Time to bring back the prose? - Page 10




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  1. #91
    Readability is important for me because I DM most of the time and I get ideas and inspiration from picking up the rule books and reading a page here and there.

    If I pick up the Players Handbook from 1st 2nd or 3rd edition and start reading at a random page, I start mentally taking notes, thinking of adventure hooks & etc. After a few minutes of paging through the book I want to sit down and start playing or at least start planning for the next game night.

    After a few minutes of reading the 4e PH I want to put it down and do something else.

    You can say that it's not the book's job to make me want to play the game but...that's kind of a self-defeating attitude if you want people to buy what you're selling.

    I'm not asking for fiction or rules written in iambic pentameter, but the 4e's PH1 went too far in the direction of "bone dry" for my taste.

 

  • #92
    Quote Originally Posted by Umbran View Post
    And, taking this in a really different direction, that line leads me to the crux of the issue.

    How often will a person actually read the rulebook? As in, open the cover, start at page one, and read on through to the end? Maybe once? That is an important once, but it is once. After that, the book is being used primarily as a reference - to look up specific things.

    Those two agendas ("read through to learn and absorb" and "reference") call for markedly different writing styles.
    I read rpg books all the way through at least once (usually nore) and revisit sections iver and over again (with the net result of re-reading the entire thing yet again). Usually for games i run regularly i make a point of re reading the book about once a year. Either way, whether i am reading all the way through or reading the section on combat manuevers, i want to be informed and excited by the text. Good writers can do both.
    I was wrong about 5E

  • #93
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    When peple say 4e is bone dry compaired to 3e and before... Can someone give me a specific example?

    Are you talking about things like magic items and spells? Or rules like combat and skills?

  • #94
    Quote Originally Posted by Dimitrios View Post
    If I pick up the Players Handbook from 1st 2nd or 3rd edition and start reading at a random page, I start mentally taking notes, thinking of adventure hooks & etc. After a few minutes of paging through the book I want to sit down and start playing or at least start planning for the next game night.

    After a few minutes of reading the 4e PH I want to put it down and do something else.

    .
    This is my experience as well. The first three books not only cover the technical aspects of play, but the writing fits them into a context and has a life of its own. 4E was written well for a reference tool. But you need more prose to illuminate the mechanics. So ot actually loses some clarity for me in its effort to be succinct and bullet-pointed. Maybe it means i am less creative than others here (i think my players wouldn't say hat is so however) but it is important to me that the rule book inspires.
    I was wrong about 5E

  • #95
    Prose for fluff, concise words for crunch.

  • #96
    Quote Originally Posted by Bedrockgames View Post
    This is my experience as well. The first three books not only cover the technical aspects of play, but the writing fits them into a context and has a life of its own. 4E was written well for a reference tool. But you need more prose to illuminate the mechanics. So ot actually loses some clarity for me in its effort to be succinct and bullet-pointed. Maybe it means i am less creative than others here (i think my players wouldn't say hat is so however) but it is important to me that the rule book inspires.

    Exactly. When I read the PHs from earlier editions I get a strong sense of the game world and how the mechanics fit into and reinforce that world: even though no "setting" is being introduced.

    I think part of the issue is the design ethos (that was already growing in the late 3.5 era and was then fully embraced in 4e) that good design entails having a 20 foot high electrified barbed wire fence separating "crunch" from "fluff".

    Honestly, if I were the Czar of 5e development, one of my first acts would be to ban the designers from using those two terms at all.

  • #97
    Quote Originally Posted by Scribble View Post
    When peple say 4e is bone dry compaired to 3e and before... Can someone give me a specific example?

    Are you talking about things like magic items and spells? Or rules like combat and skills?
    I think its defintely true of spells. I play wizards/druids a lot when Im not DMing. Heres a comparison of a few wizard spells.


    3e sleep
    Level: Brd 1, Sor/Wiz 1
    Components: V, S, M
    Casting Time: 1 round
    Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
    Area: One or more living creatures within a 10-ft.-radius burst
    Duration: 1 min./level
    Saving Throw: Will negates
    Spell Resistance: Yes
    A sleep spell causes a magical slumber to come upon 4 Hit Dice of creatures. Creatures with the fewest HD are affected first. Among creatures with equal HD, those who are closest to the spells point of origin are affected first. Hit Dice that are not sufficient to affect a creature are wasted.

    Sleeping creatures are helpless. Slapping or wounding awakens an affected creature, but normal noise does not. Awakening a creature is a standard action (an application of the aid another action).

