WotC Considering NPC Stat Format Change
  • WotC Considering NPC Stat Format Change


    This started with a comment about D&D formatting errors by James Introcaso (the comment, not the errors) on Twitter, and WotC's Chris Perkins joined in. Other quickly chimed in with further questions.



    James:
    When you write an NPC's statistics in parentheses next to their name, it should look like this: NAME (ABBREVIATED ALIGNMENT SEX OR GENDER SUBRACE RACE STATISTICS). e.g. Fireface McDragon (LG female mountain dwarf knight)

    Perkins: We’re thinking about dispensing with that format and writing out the information in sentence form using no alignment abbreviations. Example: Borf is a chaotic neutral, non-binary shield dwarf berserker with darkvision out to a range of 60 feet.

    Crows Bring the Spring: Can I inquire why adding the blurb about dark vision is included in that line? Makes it feel rather lengthy.

    Perkins: It doesn’t have to be there. It could also be replaced with something else, such as the languages Borf speaks, if that’s more important. Racial traits and other useful info could be presented as separate, full sentences.

    Hannah Rose: What’s motivating this possible change? The ability to transition into modifications to a stat block without saying “with the following changes”?

    Perkins: Our intention is to make books that are gorgeous, thoughtfully organized, fun to read, and easy for DMs/players of all experience levels to use.

    Guillermo Garrido: Do you playtest these changes by different levels of players/DMs before widespread use of the new language?

    Perkins: We playtest everything.
    Comments 170 Comments
    1. Dannyalcatraz's Avatar
      Dannyalcatraz -
      Quote Originally Posted by TestByLogic&Science View Post
      NO. I am colourblind (LOL), but assume from an above post that Moderator comments are always in red. I definitely didn't delete any Moderator comments, nor would I do so, in the interests of open & honest discourse.

      Sorry I'm not PMing, it's better to keep discourse in the light. Public accountability, no need to re-respond to similar queries, avoids nastiness, etc.

      Colorblind? I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt this time, though I personally remain skeptical.

      Here’s the thing: your post, while well-put, crosses into arguably political language not permitted here on ENWorld.

      In addition, commenting on moderation in thread is ALSO forbidden, which is why I asked you to PM.

      Do us both a favor and do not post in this thread again, and please familiarize yourself with ENWorlsd’s ToS.


      (Duplicate posted in plain text to ensure the message is received):

      Colorblind? I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt this time, though I personally remain skeptical.

      Here’s the thing: your post, while well-put, crosses into arguably political language not permitted here on ENWorld.

      In addition, commenting on moderation in thread is ALSO forbidden, which is why I asked you to PM.

      Do us both a favor and do not post in this thread again, and please familiarize yourself with ENWorlsd’s ToS.
    1. Sadras's Avatar
      Sadras -
      I know some folks are putting up a little bit of a fuss about the monster block representation and I can see pros and cons to both methods, but personally I really did enjoy the way they presented the encounters for Legacy of the Crystal Shard (both monster encounters and terrain/trap/environmental hazard encounters). I only recently finished that module and I have not investigated online how well that presentation was received but it was certainly neat, organised and user-friendly, IMO.
    1. Umbran's Avatar
      Umbran -
      We have had to handle this several times in this thread, so let me make sure everyone understands...


      EN World is an inclusive community. We feel you should be welcome to play and talk about games, and feel safe, no matter your religion, race, sexuality, gender expression, nationality, or the like.

      We do not feel this is politics. You are all PEOPLE, and you all deserve to feel included and safe and treated well. And that means having some level of representation in the games we play. If you have a problem with this, and want to classify support of inclusion as "politics" in order to dismiss it, you are apt to run afoul of the inclusivity clause of The Rules.

      In short - if you want to rail against the use of the term "non-binary" by a game designer, this is probably not a good site for you to do it.
    1. geoharpst's Avatar
      geoharpst -
      I have not read through all of the pages of comments pertaining to this. My suggestion would be that if you want to include text to embellish on an NPC or monster, simply do that above or below (be consistent) the stat block and leave the stat block alone. Don't reiterate everything that is in the stat block, again, in the embellishment but add some specifics that make the NPC or monster stand out. The stat block is, for me, easier than having to sift through a sea of text just to find required info on the NPC/monster. And, when I'm DMing, often times I can't find exactly what I'm looking for because it is in a sea of text and I forgot to highlight it during prep. My 2 cent opinion.
    1. Graylion2018's Avatar
      Graylion2018 -
      Ok here the deal D&D is and always will be Cruch and Fluff, we need them both at different times and for different reasons.

      Not all entries need a lot. We need the stats as crunchy stats many times to be washed in the blood of battle and combat.

      We need the soft and graceful fluff for the roleplay, the social interaction to find out what makes this npc tick. Give us both in as little or as much as this npcs part requires. Mooks and background noice we will handle just give us a few short hints. The named minions and right hands of Kings and warlords are interesting so give us more of both crunch and fluff. Now the main stars the vilkians or warring Kings, devote pages of history, background, charcater art, all of it, go nuts.
    1. MNblockhead's Avatar
      MNblockhead -
      Quote Originally Posted by Tom B1 View Post
      Having said that: Half the reason I haven't been buying D&D adventures from WoTC (have bought some third party stuff) is exactly BECAUSE they are more interested in producing Works of Art rather than functional reference books. As someone with older eyes (been dungeon crawling since 1981), my eyes aren't what they used to be. I definitely prefer clean, openly kerned, non-serif fonts with very clean characteristics on backgrounds that are fairly decent contrast and uncluttered by all sorts of background art.
      As another older gamer with aging eyes, I have to say that I find serif fonts easier to read, though non-serif looks clean, more modern, and generally more "stylish." I've read a number of times over the years that serif fonts are easier to read than non-serif fonts, but after falling into the rabbit hold of actually research on this, learned that the research isn't conclusive.

