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Monday, 7th May, 2012, 04:22 PM #111
Novice (Lvl 1)
Anyone can make up fluff. It isn't as easy to pull together crunch. Fluff is more interpretative, crunch is not. Crunch makes for better game systems. Fluff.. well add all you want as long as its got the crunch.
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Monday, 7th May, 2012, 04:52 PM #112
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Look closely at the two examples given. If you remove the mechanical parts, the only difference is that that description for the 4E version is much more evocative and the 3E one includes spell components. That's it. Everything else is just rules. The 4E one is shorter partially because the rules on conditions and the rules for dealing with them (waking people up) are standardized and in their own section.
While I agree that 4E cut a lot of evocative fluff that detracted from the game, this is a poor example. I would have picked one of the many powers in 4E whose description is too brief or vague to get across exactly what is actually happening, or (the best example) the difference in monster manual entries, where the early 4E books often didn't tell you anything about a creature other than its stats, often not even telling you what they looked like.
In the new edition, I want the rules to be just like they are in 4E: precise, clear, and well organized. The Rules Compendium is a marvelous reference tool. However, I want a lot of the old color and fluff added back in, on top of that. Not replacing it.
Monday, 7th May, 2012, 04:59 PM #113
Hydra (Lvl 25)
The example illustrates rules presented in prose, not spells with added fluff. 4E has fluff; it's fine; I've not claimed it hasn't. What I've said is that I prefer rules presented in prose form rather than tabular, because I find it more engaging. And what little fluff there might be (if any) is intermixed with it.
Monday, 7th May, 2012, 05:13 PM #114
Hydra (Lvl 25)
I've updated the original article to explain what I mean when I use the word "prose" and to clarify that I'm not attempting to argue that 4E does not have "fluff". These are two diffferent things in my mind, and the article is intended to discuss the former.
Monday, 7th May, 2012, 05:19 PM #115
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
Sleep (4th Edition, prosified)
Daily ✦ Arcane, Implement, Sleep
Casting Time: Standard Action
Area: burst 2 within 20 squares
Target: Each creature in burst
Attack: Intelligence vs. Will
You exert your will against your foes, seeking to overwhelm them
with a tide of magical weariness. All creatures in the are are slowed
until they succeed on a saving throw. Targets hit by this spell that
fail the save are rendered unconscious, as they fall asleep.
A successful saving throw against the unconsciousness awakens
a sleeping target.
Monday, 7th May, 2012, 05:28 PM #116
Hydra (Lvl 25)
Not too bad at all, <!-- BEGIN TEMPLATE: dbtech_usertag_mention -->@Klaus <!-- END TEMPLATE: dbtech_usertag_mention -->. That prose, despite showing the exact same information, feels more like a sleep spell to me than the default 4E stat block.
I think I'd still like to see "Attack" moved out of the statblock portion (because I feel it trends the thinking into the idea that all spells must have an attack roll and I fervently hope that 5E spells contain the variety and utility that pre-4E did without separating them into rituals) but that's a very minor quibble as long as "Attack: N/A" doesn't end up being a rare feature. I can live with that if people find it easier.
One thing I didn't really touch on earlier is that in prose form you can pretty much do anything, whereas a predefined statblock layout limits you to (not literally, but it tends to make you write spells that way) to specific entries which as a template don't necessarily fit all.
Last edited by Morrus; Monday, 7th May, 2012 at 05:38 PM.
Monday, 7th May, 2012, 05:39 PM #117
I think one thing people are forgetting is that 4th edition's book printing is incidental; the model intended is promoting DDI, which the 4th edition style is easily supported by. The prose of before (and Pathfinder uses now), while it might be better in tabletop play, is unquestionably worse as an online reference.
Monday, 7th May, 2012, 06:59 PM #118
Grandmaster of Flowers (Lvl 18)
Absolutely true. Prose is open-ended, while the existence of a template or table tends to force designers into shoehorning things into said template/table whether they fit properly or not.Originally Posted by Morrus
Layout-wise, one thing that could be done to shorten the write-up space for spells is to use the 1e format, where some of the "table" is in a second mini-column to the right. Example (from the 1e PH):
Level: 1 < . . . . . . . TAB . . . . . . . . > Components: V,S,M
Range: 3" + 1"/level < . . . . TAB . . . > Casting time: 1 segment
Duration: 5 rounds/level < . . TAB . . > Saving throw: none
Area of Effect: Special
[followed by a prose write-up including a small chart of how many creatures of what hit dice are affected]
The table takes 4 lines instead of 7, with room for one more entry: 4e might have the attack-vs.-defense entry on the same line as area of effect, for example.
Also, glancing at ye olde 1e PH shows me they've got about 5-7 spells written up per page on average, plus occasional small bits of art, and they don't care (and neither should we, really) if reading a spell write-up forces one to turn the page partway through.
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Monday, 7th May, 2012, 07:17 PM #119
Hydra (Lvl 25)
Monday, 7th May, 2012, 07:55 PM #120
Defender (Lvl 8)
I am beginning to see your difference in meaning of prose versus fluff.
In that case, I would personally, definitely, lean toward the "Excel" version.
What I would like to see in 5E, though, is a more condensed version of the statistical block for spells, with a simultaneous enlargement of the fluff, and possibly the additions of sidebars and introductory fluff text.
For instance, perhaps the whole concept of "power source" can be done away with, but keep the keywords. Maybe "Area" and "Target" can be combined into one line. Etc...
However, make the one sentence description a two or three sentence description...
I really appreciate the tabular format. I do agree that the books must be more evocative that 4E, but I think more "fluff," while maintaining the tabular format (and not presented as prose) is a good compromise.
Last edited by hbarsquared; Monday, 7th May, 2012 at 10:32 PM. Reason: Meant the opposite in that last line...