Hi mythusmage, thanks for joining! We can always use another competitor.
Your pdf looks like a reasonable start. My main comment would be that it looks very "plain" for now. And I'm not just talking about adding some fancy graphics or dingbats! But even just simple things like making sure there's more distinction between the differnt headings, placing some separators between sections to help the eye, etc.
Look at the right hand column of your first page for example. You've got the "ABILITY SCORES" heading in a somewhat largish font, with "ABILITY MODIFIERS" as a subsection header right below it, but in an only barely smaller font!
Below that, you have "ABILITIES" "AND SPELLCASTER", needlessly split over two lines. It's not easy to see at first glance whether this is a subsection under ABILITY SCORES, or just a new section. (Yes, it is
noticeable, but it's not instantly recognizeable as a subsection.) What makes it even worse is that "ABILITIES" seems in a slightly smaller font than "AND SPELLCASTERS" on the line below it. Just an optical illusion, because "abilities" has so many "I"'s in it, so it looks squashed, compared to the "AND".
Then below all that
, you get "STRENGTH (STR)" which is yet another
palatino B/W all-caps subheader, this time with a smaller fontsize. Further in the document you use yet another, larger, set of header font sizes (pg.6, under "DESCRIPTION"). And all spacing between sections, subsections and last sub-subsection is of equal size...
The whole looks first page looks like there is very little organization to it, with font sizes for the headers seemingly picked at random. True, much of the same can be said of the original RTF version of the SRD, but then again, that's why we're trying to improve on it.
Some practical suggestions for improvement...
- Make at least the top-level sections stand out more. Have a look in the PHB for example, or compare you version with kreynolds version of the same section on page 2. Or Cergorach's version for that matter. Bothe have decided to stick with the blue, underlined, right aligned headers as in the books, which really helps the eye.
- Your table on pg 2 seems a little too roomy. Not sure you could squeeze it into a single column, but you could reduce the height of the rows somewhat. See Cergorach's version as an example of how small you can make those tables while still being perfectly legible. Hist "Sorceror spells known" table for example is about the same size as your "Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells" table, but only take sup a fraction of the space. Make sure the numbers a centered on the white/grey bars (they seem a little too high now).
- I noticed you're using alternating left-right borders. That's great for printing double sided, but most people will probably print single-sided. Unless you're planning on making multiple versions for printing, I would stick with equal borders on both sides. Also make sure your borders are wide enough that a 3-hole punch won't take a bit out of your text (the thinner border is only *just* wide enough for my punch right now).
- I definitely do like the legibility of your version. Compared to kreynolds version of the same section, you manage to squeeze in more content per page with what seems like a significantly larger font.
Looking forward to see you next installment!
Edit: some smaller suggestions... you can easily shrink the starting age and agineffects tables a bit by leaving out "years" in all the entries. Or at least abbreviate to
"yrs". Likewise, you could abbreviate male and femal in the height and weight table to (m) and (f), or even use the male and female symbols (make sure to add a caption if you do the latter). These changes will allow you to fit each row on a single line, cutting the table size in half.