      I would feel sheepish about my how nerdy it is to post about font serifs in a discussion about TTRPG stat blocks in the wee hours of the morning, but then some people are apparently set off by gender terms. *Sigh* Every nerdy thing I do is out-nerded.
    1. TestByLogic&Science's Avatar
      TestByLogic&Science -
      It seems a sad sign of the times that I was just told by *private* mail, unlike others, that I got a 1-pt. "infraction" for "anti-inclusive language" in my original post.

      Could the person expressing this claim please substantiate it with proof here?

      (Against the allegation, here's something I noted again in my post navigating here : it's replete with careful acknowledgements, honest disclaimers, & qualifications, not least in importance is this : "without disregarding any's (high & universal) value as persons.")

      Despite the defence intro I felt I had to insert to not be truncated or deleted or what-not, I was *still* penalised for advocating efficient language truthfully reflecting the best appreciation of Truth that *open* logical argument & science can help us achieve, which leaves me wishing I could've have addressed all my points far more succinctly, but unsure how.

      Let's not be so unthinkingly enwrapped with ideology & PC-ness we cannot raise a cautionary, "But on this point mightn't you be wrong...?" in genuine conscience.

      I recognise that both the significant extension of personal pronouns & so-called political correctness are often, though not always, the expressions of hearts genuinely in the right place (no decent adult wants *anyone* actually oppressed or deliberately insulted); but sometimes decisions made with good intent result in positions not in line with what is Real, or actually overall Helpful, or Good.
    1. Dannyalcatraz's Avatar
      Dannyalcatraz -
      Quote Originally Posted by TestByLogic&Science View Post
      It seems a sad sign of the times that I was just told by *private* mail, unlike others, that I got a 1-pt. "infraction" for "anti-inclusive language" in my original post.

      Could the person expressing this claim please substantiate it with proof here?

      (Against the allegation, here's something I noted again in my post navigating here : it's replete with careful acknowledgements, honest disclaimers, & qualifications, not least in importance is this : "without disregarding any's (high & universal) value as persons.")

      Despite the defence intro I felt I had to insert to not be truncated or deleted or what-not, I was *still* penalised for advocating efficient language truthfully reflecting the best appreciation of Truth that *open* logical argument & science can help us achieve, which leaves me wishing I could've have addressed all my points far more succinctly, but unsure how.

      Hello, '1984', & the Emperor, airily propelled by Zeitgeist, discarding clothes. Let's not be so unthinkingly enwrapped with ideology & PC-ness we cannot raise a cautionary, "But on this point mightn't you be wrong...?" in genuine conscience.

      I recognise that both the significant extension of personal pronouns & so-called political correctness are often, though not always, the expressions of hearts genuinely in the right place (no decent adult wants *anyone* actually oppressed or deliberately insulted); but sometimes decisions made with good intent result in positions not in line with what is Real, or actually overall Helpful, or Good.


      You were told not to post in this thread again, and to refrain from in-thread public discussion of moderation in both “Mod-voice Red” and the site’s standard text (in deference to your claim of being color blind)- a violation of ENWorld’s ToS . And here you are doing both.

      This is turning into a textbook example of how NOT to ingratiate yourself with the moderation staff. You’ve now earned a temporary vacation from the site. You might want to use that time to familiarize yourself with ENWorld’s rules and maybe read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.


      You were told not to post in this thread again, and to refrain from in-thread public discussion of moderation in both “Mod-voice Red” and the site’s standard text (in deference to your claim of being color blind)- a violation of ENWorld’s ToS . And here you are doing both.

      This is turning into a textbook example of how NOT to ingratiate yourself with the moderation staff. You’ve now earned a temporary vacation from the site. You might want to use that time to familiarize yourself with ENWorld’s rules and maybe read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
    1. Tom B1's Avatar
      Tom B1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by MNblockhead View Post
      As another older gamer with aging eyes, I have to say that I find serif fonts easier to read, though non-serif looks clean, more modern, and generally more "stylish." I've read a number of times over the years that serif fonts are easier to read than non-serif fonts, but after falling into the rabbit hold of actually research on this, learned that the research isn't conclusive.

      I would feel sheepish about my how nerdy it is to post about font serifs in a discussion about TTRPG stat blocks in the wee hours of the morning, but then some people are apparently set off by gender terms. *Sigh* Every nerdy thing I do is out-nerded.
      On the font front, because we are aging and designers and authors need to consider their audience, the serif and non serif fonts have different characteristics; For small fonts (which for me now includes about 10 or 11 pt fonts, 12 pt on some fonts), the non-serif helps avoid the letters blurring together so they are easier to distinguish. On larger font sizes (for most people, likely 11 pt+), the serifs can help make out character shape and there's little danger of characters blurring together and there's more of an issue with distinguishing characters correctly by themselves.

      My favourite monospace font is Andale Mono. My favourite font for a lot of writing is actually the main font for old school Traveller books - Optima. I find them easy to read at font sizes that normal humans work with (11 and 12 pts). If I have a serif-font, I often need to blow up the font size to 14 pt. to get enough clarity.

      To haul stuff back on topic for the thread, more point form/concise stat blocks with clear delimiters are easier to pull data from at a glance than paragraphs of prose. It's not novels that stat blocks are meant to be - they are the fast reference that accompanies the prose descriptions.

      Then again, as a programmer, I'm pretty good at reading compact encodings rich in data without massive verbosity to make them read like a sentence. So maybe I find the stat blocks easier than prosaic descriptions on that basis.
    1. David Rybacki's Avatar
      David Rybacki -
      Natural language is awful, I hate it in rule books and I hate it here
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