log in or register to remove this ad

 

Too much prose in RPGs?

GMMichael

Guide of Modos
But...I don't actually find it useful. The opposite, really: it gets in my way. . .

Anyway, I will continue to buy and pore over RPG materials, but I wish more people would adopt/refine Kelsey Dionne's approach. And I'm sure there are lots of games/supplements out there that do use this approach, I just haven't seen a lot of them. (Suggestions welcome.)
A sign of the times, if you ask me. A bit of reading is just how things were done back in the day, so gamers were used to it. Now, there's information everywhere (check your pocket), so we want it reduced to a manageable level.

Storytelling - that bulky prose stuff - is an age-old method for getting people to remember stuff. You can't visually quick-reference a story, you just have to remember it. For my solicited suggestion: force yourself to read through it. Your memory will probably thank you.

Interestingly, what passes for news (these days) has gone the opposite route; you have to read through all the prose to get to the actual news. Why this is, I can only guess. But I'm not surprised that today's news media are suffering.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Zaukrie

New Publisher
This is interesting, as one of the complaints about 4e was its lack of prose in actions and abilities....

As for adventures, holy cow! You'd hate the 2e era. Pages of backstory and prose. Pages. And pages.
 

I don't want prose to be separate or anything, but it would be helpful to have highlights called out in a more quick-scan format.

I know that the convention of including a lot of prose was exposed by Paizo years back when they confirmed that they knew plenty of people bought the AP modules as readers with no definite plans to run the adventure. But I also wonder if the ways people are given freelance work leads into it as well. If payment incorporates aspects of specified word counts, do publishers "inflate" word counts to make their projects more attractive to freelancers when they really could be accomplished in a more concise fashion?

I've been wondering the same thing.
 

A sign of the times, if you ask me. A bit of reading is just how things were done back in the day, so gamers were used to it. Now, there's information everywhere (check your pocket), so we want it reduced to a manageable level.

Is that a "%&$# kids get off my lawn!" argument?
 

You'd hate the 2e era. Pages of backstory and prose. Pages. And pages.

I played extensively in that era. I'm looking at module G1 right now, and don't find it any better/worse than the more recent stuff that inspired this post. (Although I'm not sure you can call Rappan Athuk 'more recent' even if you're talking about the 5e version.)

I actually think I minded the wordiness less back then because a) it was all new and exciting, b) I was a teenager, and c) my content acquisition was limited to what my FLGS carried, so it was a manageable quantity
 

Nakander

Villager
As is mentioned in several of the posts, it seems to be a matter of personal preference (which is kinda obvious once you spell it out, I guess). I would argue that for a more casual or inexperienced DMs, having everything spelled out for you is very helpful. I definitely prefer the greater work to be done for me. I also value playing a game as it was meant to be played rather than an interpretation of my own. When I want my own I'll write my own from scratch.

This post has been very informative for me. Thank you all for that.
 


For me it boils down to the purpose of the text. I view some supplements as stuff you read and absorb between session to help inspire and to make you more interested in running a session. A good example of this for me is the Van Richten books from Ravenloft in the 90s. Reading the accounts of different hunts Van Richten went on, different foes he faced, and the theories he held about them, that all helped flesh out the setting in my mind, gave me ideas for adventures, and also gave me a kind of monster hunt blue-print. The same can be the case with some setting material, but generally with setting stuff, I do like to be able to gain the info I am looking for during play. It is a fine line though because it can get too thin if it is overly brief. If it gets too long however, then you only have the option of reading and memorizing as much as you can between sessions (or greatly slowing down play to look up what you need).

My personal opinion is I think we are always better off when more approaches are on the table than less. So if some people want to make more verbose RPG books, I am all for it, if some want to make more concise RPG books, I am all for it. The periods in gaming that have been the most annoying to me as a GM is when one approach tends to dominate and you don't have alternatives.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
I played extensively in that era. I'm looking at module G1 right now, and don't find it any better/worse than the more recent stuff that inspired this post. (Although I'm not sure you can call Rappan Athuk 'more recent' even if you're talking about the 5e version.)

I actually think I minded the wordiness less back then because a) it was all new and exciting, b) I was a teenager, and c) my content acquisition was limited to what my FLGS carried, so it was a manageable quantity
I was thinking more dungeon mag, but maybe that was AD&D.....but no, def all dungeon magazines (in the print era).....
 

