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Keeper screen & player handouts


JasonW

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First of all let me just say I am a starting keeper and my first time posting to this forum, so please be gentle. I am currently really enjoying the rule book and Keeper screen. The question I have is about player hand outs whilst running a game/scenario. I know player handouts aren't massively important but the supplied handouts have a lot of information which I don't want to show the players at the current time. For example the map of Bennington for the "Amidst the Ancient Trees" would be really good to show the players apart from the numbered trial points and legend. There are a whole bunch of other example I could reference where instead of having a nice hand out for the players I have either had to edit the hand out myself and reprint it to make it safe for the players. Would it not be a good idea that Chaosium could supply two versions of the hand out, one player safe and the other with the various secretes that only the keeper should know.

Thanks for any response to my question.

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Generally speaking art costs are one of  the most expensive parts of an RPG. The move by Chaosium to full colour and hardback for their books already adds to the price and adding an extra page for each map to provide a player version as well would start to push the cost right up. It is usually possible to sketch out a rough map with a pencil and paper or a marker and whiteboard to give the players an idea of the layout. If you have a pdf then judicious use of a painting program with copy and paste abilities and then an erase feature to 'rub out' extraneous details would probably be your best choice if you want to provide high quality handouts (or learn to use a drawing program yourself). A photocopy and TippEx/Whiteout is a second best choice.

Nigel

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Hopefully you'll find this a very friendly forum.

If you have the PDF then you might be able to extract the images from the PDF with some cheap software, or use the Snipping Toool to pull out artwork. Once you have it as a saved image then you can use a paint package to cut bits out, hide bits or amend it however you would like.

That's what I try to do if I need player handouts from published supplements.

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Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

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Thanks for the response nclark and soltakss, and indeed I have been using my phone to capture the image/map and using a paint package myself to edit out the detail. I understand the point about the art costing a lot more to produce but it just slightly frustrated me when I purchased the Keeper Screen supplement with all the lovely posters and player handouts only to see that they included a lot of information that I wouldn't want a player to see.

An option might be that Chaosium could potentially supply the player handouts pre edited in pdf format so we could at least just have the option to download them and print them for our self.

Anyway I guess I could put the posters up on the wall but I doubt my misses would be too pleased :)

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Chaosium often do supply a pack of the handouts in pdf format particularly for some of the bigger campaigns. Their current policy of supplying a pdf with purchase of the hard or soft back book is laudable for the very reason that it makes it much easier to prep stuff. Some companies do provide a layered pdf where you can turn off some layers prior to printing to eliminate hidden facts, but it's a lot of extra work and someone has to pay for that and gamers are notorious tightwads. Kudos to The Design Mechanism who do a couple of extra supplements  for campaigns, Monster Island and Mythic Britain, where you can turn off various labels on maps. These extras costs a 1/3 of the price of the full campaign book and you need a colour printer to make use of them making the whole thing a bit pricey.

Personally I often just sketch out rough plans of the interiors of buildings or small sites as detailed maps are only really of use to folks who come from a background of playing games that use miniatures and grid based combat.

Looking at some of the handouts you mention:

The one labelled The Dig Site has nothing on it that wouldn't easily be done with a dry erase marker and a white board and anyway the pretty colour map does nothing for passing on the information on that map.

The piece labelled Leiter's Cottage has a piece of a note about the locksmith that is found and the asylum letter but if they search the cottage then they get that anyway so where's the harm unless you insist that the players don't get information without a die roll (described I think as 'not fun' in the corebook).

The map of the antique store has a concealed trapdoor and that part of the map is easily concealed by folding the map in half if you really need to use the map.

As for the map of Southern Vermont that's really more than a native of Vermont and the surrounding area would know about in the 20's. Think of all those stories in the current press where people are asked where major countries are and they can't place them on a globe. People are generally ignorant of things that don't immediately affect their everyday lives and one has only see news stories of people who will blindly follow a satnav when it tells them to drive into the sea because they didn't realise the ferry was needed to cross the blue stuff.

