A quiet plea to Atlas

Many of us own a large, and growing number of your supplements, and we like it that way; there is however one small but growing probelm I have. So far as I can tell you have given up on the idea of indexing.

With a large number of supplements an index is really useful; we generally only want to quickly look something up after we read through the once. I know it adds time and cost to the production of the work but please, please, please, index future works. Even if that means you have to send a PDF out to someone in the community to do it. It strikes me as unlikely these books will be released in ammended editions so if it is not done first time it never will be.

Just a small thing that makes a big difference.

This has come up before.

Indexing is a skilled job, and good indexers charge a lot of money. (Bad indexers produce useless indexes, that fail to include the terms you want to look for, or that point to the wrong bit of text.) They need to be familiar with the genre, and they need the final, laid-out version of the book, with space left for the index. It also takes a significant amount of time.

It's very definitely not a small thing, and it's something that we cannot actually afford to do, either financially or in terms of time in the production schedule.

The switch to tables of contents that go all the way down the hierarchy of headers, and now include sidebars too, is the best substitute we can manage. That really is a small thing, because the layout software will create it automatically.

Yup, I know its a skilled job, in my real life I am a librarian and do a great deal of indexing and cataloguing of various materials. Nonetheless, I feel its an important one for the kind of books produced. They are essentially works of reference.

Glad to hear you are expanding the tables of contents of course, that is of some help - sadly short of my hopes and expectations, but you cant have everything I suppose.

I am trying to produce an index at the moment. I am through GotF and have begun with TMRE and HoH:MC.
As it is the first time I do something like this, i don't know how good the result will be. But if somebody is interessted in it, I'll happily share.


Whilst I both agree that Indices are wonderful (especially ones which span books) and horribly difficult and expensive to do properly, I think the expanded Tables of Contents do the job nicely, especially with the added tables listing Sidebars seen in the A&A teaser. You can almost always find the bit you want to within a page or two, and then you're sorted.

The Virtues and Flaws index is extremely useful though. They are, short of Spell Guidelines, the things most often looked up since they tend to have the fiddly system bits incorporated into them. In fact, a compilation of Spell Guidelines would probably save the most book-flicking at the table.

How are you making it? Are you simply creating it manually, or is there some sort of program involved?

This has also been touched on before. Atlas has the (very reasonable) position of not wanting what may be the core of the game, the heart of the extensive magic system, openly available as a pdf; they're worried it would hurt sales of the core rules.

However, I've heard a compilation of spell guidelines from outside the core rules may be acceptable, and to the best of my knowledge is a work in progress.

Edit: I've had the idea of building the index as a wiki, with period builds as a pdf, so it can simply be expanded and improved gradually by the fans. Don't know if that's an effective way to do it, though. Would be a good addition to the Ars Encyclopedia I've been hearing is in the works...

There are a number of indexes available already as pdf downloads done by me and Erik? They are on the pages of the relevant books? I can recall doing The Divine, HOH:MC, and others. I'll do some more if people like?

cj x

Not to mention that some useful work had been done here.

I'd say it's better to build it in a Wiki rather than as a Wiki: you do want collaboration, but not for the index to be exploded over a zillion web pages. Having one page per index entry would be particularly awful, especially since there could not really be any content in there - we wouldn't want to thread on Atlas's copyright, would we?

Yes... I was thinking of having the index parsed into a pdf regularly somehow. Say, having seperate indexes for each supplement or topic each with its own page and then running a program that reads the files and spews out a pdf with the per-supplement and a united index. But perhaps that was way too much to imagine :slight_smile:

While the per-supplement indexes are nice, the really nice things about proper indexes is when they give you various references for the same value: yeah, you can read about raw vis here, and diabolical taint of it here, and how it is produced here... I think to do this we need to contruct a line-comprehensive index, and a rather detailed one. Perhaps one page on a wiki will be best - editable so it would be gradually expanded (task far too large for an individual), and regularly copyied-pasted and put out as a pdf/word file.

I can sort of see the point, since for a large group, multiple copies of the spell guidelines might be more use than multiple copies of the core. Still, without the rest of the magic system (Virtues, rules for ranges and the like, lab rules etc), it'd not be much use save as a teaser.

Tricky one.

I'am reading one book slowly from start to end making notes. Then I enter them into a spread sheet, sorting the entries. For the rest I use latex.
So it's basicly a manual approach.


...an index would be nice, but can I hijack your thread for a single post and request something equally useful.

Chapter headings... specifically, on the top of the righthand page, instead of the title of the book again, perhaps the chapter.
(This is most annoying in the core book, but having just bought the RoP:Infernal book, all lefthand pages are headed RoP and all righthand pages are headed The Infernal.)

I'll second this request. Most useful!

Agreed!!! Its very annoying, you already KNOW what book you´re looking in, knowing what chapter you´re looking at without having to resort to the contents page or finding the first page of the chapter allows you to find whatever you´re looking for far far faster and easier.

I second this last header thingy as well.


I.. third it?

Makes searching things that much easier and quicker.

Make it four!

Aye - Wiki!

I tried to see how that would look like here, but my wikitext-fu is too weak to pull it off. Does anyone know how to write a proper index in wiki-text format?

BTW, I also tried to do redcap-wiki-style while I'm at it, I think it would look reasonable.

I've added an attempt using bullet lists. That seem the easiest way to get a hierarchical presentation... just ignore the presence of the bullets themselves.