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Big book or multiple smaller?

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
So following up from the "what would you pay for a book?" thread there was something I noticed that made me curious -- it was the relationship between BIG BOOKS (and people who wouldn't buy them).

So let's say a book is like 800 pages (say bigger than Ptolus).

Again, assuming you want the content --

Would you prefer, if you had to choose one of them, and weren't able to choose "neither":

One 800-page book for $60
Two 400-page books for $50 each ($100 total).

Same content, same page count, it's literally just the format.
 

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schneeland

Adventurer
Assuming I really want the content, with a premium of 40$, I would probably begrudgingly pick the large book. If the difference was smaller (say 10$ - 20$), I'd go for the smaller ones.
 

John Dallman

Adventurer
Depends what format I'm buying it in.

In PDF, the single volume for ease of searching. I do essentially all my game preparation, as player or GM, on the laptop, so PDF is my primary purchase these days.

If hardcopy, two volumes, because binding an 800-page book so that it lasts is expensive. The pricing you list in the question suggests that the binding for the single volume won't be sufficiently robust.
 



tommybahama

Adventurer
Zweihander RPG core rulebook is 600 pages and sells for $65 list price but around $30 on Amazon. I browsed through it and it was impressive in size but not unwieldy.
 


Buzzqw

Villager
as long as the big book is comfortable to use and deals with only one topic (player and master or monster) prefer the bigger books!

BHH
 


TheAlkaizer

Game Designer
It depends on a few things.

If it's one big book of 800 pages crammed with everything, it's interesting, but it's very heavy and irritating to bring around. Also, you buy the book and you don't get to choose what interests you. Personally, I would rather have multiple smaller books. One for player stuff, one for DM stuff, one for the adventure. I don't want all three mixed up together. But it's not a deal breaker, I've bought several mastodon of books that hold everything inside.

The smaller books are pricier overall, but they allow me to spread the spending over multiple paychecks.
 

Slow_Travel

Explorer
Zweihander RPG core rulebook is 600 pages and sells for $65 list price but around $30 on Amazon. I browsed through it and it was impressive in size but not unwieldy.
They did put out a condensed Players Handbook which just has the player-facing material; you can pick it up for like $25. It was a response to people complaining about hefting around a 600pg book.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
I greatly prefer the single volume format of PF rulebook to the classic D&D PHB/DMG approach. That was only 576 pages it looks like though...
 
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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Personally I just like things to be separated. I want player stuff in a book, DM stuff in another book, and monster stuff in a third. I don't care about the size of the actual books.
 

Campbell

Legend
This depends somewhat on page width, but speaking generally while I tend to prefer a single volume anything bigger than the Pathfinder Second Edition Core Rulebook becomes too unwieldy for me. Exalted Third Edition's Core Rulebook is way too big to comfortably use at the table despite having a similar page count as PF2.
 

Aldarc

Legend
If my choice is either "one big book" or "mutliple smaller books" for the core rules of a game, then either way that's a potential red flag for me as a customer, so I would probably go with "neither."
 


Aldarc

Legend
Good chat!
Well done. This honestly gave made me laugh. But respectfully that is my honest reaction to the prompt.

It's similar to what @Umbran says above. An 800 page book and/or two 400 page books can both be physically and cognitively overwhelming, especially for a TTRPG. There are a lot of high quality TTRPGs that are in their entirety less than 300 pages for the core rules, and some have page counts considerably less than that. I'm not the biggest fan of high crunch games, so anything in the range of 600+ pages is preemptively setting off warning bells.

Gun to my head, and following your assumption that I want the respective hypothetical content, I would probably prefer two separate books but with a higher price point. That's obviously me paying higher for easier consumption of the materials and less potential issues with the binding.
 

MGibster

Legend
An 800 page book is really unwieldy, both physically and cognitively, and books that large are more prone to binding issues...
I'm going to have to side with Dr. Umbran here. I would prefer a smaller book because 800 pages is exceedingly large and unwieldy. But it's not a deal breaker for me. If it's a game I have interest in and think I'll be able to play I will purchase the 800 page book.
 


J.Quondam

CR 1/8
#2 - just convenience - plus I think GM vs Player info should always be split in different books.
Yeah, to be completely thorough, the specifics of the content really do matter before I'd decide once and for all.
  • If it's a rule set, then are we talking a split between DMG and PHB? Or Rules and MM? Or base/martial rules and spellcasting rules? Or basic rules and advanced rules?
  • If a bestiary, are we talking about a split between A-M and N-Z? or low-level and higher level? Or surface world and underworld?
  • If it's a setting book, are we talking about GM-facing and player's guide? Or early and late chronology of the world? Or this continent and that continent?
  • If an adventure, is it lower levels and higher levels? Or this side and that side of a hexmap? Or the dungeoncrawl and everything else?
If the product is "all one thing" (eg, DMG and PHB) I'd probably be more inclined to get it all in one book, just for cost reasons.
But if one part is a supplement (eg, "advanced rules") or a piece I likely won't use (eg, epic-level stuff), I'd like having the two books option, so I can get one part now, and get the rest later if money, interest, and/or gaming group permits.
 

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