Coloured maps are nice but TBH are much more of a device to attract buyers who like bright, shiny, new things than Keepers who want to actually run the game. There are people who process information visually and there is little that publishers can do to turn most blocks of text into easy to comprehend graphical displays but the whole rulebook for learning the rules versus rulebook for reference/looking things up is another discussion that will continue to cause problems for gamers. Personally I have really no use for a Keeper's screen especially for CoC as the rules are simple enough that having learned them I can keep them in mind without trouble. I often see a screen as a barrier between me and the players rather than anything containing useful information, but different strokes for different folks and I can see that people new to Call might find it useful to have a summary of the Combat and Insanity rules to hand.

 

Nigel

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Hi DaveG that's my thoughts exactly I wonder if Chaosium would be adverse to them or somebody else posting up versions of the maps which have been edited to remove the keys etc...???

I have already collected a number of maps etc where I have managed to edit out the key.

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The maps are Chaosium's IP and probably shouldn't be posted even with keys and notes removed.

Note also my previous comments about the cost of adding extra maps. The easiest way would be to include layers in the maps in the pdf's of future products or the separate handout files. That way the layers showing details and map keys could be turned off before printing. The cost of redoing the maps in layers for older products is likely to be prohibitive though.

Nigel

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  • 5 years later...
On 9/16/2022 at 1:52 AM, DamonJynx said:

Anyone else realise that the scenario maps provided in the keepers screen pack have absolutely nothing to do with the scenarios it contains...

The three poster maps (World, Lovecraft Country, and Arkham) are a carryover from the original CoC boxed sets. They aren't meant to be scenario specific. They have been popular since 1981. There are also two single sheets of color maps that are for scenarios found in the Keeper Rulebook. The maps of Southern Vermont and The Dig Site are for the Amidst the Ancient Trees scenario that starts on page 346 in the Keeper Rulebook. The maps of Leiter's Cottage and the Unconsidered Trifles shop are for the Crimson Letters scenario that starts on page 364 in the Keeper Rulebook. It's less easy to have all these 5 maps packaged with the Keeper Rulebook, so we included them with the Keeper Screen Pack. NOTE: Smaller versions of these maps can be found in the Keeper Rulebook, but few people would tear them out of the book if they wanted them as a separate item/handout.

There are two scenarios in the Keeper Screen Pack: Blackwater Creek and Missed Dues. Those have everything they need in that scenario book.

We are sorry this was not made more clear in the descriptions of the material found in the Keeper Screen Pack. We thought it highly unlikely that anyone would buy the Keeper Screen Pack without also having the Keeper Rulebook.

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Hope that Helps,
Rick Meints - Chaosium, Inc.

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Thanks for the explanation Rick. I knew what the scenario maps were for, just didn't understand why they were packaged with the Keepers Screen pack but what you've said makes total sense. As an aside, I'm using the Cthulhu World map as my screensaver at work and fully intend to frame, if not at least laminate, the large maps for my man-cave...they are beautiful (as are the majority of maps in your products).

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Also to note, that for a while now we have releasing newer books with PDF download packs that include "player friendly" version maps (without text etc). Some of the older books don't have these in the PDF packs, but where possible we will aim to do so for new editions and so on. Thanks

 

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23 hours ago, Mike M said:

Also to note, that for a while now we have releasing newer books with PDF download packs that include "player friendly" version maps (without text etc). Some of the older books don't have these in the PDF packs, but where possible we will aim to do so for new editions and so on. Thanks

 

 Did you just confirm, that a new edition / printing of the main books is coming? 😉 

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On 6/5/2017 at 7:31 AM, JasonW said:

example the map of Bennington for the "Amidst the Ancient Trees" would be really good to show the players apart from the numbered trial points and legend.

In this example you'd be better off printing out a real map of southern Vermont (if such a handout is desired). The map in the CoC book wouldn't seem very useful to players overall. Do you possibly have some more examples?

When it comes to tactical maps, I generally give the players descriptive (or sketched) information until they explore the area enough that I can just show them the full map... or combat is triggered (in which case I likely have a battlemat ready).

Edited by mvincent
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