’t distract from the text, Lancer, which separates and orients text in a superbly clear way, and Beyond the Rift, which does have the harder-to-read white text on black backgrounds but includes buttons on digital editions to invert the entire rule book’s color scheme, perfect for Slattery.For disabled designer and writer Basil Wright, looking at vivid images for more than a few seconds can cause a headache because of nearsightedness, leading them to question—does this image need to be in the rule book? “I've looked at a few adventures where the writing will start at the top left corner but then take a circuitous path throughout the page, which can cause a lot of mental fatigue and increase the level of effort to comprehend the text.”Labyrinthian layouts can be fun for players to explore on their own time, but can you imagine searching for a spell description mid-battle in a rule book that looks less like a mage manual and more like the bizarrely laid out nonlinear novel House of Leaves or the dense sermonic Dr. Bronner’s soap label?“Our brain's cognitive processing can only truly hold like 3-5 things in our working memory at a time,” says Amber Seger, manager of graphic instructions for a child safety company and TTRPG graphic designer. On their blog, they created a three-part series redesigning character sheets with accessibility in mind.In Seger’s experience, a lot of designers suffer from “seductive detailing”—the urge to fill white space with doodles, gifs, and flavor text that doesn’t ultimately teach readers the rules of the game. TTRPG graphic designer The Lone Archivist notes that players can accuse books of “page bloat,” where they might feel tricked that their 300-page rule book has 50 pages of white space spread throughout it. But if those pages are well designed, readers likely need that distributed white space to understand the rest of the text.In recent years, the indie TTRPG scene has seen the aesthetics and visions of rule books balloon out from the traditional format of text columns, lists and tables, and monster statistics.

As said here by Wired