As is mentioned in several of the posts, it seems to be a matter of personal preference (which is kinda obvious once you spell it out, I guess). I would argue that for a more casual or inexperienced DMs, having everything spelled out for you is very helpful. I definitely prefer the greater work to be done for me. I also value playing a game as it was meant to be played rather than an interpretation of my own. When I want my own I'll write my own from scratch.

This post has been very informative for me. Thank you all for that.

For me it's not an issue of the "work being done" or the adventure being partially complete. I expect it to be complete. I'm talking about how the information is presented and organized, and how hard I have to work to separate necessary information from background/fluff/color.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
My answer on this is it depends. Compelling prose that makes me want to invest in the game's setting is crucial, but it does not have to be long (although it can be). What I'm not really a fan of is text that combines lore and game rules in a way that makes it hard to tell when one starts and the other begins. Despite being one of my very favorite games Exalted Third Edition is terrible about this. So is Vampire the Requiem.
 

MGibster

Legend
I think some RPG products seem designed more for people to read rather than use to play a game. 1990s, I'm looking at your games! In addition to the rules, I do want a little flavor text, or fluff as we used to call it. I don't mind a little bit of fiction, and I especially love it when they tie that fiction into examples of the game in play, or little blurbs about the setting. I do want to make sure that the game is well organized and the rules are easy to find.
 

Smackpixi

Explorer
So the OP references the recent Black Friday Humble Bundle which I also picked up. It includes much Troll Lord and Frog God material and most of those are conversions, meaning they are older adventures. I’m fairly new to hobby, but I’ve been reading a lot of stuff and just about everything pre-4e that I’ve seen is insane walls of text. Very early stuff, like say the Giants adventures is mostly just keys, and very readable if filled with lots of weirdly extraneous details. But mid 80s up till 4e DnD gets into insane amounts of walls of text.

Layout for more easy digestion and running is much better now, but plenty of writer, including much WoTC house stuff still likes to give you information there is now way for the players to learn which I find frustrating.
 

Interestingly, what passes for news (these days) has gone the opposite route; you have to read through all the prose to get to the actual news. Why this is, I can only guess. But I'm not surprised that today's news media are suffering.
To force you to scroll through the adverts. Which leads to a vicious cycle: more ads to pay for the content, moving the meanignful content further down to force you through the ads, the experience reducing readership, reduced readership needing more monetization per article, and hence more ads...

Likewise, I'm tired of the full-size previews on DTRPG being nothing but Cover, TOC and intro-fluff
 

To force you to scroll through the adverts. Which leads to a vicious cycle: more ads to pay for the content, moving the meanignful content further down to force you through the ads, the experience reducing readership, reduced readership needing more monetization per article, and hence more ads...

Likewise, I'm tired of the full-size previews on DTRPG being nothing but Cover, TOC and intro-fluff
Recipes on food blogs.

ENDLESS scrolling to get to the actual recipe.
 

Nakander

Villager
For me it's not an issue of the "work being done" or the adventure being partially complete. I expect it to be complete. I'm talking about how the information is presented and organized, and how hard I have to work to separate necessary information from background/fluff/color.
Wow this makes me feel so much better. I couldn't agree more. Organization is key. It's probably in here somewhere but I'm too lazy to scroll and look, so could you recommend some things that are organized well in your opinion? I'm currently in the process of organizing an original campaign and would love some better ideas of how it might be done. Just been wingin' it for now.

One of my problems is that I have a ton of illustrations, combat mechanics, and hands on puzzles and maps that go along with it, as well as location descriptions and a mess of conversations and responses to questions.

Thank you.
 

Silvercat Moonpaw

Adventurer
Anyway, I will continue to buy and pore over RPG materials, but I wish more people would adopt/refine Kelsey Dionne's approach. And I'm sure there are lots of games/supplements out there that do use this approach, I just haven't seen a lot of them. (Suggestions welcome.)

Thoughts?
Complete agreement.
 

...so could you recommend some things that are organized well in your opinion?

Neverland: A Fantasy Roleplaying Setting
51Cu6qLar8L._SX398_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
 



Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top