5E Remastered in Markdown

/ RPG, D&D, 5E, SRD, Markdown

The D&D 5E SRD

The arrival of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) 5th Edition (5E) brings with it the new Systems Reference Document (SRD) v5.1. The new SRD contains guidelines for publishing content under the Open-Gaming License (OGL).

Although the SRD is up-to-date with the new 5th Edition material, it lacks one essential quality; it is made available from Wizards in PDF format only. For some, this isn't necessarily an issue as many PDF apps can export the document into other text formats. However, in doing so, the resulting export can yield a variety of layout issues, depending upon the desired format and options selected, including the re-ordering of many paragraphs. As with previous editions of D&D, large complex tables are throughout the material, and they too can be a real problem for many exports.

The solution is to export the SRD into rich-text, then fix the layout and table issues. However, most rich-text formats can also cause problems for those who may need to work in a specific application. Microsoft Word (DOCX) is the most common, but there are many apps available, and the list is growing every year. Plus, Word is not well suited for complex page layouts involving many columns, headers, footers, sidebars, images, and table structures.

What's needed is a text format designed to create a rich yet still exportable format where very little is lost in translation. The real key may lie in something called Markdown.

John Gruber's Answer

In 2004, John Gruber created a radical approach to formatting text by keeping the TXT format but adding basic characters which symbolized format options. The result is the Markdown format.

Markdown is a lightweight markup language with plain text formatting syntax and depending upon the editing application; its design allows the material to be converted to many output formats.

Markdown is the perfect solution because it keeps the original material safe in a plain text format, simple to use, store, backup, or send via any medium. A real universal format, while still retaining some rich-text properties. Plus, Markdown has been refined and expanded over the years to include tables and many more options.

Ultimately, converting the new D&D SRD into Markdown would solve many issues for authors needing the material in a more simplified format. So, that's what I did; I translated the entire Dungeons & Dragons Systems Reference Document v5.1 into Markdown format. Paragraph by paragraph.

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