Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bestiary Page

My bestiary page on the wiki has been a disaster.  I've never properly and consistently put the right amount of work into the descriptions, it's a bit boring to be honest, and the pages have never looked very encouraging when I've completed an entry.

I hope to change that and to clean up the bestiary page as it stands.  I wouldn't bother going to the link just now: it has too many empty links, as I thought I was getting work ready and instead I was just wasting time before actually working. 

But here's the update of the Alpaca page.  This is about how the page should look.

So, I'm going to be removing the dead links from the page and trying to add new, meaningful content.  It would be nice to add just one monster a day, but even that's impractical, as it takes time.  All together, I have over 700 monsters I could add, so this is an overwhelming, long term project.  At one monster a week, I'll have it all done by the time I'm 67.

Ah well.


Tim said...

I, and I expect the other wiki mods, are here to help if you need folks to fill in info. I figure you have a particular style and changes to the Monster Manual descriptions in mind for most entries, but I'd be happy to contribute what I can, as I've done plenty of supplementing myself over the years.

Ozymandias said...

Agreed. I've been doing a lot here and there, but I can squeeze in some "technical" writing, especially if you're working off a known resource, like the first monster manual.

Though I suspect there's been many changes over the years...

Alexis Smolensk said...

Okay, thinking about that. Here is the basic work:

IMAGES: For each monster that does not exist, I am trying to find a very nice image of a painted miniature. I've been fairly lucky so far, but I suspect there are monsters that have never been made into a miniature or which the miniature looks awful. The image I found for fire beetles, for example, was just disappointing. But these pictures can be improved if another image comes available.

I don't want to use artwork for monsters because the artwork tends to be over-the-top and, at the same time, tends to wildly change the look of the monster from the original image in old monster manual days. I don't want this. I want as much an iconic pic as possible. Miniatures tend to be iconic.

For creatures that actually exist, such as the alpaca, I've decided on artworks over actual photographs. The artworks evoke a stronger, more emotional image, such as the alpaca depicted above.

If either of you want to find these images, create a page for the creature/monster, link that page to the bestiary page, then post the picture in the corner of the beast page, great! Would save me a lot of time. Get the best picture you can find, use the existing pages I've created (dragons, a-monsters up to ape/gorilla) for an idea, we can change them up later if they don't seem to fit in. Look for really nice pics. I suggest adjusting them to where they are small, removing any borders on the pic and making them as clean as possible regarding signatures. NO captions.

Alexis Smolensk said...

TABLES: I'm adjusting a lot of the little details on the monsters, such as the amount of damage done, number of attacks (when I think it is too many or too few), movement (which I think is a gut instinct thing) and armor class (when it is too low or too high). I'm also trying to find the height/size and weight of every monster, including those that don't exist, which I usually get by extrapolating from a similar looking creature, expanded in three dimensions to the monster's size. Sometimes, this just doesn't work; you can't extrapolate a D&D dragon from a Komodo dragon; the body shape is too different. But a giant crocodile from a normal sized crocodile? No problem. Just have to remember to calculate your algebraic equation from cube roots and not from just comparing lengths.

But - much of the table for some creatures, actual living creatures, depends on what the internet reveals. I can provide the template for the tables, but I suggest letting me make these.

DESCRIPTION: I am generally copying material directly. Compare the Ape(gorilla) page I created this morning with the gorilla entry on wikipedia. The goal is to reduce the amount of information on wikipedia to things that specifically can apply to what players would see and what would help resolve encounters: how many creatures, specifically aggressive behaviours, what composes the groups and how the creatures would react if attacked. If you want to try and tackle some real life creatures this way, I'll look over your work and make adjustments.

If you want to try a D&D monster, I suggest directly stealing the material from the monster manual, a module you have access, the dragon magazine or anywhere on the internet. Wikipedia also has things about D&D monsters. Don't include any material on alignment and try to stay away from anything that suggests "motivation" for monsters. Just the facts, if possible. Again, if you want to create a file and start filling in, I can fix it later.

Oh, please write all your text in Georgia, normal-sized. Please make nice, clean paragraphs. Though it is easier for me to change your text and tidy up your paragraphs than it is for me to dig up and write in the monster text, so don't worry too much about being perfect. Just sort of get close to in the ballpark. The carpark outside the ballpark is fine.

I leave it to you, then, to do any work if you feel like doing it. I'm steadily deleting links off the Bestiary page, not hurrying, that have no content. I usually flesh out a link and then delete three dead ones. Kind of working policy; deleting dead ones is the reward for getting a good one done. I know, sounds crazy, but psychologists encourage this sort of thing.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I guess I should add: it is fine if you just want to make files with pictures, or just make files with description. It will save time for me either way, if I just have to add the text or find the picture, then add the table.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Hm. It also occurs to me, so we aren't tripping over each other. Tim, if you want to stay in the range of F-N, and Ozymandias, if you want to stay in the range of O-Z, that should leave me A-E. These are huge groupings, but it will at least establish zones we can feel free to work in without worrying that someone is working on the same material we are.

JB said...

Now THIS is cool. Super-ambitious, but very cool.
: )