The Hotness
Games|People|Company
Star Trek: Alpha Quadrant
Isengard and Northern Gondor
Mythic Game Master Emulator
Tales From the Loop
Paranoia: Red Clearance Edition
GURPS Warehouse 23: Things THEY Don't Want You To Have
Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #2: The Secret Machines of the Star Spawn
Wilderland Adventures
A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook
Castle Thrax
Dungeon Master's Guide (D&D 5e)
Ultimate Herbalism
Players Handbook (AD&D 1e)
Call of Cthulhu (5th Edition)
Paranoia (Mongoose Edition)
Forgotten Realms Adventures
Everway Visionary Roleplaying
The Marvel Universe Roleplaying Game
H4: The Throne of Bloodstone
Lords of Darkness
DSQ2: Arcane Shadows
GAZ13: The Shadow Elves
The Kobold Guide to Game Design, Volume 1: Adventures
I6: Ravenloft
City System
Sweet Agatha
Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set
Microscope
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Beginner Box
Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game
DCC #067: Sailors on the Starless Sea
Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer's Edition
Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set
Monster Manual (D&D 5e)
Hoard of the Dragon Queen
Pathfinder Unchained
The Location Crafter
Adventures in Middle-earth Player's Guide
Adventures in Middle-earth Loremaster's Guide
Masks: A New Generation
Tales from the Yawning Portal
How to Write Adventure Modules that Don't Suck (Revised)
Hotel California
Suntarynn Campaign Setting Preview
Twenty Quick Elf NPCs
Gateway
Reef of Madness
A Pirate's Life For Me
JG08: Camp Death: The Final Chapter
Information
Primary Name
Old Style Netbooks
Alternate Names
 Corrections
 Clone
 Customize View
xml RSS Feed 
Facebook Twitter Delicious Google
ObjectID: 36891
Description Edit | History

User summary:

The roleplaying game community has always been active in producing fan materials to support and expand games and game rules. Since the earliest days of the hobby, computer systems have been used to compile, correct, update, and especially distribute fan-made products. Often, these products were collaborative in nature, accepting contributions from anyone who cared to contribute.

Throughout especially the 1990s, many fan-made and fan-compiled items were distributed as lightly-formatted ASCII or ANSI text files, sometimes DOC files, colloquially known as "netbooks". The quality of the materials presented varied widely, from nearly professional products to nearly unusable gobbledygook. Regardless of the quality, however, netbooks always demonstrated the love of the game - the game almost always being Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2e.

The advent of the World Wide Web, desktop publishing, standardized advanced file formats, and formalized game materials distribution sites effectively ended the heyday of the ASCII netbook, though of course the DIY ethic in gaming continues to the present.

A widely circulated "Netbook of Books" served as a type of central index to the various extant items. It necessarily was incomplete and very occasionally contained dubious or contradictory information. An 11-page DOC version, archived in 2000, remains the best source of information about this fascinating corner of the hobby.

More Information Edit | History

Most of the items in this series have a complex publication history. It is common to find them in a variety of file formats (most usually, ASCII, HTML, DOC, RTF, and PDF); often the different formats are merely file type conversions from one format to another. It also is common to find these items in a variety of versions or editions, as each person who received them had the option of revising, reformatting, and otherwise tinkering with them - and then "re-publishing" them via whatever electronic means. It also was (unfortunately) fairly common for individuals to receive a file, swap out the author's name with their own name, and then re-publish the file.

Generally speaking, most of these items began as collaborative series of posts and responses on various electronic "bulletin board" (BBS) systems or on LISTSERV or USENET groups. These technologies would create the (semi-)standard ASCII versions. With the advent of the World Wide Web, most of these ASCII documents were ported to HTML and received a minor revision in formatting (and, often, content). Once file hosting services became widespread, the HTML documents tended to migrate toward discreet downloadable documents in, successively, DOC (most commonly indicating Word for Windows, version 6), RTF (Rich Text Format), or PDF (Portable Document Format). Many minor reformatted versions were created due to page size (e.g., US Letter vs. A4). Due to the nature of format conversions, the names of the individuals performing the conversions often are preserved (in file meta-data) while the names of the individuals authoring the products are, alas, lost.

The publication dates noted in these entries are approximately correct, but must be understood to have been derived from the best available evidence. This includes file dates, ZIP Archive dates, and so forth. Often, original posting dates to e.g. LISTSERV are preserved in the document's header. However, many (most?) of these products did not include internal dates or versioning, so their history must be "forensically recreated". Even those documents that do include internal dates and versioning are sometimes demonstrably in error - for example, documents utilizing and referring to a particular commercial product, with an internal date that precedes the publication of the product by some years.