    Sleep does not target unconscious creatures, constructs, or undead creatures.
    Material Component
    A pinch of fine sand, rose petals, or a live cricket.
    4e sleep
    You exert your will against your foes, seeking to overwhelm them
    with a tide of magical weariness.
    Daily ✦ Arcane, Implement, Sleep
    Standard Action Area burst 2 within 20 squares
    Target: Each creature in burst
    Attack: Intelligence vs. Will
    Hit: The target is slowed (save ends). If the target fails its
    first saving throw against this power, the target becomes
    unconscious (save ends).
    Miss: The target is slowed (save ends).
    3e mirror image
    Level: Brd 2, Sor/Wiz 2
    Components: V, S
    Casting Time: 1 standard action
    Range: Personal; see text
    Target: You
    Duration: 1 min./level (D)

    Several illusory duplicates of you pop into being, making it difficult for enemies to know which target to attack. The figments stay near you and disappear when struck.

    Mirror image creates 1d4 images plus one image per three caster levels (maximum eight images total). These figments separate from you and remain in a cluster, each within 5 feet of at least one other figment or you. You can move into and through a mirror image. When you and the mirror image separate, observers cant use vision or hearing to tell which one is you and which the image. The figments may also move through each other. The figments mimic your actions, pretending to cast spells when you cast a spell, drink potions when you drink a potion, levitate when you levitate, and so on.

    Enemies attempting to attack you or cast spells at you must select from among indistinguishable targets. Generally, roll randomly to see whether the selected target is real or a figment. Any successful attack against an image destroys it. An images AC is 10 + your size modifier + your Dex modifier. Figments seem to react normally to area spells (such as looking like theyre burned or dead after being hit by a fireball).

    While moving, you can merge with and split off from figments so that enemies who have learned which image is real are again confounded.

    An attacker must be able to see the images to be fooled. If you are invisible or an attacker shuts his or her eyes, the spell has no effect. (Being unable to see carries the same penalties as being blinded.)
    4e Mirror Image
    Mirror Image Wizard Utility 10
    Three duplicate images of you appear, imitating your actions
    perfectly and confusing your enemies.
    Daily ✦ Arcane, Illusion
    Minor Action Personal
    Effect: Three duplicate images of yourself appear in your
    space, and you gain a +6 power bonus to AC. Each time
    an attack misses you, one of your duplicate images disappears
    and the bonus granted by this power decreases by 2.
    When the bonus reaches 0, all your images are gone and
    the power ends. Otherwise, the effect lasts for 1 hour.
    For me. The old way of writing spells made me want to curl up, find out what the spell does and imagine if my character would want to do that. The new way makes me feel think they are all basically the same and instead of doing the tedious math work to find out whats the "best" ill just take a build off of a forum and play that (actually thats a lie, I'd rather just not play).

  • #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by hanez View Post
    I think its defintely true of spells. I play wizards/druids a lot when Im not DMing. Heres a comparison of a few wizard spells.





    For me. The old way of writing spells made me want to curl up, find out what the spell does and imagine if my character would want to do that. The new way makes me feel think they are all basically the same and instead of doing the tedious math work to find out whats the "best" ill just take a build off of a forum and play that (actually thats a lie, I'd rather just not play).
    Exactly. The old way engages my imagination; the new way is just a VCR instruction manual. Leaves me utterly cold.

  • #99
    I also often read pre-4th books (have always loved perusing PHBs) for pleasure (and ideas etc), lately i've been reading the Basic Rulebook (Moldvay) a lot, just pick it up when i'm relaxing after work for awhile (read certain chunks, reread them later).

    I read the 4th Ed PHB, well, everything but all the powers, once I got halfway through the Cleric powers section, my eyes started to water, I got the gist, so I just looked at some random powers of different levels for each class to get an idea of their powers, all quite similar to me, so after that, when a new class came out, I would read everything about it(features etc), just not their powers section. I never just pick up the 4th Ed PHB on a Sunday afternoon to have a nice 30 minute read.

    I would like a less dry read in 5th Ed, but be able to find rules easily, so I think more examples spread out through the books would be good, especially in areas that could cause mechanical confusion.

    Oh, and a bit more humour/whimsy/tongue-in-cheek please, it can be charming.

  • #100
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    I think Morrus hit on something here in talking about wanting to sit down and read the books. I got the 4E books, but in retrospect I didn't need to. I have DDI for a reference. I no longer pull out the books at all. In fact, I leave them at home when I go game. DDI is my reference, and I no longer have evocative reading material to get me jazzed up to game.

    Well, I do, but it's for 1st edition, not 4E. Thus, I'm running a 1E game right now.

    My D&D Class:
    Lawful Good Human Paladin

    My Robin Law's Game Style:
    100% Method Actor, 100% Storyteller, 83% Butt-Kicker, 75% Specialist, 75% Power Gamer, 67% Tactician, 0% Casual Gamer

    Look what I made!
    OSRIC Henchmen Generator

    PBP Characters

    Darvus Andar, paladin (Living PF) - Currently in Return to Boar's Ridge


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