I have been thinking about accessibility of rulebooks recently. In some respects I was looking at it from a rather self serving point of view.
My intentions are to release a large print and a high contrast version of an upcoming game. The Royal National Institute for the Blind has guidelines on making texts accessible.
Creating such a document is incredibly easy. Strip out the art, increase the font, choose easier to read fonts and put ‘boxed text’ into high contrast black on yellow.
All the changes can be made from a standard manuscript by little more than modifying paragraph styles.
That would deal with visual impairment.
Going down the route of free PDF and paid POD would remove and reduce economic/financial barriers.
There is an issue called scotopic sensitivity. Those people who are affected often find the black on white text difficult to focus on and read. Some people use tinted lenses in reading glasses or coloured light desk lamps to cast a more sympathetic tone onto monochrome texts. There would be no reason not to create pdf with layers of all the most commonly used coloured backgrounds and a Dyslexia friendly font. Readers could then turn on the scotopic layer of their choice.
There is do much that we can do now with pdf game books that there is no reason not to.
I called this self serving. It is my intention to apply all this to my next release, Devil’s Staircase Wild West (free playtest version on Drivethrurpg.com). The seeds of it are already there. If you download the playtest you will find it is all Doc files. The advantages of the doc over pdf is that the reader can change the fonts, the text sizes and page colours. This is the start of my accessible gaming drive.
These articles are supposed to be about RPG theory. This one is less theory and more about practicality. I don’t just think about accessibility it is something I am actually doing.
If at the end of this Devil’s Staircase ends up as the most popular wild west game with visually players and GMs I would be very happy.
Accessible games require very little effort but a lot more action.