Sunday, February 17, 2008


Scribd is a new online service that is sort of like the YouTube of documents, or that is what they are being called.

Essentially, you upload a document, like a PDF, and the file sharing service automatically converts it to several different file formats available for download.

I'm dubious about the legality and wary of the potential for copyright infringement, but I have to say that for someone who labors to back-engineer 3rd edition materials to a useful 2nd edition format, the service is a godsend. I hope they don't go all Napster on us geeky D&D file sharers. That would just be embarrassing for everyone. Besides, with 4th edition coming out this year, all these 3E files will be obsolete and unsupported by the parent company anyway.

When I'm doing up a Monstrous Manual page for my 2nd Edition game from 3E materials, it is incredibly time consuming to scan the text from the 3E books and because of the ebmedded graphics, I almost always end up having to just transcribe it myself.

With Scribd, all I have to do is download the Word version of the PDF and the text is ready to be converted to my 2E files. I am sure that at first blush this seems a lot like piracy, but I have purchased nearly every single book in 3E in order to convert the materials to my 2E game, so WOTC isn't losing any money from me by my taking advantage of this service solely as a document converter.

That's my story, anyway, and I'm sticking to it.

My life isn't going to be long enough to actually play all the adventures I have planned for my players, any time I can shave off prep and devote to play, I'm all for, and this is going to save me literally months!

Wow...I almost had a twinge of doubt, but I overcame it--D&D crisis of faith averted, hobby time is never wasted! Never!

Check it out. If you search and find a poster who has a lot of the same kind of files you like, click on their name and you'll probably get a very specific short list, like Wilbur07, who has uploaded a lot of WOTC pdfs.

I'm also actually happy about WOTC going to all online content for DRAGON and Dungeon for the same reason. Much as I miss losing a little more shelf space every month with the print versions, I had the same trouble scanning and converting. Now it is just cut and paste and it couldn't be easier for me...though I have to remember to keep logging on to the website regularly to keep up!

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Blogger Shandar the Ashen said...

Of course it was too good to be true. Before you download the word document, open it to make sure that it is, in fact, the document you want.

Many of the ones I downloaded were not the product listed rendered into a word document, but a "web enhancement" designed as a supplement. For example, instead of the Frostburn book in word document form, I got a mini-adventure called "CURSE OF THE RUSTY WALRUS".

This, I don't need.

Some of them are just what I thought they would be, but of the Monster Manuals, only the MM2 was an actual MM, the rest were all mini-adventure "web enhancements".

One was just a word document with the price of the book in US and Canadian dollars. Thanks. I know how much they cost, I already bought the damned book once. I want the word document version!!!!

Can't complain, really, they were free, but free cost me a lot of downloading time to get stuff that is pretty much useless. I don't want 3E adventures, I want 3e crap to convert to the very useful materials for the 2E world I'm running.

Dang you, Wilbru07!

9:34 PM  

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