I received three good suggestions for a short book. I'd like to go through them and give a few thoughts.
Create an Equipment List
It was suggested that this would be easy, given that I already have extensive lists and that they are fairly popular. A different list could be created for different parts of the world, using my generator to create prices.
This sounds 'easy' but it really isn't. I mean, it would be easy if I weren't concerened with old fashioned ideas like verisimilitude, continuity, context and so on. For most people, however, I think that an Ethiopian equipment list would look odd and a bit concerning compared to, say, a Rheinish equipment list. For one thing, prices for most things would be sky high in Ethiopia, given that it doesn't make anything that a growing party needs, meaning that it is either shipped in or people do without. There's plenty of gold in Ethiopia, very little iron and even less traditional manufactures. I have very little trouble explaining this to players in my world, but it wouldn't be easy setting it up for strangers.
That is not to say it couldn't be done. In fact, I've pitched an idea to the artist I procured a couple of weeks ago, who is working on the Advanced Guide's cover, that was very much like this. I'd like to produce a series of illustrated 8 by 10 books that covered parts of my world in the manner of this post I wrote last October. This is a long range project, something I mean to do after How to Run and if I am on board with an artist willing to jazz up the book. What with the world being a complicated, endlessly detailed place, I think I could produce such works as long as, well, I live. Heck, one small part of the modern Czech Republic, Moravia, could be such a book. Or Paraguay (Blackrazor could be helpful there). Or the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua (the town of Bluefields was a pirate den in the 17th century). The world offers plenty of inspiration.
I could add equipment lists to it. For now, however, the idea is on the shelf.
Create a List of Essays from the Blog
Well, that's fairly easy. There are some very popular posts, and they could stand a serious edit. The post about the State of D&D, the old one about Mustard, one or two about Dungeon Mastering, definitely the humour pieces and so on. I could dig out about thirty or forty and set up a poll, or just go with the ones I like.
I don't know how well this would sell to you folk, given that you know me and that you've already read those. Some of you I know would purchase it just to support me (some of you beautiful people out there have cheerfully donated money to the cause from your own good coffers - thank you!). I am sure, however, that with a good, lively cover, it would do fairly well at the Expo, as it would be another sales item sitting on the table, one more thing for someone to buy. I think on some level whatever I do, I ought to put that book together just because it will pay for itself eventually.
If people have ideas on which posts to rework, shout those ideas out. I think the How to DM post can be passed over, given the main book, but the other might serve as half such a book's content (20,000 words, 11 point font, 5x7 book ... would be a neat little 120 pager).
So probably, this one is being made anyway.
Write about How to Play
Well, I have covered this with the 10,000 word post, so I'm a little thin on what this would contain that the 10,000 word post does not. Perhaps I could say something about total immersion involvement, or person-to-person conflict from the player's point of view. The idea of having a book on the table (even a thin book, and it would have to be) that had the word PLAY in the title is mouth-watering. I could use some suggestions on content.
It would definitely be an opinion book, which How to Run is not. The latter is founded in principles that are not D&D, that have been translated to D&D in order to make you a better DM. A suggested tag line from the press agent I spoke to yesterday was, "DMing is easy ... If you know how." That comes out of my certainty that most DMs are wallowing. They're unsure of what they're doing, and even when they are doing something right they don't know what it is right. So DMing is definitely hard for most people. I've heard that all my gaming life.
I'd like a similar perspective for the player. Being a player isn't hard; but it is a combination of uncertainty and I think vulnerability. I haven't played that much in the last couple of decades, and now when I do I feel so goddamned comfortable in that I can read the DM like a book. Too damn comfortable to talk about the discomfort of a player without someone reminding me what that was like. I've included a passage in How to Run about the importance of making players feel safe and secure, in order to encourage participation. What would a player's angle on that be?
Pitch me something. Don't worry if it ends up in right field. The best ideas are sometimes thrown in - ie., highlighted - by the least experienced people.