[S.P. News] A Naturalist’s Guide To Talislanta

Believe it or not we have our first FINAL stage 1E book. Actually its the first 1st, 2nd, or 3rd edition book that has made it past Stage 2 of processing. I am ashamed to say that from start to finish I probably spent about 16 hours working on this. Given how light the image editing was almost all of this time was invested in the OCR process. I really hope that somebody out there plans on using this. The time invested was just ridiculous in retrospect =(

I can honestly say though that the OCR is pretty darn phenomenal. I gave up on Adobe Acrobat’s built in OCR and found a third party application to get the job done. The OCR looks a lot better but the time it took to quadruple check every error and reported possible anomaly was so much longer than previously estimated. I am hopeful that a lot of time was spent learning and that my next book will go much smoother.

I kept the bookmarks pretty simple this time around. I could have created a bookmark for every creature entry but given that they aren’t categorized in any way I think it would have just polluted the bookmark index. I cannot see anybody really hurting due to their reliance on individual creature bookmarks. At least not in the way that they would for the massive 4th or 5th edition bestiaries. Whew, glad this one is finally over. Enjoy!

Original PDF (100 MB)Optimized PDF (45.5 MB)
Best Quality, Non-Image-Processed PDF (398 MB)
A compendium of selected flora and fauna native to the magical realm of Talislanta. Compiled from the notes of Tamerlin-traveler, self-styled wizard and author of The Chronicles Of Talislanta – The Naturalist’s Guide features illustrations and descriptions for over a hundred different creatures and beings, including: Ahazu, Exomorphs, Gnomekin, Monoliths, Sardonicus, Snipes, Vorls, Mandragores, Shadow Wizards, Nightstalkers, Werebeasts, and many, many more… With a separate section for fantasy role-players featuring game statistics and additional information.
Sep 1987
PDF Stage
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  1. mdhughes
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 7:11 AM | Permalink

    I don’t know what happened here, but this version of the book is not readable in Mac OS X’s Preview or on the iPad, where I now read all my ebooks… It only works in Adobe Reader!

    All the other PDFs work fine in Preview.

    This is one of my favorite Talislanta books; even when playing other games, I used the Naturalist’s Guide to drop in beasts and weird races and killer plants.

    • Posted April 29, 2010 at 12:07 PM | Permalink

      I’m a Windows user myself so I cannot test this problem. Given that this problem most likely stems from the third party OCR software I used on this particular PDF, only PDF to date, I think I know the problem. However, it is impossible to perform OCR with Adobe and I am unwilling to keep trying OCR programs until we find one that is Mac OSX/iPad compatible. Doing OCR for this PDF took me 16 hours.

      I am rather confident I would be able to root out the problem and still use my existing OCR software if I had a way to troubleshoot this myself. Unless I can find a way to recreate this problem here in Windows, I don’t think there is anyway for me to proceed. Have you tried the Optimized version of the PDF? I ask this because during the Optimizing process the PDF gets a series of compatibility changes performed on it. If the Optimized PDF works for you I can run those same compatibility processes on the Original/Huge-original version without sacrificing any aesthetic quality. Please let me know if you have any better luck with the Optimized version.

  2. Posted May 5, 2010 at 2:38 AM | Permalink


    I am absolutely amazed by how much you folks put into this game. Having all the books for a game I wanted to try for quite a long time but for some reason never got around to, ist just great.

    The 1st edition interests me most, that is why I was happy to see the first final book. But for some reason I do not get an OCR’d book when I click the download, but a PDF with scanned images. For me it seems that the uploaded version of the book is an old one and not the one you put so much work in.

    Is it just me or are other people having the same problem?

    Thanks again for the books!


    • Marques
      Posted May 5, 2010 at 2:37 PM | Permalink

      I just downloaded all three versions of the Naturalist’s Guide and I was able to successfully search for “Talislanta” in all three. What you are seeing in the PDF are images of the pages. OCR is kept behind the image but is indeed present. I’m testing this in Adobe Acrobat. Are you using Acrobat or a different reader?

      Just a quick update to let any comment readers know that the problem was resolved and was not rooted in the PDF itself.

  3. Joe Raiten
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

    i downloaded the optimized and regular … and they both opened just fine in Preview…

    I am running OS X 10.4

  4. Marques
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 10:47 PM | Permalink

    So there wasn’t a problem with compatibility here. It just wasn’t what he was expecting. When most folks OCR a PDF they OCR all of the text, mark the pictures in their OCR software, and a brand new page is created. The image of the old page is either removed entirely or placed behind this new page.

    We are working completely from scans and stand alone PDF’s. We have no original Adobe Illustrator or InDesign files which means we have no access to the original fonts used for most of these books. A good chunk of these fonts are “pay to use” which means we can’t just grab them off the internet. Without the exact fonts used to create the original PDF, the OCR program substitutes them with system based fonts.

    We want to keep the original look and feel of the PDF’s and system fonts just won’t work. So I’ve chosen to OCR the image but the text generated by the program appears behind the image. You can still search the image and find text but it just looks different.

    To help maximize the illusion of the text being highlighted on the image itself, I established the clean-up step for the Scanning Project and Carlson has been doing a FANTASTIC job. With the images cleaned up and pristine the OCR program is able to choose a system font and size that when selected (highlighted) appears as if you were selecting text inside the image itself =)