If you’ve browsed your way to this page, chances are you already know what this product is about … but just in case, here’s a quick summary. Mutable Deceptions, Volume 1 is a commercial prop resource that we have released to help gamers with the perennial problem of making their own realistic-looking 1920s or 1930s newspaper props. Many games — Lovecraftian roleplaying games in particular — place a heavy emphasis on newspaper clippings as clues, but making ones that look authentic is actually pretty hard. The templates that come with Mutable Deceptions make the job much easier: all you need to do is pick one of the 14 differently sized/shaped/formatted templates, open it up in Adobe Reader and type your own text in for the headlines, bylines and article body. You can even do some substantial formatting of the article body to squeeze text together or space it apart so that your text fits into the template field just right.
OK, so enough with the product summary.
Generally, the package of stuff you get when you buy Mutable Deceptions, Volume 1 is pretty self-contained. But, here are a few resources that might be helpful to folks who already have it, or are considering whether it’s the product for them:
- Higher-res version of the Instruction Booklet: The downloadable product includes a 12-page booklet with instruction and helpful tips on prop-making. To keep download sizes reasonable, the bundled version has its images compressed a bit … if you’d like a higher-res version of the book, it’s available for free download (7MB PDF). This is also handy if you haven’t bought Mutable Deceptions, Volume 1 but would like to know more about what it can and can’t do for you.
- Jazz Age Fonts: All the fonts used in Mutable Deceptions, Volume 1 are versions of things that are available for free online. Some of them have been slightly tweaked by us to look a little less crisp. While you don’t need any of these fonts to be installed on your computer to use the product (they’re all embedded into the templates PDF when you buy it), some folks might like to play with them for other projects … if so, feel free to grab this ZIP file (361KB) with all the fonts collected together. Click “File” and “Download” to save a copy of the full ZIP to your computer. Credits for these free fonts (and links to their original sources) can be found at the back of the instruction booklet PDF.
The templates included with Mutable Deceptions, Vol 1 have been designed to work with Adobe Reader (version 9 or later) and have been extensively tested on all common versions of that software. However, PDFs being the complicated beasts they are … other (non-Adobe) PDF software and cut-down versions of the Adobe Reader for tablets don’t necessarily implement all the features needed to make these templates work.
If you try to open up the templates PDF in a (non-Adobe) reader and see something like this:
… it means that the reader hasn’t properly recognized the fonts embdedded within the PDF itself. Apple’s “Preview” application (the default PDF viewer on the Mac OS) behaves like this. Sadly, there’s not much that we’re aware of that will convince such readers to “play ball.” Shifting back to using the version of Adobe Reader designed for your OS is really the only solution (although if you find another one, let us know and we’ll post it here!)
iPad and Android versions of Adobe Reader
Adobe recently released cut-down versions of its Adobe Reader for tablet OS-es. That is a wonderful thing … but the reduced functionality of these smaller versions only partly supports the functions used by Mutable Deceptions.
Specifically, the newspaper templates (filled in with whatever data they had when last saved) will display fine when you open them in the tablet editions of Adobe Reader, but the form fields aren’t recognized as editable, so touching them doesn’t allow you to edit their contents. This makes it impossible to edit articles on an iPad or Android tablet … but if you’ve already made an article (on your PC or Mac) and then transfer it to your tablet you can display it for your players to stare at in awe.
More material — and perhaps some pics of creative uses to which folks have put the Mutable Deceptions 1 templates — will be added later.
We hope you enjoy the Jazz Age prop newspaper resources included in this product and can find loads of intriguing and creative ways to integrate them into your game!