Monday, March 21, 2011

Presentation

An interesting post I read today is from Playing D&D with Porn Stars (quite often NSFW), which discusses the presentation of information in RPG books.  Zak argues that most people want to get to the crunch of rules, maps, and items etc, and skip over the story and background aspects of the book to get to it.  Part of his reasoning is that even professional writers struggle over the prose of creating and explaining worlds, and that amateurs are not likely to do this well.  While I am not sure that I agree with him, being someone who likes to read the details about settings, he does make the point that you can have little snippets of information about your carefully created universe attached to rules.

One of the more interesting blogs I read is Ancient Vaults & Eldritch Secrets, which daily posts new spells, items, and monsters for OSR D&D games.  The information is presented "in universe" with great little short stories featuring a re-occurring cast.  It seems to me, that this is going in the direction that Zak is thinking of, little bits of setting tied in to rules, to give its flavor without bogging down the reader who is interested only in the rules.

Ultimately, I think both methods have something going for them.  Give the reader the "big prose" sections telling about the world, with the big picture about what is going on, but let the flavor of the world come through in the descriptions of items, the backgrounds of NPCs, and in the art.  What do you think?

3 comments:

Total Non-Sequitur said...

I'm going to have to check out this, "playing D&D with pornstars." Both things that grab my attention immediately.
And if those things also grab your attention you should click on our blog and check out the show we do.
If you do you'll get a +1 for awesomeness.

ancientvaults said...

Thank you for the kind words.
I keep my "fluff" fairly minimal and generic because the "crunch" is where the rubber hits the road for your game. But one day last year I made two posts with no fiction and someone pointed this out, so I make sure there is a little tidbit of something in there.

Lasgunpacker said...

Fluff is a good way to present the flavor and intent behind rules. Otherwise, you have to explain all that in rule text.