You might have had the same problem as I faced a couple of days ago. I wanted to create a short primer for my upcoming campaign for my players. I already had some ideas on what I wanted to write, and I knew I wanted it to look great, so that they might actually be reading it, but I wasn’t really in the mood of tinkering with QuarkXPress (or any similar software all day). That’s when I remembered GM Binder.
GM Binder is an online tool which is just awesome if you want to quickly create good looking documents for your D&D game. It uses a version of Markdown, a simplified markup language which is easy to learn but quite powerful. With the GM Binder editor you write your document in one window using the aforementioned Markdown language and in another window you can see what the final document will look like. If you are familiar with HTML or a similar markup language you should feel right at home.
The resulting document can be shared via a link, can be exported as a PDF, or can be printed. The basic theme is based on the look of the current D&D 5E core rulebooks, but you can easily switch to another theme using so called “Snippets”. If you’re fluent in CSS you can also create your own theme or tweak the existing one.
Snippets are actually quite handy. There are snippets for inserting a cover image, for stat blocks, tables etc. With just a few button presses pregenerated elements are quickly inserted into your source code which can then customized by you. If you are not afraid of code, GM Binder is a great tool for quickly creating good looking documents for your D&D game (or any other game). The learning curve is definitely less steep than in professional desktop publishing tools and the results are quite impressive.
Listing all the features and a deeper look at all available snippets is beyond the scope of this post, so I recommend you check out GM Binder yourself. There are a couple of great example documents available and there’s an active community on Reddit.
GM Binder is free but you can support the creators on Patreon. I also should mention that there’s a similar tool called Homebrewery which shares a lot of GM Binder’s features. After trying out both I stuck with GM Binder because it was easier to use. If you’re looking for a tool which allows you to turn your homebrew material into a gorgeous-looking document, you definitely should check out both GM Binder and Homebrewery.
When checked my blog today I noticed that the last post published was actually the 2000th post on this blog. Back in 2008 when I started this blog I’ve never would have dreamed that the blog would a) still exist 10 years later and b) two-thousand posts looked like an unachievable goal for my blog.
But thanks to our dear readers and a dedicated team of authors the blog still is alive and well in 2018 and with this post we surpassed the 2000-post mark. Wow! Sure, there are blogs which exists far longer and which have more posts, but for me personally this is quite an achievement. So I guess a bit of pride is allowed.
These 2000 posts have been written over a time of about 10 years (the anniversary is in August), which means on average we wrote 200 posts a year. Back in the early years I managed to write one post per work day, but things have slowed down a bit over the years. So far 18 people have contributed to the blog, but the vast majority of posts have been written by me (1394 at the time of this writing). BUT as I said before, I couldn’t have done it without the support of my team of authors.
An important factor are also your comments. These 2000 posts have been commented on 7945 times, that means each post got about 4 posts. That’s not too shabby! A lot of these comments helped me to get better at what I do, showed me where I was wrong, or added interesting aspects which I hadn’t thought about previously. Interaction with its readers is – in my humble opinion – what makes or breaks a blog.
Last but not least I want to thank my Patreon patrons. Your contributions make it easier to keep the site afloat. Thanks for your support!
So what will the future bring? Hmm, that’s a tough question. At the moment another project has grabbed my attention which is not RPG related, but that doesn’t mean I plan to move focus away from this blog any time soon. While I am trying my hand at writing a computer game, I still think a lot about my other favorite hobby!
Since I started this blog almost 10 years ago, a lot of fellow RPG bloggers have stopped blogging or moved their activities from their blog to social media. I am quite active on Facebook as well,but even though I haven’t blogged that often recently, I am not planning to close down the blog anytime soon. There are a lot of reasons why I will not do so, and I’ll use this post to share some of my thoughts on the matter.
RPG Bloggers of all countries unite …
Back in 2008 the RPG Bloggers Network had just started. If I am not mistaken it were mainly the people behind the Critical Hits blog and Philippe-Antoine Ménard who started the whole thing. The RPG Bloggers Network was meant as a community of like-minded RPG bloggers and featured a central site which aggregated all member sites’ blog posts. The site was a hot mess consisting of a WordPress page with a RSS plugin which more often crashed and burned than not. But all these technical issues aside, it was my #1 place to go if I was looking for RPG-related news, interesting articles, reviews, interviews et cetera.
In addition to that the small, but growing community was very active. Everyone read everyone else’s posts, commented, gave advice, and helped new voices to be heard. It was an exciting time. Quickly the network had become quite large and reading a day’s worth of posts from the RPG Bloggers Network was akin to drinking from the proverbial firehose. It was not perfect, but it worked. A lot of people who started blogging in these days actually made the jump into the RPG industry.
Unfortunately the RPG Bloggers main site was exploding all the time. Maintaining it was obviously a chore, and adding new sites, editing member entries, etc. was a very manual process. It was pretty clear that this was doomed to fail eventually. I don’t exactly remember how things went down, but the RPG Bloggers Network changed hands eventually and the new owner announced a lot of improvements. But unfortunately not much, if anything at all, happened. The network still existed, but slowly it started to fall apart at its seams.
Continue reading Blogs vs. Social Media–From a RPG Blogger’s Perspective