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  1. #241
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    Quote Originally Posted by ForeverSlayer View Post
    Whatever your opinion of the rules are aside but some of the best books I have ever read were the RIFTS books.
    Yeah, Siembieda's not a bad writer, though RIFTS has terrible crunch (and too much of it) and the fonts and layouts look like they are from the early 80s, which they are.

    The two best written rpgs imo, in terms of how enjoyable it is to read the text, are Amber DRPG and Over The Edge. Both are very rules-lite, which helps.

 

  • #242
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steely_Dan View Post
    1) Part of it is very much that, D&D is not, IMO, just a game you break out on Sunday (we read and talk about it).
    According to Paizo, half their customers don't actually play rpgs regularly any more, they just buy their products to read, not use.

  • #243
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dausuul View Post
    First, it's Strunk, not Stunk.

    Second, "Elements of Style" is a guide, not a set of absolute rules. Sometimes the passive voice is appropriate. Sometimes a bit of verbosity is in order. But I have yet to see the RPG book that erred on the side of brevity--not even 4E. The 4E rulebooks may not have had much prose, but the prose they did contain was just as overblown as stuff from earlier editions. Take the flavor text from 4E Sleep:

    "You exert your will against your foes, seeking to overwhelm them with a tide of magical weariness."

    It's just one sentence, and it still manages to be twice as long as it needs to be. Compare:

    "Your foes become drowsy and sink into magical sleep."

    Half as long and just as flavorful. Every RPG book I've ever read would benefit from the ruthless application of Strunk and White. Worrying about applying S&W too ruthlessly is like worrying about obesity when you're distributing food to famine victims. Yes, it could in theory become a problem. No, it should not be high on your list of concerns.
    I am going to have to disagree with your revision of the 4e flavor text. Personally not a fan of 4e's lack of prose, but the sentence you critique is actually pretty evocative. And you cut out one of the most important details (the caster exerting his will on the target). I just don't think a whole lot is gained by your alteration. And this is exactly why I think people going to Strunk and White all the time isn't always a good idea. I like my prose to breath a bit.
    http://www.rpgnow.com/product/131611/Sertorius

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dausuul View Post

    "You exert your will against your foes, seeking to overwhelm them with a tide of magical weariness."

    It's just one sentence, and it still manages to be twice as long as it needs to be. Compare:

    "Your foes become drowsy and sink into magical sleep."

    Half as long and just as flavorful. Every RPG book I've ever read would benefit from the ruthless application of Strunk and White. Worrying about applying S&W too ruthlessly is like worrying about obesity when you're distributing food to famine victims. Yes, it could in theory become a problem. No, it should not be high on your list of concerns.
    If i was going to alter this to make the flow smoother (and not sure it really needs it) I might go with:

    "You exert your will against foes, overwhelming them with a tide of magical weariness."

    In my mind the double use of your is a touch redundant but the whole tide of magical weariness is so evocative that it needs to stay. Arguably it is a mistake for me to remove "seeking" because the result isn't a foregone conclusion, and shifting from "seeking to overwhelm" to "overwhelming" is misleading. Another reason to be cautious when pruning. Again, less isn't always more.
    http://www.rpgnow.com/product/131611/Sertorius

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    Or "You seek to overwhelm your foes with a tide of magical weariness."

    I don't much like the "You exert your will" part. It's not very Vancian. Vancian magic to me means that wizards aren't really their spells; they just have the capacity to force them into their brain and fire them off later. The spells themselves are autonomous entities that the wizard collects, like Pokemon. That's how I feel D&D magic spells should be.

    So this is admittedly a rather subtle and persnickety point, but the 4e Sleep flavor text is too "active" for me. The will exertion ought to occur during spell memorization; when you're ready to let it fly, it's pretty simple to do so.

  • #246
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug McCrae View Post
    According to Paizo, half their customers don't actually play rpgs regularly any more, they just buy their products to read, not use.
    I have an entire GURPS 3e library for much the same reason, but then their books tend to vary between 90% crunch and 10% crunch. Their setting and genre books are great reads. To a lesser extent, Hero Games as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by corwyn77 View Post
    I have an entire GURPS 3e library for much the same reason, but then their books tend to vary between 90% crunch and 10% crunch. Their setting and genre books are great reads.
    Yeah, I've got quite a few GURPS books for the same reason. Illuminati, Time Travel, Middle Ages, and Reign of Steel are all really good imo. Illuminati is particularly well written.

    Quote Originally Posted by corwyn77 View Post
    To a lesser extent, Hero Games as well.
    To me Hero is sort of the opposite of Rifts - good crunch, not so good fluff. Kingdom of Champions, by Phil Masters, is the only Hero product with good fluff, imho, but I haven't read any from 5e or 6e.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dausuul View Post
    I have yet to see the RPG book that erred on the side of brevity--not even 4E. The 4E rulebooks may not have had much prose, but the prose they did contain was just as overblown as stuff from earlier editions. Take the flavor text from 4E Sleep:

    "You exert your will against your foes, seeking to overwhelm them with a tide of magical weariness."

    It's just one sentence, and it still manages to be twice as long as it needs to be. Compare:

    "Your foes become drowsy and sink into magical sleep."

    Half as long and just as flavorful. Every RPG book I've ever read would benefit from the ruthless application of Strunk and White.
    Yes. (Although here the standard is Fowler's Modern English Usage.)

    I think I made this same point on one of the other threads, with reference to an overwrought description of Apocalypse Spells.

  • #249
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dausuul View Post
    First, it's Strunk, not Stunk.

    "You exert your will against your foes, seeking to overwhelm them with a tide of magical weariness."

    "Your foes become drowsy and sink into magical sleep."
    Both of these are poor writing! They are compound sentences, and compound sentences are problematic: Compound sentences blur without a strong connection between their parts.

    The second sentence is not a restatement of the first! In the first sentence, "You" are clearly putting your foes to sleep. In the second sentence, the foes simply fall asleep.

    Both sentences are overblown. However, a very concise rewrite, "You will your foes to sleep," is too short. The dynamic struggle of will against will, the stronger will gradually overpowering the weaker, is lost.

    What any edition of D&D needs is good writing, wherever it appears.

    TomB

  • #250
    Regarding the interchangeability of damage types: I disagree that you can simply swap out energy types for spells and consider it pure fluff. Different creatures have resistances or immunities to certain types, different class features provide benefits with certain types, and so forth. There's a reason there are many more AD&D/3e spells dealing fire, electricity, or cold damage than there are dealing acid, sonic, force, divine, or other damage. Then there's the secondary effects of different energy types: an acid-damage fireball can melt a bigger portion of a wall than an acid arrow, a cold-damage flaming sphere can freeze more of a lake than a cone of cold, and so forth. If you can just choose a lot of cold spells because you expect to be facing fire creatures, or choose damage types to get around resistances in your campaign against demons, it makes different energy types more bland, when being a pyromancer instead of a weather mage should instead be something meaningful.

    The supposed interchangeability of energy types showed up in 3e and has carried through to 4e, but I'd much rather see a return to AD&D-style damage types. Lightning bolts bounce, fireballs expand, freezing spheres freeze. I'm not exactly asking for a fireball spell that requires you to break out a compass and protractor, but there should be more mechanical variance between energy types and/or different energy descriptors than just resistances and a secondary condition. If a class in 5e can have a class feature like the 4e wild sorcerer's Wild Soul (gain resistance to a random damage type, from fire and acid to psychic and necrotic and 6 more) because using one damage over another just means your big explody burst of magic is colored red instead of blue or green and no type is inherently different from any other, I'll be disappointed.

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