D&D 4th Edition Prose, Terminology, Fluff, & Presentation: Spreadsheets or Haiku? - Page 2




+ Log in or register to post
Page 2 of 16 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ... LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 159
  1. #11
    Well, I don't think it is an either/or proposition. As mentioned, it is a sliding scale. I personally loved the clarity of the 4 system, but do admit it sometimes felt too mechanical and uninspiring. I too have memories of just reading earlier edition PHB & DMG's, but man they were a pain in the **** to actually play with! Personally, I think the Essentials line went a good step in the right direction; I found the classes and abilities more flavorful than in plain 4e, though I'm sure that is not enough for many. I also agree with the whole Play dragonborn if thing is not ideal.

 

  • #12
    Registered User
    Spellbinder (Lvl 16)

    Mouseferatu's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    8,667
    Blog Entries
    10

    Ignore Mouseferatu
    Pretty much also with Morrus on this.

    As I've said before, if a D&D manual hasn't inspired the reader's imagination with character, setting, and/or plot ideas unrelated to the desire to use X mechanic, then that book has failed. These have to function as reference books, yes--but they should not be, cannot be, only reference books.
    Ari Marmell
    aka
    Mouseferatu
    --Rodent of the Dark

    My new novel: The Conqueror's Shadow

    www.mouseferatu.com

    Twitter

    Facebook

  • #13
    I disagree on this. I started playing DnD with 2E (I have the 1E books but never got the chance to play 1st edition), and have played every edition of DnD since then, including 4th edition. The short flavor blurp at the top fo the powers in 4E gives me enough fluff/imagination text to picture what the power does, while the concise layout presents it in a way that avoids confusion and explicitly details what a power does. Area burst X within X all creatures. That is clear enough, whereas just pulling out my 2E PHB and flipping to a random page (in this case pg 177 of the 2E PHB) I am looking at the power "Eyebite" which is note one but SIX paragraphs long or spells like Ensnarement on page 176 which is about EIGHT paragraphs long.

    I don't require spells to be that detailed. Tell me what the spell does mechanically with a dose of flavor , and my own active imagination can do the rest. Instead those extra long paragraphs used to describe a single spell, could be used to make space for more classes, to make space for alternatively rules, like extra combat rules for those who want their combats to be more (or less) complex, to add additional magic items, and so forth.
    Last edited by Fallstorm; Saturday, 5th May, 2012 at 08:58 PM.

  • #14
    Registered User
    Acolyte (Lvl 2)



    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    06855
    Posts
    12

    Ignore Sentack
    In general, I'm not with the author on this point. I've played 2e, 3e, 3.5, 4e and Pathfinder and the one thing I'm ever so grateful for, is that 4e created a much more clean, clear and concise structure to the game that made for a lot less room for confusion at the table for everyone.

    I'm currently in an active Pathfinder game and a 4e game. In 4e, the game runs smoothly, the rules don't get in the way much, and even the newest player has a pretty good idea of how to play their character. At my Pathfinder game, there are a lot more rules related questions thrown up and newer players seem to have a harder time understanding how everything works. It's very telling when the 4e game has 1 copy of the rules compendium on the table and the Pathfinder game has 3 copies of the main book.

    So I've seen it from both sides and really, I just much rather have a very clear, rules system that allows the GM and the players build their narrative on top of. Instead of one where people struggle to read through pages of text looking for the one right rule on how to do something.

    I'm not saying 3.5e/Pathfinder are bad systems, I just feel that they read better then they play. 4e books are DRY. I won't argue that. Wizards could have done a MUCH, much better job adding more interesting text to the books, but for all the dryness, it doesn't get in the way of the game as much as Pathfinder does for me.

    In general, I find that a rules structure like 4e has worked better then 3.5e/Pathfinder at a real table with real people. Not just experienced players but new players as well. And at my tables, it's not an issue of an experienced GM. The most experienced GM is the one running the Pathfinder game. A good GM can only do so much and then it's the system that takes care of the rest.

    Lastly, I don't see the 'it plays like a spreadsheet' people talk about with 4e. The games are just as descriptive, colorful, engaging and fun as 3.5/Pathfinder. But when people ask me what my preference is, I unquestionably say, 4e.

