Nijineko's project

In response to questions about my current project, I am starting this thread to answer and discuss, as appropriate.

As I have alluded to, it is a learning project.

The material is in pretty bad shape. As might be expected of material produced by WotC, the SRD files are riddled with spelling errors, grammar errors, missing words, and incorrect words. The layout structure and usage of headings and tables is questionable. Thus it is a good target for repair.

Next, the material is legally open source, thus is freely editable and can be republished as is, or changed at whim. This makes it a good target which can be freely usable for practice without legal worries or repercussions.

Third, it is a complete if abbreviated game, which allows one to analyze the structure and mechanics individually and overall as one works on the material.

Fourth, I like pdf and hardcopy, I prefer to look stuff up in a book before I will go online to try and hunt it down.
Plus, the other available pdf products I have reviewed from DriveThruRPG are not done in a fashion that I would want to use… and none that I checked seem to be print on demand. They have tables and paragraphs split across pages, the layout is not ideal in many cases, they are missing sections of the SRD (many ignore the psionics and / or epic sections), and more.

Part of the challenge I have set myself is to exceed the quality of what offerings are already available. It is also nice in that this means I have a readymade baseline to compare and compete against! I can make changes, compare the results and pick which I feel are improvements! Such luxury!

Fifth, I wanted to learn in general how to edit and layout books, publish pdf, and publish print on demand. The SRD is large enough and complex enough to be a challenge for all three, yet small enough to not be entirely overwhelming.

Furthermore, I wanted to learn all of that and actually publish something, but I didn’t want to mess up something I cared about like my own novels or game material while I learned, so I picked the SRD as a project where I could make mistakes freely and still be able to legally publish it.

Finally, it’s already there and available to whomever, which saves me a lot of time. It’s a static target, and very unlikely to change in the future. Perfect for practice.

That is most of my logic for picking the SRD as the target of my project.


If you are going to do this, you may as well make your mark. The Use Magic Device skill contains some confusing language which makes people use deductive reasoning in order to make it do things that it cannot. Why not fix that?

Um… you realize that you are communicating with me, right? This is nijineko we are talking about here. Why on Athas would I fix something relating to magic?! :exploding_head:

Nerf it or dump it.

I’d much rather fix something like Use Psionic Device instead, lol.


But seriously, this project is not for making my mark. It is just for learning how to edit and publish. Self discipline and restraint. Making a mark comes next, after this is done.

(Though I’ll admit I couldn’t resist fixing the Elan lifespan entry, and making monks actually proficient with unarmed strike. But that was only 3 words changed! Total! )

Since they are the same thing, you’d be doing a service either way.

You could include errata later published. Why not?

Frankly, why not just use this same exercise to make an original piece you want to make, and just get support from the army of volunteers here (who are ready and willing to assist with our professional experience) if you’re worried about it not being professional looking enough?

It would have the same result, and would take a lot less time for you.

1 Like

Psionics Are Different is my default. ( ^-^)b

Well, that was the parameters set at the beginning of the project, and now I’m 90%+ finished. Basically, I do not feel like allowing scope creep, thereby delaying the publication goal, especially at this late date.

An editing project (in the typograpic and layout sense) is a different goal from a content editing project and I am treating the two as separate projects. This time is for learning typography and layout, another future project is for learning content editing.
(Though I have been paying attention to, and noting against future need, possible points of content editing.)

Maybe it is my autistic desire for strict adherence to rules and structure (ie: the original project goals) , or maybe it is more of a desire to not try to hit a moving and changing target (scope creep adding new goals part way through), but whatever it may be, I feel firm about this.

I appreciate your suggestions, and when my “fix D&D” project comes around, I will definitely humbly request a list of problems and suggestions from our Athas community.

Update: 98%ish complete.

Currently exporting master files to pdf and checking pdf for layout issues. After which comes the beta readers. Then publishing.

Bookmarks are working correctly, after fixing one error (Framed text with Headings is listed before default text with Headings in bookmarks after export; removed Framed Headings).
I will have to explore other methods of outlining sidebars rather than using frames. (I don’t feel like going back and revising it now. I’ll figure it out for next time. )

What is the project…about?

It is about learning some new stuff.

Generally: learning a bit of project management, some basic typography, page layout, converting to pdf, and the publishing thereof.

@Pennarin Does that answer the question or confusion?

So its a pure meta project, like learning to build a house no one will live in, or there’s an actual document in there?

It’s the SRD plus the Arcana and those two open monsters from MM2. All the official 3rd edition Open Content material in one giant pdf. Between 1400 and 1500 pages in total. Plus a few extras I added for fun.


98.5% complete.

Fully combined document review first pass complete.

Export to master pdf complete.

Review of master pdf for final layout and error check is the next step.

After which comes beta review checks from whomever is willing, and then the final step: purchasing an ISBN and publishing.

You’re going to actually publish a document that essentially contains the work product of others where your work product is organization and formatting? (As opposed to just releasing it like it was a netbook or something)

Or did i misunderstand?

Ninjineko is buying an ISBN, presumably to have it automatically entered in the the digital archives of the Library of Congress.

1 Like

That would actually require an LCCN and a physical copy sent to the library for review versus the criteria. (I didn’t check the digital archive requirements, since I’m aiming for print on demand.)

Why not ISBN it? It’s required for print on demand anyway.

And again, just to repeat myself a whole bunch, the point of this project was to learn the process from end to end.

Getting an ISBN is part of the publishing process last time I checked. Furthermore, there are a few non open content spots in my version. Just not many. So my efforts are not wasted regardless.

Since the SRD is open content, who wrote it is irrelevant; anyone can publish it legally. It even says so specifically in the SRD FAQ, lol.

1 Like

Just checked online. Apparently, ISBN are only required for the purposes of selling. It is optional for free ebooks.

Good to know how much they cost though ($18.99 at one etailer).

Indeed, and print on demand books cannot be offered for free, soooooo. ISBN it is.

Though I do NOT recommend buying an ISBN from a non official source. Often causes a lot of unforeseen problems.

Elsewhere you wrote that you were sticking to a completely unedited version of the SRD. Now you say there is closed content in it? By this, do you mean original content that you yourself have created?

Well, if you count a custom designed blank graph paper for mapping, and completely redesigned custom characters sheets as content, then yes - those parts are self created, and licensed for reproduction, but are not open content themselves. Also, the Introduction to the Project (one page) is not considered open content either, and thus also qualifies as ‘original content’ of a sort. I have used images for the covers, and those are not considered open content either (they are covered under another license).

Thus the SRD is in fact completely original (save for grammar and spelling, etc, plus the the elan table and monks being made proficient with unarmed strike - three words in total). I would not use the term “unedited” in this case, however, as the SRD needed a lot of fixes.

I was using the term content to mean the rules and other text of the SRD. What I have added has not altered the SRD itself. Or the Arcana (other than the necessary edits as stipulated in the Arcana Open Content declaration statement).

Does that bring clarity?