Because bandwidth and storage space were precious commodities during the 1990s, it was a nearly universal practice to distribute files as compressed ZIP archives. Often, documents did not include graphics of any kind - if maps, etc., were provided they were generally provided as separate files in the same ZIP archive.

As a historical note, a wide variety of obsolescent file formats may be encountered. Graphic files usually were distributed as UUCP, PCX, BMP, WMF or GIF formats, gradually changing to PNG and JPG formats as those became more popular. Scenario files occasionally were distributed in PS (PostScript) format which must be rendered prior to use (usually into a PDF). Other formats occasionally encountered are WPS, WP5, WPD, etc. Compressed archives were not always ZIPs - ARJ, RAR, TAR, GZ, and other compression formats occasionally are encountered. Generally, modern tool suites can open these older formats - LibreOffice is particularly adept at utilizing them.

Linked Items
Relationship: Sort: Category: Genre:
Pg. 1 of 8 » 8
Rank 0
Num Ratings 0
Average Rating 0.00
Num Owned 0
Prev. Owned 0
For Trade 0
Want in Trade 0
Wishlist 0
Comments 0
Year Published 1999
Rank 0
Num Ratings 1
Average Rating 6.00
Num Owned 1
Prev. Owned 0
For Trade 0
Want in Trade 0
Wishlist 0
Comments 0
Year Published 2003
Rank 0
Num Ratings 0
Average Rating 0.00
Num Owned 0
Prev. Owned 0
For Trade 0
Want in Trade 0
Wishlist 0
Comments 0
Year Published 2000
Rank 0
Num Ratings 0
Average Rating 0.00
Num Owned 0
Prev. Owned 0
For Trade 0
Want in Trade 0
Wishlist 0
Comments 0
Year Published 1997
Rank 0
Num Ratings 0
Average Rating 0.00
Num Owned 0
Prev. Owned 0
For Trade 0
Want in Trade 0
Wishlist 0
Comments 0
Year Published 1997
Rank 0
Num Ratings 0
Average Rating 0.00
Num Owned 4
Prev. Owned 0
For Trade 0
Want in Trade 0
Wishlist 0
Comments 0
Year Published 1999
Rank 0
Num Ratings 0
Average Rating 0.00
Num Owned 5
Prev. Owned 0
For Trade 0
Want in Trade 0
Wishlist 0
Comments 0
Year Published 2000
Rank 0
Num Ratings 0
Average Rating 0.00
Num Owned 4
Prev. Owned 0
For Trade 0
Want in Trade 0
Wishlist 0
Comments 0
Year Published 1998
Rank 0
Num Ratings 0
Average Rating 0.00
Num Owned 0
Prev. Owned 0
For Trade 0
Want in Trade 0
Wishlist 0
Comments 0
Year Published 1993
Rank 0
Num Ratings 0
Average Rating 0.00
Num Owned 0
Prev. Owned 0
For Trade 0
Want in Trade 0
Wishlist 0
Comments 0
Year Published 1996
Updating...
Thumbs Up
Images
Gallery:
1 « Pg. {{module.params.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
No images found
Updating...
Thumbs Up
{{data.config.moduletitle}} Relationship:
[] [Forums »] [Post »] [Search »]
1 « Pg. {{module.params.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
No threads found
{{thread.numrecommend}} {{thread.subject}}
Last Post {{thread.lastpostdate|truncate:"10"}} Posted {{thread.postdate|truncate:"10"}}
{{thread.user.username|truncate:"10"}} {{thread.numposts-1}}
Updating...
Thumbs Up
{{data.config.moduletitle}} Relationship:
[] [Forums »] [Post »] [Search »]
1 « Pg. {{module.params.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
No threads found
{{thread.numrecommend}} {{thread.subject}}
Last Post {{thread.lastpostdate|truncate:"10"}} Posted {{thread.postdate|truncate:"10"}}
{{thread.user.username|truncate:"10"}} {{thread.numposts-1}}
Updating...
Thumbs Up
{{title}}
1 « Pg. {{module.params.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
No posts found
{{post.numpositive}} {{post.title}}
by
{{post.numcomments}}
Updating...
Thumbs Up
GeekLists
[Browse »] [Summary »]
1 « Pg. {{module.params.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
No lists found
{{list.numpositive}} {{list.title}} {{list.username|truncate:"10"}} {{list.numitems}}
{{list.lastreplydate|truncate:"10"}} {{list.postdate|truncate:"10"}}
Updating...
Thumbs Up
Web Links
Category: Language:
1 « Pg. {{module.params.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
No Web Links Found
Link {{cat}} {{lang}}
{{weblink.postdate|truncate:"10"}}
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.