    But to each their own

  • #15
    The Guvnor
    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)

    Morrus's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Southampton
    Posts
    24,861
    Blog Entries
    4
    13th Age Superman Circvs Maximvs ENnies Pathfinder ZEITGEIST Doctor Who

    Ignore Morrus
    Quote Originally Posted by Minigiant View Post
    Personally I don't think prose and clarity or readabiility or reference are in conflict.

    I believe the solution is bold and colors.

    Write in beautiful and engaging bits of prose. A nice clear group of sentences of the magical world of lethal dungeons and awe inspiring dragons. Just bold and colorize the gameplay important parts. You'd can still describe the wiggling of fingers before a glowing pea shoots out and bursts into a roaring flame like lone lion leaping on the zebra that is the smelly foul goblins that are there target of the warping of reality that only an arcanist can perform. The melting silver chain of the cheif and his pained screams that accompany the pressureless flame roasting him and his kin to death mean nothing to those who are just referencing the 5d6 fire damage and dexterity save but the details are no less sweet. Sweet indeed.


    The colors, Duke! The Colors!
    Honestly, I appreciate the idea - but visually I think it would be a mess.

  • #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Fallstorm View Post
    I

    I have enough imagination that I don't require spells to be that detailed. Tell me what the spell does mechanically with a dose of flavor and my own active imagination can do the rest. Instead of those extra long paragraphs could be used to make space for more classes, to make space for alternatively rules for those who wanted their combats to be more (or less) complex, to add additional space for magic items, and so forth.
    A couple of things on this one. Wanting more text or flavor has nothing to do with lacking imagination (i know you didn't intend it this way, but this is one of those backhanded snipes I see a lot posters throw in these threads). I have a very, very active imagination (enough that I was one of those kids in school who used to get in trouble for daydreaming). So I have no problem coming up with something out of nothing. However I enjoy reading books and rpgs that engage my imagination. The 4E approach just never got me that excited about the game because it failed to engage me in this way.

    I think a little more imagination and creativity would be good for the hobby. i hear people claim all the time that they don't need modules or flavor ideas from the publisher because they can come up with that stuff on their own. For some this may be the case, but I have also encountered a lot of gamers who could benefit from a little more guidance on this front.
    I was wrong about 5E

  • #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Bedrockgames View Post
    A couple of things on this one. Wanting more text or flavor has nothing to do with lacking imagination (i know you didn't intend it this way, but this is one of those backhanded snipes I see a lot posters throw in these threads). I have a very, very active imagination (enough that I was one of those kids in school who used to get in trouble for daydreaming). So I have no problem coming up with something out of nothing. However I enjoy reading books and rpgs that engage my imagination. The 4E approach just never got me that excited about the game because it failed to engage me in this way.

    I think a little more imagination and creativity would be good for the hobby. i hear people claim all the time that they don't need modules or flavor ideas from the publisher because they can come up with that stuff on their own. For some this may be the case, but I have also encountered a lot of gamers who could benefit from a little more guidance on this front.
    First, I apologize if the post came across as condescending. I agree with you also that modules and flavor ideas being presented by designers/authors to assist gamers in enhancing their own gaming experiences. What I specifically disagree with is that we need six to eight paragraphs to describe spells like what was done in previous editions. I think 4E has done a spectacular job of giving a dose of flavor to spark the imagination when it comes to spells/powers, while keeping the mechanics very tightly presented and focused that for the most part their is very little confusion on how a particular powers work even by newer players.

    I will agree with other sentiments I have heard that I hope DnD Next will appeal to a more adult audience (as a fan of Conan, Elric and darker Sword and Sorcery style fantasy this would fit me just fine), and I think that DnD next would do well to incorporate more the pictures and artwork that was present in previous editions like 1E and 2E to capture the imagination of gamers. For example, the full color photograph on page 7 of the 2E PHB (for those who still have this book or remember it) with the band of adventurers standing around a baby dragon they have killed and strung up sends out an evocative image that pulls the reader into the setting/tone of the game. I do think 4E lacks some of that now that I think about it, but when it comes to rules presentation I think 4E is flawless and were I too open the PHB for DnD Next and see a spell description that reads for 6-8 paragraphs I personally would be turned off by this, but to each their own.

