Time to bring back the prose? - Page 8


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  1. #71
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    You said that they lost you after 4 books.

    I mentioned a 5th book, as in a 5th 4E book, not a 5th Edition book, which I always abbreviate as 5E.

    :P Natural mistake to make.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Incenjucar View Post
    You said that they lost you after 4 books.

    I mentioned a 5th book, as in a 5th 4E book, not a 5th Edition book, which I always abbreviate as 5E.

    :P Natural mistake to make.
    Ah, I see. Well, I don't see it as an issue with the writers themselves - given different design instructions, I'm confident they could do so!

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    Don't try to write like Gary Gygax. Only Gygax could write like Gygax. Write like yourself first.

    I think there needs to be a mix of creative writing and technical writing ability. Writing clear, coherent game rules is a real challenge, but writing evocative, engaging game examples is every bit as important.

    FWIW, I take every spell, magic item, maneuver, feat, skill, item, place, monster, class, and race as examples that should feel like it has context in a larger world. I'd prefer both points of view to lead the way for the widest possible breadth of new ideas.

    Plus, we shouldn't forget everything else that goes beyond prose in a game's creation.
    Playing a game is a study. Storytelling is personal composition.

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    Time to bring back the prose?

    Yes.

    Time was, I used to complain endlessly about Gygax's often-open-to-interpretation write-ups about various aspects of the game - usually in the midst of trying to DM said game. And then I learned how to interpret those write-ups to suit what I wanted, and in so doing I slowly made the game my own without realizing it. Chances are, you did too.

    You get out what you put in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
    The point is, however badly written it may be, it was designed to be read, not just referenced.

    Current rule books resemble reference books. You look something up in then. You don't pull them off the shelf and read them.
    But I'm not sure it was... I mean it might have ended up that way for some, but again sometimes it feels like he was just writing whatever came to his mind at the time. IE I feel like you could intersperse most of the sentences with "Oh yeah-" and "Oh and" and "Oh oh how about-"

    This is not to say I disagree with your overall point, however, that the books DO need a bit more flavor to them. I completely agree. But I want a mix. Flavor where appropriate/ reference where appropriate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by howandwhy99 View Post
    Don't try to write like Gary Gygax. Only Gygax could write like Gygax. Write like yourself first.
    I don't think that when anybody says "make the books something you can read" they mean "clone Gary Gygax' writing style".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan View Post
    Time to bring back the prose?

    Yes.

    Time was, I used to complain endlessly about Gygax's often-open-to-interpretation write-ups about various aspects of the game - usually in the midst of trying to DM said game. And then I learned how to interpret those write-ups to suit what I wanted, and in so doing I slowly made the game my own without realizing it. Chances are, you did too.

    You get out what you put in.

    Lan-"make mine purple, please"-efan
    That's an interesting idea... The best way to make a modular game is to make one that only gives you a vague idea of how to actually play it? :P

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    I keep hearing people praise Gygax's prose, but honestly I don't see it. His style strikes me as pompous, overwrought, and preciously obscure. His works of fiction are darn near unreadable.

    That said, evocative writing does have a place in the books, I think - but when it comes to the rules you're going to be using over and over, a workmanlike style is the most suitable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
    I don't think that when anybody says "make the books something you can read" they mean "clone Gary Gygax' writing style".
    I think I confused the issue in the OP when I specifically mentioned "Gygaxian style." Apologies all around.

    What I meant by that was not specifically that writing style, but a style that prefers prose over dry conciseness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Shadow View Post
    I keep hearing people praise Gygax's prose, but honestly I don't see it. His style strikes me as pompous, overwrought, and preciously obscure. His works of fiction are darn near unreadable.

    That said, evocative writing does have a place in the books, I think - but when it comes to the rules you're going to be using over and over, a workmanlike style is the most suitable.
    I think he is a good but offbeat writer who had the misfortune to own the company when he was doing his early writing. Writers with strong styles often need strong editors that don't report to them, when they are establishing that style.

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