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Too much prose in RPGs?

ART!

Deluxe Unhuman
I...basically agree?, and find most RPGs rulebooks and adventures over-prosed. Establishing concepts and flavor in the front-end of the book makes sense and works for me, but once we get into mechanical stuff and anything a DM will need to reference quickly, I want concise, clear information and suggestions: bullet points; don't bury information half way into a paragraph; complete, essay-worthy sentences are a waste of time and space.
 

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Drop the fiction. I never read it, because as has been noted, its invariably crap.

Present information in a concise, orderly, logical fashion, and stay focused on what I need as a GM. Keep the flavor text apart. Put examples of rules use in sidebars.

Begin every adventure with a concise summary of the entire adventure plot, and keep it short. Include all plot twists. I'm not going to bother reading an entire scenario from start to finish just to see if its any good; give me a four paragraph summary to tell if I'm interested, and with which I can refresh my memory.
 
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Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I will say that I liked what Fria Ligan did with the Alien RPG, where you get your moody walls of text, but the important mechanical stuff is in little white callout boxes.

Really? I have Alien, but so far I've been unable to read it because of their typeface/color choices so I can't confirm that.

(Actually, I'm kidding. I have managed to read some of it and I do agree with you...but, man, SO painful to actually read that text.)
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
Begin every adventure with a concise summary of the entire adventure plot, and keep it short. Include all plot twists. I'm not going to bother reading an entire scenario from start to finish just to see if its any good; give me a four paragraph summary to tell if I'm interested, and which which I can refresh my memory.

Yes, overviews/outlines of adventures with key decision-points to be aware of are always useful. Good adventures can be complicated; anything to get the GM up to speed on that complexity is helpful.
 


pemerton

Legend
@Bill Zebub

Agreed, absolutely.

I noticed this most markedly in the development of 4e D&D: 4e started with pretty tight explanations, bullet-pointed lore in monster entries, etc, but then over time got wordier and wordier. In the later books I would skip most of the words and just rely on the statblocks.

As far as adventures/scenarios are concerned, I don't want overwritten prose to evoke the atmosphere. That should inhere in the situation itself, which as you say can be conveyed - ideally - in a few well-chosen dot points.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I'm actually sort of surprised (in a good way) to find so much agreement. I thought I was going to get jumped on for heresy.
 


kenada

Legend
Supporter
Worlds Without Number is excessively wordy. It’s not a bad read. The book does a good job of organizing content around the spread, and the setting information is interesting. However, it’s easy to miss things and difficult to find them later when you are trying to look them up. I ended up modding OSE into WWN just so I can have an easily referenced set of rules.
 
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