Jan 14, 2015

Streamlined Monster Entries

One of the things I like the best about OSR games is that the amount of information I need to filter through while prepping and running games is lower than in some other RPGs. While the added level of detail is often fun as a player, I find as a GM I like things a bit more streamlined.

In general I think the inline stat blocks for monsters in B/X has been one of the best ways to present monster info in the various versions of D&D. However it still pads out the info at times with redundancy, and is somewhat limited in that it was created in an era when typewriters didn't have easy access to the same specialized fonts and glyphs that we have today. As much as I like B/X I have to admit that the way many CCGs present information in a small space is much more elegant.

With that in mind I took a look at the inline stat block for a B/X goblin and tried to come up with something that gave the same amount of useful information in a way that was easier to parse through during a game. I think that unless something is unusual about a creature there's little value in restating things like #AT 1, or that it's both HD 1-1 and saves as a 1st level fighter. That's only info I'd want if it didn't behave in the standard way.

The Icon Style makes use of Font Awesome which is free to download.

What do you think the optimal amount of information to have for inline monster entries in an OSR game is? How do you feel about using glyphs or other icons to help present information?