Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Mad With Power in the Gardens of Ynn

The Gardens of Ynn is one of the most immediately exciting RPG books that I've read in a long time. In general, Cavegirl is a brilliant and exciting writer, and you can give her money if you'd like to support her work (outside of buying her other things, which are also brilliant). But man, that book could really use an editor, and the PDF has some weirdness. Now that I've been playing with Ghostscript, I thought I'd try my hand at solving one of the more egregious problems (IMO).


The layout of Ynn is roughly like this: there's a handful of tables in the beginning of the book, and to generate locations you roll on them. Each of the results on those tables is expanded upon, usually at about a page-length, later in the book. But the real problem is flipping around the book: the tables don't have page numbers, nor are they cross-referenced. Changing the text of the book or adding cross references are possibly too advanced at the moment, but I can add a table of contents, and hopefully this will make the PDF more useful at the table.


I copied-and-pasted the table of contents in Ynn, and lightly edited it (for example, "Chronological Abberations" is now "Shepherd of the Trees"). Then I went through and converted it to pdfmark format. This process was unfortunately not very automated, excepting some find-and-replace tools. Finally, I ran a command that looks like:

$ gs -o Ynn.ann.pdf -sDEVICE=pdfwrite -dPDFSETTINGS=/prepress Ynn.pdf Ynn.toc.pdfmark


Now I get this nice sidebar on my PDF and I'm happy:

As a detail-oriented person, there are still lots of things in the book that bother me a little. But it's much more usable now.

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