  • #18
    About halfway on that scale between 3.5/Pathfinder and 4e myself. I want enough flavor for ideas, but not a straight-jacket (Paladins and Alignment, looking at you). I also want the rules to be clear enough that even if there is something wrong, you can figure out how it works (4e was like this till about PHB2, Savage Worlds is like that still and is why I prefer it).

    They get something that feels uniquely like D&D but plays similar in ease to Savage Worlds, and I'll take a serious look. But for now, I got Pathfinder for gritty, 4e for high cinematic, and Savage Worlds for in between.
    ~No one wins in the Edition Wars. The whole hobby loses.~ KT

  • #19
    The Guvnor
    Orcus on an Off-Day (Lvl 22)

    Morrus's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Southampton
    Posts
    24,861
    Blog Entries
    4
    13th Age Superman Circvs Maximvs ENnies Pathfinder ZEITGEIST Doctor Who

    Ignore Morrus
    Quote Originally Posted by Fallstorm View Post
    What I specifically disagree with is that we need six to eight paragraphs to describe spells like what was done in previous editions. I think 4E has done a spectacular job of giving a dose of flavor to spark the imagination when it comes to spells/powers, while keeping the mechanics very tightly presented and focused that for the most part their is very little confusion on how a particular powers work even by newer players.
    Either you misread me, or I misspoke. Either way, I certainly at no point intended to suggest that six-to-eight paragraphs were my preference for spells.

    I posted an example of a spell. It was pretty short, no?

    No, my article wasn't about length at all. It was about syntax and layout. It was about providing that info in a [scary!] paragraph, not a table of entries. That may include a sentence or three of description, but hardly an essay.

    It's about mixing mechanics and prose, instead of ring fencing them lest they dare touch. And if that's a mite more difficult - well, I coped as a kid. Honestly, it's not that hard.

    If you saw my article as promoting either (a) 8 paragraphs of fluff or (b) bady written unclear prose, then I apologise. That was the very opposite of my intent. To clarify: I would like clear, well-written, well-indexed prose with a hint of intermixed favour to stimulate the imagination without ring fencing it as a separate entity.

  • #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post

    It's about mixing mechanics and prose, instead of ring fencing them lest they dare touch. And if that's a mite more difficult - well, I coped as a kid. Honestly, it's not that hard.

    ity.
    I think this is the key.

    Personally i find it a lot easier when they are blended. Dumping data on folks without the ease of prose (and the context and explanation it provides) seems like a poor way to communicate. With rpgs especially. Somehow wizards got this idea into their heads that data blocks would help D&D attract a more mass audience. I can't speak for everyone, but when bought my first players handbook it was the mechanics, not the prose that formed the major obstacle. Stat blocks only serve to highlight the problem.
    I was wrong about 5E

  • + Log in or register to post
    Page 2 of 16 FirstFirst 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ... LastLast

    Similar Threads

    1. Replies: 158
      Last Post: Friday, 25th May, 2012, 07:05 AM
    2. Setting-fluff terminology? Simple or Unique?
      By Chaoszero in forum RPGs & Tabletop Gaming Discussion
      Replies: 37
      Last Post: Thursday, 7th January, 2010, 07:36 PM
    3. Good Fluff, Bad Fluff [re: Flying off the shelves]
      By Psion in forum RPGs & Tabletop Gaming Discussion
      Replies: 22
      Last Post: Friday, 20th June, 2003, 05:14 AM
    4. Why is prose not art?
      By NoOneofConsequence in forum Miscellaneous Geek Talk & Media Lounge
      Replies: 2
      Last Post: Tuesday, 15th October, 2002, 05:07 AM
    5. Excel Spreadsheets to Appleworks Spreadsheets.
      By mythusmage in forum Miscellaneous Geek Talk & Media Lounge
      Replies: 1
      Last Post: Thursday, 20th June, 2002, 11:13 PM

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts
    •